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Notes & Transcripts

Our Front Row Seat to Divine Deliverance

Mark 5:1-20, Matthew 8:28-34, Luke 8:26-39

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Sept. 18, 2013

*Tonight we are going to look at one of the most drastic and devastating examples of demon possession found in the Bible. Thankfully, it is also one of the greatest examples of deliverance we find in God's Word.

*This story is found in three of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke. Each of these adds information to the story. Matthew 8 is the only place where we see that there were actually two men delivered by Jesus that day. Mark and Luke focus on just one of the men. And Mark 5 gives the most detail, so let's turn there to explore what happened.

1. Here God gives us a front-row seat to His divine deliverance, so first notice the demonic spirits.

*And notice the terrible effect these demons had on the possessed man. We see how tormented he was in vs. 1-5:

1. Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.

2. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

3. who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains,

4. because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.

5. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.

*The devil is nobody's friend. He causes misery everywhere he goes, and gladly ruins anything he touches. This man's life was in utter ruins.

*David Yarbrough described him this way: "Wild hair, bloody wrists, scratched skin, fury encased in flesh, naked bedlam, arms flailing and voice screaming." (1)

*Tim Smith added: "This no-name person may have been demon-possessed for quite some time and he was not a pretty sight. His arms and legs were most likely ringed with layers of scar tissue from repeatedly fighting against the chains that others used to try and confine him. . . Now free of those chains, he tortured himself by gashing his body with stones, his recent wounds still oozing puss and blood. From both a physical, emotional and spiritual perspective, he is nauseating and repulsive. His being and personality are under the mastery of an evil power."

*How did this happen? Tim Smith explained: "In the lands surrounding Palestine, demonic possession was not uncommon. Demon worship and even dedicating one's child to the Devil was not unheard of." (2)

*Demon possession still occurs today, especially in areas where there is a drought of the gospel, and people worship false gods. Thankfully, we don't see many obvious manifestations of this kind of evil in our community.

*And we don't even like to think about demons. But they are still here in the world with us, doing their hateful and hurtful work. All Christians have a part in this spiritual battle against unseen evil forces. The Apostle Paul expressed it this way in Ephesians 6:12: "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."

*Who are these demons? Originally, they were angels created by God along with the other angels. But when Satan rebelled against God, he persuaded 1/3 of the other angels to rebel with him.

*Revelation 12:3-10 gives us a quick look at this past battle, and a future battle in this on-going spiritual war: There the Apostle John wrote:

3. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.

4. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.

5. And she bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and to His throne.

6. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

7. And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,

8. but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.

9. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

10. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down."

*How many of these demons or fallen angels are there? -- Plenty. When Jesus encountered the demons in Mark 5, verse 9 tells us that the Lord asked their spokesman: "What is your name?'' And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many.''

*The number of soldiers in a Roman Legion varied from 3,000 up to even 12,000 (3). But the most common number was six to seven thousand soldiers. So there were surely thousands of demons in that one man. Demons then do not take up space the way we do, but thankfully, they can only be in one place at a time.

*God shows us much more about these demonic, fallen angels in Mark 5. Notice in vs. 6, that the demons immediately recognized Jesus. And surprisingly, they began to worship Him. Verse 6: "But when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him."

*Church: That original word for worship is God's favorite word for worship in the New Testament. It's the word picture of a dog licking his master's hand. And it may be the last thing we expect demons to do. But Jesus is Lord!

*And Philippians 2:10-11 tells us:

10. that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

11. and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

*The demons worshiped Jesus. And in vs. 7-10, they prayed to Jesus:

7. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.''

8. For He said to him, "Come out of the man, unclean spirit!''

9. Then He asked him, "What is your name?'' And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many.''

10. And he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.

*Like Christians, these demons worshiped Jesus, and they prayed to Jesus. The Bible also teaches that the demons are like us in other ways. They have personality and feelings. They feel pain.

*But they are absolutely without hope. In vs. 7, they pleaded with Jesus not to torment them. But that is the only future they face: eternal torment with no hope of relief. Thank God for the mercy we have in the Lord Jesus Christ!

*From our front row seat to divine deliverance, God shows us demonic spirits.

2. He also shows us our divine Savior.

[1] And one thing that stands out about Jesus in this Scripture is that He is mysterious.

*The unexpected mystery is that Jesus answered the demons' prayer. We see this truth in vs. 11-13:

11. Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains.

12. And all the demons begged Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.''

13. And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.

*William McDonald pointed out that "the Lord has often been criticized for causing the destruction of these pigs." (4)

*But John Gill explained that "if the owners were Jews, and these creatures were brought up by them for food, it was a just punishment of their breaking the law of God." And if the owners were Gentiles, it was to show "the malice of the evil spirits, who would have done the same thing to the owners if they could." It was also to show the power of Christ to cast out the demons, and it could have helped spread the fame of this miracle." (5)

*I really like the way William McDonald summed this issue up. He said: "If we knew as much as Jesus knew, -- we would have acted exactly the same way He did." (4)

[2] But the Lord is mysterious. And He is miraculous.

*Do you think Jesus was afraid of those demons? -- Not for a second. Did Jesus have to go into training to work up the courage and strength to cast them out? -- Of course not. He is Lord of all! So in vs. 8, Jesus firmly said: "Come out of the man, unclean spirit!''

*And in vs. 13, after the demons begged Jesus to send them into the swine, "Jesus gave them permission." They couldn't make a single move without His permission. He is Lord of all!

[3] Jesus is miraculous. And He is merciful.

*Understand that this demon-possessed man had a big part in his own possession. By worshiping the false gods of other religions, he was worshiping demons.

*Listen to the way Paul explained this in 1 Corinthians 10:19-20. Paul was speaking to Christians, and began with a question:

19. What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything?

20. But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.

*David Yarbrough pointed out that this demon-possessed man "didn't just wake up one morning and say: 'Hey, I'm demon possessed.' This wasn't something he was born with. -- Or something that he just came down with (like the flu or a cold). Somewhere in this man's life, he made a conscious decision that he wanted to be free. He wanted to be free of God's influence. He wanted to be free from the restrictions and responsibilities of life. He wanted to be free to do what HE wanted to do.

*And now, (in a way), he is free. No shackle can bind him. No chain can hold him. He's no longer bound by social conventions that tell him how to dress and how to behave. He has no responsibilities to society, because society no longer wants him. He has become free. . ." (1)

*Tragically, the freedom he sought led him to the worst kind of slavery. But Jesus Christ is full of mercy and compassion! Jesus saved that man who could never have saved Himself. But Christian, the same is true for you, for me, and for everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ!

*Hebrews 7 tells us that Jesus:

25. . . is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.

26. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;

27. who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

*Jesus Christ didn't have to die for His own sins. But He did die on the cross for our sins. And now the Risen Savior will have mercy on everyone who trusts in Him! So here God shows us our divine Savior.

3. But He also shows us deceived sinners.

*We find them in vs. 14-17:

14. Now those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened.

15. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.

16. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine.

17. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.

*Those "good citizens" must have been thinking: "Two thousand pigs lost. -- What's next?" -- But what blindness, what a spiritual loss, what a tragedy. No matter how much those pigs were worth, they weren't worth missing a relationship with Jesus Christ!

*Those people valued their property over the presence of God. And many people are making the same catastrophic mistake today. That's why God shows us these deceived sinners.

4. He also shows us a delivered saint.

*In vs. 18-20, we see a fantastic, miraculous change in the man who had been demon-possessed. Luke 8 gives a little more detail about this part of the story. There God's Word says:

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.

36. They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed.

37. 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.

38. Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying,

39. "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.

*There are two things that jump out about this new believer:

-He had great passion to be close to Jesus...

-And he had great passion to be obedient to Jesus.

*Notice that the healed man was still eager to serve, even after Jesus had said "no." We see this in vs. 18&19:

18. And when He (i.e. Jesus) got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him.

19. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.''

*The healed man was sitting at the feet of Jesus, and with all his heart he wanted to stay close to Jesus. But Jesus told him: "Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.''

*The Lord said, "No -- you cannot come with Me." And many times when we are serving Jesus, things don't work out like we want them to. There will be set backs and difficulties. But we still need to be eager to serve Jesus Christ.

*We need to be eager when the Lord says "no," and eager when the Lord says "go." That's the way the healed man was, and we see this in verses 19&20:

*Jesus said to him:

19. . . "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.''

20. And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.

*The Lord said "go," and the healed man went. Please notice that he went, even though it was tough for him to go back. He was going back to people who had seen him at his worst.

*He was going to people who had already rejected Jesus in a strong way. In verse 17 they were pleading for Jesus to leave. And Matthew 8:34 says "the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region."

*It was a tough situation, but the Lord said "go," and the healed man went. He wanted to obey Jesus, and like Jesus, the healed man was concerned about the people around him. Jesus told him: "Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.'' And he obeyed.

*Church: That is exactly what Jesus wants us to do! Go and tell the great things that God has done for us! Do you have a testimony? If you are a Christian, you most certainly do have a testimony, a miraculous testimony!

*Casting out those demons was a great miracle. But the greatest miracle that day was that man's salvation! Casting out the demons delivered him from a few years of earthly torment. Saving his soul delivered him from eternal torment in hell. What a miracle! And this miracle is yours, if you have trusted in Jesus!

*Go and tell the great things that God has done for us! That's why God has given us a front row seat to His divine deliverance.

*Would you please bow for prayer.

(1) SermonCentral sermon "Jesus' First Missionary was Demon Possessed" by David Yarbrough - Mark 5:1-20

(2) SermonCentral sermon "Possessed" by Tim Smith - Mark 5:1-20

(3) "John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible" - Mark 5:9

(4) "Believer's Bible Commentary" by William McDonald - Edited by Arthur Farstad - Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Copyright 1995, 1992, 1990, 1989 by William McDonald - "The Gadarene Demoniac Healed" - Mark 5:1-20

(5) "John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible" - Matthew 8:32

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