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26. And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
27. And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.
28. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.
29. (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
30. And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
31. And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
32. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.
33. Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.
34. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.
35. Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
36. They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.
37. Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.
38. Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,
39. Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.
This is a very familiar story to most of us. It is the story of the deliverance of the demoniac from Gadara. In our studies in the gospel of Luke already we have looked at this whole thing of demon possession, especially as we talked about the man in the synagogue that Jesus delivered and healed. We talked about the characteristics of demon possession, how the evil spirit controls the person, how he is able to speak through that person. We are talking about real, genuine demon possession, not just some kind of oppression or some other thing. How he is able to control to a great extent the individual person whom he possesses, and how the evil spirit is disturbed, tremendously disturbed when his conqueror draws near. He usually puts up a fight and makes a scene, creates a scene that will bring on a show-down. He attempts to use the conqueror’s name and he seems to know his identity and he cries out his name in an attempt to strike up a conversation with the conqueror and gain some kind of advantage. But as we know in the case of Jesus and the apostles and others, the evil spirit has to be quiet. He is quieted. Then he has to come out and he is spoken to directly and the evil spirit must come out. Oftentimes the person is torn and convulsed when that takes place, but the evil spirit must come out no matter how much he resists. And then, such a change takes place in the life of the individual who has been set free and all the people are amazed as they see the miraculous power of God at work against the forces of evil.
This story has all those characteristics because Jesus and His disciples are going across the lake and they come to this place of Gadara and on the way there is a great storm that strikes down upon them. It is a perilous time and the disciples are sorely afraid and they wake Jesus up and He rebukes the winds and said, “Peace.” Then He tells the sea, “Be still.” And there is a great calm. I imagine that this demoniac was a witness to that great storm that was taking place out there on the sea. I imagine he saw and he may have been delighted as he saw the storm and the winds and the clouds and the darkness. But when he suddenly saw it vanish and a great calm, I imagine he was greatly impressed so that by the time the boat was touching the edge of the land, he was there running and falling down, whether in pretense or whatever way, before Jesus because he seemed to recognize Him.
What I want us to see tonight as we look at this story is the vivid contrast between a life that is bound by Satan and then that life that is loosed and set free from the power of Satan; such ugliness that is suddenly turned into such beauty. It takes the transforming power of God to do that kind of thing.
Let’s look first of all at the description of this man’s life as he is bound by the power of Satan. Then look at the power of Jesus Christ who is Master of every situation. I remember hearing Brother Wade Horton preach about an hour and a half about four stories, these miracle stories that are put right back-to-back here: the storm on the sea, this man here, the healing of the woman with the issue of blood and then the healing of Jairus’ daughter. He talked about Christ, the Master in every situation; the Master of disorder of the storm, the Master of demons, the Master of disease, and the Master of death. He preached the whole thing at once.
Our witness to people who are bound in sin is enough to burden our hearts as we just see people who are simply not born again and they are unsaved and our hearts start reaching out to them because we consider them to be lost. I don’t know if we have had a great amount of experience with people who are not only lost, but for some reason in some way, the door of their life has been opened to receive unwelcome visitors, evil spirits that have come in and taken up abode in their lives and literally taken control. I know that there are a lot of ways that people open the doors to the demonic. I would think drugs and alcohol and many other things and constantly giving place to the devil would allow entrance of evil spirits to come in. And then to live in a place like this man lived where there was a lot of pagan religion, in this section in particular. All around Palestine, centuries and centuries of pagan religions where people worshipped the devil, and in those situations, there is a great amount of demon possession. Our missionaries tell us constantly of conditions that they face in different countries and I know that certainly one of those places where there is a great amount of demonic activity is Haiti, where our pastor served for a long time. I don’t know if we here in America, and so-called ‘Christian America’ have seen a great deal of it because we usually don’t see examples of it coming around the Church of God in North Cleveland or a lot of other places. But I think we need to be warned and we probably already are really warned and are praying about it, that the rise of Satan worship in our land is startling. It is just astonishing the activity that is going on now and it may call on all of us to stand our grand and stand on the Word and be filled with the Spirit as we face the challenges of demonic powers that come against us in these last days. But I’m glad, indeed, as Brother Horton preached, that Christ Jesus is the Master in every and all situations when it comes to the power of Satan. Can you say Amen! And He certainly was in this case.
Let’s look at this man and a description of him for just a minute. First of all, because of the influence of Satanic power controlling his life, he was a social and moral misfit, perverted. He went around naked. He wouldn’t live in his own house. He lived among the tombs out in the night. He rambled, crying out. He was an incurable kind of man because they had attempted all kinds of things to take care of this man. They had locked him away, bound him with chains and fetters. But somehow I want to tell you, there are no natural means for the taming of a person who is under the influence of Satan. Medication won’t do it. I’ve heard people talk about trying to rebuke demons if you had a headache. Well, a demon might be able to cause you to have a headache, I don’t know. But if you do, well, a couple of aspirin will handle it. You don’t usually handle demons with aspirin.
Natural means of trying to help this man, there wasn’t any psychologist who ever cornered this man and said, “Now we’ve got to talk about this.” He never had the chance. He never had the opportunity to try to straighten him out. The Bible says no man could tame him. Evidently, people had tried. He was an incurable, hopeless case. I’ve worked with some cases in my ministry that seemed incurable and hopeless as people were bound by the power of sin, alcohol or some other thing, drugs perhaps. And sometimes the warfare grows long and hard and you grow weary of trying to re-do or re-capture the same ground that you seemed to capture a week ago and somehow it doesn’t stick. It doesn’t stand. I’ve known also the joy of seeing people who are ultimately and finally and gloriously delivered and oh! What a victory and a joy that was when the real deliverance comes.
This man was also self-destructive. When you start to think about how Satan does and what he attempts to do, he can only torment and aggravate and trouble. He wants people to self-destruct. He wants to take them out of their right mind as this man, and they cannot think clearly. Values that maybe one time they knew and held dear, this man may have had great values in times past, but they are gone now. He is not in his right mind and he is calling out and he is cutting himself.
One of the characteristics of this man and of demon possession is the great fear of the presence and power of Jesus Christ. I’ve known people who would stay away from church because of the convicting power of God when it came down, and the presence of the Lord. They got afraid. They knew if they stayed, they would find themselves rejecting God and they were afraid to keep on rejecting God. So a lot of people just didn’t come to church. But there are some people who have that much respect for the presence of God and the prayers of the saints and the true worship of the church that they would rather stay away than be confronted with Jesus Christ and have to again and again have to walk away. This man, the evil spirits within him were fearful because he came running up to Jesus and said, “Don’t torment me.” You see, the things that are good and beautiful and right turn out to be torment for someone who is under the control of Satan. We see it manifested in so many ways. The kind of music that Satan likes would drive you and me up the wall. The kind of music and singing we like would drive him up the wall, so to speak. You take singing of gospel songs, especially about the blood of Jesus Christ, would drive the devil crazy if he had to listen to it. He just takes off. He can’t stand it. In Pentecost, we do a lot of things, but one thing we’ve always done is sing the power of God down. Some people kind of fuss at you in saying it like that, but you can. You can sing the power of God down because when people praise God with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “I am dwelling there in the praises of my people.” When you praise him in music and singing, He is there! He comes there in a very special way. It drives the devil crazy. Or even somebody like David strumming a harp out on the hillside could drive the devil away from King Saul. I don’t know what he was singing, but just strumming the harp and singing some beautiful song caused the evil spirit to take its flight. He couldn’t stand it. What the Christian thinks is music and harmony and beauty, Satan can’t stand. He likes discord and dissonance and weird sounds that have been distorted and racket and noise. Satan has a way of tearing things down. He has a way of getting in and wanting to control things and certainly control people who want to possess things, and use them…use them.
When he uses people it is for destruction and for their own destruction. It is to cause them to be abnormal and pervert the truth and pervert the right way. When Jesus uses you, it is for your good and for the good of many others. So we are glad to sing “Jesus use me, and Lord don’t refuse me,” because when He uses you, He is working something beautiful and wonderful through your life and blessing you and helping you to be a blessing. But not so with Satan, as we can see in this description of this man who was bound.
I want us to look at him after he is delivered. I can think back in my memory now of people who have turned to God. The beautiful things that happened to them when they became delivered and they were free. I can think of people who were bound by drink. I can think of people who were bound by all kinds of things and what a life, what a beautiful life! We used to sing a lot the song “He made something beautiful of my life.” That’s what Jesus does. He moves right in where there has been destruction. Right in to the burn-out lies where there is nothing but ashes left, so to speak, and yet, from out of that He can raise up new life that is beautiful and wonderful. He has that power. Thank God, He has that power!
So He commands the evil spirits to come out. This is one of those occasions where Jesus allowed them to speak. They said, “Don’t send us away into the deep.” Now that gives you some kind of insight as to what probably happens in casting out devils. That perhaps they need to be consigned to hell or sent to the deep or something because that is what they seem to fear. He said, “Don’t send us,” and Jesus allowed them to go into a herd of swine. Now, I’ve never been able to figure that out. I’ve just had to guess and your interpretation is as good as anybody’s on that and I’d be glad to hear it. You sort of have to guess as to why Jesus allowed that to happen. It seems to me that the most logical answer is that He wanted us to understand that grunting, rooting, earthy pigs wouldn’t put up with what a lot of people would. Because when the evil spirit came into them, they took off for the water right away and they were drowned. They would rather die. They would rather run into the sea than to be controlled or governed by an evil spirit.
But then, look back at the man. Let’s look at his description of a man who’s been delivered from the power of Satan. The legion, the thousands of the evil spirits are gone! What is it like to be bound for a long time? That’s what the Bible says. He had had these devils for a long time. What is it like to suddenly feel brand new and light as a feather and the weight of all the confusion and evil is gone? Your mind suddenly comes back into clear focus about yourself and your family and your friends and everything that is around you. There are people all over our land today and around the world who are not in their right mind. The touch of Jesus Christ and the presence of His power could bring about a miracle of bringing them to their right mind. That lets me know that you are only in your right mind when you’re right with Jesus Christ, when you are in harmony with the Word of God, when you are in harmony with the Holy Spirit. Only then are you in your right mind. Praise God!
Then the man was sitting at the feet of Jesus. He was sitting peaceably, not a raving maniac any more. He was sitting at the feet of Jesus! Oh, the storm is over! I guess he was able to see it clearly now. That storm he saw earlier and suddenly the clouds rolled back and the light burst through and the peace and calm came. That’s exactly what it is like to be delivered from the power of the devil. Confusion is gone. Doubts and fear are gone. Storms within are gone. The peace of God reigns. Oh, thank God for His peace! Amen! The man is clothed and in his right mind. No longer is he ready to resort to animal-like behavior. He is clothed. He has sensibilities toward morality and decency. I think a lot of people could use a double dose of that kind of spirit for these days. And then one of the most beautiful things of all is the man wanted now to stay in the presence of Jesus! Oh, that’s what happens to you. When the past is gone, you want to follow Jesus. You want to stay with Him. You want to go with Him. You want to be in His presence all the time.
Jesus taught us something here. The best way you can stay in His presence and in harmony with him is just to simply do what He tells you to do, to obey Him. Not just following Him and keeping Him in sight, so to speak, but look what He told this man. He told him to return to his own house. You talk about a homecoming! When this man comes walking up, he is clean now and he is dressed and that awful snake-eyed stare is gone from his face and countenance. He walks in and he recognizes his family and friends and is able to talk to them in a beautiful, clear way. What kind of testimony, what kind of a message, what kind of preaching is that going to be when he returns to his own house? I imagine when they see him coming back to the little village, some of them are afraid. They get ready to run but they stay long enough to see that he even walks differently, and he’s got clothes on and look at his face and he’s not screaming and blaspheming! The first thing you know, he is the center of attraction. Jesus said, “No you go back and return to your own house and you show – you demonstrate how great things God hath done unto thee.” I think the greatest preaching the greatest testimony of all time is when people demonstrate by their changed lives what the mercy of God has done for them and how they have been delivered and set free.
This is what Jesus calls upon every delivered person to do. Go back to your own house among your own people and tell them what God has done for you. That is being a witness of Jesus Christ. The Bible said he went his way and published throughout the whole city how great thing Jesus had done unto him. Oh, if you had come out of a thousand dungeons of nights and stepped into the beautiful light of God’s love, you would want to publish it and tell it everywhere. If you had been bound by the unseen clutches of evil spirits for a long time and devils directed you and suddenly you were free, you would want to tell it. You would want to tell it! We may not often hear the testimony of a person who was demon possessed, but oh, it’s just as real and just as wonderful to hear the testimony of a person who has repented of his sins and come to God and been brought into the family of God and the Kingdom of God. In fact, Jesus said there is great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that repents. Anybody who turns from sin and comes to Jesus Christ creates such an excitement and gains the attention of both heaven and earth and perhaps hell, itself. Thank God for the delivering power of Jesus Christ!
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