Robert Morris — Under The Influence
All right. We're going to begin a new series called, "Free Indeed". And I want you to turn to two passages in scripture. I want you to turn to Mark 5. Open your Bibles to Mark 5, actually, and then put a marker at Luke 10. And we'll flip over to Luke 10 toward the end of the message. So Mark 5, that's where we'll begin. I'm basing the series on a scripture, that if you want to jot the reference down, John 8:36 says, "He whom the Son makes free is free indeed".
I'm so excited about what God's going to do, but let me tell you why it's very, very important for you to be here, and why Satan will do everything he can to stop you from hearing this series in particular. Because he does not want to get caught. And when a thief is caught, he has to restore what he has stolen, seven-fold. That's scripture. That's Proverbs. I'm not making that up. He doesn't want to get caught, and most believers are not free indeed. Because they don't believe that they can indeed be in bondage. And when Jesus makes this statement in John 8:36, he's actually speaking to believers. He's talking to those Jews — John 8:31 says, "Who believed in him".
So is it possible for a believer to be in bondage? We're going to answer that question. I mean, we're going to answer some very difficult questions, such as can a Christian be demon-possessed? So we will talk about that, all right? Mark 5. We're going to read the whole story. I started to just read the first part, and then the end. And I thought, no, the story's too good to leave out any. So we're going to read the whole story. Alright?
Mark 5:1. "Then they came to him — then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes". This is the city of Gadara. So they called it the Gadarenes that lived there. "And when he had come out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit," — now, this is one of the ways the Bible refers to a demon. "Who had his dwelling among the tombs". In other words, he had lived in a cemetery. "And no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces. Neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him".
The word worship, proskuneo, in the Greek means to bow down. "And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'What have I to do with you, Jesus," — now, let me say something here before I say this, Mark 5:7. This is actually the demon talking, through the voice of the man, but this is the demon talking. And you'll understand why, because of what he says. And the next verse tells us Jesus had already spoken to him, before this. We just get it in reverse order, in the writing. Mark 5:7. "And he cried out with a loud voice and said," now, this is the demon talking, "'What have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore you by God that you do not torment me.'" Okay, see?
That wouldn't be the man, because Jesus wouldn't torment a man. That's the spirit talking. And then, Mark 5:8 tells us Jesus had already said something to him. "For he said to him," some versions say he had already said to him: "Come out of the man, unclean spirit"! So Jesus had already told him, "Come out," and he said, "What have I to do with you? Please don't torment me". Mark 5:9. "Then he asked him, 'What is your name?' "Now, look at me again for a moment. He's not talking to the man. He's talking to the demon that's in the man. And the demon answers. "Then he asked him, 'What is your name?' And he answered, saying, 'My name is Legion. For we are many.'"
Just to let you know, legion is a Roman word which means 6.826 soldiers. When it referred to a troop of soldiers. 6.826. Okay. This guy was demonized. "'My name is Legion, for we are many.' Also he begged him earnestly that he would send them out of the country". Demonic spirits like to stay where they already have a stronghold. "Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons," not just one now, "All the demons begged him, saying, 'Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.' And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about 2.000)". So at least 2.000 demons.
"And the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid". You thought it would say, "And they were happy". "And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed," we're going to completely define that word today. "And about the swine. Then they began to plead with him to depart from their region".
You would think they would've ployed with him to start teaching seminars or something. "And when he got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged him that he might be with him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, 'Go home to your friends,'" remember, he didn't live at home. He'd lived in the mountains and the cemetery. "'And tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how he has had compassion on you.' And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him. And all marveled".
Now, let me just — a couple things here. One is Decapolis is not a city, it's ten cities. Deca-, meaning ten. From the Greek word, it's actually ten Greek cities. Polis, means like a metropolitan area, or a metroplex is where we get that term from. So ten cities. Gadara was one of these ten cities. Damascus was one. Remember, Paul was on his way to Damascus when he was converted. Philadelphia. Not the one in Pennsylvania, was one of these ten cities. There are ten Greek cities, and that's probably why they were raising swine, because Jews didn't do that, but the Greeks had come in and influenced that society and that culture. Okay.
So this guy goes and proclaims what's happened. He's demonized, and he gets set free. Demon-possessed, and he gets set free. Fantastic story. There are a couple of things that I want to talk about from this story, though, okay? Here's the first one. Number one, there really are demons. There really are demons. Because Jesus set this man free. The word demon is in the Bible, and in the New King James Version, 82 times. Some of the other versions, 80 times. It's just simply that they translate the word a little differently in those versions. 61 times, it's in the gospels. 61 times, we've got it — the word in the gospels, where Jesus is directly dealing with demons or talking about demons. Jesus himself, coming to talk about demons.
One of the reasons that I think that it's so much in the gospel is because no one ever had authority over demons, until Jesus came. And he had authority, and then he began to immediately confront demonic strongholds and bondage. Okay. There are demons. There's no doubt. Otherwise, we'd got to cut out a lot of the Bible, and a lot of Jesus' ministering. There is a horrible, heretical line of thought that there weren't really demons, but Jesus pretended to cast demons out, because the culture believed in demons when he was here. Let me read you a few scriptures.
Matthew 8:16. "When evening had come, they brought to him many who were demon-possessed". This is the Bible, says they were demon-possessed. "And he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who would say," why would the Bible say he cast 'em out if they weren't there?
Matthew 9:32-33. "As they went out, behold, they brought to him a man mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke, and the multitude marveled, saying, 'It was never seen like this in Israel.'"
Matthew 17:18. "And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the child was cured from that very hour".
Mark 3:14-15. "Then he appointed 12 that they might be with him, and that he might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out demons".
Mark 6:12-13. "So they went out and preached that people should repent, and they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them".
Mark 16:17. "And these signs will follow those who believe in my name. They will cast out demons. They will speak with new tongues".
Let me say it this way, C.S. Lewis says that there are two groups of people that Satan absolutely loves and gets excited over. The skeptic, and the superstitious. Let me say it another way. There are people who see a demon behind every bush. They're superstitious people. But there are people who think that demons don't exist and never have existed, or they don't exist today, they just exist in Jesus' time. The skeptic. And here's what C.S. Lewis says, Satan loves both those types. Because they're both in bondage, they're both in deception. There are people that, when I start talking about demons, say, "Oh, pastor, let's not talk about that stuff". And there are other people that feel like, oh, good. He's getting to the good stuff. Okay? Listen to me. If you're in either one of those camps, you need to move to the middle. You're in the wrong camp, all right? We're not skeptics and we're not superstitious. We don't deny 'em, but they are there. And Jesus came to set us free. You'll never get free if you don't know that you can be in bondage. That you can be in trouble. There are two camps.
Jack Hayford says it this way. You can't cast out the flesh, and you can't disciple a demon. You can't cast out the flesh, and you can't disciple a demon. In other words, there are people that simply say it's just the flesh. What you're going through, it's just the flesh, and you need to learn to overcome the flesh, and what you need is discipleship, or disciple, or discipleship comes from disciple, which comes from discipline. Okay? Discipline. You just need more discipline in your life. And then, the others say, no, you've got a demon, and the reason that you can't, you know, do this or do that or do this or do that is 'cause you got a demon, and they try to — they think deliverance is the answer to everything.
Here's the age-old debate. Do we need discipleship, or deliverance? Here's the answer. Yes. Because you can't cast out the flesh. And you can't disciple a demon. Are y'all following me? It's both. When I realized that I had demonic bondage in my life, I was saved, I loved the Lord, Debbie and I were married, I had gotten saved after we got married. I had started even ministering, but I was still very, very much in bondage to lust and even immorality. And yet, I was saved. I was in my early 20s. And James Robison started sharing with me, in his home, about demons and showing me scripture after scripture after scripture, that demons can take Christians in bondage.
And I remember, we had ice cream. I remember, we had ice cream. And I remember saying to him after a little while, I said, "Wait, wait, wait, wait". 'Cause I could see where he's going. I said, "Are you saying I have demons"? And James, in his very gracious way, said, "Oh, you got a whole flock of 'em". And I got so upset, and it's never happened since, and it's never happened before. I let my ice cream melt. You know? I mean, I just sat there, thinking. I got demons. This guys — I got demons, I got demons. But let me tell you what happened. The more we went to the word, listen to me, the more hope I had. Because I thought, well, I can get free. This is why. This is why.
Now, I'm going to be very transparent with you. This is why — I'm going to be standing up, preaching, and notice a woman, very beautiful, and couldn't get my thoughts off of it. When I was in my early 20s. This — and I thought this is why. I have a spirit. I have a spirit that I could set free from. So listen to me. Don't get upset, what I'm telling you that you could have a problem in this area. You ought to get excited, because the great thing is, Jesus takes care of problems. And 30 years of ministry, I've been in ministry 32 or 33 years now. And the only people I've ever seen that can't get free are the people that won't admit they're in bondage. And that's the only people. If you'll just admit it, you can get free.
So number one, there really are demons. Number two, they really do enter people. They really do enter people. John 10, Jesus said, John 10:1. "Most assuredly," this is very true what I'm telling you. "He who does not enter," you know the story. "Enter the sheep-fold". What in the world would the sheep-fold represent? Wouldn't that be where the sheep are? The believers? "Enter the sheep by the door," and he's the door, "But climbs up some other way," into the sheep-fold, that's where they're going. "The same is a thief and a robber". And John 10:10, we know the thief does not come except to steal, kill, and destroy.
Okay, here's what he's saying. The thief can get in. I'm telling you. He's trying to tell 'em. The thief can get in. And he can't come through me. But he can get in some other way, and he will do everything he can to get into the sheep, some other way. Okay. Can a Christian be demon-possessed? Well, let's explain this word, and go back to the original language. The word demon-possessed in the Greek is actually two words, demon-possessed. It's actually daimoni zomai. Daimoni zomai, would be if you want to say it all at once, but daimoni, which would be the word demon, zomai, means to possess.
So to translate it demon-possessed, okay. I really think a better translation is demonized. But to translate demon-possessed is okay, other than the fact that we did not then teach people what the word possessed means here. Because there are two Greek words for possession. One is ownership. This is not the word for ownership. This word means to gain mastery over. Now, mastery would be the exact literal — but let me give you some synonyms of that, to gain control over, to have power over.
So can a Christian be owned by a demon? No. We're owned by God. But can a Christian be under the control of a demon? Fair's definition says it means to be under the power of a demon. This is defining daimoni zomai, the Greek word. To be under the power, under the mastery, under the control of a demon, in a certain area of your life, in one, maybe a lust or unforgiveness or bitterness or resentment, or gluttony, or whatever the area could be.
Now, don't raise your hand, but let me just ask you this question. Is there any area of your life you just can't get the victory of? Is there an area of your life that you feel helpless? Powerless? Is there an area of your life, a sin that you have confessed over and over and over and over and over and over, and I don't have enough time to keep saying overs. And over and over again, and told God, "I'll never do that again," but you keep doing it? Okay, can I say this to you, lovingly? Wake up. You're in bondage. You know what we do? We say, "Well, I have a weakness in that area". You've had it 20 years. It is not a weakness. And listen, I'm not telling you bad news. I'm telling you good news. If you're in bondage, I know the one who can set you free. I know him. He can set you free. But he can't set you free if you don't know you're in bondage. So you have to know you're in bondage.
I named this message, "Under the Influence". I don't know if I even told you that at the first, but the title of this message is, "Under the Influence". If a man, and let's say the man's a Christian, he's a believer. He's a believer. He believes in Jesus. Filled with the Holy Spirit. If a man who's a Christian begins to look at pornography — hear me. You're opening a door to the enemy. And he will come in. He's not going to own you. But he will be in, and you will be under his influence, under his power, and this man who's maybe a very good husband, good father, maybe a good grandfather, will wind up doing something totally out of character, that shocks him and everybody around him, and that he's very ashamed of. Because he was under the influence of a spirit that he opened the door to.
Are you following me? Everyone following me on this? Okay. So, now, listen to me. If you're starting to get depressed, don't get depressed, because there really are demons. They really do enter people, but here's point three. Jesus really does cast them out. He really does. Now, go to Luke 10. All right, Luke 10:17. Jesus had sent 70, he sent the 12 out with power over demons. Then, he sent 70 out. And then, Luke 10:17 says: "Then the 70 returned with joy, saying, 'Lord,'" — they're talking to Jesus now. "Even the demons are subject to us in your name".
Here's what in essence he says. That doesn't impress me. 'Cause here's what he says. "And he said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.'" Listen. When he rebelled against my Father, he was out quicker than lightning. So I'm not impressed by Satan, a created being. "Behold, I give you the authority," I give you the authority, "To trample on serpents and scorpions". There are types and shadows again. He doesn't mean snakes and stinging critters. Okay? This is demons, the whole subject's about demons. "Serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this," — notice, you don't need to be excited about this. This isn't the exciting part. "That the spirits are subject to you," but I do want you to notice the spirits are subject. This word, by the way, subject means obedient, submissive, slaves. That's what it means. Obedient, submissive slaves, in the name of Jesus. "'Don't rejoice that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.' In that hour, Jesus rejoiced in the spirit, and said, 'I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things,'" now, remember the words these things. "From the wise and the prudent". In other words, the people who think they're smart. "And revealed them to these babes". These young disciples. "Even so, Father, for it seemed good in your sight".
Okay. Notice, he said, "Father, thank you, you've hidden these things". What were they just talking about? They were talking about authority over demons. And he said, "I know God that the smart people don't believe there are demons. They don't believe that we have authority over 'em, but these precious babes, these young believers, they know. They saw it. They understand that. I thank you, Lord, for that". The spirits are subject in his name. See, we don't have a problem knowing that God has the power. But what the enemy does is focus on our weakness and our history. And say, "Well, now you can't get free. Other people can get free, but you can't get free because I really got a bondage, a stronghold, in this area".
Okay. I just want to remind you, this man was — in Mark 5, where we started? He was demonized. A legion, 6.826. He lived naked in the cemetery. Okay? So none of you are as in bondage as this guy. I mean, y'all got your clothes on, so that's good. So none of you are as in bondage as this guy. So I want to show you something that'll give you hope. Mark 5:6 says: "When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him". Here's what I want to tell you. Satan does not have the power to stop you from coming to Jesus. That's what we've just read. If he could've stopped anyone, he could've stopped that guy. So if you're in bondage, if you have a difficulty in your life, if you have a weakness, if you have an area of sin you can't stop, you can't break, you're probably in bondage in that area. You're under the influence in that area. But Jesus can set you free.
Is there an area of your life that if you're honest, in that area, you're under the influence of the enemy? Have you opened a door, or a window, in your life? You know, I gave the illustration about a Christian who might begin to look at pornography on the internet. And then, he does something totally out of character, that he's very ashamed of, but it's because he's under the influence. He's opened the door to the thief, and the thief is stealing, killing, and destroying. I want you to know, Jesus came to set you free. I want to encourage you to continue to watch, and continue to listen, because I'm going to continue this series next week.