I’m going to post over the next month or so sermons that I’ve been preparing for a series that I’m going to preach someday called ” When a God encounter happens EVERYTHING CHANGES” This is #1 in the “God Encounter Blog Post”
2 Corinthians 5:17 “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun”
In the book of Mark 5:1-13 we find a dude that was filled with a legion of demons…the bible calls him the Demoniac:
A legion = Wikipedia says…The size of a typical legion varied widely throughout the history of ancient Rome, with complements of 4,200 legionaries and 300 equites in the republican period of Rome, (the infantry were split into 30 maniples of 120 legionaries each), to 5,200 men plus auxiliaries in the imperial period (split into 10 cohorts, 9 of 480 men each, plus the first cohort holding 800 men).
Needless to say this fellas was pretty messed up!
Until he had a God encounter!
Text Mark 5:1-20: Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Man
1 So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes.[a] 2 When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil[b] spirit came out from a cemetery to meet him. 3 This man lived among the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. 4 Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.
6 When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. 7 With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.”
9 Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”
And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” 10 Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place.
11 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. 12 “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.”
13 So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
14 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. 15 A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. 1617 And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone. Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs.
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. 19 But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” 20 So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns[c] of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.
The Gospel changes people from the inside out.
I. Chained, Crying and cutting himself
Here is the first Cutter in history… This guy picture is on the devils business card for a few reasons…
a. He was Living in isolation (tombs)
Why did he dwell in the cemeteries and among the tombs?
1) He was bound by unclean spirits and was living a nightmare. I can imagine that he wanted to be free but could not break free from their bondage. His every thought was to get rid of the control that Satan had over his life and I wonder how often he desired to be dead and in one of those tombs forever. Anything would be better than the life that he lived. For this reason he would find broken stone from the monuments and the graves and use them to slit his own wrists, or cut himself to allow the blood to flow and get rid of his diseases and afflictions. He grasped at straws and tried anything he could.
2) Picture a naked crazy man who lives in the tombs. I’m sure this was a sight to behold…Every moment night and day you’ve got a crazy man running around the grave yard butt naked screaming and cutting himself with stone…
3) The cemetery was the only place where he could find escape from the persecutions of the people in the country. How many times they had chased him down and tried to restrain him we do not know. But one thing is for sure; they had tried many times and failed. He was better off living among the dead than among the living. At least for a few moments of time he could find peace when he was alone in the darkness of night, among the dead, where no one would come to bother him.
THIS IS ONE RUDE, CRUDE, DUDE IN THE NUDE!
b. Uncontrollable (chains)
If he was alive today he would probably be in an institution of some kind…
When I look at the condition of this demoniac and all that he faced I can only come to one conclusion. The only reason that this man was still alive is that in the foreknowledge of God, Jesus knew that one day, this demoniac of the Gadarenes would come to Christ and find deliverance. God had kept him through it all. Like it had been in the days of Job, God had allowed Satan to go so far, but no farther. God loved that demoniac and he was going to make sure that Satan didn’t destroy him before he could find eternal life. And have His God Encounter!
The bible doesn’t tell us how long he was in this situation, but you’ve got to imagine that this guy at some time in his life…Had a Family a job some friends…but now he has nothing…
We don’t know why some people have to go so far down before they can look up and see Jesus!
Perhaps the demoniac wasn’t ready until that very moment when Jesus walked onto the shore of Gadara to finally fall on his face before the Lord seeking deliverance.
Not sure what the choices he had made that led him to this point in His life. Alone, naked, with no hope..But for this guy his life is about to change he is about to have a God encounter!
II. Cleansed & Changed!
It is a wonderful thing to know that no matter how far from God we may run, we can’t run so far that God won’t move Heaven and earth to get to us if we will just run to him and call out for help. Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost. The very Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, stepped out of the portals of glory and into a dark, evil world and one of the purposes in his journey was to find this man of Gadara and set him free.
When Jesus boat gets to the shore and he steps off something very interesting happens…
a. Mixed response (“ran to him”/”leave me alone!”)
Mark 5: 6 But when he saw Jesus He ran to him
Take note of something here – when that demoniac saw Jesus he ran and worshipped him.
No unclean spirit could stop him.
No devils in hell can keep us from coming to Jesus.
If we truly want deliverance; if we truly want salvation; if we truly want to be free, no power in hell or on the earth can stop us. Jesus made a way and the door is wide open to come to him. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Even the demons that were in this man knew who Jesus was they ran to him
I ‘m so thankful for the “BUT GOD” statements in the bible...Romans 5:8 BUT GOD gave His love to us when we were still sinners!
It’s all because of Jesus we are alive!
b. Jesus casts out “Legion.”
This man that is full of a massive amount of demons and they come to Jesus
And Jesus begins to speak to the legion inside of him.and cast the legion of demons into some pigs that were feeding on the grass near a cliff….
FYI<>this is where we get deviled ham from!
Jesus did the same for you and me.
We may not have been bound like the man of the Gadarenes, but we were bound by chains of sin.
No power of man could deliver us. We could try to bind the sin by doing good deeds but somehow that sin still broke free and condemned us. We could try to wrap human kindness and our own version of love around that sin and declare that it was controlled, but sooner or later those strong cords were shattered and we were reminded that sin still reigned in us. We could confess our own goodness, but deep inside we knew we were liars. Satan’s strong cords of sin had us bound and there was no escaping the inevitable end.
IV. Commissioned & challenged
He has this man who “no one could tame” clothes and sitting is his right mind!
Don’t tell me that you can’t live for Jesus – You can if you want to! Jesus has given us all the power we need to overcome anything that comes against us. If all those demons had to flee with one word from the lips of Jesus, what makes us think that we can’t defeat the devil by calling upon the name of the Lord? Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. If he overcame the devil then, he’s still the victor today.
I love the fact that this dude, wanted to follow Jesus..But Jesus told him to “GO HOME & TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHAT GOOD THINGS THE LORD HAS DONE FOR YOU”
I have learned this, when you encounter God He will leave you life changed COMPLETELY From the Inside out!
One encounter with a Holy God can do more for you than 1000 sermons could ever do.
When you have a God encounter no one will have to tell you that you did.. YOU WILL KNOW!
when you encounter Him…He gives you a radically new identity, freeing us from both self-righteousness and self-condemnation.
Thank God for Mercy and Grace…!
Mercy is God ministry to the miserable. Do you feel alone? empty? weak? Turn to Jesus…He is waiting here for you, he is saying…”come to me just as you are” I’m here for you..
This could be your defining moment… This could be the time in your life where God’s preparation and opportunity meet to provide a meaningful God experience for you.
I want you to read a few real life encounters that people have had…I found these on http://www.mygodencounter.com
I had a lot of problems while growing up. My home life was a mess and I was picked on and rejected at school. I was depressed and angry and believed “I” was the problem. I didn’t know how to handle my emotions and would lash out when provoked. At age 14 I started using drugs and alcohol as a way to drowned my feelings. By 18 I had multiple steady habits and was selling to provide for them. I couldn’t deal with reality so I’d use what ever I could to get away from it. I was using hallucinogens so often that I became paranoid and delusional. I’d then use more drugs to try to get rid of those thoughts and feelings. I played in bands, hung out in bars and was only sober a few hours a day. Through music and selling drugs I gained popularity and people wanted me around. I was in the position I thought I wanted to be in but I still wasn’t happy. I felt like I was playing a role… I wasn’t me. I could go through the motions and fool people around me but inside I was empty and hurting. The more hopeless I felt the more wreckless I became. I was moving deeper into darkness and almost didn’t make it out. One night my body decided it had enough. I had 5 different drugs plus alcohol in my system and it shut down on me. My heart stopped beating and I couldn’t breathe. A fear like I’ve never felt came over me. I tried to make it outside for some air and I fell out on the concrete. I believed in God and the devil, but it was never more real to me than at that time. It’s hard to explain but I felt that Satan was there when I went unconcious. I also had the feeling that Jesus was there and was the reason my life was spared. From then on saw things from a new perspective. I understood that my way of life was killing me. I needed to know who Jesus was and why he let me live. He had a purpose for my life and I wanted to understand it. I cried out to Him and He was there for me in a real way. Since then things have only gotten better. I am able to live in reality and deal with my emotions without leaning on drugs and alcohol. I’m steadily learning more about who God created me to be and don’t have to play a role anymore. He gave me a beautiful and amazing wife to go through this journey with. Most of all I have a relationship with the true living God who saved me.
I was raised up in religion and I thought I had it down, even though my life was no different than my atheist boyfriend. We were both sexin, druggin, and clubbin. I was at the peak of my party life and didn’t have a care in the world. I thought stealing from shops was the norm and that I was invincible. I took a lot of risks and put myself in danger for the sake of personal satisfaction. I thought I was a good person compared to the others around me and didn’t need to change a thing. But my definition of being a good person kept changing based on what I justified for myself. I really wanted my atheist boyfriend to believe in God so we could have a serious relationship, not even realizing that I didn’t know God myself. One day in the quiet of my room, I prayed a sincere, honest prayer to God that he would reveal himself to my boyfriend. A week or so later I got the biggest shock of my life! Both my boyfriend AND I had a real experience with Jesus Christ that would change our lives forever! God made himself so obvious! I never knew he could be so personal and intimate. It seemed like my eyes were open for the first time. Immediately the things I used to do seemed empty and worthless compared to the thrill of engaging in communion with the God who created the whole universe. I wanted to know Jesus Christ more than anything else. I began to change because I wanted to do the things that pleased God. I was reading the Bible and seeing it in a whole new light. My prayers became alive, like I was communicating with someone so close to me. My boyfriend and I got married and from that day we have been drawing closer and closer to Jesus. It has been an incredible journey.
…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun