Four Observations From The Demons Of The Gerasenes:
#1 - We live in an _______________ world.
“When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. … [They] asked Jesus to leave them.” Luke 8:35b, 37a NIV
We discover an upside down world, where what should be normal and accepted is the most frightening aspect of the story. People weren’t afraid of naked, homeless man running around the cemetery. Rather they were frightened by this same man, changed by Jesus, dressed sitting calmly at Jesus’ feet. People weren’t upset by the naked man yelling obscenities, but were upset at the loss of the pig herd.
We have become so accustomed to living in an upside down world that the abnormal has become normal - so much so that we don’t even recognize the normal any more.
We need to ask ourselves if we have grown accustomed to classifying other people as too addicted, too self-absorbed, too set in their ways, too far gone for them to be in their right mind with Jesus. We should ask ourselves the same question too.
#2 - The demon-possessed man heard ________________.
Jesus asked him “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him.” Luke 8:30 NIV
When we hear this story, many of us discount its application to us. We see it as a story about demon possession instead of a story about hearing many voices. What is it that demons do to us? They talk. They suggest. They tell us anything they can that will turn us away from Christ and the world that Jesus wants for us. Jesus told us that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), referring to Garden of Eden - but also to all other demons who would follow. They are deceptive. You may think you are talking to yourself when you’re really hearing a demon who sounds like you.
In this particular case we see a legion of demons - MANY - who are all talking to this young man and literally driving him out of his mind. How did he get that way? By listening to one. And then to another. And then another.
Luke 11:24-26. One demon takes 7 others and lives there!
Let’s go back 2 weeks and remember what we learned about the gospel:
“Therefore consider carefully how you listen.” Luke 8:18a NIV
Are you careful about how you listen? If we accept the truth that this world is an evil world and that all of us are sinners - bent toward sin - then we literally cannot trust ourselves and how we listen. Our natural selves will listen to evil thoughts and think them normal. In an upside down world the abnormal seems normal!
We also need something from outside ourselves to be able to see the world in the way God intended. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even if you don’t sin (which isn’t really true), our current lives are still impacted by past sin. We are bent toward sin and don’t even realize it. So we listen to voices from this sinful world. And the only antidote is the Word of God!
Do I listen to the voice of…
___________?“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
___________?“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
___________?“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
___________?“If God is for us, who can be against us? … In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us… [Nothing] will be able to separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-38
___________?“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2a
___________?“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Hebrews 6:12
___________?“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
___________?“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
Warning: There is a very real, physical illness of the brain that causes people to hear voices. Do whatever modern medicine recommends. Today we are talking about an equally real spiritual disease that each of us has - that causes us to hear voices to live against God’s intended ways. Listening to the gospel message is the only known cure! (Luke 8:18)
You may not know about gospel, but the voices do…
#3 - Jesus is master over the voices and the voices __________ .
“And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.” Luke 8:31 NIV
We have a name for this battle of the voices in our minds between doing good [doing God’s will, honoring His intended ways and commands] on the one hand and doing what comes naturally to us [sin] on the other hand. We call it a spiritual battle. It really is a fight sometimes for us to be able to stop ourselves from listening to the advice of evil and to be careful how we listen (Luke 8:18). The fact that the fight is difficult is not due to God’s weakness. Nor the demons knowledge or awareness. They are actually counting on your weakness and ignorance. The truth is they know they are no match for the Master over their voices - Jesus.
Those voices in your mind do not want you to know what they know. They do not want you to rely upon God’s good news, upon His promises in His Word, for they know they are no match. So they count on you “knowing it” but not acting upon it. IOW living your Christian life with the concept of spiritual battle as only a concept and not as a daily reality. They are counting on our own blindness to the weeds in our own life.
In C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, the senior demon is giving advice to his protege: “Aggravate that most useful human characteristic, the horror and neglect of the obvious. You must bring him to a condition in which he can practice self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office.”
Let’s not be ignorant of the weeds in our lives NOR the victory of Christ
#4 - Jesus wants those healed of many voices to _____________ .
“‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:39 NIV
There are actually two responses here - the response of the healed man and the response of Jesus. What does the healed man BEG FOR in verse 38? To go with Jesus! Shouldn’t that always be our response when we are healed by Christ? Why would we want for anything else? Just let me go with you, Jesus!
At first glance it might seem harsh that Jesus “sent him away.” But why did he send him away? It wasn’t that he didn’t want the man with him. What were his instructions? Tell how much God has done for you. Think about it this way - the disciples needed 3 years before they could become Jesus’ evangelists. This man, healed of the legion of voices in his head, was ready NOW!
What was it that this man could tell people in his hometown? The total depravity of mankind? The unconditional election of those who are saved? The particular atonement by which Christ rescued him? The irresistible grace of God in his life? The perseverance of those, like him, who are saved by God’s grace? NO! He didn’t know any of that to “tell how much God had done for him.”
And neither do you. Luke finishes this story with the success of this man’s evangelism. He “told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” You want to know how? He showed up in town as a changed man. People wanted to know what happened. And he wanted to tell them. What about you today? Do people see a change in you? Are you excited to tell them?