A GREAT WORSHIP SERVICE - Nehemiah 8
I. A Great Example in ATTENDANCE (verse 1)
II. A Great Example in their ATTITUDE Toward the Word of God
III. A Great Example in their ATTITUDE in the WORSHIP OF GOD
IV. A Great Example of ACTUAL PREACHING (verse 4, 7)
V. A Great Example of APPLICATION in Life (verse 12)
News and Notes:
- Potluck: Today after morning services.
- Men’s Business Meeting: Next Sunday after evening services.
-Parents: Keep in mind that Fort Hill Christian Youth Camp is just right around the corner in June. Registration forms are in the back.
- Pop Cans: Sunday, June 17 will be the last Sunday to turn in any pop can for VBS. Thanks to all who have donated.
-VBS Teachers: If you would like to order anything else, please see Angie.
-If you would like to cut the grass sometime this year, there is a sign up sheet in the back.
WEEKLY BIBLE READING: Nehemiah 8-Job 7
FOR THE RECORD:
WARNING: MISINTERPRETING THE BIBLE CAN CAUSE DEATH
In the news lastweek a pastor of the “Full Gospel Apostolic House of the Lord Jesus” in Matoaka, West Virginia died from being bitten by a rattle snake during their Sunday worship service. Even though snake handling churches are few and far between, they still allegedly exist in several states. Perhaps you’re wondering, “why would someone do such a crazy thing?” The answer is simple: churches that practice snake handling churches what Jesus said in Mark 16:17-18 and misinterpret or misapply what it meant back then and what it means for today.
To better understand the context of Mark 16:17-18, consider what Jesus said in verses 15-20.
“And He said to them, ‘God into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (16) He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (17) And these signs will follow those who believe: In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; (18) they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.’ (19) So then, after the Lord had spoke to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. (20) And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.”
In light of modern day snake handling, there are several things to point out from these verses:
1. Verse 20 reveals the purpose of those who were given the ability to perform miracles. Notice “confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” Miracles were permitted at a time when the Word of God was not yet complete and in written form; thus, those whom God chose for the Holy Spirit to speak through (2 Peter 1:20-21; Matthew 10:19-20), could also be given miraculous powers as listed in verses 17-18 to prove their message was from God. Once the word of God was complete, the need for miracles ceased (see 1 Corinthians 13:8-10).
2. A biblical example of the snake handling reference in verse 17 was when the Apostle Paul found himself shipwrecked on the Island of Malta. As he was gathering sticks to build a fire for himself and those with him, a viper bit him on the hand. Paul simply shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm (see Acts 28:1-6). What Paul experienced is much different than what snake handling churches practice today in that: (a.) Paul’s experience occurred in public, not in a private meeting house. (b.) Paul did not voluntarily allow himself to be bitten to show off his faith. It happened by accident, and as a result of not being harmed, it confirmed that he was a man of God, preaching a message from God. (c.) Just because someone handles a poisonous snake and is not bitten, does not mean it is a miracle. (Otherwise zoo-keepers would be performing miracles every day). (d.) Just because someone handles a poisonous snake, is bitten by it, and survives is not a miracle either. When Paul was bitten by a viper, he suffered no harm (Acts 28:5). Even when members of snake handling churches today are bitten and survive, they still end up scarred for life. (e.) If someone still believes that the miraculous gifts in the first century have not yet ceased, why didn’t someone raise the man who died last week from the dead? I mention this not to appear as unkind, but to prove a point: if snake handling is a demonstration that miracles still exist, what about other miracles such as raising one from the dead?
In the end, the problem is not that this man did not have enough faith (as some modern faith healers allege when one of their miracles fail); anyone who is willing to handle a rattle snake in this sense probably has faith that all will be well. The real problem is that this man had an incorrect faith due to misinterpreting and misapplying the Bible. While I admire this man’s zeal, it is never the less a sad story of one who had zeal, but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2).
References: Veteran snake-handling pastor dies after bite, Vicki Smith, Associated Press,