Summary: How to catch a snake...Paul’s three step program.
Shake It Off....
1) Intro (Snake Handling)...
Praise God, Church. Tonight I want to talk about snake handling.
Now I know that we Pentecostals always get accused of handling snakes.
My wife and I often joke about the first time that we ever visited a Pentecostal church,
And how we half expected for them to open up a box and turn the snakes loose.
It seemed funny at the time.
But tonight, church, I stand here to tell you that snake handling is no laughing matter.
Here at Federal Point Pentecostal we don’t introduce snakes into our worship services as some denominations do.
They get their idea of handling snakes from Mark chapter 16.
In verses 15 through 18 we see several signs that Jesus Himself said would follow those who believe.
Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Mar 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.
When this scripture says “take up” serpents, it’s not talking about bringing a box of snakes to church.
It’s not talking about carrying them around your neck.
The Greek word for the phrase “take up” is airo (ah’ee-ro).
And airo does pertain to picking something up, but the idea is to “do away” with it or “cast it away.”
So should we as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ take up serpents? YES
Our job as Christians is to cast away Satan and his works!
And that includes removing the snakes from our life.
I’m not telling you to go out looking for snakes!
But be assured that if you walk in Christ’s ways, you will encounter some snakes!
Satan himself is pictured as a snake!
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
2) How To Catch a Snake (3 steps to setting a snake trap)...
How many in here tonight have ever had a snake in their life?
How many know that we need to be able to identify the snakes in our life in order to destroy their strong holds on our life?
You say "well brother John, How do we identify the snakes in our lives?"
Well turn with me to Acts 28, and let’s find out how to catch a snake.
Let’s learn from Paul’s life the three steps in setting a full proof snake trap.
After spending two weeks on the stormy sea in the middle of winter, Paul and those with him
found themselves shipwrecked off the coast of Melita.
a) Step 1: Finding Refuge in the Lord
Act 28:1 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita (me’lee-tay).
So Paul had come to a place called Melita, Amen.
See this is the first step in setting the trap.
Paul came to Melita.
The word Melita is a canaanite word meaning refuge.
So Paul had come into a place of refuge, Amen!
In the same way we as Christians have come into a place of refuge that we find in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And by doing so we’ve set out the bait, Amen?
See there were no snakes around intending us harm when we sought after worldly things. AMEN!
But when we started seeking the things of God we got their attention.
They’re coming from all around to see what’s going on.
They’ve taken the bait!
Notice that I said there weren’t any snakes intending us harm.
I didn’t say there weren’t any snakes in your life.
They were there!
Hiding in the wood pile.
Numb from the cold that the darkness of sin had caused in your life.
The winter of sin in our lives leaving them torpid.
Meaning they had lost motion or the power of exertion and feeling;
Torpid maybe. Numb maybe.
But they were there!
And now you have there attention.
b) Step 2: Start a Fire...
Act 28:2 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.
See, here we have step two in setting the trap.
You want to know what’s real and what’s a snake?
Start a fire, Amen!!!
When you showed interest in the things of God you had their attention,