FULL MESSAGE

Mark 5:1-5 So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. 4 Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.

Questions

Read Ephesians 6:10-20

 

Who does the author say the real enemy is? 

Besides putting on the armor, what does the author command us to do in verse 18?

Which piece of armor sticks out to you the most, and why?

What are 3 differences and 3 similarities between spiritual warfare and physical warfare?

So they get out of the boat and immediately have this confrontation with this demon-possessed man. We are told he lives out in the the cemetery, and that the spirit possessing him has given him super-human strength. People have tried to lock him up and restrain him but he just snaps the chains and runs free.

Nigh and day he is out there, crying in misery and even cutting himself. We aren’t told if the demon made him cut himself, but it isn’t hard to imagine that this poor guy was in such misery that he turned to cutting to find relief in a pain he could control.

Mark 5:6 When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him.

As Brad pointed out the other day, even though he was demon-possessed, he still had the will and choice to come to Jesus.

Mark 5:7-17 7 With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.”
9 Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”
And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” 10 Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place.
11 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. 12 “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.”
13 So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
14 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. 15 A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. 16 Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. 17 And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.

So there is a lot going on in this story. We are going to break it down, and afterwards if you still have questions, you can ask Brad.

 I want us to learn 3 main things from this story. 

  1. Demons are real
  2. Jesus is immeasurably stronger than demons
  3. Demons need permission

1: DEMONS ARE REAL

The story of the Bible takes place in two places; the physical world and the spiritual world. Although the Bible does not go into great detail about everything we’d like to know about the spirit world, it does tell us what we need to know.

  • God created different kinds and levels of spiritual beings to do different jobs.
    • Cherubim, Seraphim, Angels, The Living Creatures, etc.
  • Much like our human rebellion, a number of spirit beings also rebelled.
  • The leader of these spiritual rebels is satan, who wants to be God.
  • They are bent on destroying God’s creation.
  • They are not red with pointy horns.
  • Their work is best done in secret.

It has been said “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist,”

2: Jesus is immeasurably stronger than demons

When ever people talk about God vs Satan or good vs evil, we think of these huge epic battles or this boxing match between them and we are on the side hoping good will win or some kind of divine arm-wrestling match like this picture:

Right? We think God and satan are equals, each fighting for the world. That you got an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.

But the truth is its a lot less like this picture and a lot more like this one:

There is no contest, no comparison, no threat, no chance. God and satan are not equals. They are not even close to being in the same weight class. satan is like a gnat. Sure, he can be annoying and a distraction, but he is easily squashed.

In one corner we have the Almighty Creator of the Universe, who spoke matter into existence, wrote the laws of physics, imagined stars and all manor of creatures, who exists outside of time and always accomplishes His purposes and in the other corner we got this gnat who decided he wanted to be God.

A being who was given an important position but then got jealous and rebelled. A being who has no power to create anything but only fabricates lies, illusions, and copies, bent on destroying anything God creates.

There is no comparison. God utterly out powers satan. And we see this in every encounter Jesus has with demons.

Every time, they bow and obey at a simple command from Jesus’s lips. He doesn’t beg, plead, negotiate, or ask. He tells them what to do and they must obey, it’s His words that created their very existence in the first place.

Jesus is immeasurably stronger then demons. The demons in this story actually beg to be sent into this herd of pigs. We see they cant even do that without permission. Which leads to the third point:

3: DEMONS NEED PERMISSION

Mark 5: 11-13 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. 12 “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.”
13 So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

The demons are caught and could not do anything without Jesus’ permission. They ask to go into the pigs, and Jesus allows them. Then these 2000 pigs commit mass suicide. Swineicide if you will.

Why did Jesus let them go into the pigs? The text doesn’t tell us. But one possible option has a lot to do with permission.

But to talk about that, first I have to ask: what do you know about pigs?

For Jewish people, pigs were off limits. The were considered unclean, or not kosher. They were commanded by God to have nothing to do with them. Why? That’s a long story- but it partly has to do with other ancient Canaanite practices that involve pigs and the worship of demons.

So the fact that these pig herders had pigs, and 2000 of them no less, shows they were walking in direct disobedience to God’s law.

So why did Jesus let the demons destroy the whole herd of pigs?

Because When you Walk in Disobedience, You Invite Demons into Your Life.

We said demons need permission, right? Walking in direct disobedience to God and His commands is the clearest permission you can give.

You either are filled with the Holy Spirit or you are filled with something else.

The Bible tells us then when we confess Jesus as lord and repent and chose to follow Him, the Holy Spirit comes and takes up residence in our lives.

So if you are a true Christian and real follower of Jesus, no demon will be able to take over or possess you. Like we said, Jesus is infinitely stronger.

But if you are not submitted to Jesus, or are a Christian and do things that give demons permission, you can be oppressed.

What’s the difference between possession and oppression?

Has anyone seen the movies Ratatouille or Venom?

In both these movies, one creature controls, and directs the other, even against their will. This is possession, this is what we see in this story in Mark 5.

 

The demon was in and had control over the guys motor functions and even speech.

Oppression can manifest in form of thoughts, feelings, or illness. Things that don’t control us but can seriously hinder us,and stop us from doing God’s will for our life.

So Christians cant be possessed but they can be oppressed. Brad had a great line the other day: Can a Christian have demons? Sure, they can have as many as they want.

What does oppression look like. It can look like a lot of different things.

  • Recurring intrusive thoughts or dreams
  • Feelings of anxiety or depression
  • Sickness
  • Temptations and habits

 

Often, these may increase when you are doing something for God. Do you ever go to read your Bible and suddenly there are a thousand distractions or you cant focus or feel sick? Next time try rebuking satan in the name of Jesus.

Do you I’ve discovered that most often, if Autumn and I get into a fight (which we never do cause we are a perfect couple obviously) , but if we would, its normally on a Wednesday or Sunday before church, when we are supposed to go and minister God’s word.

This doesn’t mean every single thing that happens in life is demonic or we need to start looking for satan behind every bush. But the Bible does tell us not to be unaware that our enemy is out there, and has evil motives.

There are a number of things we could describe as “open doors” for demons to enter our life, but they primarily fall into two categories.

Living in disobedience or sin

Doing things that glorify satan or evil

  • Watching movies that glorify satan
  • Listening to music that promotes evil
  • Using Ouija boards or Tarot cards or anything used to talk to spirits, even as a game.
  • Holding on to grudges and bitterness.
  • Being more focused on the things of the world then God

 

Demons need permission to enter, so if you want them to leave you have to remove that permission. You can’t just live in disobedience and then rebuke demons every time something bad happens. You cant just eat a diet of only sugar, and then take a pill to make you healthy.

You can’t just remove the bad, you have to add the good. But you have to want it, and decide to follow Jesus.

Mark 5:15-17 A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. 16 Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. 17 And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.

This is the part of the story that strikes me the most. Mark has already told us this guy has been here. The people have tried to restrain him. They knew he was out there. But notice that didn’t make them afraid. What they were afraid of was when God came in and healed Him.

 

They had grown so accustomed to the works of darkness and living around sin, that it no longer bothered them. They were just use to it. In fact their minds where so warped and comfortable with evil that when God Himself actually does show up, they are afraid and ask Him to leave.

 

May we never grow so “use” to sin that it no longer shocks us, no longer grieves us, no longer disgusts us. That we are so comfortable in it that when Jesus shows up we say, eh no thanks. Leave me alone. I’m good here.

 

Im not saying to go and judge others, cause God loves everyone and wants to say them. But in our own lives and hearts may we never allow that kind of attitude to creep in.

The guy in this story was freed, but how many others were left in bondage, because the people would rather stay in their comfort zone then invite Jesus into their lives. The same is true today. We have to decide. Do we want Jesus, or what the world has to offer, and the demons that come with it.

 

Demons are smart, and shouldn’t be messed with. But Jesus is smarter and we don’t have to be afraid either. The good news is even if we are oppressed or even possessed, in the Authority of Jesus we can be free.

 

We saw Jesus often commanded them with a word and they had to leave. Jesus gave that same authority to His disciples and said that we can go and do the same things He did.

 

If we are followers of Jesus we can speak to them and say “In the Name of Jesus leave” and they must. Like we said, Jesus is so much more powerful, and even today, His word (the Bible) holds all power over the enemy. So use it. Staying in it is how you protect yourself.

 

And that’s where Im going to leave it for today. We could go a lot longer but I want that to be the focus.

 

  1. Demons are real
  2. Jesus is immeasurably stronger than demons
  3. Demons need permission

So don’t be unaware, but don’t be afraid either. Don’t give the devil an open door, instead begin to break the stronghold and rebuke the works of the enemy. Begin to live truly free for God, and help others do the same.

Reflection Questions

      • How are demons or the devil often portrayed?

       

      • How is this different from how the Bible describes them?

       

      • What was your #1 takeaway from the sermon?

       

      • Why is it important that Christians are aware of the enemy and his schemes?

       

      • What would you tell a Christian who says they are fearful or uncomfortable with the demonic?

       

      • Knowing that Jesus has already won our war and defeated the dragon, how does that change how we approach Satan and the demonic?

       

      • Is there an area of your life that you now see has a spiritual warfare component to it? How does that change how you approach it?

       

      • What are some ways you can incorporate offensive prayers into your life?

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