Summary: This sermon shows the audience that sin is no match for God's grace. AND it shows us how God can use US, in spite of our past, to reach people for Him. Please Rate

“When depravity meets Grace”

The phone rang one afternoon in a wealthy Boston home. On the other end of the line was a son who had just returned stateside from the Vietnam War - calling from his base in California. His folks were high-society types – you know, the cocktail drinking, bridge playing, country club TYPE.

The young soldier said to his mom, “I just called to tell you that I am coming home and I wanted to bring a buddy with me.”

His mom answered, “Sure, bring him along for a few days.”

“But mom, there is something you need to know about this young man. He’s missing a leg, an arm, and an eye, and his face is disfigured from burns. Is it STILL ok if I bring him home?”

His mom said, “He can come for a few days.”

The son said, “But mom, you don’t understand. I want him to live with us.” Then she began making all kinds of excuses – how embarrassing it would be for their family… what would her friends think… and without a word, he hung up the phone.

The next day, the police called that same Boston home. The mother again answered the phone. The officer said, “Ma’am, we just found a young soldier with severe war injuries, who is the victim of an apparent suicide. His ID says ⇒ he's your son.”

There are a lot of hurting people in this world, searching for love and acceptance, only to feel abandoned by the very people who ought to embrace them.

Whether a victim of bad choices or a series of unfortunate events, they long for a caring touch.

Sadly, family may not always understand…

even MORE sad - the church people they know have already passed judgment.

They feel alone with nowhere to turn… like the man in our text.

Here we find a man with a troubled past… haunted by innumerable demons… who lived among the only people who could tolerate him – the dead.

After days of teaching and healing, Jesus urged His disciples to get in their fishing boats and take Him to the other side of the lake. Following His instruction, they toiled at the oars while Jesus took a nap.

Sometime later, the little boats were seized by an unexpected storm. Their desperate struggle to navigate the rough sea was to no avail – they were taking on water – and without a miracle - they would die.

They awoke Jesus, and with one mighty command, He rebuked the winds and calmed the sea.

He had a purpose for sailing at such a time and He would not be deterred – He had an appointment with a man who had a thousand storms raging in his heart… storms only Jesus could calm.

He was the terror of the city… an angry, wild-man. The people who lived in the village tried to protect themselves from him. They chained him and had driven him out of town to a nearby cemetery – where he haunted.

But Jesus saw beyond the terrible wreckage of this demented and dangerous individual… to a soul LONGING for help.

Verse 5 says he ‘cried night and day.’ And those pitiful cries had reached the heart of God.

Which made me wonder…

How many broken hearts in our city --- are crying out like this right now?

Maybe YOU are one of them?

I don’t know the circumstances, the causes of your pain. Frankly, it doesn't matter... God knows. He has heard your cries. And has determined to calm YOUR storms today.

We learn three important things about the Lord in this story:

1. First, that He loves EACH OF US - INDIVIDUALLY. If you’ve ever doubted God’s love and concern for YOU, this story ought to put those doubts to rest.

This was no chance encounter. The Lord SOUGHT this man. He traveled a great distance from the center of His ministry. He left the masses behind in order to find this one troubled man.

There was nothing about him we would find “attractive.” For all practical purposes, he was a dead man. He had no glowing testimony or works that would endear him to the Master.

But the Lord sought him anyway – longing to bind up the broken with His marvelous grace.

Take a moment and consider the three types of people present.

There were the disciples of Jesus. Men who had believed His message and left everything to follow Him. Though they had seen His power and love, they really didn’t know anything about helping people in need. They were good guys, they just never saw themselves reaching out to people like this lunatic.

THEY WOULD SOON LEARN - ministry can be messy business. It isn’t all good-times and happy feelings. Sometimes, we have to get dirty to help people.

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