How to Handle a Snake
Now we Pentecostals always get accused of handling snakes. We don’t handle snakes as some do.
They get their idea of handling snakes from Mark 16:18. In this chapter we see several signs that Jesus Himself said would follow those who believe.
15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
When this scripture says “take up” serpents, it’s not talking about bringing a box of snakes to church and carrying them around your neck. The Greek words for “take up” do carry the idea of picking them up, but the idea is to “do away” with them or “cast them away.”
Our job as Christians is to cast away Satan and his works!
1 John 3:8
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
So we don’t go out looking for snakes! But I want to assure you that if you walk in Christ’s ways, you will encounter some snakes!
Satan himself is pictured as a snake!
9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
II. They built a fire!
Two ways to stir up a snake in the work of God:
A. Start a fire!-God is doing that around here every day! The fires are burning!
B. Start adding fuel to the fire!-a fire must be carefully tended. Paul himself gathered sticks to add to the fire.
You who are younger Christians, don’t let the fire go out of your life! You must add fuel every day!
Note: Paul was a prisoner at the time. He didn’t have to work! The natives built the fire, Paul could have sat down and waited for them to put wood on it. But it shows the kind of person God desires us to be. Humble in spirit, with a servant’s heart!
There are three ways to get something done:
1. Do it yourself
2. Hire someone to do it
3. Forbid your kids to do it
III. The snake came out!
A. The serpent can’t stand the heat!
When God’s fire starts to burn the devil has to get out. Remember the demons that plead with Jesus as He was about to cast them out!
31 And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.
B. The serpent attacked the servant of God!
Notice that the snake didn’t bite anyone else around. The devil knows who to attack.
Notice how it attacked, it didn’t just bite Paul it attached itself to Paul’s hand!
This was probably a Lebentine Viper. This snake doesn’t just bite you, it chews on you a little bit to get more venom in you. It’s poison is deadly! Notice that the natives thought that Paul was going to die! They had obviously seen this kind of snake bite someone before!