Ac 28:1 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. 2 And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. 3 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. 4 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. 5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. 6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. 7 In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. 8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. 9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: 10 Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary. 11 And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.
Verse 2 says: The people showed us no little kindness for they kindled a fire.
The fires have about gone out for the ship wrecked. You know, I think that as the church, we should be kindling a fire for the ship wrecked. Don’t you?
We have too much "Be ye warmed" and not enough "kindlers of a fire". But I’ll tell you, I think alot of the wood gathers have been snake-bite, (Hurt, talked about, overtaken in sin, afflicted, financially attacked, etc.) and have stopped trying to build a fire and just laid down to die.
Just because you been snakebite, you don’t have to lay down and die!
Verse 3 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. Paul is gathering wood for a fire. He just came through a hard trial, a storm and a shipwreck. The last few months of his life haven’t been that good. He has been before Felix and Agrippa and is still a prisoner. But he is trying to stir up the fire, trying to add fuel, trying to get warmed up again. Can anyone identify?
Have you come through the wreck? Whatever kind of wreck it was, sickness, financial crash, family problems, marriage problems, you held on and kept paddling until you made it to shore. Now you are just trying to keep the fire burning , trying to add some fuel and get some heat up again. Trying to get your prayer life going right. Trying to get back into the word like you should, back to church. Maybe you just have a desire for revival and you are trying to build the fire of revival. Either way, watch out for the viper! Aren’t snakes funny things (Not funny Ha Ha). They lie dormant as long as it is cold. They aren’t even noticable in cold environments and they blend in with their surroundings. But just wait till the fire is started, wait till things warm up. When things heat up, the snakes show up!
Take a look at what happened: Before anyone got converted, before any miracles took place , before anyone got healed, the snake showed up. Let’s brake this down a little. Before Paul could get to witness or minister to anyone, a viper used its mouth to try and fill him with poison.
Have you encountered any vipers trying to fill you with discouragement, or depression, fear, and anger?
Psalms 140:1-3 David wrote: Deliver me, O Lord from the violent man 2 Which imagine mischiefs in their heart continually are they gathered together for war. 3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent’s; adder poison under their lips.
Ecclesiastes 10:11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.
Listen, Paul has been snake bit, and the people around him aren’t talking to him. They aren’t trying to help him. They are talking about him. (He must have had it coming.) Some already see him as a dead man.
Some people thought you were not going to make it either.
You see by natural design the venom should have killed Paul, but he didn’t even swell. There are people watching you and I to see how we react in time of trial, in time of trouble, in time of snake bite. When the enemy has used someone’s mouth to try and fill us with poison; the venom of anger, hatered, bitterness, envy, strife. The venom of discouragement, disappointment, fear, doubt and unbelief. Friends, there are those watching to see how we, as Christians, are going to react to the venom. Will we swell with anger, turn green with envy, shiver in fear, wallow in self pity, or will we like Paul, by the strength and power of the One who dwells within us? Shake it off and keep moving. Just because you have been snake bit doesn’t mean you’re wrong, and it doesn’t mean you’re finished.
Look at verse 5 - And he shook off the beast into the fire and felt no harm. He shook it off. He could have said "That’s the last straw. "Why does everything happen to me?" He could have said, "God, why did you allow this?". He could have said alot of things, but he didn’t say anything. He didn’t say anything. He just shook it off into the fire. Paul knew he was full of the anti-venom of the Holy Ghost.
I want to encourage you today to, in the name of Jesus, SHAKE IT OFF! Shake off the venom of discouragement. Shake off the venom of depression, maybe anger, or sickness or loneliness. Turn around and tell someone, "This thing isn’t going to destroy me, in Jesus name, I’m shaking it off! Right now! Friend don’t let the venom of someone’s words fill you with poison. I don’t care if it’s your doctor, lawyer or some other Christian. God is bigger than all our problems.