IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: NOTHING SHALL BY ANY MEANS HURT YOU!
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“BEHOLD I GIVE UNTO YOU POWER TO TREAD ON SERPENTS AND SCORPIONS AND OVER ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY; NOTHING SHALL BY ANY MEANS HURT YOU”
Are you worried about your personal safety? Do you fear that you or your family members will be hurt in some way? Even more, as a believer in Jesus Christ, is there a nagging fear that the devil may be out to get you? A constant dread that right around the corner, the enemy is laying a trap to bring harm or injury to you?
These are understandable concerns for us. It only takes a quick glance at the headlines in any newspaper to realize that the world around us is a hostile place. Added to this fact of life is the spiritual side. Jesus warned that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy—and that sometimes makes believers feel like we have a special target on our backs.
On the positive side, Jesus also gave us some great and precious promises which run counter to the threat of potential violence or harm. One of those wonderful promises
“Nothing shall by any means harm you!!”
Does this mean we ought to test it out by finding the nearest nest of rattlesnakes, and stomping on it? Of course not. Rather, it means that for active believers in Jesus Christ, as we embrace opportunities to follow His leading to minister for Him, we can trust the Lord to protect us and our families—no matter where we go or what we face.
“As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, fastened itself onto his hand. The people of the island saw it hanging there and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and decided he was a god”
A good example is the Apostle Paul when he was shipwrecked on Malta on his journey to Rome. He was helping his shipmates build a warming fire. “But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand” (Acts 28:3). Instead of swelling up and keeling over dead because of the snake’s venom, Paul remained healthy. No presumption there—just pure protection.
Once we have been delivered from this dominion of darkness, and once we’ve become citizens of the Kingdom of God, then God sends us forth as His representatives—as His army—to administer the victory of Jesus over Satan. Jesus won the victory, but God leaves it to us, through faith, to understand the victory that Jesus has won and then to administer it, to exercise authority over Satan. We have been translated, delivered from the dominion of darkness. We’re in the Kingdom of God. We have the authority of God’s Kingdom vested in us.
Satan has a great measure of power on earth in this age that was essentially handed to him by Adam at the fall in Genesis 3. But Jesus came to defeat him and usher in a Kingdom that would advance forcefully into the dominion of darkness.
The mightiest of demons, even satan himself, does not have as much power and authority as the weakest of believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Grasp those words. When we become the representatives of God’s Kingdom, God, through Jesus, gives us authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, the representatives of Satan’s evil kingdom, and to overcome all the power of the enemy. Notice, we have total authority. The total victory of Jesus and the total authority of Jesus is now vested in us as His followers, His disciples, and the representatives of His kingdom.
Then, lest we should be afraid—and I’m sure fear could often enter our hearts as we view this conflict—Jesus closes with those words, “Nothing will harm you.”
“The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover” Mark 16:16-18
We praise the Lord for this beautiful text that we find in the Bible along with many other scriptural references indicating that the signs from heaven will follow those who believe. The word “sign” comes from the Greek word “sēmeíon.”1 Thayer’s defines this word as a sign, mark, or token by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others.
When Jesus commissioned His disciples to preach the gospel (Matthew 28:20), He assured them that He would accompany them. The signs would be God’s signature–Heaven’s endorsement of the gospel message carried by these believers. It is in this context that Christ said, “… These signs shall follow them that believe.” Their message would be accompanied by signs such as:
Those who believe will cast out devils in Christ’s name.
They will speak with new tongues or languages.
They shall take up serpents.
No deadly, poisonous drink will be able to harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will be healed.
The Lord said that these signs would “follow” those who believe. The word “follow” is the Greek word parakoloutheo, from the words para and akoloutheo. The word para means alongside, as to be near or in a close proximity. The word akoloutheo means to follow or to go somewhere with a person, as to accompany him on a trip. When the word para and akoloutheo are joined to form one word as in this verse, it means to tirelessly accompany someone; to constantly be at the side of an individual; to always be in close proximity with a person, like a faithful companion who is always at one’s side.
But if this is true, why don’t we see more of these signs following Christians? The answer to this question is found in Jesus’ words in Mark 16:17. He said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe.…”
I want to draw your attention to the word “believe.” Because of the tense used with this Greek word, this verse would be better translated, “These signs shall follow them that are constantly believing.…” In other words, these signs don’t come automatically just because a person once walked the aisle and gave his heart to Jesus. These signs follow those who are constantly believing for them to occur. If a Christian isn’t believing for these signs to be manifested or expecting them to follow him, they probably won’t. Like everything else in the Kingdom of God, signs and wonders are activated by faith.
One point that Jesus stressed was that we are all, in truth, the sons and daughters of God. And because God’s offspring express His perfect nature, we are not actually the weak and suffering mortals we sometimes seem to be.
Understanding this makes it possible to prove this power progressively in our lives, no matter how harsh circumstances may seem to be. And each added proof, however small, helps to make our spiritual conviction deeper and more unassailable.
If you haven’t been experiencing the supernatural in your life, it may be a signal that you haven’t been releasing your faith to see signs and wonders follow you. Remember, these signs always follow wherever the Gospel is preached and believers are believing for them to occur. This was Jesus’ promise! He guaranteed that God’s supernatural signature would be on anyone who preaches the Gospel and who opens the way for the supernatural to come to pass by believing.
As we go forward, let us stand boldly in the commission Jesus has issued to us: “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.” But in addition, in the face of intensified spiritual battles, let us also stand confidently in His trustworthy promise of protection:
“Nothing shall by any means hurt you!.”
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