Just now we're going to read the Scriptures together, Luke's Gospel chapter 8 is the portion that I want you to turn with me to. It's a well-known story, perhaps not as well-known from Luke chapter 8, but nevertheless it's the same story all through: the demoniac of Gadara. I have preached on this before, not from this passage, I'm sure I'll preach on it a hundred times more - so I make no apology for that, it's one of the greatest passages of Scripture to preach the gospel from.
We're going to begin reading from verse 26 of chapter 8 of Luke's Gospel: "And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. And when he went forth to land, there met him", that is met the Lord Jesus, "out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. (For the Lord Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them", He allowed them. "Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again. Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with the Lord Jesus: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him".
Let's pray together before we hear God's word: Father, we're coming in the name of the Lord Jesus, and we want to get to Calvary's cross and to that foot where redemption is complete, where sins can be forgiven, where mercy meets the judgment of God's wrath, where sinners can be emancipated, delivered. Lord, get us there, we pray. Bind the strongman in this house, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and may the power of His precious blood that He shed on the cross be manifested in our midst tonight. In His name we pray, Amen.
My title this evening is: 'The Devil Undone!'. A number of years ago there was a book written entitled 'Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth', and we would do well to ask the question, especially in our contemporary society today: is he, or at least do we believe that he is? One side effect of atheism is also the disbelief in the devil, and many people who don't believe in God or the supernatural or miracles, also do not believe in the devil, a personality called 'Satan'. Even men of the cloth, sadly today, don't believe in the devil any more. That should not surprise us - they seem to not believe in very much that's in the Bible any more, but rather some of them say: 'Well, the devil or Satan is a personification of all evil' - we're to interpret him as a metaphor, as it were, of evil, a principle or force of wrong in our world, the inhumanity that is in all of us. Often it is seen as irresponsible to put it onto another person called Satan and blame him for everything. Now we're not doing that, we're saying that we are intrinsically evil as well, we are fallen creatures before God - but yet there is, we believe the Bible teaches, a person called Satan, the devil.
Just to illustrate to you how things have changed today regarding this: 'White witches', so-called, a pagan religion I think it's classified as today, they testify as well that there's no such entity as Satan - at least as the Bible portrays him to be - but we're surrounded in nature by 'forces', or they might call it 'spirits', and we can manipulate them to get our will, to bless others, sometimes to curse others, sometimes to entrance others - but there is not actually a person out there that the Bible describes as being the devil. This is the trend of belief that is around today, that Satan is not a personality, that he's not a being that is organising and orchestrating among his minions of principalities and powers - just other words for demons - his evil way upon this world.
I ask you the question: what greater tactic could Satan have than to convince people that he isn't there? Of course, he is described by the Lord Jesus Himself as a liar from the beginning, and of course the Lord Jesus taught that he was an actual person. He said: 'I saw Satan falling from heaven like lightning'. Satan today is doing exactly what he always did. Jesus said he was a liar from the beginning, and in the beginning, when we go into the Garden of Eden at the beginning of the book of Genesis, we see that he deceived our first parents, Adam and Eve, as well - just as he's deceiving people today. God spoke His word to Adam and Eve, He said: 'Of all of the trees of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die'. So Satan comes along and says: 'Has God really said that?', he begins to doubt God's word - but ultimately, in coming in this way to our first parents in the Garden, he's claiming to be their greatest guardian of welfare. 'I'll look after you better than God does! I'll give you more than God will! God is trying to disenfranchise you from the greatest things that are out there, but if you do what God has told you not to do, you'll be like gods!' - and of course, they believed the lie.
Man today is still believing the lie, and many people have signed their souls, the keeping, the guardianship and stewardship of their souls over to Satan. What I want to do tonight is to warn you lest you do the same, from the account of this man's life. Here's the first thing that I want to share with you this evening: first of all, what the devil had done to him, this man in Gadara; and what the devil will do to you as well. Now I'm sure at the beginning of this man's life, when he started to dance with the devil, as it were, that things were exhilarating, things were exciting. I don't know how his courtship with Satan started in the early days, it may have been that Satan gave him some special powers so he was able to charm, maybe he had a special knowledge that he thought he could see into the future. I don't know what it was, perhaps it was just simply the pleasures of sin - maybe it wasn't supernatural, but the devil give him some kind of a buzz through the activities that he was dabbling in. Whatever it was, though that may have been the beginning, and often is with people who flirt with Satan, it wasn't long before first of all, we see in verse 27, the devil had stripped him.
We read of this man, and I want you to note this in verse 27, that when the Lord Jesus met him coming out of the city he wore no clothes. Now I believe that can speak to of us of three things. It speaks to us of many things, but this is one I want to bring to you this evening: physically the devil had stripped him of his clothes - what is that? The devil had stripped him of his dignity. Now that is what the devil wants to do with men and women, he did it from the beginning and he's doing it today: he's stripping men and women of dignity. Whether it's through alcohol, or drug abuse, or sexual promiscuity, it all has this effect - your dignity goes.
Now we don't believe the Bible teaches the theory of evolution, it's a lie of the devil as well: God created everything. But it's no wonder to me that people in our modern age are believing evolution, because men and women, and even teenagers and children, are behaving like animals, like beasts - and nakedness is an association with this, lack of dignity, lack of humanity. I have to be careful what I say tonight because there are children in the building, but you can hardly go out the front door without seeing nakedness somewhere - whether it's on a billboard, or on the side of a bus, it's everywhere! It's a sign that Satan is stripping our society of its dignity. Maybe you have been stripped by drink of your dignity, when the drink is in the wit is out. Maybe it's drug abuse, or maybe it's even sexual promiscuity and literal nakedness - you could find yourself stripped of your virginity. It can also speak of poverty in any way, and all of these things will strip you of welfare in any shape or form: financially or morally speaking. That's what the devil wants to do with you.
Then secondly, the devil stripped him personally of his character. What does that speak of? His personality. I don't believe for one moment that the demoniac was born like this, he couldn't have been - and certainly he didn't live most of his life like this in the early days at least. He wasn't always a madman, and madmen aren't always madmen. There's a downward spiral, there's a first step on the road. If you could have brought his schoolmates to him on this hill, this particular day when Jesus was with him, they probably wouldn't have recognised him. This is what Satan wants to do, and this, incidentally, is what sin does to our personality. We can name alcohol, drugs, sexual promiscuity, gambling, we can go over many many moral sins, and all of them have this effect of eventually, as we spend our lifestyles in them, changing our very characters and personalities. That's what the devil wants to do, strip us of our personalities, who we are, our dignity and our actual being.
Then thirdly, the devil stripped him psychologically of his consciousness, or you could say his sobriety - did he know who he was? I'm sure if you had asked him today: 'Who are you?', he probably wouldn't have known. He couldn't have told you his address - you often hear them saying: 'Do you know who the Prime Minister is?', he definitely wouldn't have known who the Prime Minister was! Did he know what he was doing? I very much doubt it, and if he did know what he was doing one thing is for sure: he had no control over it. Psychologically the devil had stripped him of his consciousness, his sobriety. Now you tell me that's not what the devil does with people today - he gets them to a position, at first they think they're in control of their habits and their lifestyle, and before they know it they're out of control. Sometimes they're found in nothing but a drunken stupor, and they can't remember what they've done the night before. That's the devil's plan.
Friend this evening, has the devil stripped you of your dignity, of your personality, of your sobriety? The Bible tells us in the book of Genesis that God made man in His own image, do you know what that means? God made him with dignity, and as God created the heavens and controls them, God made man with control over himself and over all around him. God gave man, above the beasts, reason and rationality. God made man, separating him from the beasts with personality and with self-awareness - and the devil wants to strip man of all of it! Has he stripped you of some of it?
Then secondly the devil had uprooted him, not only had he stripped him, but verse 27 says that he didn't abide in any house. I believe he had been a man who had been uprooted from his home. I don't know whether his mother and father were living, they may well have been - but one thing's for sure, if ever there was a prodigal, this was him. He had left his home country, he had left his home, his father and mother, and now he was living a life that was incredible, I'm sure, to them. How many parents are there - and they don't have to be Christians by the way - but their hearts are breaking because of the lifestyles and the life's paths that their children have chosen? You can go to a drunk lying in the gutter, or go down the centre of town and see those prostitutes standing there, and do you know what they are? They are some mother's son, or some mother's daughter - they used to be the wee baby in the arms and in the pram, and 'Goo-gooing' - but this is what the devil has done to them, and what sin has done to them!
Now I'm not exonerating them from any guilt or responsibility, but can you see where this demoniac was? He grew up as a lovely wee young boy, but he's not there any more. You used to be there, but not any more. The devil uprooted him from his own family, I believe he probably had a wife and children, we read of his own home later on - Jesus tells him to go back to it eventually. The Psalmist on one occasion could say that because of circumstances that had come into his life: 'Lover and friend hast thou put far from me', his nearest and dearest, both friend and lover would not come near him, would have nothing to do with him. This is what sin does: it splits marriages, it makes parents estranged and absent where children have to grow up without a father or without a mother - is that you? Waken up, my friend! This is the devil's strategy, he wants to attack the family.
How would you feel if this was your father? How would you feel if your father was the town drunk? If this was your father, or father if this was your son, or wife if this was your husband, or vice versa - it doesn't matter - how would you feel if they were the laughing stock, a byword, everyone was poking fun and joking about them? Well, he was uprooted from his home, his family, and his society - the neighbours could do nothing with him. The devil damns some people through their friends, and there's others he has to sever from their friends and their family to do it. Maybe you're like this man: society does not accept any more what you have become, or what you're practising, or what you stand for - you're one of these people that bucks the trend, and because of that you haven't a close friend in the world. Oh, you've people that will rip you off, you've people that will get out of you what they can take for their own ends, but you don't have a real true friend. Can I tell you something: in the beginning God created everything and it was good, and not only was man created in His image, but the family God created and intended to be the centre and nucleus and foundation of all society. What has Satan done? He has come in and he's perverting the family, he's warping husband and wife relationships, he's trying to get gay people to marry, he is bringing abortions where children are being slaughtered in their millions year after year - do you know what he's doing? He's compromising the whole of society!
The devil stripped him, uprooted him, verse 27 tells us the devil was killing him. It was manifest in his lifestyle: he was living in the tombs. Now you can tell me what your lifestyle is like tonight: is it good or is it bad? It's very simple: is it killing you or is it not? In other words, is it bringing you to God or is it the highway to hell? Is it damning your soul? If it's not bringing you to God, it's certainly taking you away from Him! Not only was it manifest in his lifestyle, it was manifest in his tendencies because - we don't read it in Luke, but in Mark 5 we read that this man always, day and night, in mountains and in the tombs, was crying and cutting himself with stones! He was self-harming, he was suicidal, he maybe didn't even know half of what he was doing because of his demons, but he knew this: he hated himself! He was no longer afraid of dying, he was more afraid of living! Is the devil killing you with your lifestyle or with your tendencies?
The devil not only had stripped him, uprooted him and was killing him, but the devil had possessed him. In verse 30 we read that there was a legion of demons, that means thousands. Those devils had entered him, you see devils like to possess men, they like a home to live in - and it's a frightening thing. We see in verse 34 that the farmers that fed these pigs were so frightened when they saw Jesus casting them out of this man into the swine that they ran away. But there are some people, and they're not frightened of the devil, they're morbidly preoccupied and fascinated with the devil. Whether you want to take it from a child's intoxication with Harry Potter, to this movie that will be coming out soon 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose' - I don't know whether it's a true story or not, it doesn't really matter in a sense - but one thing is certain: this phenomenon exists. When you dabble in a small way with the devil, he will take you a little bit further - like a camel going into a tent, once the head is in, it's not long before the whole camel is trying to get in.
The devil possessed him and controlled his behaviour. He bound him by compulsion. Many people are bound by compulsive disorders, and I'm sure there are psychological reasons for some of them, but I'm convinced that there are demonic reasons for a lot of them: fears and habits, anxiety. It's common, in fact it is rife - and the devil is able, oh he's not able to read your mind as such, and he's not able to do all things like God, but he can plant fears and thoughts in your mind and have you continually, 24 hours, chasing your tail, not knowing which end of you is up.
The devil bound him by compulsions in his mind, but he also made him unresponsive to other people's restraints. He had possessed him so strongly that other people couldn't control him, even when they bound him with fetters - he broke free! How could anybody else control him, he couldn't control himself! Is that you? Have you tried to help yourself and you can't, and you've gone to other people to try to help you in this particular area, but they can't - here's the lesson my friend, listen, it's a little chorus that I learned many years ago and some folk will know here tonight:
'Sin will take you farther than you want to go,
Slowly, but wholly, taking control.
Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay,
Sin will cost you far more than you want to pay'.
Do you know why sin is so destructive? Because there's an intelligent, very powerful personality behind it, and that's the devil! Maybe he's got you over a barrel tonight - this man was literally possessed, and I believe there are still those around today who are possessed. Maybe you're not one of them, and you think this sermon's got nothing to do with you - are you oppressed by the devil or by sin? I think most unconverted people are, even some converted people are oppressed. Maybe you have been dabbling a little bit in things that you don't think are of the devil, you're reading your horoscope every day and you don't realise it, but you're looking to your horoscope more than God as to what's going to happen to you today. Maybe you have even been looking in the tea leaves, or a clairvoyant, or tarot cards, divination of all sorts - even if it's only of the water - it's of the devil.
Oh, I could go on: pendulums and all sorts of things. You hear of these people going and seeing whether their baby is a boy or girl, swinging the pendulum over it. That's of the devil, my friend, and if you have had it done, or you have had charms done, the danger is that the devil can have a foothold in your life. You daren't open yourself up to the devil, because it will affect you. He is the god of this world, he has great power in this system at the moment, and his desire is to blind people's eyes to the light of God's Gospel. It doesn't matter how you've dabbled in the occult or not done, the fact of the matter is: the devil has a foothold in everybody's life that isn't saved. I'm telling you that, now believe me because he's even given a foothold in the lives of some people that are saved! So if you're not saved tonight, you can be sure that he's got a foothold in your life. I want to tell you tonight, and give the lie to the devil's lie: he is a thief, Jesus says in John 10:10, he has come to steal your life, to kill your life, to destroy your life, and the sins that you're presently involved in are the highway to hell for you that the devil is taking you on - do you know why? Because he's going there himself.
Jesus said that hell wasn't prepared for men and women, this everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels. The devil knows he's going there, and though he might be self-deluded to think he can get away with the odd thing now, he wants to damn as many people as possible with him. Friend, don't you think this gives me any pleasure telling you this tonight, if you only knew how hard it is for me to preach on something like this, and how much I struggle with this issue of hell, you probably wouldn't believe me.
What the devil had done to him, he will do for you, be warned - but let me tell you tonight, and this is the good news: what Jesus did for him, He can do for you. This is the story of the Gospel, no matter where you find it: whatever the devil has done to you, Christ can set you free - hallelujah! 'If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed' - there's nobody else can tell you that. It's not getting out a pen and paper in a doctor's surgery and writing you a prescription that doesn't work - I'm not against medicine, far from it. I'm not one of these people that tells you: 'Trust God and forget about the tablets', no! But I'll tell you this: what the tablets cannot do, Jesus can do. He can set you free from any of those anxieties, because He, as He said, is the one who came to give us life, and to give us it to the full.
Jesus' word delivered this man, I love this. In verse 29 we read that the Lord 'commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man'. There is power in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Jesus' word delivered him! There's power in the Gospel, that is the word of Christ. In Romans 1:16 Paul said: 'I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes'. The Greek word for 'power' there is 'dynamus', which is the word we derive the English word 'dynamite' from. The Gospel is the dynamite that blows the devil to hell - hallelujah! The Gospel has the effect that nothing else can - do you believe that?
What Jesus did for him, He can do for you. He can give you His word, the Gospel - and that's what you're hearing tonight: that you can be freed from your sins, and Jesus died for them and paid the penalty for them there, and bore your hell. That's the dynamite that can cast Satan and sin all away in judgment, because He bore the hell that was rightfully yours. Not only is there power in the Gospel of Jesus, there's power in the name of the Lord Jesus. In Acts 3 and verse 6 a man was healed, and we read this: 'Peter said, Silver and gold have I none', he was begging, 'but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk'. There's power in Jesus' name, and there's a day coming, Philippians 2 tells us, when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Did we sing tonight:
'In the name of Jesus,
In the name of Jesus.
We have the victory;
In the name of Jesus,
In the name of Jesus,
Demons will have to flee!
Who can tell what God can do?
Who can tell of His love for you?
In the name of Jesus, Jesus,
We have the victory!'
The great hymn puts it:
'Jesus! the name high over all,
In hell, or earth, or sky!
Angels and men before it fall,
And devils fear and fly'.
Do you know why it's so powerful? Because Jesus' authority is in His name. In verse 28 of our portion we read that even the devils in a loud voice said: 'Jesus, thou Son of God most high, torment me not'. Isn't that amazing, that the devils knew who He was? The devils knew that He wasn't just a miracle man - don't you believe that for one minute! He's the very Son of God, He's the Holy One of God, He is the Creator of the ends of the earth, God the Son and the Son of God. In Luke chapter 10 verse 17, the disciples rejoiced one day: 'Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name'. There's power in the name of the Lord Jesus, and there's a day coming - because Jesus has now risen from the dead, gone to heaven, He's on the right hand of God, and angels and authorities and powers have been made subject unto Him. He's going to come and He's going to put it all right, He's going to iron out all the creases of humanity that the devil has ruffled and ripped.
Even the demons know who He is, and the Bible says they tremble about it. Oh, are you trembling? Do you know He is the Holy One of God, and there's power in His Gospel, and there's power in His name, and - hallelujah - there's power in His blood? For the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son - the power is in it because of who He is - cleanses us from all sin. Revelation 12 says we can overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb. Do you know something? Revelation 1 and verse 5 pictures a great throng in heaven, and do you know what they're singing? 'Unto him that loved us, and washed us', or loosed us, 'from our sins in his own blood' - the blood of Christ has power because it can loose us from our sins, because Jesus shed His blood, bearing our sins, taking God's punishment for our sins that should have been ours - but because God loved us and Christ died for us, we can be freed from them through His Gospel, in His name, and by His blood.
Jesus' word delivered him. Hallelujah, we can say tonight, no matter how strong the devil is: Jesus is stronger than Satan, and Satan to Jesus must bow. Secondly, Jesus' work was undeniable, the devil was undone, the work was permanent. In verse 33 the demons were cast out of the man and into the pigs, and they all went down and perished - the demons weren't coming back. Hallelujah! My friend, you can go to AA, and they do a tremendous work, and you can go and get counselling and all the rest, and I don't despise those things - don't misunderstand me, sometimes they're necessary, even when you come to Christ. But I'll tell you this: only Jesus can do a lasting work for time and for eternity, to such an extent that your life can be totally transformed with a permanent undeniable work!
I'll tell you how it was undeniable: not only was it permanent, but it was evident. Verse 35 says that when people went out to see what was done, and came to Jesus, they found the man out of whom the devils were departed sitting at the feet of Jesus. I can imagine this man going home, because Jesus sent him home, I can imagine him walking up Main Street - can you? The whispers starting - the women usually start that! - and there they are in the market whispering away: 'Look who that is! Isn't that your man? That's not your man, it couldn't be - look, he's dressed, he's clean, he's got his marbles. That's not him, it must be his brother or something, come back from a far country'. Then he gets to his home, and he knocks on the wee door, and they haven't seen him in years. The children come running and open the door ajar, and they take one glance and shut it again and run away: 'Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!'. She won't believe them, and then she comes to the door, and she tells him to get out, she doesn't want to see him again! He pleads: 'But it's not the man I used to be, I've been at the feet of Christ, this Man, this miracle Man, this Son of God. I'm free, I'm changed, it's all different!'. His home would have seen his new life, his neighbour would have witnessed the change, and here's why: because he had a new direction, he was at the feet of Jesus!
That's your answer, my friend. You can go to church all you like, and there's nothing wrong with it in a sense, but that will never save your soul nor change your sinful ways. You need a personal encounter by faith with the Lord Jesus, you need to get at His feet - because Jesus' word will deliver you, Jesus' work will be undeniable, it will be permanent, it will be evident in your life. Praise God, Jesus' transformation of this man's life was wonderful! Incredible! Verse 35, look at it, you remember all the ways that the devil had stripped him, and uprooted him, and killed him, and possessed him - it says in verse 35 he was sitting at the feet of Jesus, do you know what that tells me of? Many things, but he was emotionally calm. He was sitting - my, his backside, as we say around these parts, had never lit in a long time - running up and down with all these demonic thoughts going through his head. Maybe you know exactly what I'm talking about, you can hardly sit still you're so tormented! Well, here he is: sitting at the feet of Christ, emotionally calm - would you long for that? Jesus is the One that can give it to you!
He was clothed, he was physically restored. Though he had been stripped of his clothes and stripped of his dignity, the Lord Jesus Christ can give it back to him, and can give it back to you no matter what has been done to you. He can make you purer than the whitest driven snow. We read that he was in his right mind. He was emotionally calm, he was physically restored, and he was mentally subdued - at peace with himself and at peace with the world, because he was at peace with God. He was spiritually enlightened in verse 38 - how do I know that? Do you know what he said? He wanted to stay with the Lord Jesus Christ. He was spiritually enlightened, he knew who He was, and he appreciated the change that had been wrought in his heart. What did he behave like with the Lord Jesus in verse 28? Now I know the demons had a bit to do with it, but he was telling Him to go away! Now he wanted to follow Him!
Can I say to you tonight: the devil is undone, Jesus has defeated him. What the devil did to this man, he can do to you - but, hallelujah, what Jesus did for this man, He can do for you. As the song puts it: 'What He has done for others, He will do for you!'. If you turn from the devil, turn from your sin, and embrace the Saviour tonight, you'll be sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in your right mind.
Lord, help us we pray, we need You. We've needed You all through this meeting, and we need You now to seal Your word and Your work in people's hearts with salvation blessing. O, come by Your Spirit and make new creatures in Christ Jesus, that old things will pass and all things will become new. Lord, we leave it in Your hands tonight, and we pray that the Saviour will be glorified tonight as He was those 2000 years ago with that man sitting at His feet. O, may there be someone at His feet tonight, those nail-pierced feet. For His glory we pray, Amen.
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This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording, titled "The Devil Undone!" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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