Haddon Robinson preached a sermon by this title back in 1995. He was a masterful preacher and the president of Denver Seminary when I graduated from there. This particular sermon left a lasting mark on me, and it is the inspiration behind the sermon I will preach on Sunday. The sermon comes from II Kings 18:1-8, which is the story of King Hezekiah's reformation and revival in Judah. And in this story we are told about a very good and very old snake that had become a very bad snake and had to be destroyed.
The challenge for all of us in these days when it appears that God is moving among us to do something new is whether or not we might have some good, old snakes that have become bad snakes and need to be destroyed. In preparation for this Sunday's message, read II Kings 18:1-8 and use the questions below to think about the snakes in your own life.
1. What do we learn about good King Hezekiah in these eight verses? What kind of man was he?
2. What do you know about "the high places" and "pillars" and "the Asherah"? What did these represent, and what was Hezekiah doing when he "removed," "broke" and "cut down" these things?
3. In verse 4 we read that Hezekiah "broke in pieces the bronze serpent Moses had made." Turn to Numbers 21:4-9 and read the story about this bronze serpent.
4. Describe the scene reported in Numbers 21:4-9.
5. The Lord told Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole. What do you think was the point of that? Why do you think God didn't just remove the snakes or provide some sort of snake bite kit?
6. Of course Jesus picks up on this story in His conversation with Nicodemus. Read John 3:1-18. How does Jesus apply the story of Moses' snake? What are the parallels between the bronze serpent incident and Jesus' death on the cross?
7. Back to Hezekiah. Why does he break Moses' snake into pieces? What had become of that good, old snake? When do good snakes become bad snakes that must be broken to pieces?
* What is the lesson that we need to learn from this story?
8. What do you think might be some "good snakes" in the life of the Church that have now become bad snakes that need to be destroyed?
9. It is always easier to see the good snakes gone bad in the lives of others around us, but what about you and me? Are there any good, old snakes in your relationship with the Lord that have perhaps become bad snakes that need to be gotten rid of? If so, what are they?
10. Would you pray that all of us at Bear Creek would recognize those things that have become more important to us than the Lord and His Kingdom, and that we would be able to let go of them and even destroy them if need be?
REMEMBER: There is a Congregational Meeting on Sunday morning at 9:15 in the Upper Room. There will be time to discuss the merger we are pursuing with Bridgeway Community Church of Littleton.
God be with you and I will look forward to seeing you on Sunday morning,