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People had written him off a long time ago. He was just a crazy lunatic that no one wanted anything to do with. They kept their children away, they kept their wives away and they kept themselves away. He lived like a pig, his body odor was almost unbearable and to make matters worse he ran around with no clothes. The people just wanted to be rid of him and longed for the day when he would be gone so he would just be a bad memory. But today, some 2,000 years later we talk about him. We talk about the demon possessed man who met Jesus. We talk about Jesus’ power over the legion of demons that possessed him. We talk of him finding clothing and sitting at the feet of Jesus. We find him wanting to go with Jesus, wanting to be with Jesus wanting to spend time with the One who had set him free. Yet in Luke 8 we find Jesus telling him, “Return to thine own house, and show how great things God hath done unto thee.” Jesus told this brand new believer to go back home and be His ambassador—His minister of reconciliation! The Scripture says that this is what the man did, “…he went his way, and PUBLISHED throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.”
THE DEVIL’S VISION
The devil once said, to his demons below, our work is progressing entirely to slow; The holiness people stand in our way, since they don’t believe in the show or the play; they teach that the carnival, circus and dance, the tavern and honky tonk, with games of chance, drinking and smoking, these things are wrong; that Christians don’t mix with this ungodly throng. They’re quick to condemn everything that we do; to cause unbeliever’s to be not a few. They claim that these things are all of the Devil, that Christian folk should live on a higher level. Now, fellows, their theology, while perfectly true, is blocking the work we are trying to do. We’ll have to get busy and figure a plan, that will change their standards as fast as we can. Now, I have a vision of what we can do; Hearken-- I’ll tell this deception to you. Then find me a wise but degenerate man, whom I can use to help out this plan.
There’s nothing as real as what you can see; the eyes and the mind and the heart will agree. So, what can be better than an object to view? I say, it will work and convince not a few. The home is the place for this sinful device; The people deceived will think it’s quite nice. The world will possess it; most Christians won’t tell that it’s all of the devil, and was plotted in hell.
We’ll soothe them with pictures of the latest of news, and while they are looking, then will advertise booze. At the soul damming cigarette they’ll also look, until they forget what God say’s in his book. At first it will shock them, they’ll seem in a daze, but soon they’ll be hardened and continue to gaze. We’ll give them some gospel that isn’t too strong; and a few sacred songs to string them along. They’ll take in the ad’s with the latest of fashion and soon watch shows that stir evil passions. Murder and love-making scenes the will behold, until there souls become bitterly cold. The “old family altar” which once held such charm, will soon lose its place without much alarm. Praying in secret, will also be lost as they look at the screen without counting the cost. The compromising preacher’s who won’t take their stand, will embrace the new vision and think it is grand. They’ll help fool the people and cause them to sin by seeking this evil and taking it in.
The influence is great, and this you can see; Just look at my fall and you will agree. It won’t take long my demon’s to tell, that the vision of Satan will populate Hell. Divorce will increase, sex-crimes will abound; much innocent blood will be spilled on the ground. I say, the home will be damned and this in short order. When this vision of mine comes in to stay.
Get busy my cohorts, and put this thing out; we’ll see if the church can continue to shout. The holiness people who stand in our way, will soon hush their crying against the show and the play. We’ll cover the earth with this “Devil vision” though we will camouflage it with the name “Television.” The people will think they are getting a treat, till the Antichrist comes to take over his seat, He’ll then rule the world, while the viewer’s behold; The face of the beast, to whom they were sold. We’ll win through deception, this we cannot fail. Though some holiness preacher’s against it will rail.
Last year in India I prayed for a young woman who had known success. She was a university graduate, but grief had overtaken her when someone close had died. She was unable to release it to the Lord. Over time she became possessed by Demonic Spirits, when I first met her she could not talk but only grunt and growl like a wild animal. Her family had brought her by tractor to receive healing at a meeting. She was brought to the front and the demons began to shout "Even if 100 Pastors pray for me I will not leave" Well they did leave, In the name of Jesus, the last one going with a scream She was a little afraid and very weak after the event, but restored to her right mind. You can imagine my interest when returning this year as to how she was. The Pastor said She is totally well and has just got married. How Awesome is our Jesus!
JUST TO BE NOTICED
Every spring, hundreds of Hollywood “stars” gather for the Academy Awards. Very few “slip in the back door:” instead, they make an entrance. They walk down the long red carpet, smiling at the cameras and waving to the people in the stands (who, by the way, all had to apply and go through extensive background checks), showing off their clothing (and undoubtedly a bit more), chatting with the reporters. Some will go to great, great lengths just to be noticed.
Contrast that with Jesus: to the man healed of leprosy in Matt. 8, He said: “See that you don’t tell anyone.” To the two blind men He healed in Matt. 9, He, “warned them sternly, ‘See that no one knows about this.’” And in Mark 1, a demon possessed man in Capernaum yelled out “I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”, to which Jesus replied “Be quiet!”
Jesus often chose not to be in the limelight. In fact, most of Jesus ministry happened outside of the capital city of Jerusalem, away from the big pomp and ceremony of the Temple, in small towns and villages along the way.
Until today. Until the e...
Arthur Custance writes: “It is a curious fact that demons were notable for their physical strength, and it is also a curious fact that they had for some reason a fear of water. The instance of the Gadarene swine could conceivably be a case where the Lord permitted the evil spirit to enter animal bodies only because He knew that the animals would react to rid themselves of those who possessed them. It is a curious fact, too, that the Lord should have said that when the evil spirit has gone out of a man, he goeth through waterless places [so the Greek] seeking rest.” (Matthew 12:43).
Our dog Ami sometimes jumps up on a chair while we are eating dinner and looks longingly at what we are eating hoping for a handout. She closes her eyes, as if in closing her eyes we won’t notice she’s there. This is her passive approach. But if that doesn’t work and she’s particularly hungry and what we are eating is meat-based, she may adopt her more aggressive style which is to utter a little growl that says “gimme food” and make a little snapping motion with her mouth as if to say “…and stick it in ’ere!” Of course she runs a big risk in adopting this more aggressive approach, because while we may be willing to accept her presence at the table with her eyes closed she is very likely to be roused on and sent away if she tries this more aggressive stance. But if she’s hungry enough it’s a risk she’s prepared to take. The Syro-Phoenician woman who asked jesus to heal her demon possessed daughter seems to have a similar strategy and to run a similar risk. She approaches Jesus and calls out for mercy but when he seems to ignore her and dismiss her she gets more insistent. When he says, “It is not right to feed the children’s food to the dogs” she growls back and snaps out, “Yes it is. For even the dogs eat the food that falls from the table.” Jesus sees great faith behind her aggressive petition and her strategy pays off. When this woman went home she found the demon had left her daughter and she was once again in her right mind. And it was all because of the compassion of a loving God and the insistence of her faith against all the odds that she would be heard. Lord give us such faith!
JESUS AND UNITY
Jesus knew that people contribute their uniqueness to churches and therefore they make it stronger. Each person in the body (on the team) contains a host of knowledge, insight and experiences to a scenario, or a situation.
Mike Murdoch makes this observation, "Look at those who surrounded Jesus: A tax collector, a physician, fishermen, a woman who was a prostitute and at one time possessed with seven demons. Some were poor. Some were wealthy. Some were very energetic, while others were passive. Some were explosive like Peter. Others, like James, were logical" (The Leadership Secrets of Jesus pg. 101).
Comments About Muhammad Originate in Key Islamic Source
Two former Muslims responded June 12 to complaints from Islamic groups that a speaker’s comments at the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference in St. Louis were "bigoted" and "hateful."
National media have widely reported that Jerry Vines, pastor of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla., described Muhammad as a "demon-possessed pedophile" during a June 10 sermon and that Vines inferred that Islam teaches the destruction of non-Muslims.
Clarifying that Vines not only quoted from their recent book, "Unveiling Islam," Emir and Ergun Caner said Vines also quoted from the Hadith, a highly respected source for Islamic teaching among Muslim clerics and followers worldwide. The Hadith itself verifies that Muhammad married a 6-year-old girl and consummated the marriage when she was 9, the professor-brothers said.
"It’s simply a matter of quoting [Islamic] sources," said Emir Caner, an assistant professor of church history and Anabaptist studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. "If we are wrong in our understanding of the Islamic scriptures, we would be happy to be corrected."
The specific Hadith citation concerning Muhammad’s pedophilia is in volume 7, book 6, number 64 and 65, said Ergun Caner, an assistant professor of theology and church history at Criswell College in Dallas.
Both Emir and Ergun Caner were Sunni Muslims who became Christians in 1982.
"The comments in question cannot be considered bigotry when they come from Islamic writings," Ergun Caner said.
A lengthy passage from the Hadith, volume 1, book 1, chapter 1, shows that Muhammad himself believed he was under demonic influence, but it notes that Muhammad’s wife is the one who deemed his experience as "divine," Ergun Caner said.
Concerning terrorism and Islamic jihad, Emir Caner noted variant interpretations by Muslims themselves. Some see jihad as a "spiritual war," and others, "physical," he said.
"Some Muslims want to allegorize their own scriptures because they don’t want to defend jihad," Emir Caner said. "But if you take the Koran at its word, or Muhammad at his word, then you’ll find physical jihad."
The highest level of Muslim heaven -- which has 70 perpetual virgins on couches -- is reserved for Muslims who "shed their blood," said Ergun Caner said, referencing Hadith 135.
Islam’s tilt toward violence, Emir Caner said, also is reflected in the
Koran: "Slay the enemy where you find him, Surah 9.92," whereas Christians are commanded to love their enemies.
"A so-called Christian who bombs an abortion clinic or shoots an abortionist and says God told him to do it does that act against the Bible," Ergun Caner said. "But the Muslim who commits acts of violence in jihad does so with the approval of Muhammad.
"When 9/11 happened, we were all shocked. But where was the international outrage when jihad killed 3 million people in Sudan?" Ergun Caner asked.
As former Sunni Muslims, the Caners cite the major differences between Islam and Christianity as the "personalness" of God, and "grace as opposed to works."
"Jesus Christ ... is ultimately personal and wants to have a relationship with me," Ergun Caner said.
The Koran says Allah "is as close as your jugular vein, which is a place of fear, not of faith,"...
Sermon Central Staff
MESSIAH SIGHTING IN BROOKLYN
In 1993 I saw a news report on T.V. it was about a "Messiah sighting" in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. Twenty thousand Lubavitcher Hasidic Jews live in Crown Heights, and many of them believed the Messiah was dwelling among them in the person of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
Word of the rabbi’s public appearance spread like a flash fire through the streets of Crown Heights, and Lubavitchers in their black coats and curly sidelocks were soon dashing toward the synagogue where the rabbi customarily prayed. The lucky ones connected to a network of beepers got a head start, sprinting toward the synagogue the instant they felt a slight vibration. They jammed by the hundreds into a main hall, elbowing each other and even climbing the pillars to create more room. The hall filled with an air of anticipation and frenzy normally found at a championship sporting event, not a religious service.
The rabbi was 91 years old. He had suffered a stroke the year before and had not been able to speak since. When the curtain finally pulled back, those who had crowded into the synagogue saw a frail old man with a long beard who could do little but wave, tilt his head, and move his eyebrows. No one in the audience seemed to mind, though. "Long live our master, our teacher, and our rabbi, King, Messiah, forever and ever!" they sang in unison, over and over, building in volume until the rabbi made a small gesture with his hand and the curtain closed. They departed slowly, savoring the moment, in a state of ecstasy. (Rabbi Schneerson died in June 1994. Now Lubavitchers are awaiting his bodily resurrection.)
When I was watching this, I thought to myself, how can they believe such a thing. Who are these people trying to kid-—a 91 year old mute Messiah in Brooklyn? And then it struck me: I was reacting to Rabbi Schneerson exactly as people in the first century had reacted to Jesus. A Messiah from Galilee? A carpenter’s kid, no less?
The disbelief I felt when I heard about the rabbi and his fanatical followers gave me a small glimpse of the kind of responses Jesus faced throughout his life. His neighbors asked, "Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" Other countrymen scoffed, "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" His own family tried to put him away, believing he was out of his mind. The religious experts sought to kill him. As for the common people, one moment they judged him demon-possessed and raving mad, the next they forcibly tried to crown him king.
This is the glory and the wonder of Christmas, that God could plant not only into the womb of this woman the Son of God, but He could plant in her heart the faith to believe the message that she received from the angel. Her response has always overwhelmed me with a sense of absolute submission that ought to be in the heart of every child of God. Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word."
(From a sermon by Mark Roper, Jesus the Wondrous Gift of God, 12/16/2009)
DEMONS IN AFRICA
On the coast of Malabar, in Canara alone, are 4041 temples to evil spirits, besides 3,682 to other gods. Here, in the very heart of the East Indies, men worship demons as deities. Evil spirits have for centuries been held in homage by all classes of Hindus except Brahmans. Even the lowest cast—that of slaves—has been believed to have power to let loose the evil demons upon men, and exorcists have been employed with noisy native drums, charms, and incantations, to drive out the evil spirit. Here is a whole community living in terror of demons, and demons, let loose by slaves, to be bound again only the charms of a conjurer.
We go down to the fetish worshipers of Africa and we find among these most degraded tribes almost precisely similar superstitions. Evil spirits are the terror of the sable sons of Africa. Any plague or pestilence among men or cattle, any blight upon crops, any drought upon streams, calamity of any form, must be attributed to this source: Somebody is possessed; witchcraft is at work.
The medicine man is called in. Some innocent party is tainted with suspicion; the casca draught must be taken. If it acts as an emetic, the party is innocent; if as a cathartic, he is guilty and must be drowned or burned; and as the medicine man knows that whether the poison will act as an emetic or cathartic depends on the strength of the draught, human life is absolutely in his hands and at his mercy. Any man or woman whom it is desired to put out of the way, may thus be sacrificed to the jealousy of malice or hate of any designing foe.
— Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations -