Jack Graham - Unshackled
The devil is real. It's true that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. He has a hope and a future for you. It is also true that the devil hates you and has a terrible plan for your life! Jesus said, "I've come that you might have life and have it more abundantly". But then He said, "The thief comes (speaking of Satan) to kill, steal and destroy". Well that pretty much sums it up, doesn't it, as to the works of Satan? To kill, steal and to destroy. He is a liar, Jesus said. His method is to lie, his motive is murder and he means to destroy as many lives as possible. The devil is real! Don't think of him as a caricature like the one you may see on the side of can of potted ham.
We're going to be talking about some ham today in this message. But not a cartoon character, not a man dressed up in a red suit of underwear with horns and pitchfork down in hell, waiting for people, you know, making people bend over to shovel coal. That's not the devil. In fact, the devil's not in hell at all! The devil is alive and well on planet earth! The Scripture says that he is "roaming to and fro throughout the earth, seeking whom he may devour". "Like a roaring lion", and he is prowling, and he finds his prey. We do know that evil exists, of course. Evil exists. We have seen the face of evil throughout history; the terrible works of men, demonized by the powers of Satan. But beyond evil itself, there is a mastermind behind evil, and his name is Lucifer, the devil, Satan himself. And Satan can have power and control over the lives of people.
And that's what we're going to see in this passage. We're going to see first of all what I'm going to call Satanic Chaos. And so in Mark chapter 5, verse 1 of chapter 5 says: "They came to him from other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones".
Satanic chaos. Remember, behind the scenes you have a collision between light and darkness, God and Satan, heaven and hell, life and death! And here we see one of these spiritual battles taking place between the power of God in Christ and the powers of Satan. So here we meet a man who is tortured and broken and exiled. He's cutting himself, trying to destroy himself. He's shrieking, howling. We're told in Luke's account he is running without clothes, he is naked, he is vile in every way until Jesus Christ stepped into his life. He has been, this man, as can happen today, and I've seen demonic oppression as well as possession. He is totally taken over by Satan. A horrible horde from hell has infected and infiltrated his very body and soul.
When Jesus confronts this man and the demons within him, Jesus asks in verse 9: "What is your name"? And the demon who was speaking who may have been the head general of the demons within, said, "Legion, for there are many of us". A Roman legion could be up to 6,000 men plus horsemen, so we could surmise that legion, a legion, an army of demons is now controlling this man's life. They are powerful. He breaks the chains. They try to lock him up and shut him down but he keeps breaking the chains. Matthew tells us in Matthew 28 that this man was fierce, that he was dangerous. Nobody hung out at the cemetery where this man was living. Families were telling their children, "Don't go near that crazy man"! It was frightening, it was terrifying! He was walking and living among the dead at this cemetery. He was the walking dead. He is living in hell! He is a picture of life without Christ, and what a life without God can become. Because we are all dead in our trespasses and sin before we met Jesus.
The Scripture speaks of a woman who lived for pleasure and because she lived for pleasure she was dead as she was living. There are many dead men walking, dead women walking! And this extreme example identifies what can happen when we open our lives up to the powers of Satan and sin in our lives. He can take over and control our minds and begin controlling our morals and destroy us, take us down! Satan will chew you up and spit you out if you allow it to happen. And many people allow it to happen. This is our condition outside of Christ! This man ran to Jesus and the disciples as they were getting off the boat. Shrieking, howling, cursing, I'm sure. And those disciples, they're headed the other direction. Can't you see these guys? Though they've just come off the Sea of Galilee, traveling by boat. They had encountered a storm and Jesus in the midst of that storm at sea, calmed the storm. And so they arrive safely on the other side. And now they encounter a storm of a different kind, a human storm. And this man comes running to Jesus, and he's full of these demons.
Now I should say that demons are fallen angels, empowered by Satan himself. Just as there are holy angels who serve God, there are unholy angels, unholy spirits that serve Satan. As I've said, I have seen the reality of demonism and the effects of demons in people's lives. Do not mistake the fact that demon possession and demon obsession and demon oppression exist today! It does! And you deny it at your own peril. The Bible tells us that these evil spirits can actually possess human beings. Christians cannot be possessed by demons. We are possessed by the Spirit of Christ. But let me say that Christians, if you allow him a stronghold in your life, can be oppressed by demon spirits and influenced by the powers of Satan. Satan and his minions exploit our weaknesses and gain control, to warp our personalities, to devour our lives and emotions.
Again, this is an extreme example of that but it happens on many levels. We're told that this man was self-destructive. He was cutting himself. And we see self-destruction and self-mutilation in our world today. Again, we know where this is coming from. It's coming from Satan and this cosmic battle and there are many casualties. And often we open the door to the power and the presence of Satan! It can be through addiction. It's my observation clearly that drugs and alcohol often play a large part in demon power and possession. Many are addicted to pornography. That's opening the window of hell! You click and open that on your computer, you're taking a look into hell and exposing yourself to demon spirits!
Suicide is a major problem, not only among young people but among those returning from battlefields. And adults all are exposed to the powers of Satan who would invite you to hurt yourself, even kill yourself. Suicide is a very real problem! And let me say it's never the solution for whatever you're going through! There's no good reason to take your own life! That's a lie that comes from the pit! That somehow you're worthless or don't deserve to live or you'd be better off dead, or people around you would be better off without you. There is no good reason! It not only hurts you, of course, but it hurts deeply the people around you! It is not a solution! You don't have to live in despair or hopelessness or deep depression, so that you would take your own life!
There is the power of Jesus Christ and the love of God's people that will get you through this! So don't do it! I may be speaking to someone right now, and I feel impressed to say this to someone watching online right now. You're ready to pull that trigger or to take your own life in some way. Don't do it! Call us right now. Just call, click on to the number on the screen online, and let us help you and let us pray with you, and let us help you to find the power of Jesus Christ to overcome! This man was on his way down to hell, but Jesus came to deliver him, and that is the next chapter which is the Supernatural Christ. Surely this man was hopeless. Society couldn't help him. The only thing they could do was put chains on him, try to keep him contained, but he was so strong and so powerful because of these demon spirits, they couldn't contain him. They kept him somewhat controlled out at the cemetery. Wouldn't let him come into town. Chased him away.
Can you imagine this man's family? He could have had children, grandchildren, a wife, an ex-wife! I mean what a terrible situation! This man, some woman's child, is now a maniac, insane, infested with demons! And they couldn't do anything for him. For the most part, the world can't do much for a person empowered by Satan. We can send people to rehab, to psychologists and psychiatrists, which can, of course, be helpful. There's medication, but beyond medication and education, you know, you send your kids off to college these days to universities and they come back indoctrinated with doctrines of demons. Your children are being systematically not educated, but indoctrinated at many of these schools. It's true. Education couldn't change this man. He was headed for the abyss. He was headed for hell with these demons. He was uncontrollable, uncontainable.
We have a problem with lawlessness. You can't hire enough police officers and law enforcement officials to handle all of the crime and the violence! Gangs are growing across this country. You can't build enough prisons to take care of all the criminals! It's a failure! We can do our best but the world can only do so much! Put him in chains but he kept breaking the chains because the power of evil out of Satan himself was in this man's life! So Christ steps out of the boat and the man goes running to Jesus and the demons begin to speak out of this man and beg Jesus not to send them into the abyss. Luke's Gospel tells us the abyss being the bottomless pit; hell itself.
Again, the demons aren't running around in hell. You know, their not Satan's servants down in hell, shoveling coal or, you know, beating the bad people. Demons are loose on the earth. And so these demons, they beg not to be sent into the abyss. They're going to the abyss! They're going to judgment, and they say to the Lord Jesus, they say, "What do we have to do with you, O Son of the Most High God"! Wow! The devil and his demons know who Jesus is! James tells us that "the devil himself believes in God and trembles"! And these demon spirits are trembling in the presence of Jesus. They believe in God, they believe in Jesus, they believe in the Bible! The devil quotes the Bible. They believe in hell. I know a lot of people say they don't believe in hell, but the devil believes in hell. They said, "Please don't send us into hell! Don't send us into the abyss"! And they said, "Send us into those pigs"!
So now they're not preying on this man alone; now they're praying to Jesus, in effect, they're praying and asking Jesus to send them into these hogs. Now there was a hog business going on on the side of this mountain in this Gentile area. We believe it was a Gentile area, else there were some bad Jews raising pigs! But probably Gentile pig farmers. And so all these pigs are there. About, well it tells us, 2000 of them. Big herd of pigs. And in a word Jesus said, "Go"! And the demons left the man, infused those pigs; they ran down the hill and drowned in the Sea of Galilee. Just like that when Jesus spoke! They became deviled ham and committed sooie-side! They did! In all seriousness "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world"!
In the power of His name! At the mention of His name! In Jesus' name! He breaks the power of sin and of Satan! He is according to 1 Corinthians 15:25, "putting all His enemies under His feet". This is not a fair fight: this is not God equal Satan, Satan equal Jesus, demons equal angels! Satan is always subject to the power of God in Jesus Christ! And the man? When we meet him, look at it in verse 8: "For he was saying to him, 'Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!'", verse 10, "And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country". Tells the story of the pigs feeding on the hillside, then running down. And verse 14: "The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what had happened. And they came to see Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man (formerly demon-possessed man, the man who had been possessed with demons) who had the legion (of demons in him), sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid".
They know that somehow they are in the presence of a power they could not understand, these townspeople, these herdsmen and the people of the city who came out. Here's this man now unshackled, unchained, unbroken, sitting, in his right mind. What a picture of salvation! Set free from the power of sin and death and hell. A mind transformed by the power of Jesus. The very way we think is changed. That's repentance. It is spiritual insanity to live without Christ. You're out of your mind, you're out of your mind to live without Jesus in your life! And many would stand to share their story to say, "I was out of my mind". This is extreme. We understand that. The details of your story are different, but the power of God to save is the same! "Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever"! Here is this man! He is now redeemed. No longer running naked, but he's clothed. This man wanted to get in the boat and go with Jesus on His way, but Jesus said in verse 19, "No, go and tell your friends what great things the Lord has done for you".
Salvation begins at home! Before it crosses the nation it starts with your own neighbors. If your faith doesn't work at home, don't try to export it. It starts at your house. He had family and friends who needed to know about Jesus. Jesus said, "You don't need to go with me. Go home"! And he did. He became, the Maniac became a missionary, starting with his own household. And he became a testimony to the Decapolis. There are ten communities or ten cities around, and this man became known in his witness. He was going in the power of Jesus, saying, "Look what great things the Lord has done for me"! And everyone of us have a story to tell, don't we? It's a simple truth. "Look what great things the Lord has done for me"! "This is what Jesus has done in my life". If you have a story, and I pray you do, tell it! Tell it everywhere you go! I wish we could end this message right here.
You say, "Well, I wish you would end it, too". But I got one more thing you need to see. In this same chapter 5 of Mark, verse 17, speaking of the people who came out from the town, the herdsmen and all the rest. They began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. Are you kidding me? Jesus just came in and changed this man's life, the man they couldn't control, and they were afraid. Luke tells us that the people were afraid. They saw the power of God. Why did they want Jesus to leave? Well, for one reason, He was bad for the bacon business! I'm sure PETA showed up, wrote a headline article in the Decapolis Gazette about Jesus killing these poor defenseless animals. But He was bad for business. They lost their business; they lost their livelihood. And you know, some people think Jesus is bad for business today. They invite Jesus out of their business. They don't include Jesus in their business.
There are a lot of businesses, of course, who don't want Jesus anywhere around. The abortion business, I guarantee you, doesn't want Jesus anywhere around. Planned Parenthood doesn't want Jesus anywhere around, I guarantee you that! Sexual trafficking doesn't want Jesus around. Corporate America whose god is gold and whose creed is greed, doesn't want Jesus. And there are many people who don't want Jesus in their business! Don't want Him! And so they say, "Jesus, just leave"! Oh, people like gentle Jesus, meek and mild, just as long as Jesus doesn't get up in their business. Some people like plastic Jesus, iconic Jesus, sitting on the dashboard of their car but they don't want Jesus in their lives! Some people like soft, sentimental Jesus, "Come-and-He'll-give-you-a-better-life Jesus" but they don't want Jesus who said, "Pick up the cross and follow after Me daily"! They were afraid of Jesus! And the same people that are afraid of Jesus are afraid of Christianity!
People are against Christianity because they think Christianity is against them! "Get out"! They said, "Jesus, get out of Dodge". And here's the sad tragedy. He left. And as far as we know He never came back. You better be careful how you invite Jesus out of your life. You better not expect to have another chance, another opportunity, another day to come to Jesus. You may not have it. The Bible says, "My Spirit will not always strive with a man". Proverbs 29:1, "He who hardens his neck," the proverb says, "being often reprove, shall suddenly be cut off, and that without remedy". There is a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit when you will say, "No, Jesus" one last time, and then gone forever. Jesus said, "I stand at the door and knock, and if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in". But Jesus won't tear the door down. He'll not burst through into your life; He waits for your invitation.
So here's the choice. You have a decision to either receive Jesus or reject Jesus; to go with Him and follow Him all the days of your life, or to say, "Jesus, get out! Get out of my life, get out of my world, get out of my business"! It's your decision. You would think that's a clear decision. Who in the world would make a decision not to follow Jesus. Millions do. I don't understand it, except to say that the power of Satan is alive and well and working. He captures people's soul, but he doesn't have to keep you if you will trust in Christ, if you will give you life in faith in Christ to deliver you and change you. And you'll be sitting, clothed, and in your right mind at the feet of Jesus.