Introduction: This miracle is so important that that three of the four Gospel writers records it. It is the first recorded miracle in which Christ entered the realm of the unseen demon world. Whenever you touch upon this realm, you can expect Satan not to be happy about people knowing the truth. 2 Corinthians tells us that we are not ignorant of his devices. Yet in many ways we are. One of his greatest tools is deception. People keep falling into his trap. It worked in the Garden of Eden and has continued to work for the six thousand years of recorded human history.
Before getting into the message, I want to ask and try to answer to the best of my ability a few questions about demons. Who are they? Let me first say, you will not find the word "demons" in our King James Bibles. You will find the word "devils". You can use the term without violating scriptures. I only say that so that those who try to trip people up will know that we are very familiar with the Bible. Demons are spoken of as spiritual beings. Matthew 8:16
“When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick”
They are at enmity with God, and as having a certain power over man. They recognize our Lord as the Son of God. They belong to the number of those angels that "kept not their first estate," "unclean spirits," "fallen angels," the angels of the devil. They are the "principalities and powers" against which we must "wrestle".
We are not able to see a demon with our natural eyes. I have talked to folks who have said they have seen demons but many of those folks were high on drugs or drink when they said they saw them. Even though we are not able to see them with our natural eye, we can see the effects of their activities. You can not see the wind but you can see the effects of wind.
Demons use human bodies to perform most of their wickedness. When their host dies or is killed, they will travel to find another host in order indwells. They cause their host to have supernatural strength. In Acts 19, we have a demon possessed man that beat up seven men.
We know from Luke and Mark’s account that one of these men was naked. Nakedness is an evidence of the sin that was on the part of our first parents- Adam and Eve. I read this statement: "the less dress, the more sin." As in our previous messages of Bible Miracles A to Z, I will be addressing some important lessons. We live in a time in which near nudity is at an all high. People try to see how much they do not wear. It is almost totally impossible to go even to the store without seeing folks in scant clothing. I am not telling that you are to be dressed in your Sunday best to go to the store but we must teach our children certain clothing is best left in the privacy of our own homes.
It is also noted where these men lived. They lived in the graveyard. They resorted and consorted with the dead. Before judging them too harshly, let us be reminded of another truth. Too many people who are saved feast at the banquet tables of the dead. What I mean is this: everyone is either spiritually made alive by Jesus or they are spiritually dead. James issues this warning. James 4:4
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
It is very important to remember that you cannot expect spiritually dead people to come to the place where they can get life. It is our job to go and get them.
As we go through our message, let us rejoice in our Saviour. He shows that He is Lord over the devil world also.
I. RESISTANCE TO CHRIST’S NATURE
“What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?”
Why are these devils opposed to Christ? This opposition is ages old. In fact, in the case of man, it is found all the way back to the Garden of Eden. God pronounced His judgment on the devil and his crowd.
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
It comes down to some simple facts. Christ is light and Satan is darkness. Christ gives life and Satan gives death. Christ brings truth and Satan brings lies and falsehoods. There is no middle ground. This issue has no compromise in it.
Satan and his crowd were keenly aware that Christ’s very presence meant destruction to his work. He knew that if these men got to Jesus, they could be released from death and destruction.
1 John 3:8
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
From the gates of Eden to the present day, these forces have opposite. The Gaithers wrote a song “It is finished.”
The battle has not changed. Satan tried to destroy the first church. Why? They had invaded his domain and realm. He had blinded the minds of the Jewish people to the Messiah. The first church invaded his realm and people were getting saved.
The mission of the church is the same as Christ. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. Even though we cannot save them, we can lead to the One who can. Satan is not disturbed when churches have “junk for Jesus” sales or suppers or even Gospel music shows. This does not really invade his domain. These do not ever offend Satan. Why does Satan bother churches that do not support missions? Because they are doing nothing to invade his territory. He will oppose only to those who are evangelistic and Bible teaching.
II. RECOGNIZATION CHRIT’S DEITY
“Thou Son of God”
Before I go any further, I think it is a real shame that these demons acknowledged the deity of Christ. Yet there are million, yea billions who have knew done so. Many times we who are believers don’t always acknowledge Him as Lord.
Many churches have removed from their confessions the deity of Christ. They tell folks that they are Bible believers yet in their works they deny him. It does matter what place Christ has in a church or organization. He is either LORD of all or He is not Lord at all. Some churches can go through their entire service and never mention Him. Yes, they talk of God. But there are many gods in this world. JESUS IS LORD. JESUS IS LORD. JESUS IS LORD.
This truth was not denied by the demons. They knew exactly who He is. They knew He is the Creator of all.
“The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”
They recognized their final abode also. They were reminded of this truth each time they came into contact with this One they had acknowledged as Lord. In Luke this request is made. Luke 8:31
“And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.”
They were speaking of the Sea of Galilee that was in front of them. They were speaking of the bottomless pit. They were speaking of their final abode. They knew Christ’s power. He could send them to Hell. They preferred the bodies of swine than going back to hell.
This brings us to another truth. If we would make hell as final, as awful and inescapable as it is, men would prefer Christ and new life to going to there. Many people are unaware that there is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain. Hell is described this way in the Bible. It is called:
1. A lake of fire Rev. 20:15
2. A bottomless pit Rev. 20:1
3. A horrible tempest Psa. 11:6
4. A place of everlasting burning
5. A furnace of fire Mt. 13:41, 42
6. A devouring fire Isa. 33:14
7. A place of torments Luke 16:23
8. A place of everlasting punishments
9. A place where people pray
10. A place where they cry for mercy
11. A place where they wail Mt. 13:42
12. A place where they curse God
13. A place where they never repent
14. A place of filthiness Rev. 22:10,11
15. A place of weeping Mt. 8:12
16. A place of sorrow Psa. 18:5
17. A place of outer darkness Mt. 8:12
18. A place of where they have no rest
19. A place where they gnaw their tongues
20. A place of blackness and darkness forever
21. A place where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched Mark 9:48
22. A place where they are tormented with brimstone
23. A place from which the smoke of their torments ascendeth up forever Rev. 14:11
24. A place where they do not want their loved ones to come Luke 16:28
May we proclaim this message so all those stand before God that we know can not say we did not tell them!
III. REJECTION OF CHRIST
“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.”
It is heart sickening that response of the folks who lived around them who saw the effect of this miracle. Instead of rejoicing that Christ delivered these men, they were upset over the loss of their hogs. They had placed possession above people. They forget this little saying that I heard last week on the radio. They loved things and not people.
This is not much different than many professing believers today. They know that there is a need to reach this world for Christ. Yet, they will not even give one dollar for any cause for Christ. They are more interested in their things than they are of the work of God.
IV. RESPONSE OF THE ONES WHO WERE CHANGED
At the beginning these men were possessed asked Christ to leave them, now one of them wants to go with Him. Luke 8:38-39
“Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.”
Christ did not grant their request. Why? He knew that they could have a great impact on their community. That is exactly what happened. This is the prescription that pleases God. Nothing shows God much greater than a changed life.
I read an article in a newspaper this week. It was telling of the importance of giving Gospel tracts. This man was telling how his dad got saved after reading John Rice’s gospel tract “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation” every day for two months. This man’s life was changed and it affected the lives of his entire family.
You see the mind of Christ with that statement. “Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee.”
This is exactly what that man did. He went home and published throughout the whole city. The word “published” means to herald the message. He probably held open air meeting like John the Baptist.
So what happened to the second man? Our Bible does not say. It is probably like many folks that they got saved. They just fill a pew. What a shame this is!
The first man is like the woman at the well. She went home. She told what happened to her. Her changed life caused her to be a soul winner.
Conclusion: The question comes down to this: What kind of believer will we be? Will we be like the first man who goes and tells others the change in our lives? Or will we just fill a pew? The choice is our to make.