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Shake Off the Serpent

By Pastor Jim May

Acts 28:1-5, "And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm."

Paul was in the center of Godís perfect will. He had been threatened with death in Jerusalem, but he was in Godís perfect will. He had been arrested by the Romanís, but he was in Godís perfect will. He had been locked away in a dark, damp cell and mistreated, but he was in Godís perfect will. He was bound and escorted under guard to a ship that would take him to his final destination, a place from which there would be no coming back, but he was in Godís perfect will. He was restricted from moving about freely, held prisoner among heathen sailors that cared little for God, but he was in Godís perfect will. He was on a ship bound for Rome, but a ship that would face one of the fiercest storms in the Bible, a ship that would be shipwrecked on a strange island, after it had been broken into small pieces, but he was in Godís perfect will.

The point is that adversity, storms of life and attacks of the devil do not mean that we arenít in Godís perfect will. In fact, many times, itís exactly the opposite. All along this road of life that we all must travel there will be pitfalls, troubles, trials or tests that we cannot avoid. We are caught in the middle of a great struggle over which we have little control and few choices but to weather the storm and wait for the calm to return.

Paul was headed for Rome, to face charges before Caesar, and to spread the gospel as long as God gave him breath. But the storm had blown him off course.

Unexpected tragedies slow our progress, alter our plans, and give us great frustration. Our best plans often are shattered by the circumstances of life and we find our plans shipwrecked for no fault of our own.

Paul could have said, ďWell, I guess it just isnít Godís will for me to reach Rome after all.Ē But his present circumstances didnít stop Paul. This was just another inconvenience and another bump in the road. He knew his destination and he knew that the Holy Spirit was with him, guiding him, leading him and watching over him, every step of the way.

The Holy Ghost simply said, ďStay the course and donít stop now. Itís not over Ďtil itís over! You win in the end. You are an overcomer, Paul. I am with you and will never forsake you.Ē

Acts 28:2, "And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness:
William Cole, Jr. of The Owosso Family Worship Center
December 14, 2006
Bro. May has contributed some of the best sermons on Sermon Central. As a pastor myself, I get "fed" spiritually by reading Bro. May's messages. Billy Cole