Summary: Part 2 of this series.
When People See You – They See….. (Part 2)
Two weeks ago I delivered the part one of this message. I asked you the question, “What do people see when they see you, do they see God?” I told you about my time in basic training for the Air Force and how I was first known as a rainbow, then a pickle and then as a person who was getting ready to graduate. I took you to the Scripture found in Matthew 13:24-30 where Jesus gave the parable to the wheat and the tares and how the enemy had sown the tares among the landowner’s wheat. My point in part one was to get you to understand that although many people think that you can no longer differentiate a Christian from a non-believer, we can. This morning we will look at what the Scriptures says are the differences that everyone should be able to see – EASILY. Turn with me to Mark 17:17-18
I. These Signs Shall Follow Them That Believes
“And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” Mark 17:17-18
In these two verses found in Mark, we find several “signs” that Jesus mentions will follow those that believe. For many years I interpreted these verses to mean every Christian would have some of these signs present in their lives, but that is not the case. All those all of these are available, not everyone will exhibit them based on what they chose to believe. Many are those who do not believe in the “supernatural” and therefore they do not expect it to be evident in their lives. However, if you believe that as a Christian you can and should expect miracles and signs to be evident in your life, they will be. The key to this is that you must believe. You can be a Christian, saved and sanctified and never speak in tongues, cast out a devil or see someone healed because of your prayer. But if you desire to fully experience what God has made available to you, then you must believe.
Let me explain it this way. I have a riding lawnmower that I use to cut my yard. I only use it to cut and fertilize my yard. I can buy other attachments that will allow me to remove snow from my driveway, haul trash, and even aerate the yard. But I am not interested in using it for everything that it can do, just the two things that I need right now, mowing and fertilizing. If I chose to expand my usage, then I could get all of these other attachments and do almost anything I need to do in my yard. Having supernatural signs operating in your life is like this. You have the lawnmower (being saved) and for you maybe that is enough, but for others they want the other attachments, the supernatural signs. There are many movies out there that make light of God’s power, but believe me, it is very real.
II. “They Shall Cast Out Devils”
Let’s look at these signs more closely. The first one is that in Jesus name we will “cast out devils”. I am sure many of you have seen movies where someone was possessed and the priest was called to cast the demon out. Sometimes they were successful and sometimes they were not. One movie that comes to my mind is the movie the “Exorcist”. Although on the big screen we can make light of this issue, when you come face to face with it, it is no laughing matter. Jesus has given us the authority to cast out demons, but you must know where you stand before you step out in such a way. The demons will know if you are walking as a child of God. Let me give you an example as recorded in the book of Acts. Before we turn there, I need to set the stage. During the New Testament times, demon spirits were believed to come into contact with humans through occult practices such as magic, spells, divination (communicating with the dead) or participation in religious paganisms. They were believed to be the chief cause of mental illness and insanity. (Note: One of the differences between a mental illness and a truly demon possessed person is that the demon can speak and will submit to the name of Jesus when used by someone who is walking in the authority Christ gave us.) They also believed that demon spirits were ordered and arranged with an entire hierarchy of power which Paul confirms in Ephesians 6:12. Because of this, there were Jews who practice exorcisms successfully based on guidelines that King Solomon had put into place many years before. King Solomon’s method was said to be so efficacious that the devils that were cast out could never return. What the exorcist would do was apply to the nose of the possessed person a type of ring under which was a certain root prescribed by Solomon. Through this method they would draw out the evil spirit through the man’s nostrils. The possessed then fell to the ground and the exorcist commanded the evil spirit in the name of Solomon never to return and then recited one of Solomon’s incantations. To give full assurance to the bystanders that the evil spirit had really left the man, the exorcist placed a vessel full of water at some distance off and commanded the ejected spirit to overturn it which he did.