Freedom in Jesus

Let’s pray. Father I praise your name today.
I thank you for every blessing that you’ve given us. Lord, I pray that you
would speak through me and today I pray that your word go forth. Lord, your
word tells us that when your word goes forth that it will not return void so I
pray that your word will go forth and that it will do its work among us today,
that it will challenge us, that it will shape us, that it will change us Lord to
be more like you in Jesus name, Amen. I was reading a couple of articles
recently about the rise of white supremacy in this country and it’s
happening right now and it’s evil amen it’s evil and what I was reading is how
white supremacists are infiltrating our children and there’s a way that they do
it; they actually have a strategy and I want you to hear what their strategy is
because it’s actually not just white supremacist groups who do this.
This is a way that we and are under attack as a nation. What I was reading is
that they will come in using social media like Facebook or Instagram or or
the ones that all the kids are on you know whatever whatever it is that
the teenagers are on they’ll get out there and they’ll start sharing
inappropriate memes, you know, like pictures that are kind of funny and
they’ll start to share those things and teenagers who will find them
will laugh and they’ll and they’ll share them and they’re kind of offensive and you
know teenagers kind of like to shock people so it it starts to very subtly
change people’s worldview just by using humor and then as that happens it starts
to separate them from everybody else the people who get they get pulled into that
they go through laughing at these memes to finding the people who share these
memes to friending the people these means and then they start to be
drawn away from their families what I was reading was about a mother who was
seeing what her children were looking at on their computers and it was you know
there’s things that are racist the things that are mean and things that are
intended to be funny and when she started to confront her kids about what
they were looking at online they started to fight. Believe it or not, a mother was
fighting with her teenagers and as they started to fight the teenagers
went and complained about it to their friends that they had just met online
and their friends started to say things like oh you know she doesn’t understand
you she doesn’t know the truth and they started to draw her children away from
her I was reading another story about the
man who used to be in a in a skinhead gang, and he was talking about how he
went to a punk rock show and he was outside smoking a joint
and somebody came out and smacked the joint out of his hand and said, I’m going
to quote this, it’s a little offensive, but he said you stop that
that’s what the Jews want you to do and started blaming his problems on the Jews
and the guy said that ” actually even though I didn’t agree with what he said it
resonated with me because he was saying that I could make an impact in this
world if I kept myself clean and that idea that I could make an impact in this
world influence me” and he actually went and befriended this skinhead gang and
left his family behind. I mention this at the at the
beginning of this sermon because it’s an old old tactic. It’s a tactic that Satan
uses against us again and again and again. Actually it’s a tactic the
military uses. Every body who’s a military general knows this
tactic and what it is is divide and conquer. If Satan can get me divided from
my family Satan can take me down. If Satan can get
me divided from the church, Satan can take me down. If Satan can get you
divided from the church he can take you down. It’s what he does again and
again and again. There are so many people I know… actually there are fewer today
than there were five years ago… they’re people I know who said “I
could be a Christian outside of the church. “Yeah I don’t have to go to church
to be a Christian, you know I could follow Jesus without having to go to
church every week.” The reason I have a fewer of those today is because most of
them, many of them are not even claiming to be Christians anymore. Their faith
doesn’t mean anything to them anymore. Being separated from the church has led
them to a slow but steady death. Being separated from the people that
love you will kill you. So we have to be careful about the voices that we listen
to, and we have to be careful with our children about the voices that we’re
allowing into their lives! We have to be careful that we are not being separated
from our families or from our family of faith because the devil is prowling
around like a raging lion seeking whom he may devour. You know who he wants to
devour? You! You know who he wants to devour? Your children! Your grandchildren!
And he does it by separating them from the community of faith. A lion… you ever
watch a nature video of a lion hunting? They go and they’ll find, a herd of water buffalo and, you know what a lion will not do?
Charge right into the middle of a herd of water buffalo, because it will get stomped to death.
What a lion will do this is separate whichever one it can and it will focus
on the weakest one that it can see. It will separate the weakest one from the rest
of the group and then slaughter it. The devil is prowling around like a raging
lion seeking whom he may devour. resist him!
Stand strong in your faith! We have to resist what he’s doing because he wants
us to be divided. He wants to eat us alive. I want us to look today at a story,
it’s a familiar story in Mark chapter 5, we’re going to be looking at verses 6
through 20. I’m going to give you a little bit of a background to what was happening
in this story. Mark chapter 5, we’ll be looking at verses 6 through 20. This
is this is the story about a man who was possessed by demons and when we hear
about somebody possessed by demons we immediately, if you’re like me, you
immediately have a little bit of a cultural shut off you know you say “does
that really happen, do people get possessed by demons? I don’t see people every day that are I know are possessed by demons. You see it more often these days in
foreign countries. One reason why I think is because Satan doesn’t need to do that here, he doesn’t need to make somebody look like they’re going
crazy possessed by a demon. He is able to get us other ways. He
convinces us that It is not real, and by convincing us that it’s not real he
causes us to lower our guard and when we lower our guard he gets us. Do you hear
me today? Demonic oppression, demonic possession is real. Satan still wants to
destroy us and he’s and he’s still working; but in this story there’s a man
who was possessed by demons and he was driven out from his country, driven
out from his home driven out from his from his family and his town. The Bible
says that he lived in the tombs, he lived he lived in the area in the
graveyard with, he lived there amongst all the dead bodies, rather than
living with his family and friends the Bible says that he would cut himself with stones and he would cry out loud he would cut himself with
stones and it says that the people from his town tried to chain him up to keep
him from from running around like a lunatic. They tried
to chain him up, but he would break the chains that they used to try to restrain
him, and he would run back and go back among the tombs and cut himself cry out
loud. He was naked he was he was out in the wilderness like an animal. Now I want to read this passage to you. It says: “When he saw Jesus from a distance he ran
and knelt down before Him. He cried out with a loud voice “what do you have to do
with me, Jesus son of the Most High God? I thank you before God, don’t torment me,”
for he had told him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit.” “What is your
name?” Jesus asked him. “My name is legion,” he answered him, “because we are many,” and
he kept begging him not to send them out of the region. Now a large herd of pigs
was there, feeding on the hillside. The demons begged Him, “send us to the pigs
so we may enter them,” and He gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits came out
and entered the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep
bank into the sea and drowned there. The men who tended them ran off and reported
it in the town and the countryside, and people went to see what had happened.
They came to Jesus and saw the man who had been demon-possessed by the legion
sitting there, dressed and in his right mind and they were afraid. The
eyewitnesses described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and
told about the pigs. Then they began to beg him to leave their region.”” They began
to beg Jesus to leave their region “As he was getting into the boat, the man who
had been demon-possessed kept begging to be with Him but He would not let him.
Instead He told him, “Go back home to your own people and report to them how much
the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.” So he went out and
began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him and they
were all amazed.” The first thing I want you to notice is that for this man who
was demon-possessed when Jesus said what is your name he said “my name is legion
because we are many.” What I want you to notice is, that this man was identifying
with the demons, he was identifying with the sin that was in his life. You know
sin gets a hold of us and it changes us to the point that we start to say
“that is just me”, “that’s who I am.” Jesus said “What is your name,” he said “My
name is legion, for we are many.” These days we have people and this may have
always been true in some in some sense but we have people who cling so hard to
their sin that they don’t even know who they are without it. We have people who
say “this is just my nature, this sin is who I am.” sometimes they even take the sin and they call it positive. They say “this is who God made me to be.”
It’s not who God made you to be. God did not make you to be en-mired in sin; God
made you to be free, but sin causes us to start to tell herself the wrong story.
Instead of saying the name of the person of God intended us to be, we
say “We are legion.” I am whatever the sin is. you know that
people say it like I am an addict I am a homosexual.
I am a fill-in-the-blank people start to identify with their sin to the point
that they can’t even imagine themselves without the sin. I know people who are so
addicted to drugs, and a part of them wants to be free, but there’s another
part of them that doesn’t even know who they would be if they got free. They’ve
almost forgotten their old name and this man, when Jesus said “What is your name,”
said “I am legion, for we are many.” there’s something in this story that
reminds me of something that they did in the Old Testament you can read about it
in the Book of Leviticus, where the priest would take a
goat and he would pronounce the sins of the people on the goat and that goat was
supposed to bear the sins of the people and leave them and run off into the
wilderness. There’s something in this story that reminds me of that where this
man bearing a Legion of demons within himself was driven out from the
community that he came from in Decapolis, these ten towns in the region,
they were Roman towns in the region they called them Decapolis, that means ten cities, and he was from that area he had been driven
out with a multitude of sins a multitude of demons within him. It’s almost like
the blame for those towns was put on him,, spiritually
speaking, and he was driven out but then he saw Jesus.
then he saw Jesus! Notice what he says when Jesus comes and I don’t know,
I’ve been studying this and I’ve been trying to figure it out: Is this the man
speaking, or is this the demons speaking? Jesus comes up, he saw Jesus from a
distance and it says he ran and knelt down before him and he cried out with a
loud voice “What you have to do with me, Jesus son of the Most High God?” is that
the man speaking is that the demon speaking? Is that the man saying “Jesus
I’m so bad and I don’t deserve to be in your presence,” or is it the demon saying
“you’re from God, we’re from hell and we have nothing in common”?
I’m not sure, but here’s what I know: The man came and he knelt down before Jesus
and when he cried about Jesus cast those demons out of him Jesus is ready to take the sin of the
world and cast it out. He’s ready to take the demonic
oppression that is in our lives and cast it out of our lives! The man was in
bondage, but Jesus was ready to set him free! You know it says that he saw Jesus
from a distance and ran to him and knelt. you know what Jesus could have done?
He could have said “Get me on the boat ,let’s get out of here. There’s a crazy man coming, get me
on the boat let’s get out of here.” “There’s a sinful man coming and I don’t
want to have a conversation with demons today.” Jesus could have avoided this
situation, but He waited for the man to come and fall at His feet and then He
cast out the demons! It doesn’t matter whether you feel
worthy or not to come before Jesus, Jesus loves you
Jesus is ready to help you. It doesn’t matter if you feel clean, it doesn’t
matter if you feel worthy. Jesus came to make you worthy
so Jesus speaks to this man and He casts the demons out! He cast the demons out
and then the demons begged Him, “send us into the pigs.” Jesus said yes so
the demons went and they and they took over this these two thousand pigs and
the pigs rushed off the edge of the cliff and drowned themselves. What I want you to see in this is that
these demons that Jesus…Jesus came and pronounced this man free and he was free…
but then the demons went to the next thing that was unclean. The demons went
and resided with the next thing that was unclean; this this herd of pigs in the
region was considered by the Jews to be an unclean animal and they weren’t
supposed to be in contact with it. It represents the sin of this world and the
demons went among the pigs and they infested those that were already
unclean. And do you know what sin causes you to do? Sin causes you to destroy
yourself! These demons, as they got into the pigs these pigs destroyed
themselves. Sin leads us to destruction every time! Now, yes I’m talking about hell
but I’m not JUST talking about hell, because sin will lead you to destruction
right here right now sin leads us… look, look at what this man was living in. This is
the work of demons in the world. This man couldn’t control himself from the sin
that was in him. They tried to chain him up, they tried to restrain his flesh, but
every time they did he would break loose! Sometimes we try to restrain ourselves
through willpower, we try to take the sin that’s in us and we say, “I can control this I
can control this.” But the flesh breaks free and we sin again and the
demonic oppression gets us again. Satan leads us to a lack of control he leads
us to isolation this man was isolated from his society
he was isolated from all those that could help him. It drove him into the
wilderness where he was by himself and just like I talked about at the beginning,
isolation, divide and conquer. Satan wants to get us away from those that
will help us so that he could then have his way with us and his way is the way
of destruction. The demons led him to hate himself. He cut himself with stones.
I was reading one commentator who was saying it’s almost as if he were
inflicting upon himself what he felt like he deserved. In those days somebody
who was who was a vile sinner would be cast out and stoned to death it’s almost as if, by taking these stones and cutting himself he’s
ritualistically stoning himself to death because he hates himself that much.
But it’s the work of the demons in him. The demons lead him to a life where he’s
where he’s under the blame of those in the city. “What’s wrong with him, why can’t
he just get it together?” “We’ve tried, we’ve tried, and we’ve tried to help him,
now just let him live out there among the tombs,” and he lived among the tombs
because he considered himself to be already dead. Sin leads us to inner death.
It’s not just hell. Hell is real and hell is the worst case scenario, but death
starts right here when we give our lives to sin. When we give our lives to the
demons around us, hell starts right here it gets worse
it gets worse but it starts to feel like you’re dead already.
We have in this country, we have an epidemic of people who hate themselves,
who cut themselves, who commit suicide and it’s because… I’m not saying that
every person I’m not saying that every person who deals with depression is
filled with a demon. I’m not saying that that the person who
deals with with mental illness is afflicted by demons. I’m not saying that.
Sometimes Jesus healed somebody and sometimes He cast out demons.
I am saying that Jesus is, ultimately, the answer. Jesus is the answer for what’s
wrong in this world, whether it’s healing or whether it’s being free from demonic
oppression. Jesus can do it, and Jesus to heal us, Jesus uses prayer and
he uses he uses miracles but he also uses doctors he heals us in many
different ways. Jesus gave doctors the brains that they
have and the knowledge that they have that can help us and the same thing is
true with mental illness. God can help somebody to have the knowledge that they
need to help you, so I’m not saying if you have depression or if you suffer
from anything mentally that you’re demon-possessed, no I’m not saying that,
but I am saying that sin is the cause of the curse
Sin is the cause, ultimately, of sickness and disease and demonic
possession and as soon as the cause the Jesus is the answer. That’s the
Good News, because where Satan leads us to to be
out of control and isolated and self-loathing and under blame and dying
inside you know you know what Jesus says? What Jesus says, he said the thief comes
to steal kill and destroy but I have come that they may have life and have it
abundantly. Satan leads us to lack of control, but
Jesus leads us to a restoration of our humanity a restoration of our sanity. Sin
leads to blame, but Jesus takes that blame on himself.
He takes that blame on himself and He says you are accepted, in fact, the Bible
says that we are not excepted, but accepted. We’re adopted into the family
of God sin causes us to feel like we’re driven out, but Jesus says come and be a
part of my family. Adopted into the family of God,
Grafted into the vine of Jesus. Sin leads us to hate ourselves but God leads us to
love ourselves, to love Him and to love others. Sin leads us to hatred, but God
leads us to love. And where there was a feeling of death inside because of sin
Jesus brings abundant life you know what that means? It means that you live a life
that is satisfying, and you live a life that matters. You live a life where you know
that you are loved by God and you know that you are blessed and you know that
you are important. You are important. So important that God sent
His son to die on the cross for you. I was praying one day, and I said God why
would you sacrifice yourself for me? You’re so great and I’m so small. You’re so
righteous and holy and I’m so insignificant, and why would you do it?
then I almost started to think God must be crazy.
God must be crazy to give himself for me but I heard the voice of God saying to
me “you’re worth it.” I don’t understand how, I don’t understand why, but you’re
worth it to God. God loves you with an everlasting love and it’s not about what
you could do for Him it’s not about what a great investment it is in you. It’s
about how much He loves you and how much He wants to be with you and connected
with you. He’s invited us into His family and He gives us abundant life; a life of
joy and life of meaning; a life of calling. See Jesus… sin leads us to destruction but
Jesus leads us to life and He restores the humanity within us. He restores us. It
says it says in there, then the people that knew this man who had been possessed by
a legion of demons. I don’t know, there were two thousand pigs, so how many demons
does it take to fill two thousand pigs? I don’t know maybe two thousand? This man
was afflicted by demons to a point that just boggles my mind,
but when Jesus cast those demons out it says that the people from the town who
knew him, they came when they saw him and what does it say? It says they saw the
man who had been possessed by the legion sitting there dressed and in his
right mind, so he’s sitting at the feet of Jesus. Listening to Jesus, in his right
mind, clothed again Jesus has restored the humanity that sin had stripped away
from him. Jesus had restored him to a life of purpose and meaning and the
people who saw it they were amazed. Because they saw him before and then
they saw him after, and they saw a difference in his life. Jesus makes a difference in
our life, and and do you know what though, the people this is this is the amazing
thing I mean this is just it’s just shocking really but they saw him this
man had been saved restored to himself he’s dressed and in his right mind, and
people who saw it were afraid. They were they were less afraid of him
whenever he was filled with demons than they were whenever he was clean and they
showed the reason why. They began to beg Jesus to leave. “You cast out these demons,
and we need you to leave. This is, this is scary to us, and also this is
costly to us” because those pigs they belong to somebody
those pigs were they were commercially important in that region. This man that
Jesus saved was unimportant in that region, but these pigs were important The money was important, the man was not
and so the people were threatened because Jesus is not
interested in our money He’s interested in our souls. Sinners naturally do not
associate with righteousness, and they don’t understand righteousness and so
the people from these towns when they came, when they saw that this man had
been restored to righteousness they didn’t care they were looking at the
bottom line but Jesus was looking at the heart, He was looking at the soul. But I love this,
I love this. It says Jesus was getting into the boat and
the man who had been demon-possessed was begging Jesus to let him come and be
a disciple and let him come to follow Him but Jesus wouldn’t let him. And if that
were the end of the story you would say well, his background report isn’t
that great. We did a background check on him; did you
know he used to be filled with demons? He doesn’t qualify to be a disciple. That’s
what we would say if the story ended right there. The man that Jesus freed wanted
to follow Jesus. Jesus said no, got in the boat and left but that’s not exactly
what happened. Here’s what Jesus said It says “He would not let him instead he
told him go back home to your own people and report to them how much the Lord has
done for you and how He has had mercy on you. So he went out and began to
proclaim in the Decapolis, this Roman set of towns, he went began to
proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him and they were all
amazed. N.T. Wright says that this man is the first apostle to the Gentiles. Jesus
had a plan for him and took his mess and turned it into a message. Jesus had
a plan for him and He said you go back to your home, where everybody
knew how messed up you were, you go back to them and you tell them how good God
has been to you. You go and you tell them how God has delivered you from evil,
and these people in his town they were amazed at what God had done
and they glorified God. And you have to wonder if years later after Jesus had
died on the cross for our sins, after He’d been resurrected and ascended into
heaven, and these apostles the disciples of Jesus started witnessing in these
towns you have to wonder if one of them went into
Decapolis to proclaim the word of Jesus and they said “hey we’ve heard of Him,
we’ve heard of Him. Wait you mean He didn’t just come to cast demons out of
that man but He came to save us too? This man went and laid the groundwork for
salvation in the region so Jesus took him, in spite of his past, and used him to
proclaim the gospel; used him to proclaim the message of salvation to the Gentiles. so Satan comes to kill us, to destroy us, to
separate us, to isolate us, to make us alone and dead, but Jesus comes to save
us, to bring us life, to connect us into the family of God So what do we have to do? We have to grab
on to Jesus with everything that we’ve got. We have to, like this man did,
fall at His feet and ask Him to help us. We have to ask for his presence to be in
our life to the point that the evil that’s in our life gets driven out. He came to bring life, and to bring
abundant life and when we fall at His feet whenever
we bow before Him and ask for his help He’s there to restore us, to fill us and
to send us back to those that saw us broken and to proclaim the goodness of
God. In a minute I’m going to give an altar
call; I’m going to call whoever wants to come and pray, for whatever reason, come
to these altars, come up here and receive what God has for you today. Right
now I’m wondering if there’s anybody in this room that feels like Satan has been
working to isolate you, to separate you from from the church and from the crowd
to separate you out because he wants to destroy you if there’s if there’s
anybody here who just wants special prayer today that God would preserve you,
would help you to help you to overcome the attacks of the enemy; I’m feeling in
my heart, I’m feeling in my spirit today that there’s several of us in this room
that just need special prayer for victory. We need special prayer for God to save us from the attacks of
the enemy. If you need prayer today I want you to, as
every head every head is bowed, every eye closed, I want you to lift up your hand.
We’re gonna pray I want us all to pray I want us all to pray together. There are several in this room that have
asked for prayer the God would preserve them and help them
and keep them from the attacks of the enemy. I want us to join together as a
church and pray because as I said there’s power as we gather together.
There’s power in the family of God Let’s pray together that God would be
victorious in each of these lives today Lord, I pray for victory today I pray for
Your presence to be in each and every life today. I pray, God, that you would
encourage us that You would save us that You would bless us Lord. I pray that
You would overcome the works of the enemy in our lives, where Satan is working
to destroy us, to get us alone and isolated, and to take us down, Lord, I pray
that You would build us up that You would connect us to the family of God, and that
You would strengthen us and drive the enemy away from our lives today, Lord. I pray
that You would drive the enemy away from the lives of our children today, Lord. I
pray for your strength, I pray for your blessing and Lord, I pray that you would lift us up, make us a mighty army, God. So that when Satan attacks us, we would attack him back through the power of Your blood, through the
power of your Holy Spirit Lord I pray for freedom for everyone that’s
been struggling in Jesus name I pray for freedom I pray for healing in Jesus name
for everyone who’s been has been suffering Lord Jesus Your word is true You came to give us
life abundant life Lord I pray that You would do it and I pray that You to bring
us into You abundant life in Jesus’ name Amen

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