Now we're reading this evening from Mark's gospel chapter 5, Mark's gospel chapter 5 and we're reading from verse 1. The 'they' that is spoken of in verse 1 is the party where the Lord Jesus Christ was. It says: "And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he", Jesus, "was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him" - that is, Jesus, "Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee".
I want you to open your Bibles at that passage, because it's important what that passage says this evening. It's more important than what I will say, or what we've heard already - but what God says is what's important.
In America some years ago a man built a house in a field, out in the middle of nowhere. Once he had finished building that house he moved in with his wife and children. Once they had furnished the house, and put all the cutlery and delph in it, they set down one evening just to rest after tea. Suddenly some strange occurrences happened, things in the room started to shake, the cutlery started to rattle together, the plates rattled, cups rattled, chairs began to move, tables lifted. No-one would believe what was happening, but in their home it seemed, to their testimony, that they had what was called a poltergeist. So they got a man they knew who was a Christian to come to that home, and he came and he went through every room of that home and he prayed, in the name of Jesus Christ, that those evil unclean spirits would leave that house. They noticed in the days that came after that incident that there were two pigs on that farm that developed rabies. The pigs began to behave rather strangely, so much so that the farmer had to take his rifle and had to put them to death.
I don't know what you think of that story this evening, but one thing I do know is that scholars tell us that today there are probably more instances of demonic possession than there were in the days of the Lord Jesus Christ. We've become very rational in these days, haven't we? We've become very realistic, in a wrong and a negative sense, we have tended to put the supernatural out of our minds and out of our lives. Of course, there are those in our society who, if they have a sore big toe, they blame it on the devil - but there's the other extreme, who have put the devil to death.
The passage that we read together this evening is found in the context of the gospel story where the Lord Jesus Christ has been on a boat with His disciples. He has just come across Galilee and a storm has risen, and the Lord Jesus Christ was asleep in the bottom of the boat. His disciples came and wakened Him and said: 'Master, carest Thou not that we perish? Do You not care that we die?'. Of course, Jesus did care - you remember Jesus got up, and went out onto the deck, and He stood there - and I can just imagine Him, tonight - with His arms outstretched, and He said: 'Peace, be still'. The disciples turned, and it's recorded that they looked at Him, and in verse 41 of chapter 4: 'They feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?'.
Almost as if carrying on from that story, Mark the gospel writer, and some of the other gospel writers, carry on and are trying - I believe - to explain what manner, what type, what kind of man this man Jesus Christ was. Imagine this evening, they have just experienced this mighty miracle right in the middle of the lake and, as it were, they are sailing towards this mountainous region - caves and rocks, a hillside where there are tombs, where only dead people are buried, there's no life about it at all. As they come close to that shore they see, running down that mountain, like a ravening beast, a wild animal, this man who is naked, a man who has hair down his back, a man whose eyes are like fire, popping out of his head, a man who is foaming at the mouth, a man who is shouting, who is covered in bruises and cuts, who seems to be reeling in pain and agony and torment. The disciples look, and they are fearful - they want to push Jesus, perhaps, to the forefront for Him to go forward.
This was a character in this society. You know we all have one, don't we, in our town? A family, perhaps, in the town that everybody stays clear of - they have a reputation. This was one man like this, everybody knew what he was like - he was living with the dead people! That's the first thing I want you to notice about him tonight: this man lived with the dead. It says in verse 2 that he came out of the tombs. He was living - think about this for a moment - he was living in a graveyard.
In 1728 Benjamin Franklin - you know who he was - when he died they put on his tombstone these words, and he had written them himself. He wrote: 'The body of Ben Franklin (printer) - like a cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and guilding - lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be lost, for it will appear once more in a near and more elegant edition, revised, corrected by the author'. This man was dead, Benjamin Franklin was dead, he was buried, he was six-foot under, and he was writing his epitaph that his body was no use any more, that worms could eat it, it could rot and it could die away.
This man, this man the demoniac of Gadara, this man was not physically dead - but listen this evening: this man was dead on the inside. He was dead within, he was dead spiritually, emotionally - every conceivable death within, this man had it. Because of that he was living with people that he was like - he was living in a graveyard. They say that you get like those you live with, this man - inside - was like those who he kept company with. He was hanging around those whom he was like.
I want to ask you tonight: are you living with the dead? Are you living with the dead? It could be a dead church, and the Bible tells us that there will be those who will take the name of Christ, they will have a form of godliness, they will preach a similar message, they will perhaps say the same phrases and present the same caricature, but within there is no power, there's no life, there is no reality, there's nothing supernatural. Perhaps that's you tonight? Perhaps you're keeping company within a dead church? This demoniac was dead from within, why? Because of his sin - simple. He was dead within because of his sin, his sin had killed him on the inside. The more he sinned, the more he died. The more wrong things he did, it got worse and worse and worse, until it began to affect this man on the outside.
Perhaps you're sinning so much in your life that it's beginning to affect you on the outside. You see, Satan had this man, have you got that? Satan had this man literally, in fact this demoniac was the devils' dungeon. This is where the devils lived, they had their habitation within this man! The Bible says in John chapter 10 and verse 10 that the devil, Satan, was a thief from the beginning, he was a murderer it says - and that's all that Satan wanted to do with this man. He wanted to get him, he wanted to kill him, he wanted to destroy all life that there was inside of this man, he wanted to ring it out of him.
Do you know what the cycle of sin is? That's exactly what it is - the cycle of sin is when Satan gets you, and he wants you, and he wants to take you where he's going - because Satan knows where he's going, he's destined for hell. Bit by bit, step-by-step, he will destroy you - he wants you, he wants to get you and make you like the demoniac, his dungeon! The little chorus says:
'Sin takes you further than you want to go,
Slowly, but wholly, taking control.
Sin keeps you longer than you want to stay,
Sin will cost you far more than you want to pay'.
You know it! I know it! When we sin, and when it's unconfessed sin and we don't bring it to Christ and we don't bring it to the cross, it begins to fester, it begins to rot, it begins to decompose within us, and the poison goes throughout our whole body and soul until it destroys us. Oh, this man was dead on the inside. He was so dead that he was living with the dead. You know the Dead Sea in Palestine, don't you? Well, there are plenty of rivers that run into the Dead Sea, but one thing that we know about it is that there's no rivers that run out of it - and because of that it's dead. It's not alive, there's no life within the Dead Sea. That's like sin tonight, my friend, and you know it as well I do, that you pump it into your life, it comes in from every conceivable outlet that you have - through every sense, through every feeling that you have - but there's no way of getting it out, there's no way of getting rid of it, and it snowballs within you until it destroys you! No freedom, dead.
The second thing that I want you to notice about this man is not only that he lived with the dead, but it says he broke loose from their chains in verses 3 and 4. What happened was - like a lunatic in any society (maybe they don't do it any more in our society) - they tried to chain him up, they tried to suppress him. They went up to the mountain and they tried to put clothes on him, they tried to tie him down and put a straitjacket on him, they tried to do everything to stop him - but because it was a supernatural power that was within him, he broke free from it all. No matter what plan they tried, no matter how many men they brought up to that mountain to take hold of him, to put him in ropes and irons, he broke free from it all. This man couldn't be tamed. This man was wild.
Now I want to ask you a personal question: can you be tamed? Can you be tamed? You say: 'I'm not wild! I'm not running around naked up a mountain!'. Listen friend: are there things in your life, are there things in your heart, are there habits that you have, are there things in your mind and in your home, that you cannot tame, that you cannot control? They control you, they seem to come from the inside out, and affect you and affect everyone who lives with you and all those that are around you. They would long to chain you, wouldn't they? I know they would, the church - some churches - would long to chain you, they would long to give you rules and try to reform you, and try to knock you into shape and deny you the things that you need - I know that! But it doesn't work, sure it doesn't? When they tell you to do good, well, it just doesn't work. Maybe your family, young people, are trying to control you, they're trying to influence you, they're trying to tell you what to do - but they can't tame you!
Maybe it's society. Society would like you to be a certain way, but you're not having any of it. You can't be tamed, and you know within yourself that even if you wanted to tame yourself you couldn't do it. Perhaps it's doctors, and they've told you to stop it, they've told you to stop it, to give it up - but you can't tame it! You can't control it, it's as if a demon within you is driving you to do these things - you can't do anything about it! Perhaps it's work, perhaps it's teachers, but they're trying to tame you, they're trying to chain you - but, like the demoniac, no matter how much they do it, you break free, you get away! Perhaps it's your tongue - and listen, Christian tonight, James says that the tongue cannot be tamed! Maybe your problem tonight is your tongue, and it cannot be trained or tamed. It says in verse 4, the very end of it, listen: 'No man could tame him'.
Do you know what that tells me? I like this - do you know what it tells me? No man can help you! Have you got that? No man can help you, no man can save you, no man can bring you peace and forgiveness and eternal life and salvation! A man might help your body, a doctor. A psychiatrist might help your mind, but listen: a man cannot help your soul! It doesn't matter what he dresses like, and it doesn't matter that he prays to God for you, and it doesn't matter what he does for you, it doesn't matter who he is, or the letters he has before or after his name, or what College he has gone to, or what religion he is, or what a good man he is - it doesn't matter, because Jesus says that no man could help this man.
He lived with the dead, he broke loose from their chains, look at verse 5, it says he loathed himself. I think this is so sad: 'And always', it says, he didn't miss a night, 'And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones'. Can you see it? This poor creature running around demented, cutting himself, severing his flesh. He didn't want to do it, but he was driven to do it. He loathed himself. Do you loathe yourself tonight? Do you hate yourself? Every time you look in a mirror, every time you hear someone talking about you, you think it's bad. You loathe yourself physically, emotionally, psychologically - you can only think bad and worse about yourself. In fact you've got to a stage, perhaps, that you feel suicidal about yourself. You wish you could just end it all - the world would be better without you, your family wouldn't care, no-one loves you, you just don't want any of it! No one would miss you.
Perhaps you're like Job. Job said in chapter 3 of his book and verse 3: 'Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived'. He said: 'It would be better if I had never been born. It would have been better if I had never lived to endure the pain, to see myself the way I am, and oh how I hate myself! I wish I could die to escape from it all!'. But of course the lie that the devil sells us is that we can't escape from it. It's like the Russian architect, he built a big skyscraper in a Russian city. He was demented when he saw, after he'd built it, that he'd never put an elevator in it. For punishment, because he made this vital mistake, for punishment he lived the rest of his life on the 12th floor.
Is that you tonight? You live your life on the 12th floor and you can't get down. You hate yourself, you loathe yourself, you're punishing yourself and you can't help it - something is driving you from within to do things that hurt you, that aren't good for you, that make you worse and worse, and you don't know what to do. You feel like ending it all - you've believed his lie! Remember, he's a murderer from the beginning. Do you know what his lie is? It's this: that God doesn't love you, you're too bad for God to love. But do you know what the reality and the truth is tonight? It's this: that God has made you, God has created you, and not only has He created you, but listen to this: He has created you in His own image!
Isn't that remarkable? 'Me? Come on! The way I behave, the things I do, the things I think and say?' - yes! You! Now, we've messed it up a big deal, but originally that's the way we were created. God created you and - listen! - God loves you! Don't you ever believe the lie of the devil that no-one loves you. God loves you! God is standing before you, by His Spirit, in this meeting testifying that He loves you. In fact, He couldn't really put into English how much He loves you.
Christ looked at this poor man, He looked at the demoniac, and do you know something? He saw not just what that man was, but listen to this: He saw what he could be! Look at yourself tonight, you're a mess, aren't you? Maybe you're not a mess on the outside, you look well and you wear nice clothes, you've the make-up on and you're done up - and everybody thinks everything's normal. But behind that smile, behind that facade and that mask there is a graveyard of hurt and pain, anxiety, heartache. You just want to be free from them all - you know what you really are.
He lived with the dead, he loosed himself from their chains - their chains were no good, they couldn't contain or control him - he hated himself so much that he cut himself and hurt himself. But listen, it says in verse 9 that he did this because he had a legion of demons. Verse 9 says: 'And Jesus asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many' - it was as if over it there was dubbing put, like you get on your video, another man's voice dubbed onto this man. Everyone knew it wasn't his voice, this spirit, this evil demon, was speaking from within him, answering the Lord Jesus Christ. 'We are legion. We are many'.
Do you know what a legion was? Now grasp this this evening, a legion in the Roman army was 6,000 soldiers, 120 horsemen and technical officers - that's what a legion was! Now I don't know whether it was exact, but the Bible is trying to communicate to us that this man, he was filled with demons! If you could have seen it in his flesh, they would have been poking out there were that many of them! They pushed him and pulled him wherever he was going, they made him do whatever he was doing - he was demented physically and mentally, because he was not his own. I don't know if you're demonically possessed tonight, but maybe you do have demons - maybe not demons like this man, but things that you are controlled by. Things that control you: we all have them, don't we? Things that we would rather not do, but every time it comes across and says 'Hello', we jump right in there. All we need to see is a finger: 'Come here!', and we go, we run to it and we indulge in it, we roll around like a pig in the mud. Again we get up in shame, and we think: 'Why, why did I do it again?'.
What is it? Is it drugs? Is it promiscuity? Is it pornography? Is it alcoholism? What is it? Is it money? Is that the thing that drives you? What is it? Is it your career? Your education? Your religion? What is it? Your family? Your children? What is it that drives you, the demons within that control you, and take over you and possess you? This man had a legion, I want you to see it - oh, if I could express to you the feeling that I had within my breast when I read this - this man lived with the dead! This man loosed their chains from off him, he couldn't be contained! This man loathed himself, he hated himself! This man had a legion, perhaps 6000 or more demons living within him.
But I want you to see verse 6: 'But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him'. Isn't that beautiful? Isn't it? When he saw Jesus, he saw Christ, he saw Christ looking at him when all the disciples were turning away! When they were getting the oars to row the boat away again from the shore, Christ was wanting to step on the shore - He was looking at him, His eye was on him, He wanted to come and speak to him, He wanted to touch him. Maybe he hadn't been looked at in years, maybe no-one showed him affection in years - and maybe that's you here tonight. Christ is standing, and it says that he saw Christ - and even that demon that was in him couldn't contain him: he ran to Christ! He ran to Him, and even though he had the hordes of hell in his belly, he fell down and worshipped Him.
Do you know what that tells me? That tells me that he knew who He was. I want you, tonight, to see who He was. It says in verse 7 who He was. This man, or the demons within him, 'cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not'. I want you to see this, I want you to see who He was. He was the Son of God, the Son of God - He was God the Son, Emmanuel, God with us. He had come to dwell as God, the Living God, among men. He was Jehovah, the great God, for He said that 'before Abraham was I Am' - and that was the name of God 'I Am'. He is, He was, and He always will be - He is eternal. He was Jehovah, He was the express image of God - and I say this reverently: if you could take a photograph of God, it would be Jesus Christ. He was His image, He was the wisdom of God, He was the power of God, He was the Anointed, He was the Chosen of God, the Prophet of God, He was the Shepherd of God. He was the way, He was the truth, He was the life. He was the open door to get into heaven, He was the Good Shepherd, He was the Great Shepherd, He was the Chief Shepherd standing before him. He was the bread of life to the hungry, He was the lily of the valley to the wilderness, He was the bright and morning star to the darkened sky of this man's life. He was the sun of righteousness, the dawning of that man's night. He was a strong tower, a strong tower to run into. He was the strength to the poor, the strength to the needy, the refuge and shelter in the storm, the covert from the tempest, the harbour of His people. He was the horn of salvation.
That poor creature lifted up his eyes, and there he saw love in a way that he never saw it in his life. Oh, I wish I could express to you what that man felt. I want to ask you this evening: the demons, listen, the demons knew who He was - in James 2 and verse 19 it says that the demons believe - maybe you're here tonight and you haven't really realised, maybe you know up here [in your head] who He was, but you haven't realised down here [in your heart] what He is and who He is. The demons believe it tonight, do you? Do you know Him up here, but I want to ask you: are you known of Him? Have you let Him come in? Have you let Him take control and take up His residence within your life? Do you see who He was? He was the Saviour, and that wee man with the demons in him like a load of kittens in an old sack, punching and fighting, like a baby in a pregnant woman's stomach, he had demons within him kicking and screaming - but he ran to Christ and worshipped Him!
Do you see what He did? Not just who He was, this is Christ, do you see what He did in verses 11 to 13? He told them to get out! People had been trying it for years, I'm not surprised that they got all the witch-doctors and magicians, and all the Pharisees and Scribes, and every religious freak and crank that they could get to try and tame this man - but Jesus just did it like that! He did it like that! He cast them into the swine, 2000 of them, and you can hear the squealing and the oinking as they all, like an avalanche, go down that hillside and drown themselves in the river.
Do you see what He did? Listen: do you see the power of Christ? Do you see that what Christ did for the demoniac, what Christ did in this man's life, He can do it in your life? He can free you! He can liberate you! He can put chains on your habits, on your driving forces in your life that no-one else can do, He can chain them! He can control them! He can suppress them! The chains that Christ puts on you, never need to break.
You see who He was, you see what He did, but look quickly: you see what He was told in verse 16 and 17. 'And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine', look at verse 17, 'And they began to pray', they asked Him, they pleaded with Jesus', to depart out of their coasts'. What happened? What happened? They saw it - 'Did they not see it?', you're saying, 'Did they not see what Christ did for this man?'. What does it say? They feared, they're knees were knocking, their eyes were popping out of their heads, they'd never seen anything like this in their life, they'd never seen the power of God manifest - they said: 'Go away you! Go away! Go away Jesus of Nazareth, we don't want You!'. Is it not the words of Psalm 40 and verse 3: 'Many shall see it, and fear'.
Wait till I tell you tonight: if Christ saves you, if Christ saves you, there will be many see it and marvel and fear - they mightn't believe, but there will be others who will see it and fear and many will trust in the Lord because of the change that is wrought in your life! The Lord Jesus Christ stands before you tonight, and maybe you're thinking about this - and I hope to God you're not - but you're may be thinking about saying: 'I pray Thee, Jesus, leave me alone! Leave me in my sin! Leave me with my demons, I can't live without them - I couldn't think of life without them!'. The Bible says that Jesus was always a rejected man, He was a man of sorrows, He was acquainted with grief. The people hid their faces from Him, they wouldn't look at Him, they would go near Him. They would have spat on the ground He walked on - they didn't like Him at all! His own people, even His own people, rejected Him - and then they nailed Him on a cross, to bleed and to die, and it was the demons that did it. Listen: it was the demons that did it, because they knew who He was, they knew He was Messiah, they knew He was Lord, they knew He'd come to save and deliver the world - and they wanted to take Him and nail Him to a cross! But listen: they meant it for evil, but God meant it for good - listen, better than that: He meant it for your good!
I want you to see, finally, quickly: he lived with the dead, didn't he? He loosed their chains, he didn't want them. He loathed, he hated himself - but then what happened? He had a legion, yes, but he saw, he looked upon the Saviour and he was set free! Then it says in verse 15 and 19 that he lived for Christ. That's right! He lived not for the legion any more, but he lived for Christ. It says in verse 15, and this is beautiful: 'And they come to Jesus, and see him', they saw him, 'that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind'. He was normal, in fact he was more normal than the rest of them! Jesus said to him in verse 19: 'Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee'.
Listen, my friend, listen: you, like an out of tune instrument, can be tuned by Christ tonight. You, like a raggedy old tramp, can be clothed in the finest of garments by Christ tonight. You, like a caterpillar that is dying with the shell rotting and falling off him, can fly like a butterfly tonight. You, in the words of Paul the apostle, can be a new creation in Christ Jesus - all the old things can be put away, and all things can be made new.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at Portadown Baptist Church in Portadown, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the tape, titled "What Manner Of Man Is Jesus?" - Transcribed by Preach The Word.
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