Sarah, a lady in her 30s, spent a lot of time in doctors offices and hospitals; shivering on exam tables, recording her medical history on multiple forms, having enough blood drawn into glass tubes to keep an army alive. Something was wrong with Sarah but the doctors said she had nothing wrong with her. After many emergency-room visits and a list of surgeries, the doctors still didn’t know what was wrong. They began cancer treatments, just in case. Two-weeks later Sarah died. Her biopsy revealed something invisible to the doctors. Sarah didn’t die from a cancerous mass. No. She died from Lyme disease that went untreated! So, what was Sarah’s problem? - Was is Cancer? Nope. It was Lyme disease. What was the doctors' solution? - Treatment for cancer. The result? - Sarah's death. Why did this happen?... Applying a visible solution to a invisible problem doesn’t fix the problem. In fact, it makes it worst. Think about it with me, what happened if they would have treated her for that which they didn’t see?... Treating her for Lyme disease. - Maybe she would be still alive. One lady received a check from her preacher for a crate of apples he bought. She lost the check and notified the preacher. The preacher became upset. He told the lady that she was irresponsible and thus unworthy of another check. He would cancel the check and lose money, he explained. Both the lady and the preacher felt like victims. The lady stopped meeting with the Church, and went on to speaking bad about the preacher. Meanwhile, the preacher continued to talk badly about the lady. This bump in the road caused a split in the church and eventually the church collapsed.
Ironically... The lady found the check in her Bible a week after. So, what was the problem? - A lost check? Nah. Spiritual immaturity was. What was their solution? - Cancel the check and voice resentment. What was the result? - Death of a church. Why was the death of a church the aftermath of a lost check?... Applying a visible solution to a invisible problem doesn’t fix the problem. In fact, it makes it worst.
Huh? - Here is what I mean...
What would happen if the preacher prayed over the missing check with the lady, asking God to reveal the missing check? Maybe the preacher's prayer would have lead the lady to read her Bible so she would find the check. Maybe then the church would still be meeting today. Applying a visible solution to a invisible problem doesn’t fix the problem.
In fact, it makes it worst. We apply physical solutions to spiritual problems all the time, don't we... - People are anxious, depressed, and angry... so we prescribe medications. - People commit murder or mass murder... so we put them in jail. - People have bad policies and bills, so we cast votes and tell others to vote... because the right people in office will change everything, right? - People have bad behavior and habits... so we send them to a counselor.
Now, all of these solutions are good responses to such things. But here is what I am chewing on... In the 60s, 16 million Americans took psychiatric drugs. But today, 40 million Americans take psychiatric drugs. The growth in incarceration rates in the United States over the past 40 years is historically unprecedented and internationally unique.
My point... It doesn’t matter how many medications we prescribe, how many we put into prison, how many votes we cast, how many savior-hero-politicians we trust, how many wars we wage, how many elections we hold, nothing changes for the better - in fact - it only gets worst. Why is this reality? - Applying a visible solution to a invisible problem doesn’t fix the problem. In fact, it makes it worst. See, the culture we live in today is a battlefield. What we need to know is how to be able “to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Why do we need to know something spiritual instead of something physical, when our problem appears to be physical? The Bible tells us, the problem isn’t at all physical…
We are told that our adversary “goes about like a roaring lion” wanting to devour people (1 Peter 5:8) by pretending to be an “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). And “in order that the Satan might not out smart us, we should be aware of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11). This is one of the many reasons our problems on earth are increasing. We have doubted that there is a spiritual world. But in 2 Corinthians 4:18 - the Apostle Paul seems to tell us that what we don't see is more real and lasting than what we do see. Journey with me to chapter five of the Gospel of Mark. This is a story of a physical problem that Jesus sees and then solves as a spiritual problem:
So, they get out of the boat. And there stands a man with a unclean spirit (a demon) who came out from the tombs to meet Jesus.
Why was this man living in the graveyard and not in a house?
Well, its because the unclean spirit wanted an unclean place to live. What no better place to live but among the dead, a place where the Jews would consider highly unclean! This man lived in the tomb. Many times he had been bound with shackles and chains but had snapped them off, perhaps with supernatural strength. People feared him because of his god-like strength. But they didn’t respect him. To the people, he was shameful. He was howling like a wild animal, cutting himself against jagged rocks trying to commit suicide. He was running around wild, naked and unkept with cuts, bruises, cuts, scabs, and infected tissues. His appearance would closely resemble a Hollywood zombie. He tired again and again to kill himself to escape his miserable existence. And that is what the demon wanted and planed for... the man's torment and death. Jesus said himself in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” And in John 8:44, “[the devil] was a murderer from the beginning.” Then we have Apostle Peter adding, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
"DEVOUR"... This was the plan the satan had in mind for this now demon possessed man.
But to the Jewish people, he wasn’t demonized. Nope. He was simply "mad," manic, crazy. See, the Jews specialized in "physical" health... They agreed that there were four signs of madness:
Interesting? This criteria is similar to the actions of a Schizophrenic. This man met all the criteria and more, and his situation seems hopeless until he meets Jesus:
Seeking Jesus from a distance, this "madman" did something surprising. He knelt down in front of Jesus, not out of weakness but out of respect for Jesus’ authority. The man yelled “What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God!”
This man was not a maniac... but a demoniac! When was the last time you said such words! "Jesus what do you want from me?" Yeah, not often. Demons always acknowledge the fact that God is in control. The demons confessed Jesus’ Godhood before the disciples did!
Sometimes demons are more spiritual than you! This means two things:
Although the demon acknowledged Jesus’ authority, and believed in Jesus, the demon wasn’t worshiping Jesus. You can be spiritual and be still wrong...
The other day someone mentioned about a friend passing away. They were unsure about the friend’s salvation. But when they heard that he attended a church each week, they felt secure that the gentleman was in the presence of God. -- WHAT?
The demoniac shows us that: You can be spiritual and be still wrong.
But don't get me wrong...
You must be spiritual to be right. We must be spiritual to recognize Jesus and worship who Jesus really is… He is Christ, son of the living God, who has power over all evil.
Back to the story…
Jesus says to the demon “Come out of the man!” And the demons' response, “I beg God, don’t torture me!”
Apostle Luke records in his gospel how the demon yelled “I beg God, not into the Abyss!” "Abyss" is the biblical name for Hell... the place of everlasting torture. We know from God’s Word that demons and the satan will one day end up in Hell and never leave where they are continually punished. God has the final say over evil! Amen!
The demon was not alone. There were more than one demon in the man. Because "legion" was a term used to describe 6,000 roman soldiers... this man must have had thousands of demons living in him. We learn 3 major things from this:
Jesus spoke directly to the leader demon and asked for its name. This provides us with a pattern to follow when we come upon someone possessed who needs Christ’s healing.
Like the angelic beings and spiritual beings who worship God, the demonic beings also have a military hierarchy/structure. They are governed by higher demonic spirits who represent them and their mission.
Like soldiers, demons work together. Why? Because more demons means for power and force. Take it from the mouth of Jesus:
"Unoccupied"... that's a key word here. Meaning if you don’t fill yourself up with Jesus and meditate on heavenly things above, demonic spirits will move in and make themselves a wicked little home.
This is why Christians don’t meditate like others do. We don't sit down and empty-out our minds completely of everything in order to become unoccupied, void of anything bad or good. We enter into solitude and clear out distractions and voice of the false-self who tell us that we are unloved and shameful... Then we meet Christ in the center of our hearts where we listen to that whisper that says "You are my beloved, whom I am well pleased by".
Demons won’t accept defeat. They will only get smarter and hit harder to try to defeat you completely. This is why it is so important for us to fill-up on God's Word and everything that is good. Some fast from food for several days. Some meditate on a devotion for an hour or two. Some refrain from entertainment or music. These are disciplines. Not only are disciplines conductive to spiritual disciplines, but they also limit the distractions and desires of the flesh... then we can truly focus on listing to God. The story continues…
So, the demons have a request… And Jesus grants them their wish. This means 4 things:
Demons don’t want to be homeless, and they can move or be transferred from one host to another... yes, even a host with no soul. Instead of them being cast-out, being homeless, they want to be clothed in something physical and filthy.
Demons can resist leaving their host, begging for their self-interests. The demons here wanted to continue to live in something filthily and unclean. That's why they asked to go into the pigs... being that they were unclean animals. Demons can negotiate. Demons may also claim legitimate or illegitimate ownership of the host, resisting casting-out. They may lay claim that they have rights to be living through the host given the host's active rebellion (e.i. - lifestyle of anger, un-forgiveness, lust, gluttony, witchcraft [past or present acts including the use of an ouija board, budda sculptures, etc.). The individual must renounce the kingdom of darkness and proclaim Jesus Christ as their personal Lord.
Demons are bent on torturing, destroying, and killing. If they can't do this to you, they will find something else to torture, destroy and kill. The pigs they went into became unsettled, confused, and ended with them throwing themselves off a cliff into deep water.
Demons recognize and are subject to Christ’s name/authority. That's good news! Use the name of Jesus Christ often, using His name... especially when you are dealing with someone who may be under demonic influence/oppression. Something to note: If demonic spirits resisted Christ while on earth, we can be sure they will also try to resist us too.
The story continues…
So we have witnesses to this supernatural event… pig farmers. Now, if I was those pig farmers, I would be running to the newly delivered Gerasene man now tame, exclaiming, "Looking good Legion! Looking good!" But the pig farmers ran to tell the town and the people of countryside. And they were upset and they were complaining - 2,000 pigs wasted! The small town's economy was going to plummet down! - They thought more of pigs than propitiation. They didn’t want Jesus mending up the relationship between God and men if their physical wealth was compromised. Today, the church doesn’t want preachers teaching on spiritual warfare or get too spiritual, because the donations might drop! Say it isn’t so! - They thought more of ham than healing. They rather have 2,000 pigs than have one man freed from demonic slavery. Today, the church would rather feed the sick than heal and pray for them! We have become more materialistic than spiritualistic! Say it isn’t so! The God-Man, Jesus, He cares more for man, whom He created in his image, than any other thing in creation. And He wants for us to make that known. Consider the rest of the story…
Jesus tells this man to go share the gospel. We know that the word "gospel" means “good news” and it is Apostle Mark who uses it as a wartime declaration: “The war has been won! We have victory in Christ!”
Who is ready for deliverance in Christ? I realize that some of us may not think we need deliverance today. Maybe because we don’t know satan’s and his demons’ plan for us.
Here is the demonic strategy:
So, let's break this down...
- Torment and Torture you: harass, fear, sickness; compel, enslave, deceive; defile, fear, rejection; weakness, sickness, laziness, and kill. Now, the gospels tell us sicknesses and demons are different, but some sickness is caused by demons. - Keep you from knowing Christ: pervert the truth, deceive you, put you in fear, etc.
Note 2 Timothy 1:7...
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
- Keep you from serving effectively: disrupt your schedule, distract you with insecurities and negative people, involving you in a conflict right before you minister, etc.
Now, there are doors and windows that you can open in your life that invites demons in. How many reading right now would like to now how you may be opening doors and windows to demons?
Yeah. It would be nice to have a check list. I will give us a biblical one…
These are some ordinary ways, doors and windows we can open to demons. Now, we go "Wait a minute... I do those all the time? That explains it. That explains why you are confused, God seems distant, the enemy seems near, life grows darker and colder, you get more proud and less humble, the Bible seems more ridiculous, and you seem to yourself to be more insightful.
The enemy is already doing his work. Does he own your house? If you are a Christian… No. But some of us have invited him in... through opening doors by our rebellion. Some of us think that to sin is to merely break a rule. But It’s not. Sin means... picking teams. Joining the demonic team in their evil and rebellion. So, we must repent of sin. Shut doors. Close the windows. We ask, "How do I do that?", "How can I be delivered?"
Let's look to scripture...
Confession and disclosure is a big part of being delivered (Acts 19:18) .
Part of this is as follows:
(Become a Christian [Acts 2:38, Romans 6, 1 Timothy 2:25 “washed in the blood and testify”] Put on the whole armor of God [Ephesians 6].)
Wondering about the Geresene man's future, I went to scripture. In Mark's gospel, chapter 7, we find Jesus going through the region of the Decapolis... which litterly means going through a group of ten cities. These cities were pagan. They laid primarily on the east side of the Jordan River... so away from God's chosen people. The Bible and the Jewish paint a view of the territory and its people to be evil, dark, and dangerous. So for Jesus and his disciples to go to the "dark side" was odd. But even more odd is the fact that in this dark place, Jesus finds a crowd of 4 thousand waiting for Him to teach them.
Like to think that Jesus' reputation as a miracle-worker in that region had grown as a result of that Geresene man's evangelistic work... spreading his story of deliverance to the dark culture he lived in.
Two thoughts here:
- When we are delivered from darkness, we will not immediately go to heaven... we have work to do in your uncomfortable, dark, and evil culture.
- We don't have to know the ends and outs of the Bible to be effective in expressing the Good News of Jesus Christ. The delivered Geresene man knew nothing about the Bible or Jesus other than his personal encounter with Jesus. We express the Good News effectively when we tell our story of when we had personally encountered Jesus in life.
Thomas Kilian is an evangelist degreed in Christian Ministries, majoring in General Ministries, Biblical Exposition, and Biblical Studies. He is an 2018 recipient of the Stone-Campbell Promising Scholar Award. Kilian has counseled individuals regarding interpersonal, health, and religious problems
while performing spiritual education activities to the public through speaking and leading discussions. Five years of supplying preaching and lessons to churches across the United States. Mass evangelized, preaching at a conference of 3000 youth in Gambella, Ethiopia upon invitation from Mercy Partners. Cross-cultural evangelized upon entry into South Sudan twice to evangelize with a request from a host of local churches by hosting leadership conferences, youth conferences, and testifying on demand resulting in 63 baptisms in the River Nile. He led Museville Church for a year and a half, preaching, pastoring, and developing training and service programs. He currently evangelizes in the community of Chatham, VA., and is creating a universal online adaptive education system for empowering ministers.
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