Sermon delivered January 29, 2000

by Ministerial student, Jason Foster

Student of Southern Adventist University

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.

The Demoniac

We got off the boat, it had been quite a journey to where we were going, and as we stepped up onto the shore I heard it. I didn't have to cup my hands around my ears. It was loud. Loud enough that it scared me. I heard this scream of torture. I took a shock class this past semester as we were going through some of the safety rules right at the beginning of the class, Dale Walters instructed us that you can tell the difference between somebody who has Windex in their eye and the scream of somebody who has acid in their eye. One sounds like he's hurting, and one sounds like he's dying. That's what I heard. I heard the scream of torment.

As we walked further up onto the shore, a man came running out screaming at the top of his lungs. Yelling! I couldn't really understand what he was saying. I don't think anyone I was with could either. He came out and as he drew closer, we started to run away and we realized that we were missing someone. We went back to get him. This man, this crazy person that had come running out after us, screaming at the top of his lungs. Maybe he's done something to our companion. As we got back, we saw that our companion was facing this man.

The man said to him, "Have you come, have you come to torment us before it's time?" Jesus said, "Go out of him." And then He said, "What is your name?" And the demon that was inside this man said, "Our name is 'Legion' for we are many." And they begged Him, "Lord, Son of the most high God, do not torment us before our time. Send us into those pigs that are over there." We could see there were some pigs over there feeding and there were some men around watching. By this time they had heard the screams and they were looking, too. Then Jesus, He said, "Go." The man was freed, and the pigs became enraged and they ran down into the water and drowned themselves.

We were amazed. We stood and wondered at what we had just seen. This man who'd been for many years hiding in the cliffs and the area around the lake. He wouldn't let anybody pass. But the word, "Go." Jesus had freed this man. The people that were guarding those pigs ran and got their masters and some of the people from the town and they came back and they saw that the man that had been possessed was just sitting there on the ground. Before, nobody could even come close to them. They tried tying him with chains and he had broken them. He cut himself with stones. He marred his body. Now, he was sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed in his right mind. And the people were afraid. They didn't understand.

And they said, "A, well you know, a, we don't really want you here, guy. You scare us with the things that you're doing. So we want you to leave."

Jesus didn't shove or push. He said, "Okay," and so we got back on the boat. As we were getting back on the boat, I heard this man that had been possessed. He was running down the shore towards the boat. As he came to the edge he fell on his knees and said, "Lord, let me come with you." But Jesus said, "No. I want you to go back to your house. I want you to go back to your friends and I want you to tell them what the Lord has done for you." And he went.

I think it is amazing what the disciples must have experienced with Jesus. The way they must have felt when they were there with Him as He healed a man that had been demon possessed.

Turn with me to Luke. We find the story of the demon possessed man three times: in Luke and Mark and Matthew. In Luke 8:26 the story begins. And they arrived there. They arrived on the shore near to the city and they got out and they had this encounter with this demon possessed man. As I told the story, I imagined that I was a disciple, and that I had been there, and that I was in the story.

Today, I want you to imagine that you are in the story. But I don't want you to imagine that you were a disciple. And I don't want you to imagine that you were one of the people that were watching the pigs, or are in the position that Jesus had to be a healer. I want you to imagine that you are the demoniac. As scary as it may seem, you are. You don't have to imagine.

So, as the demoniac in the story, what did Jesus do for that demoniac? Because what He did for the demoniac is the same thing that Jesus Christ, Lord and God, can do for you. The first thing that Jesus did for the demoniac...

I went to Little Creek Academy as a sophomore for my first year away at boarding school. Now, I loved boarding school, especially self-supporting, because of the rules. A lot of you may think that is crazy, but really, what is boarding school all about? It's about making memories. Without all those rules you can't do anything illegal. And when you do things that are illegal, that's how you make your memories. Things like wearing your hat in the cafeteria. Now, I know that's a bad one. But sometimes I went against it. I was a bad kid.

In the administration building there was a flight of stairs that went down from the entrance to where the offices were. There was a banister there, a quite a long banister, and I remember one of the rules, one of the good rules, was "no sliding on the banister." And that was a dumb rule to me. So, sure enough, I would come through the administration doors, look around, swish, right down the banister. All the way down and go to class, have a great time.

One afternoon, I was there at class. We had a faculty there that had a small child named Devin. Devin and I were great friends. He was real young, probably four or five years old, and since I was about four or five years old, too, we played together a lot. And even though I was that young, I was still bigger than Devin. I could pick him up and carry him around on my shoulders and things like that. And so I did.

And I was running around with him downstairs with him in the administration building. I ran outside and I came up around the edge of the administration building and there were some stairs up next to it. I ran up those with him. We were zooming around. He was Superman. I went through the administration doors and I said, "Devin, do you want to slide down the banister?" He said, "Yeah!" So I jumped on the banister with him on my shoulders and we began to slide. And then we began to fall!

And I began to scream, and he began to scream and somehow, I really was possessed I think, because the is no other reason I'd have done that. I caught my senses and thought, "This kid is going to get hurt." In a split second, I reached my arm out and tried to give him some padding. I think you know how stairs ate built. About a fourth of the way from the bottom, I landed on the stairs and bumped down the rest of the way. By the time I got to the bottom my elbow was on the bottom stair and my wrist was on the floor. And Devin's knee was right in between.

You know, when people talked about being double-jointed, I thought that would be cool. Bend yourself in all sorts of contortions and bring your arms around your back. I thought it really meant having two elbows. But when I looked down at my arm, it appeared that I did. My arm was off to the side, and that's just one story. Five times I've broken my arms.

But, you know, in a more serious area, at least five times I've been pushed down the stairs. Because there is some one, some being that is out there that wants to destroy me. In my life, the devil want to destroy me. He wants to push me down the stairs. He wants to batter me and he wants to bruise me and he wants to break me. He wants to fill me with his presence so that I don't even know what I'm dong, that I'd cut myself with stones, just because I'm not as low as the demoniac is yet. It doesn't make me any less infected. And it doesn't make you any less infected.

As you can see, my arm works now. If I pull up my shirt, you'll probably notice that my arm is still bent a bit. That's the effects of sliding down a banister with a five-year-old on my shoulders. And because of this, am proof to that story. It's the truth. It happened to me. But I went to the doctor and I was healed.

Satan had crushed the demoniac until the only thing left for him to do was to be completely saved by the Savior, or die. But the Savior completely healed the demoniac.

Friends, today, the Savior can completely heal you.

Let's look and see what Mark 5 has to say about it. Mark 5:15, "And they came to Jesus and see him that was possessed of the devil and Jesus had the legions sitting at his feet and he was clothed and in his right mind and the people were afraid." But you don't have to be afraid. Because as the demoniac, today is the day that you can sit at Jesus' feet and be put completely back in your right mind. Now, I'm not calling you crazy. We all have areas inside us that the Savior needs to say, "Go" to.

Satan has succeeded in pushing us down. We are told in Romans 3:10 that None is righteous, no, not one. But by the power of Jesus we can become righteous and whole again.

What else did Christ do for the demoniac in this story? After he was healed, he was sitting there on his feet and the people asked Jesus to leave, Jesus didn't put up a fight. He said he'd leave. And He went and started to get back on the boat, He and His disciples, and the demoniac came running after Him. That was the demoniac's desire, to be with Jesus. He came running after Him. He said, "Lord, take me with you. I want to be with you. You're the One that can heal me." The demoniac realized that even before he was healed, but he had been so possessed the he couldn't control himself. And Jesus said, "No. I want you to go to your home and to your friends. I want you to tell them of what I have done for you." And the demoniac did it.

The emphasis the Pathfinders (Co-ed youth group like Scouts) are putting on this service is for missions. We are called to a mission. Let's look in Acts 1:8. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.

The disciples were being spoke to here by Jesus Christ. They were in Jerusalem and Jesus said, "First, I want you to talk to Jerusalem about it. And then I want you to talk to Judea about it, right around Jerusalem. And then I want you to talk to Samaria about it, right next to Judea. And then I want you to talk all the way to the ends of the earth about it." And this is the same lesson that Jesus was giving to the demoniac here in Luke.

I know that some people used to say, "We don't need to go to Venezuela to give the gospel. I can do it right here." But are you doing it right here when you've said that? Christ has given the demoniac a command, "Return to your house and show how great things God has done for you." And it says right here in Luke 8:39, And he went his way and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. Now, I would assume that the city was won because of that. The reason I would have to assume that is because if we look right down at verse forty it says, And it came to pass, that when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him for they were all waiting for him. For the five that were in his family that were waiting for him. What? For they all were waiting for Him. All of the people of the whole area heard what Christ did for one man. By that one witness, waited for Christ to return.

We're given a mission. Today, as healed people; today as the demoniac, today as we pray, "Lord, come inside of us. make us whole again." God says, "You are my missionaries. You are my witness.

Last year, as Mrs. Tuttle said, I went to Africa. I chose to be a witness there for a year. And that's where I was at, in Africa. But today, you are here. God asks you to be a witness where you are. And all the people will... Today you are healed. Today, I say that if in your heart you have turmoil about who the one single God is, pray that you will become whole, that you will become a whole witness for God. If you're struggling with what you are going to do on the Sabbath, maybe, there's a job opportunity that you're not sure you want to take, ask God to heal you, that you would become a whole witness.

Opening Hymn: #358, Far and Near the Fields are
Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20
Closing Hymn: #365, O Zion Haste

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