Faithlife Sermons

Reaching Out To The Unlovable

The Life Of Christ  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Greetings…
Theme of this year’s Sunday morning sermons has been “The Life of Christ.”
The goal has been, hopefully, to draw closer to God, through a better understanding of God in the fleshes’ life here on earth.
Several years ago there was an effective slogan by a telephone company that advertised “Reach out and touch someone.”
The idea was that there were people waiting for you to pick up the phone, call them, and they would be overjoyed to hear from you.
I remember my dad one time saying after getting our long distance bill that mom had “reached out a bit much that month.”
In our text for today’s lesson, Mark 5:1-20, we find Jesus “Reaching Out To The Unlovable.”
This is the account of Jesus healing a Demon possessed man.
Now in Matthew’s account there are two men possessed but in Mark and Luke’s account we see them focus on the more notorious of the two men instead of both.
Let’s look at our lesson now…

The Reality

Mark 5:1–5 ESV
1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.

Real Problems.

Setting the scene:
Jesus had been preaching all day long.
Later that evening Jesus told the disciples to load up in the boat and go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.
During that trip there was a great storm that came up as Jesus was asleep in the bottom of the boat.
Jesus stilled the storm and the disciples were amazed and frightened at the power of Jesus.
As we get to our text we just read Jesus and his disciples have made it to Gerasenes which was a bout 5 miles or so across the sea.
They get out of the boat and immediately a demon possessed man comes to him from the tombs.
Now this man had real issues, real problems.
This man had been cast out by society to live in the tombs wherein the dead were buried.
The people had tried to bind this man with chains and shackles but he broke free of them so as a last result it seems they sent him away to this place.
He was naked and filthy.
He had sores all over him, caused by self mutilation.
His hair was tangled and his eyes were wild.
If ever a person needed Jesus to “reach out” to them it was this man.
Now for a moment, I want us to consider how Christ “could have responded to this.”
In other words think about his…

Imagined Excuses.

Jesus could have see this man and said, “I’m too tired to deal with this right now.”
Remember Jesus had been preaching all day long.
If you think sitting through a 30 minute sermon is hard imagine preaching and teaching all day long.
Listen, we all understand what it’s like to “feel tired” from a long day of work.
We can easily feel like, after these types of days, that our time and energy is spent, that there is little left for reaching out to others or working in the work of the Lord on those days.
However, as Christians we cannot let this be our excuse because it is just an excuse.
Galatians 6:9 ESV
9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Jesus could have said, “This is not my responsibility.”
This man had family in the area (Mark 5:19; Luke 8:39).
There is no doubt that family have a responsibility but it appears they had done all they knew to do.
Again, this is an easy situation to find ourselves in as well and we can all imagine saying this, I’m sure.
This person has people who love him, let them deal with him.
As Christians, we must have this mentality of “no matter what” we give ourselves to those opportunities to help to someone else.
1 Timothy 6:18 (ESV)
18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share
Jesus could have said, “This is not a good prospect for conversion.”
After all he was seemingly “out of his mind.”
Now obviously this man had a real issue that could only be fixed with a miracle.
However, you and I know there are plenty of people we have come across in the past that we have looked at and said, “I don’t see it happening.”
Every person was created by our God and deserves our full attention and effort in teaching the gospel.
Mark 16:15 NKJV
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Jesus could have said to his disciples upon seeing this man, “Don’t you know that there’s a risk involved here?”
“If I try and help him it probably won’t do any good anyway.”
“I could just make people upset around me if I try and help anyway.”
A real risk in helping and teaching the lost is making people mad at us.
It’s a real concerning that if we try and teach our friends or family the truth of God’s word they will get mad and stop being our friends.
This is a real concern and a valid concern as the dark hates the light.
However, as Christians this shouldn’t be our concern, our concern should be more for their soul.
Even if they don’t accept God’s word at first that doesn’t mean the seed you planted will never grow.
1 Corinthians 3:6 ESV
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
Jesus could have given any or all of these excuses but he didn’t.
Why, because Jesus had…

Real Concern.

Jesus had a real concern for this man’s soul, his life, and a genuine love for this man.
Here was someone that nobody else seemed to love, but Jesus loved him.
Here was someone that nobody else seemingly cared for him, but Jesus cared for him.
In spite of Jesus being exhausted and all of this mans issues, Jesus reached out to this man in need.
James 2:8 ESV
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.

Summary

Our Christ, took the risk and reached out to this desperate man in need.
We then see…

The Response

Mark 5:6–9 ESV
6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”
Mark 5:10–13 ESV
10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
Mark 5:14–16 ESV
14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs.

Jesus’ Might.

Here we find our interaction between the demon possessed man and Jesus.
The man comes to Jesus and talks but it is obvious that it is the demons that are doing the talking.
They ask two important questions?
First, what are you going to to do me, torture me before the time?
There is a time appointed when Satan and his demons will be thrown into hell.
Second, came we leave to the pigs in the distance?
This demon was named legion, which meant many, as a Roman legion had about 6,000 soldiers in it.
This man likely didn’t have six thousand demons but he did go to a herd of 2,000 pigs.
Now, “Legion” didn’t get it’s wish of surviving this encounter because as soon as they were allowed to go into the swine the pigs went crazy and drown themselves.
Now, the pig herders witnessed this and went and told all the city dwellers and the countryside what had happened.
That the demon possessed man was fine but the pigs were lost.
Now let’s examine…

Jesus’ Motivation.

As I said earlier, Jesus helped this man because he loved him.
God is love (1 John 4:8, 16), and loves even those that other find unlovable.
But there are some other motivating factors Jesus demonstrates when helping those in need of his love.
First, we find Jesus is always sensitive to people’s needs.
He was always actively “looking for” those that need help.
Galatians 6:10 ESV
10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Second, Jesus was willing to start where the needy person was, not where he “wished he was.”
Jesus ignored the man’s physical condition, smell, looks, and strove to help him.
Once helped, we see the man was clothed, clean, and well.
Sometimes we need to help people get their life in order before they will realize or can understand the “will of the Lord.” We have to start where people are not where we wish they were.
1 Corinthians 9:19–20 ESV
19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.
1 Corinthians 9:21–23 ESV
21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
Thirdly, Jesus was willing to talk with the man and listen to his problems.
Listening is a vital tool in the Christian’s tool-belt.
As one’s that have the answers in the “book of life” we often want to get straight to the solution to their problem (sin) but skip the listening to the reason they are living in sin.
We cannot help the lost over come sin in their lives if we haven’t listened to their plight in the first place.
James 1:19 ESV
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

Summary

Jesus’ might was his reason for helping this man in his need.
No, his motivation for helping this man was his love for his soul.
This motivation is necessary for us to help those in need.

Conclusion

Now the unfortunate part is that we read in the rest of the text, Mark 5:15-20, the people were not happy Jesus helped this man.
They actually beg Jesus to leave them instead of rejoicing that this demon possessed man was now free.
Jesus did what was requested of him.
They could not have made a more tragic request, but Jesus complied, as he never stayed where he wasn’t wanted.
We cannot stay were we are not wanted as well.
We are to share the word of God, but if people ask us to “leave” we should leave.
There might just be someone else who can be more effective than us and by staying we can do more harm than good.
However, that doesn’t change the love we are to have for them.
That doesn’t change the prayers we should be praying for them.
That shouldn’t change our desire for their soul to be saved.
Invitation
Isaiah 59:1–2 ESV
1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Philippians 2:6–7 ESV
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Romans 10:17 ESV
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Acts 17:30 ESV
30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
Matthew 10:32 NKJV
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
2 Thessalonians 1:8 ESV
8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:1–4 ESV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
Romans 6:3–5 ESV
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
1 John 1:7 ESV
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
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