Jesus and the disciples had just crossed the lake, the Sea of Galilee, and remember, last week, we were talking about that terrible super-storm that they had to go through, and that almost killed them, and when you get near an experience that almost takes your life, it leaves your heart pounding, and they saw the most welcome sight as they were finishing their trip. Everything calmed down. The storm stopped, and they saw the shore. Land! And it was such a welcome sight. The boat landed and the disciples and Jesus got out and set foot on shore. The winds were gone. It was peaceful and quiet, and I want you to look in Luke 8 what happened. Luke 8, and we want to begin with verse 26. "They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, He was met by a demon possessed man from town. For a long time, this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but he lived in the tombs."
After this man's bloodcurdling scream I can just picture the disciples hopping back into the boat. Wouldn't you do that? “Get back in this boat quick. Let's get out of here. This is a bad place.” But they didn't do that. The man came and he was screaming, he was foaming at the mouth, probably, he was demon possessed. He had chains dangling from his wrists where they had tried to constrain him. What would you do?
Well, I will tell you this was heathen territory. The other side of the Sea of Galilee was very different. Far different from the Jewish side of the lake, and when you cross over to the other side of the tracks, you get in a whole different world. No righteous Pharisee would keep 2 thousand hogs. The other day I got on my computer, yesterday, and I ran a program, and it found that our computer had 1 hundred and 28 viruses. It had gotten slower and slower, and this man had some devils in him. More than a hundred and 28.
Well, this land exhibited rank paganism, and you know, every neighborhood has a local whacko. Does your neighborhood have a local crazy person, a lunatic? Can you think of who he is, or she? Picture that person in your mind? I think there were actually two demoniacs, but Luke focuses on the more demonstrative of the two, and this homeless man lived in the cemetery. Would you like to live there? He lived among the tombstones, or in them, the Bible says, however that could be. And when Jesus and the disciples landed and stepped out of their boat, this raving lunatic was screaming and threatening them.
Look at Mark, chapter 5. Keep your bookmark in Luke 8, and come to Mark chapter 5, because this is found in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Mark, chapter 5 and verse 4. "For 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." Verse 5, "Night and day," not day and night, "among the tombs and in the hills, he would cry out and cut himself with stones." So here he was in these tombs, in the cemetery, crying out, crying for help probably, I don't know. And I think when Jesus was out there in that storm and in that boat and the ship was swamped with water, I think Jesus could hear that cry because Jesus always hears a cry for help, doesn't He? He'll hear your cry for help. And so that's why they landed, maybe, at that precise place, because that's where Jesus knew this man needed help. See, everything has a purpose. And Jesus was there, and the wild man came and threw himself at the feet of Jesus. Now that's the place where he needed to be. When you are in a crisis in your life you need to be at the feet of Jesus.
Now sometimes, right here in Collegedale, I'm going to ask you to confirm what I'm saying. How many of you, at night, if you listen carefully in the stillness of the night, you have heard coyotes howling up in the woods, up in the mountains? Have you heard that? A lot of you have heard that. It's here, they're here, in Collegedale. The coyotes are here, and I am glad that there's not a demoniac living up there in the hills, in the darkness, in the night, in the woods. Imagine hearing the bloodcurdling screams of maybe a couple demoniacs as they are around here. Would you feel comfortable at night? The locals must have had a lot of nightmares. Can you imagine that? The possessed man was super strong. You can read in Acts, chapter 19, verses 14, 15, and 16, about an experience where 7 grown preacher’s kids, 7 men, were attacked by one man who was possessed by a devil and it says there that they ran out of the house, the devil possessed man beat them up. They ran out of the house naked and bleeding, and I will tell you that when the devil gets in you, he will always leave you naked and destroyed and dirty, deranged, disheveled, and demolished. You need to beware of nudity. A lack of appropriate modesty is a sign of a sick mind.
Well, he cut himself, the Bible says. He cut himself with sharp stones. These would be flint-like rocks or stones, sharp as razor blades. Do you know anybody that cuts themself with razor blades? The devil likes that, when you cut yourself. The devil will lead you to destroy yourself. You youngsters need to listen. Why was he cutting himself? I think perhaps he was cutting himself, because he thought if I cut deep enough I can release the devils out of me. I can get at them. I can hurt them. I can destroy them, myself. I can do this. I'm going to try harder.
And you know what he was trying to do? He was trying to solve a spiritual problem in a physical method, and it doesn't work. And we do the same thing when we try to save ourselves by our own works. Saving yourselves by your own works doesn't work. We think, “Well, if I try harder, I could just deliver myself. I can overcome this if I try harder.” What you need is Jesus. You need to come to the feet of Jesus, and fall down, and worship Jesus and get Jesus’ help. We need a miracle from Jesus to save us from our sins. No matter how many demons or problems we have, I want to tell you that Jesus is far superior to your problems. Jesus has the answers, and you cry to Him, and He will listen to your cry. Every time He will listen. You come to Jesus. Sit at Jesus’ feet, and Jesus will deliver you.
Well, Luke 8, verse 27, says he hadn’t worn clothes for a long time. Quick, you think of how many animals don't need any clothes. How many animals need clothing? Zero. No animal needs clothes. Human beings are the only animal, if we can classify ourselves like that, that need clothing. It gets cold in Palestine, and this man lived among the tombs and it rains there. And that night had just been a terrible storm. We witnessed that back in the last few verses. And so many Christians run around the same way this man did. He was vulnerable to the elements. Many Christians run around naked. Spiritually naked. Unless you are completely covered by the robe of the righteousness of Jesus Christ you are in danger spiritually. Agreed?
The demoniac’s family must have been at their wits end on what to do with this son. He was cute as a baby, but now he’s a Frankenstein monster. He's terrorizing the whole town. And occasionally vigilante bands of men would come and manage to get hold of him and put chains around his wrists and put iron bands around his feet. But he would always break loose, and you know what happened? Eventually the community got used to the man. We can’t control it, so let's just accept it. That's what happened. They became comfortable with him. The townspeople accepted this factor in their lives, and maybe they took turns watching over him, according to verse 29. And this mad man in their midst, they tolerated this evil.
And I think modern society reflects this demoniac. It was William Bennett who wrote a book called The Death of Outrage. We don't have any outrage anymore. Have we modern people become so comfortable with wickedness and sin that it's hurting us and we don't know it. Indecent advertisements go across our TV screen every day, every program, and we say, you know, they really shouldn't do that, but we leave it on, and it's right there in our living room. Sin is getting too familiar. Swinish! Repulsive! Late-night TV shows show just about everything. There’s promiscuity, brutality, homosexuality, obscene wickedness in every form. Satan is marching across the screen in our living room, in our family room, in the room that we call the TV room, and we tolerate it. Don't tolerate evil.
My wife and I, after her ovarian cancer, went over to Europe. We decided we'd better do some things. We don't know how much longer we will have. Fortunately, God has healed, and we all need a miracle, don't we? Well we saw over there in Germany, a concentration camp. So we went in, and we discovered this concentration camp, I think it was Dachau, had a wall around it. A big wall, lots of barbed wire around there, and on the other side of the wall was a neighborhood. People lived there on the other, just right on the other side of the wall. There were subdivisions. There were houses. There were cul-de-sacs. There were kids playing in yards. Now this was back in 1942, 43, 44, 45. That's what was going on, and they could smell the stench of burning human flesh, but they tolerated it. They got used to it. They accepted it. And evil is wrong. And I think when we have no shame that that allows Adolf Hitlers to surface. We need to not get used to evil. We need to fight evil. Stand up against sin.
Jeremiah, chapter 6 and verse 15. “Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct?” the Bible says. “No, they have no shame at all. They do not even know how to blush.” Shame on us. And so Jeremiah concludes, “So they will fail.” In America we have the death of outrage. We don't even blush anymore.
Imagine living in that little town where the demoniac lived. Imagine trying to raise your kids in that little demoniac-ville. It would be tough. The town maniac is uncontrollable. He’s on the loose. Every mother has got to be vigilant. She's got to keep her children close by. You never want to go to the cemetery without a large group of people, and he's out there. Locks on the doors were numerous. They were strong. Each evening, little children would be afraid to go to bed by themselves, and they would say, "Mommy, can I sleep in your bed tonight?" And the mommy would say, "No, not tonight. It's going to be okay." And they could hear the far off shrill shrieks and screams of these demoniacs out there. This naked lunatic at night would leave the cemetery. They have to eat, you know, and would forage in among the houses for food, and you needed to keep your curtains pulled, and you were thankful for those bars on your windows. You were in jail, and he was loose.
Who was this berserk man? Who was he? He had a mother. He had a father. He had played in the streets with the other boys as he grew up. He grew up right there in that town, but unfortunately for him, he grew up in a heathen town. Now if you were born in a Christian home, and a Christian community, and a Christian country, praise the Lord. Right? But he grew up in a heathen town. That little boy became a monster, and how did he become a demoniac?
I want you to come over to Romans in your Bible. Romans, chapter 6. Here's
how it happened. Romans, chapter 6, and verse 15. And here the Bible makes this statement. "Don't you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master." You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive His approval. We have a choice, and I think this boy started to dabble, little by little, with evil and eventually he got into spiritualism. Now I don't think they had Ouija boards back then. I don't know what all he did, but he got into spiritualism, and one small step after another, and finally he was totally possessed by the devil.
And you know, it bothers me that here in America we are slipping into the devil’s stuff. We love the psychics. Have you noticed that? You see, here's a reader of tarot cards, here's this, we’re getting into the devil’s stuff. We kind of like dragons and dungeons and occult evil, and liberal atheists are making satanic games for our kids to play and we purchase those games and we let them buy those games. What is the matter with us? America, we need to deliver our children from these things. It's not just harmless fun. It's Satanism. America celebrates the gay lifestyle. We throw the 10 Commandments out. We consume the Harry Potter books by the millions. We read these eastern New Age books. We study horoscopes, and you know what I see? America is becoming a modern demoniac. Many, many people doing this. They couldn't sell all this stuff if we weren't buying it. We are losing our moral sanity. We are becoming hooked on evil, and tied to that hook is a line and on the other end of that line is a sinister fishing pole held by no one else than the devil. And he’s wanting to reel us in. That's his goal, and these things will draw you all the way to perdition. Sin is always self-destructive. So beware of books, and we have all kinds of books. Down at Barnes & Noble, at Books A Million and all these bookstores, on Eastern religions, and they say just relax, empty your mind, and you can buy music that’s just...
They want you to empty yourself, empty your mind, and you know the Bible says we ought to be full. Not empty. We ought to be full of what? Full of the Holy Spirit. That's what we need to be. If we’re empty, we can be sure that another spirit will come in and take the place.
Matthew, Chapter 12, verse 43. "When the evil spirit comes out of a man. It goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it," and verse 44, it says, "I will return to the house I left and when it arrives it finds the house unoccupied," the mind is empty, "swept clean and put to order." Verse 45, "Then it goes and takes with it 7 other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there and the final condition of the man is worse than the first. And that's how it will be," says verse 45, "in this wicked generation." That's how it is. Fight evil. Stand up against wrong, and stand for what is right.
I think America is sweeping God out, and we need to be careful what's replacing it. I think our only safety is to keep our hearts full of Jesus. Fill up every day on the Bible. It’s cheaper than filling up your gas tank, you know, 60, 70, 80, a hundred dollars to fill up your car. Fill up your mind. It's free.
There is a real battle going on today here in America, here in the world; and we call that battle the great controversy between Christ and Satan. That's what we call it. And we're in the middle of it. And our soul is what's at stake.
Luke, chapter 8, verse 30. “Jesus asked the man, ‘What is your name?’, and he said, ‘Legion.’, because many demons had gone into him.” How many soldiers were there, by the way, in a Roman legion? There were 6 thousand. Now I don't know if there were 6 thousand demons in this man but he needed to run several programs to clean out the infections in his computer. That's a lot of demons.
Verse 32. “A large herd of hogs was feeding there on the hillside. The Demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and He gave them permission." Now who were these demons? Well, they were former angels from heaven, weren't they? Isn't that who demons are? They used to live in heaven. They used to live where it was perfect, and then they followed the devil and they sinned and they were cast out of heaven, and now they have to beg for permission to go and inhabit a dirty, stinking, filthy hog. They've come a long way down, haven't they? Used to live in heaven, and now they're living in hogs. The devil will always lead you down. Luke, chapter 8, verse 33. “When the demons came out of the man they went into the pigs and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned."
Now the devil makes normal pigs into crazy, berserk, psycho pigs. If you were standing there... And I want you to place yourself in this picture. Here's 2 thousand pigs jumping into the lake, and you're standing there. What would you be watching? Would you be focused on 2 thousand dead, floating hogs, bobbing up and down in the Sea of Galilee or would you be focused on the delivered demoniac? Now honestly. Especially if you were a swinesman, or a swineherder, or whatever you call somebody that takes care of these beasts. What would you be watching? Would you be bemoaning the fact that your livelihood was taken away? “Now I'm jobless. I don't have a job anymore. Look at what just happened to me.” Would you be blaming your loss on Jesus? Would you be willing to lose your hogs to convert one soul? Or two?
Actually, you know what, those pigs were smart. They were intelligent. They preferred suicide to demon possession. When the devil gets into you he’s soon going to lead you to a path that will destroy you, and you need to avoid that at all costs. Stick close to Jesus. Fill your life with Jesus.
I toyed with a different sermon title. You can see all these sermon titles on the back of your bulletin. This bulletin is different than yours. You see how short it is? When I put a regular bulletin into my pocket it sticks out, but this one is short enough. I cut the ends off of it. But I toyed with a different sermon title, and I thought of instead of calling this The Disrobed Demoniac and the Crazy Pigs, I thought of calling this sermon, Deviled Ham. You like that? You know, we pastors, we think of all these titles, and we go through all this stuff trying to think of a title that will be something of interest where you will come and where we can preach the Bible to you and so that's the title I chose. But I almost chose Deviled Ham.
I grew up a vegetarian. I've never eaten pork. And whenever we used to drive by and go out on a ride, we used to take a ride on Sabbath afternoon. Did you ever do that? We don't do that today. Can't afford it. Well we used to take a ride, and occasionally we were out in the country and we’d go by a hog farm, and there’d be 20 or 30 hogs out there by the barn, and they’d be wallowing in the mud and grunting and groaning or whatever the sounds are that they make, and many is the time when I’ve driven by and those hogs were out there and the stench is so bad, it's real bad, it's even worse than that, and imagine how 2 thousand pigs would smell. Just imagine that.
And you know what, if your life stinks, the devil is happy. That's what he wants. If your life wallows in the mud, the devil is happy. He's got you right where he wants you. He wants to finish destroying you, but Jesus wants to clean you up. Jesus wants to give you a right mind. To save you and put your feet on a path that will lead you to life and not destruction.
These swineherders rushed into town with news. “Guess what. Jesus came and destroyed our whole livelihood. We have no industry anymore. We’re all bankrupt.” So the whole town came running out to see what's going on.
Come to Luke eight verse 35 here. “The people went out to see what happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus feet, clothed.” Where did they get those clothes? Didn't have a Penneys or a Wal-Mart or a Samaritan Center. Where did they get the clothes? I think the disciples shared. And this man was dressed and he was in his right mind. He had been totally converted, and actually we are that man. We're living in darkness. Hopelessness. We’re naked. Each of us needs Jesus. Each of us needs a robe put on top of us to cover us. The last line of verse 35 is strange. “They saw this man sitting there in his right mind, clothed, and they were” what? “Afraid.”
Now they weren’t afraid of the town terror when he was loose. When he was in the devil’s mind. When the devil had him they weren't afraid, but now they're afraid. Isn't that strange? That's strange. When he’s in his right mind. When he’s at the feet of Jesus. They begged for Jesus to leave. So Jesus and His disciples, in verse 37, they got into the boat and they left. Jesus won't stay where He's not wanted. They asked the world's greatest miracle worker to leave. Jesus was their only hope, and they asked Him to leave.
I think Jesus, I don’t know if He ever came back that way again. Maybe this was the only chance for some of them. They foolishly asked Him to go. The pig owners were more concerned about their money than they were about Jesus’ miracles. They needed a miracle in their land, in their hearts, and in their homes, and they were more concerned about pig money. They chose swine over salvation. Now I’m glad we’re not that stupid. We choose booze over the Bible. We choose drugs over deliverance. We choose lust over love. We choose pleasure over prayer. Maybe we are the same. Or similar. They feared the cost of Jesus’ presence when what they should have feared was the cost of Jesus’ absence. There's a high price to the absence of Jesus in your life. You don't want to pay that price.
Luke 8 verse 38. “The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with them.” He wanted to become a disciple. He begged to go. “Can I please go with you?” And what did Jesus say? Jesus sent him away saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” Where should you begin your witness? Return home. Go home. You start in your own home, and then spread out. And so the man did. He went back, and that was hard. When people looked at him, they saw him as the cause of their bankruptcy. Their financial loss. They remember Jesus as the one who ruined their food supply. He ruined their whole business. He made them bankrupt, and so when this former demoniac went out to tell everybody about Jesus, it was not a welcome message. But he did it. And in the last part of verse 39, “The man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” His personal testimony. And people believed the man. They could see that he's different. He's normal. Maybe he even had a little bit of a real nice personality that came out after the devil left, and when Jesus comes into your heart you're nicer. You pretty good.
And I think later in Mark 7, verse 37, the same people said of Jesus, “He has done everything well.” So I think this former madman's testimony worked. I think the people were converted. And this means that the man's witnessing efforts were successful. He couldn't keep silent. He told everybody about Jesus, and when you’ve been redeemed you want to tell everybody about it. And I want to urge you. You've been redeemed. You go out there and you witness to your neighbors. Witness to your family. Witness to people. And let's speak out about the outrages of this life, and let's speak up about Jesus.
Next week we're going to be speaking about raising your kids from the dead. How to do it. So if you want to come we’ll look forward to that, and let's sing our closing hymn. Number 337. Redeemed How I Love To Proclaim It.
Hymn of Praise: #17 Lord of All Being, Throned Afar Scripture: Romans 5:16-18 Hymn of Response: #337 Redeemed!
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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 8/6/08