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What Has The Lord Done For You?

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Christmas has just happened, and it’s all we talk about.

We see each other and some of the first words out of our mouths are, How was your Christmas?
I’m never really sure what the question is or what kind of answer we want.
Do we want to talk about the gifts we’ve received as if they are loot from a sunken treasure?
Are we asking for the most recent gossip?
Are we tactfully asking if anyone had a blow up at the dinner table or a huge family brawl?
But we want to know how it went.
Christmas was a big event, it’s a huge part of the year, and it’s what we talk about at this time of the year.

What do you love to talk about?

Christmas just happened, so it’s on our heart.
But as the Christmas season fades, what is it you will talk about?
The stuff you frequently talk about is the stuff that is on your heart the most.
It’s the stuff right in front of you.
It’s the stuff that consumes your time.
There’s a World War II tank video game that I love to play.
Mark Mandio also plays it.
And when we get together we ask ourselves about our tanks and how it’s going.
Often times on Wednesday nights, before Bible study, we will be eating our dinner, and Mark will say “So, did you get any new tanks?”
And Amanda just rolls her eyes.
She knows I love tanks.
She knows Mark loves tanks.
She doesn’t love tanks.
And we continue talking about tanks.
Not all the things we talk about make others roll their eyes.
Joe and Karen Enfield love talking about their grandson little Luke.
And if he keeps growing, I think I’ll become little Luke and he’ll be big Luke.
Donna Branstetter loves talking about Trevor and how good he is at running.
She loves talking about how much he’s improved.
She’s impressed by his dedication, skill and character.
The things that we talk about are the things that are on our hearts.
Today we will be in .
And in this text, Jesus gives a man something to talk about.
Please open you Bible to .
Read .
This morning is all about what are people talking about.

First thing we see is what demons are talking about?

The passage begins with Jesus and his disciples getting out of a boat after a long boat ride.
They were out on the Sea of Galilee for about 10 miles, they arrived on the other side.
As soon as they get there, a crazy demon possessed man runs up to Jesus.
I’d say that this was a scary event.
He reminds me a little bit of a satanic version of Samson.
Samson was known for his great strength.
He couldn’t be bound, and he couldn’t be stopped.
This man was just like that, only demonic.
He was a violent man.
The people had tried to tie him up and bind him and it didn’t work.
They even chained him, but like Samson, he would break the chains.
In his demonic rage, he found himself living isolated among the tombs.
Basically, he lives in a graveyard.
Among Jews, this would have made him unclean.
In a sense, he was doubly unclean.
He was demon possessed, and lived among the dead.
The poor man was naked.
It doesn’t say that now, but later on, he will be clothed in contrast to his first appearance.
And in his nakedness, his body is scarred from cutting himself.
This man is not right, he’s not possessed by a single demon, but he has many demons.
Demons are fallen angels.
They were originally angels, but they joined with Satan in his rebellion against God.
We know that demons aim to deceive people.
They aren’t to be trusted.
II Corinthians says that Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light.
Jesus said that Satan is a liar and that he is the father of lies.
But notice what happens when Jesus encounters this man filled with deceiving demons.
You see it in verse 7.
He cries out with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”
A demon, who’s sole purpose is to deceive, speaks truth.
He trembles before Christ.
He prays, he begs, not to be tormented.
He seems to put into action what says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe - and shudder!”
This demon believed … and shuddered.
What I want you to see is that the demons know what to talk about when it comes to Jesus.
They may be liars and deceivers, but they know the truth.
A strange and sad truth is that humans - the pinnacle of God’s creation, created in His image - seem to be ignorant of this one great truth.
We are commanded to speak truth.
The 8th commandment teaches us not to lie.
And yet, we can’t grasp this one truth.
Jesus is the Son of the Most High God.
He is the Savior.
He is Lord.
And yet, most men reject this truth, and they’d never tremble before Christ the way this demon did.
Something’s off here.
Here’s a strange statement, if we have something to learn from the deceiving demons, it’s that we should know who Christ is.
He’s the King of kings.
The Lord of lords.
He causes the demons to tremble.
While they are fearful of His judgment, we can know that we can be spared it.
By repenting.
By having faith that Christ is Lord and Savior, who died for your sins.
And knowing that He
Then the right response to this is by repenting.
Turning from sin and running to Christ.

Next, Jesus gives us something to talk about, talk about His authority.

Remember who this man was.
He was a satanic version of Samson.
He couldn’t be tamed.
He couldn’t be restrained.
And look what happens in verse 10, “And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country.”
Out of the country - I like that.
You have a legion of demons, and they beg to not be sent out of the country.
Please don’t send me to France.
Please don’t send me to Canada.
Actually, he was begging something even greater.
In Luke’s account of this story, the demons beg not to be sent into the abyss.
This is a place reserved for Satan.
“Please don’t torment us.”
A man who can’t be restrained is begging for Jesus not to restrain him in the abyss.
When the humans tried to bind him it would have been in a local prison, or cave with chains.
When Jesus binds someone it’s for a 1000 years in an abyss.
That’s power.
Then the demons beg to be sent into a herd of pigs that were nearby.
Notice, they are under the eye of Jesus.
You ever caught your dog doing something naughty, and he knows he’s in trouble.
He’s afraid to move.
His ears drop.
He cowers a bit.
And he makes eye contact with you not wanting to disappoint you.
The demons are in trouble.
They are stuck in the gaze of Christ.
They cower.
They can’t move without Jesus’ approval.
They pray to Jesus to allow them to enter the pigs.
Jesus gives them permission to enter the pigs.
Here is something to talk about.
Personally, I get nervous whenever I preach on a text about demons or Satan, because there are some people who are hyper-spiritual and they have an unhealthy fascination with demons and Satan.
This text isn’t about the power of demons.
It’s about the power of Christ.
When we read this text, we should leave saying, isn’t Christ cool?
A new Star Wars movie came out earlier this month.
I remember about 15 years ago, when Episode 2 came out in the movie theaters.
There was this scene where Yoda, a little green alien in Star Wars, gets to fight.
He fights one of the big bad guys.
Yoda is one of the Star Wars characters everyone loves.
And when he walked out to fight, I remember seeing it on opening night, and the entire theater started cheering.
This is something we wanted to see for a long time.
We got to see Yoda fight.
When the scene ended, you didn’t say, “Wow, that bad guy was cool.”
We said, “Wow, Yoda was awesome!”
After reading this text, and after Jesus commanded the demons out, we shouldn’t say, “Wow those demons were cool.”
We should say, “Wow, Jesus is awesome!”
Jesus has given us something to talk about?
How do you talk about Jesus?
It should be much bigger than we are comfortable thinking.
I love talking about Jesus being big and mighty.
My favorite powerful Jesus verse is Revelation 19.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”
We get to talk about the power of Christ.

In contrast, how do the unconverted talk about Jesus?

There’s this interesting series of events.
The demons beg to be sent away.
And after Jesus ends them away, news spreads, and the people of the town came to Jesus and what do they do?
They ask Him to go away.
If communication with God is prayer, then let’s look at the prayers in this passage.
Then the demons prayed to be sent away.
And the countrymen prayed for Jesus to go away.
This tells us that the world isn’t really looking for evidence.
The world doesn’t need miracles to believe.
Many times people say that if only miracles could happen again, if Jesus would just come back and show His power, then people would believe.
But you see, these people weren’t lacking miracles, nor were they lacking evidence.
They had it, and they didn’t like it.
They prayed for Jesus to leave.
One of the most hated doctrines of the world is the exclusivity of Jesus Christ.
says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
This means that salvation isn’t available through:
Joseph Smith
Charles Darwin
The Dalai Lama
Popes or priests
There is salvation only in Jesus Christ.
And when you say something like that, that’s hated.
And if that is true then what of the other religions of the world?
They are lies
They are wrong.
And if people they continue in their sin, then they will in fact go to Hell.
When we talk about the exclusivity of Christ, and the power of Christ, and the authority of Christ, how does the world respond to that?
“That’s hate speech.”
Like the people who came to see Jesus, “Please go away from us!”

This puts us in a difficult situation, what are we supposed to talk about?

This poor man, is never given a name.
He’s called the man who had been demon possessed.
He’s forever labeled this way.
The town won’t forget this.
They have just lost about 2000 pigs.
They are uncomfortable with him there.
The man who had cured him, Jesus Christ, is now being begged to leave.
By default, he’s not wanted there.
You ever been somewhere where you can tell you aren’t wanted?
You walk into a conversation and everyone stops.
You know that they were just talking about you.
You know that they were saying something negative about you.
It’s cold.
It’s uncomfortable.
This man is experiencing that in the entire region.
He’s from the Decapolis, it’s actually 10 Greek towns.
So in these 10 towns, no one wants him there.
Talk about not fitting in.
Jesus has just freed him.
People follow Jesus.
And what does he want?
He wants to follow Jesus also.
The demons beg Jesus to send them away.
The town begs Jesus to go away.
And now the demon-possessed man begs to go away with Jesus.
That’s not an irrational statement.
But Jesus says no.
Verse 19, “And he did not permit him ...”
I love the idea of heaven.
I want to go to heaven.
I just taught a class on Eschatology, and man I’m pumped for Jesus to return.
I want to be in the presence of Christ.
When we evangelize, we talk about how we don’t have to go to Hell, but we are trying to convince people to turn to Christ so they can go to heaven.
I’ve grown up in the church, I’ve heard about heaven my whole life.
I want to go there.
But guess what?
We aren’t there yet.
Aside from Christ returning in my lifetime, I’m going to have to be patient.
It won’t happen till the day that I die.
It’d be great to be with Christ right now, but I have to wait.
We find ourselves like this man.
He wants to be with Christ, but has to wait.
says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
We want to be with Christ.
But we aren’t there yet.
Jesus told this man to stay where he was.
The rest of verse 19 says, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
He says tell them.
Literally, bring back a message.
Become a messenger.
It’s where we get the world angel from.
He from being filled with fallen angels to being a different kind of angel.
Someone who brings a message.
Jesus doesn’t allow the man to go with Him because he wants him to be a messenger.
He has a purpose in leaving him behind.
And at the same time, we are not yet with Christ, for a purpose.
Jesus tells him to tell of how much the Lord has done for him.
He was a danger.
He was in danger.
He was out of his mind.
He was demon possessed.
And now look at him.
He’s clothed.
He’s in his right mind.
He’s sane.
Go and tell people what the Lord has done for you.
And at the same time, we are not yet with Christ, for a purpose.
Here we are on earth and we are to tell what the Lord has done for us.
Jesus told the man, “Go home to your friends ...”
I grew up in a family, where the family would sometimes go to monasteries.
Yes, those are real things.
Priests and monks live in these monasteries.
They are away from people.
They are away from culture.
And there is this idea that monasteries are where it’s at.
The truly religious live in monasteries.
They live like hermits away from everyone.
That’s not true Christianity.
Christ said, “Go home to your families ...”
We haven’t been saved to be isolated.
We should be social.
We should have friends who aren’t Christian.
We should know people who aren’t Christian.
These shouldn’t be our closest relationships, that’s what is called being unequally yoked, but we should know people who are not Christian.
He says tell them how much the Lord has done for you ...
“Tell them” means bring back a message.
Become a messenger.
It’s where we get the world angel from.
He went from being filled with fallen angels to being a different kind of angel.
Someone who brings a message.
Jesus doesn’t allow the man to go with Him because he wants him to be a messenger.
He has a purpose in leaving him behind.
Jesus tells him to tell of how much the Lord has done for him.
He was a danger.
He was in danger.
He was out of his mind.
He was demon possessed.
And now look at him.
He’s clothed.
He’s in his right mind.
He’s sane.
Go and tell people what the Lord has done for you.
Be social, have friends. Why?
So you can tell them how much the Lord has done for you.
His conversation was to be seasoned.
He was to go home, go back to his family, go back to his friends and tell them what happened.
“What did I miss?”
“Who won the game?”
But here’s what Christ did for me.
“I was demon possessed and now I’m better.”
This isn’t necessarily evangelism.
This is simply saying, “Here’s what God did for me.”
I know we frequently talk about evangelism here at Southwest, and it’s scary.
That’s not what I’m talking about … yet.
This is just saying, what has God done for you.
One of the reasons why evangelism is so scary, because we don’t talk about God enough.
Jesus said to tell others how much the Lord had done for him.
There’s normal, friendly conversation.
“Did you see this movie?”
“The weather is nice.”
“I like your sweater.”
And then there is evangelism.
“Do you think you’re going to heaven?”
We aren’t very good about talking about God the rest of the time.
God provides for us.
God is sovereign.
Sometimes the only time we talk about God is when we evangelize or are at Bible Study.
There are times
Jesus said to tell others how much the Lord had done for him.
How well do you do this?
Do you do this?
It was part of the mission of this man, to tell people of what the Lord has done for him.
This is something that we should be doing.
You read about it in the Psalms.
This might be a challenge for some of you.
Some of you might even be wondering if the Lord has done anything for you.
This calls for us to be frequently in prayer.
I used to struggle with this, but then I began praying more.
I began a prayer journal that allows me to keep track of my prayers and I’ve been astounded at how often the Lord answers prayer.
And then when you observe God working in your life and should you do … talk about it.
Joyfully talk about what He has done.
Don’t hide it to yourself.
We do this with everything else.
We talk about Christmas.
We talk about sports
We talk about our spouse.
We talk about our spare time.
We talk about movies.
We have no problem talking about all the other things we enjoy.
I was with someone the other day and we were talking about God working.
We talked about the awkwardness of talking about the work of God in our lives.
We joked about using the phrase that something was a “God thing” and how we don’t like that phrase.
You know why we are so uncomfortable with it?
Because we don’t talk about His work enough.
Then when we do talk about it, it sounds strange.
It sure is fun to talk about what God has done.
Once we start doing it, it quickly becomes praise.
I asked the Elders to share with you some of the things that the Lord has done for them.
Randy is praising God for the lessons of life that the Lord has taught him.
“for me, what this year has brought is a mindset that I am aging- but not in a fearful way, … but rather in an introspective way that has me counting my blessings with gratitude in a way that is so much more intense than before. It is a joyous yet quiet realization that I am in His hand, which causes me to live more in the moment & appreciate all He has done for me. I don’t think I appreciated it quite so much (nor could I have) in my younger days...God is good!”
He’s praising God for getting older.
Mark has had a stressful year in his personal life. He looked back and said:
"I would say that he has gotten me through a difficult year with his arms wrapped around me. I believe if I looked back at this year, at the foot prints in the sand, I would see one set of footprints. I thank God for holding on to me.”
Jason has had an exceptionally stressful and trying year when it comes to work, life, school and ministry.
“I can say with certainty that God has provided for me and the church in ways that I didn’t think were possible. He has provided me a wonderful family (both personally and church) that have given me support to get me through this last year, which has included the building refinance, taking over the music ministry ..., finishing my masters degree and the craziness of work. I can truly say that I did not have the strength, organizational skills, ability, or endurance to finish this on my own. God is good, and He continues to be my Cornerstone.”
And Richard said,
For your sermon
“I’ve experienced an increased blessing while praying for others. I guess He’s taught me trust, patience, and persistence. To be satisfied in his sovereignty. Also, meeting with Cyrus has been a blessing to me. And God has taught me that sometimes people are really frustrating.”
To be satisfied in his sovereignty.
Also, meeting with Cyrus has been more of a blessing to me than I expected. Not sure what to call that.
And God has taught me that sometimes people are really frustrating. (Alexanders, Shaun Hall, Parlas)
Start sharing these things:
With the Lord in your own prayer time.
Talk to God about what He’s doing in your life.
Then share what the Lord has done for you in your homes, with friends and family.
And as you start doing this, you won’t be able to stop sharing the work of God.
Maybe you think this is too much.
This should be the joyful reality of the Lord’s work in your life.
I can guarantee you that this man in Mark didn’t have to work himself up.
The Lord had freed him, and he went and told people.
And in addition to talking about how the Lord has helped us immediately, we are to talk about how we have received mercy from God.
This man was demon possessed.
We don’t know how he got the demon, but I can guarantee you it wasn’t because he was such a nice guy.
Demons cannot inhabit believers.
Saul was the first king of Israel, and he was under the spell of a demon.
Before the demon came, he was a wicked man who was disobedient to God and later jealous of what God was doing in David’s life.
Demons don’t possess innocent people.
says, ”And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience ...”
He was the very embodiment of someone who followed the prince of the power of the air.
He was demon possessed
Then as continues, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved …”
Just as the demons were afraid of being sent to the abyss, the Lord was kind to this man.
He freed him.
He made him a messenger.
He became one of the first missionaries in the Bible.
Jesus sent him to Greek cities to tell of the work of God, and was he affective?
It says everyone marveled.
They pondered what they saw and heard.
When we talk about Christ, we must never forget the Gospel.
This man was demon possessed, but what was your excuse in sinning?
We don’t have one.
You voluntarily sinned.
In fact, when you sinned, you probably thought that it was right thing to do.
Hell is what you deserved, but if you are in Christ, you’ve been given mercy.
He’s spared you from what you deserve.
But you’ve been spared.
You’ve received mercy.
And as you tell this story, watch as people are in awe.
So what what has the Lord done for you?
Can you start talking about what the Lord has done for you?
Tell of the Gospel, and tell of His providence in your life.
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