Tony Evans - Reversing Demonic Consequences
Now, throughout Jesus's life in ministry, he had to deal with demons. When you read the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, he is constantly confronting physical realities with spiritual causation, demonic influence, oppression, or possession; where demons that infiltrated a situation, bringing destruction to a life or to a community because they were undetected or unaddressed. One of the more famous encounters of Jesus with demons is in Mark chapter 5, and that I want to use to bring this to your attention; so that in case you are dealing with a demon in your life and did not know it, you can become both aware and acquainted and seek to address that undiagnosed cause of everything else that may be wrong.
Jesus has crossed the sea in verse 1 of chapter 5 of Mark. "He gets into the boat, and immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He had been dwelling among the tombs. No one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces. And no one was strong enough to subdue him. Constantly, day and night he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones". And the reality is, something is graphically wrong with him, but the root of his problem, it says, was an unclean spirit. The behind the craziness that we were looking at, that people observed was something that you could not see. It was a spirit that was unclean.
Now, it's not that folk didn't try to help this guy. We're told they tried to shackle him. They tried to chain him. They tried to control him. They tried to manage him. And every time they tried to do something to control the anger, the outburst, the craziness, he shook it off. In other words, society couldn't help him, people couldn't help him, programs couldn't help him because the demons were so much in control. When you see yourself or others living an out-of-control life, this is not an out-of-control moment. This says day after day, night after night. In other words, crazy was his lifestyle. It was the way he operated. Then you must at least investigate whether you are dealing with demonic involvement.
Now, the demon is described with his nickname, an unclean spirit. He's going to be called a demon later, but right now he's just called an unclean spirit. And with that one phrase, we are introduced to the root of this man's problem. You see, demons go where dirt exist. So they look for unclean mess to make themselves at home. And when they come and infuse themselves through either influence, oppression, or domination and possession, they amplify what is already unclean. So it is unfortunate today that even though we're in church, we regularly have meals with the devil, and we don't even know he's being invited to dinner. Paul goes on to say in 1 Timothy chapter 4, verses 1 to 5, that the demonic world feeds on lies.
See, the Scripture says Satan is the father of lies. He is a liar from the beginning and he's the father of lies, and any father has childrens. The demons, the ones who followed Satan's rebellion against God, or the unclean spirits gravitate towards lie. That's why it is in their interest to keep you from the truth because they feed on lies. So this demon thing is real. The problem is, it's unseen. It's invisible because it's spiritual. And this man's life has been taken over by the demonic, and he is now out of control. He's gotten worse and worse and worse.
And I would like to submit to you, things in our lives that are dirt, that go unaddressed, ongoingly unrepented of invites demons, the demons come, make themselves at home and begin to reorganize the furniture in our lives so that we are carrying out their bidding not even knowing that it's them, and the way we know it is, it's getting worse and worse and worse even while we're taking over-the-counter solutions. But because it's unseen and unfelt in terms of the spiritual nature of it, it goes unrecognized, unaddressed while we come to church because there's something else going on.
This man, however, sees Jesus in verse 6 from a distance. He ran up and bowed down before him. So this man who's demon-possessed sees Jesus, and he comes down and he falls down on his knees in a posture of worship and submission. He bows down before Jesus in worship and submission, which creates a problem. Notice verse 7. "And shouting with a loud voice he said, 'What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the most high God? I employ you, by God, do not torment me.'" Okay, this now is getting very confusing. This is very confusing. The man runs and drops down in a posture of worship, but then the man says, "What do we have to do with you"?
Wait a minute. I don't know if you follow that. The man that's a singular, that's a he dropped down in worship, but then the man says, "What do we have to do with you, oh Son of God"? So what the man does is he drags his demons to Jesus 'cause the demons are inside of him. They're controlling him. But he brings his demons to Jesus, and so, the question now is a group question. "What do we have to do with you, oh Son of God? Do not torment me". We did go back to singular. So we did go from singular to plural back to singular again because the man is battling with himself.
When demons take over but Jesus is brought into the equation, there is going to be an internal conflict between what you want Jesus to do and what the demons want to do. He says, "Do not torment me". And it is in this tormenting phrase that this man drags his demons to Jesus, and he is now wrestling because the demons want to know, "Why you bring us here? We don't want this. Don't you torment us". What is the torment? Here it is. The spiritual is meeting the spiritual. For he had been saying to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit". Jesus asked him in verse 9, "What is your name? What is your name? Tell me your name". He's asking the man, him, "What is your name"? "My name is Legion for we are many, and we don't want to be tormented by you". Jesus is saying, "Come out of him". And he began to employ him. The man began to employ Jesus earnestly not to send them out of the country.
"Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. The demons employed him, saying, 'Send us into the swine so that we may eat them.' Jesus gave them permission, and coming out of the unclean spirits entered the swine. The herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about 2.000 of them, and they were drowned in the sea". Oh, there's so much here. Number one, the demons asked for permission. That's 'cause even the devil can't do anything without God allowing it. They asked for permission, and what they asked for is, "If you're going to make us leave this man, give us another place to go". Because as you see in the movies, demons need host. They need something alive in order for them to express themselves because they are spirit. They're invisible although they are persons. They have intellect, emotion, and will. So they are persons, but they are invisible persons. And so they need a visible thing in order to express themselves on earth.
So Luke chapter 11, verses 24 to 26 says that when they're in waterless places; that is, places without life, where there's no water, there's no life, when they're in waterless places, no life, they're looking for a place. They've got to express themselves. And so when they see dirt in our lives unaddressed, then they come upon us so that they can express their uncleanness in our uncleanness, making our uncleanness worse than the uncleanness it was before they arrived. And so they express themselves in us. Jesus says, "Come out". They say, "Well, will you allow us to go to the pigs"? Why? Why did Jesus say, "You can go to the pigs"? Simple. They're unclean animals.
So he lets them leave an unclean man for an unclean animal because they can only flow where there's uncleanness that goes unaddressed. When they enter the swine, they go hog wild in pig-slop crazy. It says they run downhill and drown themselves because the goal of demons, one, is to always take you downhill. It is to div of your life, defeat your life, ravel up and tie up your life, destroy your life. Demons have one goal; that is, you go down, and their ultimate goal is suicide. It says that the pigs went out down the hill and drowned themselves. The difference between the pig and the man is that the pig doesn't have a soul and the man does. So there was some resistance in the man that does not exist in the pig. So when they went to the unclean pig, the unclean pig committed suicide. Jesus comes along and he addresses it because he addresses the spiritual cause, not merely the physical symptoms.
The enemy looks for spaces, and we've all given him some at some time or another. He doesn't need a lot of space, he just needs it to be open and dirty. And if it is, he will seek to enter that space, bring his family behind him in order to bring demonic downturn into our lives. "The herdsmen," verse 14, "ran away and reported it to the city and in the country, and the people came to see what had happened. And when they came to Jesus, they observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed, and in his right mind, the very man who had had legion, and became frightened". Do you see what happened? It looks like a U-turn to me, looks like a reversal to me. He now has clothes on. He was naked. He was not in the tomb. He's out of the tomb. He was cutting himself. He's now in his right mind all because Jesus overruled the demonic, the spiritual. And when he overruled the spiritual, sanity came to the insane.
Now, this man is way off 'cause he's had 2.000 demons. How many demons do you have, or do I have? Maybe you only have 2, maybe you have 200, or maybe 2.000. But the more the demon, the more the oppression, influence, and possession. Let's look at the herdsmen. Verse 17, "And they began to employ him to leave the region". They told Jesus, "Get out of here. We don't want you here". You would have thought they would have been grateful. You would have thought, "Boy, this man has a power to get rid of demons, to make insane people listen to him so he can work with everybody". You would have thought they would have been glad. They said, "Get him out of here". Why? "Get him out of here 'cause he costing us money".
See, the pigs went and committed suicide. They were pigs' herdsmen. So when their pigs drowned, their money got funny. They said no more pork chop, no more pig feed, no more chitlins, no more ham hock. Sweet Georgia Brown got to shut down 'cause there is no more pig. "This man is costing us money. Get rid of Jesus. Let's keep the business coming even if we've got to keep the folk hooked". The man wanted to get in the boat with Jesus, in verse 18, who was demon-possessed, employing him, Jesus, that he might accompany him. And Jesus said to him, "You go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you". That tells me right there the man needed mercy 'cause of how unclean he was. "And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him, and everyone was amazed".
I want to make two observations. When they told Jesus, "Get out of here," he left, 'cause Jesus doesn't want to be where he's not wanted. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man opens the door, I will come in and sup with him". But if you do not open the door for him, he will not stay where he's not welcome. He has to be welcomed in order for him to stay. But the second thing is, he told the man, "No, don't come at me. I want you to go to Decapolis". That's made of two words. Polis meaning city, decap meaning ten. "Go to the ten city region. You go home first, then you go to the ten cities in your community, and I want you to talk about what I did for you".
So here's the deal. I challenge you to approach the downward hill of your life spiritually first. Do that first. Let's get to the right question first, the whole first, and see if there's a demonic thing by throwing yourself at the feet of Jesus in worship and submission. And yes, it may be tough at first because if it's demonically influenced they don't want to come out. They want to hold on to you as long as they can, but you keep throwing yourself at the face of Jesus. And like Jacob say, "I will wrestle with you till my change come". "But I am going to throw my face and submission to you, Jesus. That's what I am going to do".
And then when he delivers you from your demonic infestation, you bet not keep that to yourself. You go to all the communities around and you let it be known, from family and friends and everybody you know in the surrounding neighborhoods. You go to Frisco and Plano and you let it be known, "Jesus Christ has delivered me, and I'm not keeping this to myself. Anybody who can deliver me from what I could not deliver myself from, I'm going to tell it, I'm going to tell it, and then I'm going to tell it again 'cause I am not ashamed of anybody who can deliver me at no charge".
Demons are real. These are rebellious angels who have been removed from God and whose job it is to serve Satan by bringing spiritual death and consequences into our lives. Demons want to possess us. They want to influence us. I remember the adage, "Ain't nothing but the devil". Well, that's not too far off. It may not be the devil directly, but it could be one of his posses, the demons. They wreak havoc in our lives and in our circumstances, and it's easy to snuff them off as just bad people, bad problems, bad timing, bad days, when it's really bad demons. But because we don't take demons seriously, we don't identify things as demonic, even though we wrestle not against flesh and blood but principalities and powers that are in heavenly places, demonic forces. But as long as you can discard them and not recognize them, then you won't treat them for who they really are. And so you'll be dealing with symptoms and not causal powers behind the symptoms that you and I are facing.
You know what you do with demons? You don't pet them like a pet. You must exercise them, remove them, and only Jesus Christ can do that. The closer you are to Christ, the more power you have over demonic influence. The further you are from Christ, the more controlled you will be by demonic influences. So if you're tired of demons influencing your thinking, influencing your walking, your talking, your acting, oh, then let's get Jesus. He's the ultimate Ghostbuster. He's the ultimate demon discarder. Recognize where there is spiritual influence and let the Spirit of God, 'cause greater is he that's in you than he that's in the world, begin the process of releasing you from demonic influence and, if necessary, demonic possession.