Bit by a Serpent
I don't know exactly why, but we here at our home have an abundance of spiders. They spin their webs everywhere. Some of them are huge and some are small, that invade the house. With the spider spray in my hand I was on a hunting mission. I thought there ought to be a good sermon in this endeavor. I though I remembered a verse in the book of Amos that spoke of being bit by a spider, but when I looked it up, it was a serpent. But whether a serpent or a spider, both can be deadly. Even now the bite of a mosquito, or a tick can kill you if not treated properly. A few years ago , one of our church members, who owned a home near the beach, invited us to use his home for a few days of vacation. Eva and I took a couple of our grandchildren with us for a few days of R&R. But on our return home, Eva started running a high fever and then a quick trip to the doctor. His diagnosis was that she had probably been bitten by a spider.
Amos gives a parable of a man who was in the street and looks down the street and sees a lion coming his way, so he turns and runs the other way, but behold he meets a bear coming the other way. He is in some kind of predicament, but he finally finds a door, runs inside, closes the door, no doubt out of breath, and to catch his breath from exhaustion, he leans up against the wall and a serpent bites, or stings him.
Now I confess that I am going to take these verse out of context. But I want to use this parable today to bring to our hearts and minds some truth that we might glean form this parable. There is a lion in the street, the scripture speaks of Satan as a roaring lion going up and down the land, seeking whom he may devour. I must also remind you there is a serpent in the house. Whether you are devoured by the lion in the street or stung by the serpent in the house behind locked doors. Both are deadly. Either one can destroy you. But there is good news, you don't have to be devoured by the lion and you don't have to be stung by the serpent.
As I sit here typing, all of a sudden I feel that the Spirit of God is leading me away from some of my original thoughts on this subject. The Lion is the king of beasts. When he roars in the jungle or in the streets, fear takes over. Many of us know about his roar. He comes against us, we seem helpless. "What can I do?" we say. I am caught in his jaws. How can I escape? How can I free my self? Keep reading, the Scriptures will give the answer .
Now the serpent or spider gives no warning. Silently they are hiding there in the shadows. They do not attack like a lion, they only attack when you get to close to them. It is their natural instinct to sting or bite when you get too close to them. Many of us have known the sting of the serpent. Jesus speaks of the devil as a serpent. We at our on choosing cuddled up to the serpent and his sting had been so devastating. The pain, the hurt, has been almost all we can bear. To use the words of Flip Wilson "The devil made me do it." The truth is that we as free moral agents made a choice and we got so close to the serpent that we got stung.
The roaring lion we understand. He devours individuals with the large temptations. Maybe it is drugs, alcohol, theft, killings, adultery, homosexuality, gambling, or other outward sins, sins of the flesh. But the serpent hiding in the dark , doesn't have to come to us. We come to him. How is this? It is the sins of the spirit that bring us close enough to be stung. As an example, when you loose your temper, you have already been stung by the serpent. You can take control of your temper. When you find yourself to be jealous of someone, you have already been stung. When you find yourself lustful, you have already been stung by the serpent. When you find yourself hating someone, you have already been stung by the serpent.
Now what can we do? Here is the answer according to the scriptures.
First, we need to recognize the temptations and our actions. We need to understand why we are under attack. You see the devil, that old serpent, is a defeated foe. He was defeated at Calvary and the empty tomb. He has already been sentenced, the sentence has not been carried out yet. Why hasn't it? Because we are being trained in spiritual warfare. The battles we go through here prepare us for the time when we shall rule with Christ on earth. It also makes heaven more wonderful for us. One of my preacher friends, who has already arrived in heaven, used to sing when his wife got on his case, which she did often, "Heaven will surely be worth it all."
Second. We need to take authority over the Lion and the Serpent. We don't have to be afraid of the roar. We don't have to fear the sting. For the scripture says, "Greater is he that is within you than he who is in the world." If we have Our Father in Heaven, Jesus our brother at our side, and the Holy Spirit living within us, we have the power to be victorious. Read Ephesians Chapter six verses 10 through 18. Then these words from James, "Submit yourselves,therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded." James 4:7-8
Conclusion: Maybe someone reading these words might be saying, ,"All this talk about the devil. He doesn't bother me." Well, maybe it is like the story I heard a long time ago. The wealthy plantation owner was talking to his handy man Mose. He said, "Why is it Mose, you are always talking about the devil bothering you?" He don't bother me. Mose replied, "Boss, when you go duck hunting you shoot at the ducks, you kill one and cripple another one. Which one do you send the dog after?" The plantation owner said, "The cripple one." Mose said, "I is the cripple one, you is the dead one." You say if I come to Christ, I am going to be under the attack of Satan? Yes, you will be until your dying day or Jesus comes in the air. But which had you rather be, the cripple on your way to heaven, or the dead one on your way to hell?
Amen and Amen
Copyright Rev. Bill Taylor 2003
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