The Gospel of Luke: Madman to Missionary

Luke 8:26-39
Greg Smith
March, 27 2022

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The Gospel of Luke: Madman to Missionary

Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print. Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document.

i'd invite you if you would to open your bibles to the gospel of luke chapter 8.

this morning we'll give attention to luke chapter 8 beginning in verse 26

luke writes then they sailed to the country of the gerasenes which is opposite galilee when jesus had stepped out on land there met him a man from the city who had demons for a long time he had worn no clothes and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs when he saw jesus he cried out and he fell down before him and he said with a loud voice what have you to do with me jesus son of the most high god i beg you do not torment me

for he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of him for many a time it had seized him he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert and jesus then asked him what is your name and he said legion for many demons had entered him and they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss but now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside and they begged him to let them enter these so we gave them permission and then the demons came out of the man and they entered the pigs and the herd rushed down a steep bank into a lake or into the lake and drowned the herdsmen saw what had happened they fled and they told it in the city and in the country the people went out to see what had happened and they came to jesus and they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of jesus clothed in his right mind and they were afraid those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed then all the people sort of the surrounding country of the garrisons asked him to depart from them for they were seized with great fear so he got into the boat and he returned the man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him but jesus sent him away saying return to your home and declare how much god has done for you and he went away proclaiming throughout the whole city how much jesus had done for him that's the word of the lord for us this morning let's pray together lord jesus we come to this remarkable encounter in your life in ministry and we're reminded in very vivid language that this world in which we live the world that we can see hear smell and touch is not the only world that there is there is a spiritual realm that is real there are angels and there are fallen angels

lord as we look at this we're reminded that we're not to be ignorant of these things

we're not to live in ignorance and we're not to live in fear for you're with us and lord as we think about this man that you encountered on this particular day we're reminded in some part of what it's like to be lost and in some way we were all just like this man

until we experienced the incredible redeeming power of your grace until you met us in our sin in our confusion and in our rebellion

you opened our eyes to the truth of who you are

the son of god come to save he opened our eyes to our own sinful hearts you drew us to yourself

he drew us to repentance into belief

and we believed and we bowed before you and entrusted our lives to you and you redeemed us you brought sanity into our madness

you open our eyes and our ears to the truth

in the midst of a world of lies you forgave our sin and you redeemed our souls we celebrate salvation that you bring this morning lord jesus as we see it sort of in vivid color in this encounter you had open our eyes to this truth if there's someone here this morning who does not know you as lord and savior open their eyes to who you are and may they run to you and find hope and salvation everlasting for we pray in christ's name amen

well it's been quite a day in the life of jesus and his disciples last week we saw just immediately preceding this text what had occurred in their life this trip across the sea of galilee that did not go particularly smoothly for anyone involved with the exception of jesus

and luke here tells us that immediately upon coming to shore following this storm on the sea they're immediately confronted by a demonized man and we're introduced really quickly here to the idea that there is a world that's beyond this world that there is a such thing as angels and demons we've encountered this already once in luke if you recall back in luke chapter four we were studying jesus entered a synagogue on on a sabbath and he was there in the midst of a synagogue and right in the middle of a church service a demon screamed out from within one of the congregants who had gathered in that space on that particular morning and jesus cast that demon out of him right in the middle of a church service

but here we have something a little different in some ways similar in some ways different but we're reminded again that there is this reality of another world that exists that isn't perceived through our sight and through our sound and through our hearing and through our taste and through our touch their beings angels and demons that are real yet unperceivable that they are active in ways that we don't comprehend and fully understand that we can't necessarily see or know but at times they do make themselves known throughout the scriptures we see this time and again and when we think about demons and we think about demonology and we think about satan and all these things related to this there are there are two errors i think that are really common and i mention this about every time that i talk about this issue two errors that are really common error number one is is folks having too little emphasis on the reality of angels and demons the folks who just live in this oblivious state as though this world is all that there is as though there is no other world as though angels and demons are not real as though the only things that that matter are the things that we can see that are that are sort of earthly if you will living in pure ignorance to the fact that there are real forces that are at war and that our souls are really a part of hanging in the balance in that war the other error is too much emphasis on demons in satan and demonology this can often become in the lives of believers and obsession where they're just obsessed with demons and obsessed with the things that are satanic and it becomes something that is an overriding sort of a desire to know more and to learn more and to sort of piece together and to fill in the gaps where scripture doesn't really fill in the fill in the gaps their entire ministry is in fact set up to to do nothing other than try to explain to you more detail than what the bible gives about demons and satan and so on and so forth strategies for warfare and things that you ought to do in order to protect yourselves from demons there's no shortage of those in the christian world and on the internet you can find one at the well-purchased web address

you can find all sorts of interesting factoids on a supposedly christian site uh one interesting factoid that you can find on that website is this and i quote boyce and boyce are two demons that interfere with any electronic equipment i.e phones computers printers automobiles if something malfunctions command these two demons by name to leave your equipment in the name of jesus we get any many emails saying that this worked if it doesn't work then demons are not causing the problem

this is helpful information the next time your iphone doesn't cooperate

if you read a little further down on they they have a model prayer for you and i and for anyone else to pray they say on a daily basis and and this is the prayer that we're told we are to pray on a daily basis in the name of jesus i cover myself and the one reading this with the blood of jesus i ask for giant warrior angels to protect us as your war club and weapons of war i break down undam and blow up all walls of protection around all witches warlocks wizards satanists sorcerers and the like and i break the power of all curses hexes vexes spells charms fetishes psychic prayers psychic thoughts witchcraft sorcery sorcery magic voodoo all mind control jinxes potions bewitchments death destruction sickness pain torment psychic power psychic warfare prayer chains incense and candle burning incantations chanting blessings hudu crystals root works and everything else being sent my way if that wasn't comprehensive enough or my family's way or any deliverance ministries way and i return it and the demons to the sender seven fold and i bind it to them by the blood of jesus and i cut and burn their ungodly silver cord and lay lines in jesus name i have no idea what any of that means whatsoever none i mean it's completely and utterly incomprehensible to anything that's remotely biblical

it just sounds bizarre

my favorite quote from was this and this tells you really what you need to know and this is a quote know this everyone has demons especially christians there's no scripture that says this it's just a matter of fact there's no scripture that says you do not have demons jesus said the demons are living inside of you not outside jesus said that the demons call your body their house do you live outside your house neither do demons

that's just fantastic there's no scripture that says this and yet jesus says this how would one know apparently they know this at mean this is just pure nonsense as you can imagine right this is ridiculous all of it insane really it's an insane obsession with something that one ought not be obsessed with and one becomes obsessed with it you end up in all sorts of fantasy and fallacy and foolishness like this

as a believer we have no no reason to pursue such things really christ is our model we don't see jesus ever in the gospels pursuing demons or chasing demons or looking for demons or trying to sort these things out we see him going about his ministry of seeking and saving the loss and occasionally when he's on that mission he runs into moments like he did on the sea of galilee in luke chapter 8 and when he encounters it he addresses it deals with it and moves on about the ministry that he was primarily about seeking and saving the lost

and so as believers we want to be careful as we think about these things we want to not provide in our minds and hearts too little emphasis to where we pretend it isn't real but on the other hand we don't want to be fooled by nonsense like this or for people who push nonsense like this trying to tell us things that are extra biblical we have here in luke chapter 8 a biblical account of a real encounter with a real group of demons and the lord jesus christ and we find all sorts of fascinating things in this text luke introduces us really at the very beginning in verse 26 to what amounts to a madman says they sailed to the country the gerasenes opposite of galilee and when jesus stepped out a land there met him a man from the city who had demons

now in case you're wondering where the country of the gerasenes is in case you're not up on your middle eastern geography the sea of galilee we talked about this a little bit last week showed you a little bit of a fly over but we can show you a little bit of a map here that gives you a sense for what we're talking about in relation to where jesus and the disciples were prior to this event they were up near capernaum uh sort of where the top of that red and green line meets there it's where they set sail from on the sea of galilee they encounter the storm on the sea and they make their way across the sea over here to the other shore you see on the map there a town labeled gargasa and it's there that they that they come to shore on the back end of this particular storm it's on the eastern shore of the sea of galilee if you're reading this in the gospels you'll find that this area is referred to by a number of different names sometimes it's called here like here the country of the gerasenes it's it's also referred to as the decapolis if you were to look in the gospel of matthew matthew calls this the the area of the gadarenes and so it may be a little confusing trying to understand where this is but you can just sort of summarize this by saying that matthew really is dealing with the larger area that's often just goes by the name the gadarenes because gadara is not far from there perhaps even the capital of the region and that's just referring to that larger region also decapolis refers to that larger region more specifically this particular town garrus is right there on the sea and so luke is referring to the particular location rather than to the region when he says the the country of the gerasenes this is a gentile region and so jesus is now moved from a jewish primarily jewish ministry that he's carried out up to this point across to a gentile area a land that is populated largely by gentiles and he encounters them here really in a remarkable sort of a way it is really the first and as far as we can tell biblically the only visit that jesus makes to this entire region is on this particular account and we're told that he's met there immediately by a man who is has many demons now if you're reading the gospel of mark and the gospel of matthew who both record this particular event you'll find in matthew's gospel chapter 8 verse 28 matthew tells us another fact about this particular event he tells us that when jesus came to the other side to the country of the gatherings there were two demon-possessed men who met him so the question becomes is there one was there one or were there two demoniacs that met them on this day i think the most likely answer to that is there were likely two who were present one who did primarily the the sort of encounter with jesus one who spoke on behalf of them all and so luke and mark focus on that particular man matthew enlightens us by telling us there was another man in similar situation who was also present both possessed by demons what does it mean to be possessed by demons well here's a good definition that i think works demon possession is really just a condition in which one or more demons inhabit the body of a human being with the purpose of controlling it it's a good description of what had taken place in the life of of this this man or perhaps these two men on this particular day in this particular place in this particular situation we have a man who is utterly demon-possessed he is under complete and total demonic control he literally has no control of his own person we're not told in the text at all how he got into this condition how it happened to him we're just simply confronted with the reality that in every way spiritually mentally physically he is utterly dominated and controlled by demons they control his voice they control his speech it's as though he's nothing but a puppet in his own life this man is living a life of of utter misery and he has for a long time his life you could say is an absolute living horror show for anyone to look at he's alive and he's conscious and he's absolutely controlled by demons

i can't imagine a worse condition to be in than the condition that this man finds himself in i want to pause and sort of answer some questions about this issue because their issue their questions that come to my attention from folks fairly regularly when this issue comes up this issue of demons and satan and demon possession what are demons and what powers do they possess and can they possess christians and and so on and so forth let me give you a quick few answers to those questions as sort of an aside before we continue with the text what what are what are demons well the bible tells us demons are they're fallen angels that that joins satan in his rebellion in eternity past and and they were judged by god along with satan cast out of heaven cast down to earth they are fallen angels who have all the same sort of attributes that that unfallen angels have though they are allied with satan they're his accomplices and in his scheme to to to kill to steal and to destroy anything and everything they can affect in god's creation though they quite often present themselves as angels of light their true aim is always death destruction and decay and anything the demons are a part of will ultimately find that kind of a fate demons cannot touch god directly but they can certainly wreak havoc on his creation and the evidence of that is all around for those who are paying attention we don't know a whole lot about demons beyond that we know that they're we can at least infer that there is some sort of structure as far as their levels of power and authority in mark chapter nine that we have an account where where a man brings his his demonized son to jesus and then the the disciples had tried to cast out this particular demon and they had had no success and jesus cast him out and and after this happens they went indoors and the disciples asked him privately in mark chapter 9 why couldn't we drive it out and jesus said they this kind come out by only by prayer there was some ability that to to sort of cast out this particular demon that jesus had that his disciples did not in daniel chapter 10 we won't dwell there daniel is visited by an angel from the lord and this angel is in conversation with daniel and daniel chapter 10 and he tells him that he would was was planning to have arrived to daniel earlier he says but uh but but some things happened along the way he said i've come in a response to some things but the prince of the persian kingdom resisted me 21 days then michael one of the chief princes came to help me because i was detained there by the king of persia i have any idea what all that specifically means but it certainly means that this angel was deployed to deliver a message to daniel and he encountered demonic resistance along the way which required assistance from the angel michael in some regard so what do we make of all that who knows can't say much more beyond that other than to say that's what we know we don't really have any further information about this so to try to take it further than that is just to go into the sort of the land of of conjecture but that's who that's what demons are that's what demons are they're spiritual beings they they're not limited by time they're not limited by space they're not limited uh by form however they're not omnipresent like god is they're not everywhere at once they can only be in one place at one time but because they're spiritual beings they're not perceived by us unless they want to be perceived by us they're powerful beings in second peter chapter 2 verse 11 peter tells us that the angels are greater in power and might than men the psalmist says something very similar in psalm 103 where he says angels excel in strength

one example second kings chapter 19 verse 35 one holy angel slew 185 000 men in the assyrian army in a moment

men are no match for angels and power only the power of god almighty can command them there are people in our world and in our culture like to dabble in the occult and they think that they can manipulate and they think that they can control the demonic and their absolute fools to try to do so to do so is to do so at your own demise

people who do so are playing with forces they do not understand

and will likely be destroyed

well as we see in this text they can possess unbelievers that's for sure they can possess unbelievers we see this throughout the text of scripture there are different kinds of possession we what we see here is a total possession of a human being we're told in john chapter 13 verse 12 that judas after he took some bread satan entered into him jesus says to him what you do do quickly it's a different kind of possession to a different degree in some cases demons control only the thoughts and desires in other cases like this one demons consume the whole person

but demons cannot possess christians that question i'm asked often absolutely not one of the fundamental parts of coming to christ and and entrusting our lives to him one of the fundamental things that happens at the moment of salvation is we are indwelled by the holy spirit of god and the holy spirit comes to abide within us christ in us by spirit and he's not airbnb and part of our soul to demons

if you know jesus christ as your lord and savior the spirit of god lives within you and no demon can find a home in you but this man was not a believer

he did not have the spirit of god indwelling him he had demons he was under complete control no ability to resist it was his life was a living nightmare listen to the description of of what it what had become of this man at one point we presumed that he was a normal man i mean you look around this room just go ahead look around it just gives your neck some exercise and you look around you see all these lovely people men and women in the room they all look wonderful like normal you know situated people this man at one point looked like the people in this room

but on this day he's nothing like you we're told he's naked he hasn't put on clothes for a very long time this man has lived in complete exposure and all the shame associated with that i mean we wear clothing for a reason right we don't run around naked and there's a reason we don't do that there are multiple reasons why we don't do that probably multiple reasons at least one of which is that's shameful it'll be shameful to do that you don't do that normal sane people don't do that but this man is not sane and he has no sense of shame because all that's been stripped away by these demons and he has not worn clothes in a very long time not only that but he's had no protection from the elements and the bugs and the everything else completely naked for a long time filthy he's homeless whatever family he once had that that's been he's been driven out of that home long long ago he most certainly was not welcomed in this condition to any family he had no friends he had no friends and and certainly no family who admit any association with this particular man he was really utterly alone in every sense apart from perhaps another crazed maniac that was hanging around with him he lived in the tombs we're told i mean is there a creepier place to live than a cemetery

their cemeteries were a little different than ours the tombs were usually carved into the to the stone walls of cliffs and such and so they would often have multiple rooms where you'd bury multiple family members and so spaces that were unoccupied if you will by a dead corpse would potentially be open and so presumably that's the space that this man had been living in he was more at home among the dead than he was among the living more comfortable in a tomb than in a house

beyond that he had inhuman strength he was such an absolute menace to society in that whole region that we're told that that the authorities had tried on multiple occasions to come and restrain this man they had likely gathered up a posse and and tried to to capture him and had done so on some occasions chained him up shackled him up with chains and so forth but every single time you saw what happens this man busts out of the shackles and the chains there no there are no chains there are no shackles that can hold him he has strength that no mere human would have

mark 5 tells us that he had become so violent and so powerful that nobody could subdue him

beyond that matthew tells us that he was so fierce in his behavior and so violent in his actions toward other people that nobody could literally pass through that entire area because of him

everybody would have known about this man everybody would have known about him beyond all of that he was in constant pain mark tells us in verse five of chapter five night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones can you imagine the city folks who live in the nearby cities at night you know it's not the stars or the crickets or anything else that you hear you hear this man screeching and screaming in the distance and shrieking literally cutting himself with stones

the demons have driven him to absolute self-harm

this man is an absolute absolutely pitiful horrifying sight it seems to me that death would be better than that kind of an existence and yet there was absolutely no end to his misery he had been in this condition for a long time

and if ever there was a hopeless cause it's this man no ability to help himself nobody else could apparently do anything to bring him any relief for any help he was an absolute lost and hopeless man what a sight he must have been jesus and the disciples were told they they they hit the shore and immediately after they get out of the boat they're met by this man so literally if you could just picture this in your mind they've just come off of this event on the storm on the sea and they pull up to the shore and immediately when they hit the shore this this naked crazy man comes running out of the tomb screaming at the top of his lungs in their direction you can imagine the disciples reaction to that

i mean they've had one heck of a trip across the sea

they were scared to death fighting for their life in the middle of a storm they they thought they were going to absolutely die for sure they see jesus wake up rub the sleep out of his eyes tell the storm to settle down and it settles down

they see his power on display and they're absolutely horrified now not of the storm but of jesus they pull up on the shore probably still dripping wet from it all and now this crazed maniac is running adam screaming

you think you've had a bad day this week that's a bad day are you kidding me could this day get any more bizarre

but this man comes running and he he comes right up to jesus and he speaks to him he falls down before him he assumes this position of of submission he bows before him now this is important because literally no human we're told could even pass by this entire region no human could subdue this man no human could restrain this man no human could do anything other than avoid this man yet in the presence of jesus he bows on his face immediately he knows immediately that he's in the presence of someone who is no ordinary man he's in the presence of the divine and luke tells us that he literally screams at him what have you to do with me jesus son of the most high god screams at the top of his lungs probably foaming at his mouth and

other things that happen when demons manifest

one thing is clear he immediately knows exactly who jesus is he knows who he is the irony is that just a little while earlier the disciples were out on the middle of the sea and they watched jesus call in the storm and they're terrified and what they're asking each other is this who then is this that he commands even the winds and the water and they obey him they're trying to figure out who jesus is they don't know who he is they haven't made sense of it yet they're bewildered at jesus identity they couldn't figure out from the miracles but what they couldn't figure out from the miracles the demon just comes right out and tells them straight up

listen people might be confused about who jesus is but the demons are not confused about who jesus is never james chapter 2 verse 19 james write you believe that there's one god good even the demons believe that and they shudder

your son of the most high god they've known jesus from eternity past they have no trouble recognizing him in his incarnation but everybody else seems to have trouble figuring out they are not confused about one bit he is god the son in human flesh lord of heaven and earth the one who has all authority and all power even over them this demon or these demons they know jesus authority they recognize immediately that his authority far outranks their own he's the god and judge of the universe

and they bow before him just like one day every single knee will do in all of creation they know that he has the authority to command them and they must obey they know that he has the authority authority to cast them into eternal torment with a word which is apparently what they're particularly concerned about at this particular time

because this demon not only knows jesus authority but he knows his own destiny

which is to be thrown into the abyss

this is an old testament term used to describe by old testament jews is the place of the dead literally translates bottomless pit

we don't have time to go into all the eschatology of all this but just sort of as a a couple of statements about it these demons understand that it's not the end of time they understand that their destiny is the abyss they understand that judgment is coming and there is no escape but they do know at this particular moment that it's not the end times yet and it's not time that is really the genesis of their initial question all of the activity of satan and the demons is going to one day climax at the end of time in what's called the great tribulation and after that they're going to be thrown into an abyss for a thousand years during the millennial reign of christ and after a brief release on the tail end of that they'll be judged eternally and thrown into the lake of fire you can read all about it in revelation chapter 20.

so the spokesman for these demons he begs jesus for mercy not to torment him he knows it's not the final judgment but he doesn't he knows jesus has the ability to to judge him immediately he doesn't challenge his authority in any way he simply begs for mercy

we're told jesus responds to him and he asks for some id what's your name

to which he only replies legion legion isn't his proper name he's giving a description of what's going on it's a roman military term which stood for a roman legion literally thousands of soldiers perhaps up to six thousand six thousand eight hundred different people come up with a different number luke doesn't give us a particular number here but the indication is that this man is literally infested with thousands of demons one of whom is speaking in the south we might say he's eat up with demons

we don't know how many there were 2 000 pigs and all of them seemed to be occupied at the end of the story so perhaps we could infer there was at least that many

they didn't want to be cast into the abyss and so they request jesus to cast him into the nearby herd of pigs now why the herd of pigs i don't have any idea there are all sorts of questions about this text i don't know anything about why did they want to go into the pigs i don't know i could i could assume that they knew jesus wasn't going to let them stay in this man that he had every intention of kicking them out of the place that they'd been living for a while like every man this man was made in the image of god and they had perverted god's creation and christ was about to make that right maybe pigs were the only thing around i don't know but i know they wanted to continue their destructive activity so they asked to be thrown into the pigs why does jesus agree to do it i have no idea we'll ask him when we get there what i do know is that his word they come out of this man they come out of this man and they enter the pigs first john chapter 3 verse 8 john writes this the son of god appeared for this purpose to destroy the works of the devil and we see in vivid fashion one example of that here and just like the storm in the middle of the sea of galilee when jesus speaks the demons listen and they obey they can do absolutely nothing apart from his permission he has all authority over them if you know jesus christ as your lord and savior think about this for a moment there's absolutely no reason for you to fear a demon ever ever

first john chapter 4 verse 4 john writes little children you are from god and have overcome them for he who is in you is greater than he who is where is in the world the spirit of god indwells you don't need to live in fear of demons they can do absolutely nothing apart from his permission

and he gives them permission for some reason to go into these pigs and the whole herd of pigs rushes wildly down the down to the lake and drowns themselves i mean can you imagine that scene two thousand pigs previously normal docile pigs just doing pig stuff or pigs do and all of a sudden demons infest them and they are shrieking and going absolutely berserk can you imagine the sights the sound the carnage or these pigs just rushing into the lake and drowning themselves why does jesus allow this to the poor piggy piggies

i don't know i know pigs were considered unclean by jews so to cast unclean spirits into unclean animals kind of makes some sense

it's probably worth noting that these pigs were being raised for slaughter not as pets

and so one could argue that he just brought the inevitable to the present we have incidentally some folks here who have piggy piggies that they raise for food i don't know if i can spot my friends who have that right now or not i they're here i think i saw him we visited some friends from the church recently for dinner and they had pigs in the backyard and they had names for them ham and bacon and sausage

that was their names i'll let them identify themselves and there's a reason for that you don't make friends with your food

i learned that at that visit but that's the kind of pigs these were these were pigs that were going to be food they weren't people's pets and so we don't need um to get up in arms about that but why jesus did that i don't particularly know i think probably the most reasonable thing is to say the reason jesus did this is it served as a very vivid confirmation that the demons came out of that man if anybody wanted to question whether or not the exorcism actually worked they had a living illustration to show them that it worked one minute the pigs are normal pigs and the next minute they're going berserk and drowning themselves in the lake one woman the man is an absolute madman maniac in the next minute he's a perfectly normal from all outward appearances man who's in his right mind

nobody would have been unclear about what just happened nobody would have questioned what took place on that shore that day well it terrified the herdsmen probably would have terrified you too if you'd seen it they fled and they they told it in the city and the country and these men they take off running they hightail it out of there they don't want any part of whatever's going on there and they've just lost their entire flock of pigs too so i don't know if pigs are a flock maybe it's something else but you can correct me on that later but they take off when they run to the country and to the city anybody they run into they have got the gossip of the century man they have got a story that nobody else has and they're telling everybody who'll listen they're absolutely terrified they would have quickly this event become the talk of the town and as people are hearing the story and the stories spreading throughout people people are now running out to the to the shore to see what went on for themselves and when they get there they're absolutely stunned by what they find

they see an unbelievable undeniable transformation that's taken place and this utterly hopeless cause man this man who had been naked and homeless and terrifying a madman for so long is now sitting calmly at jesus feet he's taking up the position of a disciple at the feet of jesus he's fully clothed for the first time in a very long time and he's in his right mind no longer controlled by demons

that would have been an absolutely jaw-dropping moment for all of these people they would have never dreamed that that kind of transformation could take place in that kind of a man everybody would have thought he was way too far gone and yet here he is what do you do with that what kind of sense can you make of that

well it's a visual picture of what takes place in salvation every time it takes place every unbeliever to a lesser degree is just like this man under satanic control blind to the truth corrupt in his thoughts living a shameful destructive life unable absolutely unable to save himself or herself that is the condition of every unbeliever before they come to christ but after coming to christ and repenting and believing the gospel and entrusting our lives to the lord jesus christ immediately we're indwelled by the holy spirit we come under divine control we're clothed in the righteousness of christ our minds are sanctified and we now possess the mind of christ we're able to hear and able to comprehend the word of god we're in us in a real sense in our right mind we have a whole new way of thinking his word begins to transform us every time the gospel takes root in a human heart the transformation that takes place in the soul is the same transformation that took place in this poor man's soul

jc rile anglican bishop says this never is a man in his right mind till he's converted or in his right place till he sits by faith at the feet of jesus or rightly clothed until he's put on the lord jesus christ he goes on to say real conversion is nothing else but the miraculous release of a captive the miraculous restoration of a man to his right mind the miraculous deliverance of a soul from the devil and that's what we see and vivid color in this poor man and this crowd can't deny what's happened they can't explain it but they can't deny it and their response is probably the saddest part of the entire account they respond with two things fear and indifference on the one hand they're terrified by what they see because they know everybody that they know has tried to control this man and nobody has had any luck in fact their only recourse has been to avoid him and now he sits there perfectly normal somehow because of the power of this man jesus is standing in front of them

and they're terrified they're terrified of his power

but that terror doesn't draw them to him

what they do in response to recognizing his power is very simple and very sad they just ask him to leave they ask him to leave they don't debate him they don't argue with him they don't ridicule him they don't persecute him

they just ask him to leave

they're totally indifferent really to who he is or where he's come from or what he can do for them they literally don't care if he's the messiah or what power he has and whether he's from god or not they just want him gone they just want him gone he stirred up something in the midst of their normal lives and they don't like the stirring up and they want things just to go back to normal so they just tell them to go away

that's been the same kind of indifference the same kind of apathy that's been shown by most men in the history of the world in which you and i live

when confronted with the lord jesus christ and who he is and what he brings and who they are in light of him those people really just respond the same way they just want him to go away to leave them alone

they don't want to be bothered

jesus does exactly what they asked him to do he gets in his boat and he leaves and nowhere in scripture do we have any indication that he ever returned to this place again

one author said this sometimes the worst thing that can happen to us is for jesus to grant one of our poorly considered requests

and that's really exactly what happened to the people of this region who had come out to meet him on this particular day god had come to them in person and he had showed himself to them in in miraculous undeniable ways and they rejected him and asked him to go away they forfeited an opportunity to be saved and an opportunity like that would never afford itself again in their lives at least not that way

indifference to the gospel of jesus christ is incredibly dangerous to the soul

and no doubt the bulk of the folks who came to witness jesus on that particular day found out in the most horrifying way when they breathed their last breath and slipped out into an eternity

to only reflect on the fact that the lord of the universe had come to redeem them and they told him to go away

well the account ends this way luke tells us the man from whom the demon said gone beg that he might go with him but jesus sent him away saying return to your home and declare how much god has done for you

and he went away proclaiming throughout the whole city how much jesus had done for him this man begged to go with jesus and you and i wouldn't blame him right that's the natural response to that kind of a thing christ transforms you and you just can't get enough you want to be with him and wherever he goes you want to be where he is and you want to learn more well you've tasted a little bit you want more that's what this guy does he wants more of jesus and he wants to go anywhere jesus goes i'm sure secondarily though in the back of his mind he's got a reputation in this town and his community like everybody has seen him and known him for a really long time and that's going to be a hard one to overcome

but jesus says nope you're going to stay here and even in this is the remarkable grace of christ isn't it these people have asked him to go away they don't want any part of him and he does that but he leaves behind a witness a witness this man and no question about it anytime anybody in that area ever saw this man they would be reminded of what happened on that shore that day and the undeniable power of jesus christ to transform a human life

he says to him nope you stick around i don't need you on the foreign mission field i need you on the home mission field

you just spend your time going around and telling everybody how much god's done for you just tell them how much god's done for you

this man knew enough to be saved he knew enough to be a missionary and so jesus commissions him

what does he do he went away proclaiming throughout the whole city how much jesus had done for him he did just what jesus told him to do he did what everybody who's been redeemed by the blood of christ ought to do he did what everybody who's experienced the transforming power of christ in their life who's been redeemed who's been forgiven who's been set free from their sin who's been indwelled by the spirit of god who's experienced redemption and sanctification who's experienced all of the blessings and joys that come with saving faith in the lord jesus christ what every person who has experienced that should do is tell anybody and everybody who will listen how much god has done for you

and that serves as a tremendous challenge for people like us who are very busy who are very busy talking about other things and doing other things just as a challenge a simple question when was the last time that you spoke to somebody else and told them how much god has done for you

perhaps we're derelict in our responsibility in this regard huh

perhaps we've forgotten how much god has done for us perhaps we don't truly appreciate how much god has truly done for us

particularly if we don't think it's important enough to share with somebody else this particular man was under no illusion about how much god had done for him none whatsoever he was hopeless and he had nothing he was living a lie his life was a living horror show a movie that you and i couldn't go watch

because of the rating it would be

and in a moment he was perfectly normal redeemed by christ he had a lot that he could tell about how much christ had done for him and i guarantee you if you had met this man in that city from that moment until he breathed his last breath you probably would have heard him talking about nothing other than that

because when you truly experience the transformation of christ you can't help but tell somebody else you want it for the people around you

our time's up let me just give you a quick some quick takeaways i think these are pretty obvious but just to sort of some thoughts to hang your your hat on at the end

we address this at the beginning satan and demons are not to be toyed with or feared we don't we don't play around with the occult but we certainly don't live in fear of it

secondly jesus is god in human flesh that's what luke has been driving all throughout his gospel to this point he wants theophilus the man for whom he's writing this and anybody who reads it in the rest of human history to understand this is who jesus christ is he is not just a man he is god in human flesh and he showed us how he has all authority over the wind and the waves in a storm and now he shows us that he can do what only god can do command demons and they must obey there's nobody else that can do that only god

and christ is god in human flesh

if he can redeem and restore this man he can redeem and restore anybody if you're here this morning you don't know jesus christ as your lord and savior and you look at your own life and you you think man i've i've done some awful things you know my life is it's gone all sorts of ways i've lived in terrible rebellion against the lord i'm not sure he'll forgive me i'm not sure he can fix what's broken in me

this man stands as a living testimony that there's nobody that's beyond the reach of the lord jesus christ there's nobody who's too far gone that christ can't redeem

wherever you are whatever you've done come to the lord jesus christ bow before him confess your sin and trust your life to him and he will save you he will redeem you he will transform you from what you are into something glorious there's nobody that's beyond his reach and then two quick last thoughts rejecting the gospel is dangerous these folks rejected christ and apart from the testimonies demoniac they never had the opportunity to see him and hear from him again listen my friends there's a reason why the bible says today is the day of salvation that the moment you hear the gospel is the moment you need to repent and trust christ because we're not guaranteed it tomorrow and to push it away today is dangerous

because we're not told when we'll breathe our last breath

and finally we're all called to declare how much god has done for us if you're a christian here this morning and you understand the transformative power of christ in your life because he's redeemed you you've got a story to tell you don't need theological training you don't need to come to a class at this church to train you on what to do or what to say or how to handle every objection this man had none of that stuff he knew what it was to be saved so he knew enough to tell somebody else and so do you so do i find somebody this week tell them how much god has done for you somebody needs to hear that in your world somebody who's caught in satanic grip whether they know it or not needs to hear that in your world somebody whose mind is captive to the enemy needs to hear all the good god has done for you

somebody who's lost and living in shameful and ungodly ways in destructive ways needs to hear that there's another way to live

that god can do good things for them and maybe you're the only person in their circle who can tell them will you go tell them what's the risk why the fear

let's pray

jesus we're amazed more and more by you every time we open up our bibles and read

even in our imagination as we stretch it we can't even come close to imagining what that scene was like on that particular day that luke records the condition of this pathetic man and yet your love and your mercy upon him

your grace to expel a legion of demons from inside of him and restore him to sanity and to salvation to make a disciple of a demoniac to make a missionary out of a madman

it's just simply astonishing we don't even have a category for that in our minds nobody that we know can do things like that

because nobody we know is god but you are and we confess you as that this morning lord jesus

and lord we those of us who who know you as lord and savior we see in ourselves a bit of this madman we know what it looks like to be lost

don't know what it necessarily means to be demonized but we know what it's like to have our minds darkened and lives that are a mess behaviors that are shameful minds that can't think straight

lives that are just a wreck

and we know what it means to be transformed by your power

lord help us never to lose the wonder of what you've done for us help us never to be amazed by your grace that would save people like us

when you could have left us in our state you loved us you showed yourself to us and you redeemed us forgive us lord for not telling others how good you've been to us forgive us for occupying our speech with so many other trivial things that really don't matter

i pray for my friends and for myself this morning lord as we wrap this up that you would even now place in our minds somebody in our world that needs to hear all the good things you've done for us that perhaps even through that they might come to know you compel us to go compel us to speak overcome our fears and give us boldness for you have been so good to us we prayed in jesus name amen