Enlarging The Family Of God Luke 8d
Stephen Caswell © 2001
The Pentel Pen
A type of pen, once imported from Japan and called Pentel, flooded the market in the United States. Though having been available for only one year, sales of Pentels climbed to 1.8 million and rising. And all this without heavy promotion! The explanation? Word of mouth advertising. Businessmen and public-relations counselors, office workers, and housewives; all contributed to the advertising of the pen simply by using it and introducing it to others. Likewise, Christians should introduce others to Christ by sharing their salvation experience.
For the last two weeks we have been looking at the family of God. Firstly, we saw that a new birth is required to enter God's family. We must be born again of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, we saw that to enjoy God's family we need to draw on His provisions. God lavishly provides for the needs of His children. Today we will see our responsibility to enlarge God's family. The Lord wants to fill His heavenly home with children. Every believer has a part to play in this. We have been commissioned to share Jesus Christ with the world. Mark 16:15 And Jesus said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. The word preach is khrussw and means to publish, to proclaim, to declare as a herald. But how can ordinary saints preach Jesus Christ? By sharing what God's done in their own lives.
Acts 1:8: But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. A witness in court isn't required to give an opinion or a verdict. What is expected of them is a testimony of what they have personally seen or heard. That's what Jesus asked from the man of Gadara! Luke 8:38-39: Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you. And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him. What facts should we share with the lost? Just 3 things. Our Life Before Christ, Our Salvation By Christ, and Our Life After Christ.
Firstly, Our Life Before Christ
Luke 8:27a: And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time.
The Protective Barrier
It appears that within man there is a protective barrier sheltering him to a certain extent from the baneful influence of demons. Once a person begins dabbling in the occult, this protective fence is broken down. The victim henceforth becomes the prey of wicked spirit forces. Occultly - subjected people often confess that it was not too difficult to make contact with the spirits. But once they become aware of the diabolical nature of their spirit intercourse and sought to renounce this evil, they found that no power on earth could free them.
We aren't told how the demons entered this man and took control. Possibly it was the result of yielding to sin. Demons can easily get a foothold in the lives of people who cultivate sinful practices. Because he yielded to Satan, the thief, this man lost everything!
Jesus was confronted by a man who had been possessed by Satan for a long time. The word had ejcw means to have, to hold or to possess. In verse 36 we are told that he had been demon possessed. When Jesus asked the demon his name he said, Legion, for we are many. At that time a Roman legion numbered six thousand soldiers. This man had been overcome by an army of Satan's demons. Satan had bound him and there was nothing that he could do. I am sure that this man wanted to be free from these demons but each time they seized him. Satan's bondage had gone on for a long time, probably many years.
Luke 8:27b: And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs.
This demon possessed man had a shameful appearance. He roamed around naked. This shouldn't surprise us since demons have no shame. They reveled in this. He probably stank and was filthy, but this was normal since unclean spirits controlled him. He had no home to live in or family to love him. He lived all alone in the tombs. Why there? Because demons like to be around death and decay. The tombs were most suitable. This man was living near the dead and that was appropriate for someone spiritually dead. He truly was a down and out.
Luke 8:29a: For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles.
This man from Gadara behaved very sinfully because of the demons control. Unclean spirits promote sinful behavior. They gave him incredible strength which frightened the locals greatly. Matthew 8:28 says that he was exceedingly fierce. The local citizens tried to solve this problem by chaining him up. But when they bound him he would simply break free. Mark 5:4: says that no one could tame him. People were afraid of him and completely unable to help him. As a result Matthew 8:28b: says that no one could pass that way for fear of the man. Mark 5:5 says that: He cried out night and day as the demons tormented him. No doubt these outcries would have been blasphemous and full of filth. Unclean spirits never speak anything virtuous. This man's behavior would have been very sinful.
Luke 8:29c: and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. Mark 5:5: And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
The results of Satanic bondage and sinful behavior is suffering. The demons sent him mad. These demons drove him relentlessly. This man from Gadara experienced the old saying, there is no rest for the wicked first hand. He had no peace as the demons tormented him night and day. They drove him from one hard place to the next. The wilderness, the tombs and the mountains are all lonely harsh places to live. The demons forced the man of Gadara to cut himself with stones. This poor man was tormented in body, soul and spirit. He was in a very sorry state when Jesus met him. Much of his life had been wasted by slavery to sin.
What lessons do we learn from this? Firstly, don't give the devil a foothold. Sin will always take you further than you wanted to go. I am sure that the man from Gadara never expected this to happen to him when he cultivated sinful practices. Secondly, when we share our testimony it's important to acknowledge our sinful past without giving graphic details. Like the Gospel account recorded here. Thirdly, if our life isn't totally committed to Christ it will be a life of missed opportunity.
The Infidel Willed His Farm To The Devil
The story is told of a man who died after willing his farm to the Devil. This gave the court cause for some head scratching. After several months of deliberation it handed down its decision: It is decided that the best way to carry out the wish of the deceased is to allow the farm to grow weeds, the soil to erode, and the house and barn to rot. In our opinion, the best way to leave something to the Devil is to do nothing. Therein lies a truth. Few, would ever admit to such infidelity, but many will procrastinate and postpone the great decisions of life and end up having willed our soul to the devil.
How many young people have promised to receive Jesus as their Savior later on only to die before then? How many people have promised to support world missions when they're not as tight financially, yet never do? How many promise to serve Christ later when they're not so busy, but never find time? Man says, tomorrow, but it isn't ours to give! God says, Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. We've only got today, tomorrow belongs to God! We mustn't procrastinate. Satan will quickly waste our time, money, talents in fact our entire lives if they're not fully committed to God. Are you being careful with these things? Will you use them for God today? Or will you allow Satan to waste them?
Secondly, Our Salvation By Christ
a. Freedom From Satan
Luke 8:30-33: Jesus asked him, saying, What is your name? And he said, Legion, because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss. Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them. Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned.
Jesus deliberately went there to free this man. Luke 8:22-24 reveals how Satan tried to prevent Jesus from coming by stirring up a storm on the Sea of Galilee. However, Christ wasn't prevented. He simply calmed the storm and kept his appointment with the demonized man. Satan had bound this man for too long and Christ wouldn't allow it any longer.
Luke 4:18-19: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Jesus came to set people free from slavery to Satan.
Jesus was able to cast the demons out from this man because He is Lord of all. Jesus was free to send the demons wherever He desired — into the abyss, into the swine, or to any other place that He chose. Then why send them into the swine? Firstly, by doing it that way, Jesus gave proof to all the spectators that a miracle of deliverance had really taken place. Secondly, the destruction of the pigs also gave assurance to the two men that the unclean spirits were actually gone.
Thirdly, and more than anything else, the drowning of the 2,000 swine was a vivid object lesson to this Christ-rejecting crowd that, to Satan, a pig is as good as a man! In fact, Satan will make a man into a pig! The Lord was warning the citizens against the powers of sin and Satan. It was a dramatic sermon before their very eyes: The wages of sin is death! An important principle comes out of this. Only Jesus Christ has the power to set people free from demons. The seven sons of Sceva tried to do this and were overcome by the demons. Only Christians appropriating the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ can cast out demons.
b. Freedom From Sin
Luke 8:34, 36: When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed.
The Lord also freed this man from sin. Only Jesus Christ can save us from Satan, sin, death and hell. This is because He is God's Son, the Savior of the world. When the people from the town and country came out they were amazed to see the change in this man. The Lord had removed the terrible effects of sin from his life. But this is what salvation accomplishes. Sin binds and destroys but Christ sets free and restores. Jesus said, if the Son shall set you free you are free indeed. Jesus restored this man physically, spiritually and mentally.
I Only Know
You asked me how I gave my heart to Christ; I do not know;
There came a yearning for Him in my soul; So long ago;
I found earth’s flowers would fade and die; I wept for something that would satisfy;
And then, and then, somehow I seemed, To dare; To lift my broken heart to God in prayer.
I do not know, I cannot tell you how; I only know He is my Savior now.
Jesus Christ came to set the captives free. I am sure that the man from Gadara tried to be free from the demons but couldn't escape their hold. He couldn't free himself. Are you bound by Satan and sin? If so then come to Jesus Christ, He can set you free!! No other person has the power to free us from Satan, sin, death and hell. When we Christians share our testimony it's important to emphasize that Jesus Christ set us free. We can't free ourselves from slavery!!
Thirdly, Our Life After Christ
The people from the town and surrounding country were amazed to see such a radical change in this man. His life had completely turned around. Luke 8:36: They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed.
The word healed in verse 36 is sw/zw. This word means to heal, to restore to health, to rescue and to deliver. But it's basic meaning is to save! In the New Testament it is translated make whole or be whole 11 times, heal 3 times and save 93 times. This can also be seen by the fellowship that he is enjoying with Jesus. By sitting at Christ's feet it showed he had come to love Jesus. He sat there to learn. He was like a disciple wanting to learn from Christ his Master. He sat there in respect and adoration for the One who had saved him from bondage.
Previously, when the demons controlled him his concern was very different. He cried out what have I to do with you Jesus, Son of the Most Hight God? This statement showed how lost he had been. Previously he had hated the light. Now he loved being in Chirst's presence. The difference was between holiness and evil, between light and darkness, between salvation and condemnation. What a dramatic change to move from being lost in sin to being saved in Christ. Previously to his shame he had roamed around naked, but now He was clothed. In fact he was clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He wasn't shameful now, he was holy.
Luke 8:35: Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.
What a difference it would have been to see this man sitting peacefully. Previously he was roaming around and crying out as Satan tormented him. Day and night he suffered from his evil masters. He was a driven man longing for peace. But, now he had found perfect peace in Jesus Christ. He was content to sit quietly at Jesus' feet. The Lord had brought him out of wilderness to the quiet still waters. Now, he had found peace and rest for his soul.
Verse 35 says that he was in his right mind. The words in his right mind swfronew mean to be sane, to be of sound mind, to be sober. This was a huge change for someone who had previously been mad. Before this he had struggled as the demons controlled him like a puppet. They had caused him to behave foolishly; to be exceedingly fierce. Yet now he has full control of his mind. He is sane and able to think rationally again.
Luke 8:37-39a: Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned. Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you. The result of Christ's ministry was two-fold. The people of the Gadarenes became terrified of Jesus. They were afraid they might suffer further financial loss if He stayed so they begged Him to go. They didn't want Christ to be near them. But the man from Gadara begged Jesus to let him come with him. He desired to be near the One who had saved him. Jesus consented to the first request but not the second. Jesus wouldn't stay unless He was welcome.
But why didn't Jesus let the man from Gadara come with Him? Because He had work for him to do here. Jesus told the man from Gadara to go home and tell everyone what the Lord had done for him. This man would proclaim God's salvation on Christ's behalf. Previously the demons had caused him to cry out in torment. Now he willingly preached salvation through Jesus Christ and did this joyfully. Mark's account brings out the people's response. Mark 5:20: And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. The people marveled at the difference Christ had made in his life. The strongest testimony we can give to the lost is a changed life!!
The man from Gadara had been tormented for many years by the devil. It is rare for people to be afflicted this severely. Yet one thing is still the same. Only Jesus Christ can free us from slavery to Satan and sin. Only Christ can give us new life. Have you come to Him for salvation? Have you found peace in your heart? Are you enjoying fellowship with the Lord? Have you allowed Christ to give you a sound mind? Or are you still a captive of the evil one? The testimony of the man from Gadara still speaks today. It's a testimony of victory and salvation through Jesus Christ!! Can people see the difference that Christ has made in your life? Do you share this testimony with others? Do you share what Christ has done in your life like a faithful witness of the Lord? Everyone's testimony is different, but one thing is the same, Jesus Christ saved us. No one else can!!
Today we have seen 3 things to share when witnessing for Christ. Our Life Before Christ, Our Salvation By Christ, and Our Life After Christ.
Firstly, Our Life Before Christ
Before we met Jesus Christ our lives were marked by Slavery, Shame and Sin. All of this only brings Suffering. Our lives were wasted as Satan bound us with sin. We may not have been afflicted like this man but we were still bound.
Secondly, Salvation By Christ
When we came to Christ He set us free from Slavery to Satan and Sin. No one else has power over the Devil. Only Christ can restore people spiritually, mentally and physically.
Thirdly, Life After Christ
Our new life is marked by peace instead of restlessness. It is marked by salvation instead of condemnation. It is marked by fellowship with God instead of enmity. We become sane when once we were mad. Instead of being forced to serve Satan we willingly serve the Lord. Instead of crying out in agony from torment we joyfully share our testimony. Instead of living a wasted life our new life in Christ has purpose and meaning. It counts for something. Is this your testimony? Will you share it with others? Will you tell the captives their is a Savior?
Benediction Jude 24-25: