Summary: Based on the story of the Gadarene demoniac, highlights the power of Christ to deliver anyone who will believe from all the power of the unclean spirit.
Mark 5:1-2 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.
The story we read in Mark 5 seems like a very dramatic, very unusual situation that is totally outside our experience today. But in fact, that’s not the case at all. Let me translate the scriptural account into terms that may be more familiar to us. Take note that the phrase “unclean spirit” is a descriptive term for a demon, an agent of the devil. So here is the Pastor Franklin translation of this passage:
“Translation”: Then they came to the other side of the ocean, to the city of Harrisburg. And when He had come out of the airplane, immediately there met Him out of the city a man whose life was totally out of control because of the power and influence of the devil.
Sound more familiar? It should - because we’ve all been there. Almost all of us here today can give testimony that we were once under the control of the unclean spirit, as the apostle Paul describes:
Eph 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Every human being, at some time in their life, is just like this man in the tombs. We don’t recognize it because we think we are doing what we want to do, what brings us pleasure and fun. But the scripture says that we were just as much out of control in our lives as this demonized man was. When we thought we were fulfilling the desires of our own flesh and minds, we were really following the devil’s script. And when the devil gets his hooks into a person’s life, he has one aim - to destroy us:
John 10:10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
The devil knows he can’t destroy us directly - God hasn’t allowed him that power. So his strategy is to get us to destroy ourselves while we think we are enjoying ourselves. Self-destructive ways are one of the major hallmarks of a life that is under the domination of the unclean spirit, and that’s exactly what we see at work in this man:
Mark 5:5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
In fact, this story shows very graphically that whenever the unclean spirit gets control in any life, self-destructive behavior is always the result. Look at what happened when the demons entered into a herd of swine.
Mark 5:12-13 So all the demons begged Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them." 13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
To the extent that the devil is operating in a person’s life, to that extent the person’s life will be out of control and headed for destruction. It may be a family member, a friend, a husband or wife - or you yourself. Whoever it is, that person needs to be delivered just as much as the man in the tombs. That’s why we need to know how to deal with this unclean spirit that wants to dominate our lives so it can destroy us. Today we want to look at three principles that will help us to not be dominated by the unclean spirit, but to experience the victory over him that Christ has already won for us.
1. WE CAN RECOGNIZE THE DEVIL’S INFLUENCE BECAUSE IT IS UNCLEAN
Mark 5:1-2 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
“Unclean” - ak-ath’-ar-tos: impure, lewd, foul.
God is totally pure. But the devil and all his demons are totally unclean. They like what is dirty, sleazy, and foul. Just look at what is on TV and in movies today - the influence of the unclean spirit. That spirit likes the slime, the muck - it wants to drag your life through the worst pigsty it can find.