Summary: This sermon deals with the overwhelming presence of evil in the world, our obsession with it, and how to overcome it.
Is it just me, or have you also noticed that interest in the occult and demon possession is increasing at an alarming rate. Have you noticed the number of movies made centered around demon possession or demons in general? Just the previews give me the creeps and make me shudder to think of all the people who are actually going to see these types of movies and what it is doing to them without their knowledge. Even Tom Hanks and Ron Howard have a new, very controversial movie coming out this spring titled “Angels and Demons.” This movie will only fuel our society’s insatiable appetite for the occult. And by the way, why do you suppose that so many books are being written and so many movies being made about the occult? It’s simple, it’s called the law of supply and demand and right now people are demanding to see the occult. They want to see evil in all of its forms imaginable.
That being said, statistics indicate that most people either have an unhealthy obsession with demons and the occult or they dismiss them as fictional altogether. Believe me when I tell you that the Devil is well-pleased with either view. Those who have an unhealthy obsession with the occult make themselves very vulnerable to his power to manipulate them while those who don’t really believe in demons and spiritual forces of evil are also very vulnerable because it is hard to take the proper steps to protect yourself from something you don’t believe exists. But exist they do..
Turn with me to our scripture reading for today. Ephesians 6:10-12 (READ)
Paul counsels us not to underestimate the power of the devil and his angels. If you are not convinced of the presence and power of these spiritual forces of evil in our world today, I challenge you to pick up a newspaper or turn on the evening news! I’ll be honest with you, when I hear about a father brutally murdering his wife and little children, or people going on shooting sprees killing complete strangers and then themselves, I have to believe that many of these folks are actually possessed by the devil at least to some degree.
Turn with me to Mark 5 and we are going to look at Mark’s account of his eyewitness encounter with a man who was possessed. By the way, Matthew, Mark, and Luke all have included this confrontation in each of their gospels.
Mark 5:1-20 (READ)
I. Give some context. Jesus had only hours—maybe even minutes earlier delivered the disciples from the fury of nature when He spoke to the wind and waves and brought them under submission to His command. During this experience the disciples began to understand even more the power of their Master, they said, “who is this man that even the wind and waves obey Him?!” One would think that at this point, the disciples would have realized that it didn’t matter where they went, they would be safe as long as they were with Jesus!
II. Imagine the situation with me for just a moment. Jesus and His disciples arrive on the other side of the lake in the region of the Gerasenes, a predominantly gentile region and when they step out of the boat they are confronted with a horrific sight…(describe what happened and how he likely looked)