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Mark 5:1-20


Intro: Jacob Koshy grew up in Singapore with one driving ambition: to be a success in life, to gain all the money and possessions he could. That led him into the world of drugs and gambling, and eventually he became the lord of an international smuggling network. In 1980, he was arrested and placed in a government drug rehabilitation prison in Singapore.

He was frustrated beyond endurance. All his goals, purposes, dreams, and ambitions were locked up with him in a tiny cell, and his heart was full of a cold emptiness.

He was a smoker, and cigarettes weren't allowed in the center. Instead, he smuggled in tobacco and rolled it in the pages of a Gideon Bible. One day he fell asleep while smoking. He awoke to find that the cigarette had burned out, and all that remained was a scrap of charred paper. He unrolled it and read what was written: "Saul, Saul, Why do you persecute me?"

Jacob asked for another Bible and read the entire story of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. He suddenly realized that if God could help someone like Saul, God could help him, too. There in his cell he knelt and prayed, asking Christ to come into his life and change him. He began crying and couldn't stop. The tears of a wasted life washed away his pain, and God redeemed him. He started sharing his story with the other prisoners, and as soon as he was released he became involved in a church. He met a Christian woman, married, and is now a missionary in the Far East where he tells people far and wide, "Who would have believed that I could find the truth by smoking the Word of God?"

N our text, we are presented with a man who had no ambition in life. He was lost in his sins and was headed to Hell. Until Jesus intervened. On the way to Gadara, Jesus has demonstrated His power of nature by calming the sea. Now, He will demonstrate His power of sin and Satan by claiming a sinner. Allow me to share with you the story of The Maniac Who Became A Messenger.


A. V. 3 His Home - This man lived his life among the dead. He was a sad, lonely, hurting, longing, unloved, unwanted individual. His was a tragic existence!

(Ill. He is a picture of that person who is separated from God be the gulf of sin - Eph. 2:8-9; Eph. 2:12; Col. 1:21.)

B. V. 3-5 His Helplessness - He is a man who is out of control. Others had tried to intervene in his life, but to no avail. His passions were stronger than his ability to control them. No man could change him. He was a man sold under the influence of the evil in his life. (Ill. Again, he is a picture of that lost person who is out of control and under the strong influence of sin, Eph. 2:2-3. Though people who care try to intervene in their lives, it does no good, but only creates resentment and rebellion in the life of the person they are trying to help.)

(Ill. That doesn't mean we should not pray, care or reach out to them, but we should not take it personally when they reject our efforts. Lost men are just what they are until Jesus changes them by His power!)

C. V. 5 His Hopelessness - Notice that his torment was continual. Day and night he cried out. Day and night he was in that place of isolation. Day and night he did his best to injure and harm himself. What a pathetic scene is painted by Mark concerning this man and his lost condition. Surely he wanted a different life, but he was absolutely powerless to accomplish that by himself.

(Ill. So it is with the lost man. He may not understand why he is driven to drink, use drugs, curse, or whatever it is that he does. It is a lifestyle that he becomes so hopelessly trapped in that he is unable to free himself. He literally becomes a prisoner of his own vices. Every day brings with it more of the same pain and suffering. Every day drives the wedge between himself and God deeper and deeper. He has no way to free himself. Every day his torment grows. Every day, like a man struggling with quicksand, he falls deeper and deeper into his pit of isolation, wretchedness and entrapment.)

D. V. 6-7 His Helper - He needs someone to rescue him. He needs someone to do for him that which he cannot do for himself. He needs someone to reach farther down than he can reach up! One day a boat lands just outside the graveyard. This tormented man doesn't know the occupants of that boat, but the demons who live within him do, James 2:19. He finds himself at the feet of the only One in the universe Who could help! Thank God that Jesus wasn't content to leave that man to wallow in his wretched condition! Thank God Jesus crossed that sea, through that storm, just to reach this one, solitary individual. (Note: Jesus did nothing else while He was here! He came just for this man!)

(Ill. Thank God, that the Lord is not willing that any should perish, 2 Pet. 3:9. But, He comes to where we are and calls us to come to Him, John 6:44. He enters the squalor of our sin because He knows that we cannot get to Him on our own. Praise God for the Lord Jesus Christ Who loves sinners, comes to where that are trapped in their sins and offers them a way out! In the midst of Job's trial, he declared his need for a Daysman, Job 9:33. He was looking for one who would stand between him and the Lord, join his hands with theirs and bring them together. This is just what Jesus has done for every sinner who will come to Him. On the cross, Jesus was our Daysman. He took fallen humanity in one hand and He took a holy God in the other, and He brought them together in Himself, Eph. 2:14-16.)

I. The Man's Condition


A. V. 8-10 It Was Divine - That which this man, nor anyone else could do, was accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ. One word from Jesus and this man was free. He was forever changed by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we will see in a moment, his life was totally and radically changed.

(Ill. You see friends, it is Jesus that makes all the difference in life! A person is saved solely by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ. When we place our faith in Him for salvation, we are saved. It is a gift of pure grace, Eph. 2:8-9. There is no way to earn it by works. There is no way to secure it by religion. The only way to get it is by faith, Acts 16:31.)

(Ill. This is the kind of thing that happens when Jesus passes by! Remember, this seems to be the only reason Jesus came to this side of the lake. He came so that one man might be saved by the grace of God. Oh, but what a difference it makes when Jesus passes by! Just ask:

1. The woman at the well - John 4 (Ill. "Must needs go")

2. Bartimaeus - Matt. 10:46-52

3. Woman with issue of blood - Luke 8:43-48

4. Lame man at Pool of Bethesda - John 5:1-9

5. The Leper - Mark 1:40-45

6. The Blind man - John 9:1-38

7. Saul of Tarsus - Acts 9:1-9

8. The Disciples - Matt. 4:18-22

9. Lazarus - John 11:1-44

10. Me - May 23, 1983! (Ill. It wasn't as dramatic as some of those others, but it made the difference when Jesus passed by where I was!)

B. V. 11-14 It Was Dramatic - These verse tell us that those demons left that man, entered a herd of 2,000 swine, drowned the swine and left! That's pretty dramatic conversion! Fact is, I've never seen on quite that dramatic! It grabbed their attention! It caused a stir. Those who saw it ran to tell the news!)

(Ill. That's the way salvation is! Anytime it occurs, it is dramatic! A life is changed! Hell is robbed of another victim! Death is cheated! Satan loses another battle! God is glorified! There is rejoicing in Heaven! A sinner is forever redeemed, changed and made a member of the family of God! That's pretty dramatic! Swine may not die by the thousands when a sinner repents, but greater miracles than that take place in the heart, life and future of that individual. When Jesus moves into a place and starts redeeming sinners, word will get out about it! It's dramatic! It's exciting!)

(Ill. Nothing is more dramatic that what happens is the life of a person who trusts Jesus. That old, dead sinner is made alive in Jesus and becomes a brand new creation, 2 Cor. 5:17. They get new life, a new family, total forgiveness of their past and future, deliverance from the prison of sin and a home in Heaven when they leave this world. That's pretty dramatic!)

C. V. 15-17 It Was Definite - When those who ran to town to tell about what had happened returned with the townspeople, they were greeted by an amazing sight: that wild, uncontrollable demoniac was just sitting there looking around with a big smile on his face. He wasn't crying out! He wasn't hurting himself! He wasn't naked. He was just sitting there, fellowshipping with Jesus, acting as if he was as normal as anyone else! There was no mistaking the fact that something big had happened! (Note: What they observed about this man is a picture of what happens when a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ. Notice what they observed concerning him.)

1. He Was Calmed - He is sitting. Peace has replaced torment. Instead of being driven about by the demons and desires of his flesh, he is just sitting there as calm as can be.

(Ill. This is what Jesus does for those who trust Him. He takes their torment and turns it into peace. All the oppressions and obsessions are replaced with a peace that passes all understanding. Peace for the saint is the promise of Jesus, John 14:27.)

2. He Was Clothed - Even if they hadn't noticed how calmly he was sitting there, surely they noticed the fact that he was no longer nude. The work Christ had done on the inside of this man, produced changes on the outside of him as well.

(Ill. So it is when a person comes to faith in Jesus. The outer appearance and manner of life will conform itself to the new inner life created by Jesus. In other words, when you get right with God in your heart, it will change the way you act, look and live! Your desires will change! Your appetites will change! You sense of right and wrong will change! You will prove the reality of your salvation by the way you live your new life! As I have already said, you will become a new creature, 2 Cor. 5:17.)

3. He Was Controlled - Now they see that he is in his right mind. He is no longer out of control, driven about by the power of the demonic forces within. Now, he is completely sane and in the possession of a rational mind! What a difference!

(Ill. This is just what happens when a sinner comes to faith in Jesus! Their heart is changed. Their outward man is changed. Their mind is changed as well. You see, when a person is born again, a new "Spirit" takes over in that person's life. At the instant of conversion, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the saved person's life. He is there to guide, John 16:13; to comfort, John 14:16-18; to teach, John 14:26. He begins a process that results, over time, in the "renewing of our minds.", Rom. 12:2. That is, He helps us to come to think about things like God thinks about them. Instead of filtering everything through our own wicked set of filters, where everything is seen from the vantage point of personal advantage or self-indulgence, He teaches us to see things from God's perspective. We learn to look at life through God's eyes. When this occurs, we are saved from much grief, pain and sorrow. When this occurs, we are growing strong in the Lord. When this occurs, we are finally in our right minds. It is a long process, but I am thankful that he Lord doesn't give up on us!)

I. The Man's Condition

II. The Man's Conversion


(Ill. There isn't a single one of us that God saved to do nothing, Eph. 2:10. In fact, one of the surest evidences of the reality of your salvation experience is a desire to be active in the Lord's work. We see this truth manifested in the life of this newly converted man.)

A. V. 18 The Man's Wish - This man wanted nothing more than to be with Jesus. Look at all Jesus had done for him! It is no wonder that he wants to be in the presence of the Lord.

(Ill. From a human point of view nothing says as much about your love for Jesus and the reality of your salvation that does a burning desire to be near Jesus. The things of God are precious to those who love Him. His Word is a treasure chest to be explored and enjoyed. His worship is an event that must not be missed. His songs are precious because they afford us the privilege of lifting our voice in praise to Him. His House is a special place for which our hearts yearn. His presence is delightful and eagerly sought as one passes through life. The redeemed soul just wants to be with Jesus and nothing more. Is that the burden of your heart? Is being near Him the deepest longing of your soul? Oh, those who are redeemed, as in a close relationship, know the bliss of a few moments spent with Him! What a Savior! After all He has done for us, how could we not want to be near Him?)

B. V. 19 The Master's Will - While surely the Lord was thrilled by the man's love, Jesus knew there were others who needed to hear what God had done for this man. Therefore, Jesus sends him home with the instructions to tell others what the Lord had done for him. He was to give his testimony and tell the lost that he had been found. He was to tell the captives that there was freedom in Jesus! He was to tell the wounded that there was balm in Gilead. He was to bear the good news of salvation to a lost and dying world.

(Ill. By the way, this is still the Lord's desire for every redeemed person in the world today! If you are saved, you have a story to tell! It is a story of a person who was hopeless and helpless until Jesus came by and made the difference! Jesus wants you to tell someone else about what He has done for you, Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15. Haggai 2:19 asks this question, "Is the seed yet in the barn?" Friends, it cannot grow until it is sown into the fields. Jesus told His disciples to "cast their nets." Why? He knows that a net lying in the ship can enclose no fish! Who will sow the seed? Who will cast the net? Who will come before God today and surrender to tell a world about Jesus? As the Lord asked in Isaiah 6, "Who will go for us?")

C. V. 20 The Man's Work - When this redeemed man heard the will of the Lord for his life, he did not hesitate. He arose and returned home and began to preach the good news of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. This man proved his conversion by obedience to the will of God for his life, John 14:15; 21. He simply did what the Lord commanded without question. What an example!

(Ill. Remember what James said: "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.", James 2:18. Nothing proves love for Jesus any more clearly than a life that just jumps to do the Lord's will. Can the Lord count on you? If Jesus has made the difference He can!)

Conc: On one occasion, while traveling in the West, Evangelist "Uncle" John Vasser visited the home of a praying wife whose husband was an infidel. She begged for a Bible, and Vassar, giving her one, went his way. He had no sooner left when the husband, coming home, saw the book and was enraged. Seizing the Bible with one hand and the ax with the other, he hurried to the wood-pile where he placed it on the chopping block and hacked it crosswise in two. Returning to the house, he threw half of the destroyed Bible at his wife, saying, "As you claim a part of all the property around here, there is your share of this."

The other half he tossed into his tool shed. Months later on a wet winter's day, the man, wanting to get away from his Christian wife, retreated to his shed. The time passed slowly, and in boredom he looked around for something to read. Thumbing through the mutilated Bible, his attention was caught by the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. He became absorbed in the parable only to discover that its ending belonged to his wife's section. He crept into the house and secretly searched for the bottom half of the book, but was unable to find where his wife had hidden it.

Finally he broke down, asked her for it, and read the story again and again. In the process he came to the Heavenly Father like a penitent prodigal returning home.

That's the difference Jesus makes in every life He touches. Has He made the difference in you?

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