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June 7, 2013

Text:  “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5

This episode comes from the blog of Dene Ward. I stole it for just this article. A  preacher friend of mine told me long ago, “If you are going to steal sermons, steal from somebody good.”  This lady lives in a rural part of Florida. A rattlesnake found its way onto her property, so she grabbed her shotgun loaded with #1 shot and blew the thing to smithereens. Its various parts were still writhing, which displeased her, so she got her 22 pistol and put several more rounds in it until it stopped moving altogether. Then she said she was satisfied. She wanted to “make sure the thing was dead”.

Rattle snakes are deadly! Years ago while living in  central Texas we drove to a nearby town and attended a “rattle snake roundup”. Inside, there was a plywood box  about 16 ft. by 32 ft. The walls were plywood  with the 4 ft. side turned up so that you see the snakes on the floor.  A club of snake handlers were putting on a show.  One man took a piece of tin about 12″ square and put it on his bare head. Then he took a rattle snake and coiled him on the tin plate with the snake’s head down in the middle of the coil.  Then he removed the tin plate leaving nothing between his head and the rattler! Had the snake bitten him he would have been dead within a minute. That day I also saw a man “charm” a king cobra and lean over and kiss the snake on the head!

In our text Paul exhorts saints to “put to death…what is earthly in you.” He lists six examples of poisonous behavior.  Why? Because sin is deadly! “For the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23a  However, Jesus is the only antidote to the deathly effect of sin.

Now you may think that since you were baptized for remission of sins (Acts 2:38) you no longer have  to deal with those transgressions tripping you up. There you go, thinking again! Those sins are just as fatal to you if you let them out of the closet and they bit you again. Read Romans 7:7-25 and you will see how the apostle Paul was still struggling and agonizing against sin. In the old movie “To Have And To have Not” Walter Brennan keeps asking, “Was you ever bit by a dead bee?” It happens! Just when you think you are over that temptation,  it raises its lethal bite again!

At the rattlesnake hunt that day a snake handler was bitten. They rushed him to a hospital in Waco where they saved his life. However, since he had been bitten several times already, he was informed that one more snake bite and he was a goner. He had gone to the brink of disaster and teetered on destruction. How close do you think you can venture into sin and not be re-enslaved by Satan?

Moral: “Make sure the thing is dead.”

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