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When the Serpent Bites

Christian Martin
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Christian Martin

Lead Pastor of the Living Hope SDA Church in Haymarket, Virginia.

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  • January 16, 2021
    11:45 AM
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A man. Today. I want to I want to invite you to come with me in your mind's eye. To the Mediterranean Sea along the coast and along the routes of a sophisticated Alexandrian ship its destination is to an Italian port carrying a large cargo of merchandise and a total of $276.00 passengers and prisoners sailors. And soldiers the date of this particular vote which was late September or early October in the early part of the 1st century so winter was drawing near making any travel in the seas both risky and life threatening when they came to their 14th night at sea they suddenly found themselves approaching the salwar waters that opposed great danger they threw cargo overboard to lighten the ship whatever took to increase the chances of survival Finally the day dawned and the land could be seen but the entire crew did not know where they were and so they sailed into a bad day with hopes to run their ship onto the beach. They found themselves in doing so in countering violent to waves among massive rocks and the inevitable took place my message today is entitled When the serpent bites when the serpent. Bites let's pray our Father in heaven if there was ever a time. That we needed you it's now not only because of the way that world events are unfolding right now but also because there is an anime that lurks about and as your servants Lord. It's modern day disciples so we need to be aware of how the enemy operates so give us eyes of faith Lord to see the unseen give us understanding Lord of today's meditation on your word and we thank you Lord for answering our prayer in Jesus' name amen the book of the acts of the Apostles found there in the New Testament right after the Gospels is a book that is one of my favorites it's been for a long time if only because it contains stories that are adventurous stories that are drew a dramatic stories that reveal the power of God at work among men and yes it even contains one about a ship wreck. Come with me to Acts chapter $24.00 x. Chapter $24.00 as I give you some background to be the events leading up to Paul's of 0 which Acts Chapter $24.00 Paul is being accused Paulson amaze made up of High Priest and elders they brought several strong accusations against Paul. To Phillips The governor has recorded it in verses one through 9 accusing him of disturbing the peace and going as far as calling him a creator of dissension among all the Jews Jews throughout the world however after hearing the AK you say since Paul Felix De Lay's a decision on the case according to verse 22 and he grants Paul some degree of freedom likely because he knew that in his heart of hearts he knew that Paul was innocent in chapter $25.00 Felix is no more and so paused now proud to Festus the governor of the Roman empire of Judea where Paul's enemies once again they make several accusations against him but Paul being a Roman citizen appeals to be tried in Rome for more than one reason but he makes that appeal a right that every Roman citizen had and so what was Festus response Acts Chapter 25 years 12 Festus says you appealed to Caesar to see Sir you saw go but before that happens we have Chapter 26 now Chapter 26 records that Paul 1st stands in chains before King Agrippa and Bernice and a wealthy and influential audience where he recounts his conversion story his calling to the Gentiles and and he affirmed. His loyalty to God Let's read. Versus 19 and on Acts Chapter 26 verses 19 notices words in the press since of King Agrippa. It reads therefore King Agrippa I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision but declared 1st to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea and then to the Gentiles that they should repent turn to God and do work speak fitting repentance for those reasons the juicy story in the temple and try to kill me therefore having obtained help from God To this day I stand witnessing both to small and great saying No other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come and that the christ was suffer. And that he would be the 1st to rise from the dead and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles Paul boldly claims that the Messiah was killed but a raise from the dead would boldness evidently pause not hunted by the powerful rulers before him and he saw Tonto by the charges made against him and Paul so it's no fear Paul having sex appeal to cæsar now it's now transported to Rome by a ship and his vote to Rome brings some ass record begins rather as it's recorded in chapter 27 so there you have the the general contacts events that led up to now would unfold in chapter 27. Now this chapter describes 2 votes is the 1st from sister Riya to Myra That's the 1st then the 2nd along a dangerous passage consisting of Tempest's tempestuous Winson and violence waves by the way if you take a look at versus night in 10 there in chapter $27.00 Paul he warned about embarking on a vote like this during this time of the year but his warnings were ignored and no doubt so I think about the warnings he gave no doubt they came from experience because remember he wrote to the Corinthians that he had survived sip wrecks not just once but 3 times he knew what it was like to be in dire circumstances with little to no hope of survival. So they embark on the 2nd Vo whips and as they do so the winds were blowing gently or softly as mentioned there in verse 13 the weather seeing favorable for Journey and so they did but it didn't take long for it to get frightening very fast from one day to the next within a few days as the ship was tossed to and fro by the massive waves being pushed along by that mighty southern wind all hope was lost notice verse 20 Acts Chapter $27.00 wrist 20 now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and no small Tempest beat on us all hope that we would be saved was finally given up. Prisoners gave up hope soldiers gave up hope the ship crew gave up hope except Paul there was something extraordinary about this man. This prisoner a man of sped facile loyalty to the gospel of God who would not allow the devil to steal his power. A man who is single minded focusing on Christ and Christ alone who have not and Mabel the devil to kill his love and loyalty to Christ's a man whose son wavering faith would not allow or permit the enemy to destroy his sound mind. In the midst of the storm Paul knew that God was still in control while the sailors led let go of the end curse and let them left them in the sea Paul lifted up his ties towards heaven and proclaimed you alone are my anchor and he put his trust in the Lord. When the sailors with the ears of experience no doubt drop to the floor in fear Paul stood in the mists of them and said verse $21.00 Acts Chapter 27 percent 21. But after a long absence from food then paw stood in the midst of them and said men you have listened to me you should have listened to me and have not sail should have not sailed from Crete and incurred this just Sastre and loss and now I urge you to take heart for there will be no loss of life among you but only of the ship for there stood by me this night and the angel of the god to whom I belong and to my service saying Do not be afraid Paul you must be brought before Caesar and indeed God has granted you all you all those who sail with you therefore take heart man fry believe God it will be just as it was told me Paul Paul spoke with hope he spoke her age to these fearful men. And I know although they were encouraged no doubt they were in immediate danger as they approached the bay having to make an immediate decision they decided to run the ship on the beach and they cut the anchor say they loosen the pillar the race the sail and they made a beeline towards the beach but in doing so the ship it hit the reef and it began to break up with the violin waves that beat against it if there's no question in my mind that the unseen enemy. Is trying now. To destroy Paul. But in a moment of desperation the centurion gave the order. To safe life if at all possible that's unlike Roman protocol for prisoners were not to escape under any circumstances no question in my mind that this unbeliever this interior that little do you realize there was a spirit of God who was directing his commands. First $42.00 and the soldiers plan was to kill the prisoners less any of them says swim away and escape but this interior in wanting to save Paul kept them from their purpose and commanded that these they doze who could swim should jump overboard and get to land and the rest some on boards and some on parts of the ship and so it was that they all escaped safely to the landed it was literally every man to himself situation some held on to anything that they could hold onto it anything that was floating and others swam in the cold ice cold water to try to get to land as quickly as possible and he believe it they all survived every single one of them just as Paul the prisoner had predicted and soon and they discovered that the land that they had discovered or swim to was a land and Nylander rather named. And the habitants of the land or the island were known for their kindness for their press hospitality they had a reputation notice vs 28 and 21 and when they have this way that when they had escaped they then found out that the land of the island was called Malta and the native showed us a new jewel kindness for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. You know some years ago I was on a flight heading back home to Michigan and as I said down in my seat the man who sat next to me as I spoke to him he had he had a strong accent and so I was curious of course where he was from and I asked him I said sir. Where you from if you don't mind me asking where are you from and he says Oh I am from Malta and I said Oh from alt of from where. Did you see. He said yes and said You mean Malta like in the book a Bax after 27 he said Yes needless to say I had quite an amazing conversation with this man it was the highlight of my day now have to say that this kind of man lived up to is typical reputation. Like be author of x. Luke records they kindled a fire and they made everyone feel welcomed see dry their clothes and help them keep warm because of the cold and as they did that something unexpectedly happens. Something tragic. Since the unseen enemy failed in his 1st attempt to destroy Paul he did try again Luke records what happened in Luke Chapter 28 verse 3 and 4 but when Paul gathered a bundle of sticks laid them on the fire a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his head so when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand he said to one another no doubt this man is a murderer who move though he has escaped the sea yet Justice does not allow him to live. What's happened a viper. A venomous snake with large chains feigns strikes unexpectedly and bites Paul in his hand far he didn't see it coming few of us do the aggressive actions of the serpent who strikes with this deadly poisons you re symbols that of the serpent of both called The Devil and Satan who has pledged himself to bite the servants of God and inject his poison time and time again Satan which in Hebrew means the accuser adversary attempts to inject his poison into modern days disciples of Christ's and sadly he often succeeds and he only attacks for the purpose of causing harm and pain we get in the body. And hindering from fulfilling its mission. His ultimate aim is to destroy us and to break the heart of God So the separate vault still lurks about finding an opportunity to strike unexpectedly yet with much intention to inject us with this poison and paralyze us with fear as we think about the serpent of old there is another analogy Another analogy that closely recent pulls the coming nurse of a serpent and that is the craftiness of a thief. In John Chapter 10 1st 10 records that Jesus describes the thief that comes to spiel to kill and to destroy for the purpose of of hindering and preventing us from fulfilling God's calling in our life. And as a serpent a thief comes to paralyze us with fear on the other hand God does not give us the spirit of fear but instead he gives us 3 gifts 3 for the purpose of being able to empower us to to empower us to fulfill the calling in our lives it's in 2nd Timothy Chapter one Verse 7 that we find the words that that describe the 3 gives given to us by God. There Paul himself writes that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and a sound mind the thieve also known as the serpent of old however does not come except for to steal kill and destroy. But God known as The Prince of Peace comes to give his servants power love and a sound mind so let me ask you a question let's let's let's let's examine Paul. And his walk with the Lord did Paul know something about the spirit of power he did and he wrote about it in 2nd Corinthians 129 he wrote and he said and to me my grazes sufficient for you for power is perfected in witness and weakness most gladly Therefore I would rather boast about my weakness so that the power of Christ may dwell in me did Paul know something about the spirit of love he did and he wrote about it and today it is considered the Love Chapter 1st Corinthians chapter 13 did Paul know something about the spirit of a sound mind he did and he wrote about it in 1st Corinthians chapter 2 verse 18 that we have the mine of Christ a sound mind but again the thieves the serpent of old comes only to steal kill and destroy. Steal. Kill and destroy John Chapter 10 verse 10 power love and a sound mind 2nd Timothy 17 you merge the 3 fold versus together and what do they expose it exposes the deadly agenda of the serpent of old he strikes to steal the power to kill love to destroy a sound mind. Never the less as soon as the Apostle Paul who spits in the very instant that the Serbian strikes us without any hesitation without even delay without taking his time without being careless and then responsible Paul knew exactly what to do 1st 5 Acts Chapter 28 years 5 but he Sukkot off. The creature into the fire and suffered no harm he shook it off. He shook it off it's interesting that Luke who happens to be the author of Acts Luke uses the Greek word meaning to shake are translated into the English to shake off and there's only 2. No more than 2 only 2 occurrences of this particular verbal in the whole New Testament the your only other instance that the verb translated to shake off as he is an axe Chapter $28.00 verse 5 is found in the Gospel of Luke Luke Chapter 9 verse 5. Where Jesus instructs his fist Siple. That when anyone does not receive them after preaching the gospel and they leave the city shake off the very diverse it's from your feet. As a testimony as a testimony against them to say go off. To seek of becomes a testimony seek of the dust see coeff the serpent see kiddo off as a testimony in the words of John in Revelation Chapter 12 or see leaven the servants of God will overcome the will shake off the serpent of gold by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their what their testimony poor sick of the creature into the fire and suffered no harm he shook it off he released it hearing now I'm still it he no longer identified with the serpent of old who was sick you know. And Paul suffered no harm and you know make no mistake about the serpent of old is the same. Yesterday Today a but not forever but it's a different day but the same serve the same poison so the question I have for us is what poisons my the serpent attempt to injure into our spiritual system when we least x. back it I will highlight 33 deadly poison it's that the circuit of old attempts and 2 to ensure acts into the servants of God who are called by God for a purpose for a mission men and women who take it upon themselves to fulfill this calling empowered by the Holy Spirit facing trials and challenges expecting the attacks of the enemy and yet standing up for Jesus 33 deadly poisons 1st the bite of the serpent try to steal our power by injecting nose with the poison of deceptive props I remember visiting a church member one time in Michigan who asked me if I could visit him and said absolutely we made the appointment I set up at his house and he was feeling rather discouraged I soon discovered that this was not an exception but the norm we set down in the living room and we began our visit and somewhere along the line in our conversation he said. I'm a no good failure pastor I'm a no good failure and I responded by saying Brother. You're not a failure. The good work that God has begun in you he will complete it and he never fails continued with his negativity none the less and and I continued with scripture readings of who he was in Christ after a while this went on for a while and I encouraged him and said Brother you can ask you do something pray you need to pray to God to examine your heart and to help you realize the or identify the source of all those negative thoughts. We prayed in after praying he said pastor are you telling me that all these negative thoughts about myself are nothing but satanic deception and I said absolutely you have been paying attention to a deceiving spirit and you don't have to believe those lies the only power that the enemy can have in our lives and keep us under his control is the power in the law. And he's the father of lies and there's no truth in him and we have what it takes in Christ alone to. To renounce the law use that he speaks and she says name and to choose to believe the truth written in the Word of God the scriptures of the Bible. This was the beginning of a whole new way of thinking for this dear man and it can be for us too it was Martin Luther who wrote the devil throws hideous thoughts into the soul hatred of God blasphemy and despair the serpents deadly poison indeed and we are as disciples of Christ to take every thoughts captive to B.D.'s of Christ's that is that if there's anything that isn't true according to what he is revealed in the Bible or by the grace of God do not believe this do not believe this search the scriptures because it contains the truth about our identity in Christ and the truth about the character of God and His truth will set us free and we saw suffer no harm I'll tell you right now though take this to heart gradually neglect time reading the Bible and you will gradually slip into believing Satan's lies lies about you lies about God and lies about everyone around you bringing you under his sole way for the purpose of damaging your spiritual influence in causing pain in your life. That's what the enemy does. We are to turn to God in prayer as Paul himself reminds us in Philippians Chapter 4 verse 7 the peace of God which the passes all understanding will go are to your hearts and your minds in Christ she saw us that's Paul's writings and for that reason Paul should go off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm and we as modern day disciples of Christ ought to do this see this as a testimony of the power we have in Christ's 2nd the bite of the serpent tries to kill our love by injecting us with the poison of a critical spirit a critical spirit is never please if it stops being critical about something it's a it's only going to go on to the next thing to be critical about it's never satisfied you notice that if it's not one thing it's another a critical spirit ex-pats therefore finds disappointment wherever it goes wherever it looks. True are the words seek and ye sall find. But it's the opposite of 1st Corinthians 13 a critical spirit does not suffer long and it's not kind. It behaves rudely it's easily provoked and accounts for every wrong and Christensen based on hearsay is never helpful in fact it's gossip. Elegy wider perfect a writer in the 19th century who wrote many councils to both individuals and to the church States something that has caught my attention she writes gossipers and use carriers are terrible curse to neighborhoods and churches 2 thirds of all the church trials are rise from this source 2 thirds Voller problems of the church are due to gossip and criticism of. Giving evidence that indeed there is a serpent of old that looks up out and check to see if Poisson when we least expect it she continues severity and fault finding must be rebuked as the workings of Satan she's calling it what it is mature love and confidence must be encouraged and strengthened in the members of the church let all in the fear of God and with love to their brother and close their ears to gossip and censure directed Teil bared to the teachings of God's word bid him obey the Scriptures and carry his complaints directly to those whom he thinks an heir this unified or united action would bring a flood of light into the church and close the door to a flood of evil does God who would be glorified in many souls would be saved. It was Paul who wrote to the FISA is Paul himself if he says Chapter 4 persone 9 let no corrupting talk him out of your mouths but only such as good for building up as fitting the OK's in that it may give grace to those who hear there is no place for a critical spirit so for that reason Paul should go off should go off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm and we as modern day disciples of Christ ahd to do the same as a testimony of the law of we have for one another in Christ 3rd of the bite of the serpent tries to destroy our sound mind with the poison of discouragement if he can sap our courage. He's done great harm as Paul was collecting a bundle of sticks which was the immediate context of the bite he could have said you know I'm looking around here and I'm the only one collecting sticks and everybody is going to benefit for a my picking up sticks or him them cold and it's cold out here and here I am trying to get the fire started 1st somebody else you get the idea Paul could have but he did not he did not reason that way why because he was willing to serve the God who had called him to serve. He was willing he was cold and wet but willing to serve to put the needs of others 1st he was worn out entire But he was willing to give his all his very best so you see confidence in oneself is short lived kava witness that has discovered that by now confidence in myself doesn't last very long and that's because discouragement often comes from the loss of confidence that I had in myself and that will happen it's not a matter if but of when confidence in myself will be short lived and when it done us discouragement shows its ugly face and discouragement then leads to self pity poor me he which is a type of pride known as hidden pride opposite of obvious pride which says I am the greatest hidden pride us I'm a nobody I'm a loser I'm a failure it's all pride it's all pride it was Carrie knew who said in this book I didn't see it coming he says self-pity chisels into stone would discourage Mint whispers but it doesn't have to be that way it wasn't for Paul it does have to be for me. It doesn't have to be for you but when we choose to transfer comfort in some of our selves and put it in Christ it will ignite good courage in our hearts in the face of fear when we put confidence in God our courage is strong in the Lord and example in the Old Testament is when the Israelites for example looked up at Goliath. And how do they fear he'll do you remember full of fear and they said we can't find him we can't fight him but David looked at Goliath and said it's for Samuel 1726 who is this I'm concerned circumcised philistine that he said to the armies of the Living God. And then he took him out with a sling side and a stone the army saw Goliath. And relation to themselves and they were greatly discouraged on the other hand David saw Goliath in relation to God and greatly triumphant friends listen when you encounter any difficult trying circumstance remember when confidence is played soley splays Soli in God disappointment discouragement will flee. For there's no place for it. In the mighty presence of God for when it's you alone plus Christ you're still in the majority. It was Paul who wrote Paul unself who wrote in Philippians Chapter 4 verse 6 Do not be anxious about anything even cold nights soaking wet in the shorts of melt but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving led to requests be made known to God and for that reason Paul had the courage to shake off of to say come off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm and we as modern day disciples of Christ are to do the same as a testimony of a sound mind but even though we shake it off one we die was continuing in the the story Acts $28.00 for 6 now however they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead rest and after they had looked for a long while and saw no harm come to him they changed their minds and said that he was a god. Unlike the citizens of Malta who had not yet heard about the One True God we we know. In whom we have been. And our testimony all our testimony to one believes can cause them to change their minds and I believe that there is a God in heaven who comes that we might have life and then we might have it more abundantly after his experience in Malta Paul. Would go on to Rome and while a prisoner in Rome this is precisely the time where he wrote many of his apostles Paul would later pen inspired words to the Corinthians into the feast inns into the Philippians that would give hope to countless hopeless men and women not just in his lifetime but for millenniums for generations to come even till this day I'm going to read just a few select promises written by Paul himself and if any of those promises Listen carefully now if any of those promises have spoken to your heart once before in your journey with Christ and is brought to you strengthen hope and courage to face tomorrow. And for those of you you know on line join us just now if any of these verses have spoken to your heart and given you hope I invite you to respond with a hard Amen Are you ready Paul wrote and my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. All things work together for good to those who love God If God is for us who can be against us and the peace of God which it passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus Amen amen the words of Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit speaks to us to day. As we continue to battle against forces of evil and the serpent of old and a crafty thief that Paul was so familiar with and we are as well but my prayer is that the same Paul who awakens hope and courage and the heart who awakened hope and courage in the hearts of those sailors of those passengers of those soldiers and of those prisoners all around him that his words from the throne of God will inspire us to day with promises of hope to give us courage to stand up for Jesus men and women of all ages who are here in person today for those who are watching on home at home is it your choice your commitment by the grace of God After examining the life of Paul discovering that he was indeed a man who claimed the promises of God and was fully convinced as was Abraham that God would be able to perform all that he had promise that he would be God who would not give us a spirit of fear. A spirit that is in control of the minds of men and women to day. What do you think is driving. The emotions the raw emotions that we're seeing in our country today. Is nothing more than the spirit of fear. Nothing more nothing less. But the spirit of fear is not from God. He does not give us the spirit of. But of power. Love and the sound mind. And so here we go. How many of you. Are Willing. To stand up for it she said us as a tast of mony. Of the powder that is hard work within. The love. That fills your heart and overflows to him and on. As a testament. We have been given the mind of Christ a sound mind. As a testimony. To the world around us in such a time still. Is that your prayer are you willing if so. Would you stand up together with me because I am are you. Crazy guy here watching online priest stand with us. Christ there is power love and a sound mind. Let's pray together Father in heaven. The call has gone out. Who. Will stand up with Jesus. In such a time as this. Looked out upon a school or. From your throne of grace. Notice. That we are willing. Yes we are willing to be made willing. To stand up with cheese us. As to stand up for Jesus. May this be the reality of our custom Oh. As we go from this place. To proclaim. The riches of the glory of God through Christ Jesus and it's in his name that we pray. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon or leave the visit w w w audio verse or.

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