Summary: Being led by the Lord in doing the right thing.
Text: Acts 28: 1 - 6
Introduction: Mark chapter sixteen verse eighteen is a scripture that has been grossly misinterpreted by a group of sincere people, however they are sincerely wrong. The theme at the close of Mark sixteen is for believers to go into the world preaching the Gospel with the assurance of God’s power and protection upon them.
Never does it sanction a believer demonstrating their faith by "handling" snakes or drinking poison intentionally. The translation of the word "take up" was a very poor choice from the Greek text to our English language. . In fact the Apostle Paul demonstrates the correct usage of this scripture.
On our Christian journey Satan plans lots of shipwrecks. He is the Serpent that still has a bite! There is coming a time he will be silenced and cast into a pit where he is "shut up" for a thousand years. Until that time, he still has his "bite", but the blood of Jesus is the antidote.
I. The Serpent’s Desire Is To Destroy Mankind.
(A) Paul was shipwrecked, escaped to the Island of Melita (Malta) There he was met by "barbarous" people (foreign) who were kind, built a fire, took them in.
(B) Paul was gathering sticks, laid them on the fire and a "viper" came out and fastened to Paul’s hand.
(Viper: Gr. Echidna: A wire thin viper about four inches long that was very deadly.)
These vipers often hid themselves in rock crevices, cracks in wood, or in the sand. They are very agressive and bring death in a matter of minutes.
(C) The barbarians thought Paul was a murderer and judgment had come to him. As they watched for Paul to fall dead, nothing happened.
Paul simply "shook it off into the fire!" Now they thought he must be a God.
(2) Paul Demonstrated The Literal Meaning Of Mark 16: 18
• Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
** Take Up: ( Gr. "Airo": Means to lift up, take up, take away, put away, or remove)
Other Examples where "Ario" is translated differently.
(A) John 1:29 29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the world’s sin! (Ario)
(B) John 11:39 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time he stinks , for he has been dead four days.” . ( Ario )
(C) Matthew 24:39 39and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. ( Ario )
(D) Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: ( Ario )
• Paul was no "snake handler" to make a "show" of his faith. God had promised that he was going to Rome and no attack of Satan could stop him ! The whole point is we have God’s protection until our mission is accomplished !
III. Look At The Trail Of The Serpent’s Bite ! (Genesis 3:1, 15)
(A) The first bite was subtle, cunning and caused the fall of mankind.
(B) There was to be enmity (deep rooted intense hatred of one another) between Satan, the woman and her seed. Satan would bruise his heal, but one would come to crush the head of Satan.