Sunday 11th March Morning
Barry Littleford Jesus Heals Our Spirit Page 1 Jesus heals our spirit Mark 5:1-20 There is nothing more down played today within the life of the church then the concept of evil spirits. We are happy for horror movies and shows like supernatural where the theology is poor but talking about it is church at the best goes abstract. The idea that an outside force can somehow influence us rightly so makes us feel uneasy. Scripture shows time and time again that there are such things as evil spirits, the most common is this one we will read today Now again we are looking at three areas, soul (emotional) spirit and body, this might not be the area you need healing, but it also just might be. 1They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High Barry Littleford Jesus Heals Our Spirit Page 2 God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” 9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. 18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis5:20 That is, the Ten Cities how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. Barry Littleford Jesus Heals Our Spirit Page 3 It would be easy to say that this guy was suffering from mental illness or that all mental illness is caused by demons but that would be a gross simplification. This man was in agony and torment and Jesus set him free from the cause and for him that was evil spirits. Jesus heals lots of blind people some are through spirits and some not, the same would apply here. What is important to know is that the evil one can cause our sickness Acts 10: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. When we realize that we have an enemy that is deliberately trying to trap us we can see the greater need for Jesus and his healing power I am going to keep it simple today because this stuff can get sensationalized and it really doesn’t need to be. What are the degrees of influence? I have seen two. Strongholds and possession. Strongholds are doorways into your life where a spirit may speak and influence but not control – so destructive thoughts, telling you there is no God, self-loathing. Now all these things you can have without a stronghold. Barry Littleford Jesus Heals Our Spirit Page 4 Strongholds happen most commonly through trauma - the trauma causes an opportunity for the evil one to have influence. Possession is what we see in this story and it is rare, I have seen it 4 times. It does take over and seek to destroy the person which we see. Usually this happens through spiritual rituals that are not of God etc. Now the thing to remember is that this is not Hollywood, this is not a complicated issue most of the time Eph 1:19-23 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Or in terms we have been using, “God is bigger”, that Jesus has the authority and has given that authority to deal with these issues so healing can happen. There is no song and dance, just Jesus authority. That said, what are some signs that a spirit might have a stronghold access or a spirit might need removing? Like in this Barry Littleford Jesus Heals Our Spirit Page 5 story we see the Spirit react to the presence of Jesus. This is the key. The presence of the Holy Spirit reacts with the evil and forces it to reveal itself. Every time you go to pray you get agitated or black out. You find yourself repelled by other people praying or when the spirit moves in worship. These are all signs that something could be at work. Sometimes there are more clear signs of manifesting as in this story that the spirits start talking or being thrown to the ground. It all sounds scary but in reality, we have the authority and it can be removed in most cases easily, quickly and without issue. It is not our job to go looking for spirits in people’s lives, Jesus doesn’t in this story, they come to him, this means that God is ready to do something. If we go looking and accusing people of having spirits, we can damage them and damage ourselves. Most of the time I have done this it has been unexpected and dealt with quickly. Again I am not saying that anyone has a spiritual influence that is keeping them from being healed, but I am saying that from scripture we see that it is possible. The good news is that it can be dealt with easily and quickly. It doesn’t make you a poorer Christian or less of a person if this is a part of your life. It just means you need help to be free and claim the healing God has for you. Barry Littleford Jesus Heals Our Spirit Page 6 God wants you to be free, he wants you to be whole, he wants you to not be influenced by anything other than him. So if you can’t work out why you feel agitated by the presence of the Holy Spirit, if you are feeling like you struggle with keeping your thoughts together when you pray, if you feel like you struggle to pray for healing for yourself because you get a wave of negativity then maybe this is what God needs to set you free from.