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Desiring Deliverance

 

Mark 5:1-13, 18-20
Related Sunday School Lesson Family Bible Series, October 31

A few years ago, George Barna made the statement that his research showed that during the 1990s there would be a revival. Of course, those of us who are Christians were pleased with the prospect of seeing a good old-fashioned spiritual revival which would take us back to the great days of evangelism and soul winning.

We were caught off guard by finally realizing that Barna did not say that it would be a Christian revival but a spiritual one. There has never been a period of time to equal the 1990s as a time of spiritual upheaval. We have over four thousand cults in America at the present time and many of them found their genesis in the last decade of the 20th century.

Spiritualism and occult practices are at an all time high. The practice of Eastern and near-Eastern religions such as Buddhism and the Hindu religion, along with the encroachment of Islam, have quickly moved into the United States, where Christianity was almost absolute until only a few years ago. So there has been a spiritual revival, but it certainly has not been a Christian one.

The evidence of increased spiritual activity is obvious during the secular holiday known as Halloween. The connection of this day with Satan cannot be denied. Many occultists revere Halloween as their high day of the year spiritually. Satanic activity reaches a yearly peak during the celebration of Halloween.

The celebration of Halloween is wicked and anti-Biblical. Christians should stay away from it. But sadly, this day has been sold to the public as nothing more than to have a good time. The inference is that many people, including Christians, are so ill-informed that they will dress their little children up as ghosts, goblins, witches and such to go trick or treating.

When people say they are going to celebrate Halloween, I always ask, "What are you celebrating?" They usually find it difficult to explain because they don't even know the meaning of the day. They are unaware of the spiritual danger they are in.

Let's examine Mark 5:1-13, 18-20 and take a good look at the reality of evil and how Jesus deals with it.

 

Realize evil can control people, vs. 5:1-7

Many people today have adopted the postmodern viewpoint that evil does not actually exist as an entity. But, the Bible points out that Jesus actually dealt with people who were possessed by demonic spirits which people of today doubt even exist. The same people who say they believe in heaven and angels will deny that Satan and demons exist.

One third of the angels in heaven rebelled with Satan and left heaven. They are the evil angels or demons. They can possess an unsaved person and cause all kind of problems - physical, mental and spiritual. In fact, in Ephesians 2:2, we find out that all unsaved people are under the dominion of Satan who is the "prince of the power of the air" and "the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience."

Saved people cannot be possessed because the Holy Spirit, who resides in the Christian, and Satan cannot co-exist in the same environment. The only security against demon possession is to be saved. Evil does exist. We know it practically from an experiential viewpoint and we know it because the Bible says it exists.

 

Believe Jesus can overcome evil, vs. 5:18

When Jesus came on the scene, the demonic spirits named Legion had met their match. They recognized Jesus and they were instantaneously afraid of what would happen to them. After Jesus had dealt with them and cast them into the swine, the man was calm and of a sound mind.

Most Christians never realize the protective power of the indwelling Jesus Christ. They never grasp the reality of the fact that the old sin nature which drives them toward sin has been defeated by Jesus Christ.

When Christians sin they have chosen to do so because after they are saved, they are given a choice of whether to be obedient to Jesus or not. He does not force us into obedience but he gives us the power to live there. We are no longer forced by the old sin nature to be disobedient.

We are no longer under the dominion of "the prince of the power of the air."

Just as Jesus can heal and renew, he can defeat sin in the lives of people. He is just as authoritative over sin and evil as he is over any other aspect of human life. No wonder the evil demons in the man in our passage sought a quick retreat.

 

Be a living witness of Jesus' power, vs. 5:18-20

It is amazing how quickly Jesus changes a person when they are saved. People who were formally hostile to the gospel and Jesus Christ become a completely new person. They can't seem to get enough of Jesus.

This can only occur when the spirit of a person is renewed by the Holy Spirit's presence. The man in our passage who was formally possessed is a new person. He cleans himself up, sits at the feet of Jesus and even asks for the privilege of going with Him. When a person is saved, they cannot contain it. It should be something that they will never forget.

No Christian should ever get over being saved. Becoming a living witness should be an automatic response to being saved and delivered from evil.