Summary: When you are on mission for Jesus, you go to unexpected places, meet untouched people and see his unequaled power.
Graveyards, Grace and Great Adventures with Jesus
Introduction: Close your eyes and think with me for just a moment. If you could go anywhere in the world and participate in some adventure, where would you go and what would you do? Would you go to Africa on safari? Would you scale Kilimanjaro? Would you dive to the deepest depths of the ocean?
When I was a kid, I always wanted to be an astronaut. I could tell you anything about outer space that you wanted to know. Even now, I would love to someday visit Antarctica. Somehow, that frozen wasteland has always seemed so exotic to me.
Having traveled to 11 different countries now and dozens of states, what I have discovered is this: Following Jesus is the greatest adventure of all. Being on mission for him has brought more joy and fulfillment than any other thing that I have ever experienced. You too can experience the adventure of following Jesus if you will take up your cross daily.
I. YOU GO TO UNEXPECTED PLACES (v. 2)
a. If the local Gadarene Gazette had have been on the scene when Jesus showed up, the headline for the day would have been “Revival Breaks Out at the Shady Rest Cemetery.”
b. God does His greatest work at unexpected paces. (From fishing boats, beside wells, on a hill called Golgotha…) (Illus Mpemba, Malawi)
c. A majority of Jesus Ministry took place in the byways and not in a building
i. Out of 132 contacts that Jesus had with people – 6 in Synagogue, 4 in the temple, 122 in the mainstream of life. (E.V. Hill – No longer Highway and Hedges Christians)
ii. The church must go out into the world to touch the world (Illus. Chicamacomico)
d. We live in the midst of a spiritual graveyard. People around us are dead men walking
II. YOU MEET LOTS OF UNTOUCHED PEOPLE (vv. 3-5)
a. No one had a solution to this man’s problem…Not the psychiatrist, social worker, nor AA, NA or even AARP. Religion couldn’t help him, neither could Dr. Phil or Oprah Winfrey
b. The church must have a heart for untouched people. Touching the untouched can be messy business. (Illus. Alicia) (Illus. Tony on Bragg Street)
c. We must ask the Lord to place people in our path that need Jesus more than they need their next breath. (Guess who he is going to send your way? Everyone you meet that Doesn’t know him)
III. YOU GET TO SEE HIS UNEQUALED POWER (vv. 8-17)
a. Jesus spoke and the demons had no choice but to flee. They entered into the swine which in turn ran down the hill and plunged into the water. (I guess this is where we get deviled ham from!)
b. The church today must have a revival of confidence in the power of the gospel to save whosoever will, wherever, whenever it is proclaimed. (Illus. Julia Champion)
c. If you are here today and you have not experienced the life changing power of Jesus Christ, then let the adventure begin by asking Jesus to forgive you and take charge of your life.
d. If you are already a believer, but you have been warming the benches, what are you waiting for. Start your adventure by asking God to show you the mission He has for your Christian life.