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February 18, 2007 PM


MK 5:1-20

INTRO: If Jesus had desired to go over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to find a quiet place to rest, His desire was not satisfied! On the way to the other side of the Sea of Galilee there had been the violent storm which had threatened the lives of the men in the little ships. Now, upon arriving in the "country of the Gadarenes", he is immediately met by an unfortunate man possessed of a vast multitude of demons ... so many that he called himself "Legion". There was certainly to be no rest for the Lord there. There are, as is often the case, things in this narrative of which we cannot be certain. Rather than to look at all of the details, however, I want us to think of some lessons to be learned here.

    1. The man is possessed by a host of unclean spirits - Mk 5:9
      1. "Legion" refers to a number from 4000 to 6000 (a Roman legion)
      2. unclean spirits were servants of Satan who controlled people
      3. so, we immediately know that this man is under evil's control
    2. Evil results in unnatural, bizarre behavior - Mk 5:2-5
      1. this man lived in a cemetery (unclean) - society did not want him
      2. he was a wild and unruly man who was out of control
      3. he was crying out and injuring himself constantly
      4. Luke's account tells us he was naked - sensed no shame
      5. he was not in his "right mind" - evil causes people to do things which people in their right mind (under God's control) would not do
    3. People under the dominion of sin are, in some ways, like this wretched man
      1. Eph 2:1-3 - "...according to the prince of the power of the air..."
      2. Eph 4:17-19 - here is a description of people under Satan's control
      3. while their behavior may not be exactly as the man in our text, they are nevertheless "out of control" and shameless
    1. Mk 5:15 - "...sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind..."
      1. he is enjoying true peace for first time in a "long time" (Lk 8:27)
      2. he is now "sitting at the feet of Jesus" (Lk 8:35)
      3. the dominion in his life has changed dramatically!
    2. 1 Cor 6:9-11 - "...and such were some of you..."
      1. Corinth was a wicked, immoral, godless place - "acting the Corinthian"
      2. but here were people into whose lives Jesus brought great change
      3. 2 Cor 5:17 - the "old things are passed away" is significant ... one no longer lives in the gloom of the cemetery ... but in the light of the Son!
    3. Col 3:5-14 - "...ye have put off the old man with his deeds..."
      1. notice, though, vv. 1-4 - these are people who are risen with Christ
      2. Christ had become their life!
      3. Rom 6:4-6 - buried, raised, newness of life, no longer serving sin
    1. Mk 5:12-17 - These people were not at all happy with the events!
      1. they doubtless had known about the demon possessed man
      2. but they were only concerned about the loss of their pigs!
      3. could they rejoice with this man with a new lease on life? no! all they could see was damage to their livelihoods
    2. What else might have been of concern to them?
      1. was their fear related to guilt? I have a strong suspicion it was
      2. note Jno 3:19,20 ... here may be the explanation
      3. there is some difference of opinion about the "nationality" of these people - some say they were gentiles, and others say they were Jews
      4. my inclination is to say they were Jews ... and the fact that they are keeping swine would indicate just how depraved they had become
    3. Mk 5:18,19 - A happy ending
      1. Jesus sent the man back to his home and to his friends
      2. how long had it been since he had been at home and with friends!!!
      3. and he was to tell them of the great things the Lord and done for him - and of the Lord's compassion (apparently, little danger of Messianic fervor causing a problem there)
      4. here is Biblical basis for friendship evangelism!

CLOSE: May I be bold to suggest that with Jesus there are only happy endings! Still, we are presented with the choice of serving Satan or our Lord. Choose well, my friends, for the ending is at stake.

Cecil A. Hutson

18 February 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)