Close Encounters: Part 7

One thing you can say about most turkey hunters is that they are passionate about their sport. Many say that turkey hunters are more than just passionate; they are possessed by long beards and hooked spurs. Turkey hunting will definitely cause you to do things and say things that are not normal. Such as, break out into full strut in the middle of Wal-Mart, or start gobbling when your wife sneezes. Not to mention the stuff they will do in the field just to be able to drape a big ole gobbler over their shoulder. But it may just be me. Most likely none of y’all have ever crawled 200 yards with your nose in cow poop just to get into position on a turkey. Folks, doing things like this is what I call being possessed. Loosing control of our mind and body during the spring of the year just for a pile of feathers, crazy I know.

In this next devotion of close encounters with the King of Glory we will see a meeting the passionate Christ and a demon possessed man. In this story we will see Jesus freeing this possessed man from the literal bondage of sin. Friends, sin has this same effect on all of us. Look with me into this story and see a true picture of what sin really is and that the only answer is found in a close encounter with Jesus.

Text: Mark 5:1-20 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. 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 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. 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. 15 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 afraid. 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. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

A Meeting with a Possessed Sinner and a Passionate Savior

I. The first thing we see is a: Picture of Sin or the Sinner
A. Sin brings Death.
1. If you are living under the bondage of sin you are Dead!
2. His dwelling place was in the tombs. This is where he lived. He lived among death.
3. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:14-15)

B. Sin causes one to be Desolate.
1. If you are living under the bondage of sin you will be deserted.
2. Sin drives you to a place in our lives we do not want to be.
3. Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. 18 Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. (Psalms 25:16)
4. The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell. 21 Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been? (Isaiah 49:20-21)

C. Sin is Demeaning. (corrupting humiliating shameful)
1. If you are living under the bondage of sin your life will always be less of what it is intended to be.
2. Sin corrupts your life in all levels of your existence.
3. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. 6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. 7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. (Psalms 38:5-8)

D. Sin causes one to be Defiled. (tainted, ruined)
1. If you are living under the bondage of sin your life will always be in ruin.
2. Sin has one intension, and that is to ruin us. Yes, even the very best of us.
3. Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.
(Psalms 106:39)

E. Sin also affects ones Dress.
1. In the Luke account of this miracle, we read that the demoniac “ware no clothes” which explains our Mark text, which speaks of the man being “clothed” after the demons, were cast out of him. Sin does not dress properly. Skimpy dress practices today reveal this problem. Where sin abounds, clothes do not.

II. The second thing we see is a: Picture of the Salvation.
A. His Sovereign Place (Place of Authority, Supremacy)
B. His Saving Grace

* There is much symbolism here of sin and salvation. We see Jesus casting out the demons from this man in our story. This freed him from the bondage that those demons had over him. When we asked Jesus for forgiveness of our sins and accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, this frees us from the bondage of sin. Jesus also takes our sins and casts them into the deepest sea. Very similar to what happened in our story. What an awesome picture!! However, the coolest thing that I saw in this story was the power and authority that Jesus had over the demons. You see Jesus was the only One who had power over them and the only One who had the authority to cast them away. Jesus is the only One who has power over sin and the only One with the authority to cast it away. Jesus and Jesus only is where salvation is found!!!!

III. The third thing we see is a: Picture of the work of Satan.
A. Satan causes one to Fear.
1. Instead of rejoicing with Christ on the behalf of the man, they were afraid.
2. Fear is a major weapon Satan uses to attack the lost and the saved. Fear of taking a stand for God and for what is right, fear of change, fear of being alone, fear of what others will think or do. Etc.
B. Satan causes one to Force out Christ.
1. Jesus was expelled from their coast.
2. He was rejected from their country.
3. He was denied from their company.
4. Remember this little phrase, “Satan can not work in the presence of the Lord!” Please apply this to your life
personally, to your family, to your work or business, and at your church. As long Christ is close, Satan will be
secluded.

* This is a sad picture of mankind when Satan influences us. When the owners of the pigs were told what had happened to their property, they and other bigwigs quickly came onto the seen. The man that was freed from the bondage of those demons and Jesus were sitting there talking with each other. Then “they” walked up to them and instead of rejoicing with them in faith, they rebuked them in fear.
* This sadly is something I have seen several times in my ministry. God starts working wonders in people’s hearts. When the church starts going spiritually in the Lord Satan starts working overtime to counter act that movement. So he will raise up some people of his own or will even manipulate good folks to step in and put a stop to anything spiritual. You see that’s when “they” will walk up negatively and counter act everything good that is happening.

IV. The fourth thing we see is a: Picture of Service.
* Here we see this new man in Christ with a heart of service. He wanted to go with Jesus and serve with Him in His ministry. Our Lord told him that He had another job for him to do. Then this once possessed man of sin, now being full of the Spirit went back to his hometown and testified about Jesus. You see all of the people in his home town knew his condition and who this man was. But this man’s past did not stop him from doing what Jesus had told him to do and giving glory to his Lord. All this man did was tell his home folk what Jesus had done in his life and they ALL were amazed in what had happened. They were amazed at the Change in his Life, and they were amazed at the Compassion of his Lord.
* Are you serving God today? For most of us God does not ask for much. He mainly wants us to testify on His behave and tell others what He has done for us. Basically He just wants us to tell others about the close encounters that we have had with Him. If God has really been close to you in a very intimate way the change in your life will be obvious and His compassion will show through your life.

God Bless and Happy Hunting

Posted by Mark Newell

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