Thesis: There is tremendous power in telling what the Lord has done for you.
1. This AM we turn to one of the strangest stories in the Bible.
a. Story of naked, crazy man who lives in the tombs.
b. If he was alive today he would probably be in an institution.
c. But he met Jesus and his life was changed.
2. Read Mark 5:1-20.
I. THE STORY OF THE HEALED DEMONIAC (5:1-20).
A. A Hopeless Situation (1-5).
1. Lives in isolation (tombs).
2. Uncontrollable (chains).
3. Self-destructive (stones).
B. The Coming of Jesus (6-15).
1. Mixed response ("ran to him"/"leave me alone!")
2. Jesus casts out "Legion."
3. The result: "Dressed and in his right mind" (15).
C. Two Responses (16-20).
1. The local folks ........... Ask Jesus to leave.
2. Healed Demoniac ........ Asks to be with Jesus.
II. APPLYING THE STORY.
A. Does this sort of thing happen today? YES!
1. Don't want to get into issue of demons this AM.
a. Never heard a demon speak ..... never seen one "cast out."
b. But I have seen "hopeless situations" turned around.
c. What made them turn around was simply the power of Jesus!
2. Jesus is still in business of turning around hopeless situations!
a. Still a very painful and disturbing process!
b. People are still fearful when they see it.
c. Jesus is still asking healed people to do the same thing (19).
B. A closer look at Jesus' command (5:19).
1. "Go Home to Your Family" (19a).
a. Greek literally .... "Go to your house to your own."
1) NIV ............. "Go home to your family."
2) KJV ............. "Go home to thy friends."
b. OIKOS in the NT:
1) Literal house (Matt. 2:11--Magi; Luke 4:38--Simon's).
2) A family (2 Tim. 4:19--household of Onesiphorus; 1 Tim. 3:4--rule household well).
3) Sphere of influence (Cornelius--Acts 10:2; 10:24; 11:14).
c. This is where Jesus sent Demoniac--where he sends us!
1) May be one of the hardest things Jesus asks us to do!
2) Easy to be "spiritual" briefly in certain circumstances.
2. "Tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you" (19b).
a. Jesus is not asking man to open a scroll.
b. Asking him to open his heart to people who need to hear that God is at work in people's lives.
III. APPLYING THE STORY TO TODAY.
A. Historically we have shied away from "Testimonies/Witnessing."
1. Good reason ..... not a solid, objective base for Gospel.
2. But Scripture abounds with what we call "testimonies."
a. Healed Demoniac (note v. 20).
b. David's psalms particularly rich (cf. Ps. 40; Ps. 51).
c. Paul was a "witness" of the resurrection (Acts 26:16).
1) Not just FACT of it (Lk. 24:48; Acts 1:21-22).
2) But POWER of it in his own life as well (Acts 22, 26; Phil. 3:4-7; 1 Tim. 1:12-16).
B. Why are some of us hesitant to "tell how much the Lord has done for us?" FEAR!
1. Fear of emotionalism.
a. Purely emotional response is wrong.
b. Purely rational response is equally wrong!
2. Fear of "spiritual one-up-manship!"
a. "Competition" in telling what a dirty rotten sinner you were.
b. Makes a certain pattern of sin appear to be the norm.
3. Fear of giving the Gospel less power.
a. Afraid if "real you" is seen the Gospel will look cheap.
1) It will if you're serious about your committment!
2) If you're for real the Gospel will look even better.
b. Illust. Becky Pippert, in Out of the Saltshaker, tells of conversion of atheist friend. After she had become a Christian, this friend told Becky it was her open, genuine life that had drawn her to Christ. "All my life I used to think, `How arrogant for someone to call himself a Christian' ... But then I got to know you--and Becky, you are far from perfect, yet you call yourself a Christian. So my first shock was to discover you `blow it' like I do. But the biggest shock was that you admitted it, where I couldn't. Suddenly I saw that being a Christian didn't mean never failing, but admitting when you've failed" (p. 29). Warns of presenting so "polished a product to people. (cf. 2 Cor. 4:7)
C. But let's not think a public proclamation of "what the Lord has done for you" is the ONLY way to obey Jesus' command. People still need to see what the Lord is doing in the lives of people who trust him.
1. Illust. There's a lot of people who are experiencing marital difficulties who have needed more than anything for someone to say to them--"We've had some rough times too, but God has seen us through and we're better now."