"I am legion, for we are many"
Jesus proves His authority over the supernatural forces that are at work in our world. Sermon from Aug 23rd 2020
For today’s message, Im going to open up with a few questions, before I get into the bible verses that our Sermon will be drawn from.
But first, prayer
( → → Opening prayer ← ← )
When we think--
When you think about the Gospel message, how strong or powerful do you believe it be?
If you have the Holy Spirit living in your hearts, we believe it to be the most powerful, life changing message that could ever be spoken.
We agree with the words of Romans 1:16 that says “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…”
We believe that hearts and minds can be changed and molded and turned around and made new...no matter the person………...right?
We believe that when someone who is:
And they hear the Gospel, that it can change their life forever
Yes there are factors that we can get into such as free will and the sovereignty of God...but thats a different Sermon.
We all believe that when a person has reached the end of their rope...they hear the Gospel, see it in action in the lives of believers, and have their hearts made new by repentance and forgiveness.
Regardless of the reasons why that person is now open to hearing the message, we all believe it is the most powerful message, no matter who hears and sees it.
If that person is:
A cancer patient
An abused spouse
If the person is filled with anger and bitterness
Fear or worry
If the person has lived with depression and suicidal thoughts
No matter who they are, we all believe that Jesus Christ is powerful enough to change their lives forever.
But what about the people who seem like theyre further away from being reached?
The people who are happy where they are in their life?
Or the people who havent had any major tragedy or trauma?
The people who are content with how their life is unfolding, and when we bring them the message, and live it in front of them….they just go “meh” that’s not for me?
What about the people who dont see any need at all, for their life to be made new?
The people content in their life and their lifestyle?
The people who believe “Christianty is ok for you and teaches good things actually...but it’s just not for me?”
Is the Gospel Message….is Jesus Christ powerful enough to reach these people?
What about the people who are adamantly OPPOSED to the Gospel message?
Those who when we talk about Scripture and what the Bible says, they react in anger and rage?
The people who attack and abuse Christians because of their beliefs?
The groups who persecute and execute entire villages of Christians?
Is the Gosepl Message, is Jesus Christ, powerful enough to reach these people?
People born to parents who dont act how parents should and set them up for a lifetime of hurt and failure-----
Or members of a fictitious religion----
Or people living in secluded tribes----
Or generational racists----
The list goes on, when we start to think of groups or types of people who may cause us to think “Is Jesus powerful enough to reach them?”
Theres one last group of people we need to talk about, before we get into our verses for the day.
What about the way out there---- extreme groups of people? Is the Gospel powerful enough to reach them?
The hardened criminals?
The lowest of the low members of our society, whose crimes we dare not speak of in front of children?
The war mongers and dictators?
What about the people whose acts are so evil, vile, and disgusting that entire governments hunt them down and whose crimes make grown men cry and hug their families when they hear of them?
Is Jesus powerful enough to reach all these different kinds of people?
From the sad, to the content, to the trafficker
Is Jesus Christ strong enough to reach them?
That brings us to our verses this morning. In Mark 5:1-20
It’s the story of the time when Jesus healed the Gerasene Demoniac named “Legion”
It’s just a little long section of Scripture, but while im reading this, be thinking about all those questions I just asked.
“They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” 9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. 18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[b] how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.”
Were you thinking about the questions?
Now before I get into everything here, we need to talk about demons.
This wont be a complete and total understanding of the demonic, in fact I dont think that we will ever have a total understanding this side of eternity, but we are called to learn and grasp as much as we can.
So… demons are real.
They aren't the bright red, long tail, pointy fork holding creatures we see in old paintings or movies.
They aren't slimy big monsters from science fiction
Demons are fallen angels.
They are angels that fought against God...and lost.
Demons are angels.
So when we all form these pictures in our minds of demons or of angels…..we should remember that they are the exact same kind of being.
Demons are angels, created by God, and then kicked out of heaven for being jerks.
Demons dont reproduce.
There is a set number of demons in all of reality, and it’s not going to grow.
They arent omniscient.
They dont know what you are thinking unless you act on those thoughts.
They aren’t omnipresent
They arent everywhere at once
They must travel
They arent physical beings
They don’t have bodies or bones, or skin or flesh,
Which means they dont take up physical space
There could be billions of them dancing upon the head of a pin
Demons are real---
They are active---
They have ill intent---
They may be a little scary---
But as our verses show us this morning….every demon ever.....is under the authority of Jesus Christ.
So Jesus comes up to this man who has been exhibiting some interesting behavior for a long time:
(this story is told in Matthew, Mark and Luke, so with all of their stories, we can piece together a more complete picture of him)
He has been running around naked living not in a house or a box on a street corner or in a tent in the woods…..but amongst tombs and graves
He has been violently attacking any who happen to come near him
Running and shrieking towards them to attack and cause violence and harm
He’s been taking sharp stones to his skin and muscles and cutting and mutilating himself
This man was a dangerous, violent, perverted, wicked person-----
So much so, that the people of the area had no idea what to do with him, so they restrained him with chains and shackles…..
They literally chained this man up to try and keep himself and everyone else safe from his behavior.
But he was so strong and so crazed, that he ripped the chains apart and broke the shackles.
This was a lost, broken, hurting, violent, wicked, perverted, masochistic shell of a man
And all of this, was because of the demons that took up residence within his soul.
So Jesus comes up to Him, yells “go on git” and then everything is smiles and sunshine, the end.
An interesting fact, that needs to be stated without getting too far off topic, is that this group of demons knew exactly who Jesus Christ was.
The demons, call Him God
Those vile creatures working against us at every turn and laughing at our downfall…..call Jesus God.
Our enemy, the ones who wage spiritual warfare against believers and non-believers alike, still pronounce the truth of who Jesus Christ is.
James 2:19 says that even the demons believe in Him
Romans 14:11 says that every knee will bow and tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, not just believers.
Even the devil himself, that disgusting puny weakling, rages at the fact that he must confess the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Even the demons believe
Mere belief doesnt change hearts
Belief doesnt change lives
Belief doesnt mold our soul into one that God looks at an approves
Belief does not save us------because even the demons believe.
It is only if that belief leads us to repentance, that our lives will change.
The demons believe and dont repent
The demons believe and dont change their ways
The demons believe but continue to live their life contrary to what Scripture teaches
The demons believe in God----and hate Him
Now this story can be taken in many many directions, but as we get closer to closing, Id like to focus on just a few more things.
The first of which, is the name these demons gave when asked.
“My name is Legion...for we are many.”
Oh man thats awesome! That is such a cool sentance!
Now if you dont know, a “legion” was a division of the Roman Army.
It ranged in number from about 4,000 all the way up to 6,000
When the Romans invaded a country, legions of troops would wade into the battlefield and fight and kill their opponets, and occupy their land.
These demons didnt say:
“My name is ….group”
“My name is ….gathering”
They didnt say “My name is ...multitude”
They didnt use any other of the numerous terms that could be used to desribe a gathering of people
They used a military term.
And not just any military term
They used a term from the military force that was currently occupying the very country that Jesus was working in.
If it happened today, they would have said:
“My name is Brigade, or “Regiment”
Larger than a Platoon
Larger than a Company
These demons chose to name themselves after a regiment of soilders from an invading and occupying army.
It’s like this, because ---- The Devil has plans for you.
He does not sit back on his disgusting feet, lounging away like the slob he is.
He is active against the purposes of God
And if God lives within your soul-------then he will be active against you
He will attack you
He will throw thoughts into your mind that you hate
He will tease you with pleasures and joys
He will taunt you with power and passion
He will whisper sweet words into your ear, slowy scraping at the heart of flesh that God has gave you, trying to turn it back to stone with every scratch of his vomitous fingers.
The devil has plans for you.
The second point id like to draw from ths story, and one more after this, is that God is not limited in who He saves...based on anything in the world.
He saves and changes the lost and broken
He saves and changes the hurt and depressed
He saves and changes the war monger and dictator
He saves and changes the most vile, evil, violent wicked members of humanity---up to and including a man who was possessed by 5,000 demons.
There is no one out of His reach, no one beyond His grasp
There is no crime so dark, no cabal so evil, no empire so violent that God cannot reach them.
And God saves all who He reaches.
Suffering cant stop Him--
Loss cant stop Him--
Violence and war cant stop Him--
Cultures cant stop Him--
Fake religions cant stop Him--
All the forces of hell will rage and make war against Him...and they will all fail and fall like a thousand dying shadows against a sunrise.
That was a lot.
Lets tone it down a little for this last point
The last point Id like you all to take home, comes from two of the verses this morning:
10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
When there is something that has been a part of our life for years……..but God says it should not be there….we will fight for it.
We will fight to keep the things in our life that are hurting us----up to the point that we ask God to let it stay there.
If you’ve heard me preach before, you know how much I like Lord of The Rings, and this verse right here summarizes the danger of the ring.
The danger of sin
If we embrace it---
If we accomodate it---
If our life is built arounf that which God says is bad….then when the time comes and God tells us to lay it down----we will fight it.
Evil blinds us---
It trick us---
It seeps into the those cracks in our soul to the point where we cant imagine our life without it, and any attempt to take it away, causes us to react in anger and frustration.
Dont let this happen to you----
Lay your sin down at the feet of God----
All the evil in your life, if it’s your own, or if it’s someone elses against you----- bring it to Christ before it becomes a precious part of your life.
And the second verse id like you take home, is:
19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
When God changes your life, tell other people.
Let your friends and family know what God has done for you.
Your testimony is a tool in the hands of our maker that He will use to brake the grip of the enemy on your friends and family.
Tell people about God, and what He has done for you.
( → → Closing prayer ← ← )