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Summary: We are in a battle. The church is an army, not a hospital, and we signed up for a battle-ship not a cruise liner. But how can we win in the battle of life and faith? This passage shows how.

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Winning the war Mk5:1-20 WBC 31/08/03pm

I think we forget what a battle the Christian faith is!

- join up for this luxury cruiser that will take us to heaven

- find it’s a sleek battleship and

- God isn’t particularly sympathetic when we say we don’t like the ‘heat of the day’… battle

To readers of Mark’s gospel- less of a surprise

- not least because the hole thing is conflict from start to finish!

- But also their very culture and understanding of the ‘good news of the gospel’

o Gospel = lit evangellion. The ‘good news’

o Those living in Rome (as mark’s initial readers were?) would have heard this term regularly. Someone walking the streets shouting ‘evangellion, evangellion!’:….

… ‘evangellion! The Roman forces have taken another territory! Good news. The battle has been won’

- = their newspaper! In a battle context. The proclamation of victory and deliverance

MK’s gospel is like this:

Mk1 ;1 ‘the evangellion about Jesus Christ, the Son of God’

- about His victory over powers of evil, sickness, sin. His deliverance. His WINNING THE WAR

The first 8 chapters are victory shown by miracles

- then Mk 8, after Peter’s confession, the crescendo is building up to the victory by Jesus’ martyrdom

o the triumph of the cross. Satan & sin’s ultimate defeat

mark’s gospel is about the war being won.

Here you see it illustrated in one man’s life: legion. His battle.

- the worst case scenario. 5,600 demons

o Mark wants his readers to know- in 60s Rome, persecuted, fed to the lions : you are gonna win. Jesus wins! Press on. You ARE on the winning side

Many of you are in battles. Many of you aren’t growing or winning because you’re not battling enough!

- well- Mark’s gospel… this passage… is so that you can lift up your head and know you’ll win- if you fight!

o I don’t believe in triumphal (‘no problems, nothing can touch me)…. But we need to be +ve!

Here are some things you need to know, from this passage

1) BATTLES

You’re called to battles. Remember this! This is not a sofa- it’s a WAR

- and the opposition is real, and multi-sourced

End Mk 4: dangers (storms), Mk 5: demons… next 5:21 disease… death

Scary stuff for the disciples

- out of the danger of the storm into the frying pan of legion

o imagine getting out of the boat, trembling… to see Legion walking towards you!

Basically… for these guys… for Jesus… for us- it was from one battle to another. On and on!

Don’t be surprised: this is an army, not a hospital. It has a medical core – but you’re here to fight and do battle

2) BELIEVE

But- you must believe: NOTHING is too hard for the Lord.

These guys must have thought ‘WHAT am I doing HERE!?’

- but no scenario is too hard for the Lord

Ever felt ‘I don’t want to be in THIS situation?’

- no Jew would have wanted to be here. On NE side of Galilee

- decapolis. 10 gentile cities. Worshipped Baal. Polytheism. An unclean area

o met by a man with an unclean spirit

o living in an unclean place- amongst tombs

o unclean animals- the pigs

Remember- nothing is too hard for the Lord

Illustr: me tricked into a brothel in Ibiza in 1982, and how God used me to help a bloke, there


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