x369......What if the demoniac of the Gadarenes Came to Your Church?
"And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country
of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there
met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling
among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because
that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had
been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither
could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains,
and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones."
(Mark 5:1-5, KJV).
Whoa, this guy was a piece of work! He certainly must have looked and had a reputation as being dangerous. Now we must be realistic about this-the same devils that were in this man are loose in the world today. They are entering into people and making them hurt themselves in the very same ways--we may call a person who exhibits these symptoms as mentally imbalanced--but the Bible clearly says that this type of behavior is caused by demonic possession. It certainly is the same type of demons that cause people to get addicted to drugs and to destroy themselves and others around them. But, let's watch how Jesus deals with this man and even more importantly lets look at the final results...
"But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And
cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus,
thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment
me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man,
thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What
is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we
are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out
of the country. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd
of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into
the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave.
And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd
ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;)
and were choked in the sea."
(Mark 5:6-13, KJV).
Notice first that the man himself recognizes the Holy Spirit inside of Jesus--he recognizes that Jesus is the Son of God. The devils know rightly who is of God and who is not--(example:-- exorcists who were using the name of Jesus too--but the devils did not know them--in Acts)
The name of these devils was "Legion"--and it states that there were "many" of them. The Greek word for many is literally translated as millions! this man had many many demons inside of him--yet, with a word, Jesus cast every one of them from him.
If you are a Christian you have the same authority to cast out demons as Jesus did--(Jesus gave us all this authority-- in His name--of course) The same Holy Spirit that was inside of Jesus dwells in you also. Yes you first need to know that you have the authority and ability in the name of Jesus to overcome every devil in Hell--this is a fact --and if you know it every devil must flee and run away at your word.
But, this is the point that we need to make clear. Casting out the devil is really not a big problem--the problem we need to deal with is what to do with the person after the devil is cast out of them.
"And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and
in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And
they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and
had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were
(Mark 5:14-15, KJV).
When the devil gets cast out of someone, when they get set free in the name of Jesus, people will be afraid. Unfortunately most Christians are afraid of new coverts in this same way. This is totally in disobedience to the word of God and goes against Jesus command to love thy neighbor--right?!
"And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed
with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him
to depart out of their coasts. And when he was come into the ship, he that
had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go
home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done
for thee, and hath had compassion on thee."
(Mark 5:16-19, KJV).
But if we want to know what to do with newly saved people--even the most severally demon possessed--we absolutely must follow the example of Jesus. The man wanted to follow Him--but instead of allowing this--Jesus instead does an amazing thing--something that I am sure none of us would think to do--a thing that no church leader especially would think of. Jesus, in one sentence, releases this man as a preacher!--(note verse 19)
"And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things
Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel."
(Mark 5:20, KJV).
This man then did the most remarkable thing. He went out and preached the Good News about Jesus to ten cities--all by himself--and many many people believed him (they marveled) Decopolis means an area of ten cities. This one man actually did more than all of Jesus closest disciples had done to this point! He immediately became a greater teacher than all the other apostles who had been following Jesus closely! Of course this fits in perfectly with the full ministry of Jesus--the true fullness of the Gosple, includes release. Luke 4:18 tells us all of Jesus' purposes--to preach the Gospel, feed the poor, heal the sick, cast out the devil--AND to "set at liberty"--which is literally translated--"apostolic liberty". It is part of the Gospel--part of "meeting Jesus" to be freely released to serve God--this is Bible doctrine and clearly exampled in this event (as well as many others) in the Bible.
Do we truly understand this?
Now let's consider the question. What if this same man, or someone who was similarly possessed walked into your church? Let's be honest folks--there are many churches who would take one look at this man and kick him out of the place. Many would react with fear if someone walked into the church who was not dressed properly. Some churches have people who deal with this type of person--sort of "church bouncers" How many great preachers have been thrown out of the church simply because they did not look the part?
I am sure that most churches would allow someone who looked like this man to enter in the church. Of course, when it became clear that he exhibited irrational behavior--many churches would deal with this man the same way the world would--they would send him to the doctor--or the hospital or the police. These are churches who do not know their authority in Christ. WE may preach about these things from the altar--but are we ready to live out the walk that Jesus walked and do it in the way He did it?
Now, there are some other churches who would recognize that this man was demon possessed. Unfortunately there are many churches who live in paranoia of demons and the like. These churches are types of "Christians paranoia clubs". These show discernment--which is the first baby step toward deliverance--but they are also ignorant and unbelieving of their own authority in Christ. These churches spend a lot of time preaching about how bad the world is--and get so fearful that they are functionless in changing the world around them--which is the main purpose of any church! (At least every church as the Bible describes it!) These churches usually believe that everyone who doesn't go to their church is demon possessed--as the world does get more Hellish--these churches will scare themselves right out of business.
Within every church there are people who have deliverance ministry. God has provided the gifts that are necesary---but do we recognize the gifts? In some churches people very much know that the Lord has called them to this type of ministry---and the pastor of the church works hard at ignoring this. Why? Because deliverance ministry is generally not a focus of most churches--it is not the type of thing that we really want in our churches. When we believe this way we are taking on some of the leaven of the pharisees. The pharisees and priest of Jesus' day worked hard at keeping the poor and the sick and the demon possesed out of "their temple"--Jesus reminded them quite definetly that it was His Father's house--and God wanted the sick and oppressed to enter in and receive His mercy.
Now, there are a few churches who would recognize the man as demonically possessed and would pray for his deliverance. They might just decide to not deal with him at all and allow him to sit at the back of the church and be ignored. Perhaps they would perform some kind of "serious exorcism" on the man. They probably would spend a lot of time praying and laying hands on him--and would probably scare themselves and him half way to Hell! Look how easily Jesus cast out the demons (don't forget, these demons were in the millions--it is doubtful that any of us will ever see someone so highly demon possessed)
"For he said unto him, Come out of the man,
thou unclean spirit."
(Mark 5:8, KJV).
So, I am sure that of all the type of churches we have--only a small handful would actually cast the devil out of this man. But, here is the real problem--what to do with someone after the devil is cast out. Jesus knew what to do--make him a preacher! Encourage him to actively serve God! Absolutely no one in our churches today would ever consider doing this--even assuming that they successfully cast the devil out of the man--they would most certainly not give him any authority within their church--and chances are the devils would all go back into him--only 7 times worse!--
"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a
man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then
he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when
he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and
taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they
enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than
the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation."
(Matthew 12:43-45, KJV).
You see, according to what Jesus taught, when someone is delivered--set free from worldly spirits--(whether their in one spirit or a million) they need to then have their house filled. They absolutely need to get filled with the Holy Spirit and they absolutely need to be allowed and encouraged to actively serve God. Unfortunately, in most of our churches we would ask the demoniac of Gadara to save up his money and attend Bible School--and then spend five years as an assistant pastor wherever the main office sent him--and then he might be able to actively serve God. By this time he would have 7 million demons inside of him!
(note: Jesus says that devils like their houses to be "empty, swept, and garnished." Consider those 3 words--a clean, decorated place that is empty most of the time---does this sound like the description of the traditional church? Maybe the devil did design our idea of "church"!!)
Whether we like it or not, Jesus healed a severely ill man, and immediately sent him away to be a preacher to ten cities! Do we even come close to doing this today in our churches? Most churches don't even consider ill people to be allowable inside of their church--much less to believe that they can be healed of their problems, and nearly impossible for someone like this to be quickly serving God.
Jesus looked at a demon possessed man and saw a preacher. He saw sickness as an opportunity. Do we see the drug addicted and sick people in our cities as opportunities for salvation--? and even more so--do we see these people as potential ministers of God? Do we allow all people (even those who are not demon possessed) to attain to ministry gifts? Do we feel like Paul did--that "I would that ye all prophecy" ? (1 Cor 14)
I met a person, who was in a very similar condition as the demoniac of Gadara--perhaps even worse in a way. This person had been to a church, and they, as she said--"layed hands on me and exorcised me and cast the devil out of me". But apparently, there was no discipleship toward her afterword--no encouragement toward ministry or even church attendance. She learned later from a psychic who apparently knew some Bible, that now she had 7 times worse demons in her. This woman hated Christians--because they had made her feel even worse. They had cast the devil out of her, only to allow them to come back 7 times worse. In her case--she truly was as Jesus said--("the last state of this man is worse than the first") If we are going to cast devils out of people--we had better be ready and prepared to be in full obedience to the word of God and be prepared to disciple these people, and allow them and encourage them to actively serve God after they are delivered. Or, we will in a sense be multiplying the devils strongholds.