30 Luke 8.26-39
v Opening Illustration
Ø There were movies that I was not allowed to see growing up
§ A Clockwork Orange
§ Rocky Horror Picture Show
Ø I have subsequently watched some of these movie since becoming an adult
§ But the one movie that I still have not that I was not permitted to see is…
· The Exorcist – The movie
¨ Dealt with heavy subject
v In our text today we deal with this very subject…Exorcism
v Cannot begin to appreciate this narrative unless we realize that demon possession is real
Ø Difficult in Post-Enlightenment society
§ Movement in which human reason was elevated to the point where everything can to be explained through human reason
· Everything could be understand or explained through reason
· Finding physical explanations for things that have long been explained by other means
¨ Good in that…
Ø It encouraged engaging the mind and challenging age old superstitions and pagan beliefs
§ Humors in the body
§ Superstitions like:
· Black cat
· Walking under a ladder
Ø They no longer hold credence in our society
¨ Enlightenment bad in that…
Ø Its primary target was religion
Ø And the effects of the enlightenment are still staggering in the 21st century
§ It effects the way society views the Bible
· Disbelieve that there is a supernatural God
· Doubt the miracles in the Bible
· Question the resurrection
· Seek other explanation other than spiritual ones
Ø And the effects of the enlightenment come to bear on our text today…
§ RQ: What do you think when you read this text?
· Does it creep into your mind that there must be another explanation for this person’s behavior?
· Does it creep into your mind that this person was simply insane
¨ Maybe bi-polar
¨ Maybe a chemical imbalance
· Does it creep into your mind that this person needs therapy, not an exorcism?
· Did the thought cross your mind that this story is a little mythical?
v The Enlightenment has made us into doubting Thomas’ where the Bible is concerned
Ø The enlightenment makes us look for other reasons…
§ Not spiritual ones
· The Post-enlightenment mind says…
¨ There can’t be demon possession today
¨ Situations like this belong on a Hollywood sound stage
Ø Things like The Exorcist do not happen
Ø But the Bible insists that the spiritual is every bit as real as the physical
§ READ Eph 6:10-12
· The Bible is adamant that there is something beyond what we see
v Billy Graham
Ø There is a devil and there are demons. They may be more sophisticated in America than they are in some parts of the world, but they are demons nevertheless
v CS Lewis
Ø There are two equal and opposite errors that people fall into about devils and demons. One is to disbelieve in their existence, the other is to feel an unhealthy interest in them
§ In post-enlightenment society, we fall into the former trap!
v As Christians, we have to keep these two extremes in tension
Ø We have to be careful not to name every illness as possession
§ Just as Jesus did not
· He cured some illness because it was just that
¨ John 9:1-3 ~ Man blind from birth
Ø Pharisees asked who has sinned his parents or him
§ Jesus’ answer…neither
· Not a spiritual reason
Ø But we have to be careful not to let our reason reign
§ There is a spiritual realm
§ There are demons
· There is a devil who wants nothing more than to possess us!
¨ And he would like nothing more than for us to disbelieve in him!
v But why does Satan want to posses us??
v Why possible motive could Satan have for sending his demons to possess us?
Ø I think that verses 29-31 give us a little insight into this…
§ It describes what the demon led the man to do
v Here we see some of what Satan wants to do to us…
Ø And it is the opposite of what Jesus wants for us
v V. 29 ~ It says that the man “had been driven by the demon into solitary places.”
Ø Satan wants us Alone while Jesus wants us in Fellowship
§ We were created for Fellowship
· Fellowship with each other
¨ Gen 2:18 ~ Not good for man to be alone
Ø We were created to be social beings
Ø Satan drives us to separate
§ Drives us to lonely places
§ Drives us to solitary places
Ø 12 years working with Single adults
Ø Loneliness and depression was common among single adults
§ Advice was always to be in fellowship
· Satan would like nothing more then to have them alone!
¨ “It is not good for man to be alone”
Ø In fact, that is one of the 3 legs of spiritual growth
But we were also created to be in…
· Fellowship with God
¨ In Gen 2-3 we see that God walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve
Ø Satan disrupted that by tempting Adam and Eve to disobey God
§ Thus separating us from him
· Causing us to be alone
During World War II, the enemy conducted experiments to find the most effective type of punishment for eliciting information from prisoners. They found that solitary confinement was the most effective. After some time in solitary confinement, most men would tell all.
That is why we need fellowship. Without it we too become easy prey for temptation and abandonment of our values.
Ø Satan wants us alone, separated, in a solitary place…
§ Away from Yahweh
· Because we are easier prey
Ø But Christ offers you and me fellowship
§ Not only with each other…
· Acts 2:42-46
¨ They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer
¨ They had everything in common!
§ But with Him
· Jn 15:1-8 ~ Vine and the branches
¨ I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers
v The text tells us a second motive Satan has…
Ø V. 29 ~ The man was chained because of his behavior
v Satan wants to Bind us while Jesus wants to Free us
Ø Satan wants to keep the chains around our hands and feet
§ He wants to keep us bound in our sin
· Consumed with our lusts
Ø But most of all…
§ He wants to keep us from doing what we were made to do…
· Worship the Lord and enjoy him forever
¨ Book I’m reading talks about the spiritual warfare that happens on a Sunday morning
Ø Kids are out of control
Ø Can’t find things
Ø Have a fight with your spouse
· You can leave church the week before flying high and anticipating next week…
¨ Then Sunday morning rolls around and you can hardly pull yourself out of bed!
Ø Those are the chains that Satan throws around your hands and feet
§ Christ wants to free you to do the thing that you were made to do
v V. 29 ~ It says that ‘many times the evil spirit had seized him’
Ø Satan wants to Seize us while Jesus wants to Embrace us
§ The basic difference between Satan and Jesus is that
· Satan wants to Control us…
¨ Control our actions
¨ Control our speech
¨ Control our relationships
¨ Control our lives!
Ø Who likes being controlled?
§ But Jesus does not want to seize us, but embrace us
· Jesus wants to Love us
¨ And that love is shown in the next section…
READ V. 32-33
v Many people ask why Jesus cast the demons into the pigs?
Ø This is one of those Biblical misunderstandings
· Money is the root of all evil
¨ Love of money is!
Ø He did not “cast” them into the pigs
§ No version I have says “cast”
· He gave them permission
¨ There is a real big difference!
v Then why did he allow them to enter the pigs?
Ø I think this is a vivid image of how much Jesus loves us
§ Look at the picture that it paints!
· One person is so valuable…
· The welfare of one man is of such consequence to Jesus…
· One solitary human is so important to him…
¨ That in comparison, 2,000 pigs (Mk 5:13) are of little significance
v Jesus is showing us how much he loves us…
Ø In the value he places on us
§ Ps 8:3-5
· When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor
¨ We are his crowning creation
Ø And we are immeasurably more valuable than animals
A sheep herder had a son who was 13. He was finally old enough to begin tending the sheep in the pasture. He left him there one morning with the promise to return at noontime to bring him lunch.
As the father drove up to the field later that day, he looked across the herd to the other side of the pasture and saw something that made his heart sink. His 13 year old son being attacked by a wolf.
The father did not pause for a moment. He put his vehicle in 4 wheel drive and made a beeline right through the herd toward his son. In less than a minute he pulled beside the attack, took out his gun and shot the wolf. He ran to his son, took him up in his arms and embraced him. After looking the boy over, it was revealed that he had only sustained minor injuries.
The father glanced back across the pasture and saw that some 100 sheep were lying dead or seriously injured. But he could have cared less, his son was alive!
§ His son was of such importance to him, that in comparison, the loss of 100 sheep was nothing!
· That is the point of the text before us!
¨ Jesus loves us far above the creation
Ø In fact…
Ø Jesus loves us so much…
§ He created everything for us
· Ps 8:6-8
¨ You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
· What is amazing to think of is that…
¨ The first 5 days of creation were in preparation for what he was to create on the 6th day!
Ø He loves us so much…
§ He sends his angels to help and care for us
· Daniel 9:23 ~ Gabriel sent as soon as he began to pray
Ø He loves us so much…
§ He stops everything to listen to our prayers
Ø God loves us so much…
§ He died for us
· That is the heart of what Jn 3:16 says to us…
¨ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life
§ That is how much he values us
· And that value never changes
$20 bill illustration ~ Who wants a $20
This is a reminder to you and me of our value in God’s eyes
No matter what I did to the $20 bill you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives are dropped, crumpled, and stepped on. We feel less valuable because of the circumstances in our lives and the bad decisions we have made. Many times we feel worthless because of some sin.
But no matter what has happened to you or what you have done, you will never lose your value in God’s eyes. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely pressed, you are priceless in God’s eyes!
Ø Romans 5:8
§ But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us
· Can you think of a greater way to show our value in God’s eyes than sacrificing your own son?
· Can you think of a greater expression of love?
Ø Jesus loves us
§ And in our text he shows that love by freeing the man from the demon legion
· And allowing the demons to enter the pigs
v The pigs then rush down into the water and die
Ø What is your heart reaction to that?
§ How do you respond to this?
v Jesus has just shown his great love for man
Ø And by doing so, displayed the value that he places on us
v How do you respond to this?
Ø Let’s look at how the People in the text respond…
READ v. 34-39
The Heart Test
v There are basically 2 responses to God’s love…
Ø Rejection or Acceptance
v We see the townspeople Rejected Christ’s love
Ø V. 37 ~ They asked Jesus to leave the region
§ Parallels in Matthew & Mark use a stronger word
· ‘They “plead” Jesus to leave the region’
Ø The people rejected Christ
§ Even though there is a miracle right before them…
§ Even though Christ shows his incredible love for them in rather dramatic fashion
· They reject Christ
v But we see the man accepted Christ
Ø He became a follower of Jesus
§ He wanted to stay in his presence
· He understood the love that Jesus had for him and responded to it
v How do you respond to Christ’s love?
One Sunday a little boy looked up at his dad and asked, "Daddy, how does God love us?" His father answered, "Son, God loves us with an unconditional love."
The lad thought for a moment and then asked, "Daddy, what kind of love is unconditional love?"
After a few minutes of silence his father answered, "Do you remember the two boys who used to live next door to us and the cute little puppy they got last Christmas?" "Yes." "Do you remember how they used to tease it, throw sticks and even rocks at it?" "Yes." "Do you also remember how the puppy would always greet them with a wagging tail and would try to lick their faces?" "Yes."
"Well, that puppy had an unconditional love for those two boys. They certainly didn't deserve his love for them because they were mean to him. But, he loved them anyway."
The father then made his point: "God's love for us is also unconditional. Men threw rocks at his Son, Jesus, and hit him with sticks. They even killed him by nailing him to a cross. But, Jesus loved them anyway.
Ø How do you respond to Christ’s love?
Ø What is your heart response today?
§ Rejection or Acceptance
Ø But the Bible insists that there are spiritual reason for some sickness
§ 1 Cor 11:29-30
· Paul states that some people are sick and have even died because they are abusing the Lord’s Supper!