Snake bit Acts 28:1 – 10.
Have you ever felt like that once things started going south then the snowball picked up momentum and size, and before you know it you have been bowled over?
Do you feel like the world is against you? Is Murphy’s Law your life verse?
Most people pick Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the thoughts that I have toward you says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Or (Josh. 1:8-9)
If anybody could feel defeated it would be Paul.
Paul’s own testimony (2 Corinthians 11:24 – 29) “From the Jews five times I received 40 stripes (Jewish Maximum is 40) minus 1. Three times was beaten with rods(Roman): once I was stoned: three times I was shipwrecked: a night and a day I’ve been in the deep: in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren: in weariness and toil, and sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness – besides the other things what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak?
In Acts chapters 27 – 28 we find Paul in the midst of great trial.
Having “almost” persuaded King Agrippa to accept Christ Paul boards a ship (as a prisoner) headed towards Rome to defend himself.
He faces a storm, shipwrecked, being stranded, and snake bit all on this journey.
I’ll bet most of us can relate.
The storm: What could’ve been smooth sailing put them in the path of a storm (hurricane) called Euroclydon.
This was no small storm – it would destroy the ship.
(27:10) Paul warned the Centurion not to go but they would not hear God’s man.
The shipwreck: For14 days they fought the storm.
They did everything they could think of to do to save the ship but nothing worked including jettisoning everything and then finally gave up and ran the ship aground.
Stranded: The sailors were going to leave them behind and abandon ship.
They were forced to jump overboard, those who could swim would swim for land and those who could not would drift on the ships debris.
The storm was still raging and the seas were still rolling.
They washed up on the island of Malta. (Just south of the tip of Italy).
Snake bit Acts 28:1 – 10
I don’t know how you feel about snakes, you may find them fascinating, or you may find them fearful. Unless you are a herpetologist.
In either case, they typically do not represent the best of the animal kingdom to most of us.
Personally, I am okay with most of them as long as I see them first, but if it surprises me I must kill it.
We know that Paul survived the storm, the shipwreck, and is now stranded.
We find him and his fellow prisoners, the soldiers, and the sailors on the island of Malta.
News report: 9-17-2019 Archaeologist believe that they have discovered this shipwreck of the shores of Malta
Paul did not seek praise for warning of the storm, staying calm during the storm, for helping save the ship in the storm, saving the prisoners, or swimming safely to shore.
Once they reach the shore, Paul began helping collect wood for a fire.
Their arrival on shore was not comfortable or convenient – but God provided people to help them. (2)
God always provides people to help you in the midst of storms.
The storm was still raging and God is still aiding
Paul – never one to be lazy – began gathering wood to help warm his fellow prisoners, the sailors, and the soldiers.
As he was placing his wood on the fire a snake/serpent hiding in the midst of the wood and stirred by the heat of the fire bit Paul on the hand.
All he was trying to do was help!
When you are trying to build a fire – you can expect opposition!
The serpent can’t stand the heat.
Paul did not panic – did not give up – did not feel sorry for himself.
Paul “shook off the creature into the fire”. (5)
Had he let it hang on to his hand the poison would have certainly killed him.
How many times have we been faced with difficulty and failed to shake it off but instead allowed it to cling to us only to leave its poison behind?
How do you react to circumstances when it seems as though everything is going against you?
Storms batter you, shipwrecks, stranded, and now snake bit.
The natives immediately assumed that Paul was guilty or that he deserved this tragedy.
They thought perhaps that he is luck has run out – destiny was out to get him – or his Ying and Yang were catching up with him.
This is what you call “circumstantial theology”.
It is the belief that situations and circumstances determine the outcome.
It is a poor worldview to say the least.
It is like circumstantial evidence in a court room. – no substantiated or corroborated facts but subjective conjecture based on possible circumstances.
There is not enough evidence to judge so imagination and manipulation are applied.
The storms of life should not determine your view of God.
It does not consider grace or mercy, nor does it consider God’s omnipotence, Gods providence or his plan for you.
Paul was on a mission (Divine Providence/ Appointment) to Rome – nothing would deter him from reaching Rome and sharing the gospel with the Romans.
Some of you are snake bit now! What has you snake bit?
You were just trying to help – but got hurt in the process.
This is an issue that paralyzes too many Christians and too many churches.
Controversy and circumstances have poisoned you.
The church hurt syndrome.
We have failed to realize that God is in control despite Satan’s best efforts.
Our faith is so weak that we succumb to the storms, are defeated in the shipwrecks, and are snake bit/paralyzed in our ministries.
The natives, sailors, prisoners, and soldiers all expected Paul to swell up or fall down dead.
People are constantly watching you and how you react to the trials of your life.
How do you respond?
Do you puff up/swell up from the poison?
Paralyzed hands are kept close to hide or protect the injury.
Hurt feelings can cause you to shut down or withdraw.
Do you stay snake bit?
Some people like the drama.
Do you shake it off – send it back to the fire?
The fire will burn the snake up.
Shake off the snake and keep the fire!
Satan will attack the people and then the establishment if necessary.
You may get bit but don’t extinguish the fire.
The very thing that caused the attack is the solution to the problem.
It is the fire/ heat of a fervent servant under the direction of The Holy Spirit and the working of God in people to see others come to know God.
Satan can’t stand it so he attacks but Satan can’t stand up to it so he is defeated.
Paul’s ministry on the island of Malta was affected by his response to the snakebite.
The poison did not contaminate him.
The people changed their view of him.
Paul knew that this deliverance was part of God’s plan just as he knew in the midst of the storm that God would deliver them. (Acts 27:23 – 25).
God healed many people through him.
Publius the leading citizen of Malta’s father was sick and Paul prayed over and laid hands on him. (That snake bit hand)
God healed him and word spread quickly.
Many others came to Paul and they were healed by God.
What Satan meant to harm Paul turned into healing, honor, and helping the people of Malta.
The storm may have diverted them.
The shipwreck may have stranded them.
The snakebite could have killed him.
All Satan’s plan to defeat you.
But God had a greater plan.
God used the circumstances to prove his power to the sailors, soldiers, and people of Malta.
(10) Then God used the people of Malta to provide a way and the means for Paul to continue his journey to Rome.
When God has a plan for you God has a way to accomplish it.
Satan will try anything to keep you from accomplishing anything.
He will send storms – cause shipwrecks – leave you stranded – or snake bit in order to stop you.
God can use anything to accomplish anything he desires.
He can use storms – shipwrecks – stranded – or snake bites in order to strengthen you and prove himself to you and others.
The difference between the two outcomes is faith and obedience.
How you view the storms – shipwrecks – stranding – or snake bites.
Someone here today is in the middle of a storm headed for shipwreck.
Satan is out to sift you and deter you from your destination.
Do not be deterred – trust God to lead you all the way.
Someone here today feels stranded.
You feel alone, unnoticed or unimportant.
Do not be discouraged – God can put people in your path to help you.
Some here today have just washed up on shore.
You are afraid to help or commit because of past circumstances.
You are fine just warming by the fire and watching others collect the wood because there is a possibility of hurt.
You are afraid to go out or to serve, there is danger it the sticks, you’ve heard of the hazards or seen it before.
Satan is fine with that but you will never be fulfilled until you help build the fire.
Someone here today feel snake bit.
You’re trying to help but it seems to leave you vulnerable.
Shake off the snake – do not allow it to contaminate/poison you.
Keep stoking the fire – God will use you to help others.
Are you snake bit or building a fire?
Church- Lets defeat the enemy, serve God and build a fire together that will change the world!