Summary: Being led by the Lord in doing the right thing.

Handling Snakes

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.

• Every person is not a child of God as some teach; John 8:4444You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it

• . Acts 13:10 10and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?

IV. Examine Satan’s Attempt To Destroy The Messiah

(A) Cain slew Abel ( The Righteous One) But God raised up Seth

(B) The Earth became so corrupt God would have destroyed all, but Noah found grace (favor) and the linage continued.

(C) Pharoah decreed to kill all baby Hebrew boys, God had a plan for Moses

(D) King Herod ordered all under two years old killed, an angel spoke to Joseph to go to Egypt.

(E) Satan tried to stop Calvary ! Offered Jesus the world, but he chose us !

•Why was God so against the Israelites marrying other people ?

(F) 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 14Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15What harmony can there be between Christ and the Devil£? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?

•Remember ! If a child of God marries a child of the Devil, You will always have Satan as your Father-in-law.

V. Contrary To Much Preaching, Jesus Did Not Destroy Satan At Calvary ! (What Did He Do ?) ( Matt. 12:29 He Spoiled His Goods)

(A) 1 John 3:8 8He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

•The "Works": The Bondage of sin, the Lust, Effects !

• Jesus Came That: The Guilty could be Innocent.

The Fearful could made faithful The Drunk, not to drink The Thief, not steal. Liar, not lie !

•Jesus came to "immunize" the bite ! Give you power to "Shake him off!"

• Luke 10:19 19Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

VI. How Did Jesus "Take Away" The Effects Of Satan ?

(A) John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

(B) Tell The Story: Numbers 21:9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

(C) 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

(D) 1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins (in our sins), should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.

(E) Colossians 2:13-15 13You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then he gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sins, 14and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. 15In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

• Satan may still have his "bite", but you can shake him off because of Calvary

• If you are not saved, you have cause for concern ! Satan has come to destroy you.

• If you are a child of God, you have been immunized by the blood of Jesus !