John T. Willis

Friday, May 20, 2011


Our pulpit minister, Jonathan Storment, has just finished a series through the Book of Acts. The church at Highland is highly motivated by this series. Everyone should experience these deeply biblical, current lessons for God's people.

In a recent sermon, Jonathan discussed the shipwreck on the Mediterranean Sea and the landing at the island of Malta. While Paul was on Malta, a viper fastened itself on Paul's hand. The natives assumed Paul would die, but Paul shook off the viper, and later God healed the father of the leading man of the island, Publius, and many people on the island. Among other important truths, Jonathan pointed out:
1. Paul would never have been on Malta if he had not appealed to Caesar and experienced a shipwreck on the Mediterranean Sea. God brought Paul there in a surprising, marvelous way to influence ungodly people to turn to Jesus Christ.
2. God is superior to snakes, or any other creature, because God is the creator of all that is.
3. True people of God are daily willing to make risks in trust of God.
Following the biblical teaching of using symbolic acts, Jonathan had Joy Harsh to bring a snake before the whole church. This was a memorable experience. Many children came up to see and feel this snake. They will never remember this biblical account and Jonathan's message.

This story reminds me of the story of the Israelites in the wilderness when they complained because they had no food or water. In response, Yahweh sent poisonous serpents or snakes among the people, and they died. They came to Moses, and begged him to pray to Yahweh. Moses did this, and Yahweh told Moses to make a serpent of bronze and put it one a pole. If the people would look on this pole, God would heal them. The Hebrew word in this story for both "serpent" or "snake" and "bronze" is nahash. Numbers 21:4-9.

From this time ca. 1250 BCE to the time of King Hezekiah of Judah ca. 700 BCE, the people of Israel made offerings to this brazen pole as an act of worship. Hezekiah finally broke this pole in pieces. On the basis of the Hebrew word nahash, the people called this pole Nehushtan. 2 Kings 18:4.

Remember that Satan is a biblical symbol of a serpent or a snake. Genesis 3:1-14. Throughout scripture, different biblical composers use a serpent or snake metaphorically in various ways. See for example, Genesis 49:17; Pslams 58:4; 140:3; Proverbs 23:32; 30:19; Isaiah 14:29; 27:1; 65:25; Jeremiah 46:22; Micah 7:17. The New Testament also refers to snakes for various reasons. See Matthew 7:7-11; 10:16
I hope YOU get to hear Jonathan Storment's sermons through the Book of Acts. The message given there will change YOUR heart and life.

Share YOUR thoughts and insights with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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