It Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Mark 16:16-18 ESV
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mar 16:16).
That’s what I told you before; you can either believe or not believe. He that believes and is baptized will be saved. He that believes not will be damned. I mean, the Bible doesn’t really mince much words. In John we read, “He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of Life shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” You’re in one of two boats. You either believe or don’t. You’re either saved or damned.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover (Mar 16:17-18).
Now, these signs are given in context of going into all the world and preaching the gospel to every creature. As they’re preaching the gospel to every creature, yes, they will be speaking in new tongues, new languages. I think of the tremendous translation work of the Wycliffe Society today, casting out devils. That’s a task that the missionaries find quite common. It isn’t as common in the West because of the powerful Christian influence. But you get into some of the foreign lands, and demonology becomes a very heavy issue.
Taking up serpents (Mar 16:18);
You remember when Paul was shipwrecked and Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
Acts 28:3-6 ESV
And they were ready to worship him as a god. There are those cults today who foolishly gather rattle snakes and they get into some kind of a spiritual frenzy, speaking in tongues and all, and then they take the rattlesnakes and they begin to pass them around the circle. Down in the hills of Kentucky, there are quite a few of these snake handlers. And actually, they are not all in Kentucky; there were some people over in Long Beach, California, who were involved in this cult.
Another radical pastor took poison around and had each one of his board members drink the poison to prove their faith, whether or not they had enough faith to serve on the board of the church. Some of the board members did not have enough faith, and the pastor was charged with second-degree murder – When Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, he said unto Him, “Jump! For it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways, lest at any time you dash your foot against the stone.'” And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Luke 4:12 ESV
The Lord never intended anybody to deliberately put themselves into jeopardy to prove anything. He doesn’t expect you to go out and take up rattlesnakes to prove that you have faith, or to drink poison to prove that you have faith. “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” You are not to do any foolish rash act to make a proof of your faith
Beware how many who deceive you into believing false doctrines who’s only goal is to divert your faith into challenges to God. It is only in our humility that we seek our faith from within our soul.
Our Lord knows your heart and your faith. Seek His strength in the Holy Spirit and follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Not in fanciful displays of false expressions of your own heart.