The Person of Christ – Part Five – Mark 5:1-43

 

Jesus Our Source of Hope

 

In Mark 5 we come to three scenes in which Jesus faces a man who is demon possessed, a woman who was hopelessly afflicted, and a child who had died. In each case Jesus brings hope of healing to those in seeming hopeless situations. When the demon possessed man sees Jesus it says:

  • Mark 5:6 – “When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.”  [1]

Why did this man come and prostrate himself before Jesus in worship? Because Jesus embodied hope of deliverance to him.

When Jesus continues on He is met by a father named Jairus, whose daughter is “at the point of death” (5:23). Later in the chapter we will discover that the daughter does in fact die (5:35). But Jesus responds by telling Jairus:

  • Mark 5:36 – “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”  [2]

Why did Jesus tell him to not be afraid and only believe? Because Jesus knew all hope was not lost while He was a part of this life situation equation and that Jairus needed only trust in Him to experience the benefits of that hope.

While Jesus is on his way to Jairus’ house, a woman who, “had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from physicians” came upon Him in the crowd and “touched His garment” (5:25-27). Why did she do this? Because Jesus was her only hope and by touching Him she was believed she would be made well (5:28).

In these three situations we find people in hopeless situations coming to the Source of all hope, Jesus. Jesus is our Source of hope. When Jesus is brought into a situation, no matter how hopeless it appears from a horizontal worldly perspective; when He is factored into our life equation, there is always hope.

It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t have to announce Himself as the Agent of Hope to each of these people in this chapter; they knew He was their Source of Hope. Certainly the Holy Spirit had gone ahead and prepared them with this sense of hope. The sense of hope they had led to the realization of their hopeful desires as they stepped out in faith on that Spirit-given hope in Jesus. This is a critical lesson to be learned. Hope is hopeless unless faith is added to it. Indeed, the Biblical definition of “faith” incorporate hope in it as in Hebrews we read:

  • Hebrews 11:1,6 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. . . . 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  [3]

Faith gives substance, or manifests, what we hope for. God builds our faith by first giving us hope and then bringing us to realize what we hope for by stepping out in faith trusting in Him.

But there is something more for us to apply to our lives in the Spirit here. Just as Jesus is our Source of hope and He was seen as such by those in hopeless situations, we too should be agents of His hope. When people see us, they should think of His hope because they are used to us bringing that hope around us.

These are great truths to mark as an action to implement in our lives.

MARK THAT ACTION:  Jesus is our Source of hope. We need to hope in Him. But also, like Jesus, we should be agents of hope only our hope is not in ourselves, but in Jesus who we represent. We to bring hope to the hopeless by introducing them to Jesus and bringing Jesus into hopeless situations.

This is the summary of what we will learn in this chapter. Now lets study the details of the hope we have in Jesus.

Jesus, the Hope of Deliverance for the Demon Possessed

Mark 5:1-6 -  “Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains,4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.”[4]

 

When Jesus and the disciples weather the storm that was likely sent by Satan to deter them, and arrive at the other side of the Sea of Galilee, they are met immediately by a man who is demon possessed. (In Matthew’s account two men are mentioned – Matthew 8:28 - while in Mark and Luke only one is mentioned. This is not necessarily a contradiction or error, but may represent only a direction of the Holy spirit for Mark and Luke to focus on one of the two men who was more prominently responsive in the situation.)

Gadara was a Gentile town located on the Eastern side of the Sea of Gallilee. Some have pointed out a seeming discrepancy between Mark and Luke’s account which mentions “Gadarenes” and Matthew’s account which refers to  “Gergesenes” (Matthew 8:28). However archeological discoveries of the ruins of Khersa (Gerasa) on the shore of the lake disproves such claims because the location of Khersa on the lake shore is so close to the larger city of Gaddara (they are within a few minutes walking distance of each other) that the events could be identified with either place. [5]

The Surfacing of the Unseen War

Here in the account of the Gadarene demoniac, we have the surfacing of the unseen spiritual war that is ever raging around us. Paul is inspired to tell us that:

  • Ephesians 6:12 – “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  [6]

While this war usually takes placed cloaked in subtlety, at times, as we have here, it surfaces to reveal the utter darkness and violent nature of the enemies of God.

These demon-possessed men were described as “exceedingly fierce.” They terrorized the surrounding community as it states, “no one could pass that way” (compare Mark 5:1-21; Luke 8:26-40).  That these demons were able to enter these two men and that they were able to terrorize the countryside tells us that the unsaved are at the mercy of the demonic.

The Demonically Deluded World

If you are unsaved; if you have not turned to God in repentance from your sin and put your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, you are deluded and under the influence of Satan. That may be a scary thought, but it is true.

When Paul went before king Agrippa and was given opportunity to share his testimony, in Paul’s response were the following words about the mission Jesus had called him to:

  • Acts 26:18 – “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’”  [7]

These words of Jesus to Paul indicate that those who have yet to come to Him by faith are under the influence of the devil. In other portions of Scripture Paul is inspired to write further about this condition and says:

  • 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”  [8]

Satan “blinds” the minds of the unsaved so that they cannot even consider the truth of the gospel of God. This is why we need to pray for the unbeliever. We need to pray that God “open their eyes,” so that they can at least consider their unsaved state and be open to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Read what Paul writes to young pastor Timothy:

  • 2 Timothy 2:24-26 – “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”  [9]

This last verse shows us that those who have yet to receive Jesus as their Savior are under the influence of Satan and ensnared by him.

Only Jesus can penetrate the blinding effects of Satan on the lost. Apart from Jesus, the unsaved are hopelessly lost in dark blindness. This truth is brought out in the following passage:

  • Ephesians 2:1-5 – “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),”  [10]

But what about demon possession? What is it? Does it happen today? 

Demonic Possession Today?

There are those who believe that in the Biblical accounts of instances where Jesus exorcised demons from people, that Jesus was merely accommodating Himself to the beliefs of the people of that age and that what really was happening is that Jesus was dealing with insanity or mental illness. This view implies that Jesus was less than straightforward and honest as well as denies the reality of the spiritual entities attested to by the Bible. Such a view therefore strikes a blow at the holiness of Jesus as well as the authority of the Bible.

Others believe that Jesus was mistaken in His own beliefs concerning demons and that He was really dealing with a mental illness in people. This view which is rooted in psychological theory implies that Jesus didn’t know as much as the psychologist of today. This view is rooted in a proud notion that people know more today than Jesus did in the past. This view therefore strikes at the very nature of Jesus in that it purports that He was less than omniscient. It too strikes at the authority of the Bible in that it implies the Bible is antiquated and out of touch with the “real” problems experienced by people.

That people have chemical imbalances in their brains that cause deviant behavior and illness is certain. But to admit such does not require we deny the stated truth of the Bible and Jesus that people can be and are at times possessed by demons. If we accept the Bible as the inspired, inerrant and true revelation from God, then we will accept that there are spiritual beings working against God and that at times they attack people and possess them. And if we accept this, then we must admit that this spiritual battle continues to this present day. We battle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, demonic forces of the spirit world (see Ephesians 6:10-18).

Are people demon possessed in the world today? I believe there is evidence that there are people possessed by demons today. In his book entitled Demons The Answer Book, Lester Sumrall discusses demonic possession in the world today.[11] In the first chapter of his book, Bitten by Demons, Mr. Sumrall writes of an account of demon possession which we now share in part:

On May 12, 1953, the Daily Mirror in Manila carried a highly unusual story [A story was also run in Life magazine here in the States] . . .

A city jail inmate puzzled police and medical examiners with her tale about two devils biting her . . . the girl claimed she was bitten twenty times and she shouted every time she was hurt.

In the jail . . . she talked and answered questions weakly, but sensibly, before a crowd of  observers. Suddenly her facial expressions would change to anguish and horror as if she were confronted with ‘The Thing.’ She would look wildly and then scream and struggle and hit her arms and shoulders . . . Then her strenuous resistance would cease and she would collapse into the arms of those holding her, weak and half-conscious.

After regaining her senses, she said that one of the devils was big and dark with curly hair on his head, chest and arms. He had large, sharp eyes and two fangs. His voice was a deep-echoing sound. He was shrouded in black.

She was bitten for the last time on the right knee. That was the first bite on the lower part of her anatomy. Other bite marks appear on her neck, arms and shoulders [in places it would have been impossible for bites to have been self-inflicted]. Observers insist that they are within sight all the time.

The following day the Manila Chronicle reported further news of the young woman, Clarita Villanueva:

At least twenty-five competent persons, including Manila’s chief of police, Col. Cesar Lucero, say that it is a very realistic example of a horrified woman being bitten to insanity by ‘invisible persons.’ She displayed several bite marks all over her body, inflicted by nobody as far as the twenty-five witnesses could see. . . .

Villanueva was perfectly normal between fits. After talking for a while, she would shout, have convulsions and hysterics, all the time screaming, and her eyes flashing with fire. Then she would point to a part of her body being attacked, and then fall almost senseless into the hands of investigators.  Teeth marks, wet with saliva, marked the spots she pointed at. . . .

At the time, I [Lester Sumrall] was founding a church in Manila . . . . a forty-five minute radio program [giving the account of Clarita’s condition] drew me into it personally . . . . It was impossible for me to sleep after listening to the program . . .. After praying until morning, God spoke to my heart: ‘If you will go to the jail and pray for her, I will deliver her.’ . . . At my request, we visited Mayor Lacson and gained permission for me to pray for Clarita, but on one condition. Dar. Mariano Lara, chief medical adviser of the police department, must also grant permission. . . . Dr. Lara had not intended to be drawn into the Clarita Villanueva affair . . . . [But] this baffling Filipino girl had changed Dr. Lara’s philosophy of life. He turned to me and said, ‘Reverend, I am humble enough to admit that I am a frightened man.’. . . I turned to the Gospel of Mark and read, ‘’And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name they shall cast out devils’ (Mark 16:17). Do you believe this?’ I asked. Dr. Lara looked at me and said, ‘I believe, but who will help us?’  . . . I told him I would be glad to go and pray for the girl if he would permit it. He said I would be welcome. I requested that no medication be given her during the time I would be praying for her and that no other groups be permitted to pray for her or offer assistance in any way. If Jesus healed her, He must have all the glory. He agreed, and an appointment was made for me to return the following morning. I fasted the rest of the day, spending the time in prayer and reading the Word of God.

On the first morning, . . . upon seeing the police officers, newspapermen, and photographers who were gathered, I could almost hear the devil whispering, ‘Just as I told you! Now you have made a fool of yourself!’ . . . We . . .assembled in a small chapel for women prisoners, there must have been a hundred spectators including prisoners . . . . After we all gathered in the chapel, Dr. Lara asked that Clarita be brought in. She observed each person slowly and closely as she entered the room. When she came to me at the end of the line, her eyes widened and she glared at me saying, ‘I don’t like you!’ These were the first words the devil spoke through her lips to me. The demons used her lips constantly to curse me, to curse God, and to curse the blood of Christ. She did this in English, yet after she was delivered I had to converse with her through an interpreter, as she could not speak English.

‘Clarita,’ I said, ‘ I have come to deliver you from the power of these devils in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.’ . . . .  She went into a fit of rage, screaming, ‘No, no! They will kill me!’. . . Taking hold of her head with both hands I cried, ‘Come out of her, you evil and wicked spirit of hell. Come out of her in Jesus’ name!’ Immediately she began to rage again. . . With tears flowing down her cheeks she begged me to leave her alone; she showed me terrible marks on her arms and neck where she had been bitten that moment. I was shocked . . . . The devils would curse God and I would demand them to quit and tell them God is holy. Then they would curse the blood of Jesus and I rebuked them, reminding them that he is the Master over every evil power and that His blood is holy. Then they cursed me in the vilest language. They declared they would never leave. It seemed like the powers of darkness and the powers of righteousness were in deadly conflict. I was just the mouthpiece for righteousness. Clarita was the mouthpiece of the devil. Undoubtedly the noise could be heard for some distance in the prison.

Finally it seemed that the girl was relieved. The devils refused to talk to me or bite her. Some of those present thought she was delivered, but I told them she was not. It was nearly noon and I was soaked with perspiration and nearly exhausted. When I looked around I saw several of the people with tears in their eyes, moved with the things they had seen.

I told Dr. Lara that I desired to go home and fast and pray for another day, and then return the following morning. That day was spent in communion with God. It was precious. I could feel God’s presence hovering over me, urging me not to be afraid . . . . That night, Rev. Arthur Ahlberg and Rev. Robert McAllister visited us at home and offered to go with me the following day . . . .

Upon arrival at Belibid the following morning, the captain of the prison said Clarita had not been bitten since the prayer. But I knew she was not yet delivered. This became evident as soon as the devils saw me. Through her lips they cried, ‘Go away! Go away!’  . . . . I sat on the same small chair in front of her and spoke back with a thrilling feeling of authority. ‘No, I am not going away, but you are going away! This girl will be delivered today!’. . . Then I requested every person present to kneel . . . The battle began again. They cursed and held on to their victim, begging permission to stay in her . . . . That additional time of fasting and prayer had made the difference . . . . . I felt the release and knew they had departed. Clarita relaxed. The demon look departed from her eyes. She smiled. I looked around and noticed that reporters were weeping; there were tears in the eyes of doctors; hard-boiled jailors were also weeping. I could now see how terrific the battle had been. Softly I began to sing with brothers Ahlberg and McAllister:

            Oh, the blood of Jesus, Oh, the blood of Jesus, Oh, the blood of Jesus,        

That washes white as snow!

. . . We were ready to leave when suddenly, like a flash of lightening, the devils reappeared. The girl screamed and her eyes changed. I said to them, ‘Why have you returned? You know you must go and not return.’ . . . they replied, ‘But she is unclean. We have the right to live in her.’ I answered them in a determined voice. . . .They had no power to resist. They left, and she became normal again. I explained to her what had happened and got her to pray with me for the forgiveness of her sins.  . . . I explained to her why they had returned and demanded her to tell them to leave and not return. This she did. Then I taught her to pray and plead the blood of Jesus against them.  . . . As I was leaving I told Clarita that I was sure these devils would return.  . . . ‘they will come. Then you must demand them to leave without my being present. You must say, ‘Go, in Jesus’ name,’ and they will obey.’ . . . .

I went to visit her twice [later] and found her overjoyed at our coming . . . This was [now] a perfectly normal Filipino girl who had recovered from the nightmare of demon possession.’” [12]

This is a true story and it occurred in our day.

Symptoms of Demon Possession

What are the symptoms of demon possession? How can we know if someone is demon possessed? When we look at the Biblical accounts of demonic possession we see the following symptoms:

  • A person demonically possessed is under the influence and indwelt by a demon (Matthew 28; Mark 5:2). Apparently demons seek out bodies to inhabit (Matthew 12:43-45).
  • A person demonically possessed exhibits an unusual fierceness and violence (Matthew 8:28).
  • A person demonically possessed exhibits unusual strength and physical power (Mark 5:3).
  • A person demonically possessed exhibits fits of rage (Mark 5:4).
  • A person demonically possessed will often be self-destructive (Mark 5:5).
  • A person demonically possessed will show signs of split personality such as the man who ran to worship at Jesus feet, but then the demon cries out to Jesus (Mark 5:6-7).
  • A person demonically possessed is repulsed to and resistant to Jesus (Matthew 8:29; Mark 5:7).
  • A person demonically possessed appears to have a sensibility to Jesus and discernment as to who does and who does not belong to Jesus (Matthew 8:29; Mark 5:7; Acts 19:13-20).
  • A person demonically possessed may demonstrate a variation in voice. Legion spoke “with a loud voice,” as many demons from out of the one man (Mark 5:7,9).

These are characteristics gleaned from observations of God’s revealed accounts of demon possession. Judas is another example of demonic possession and was apparently demon possessed at some point (John 13:2, 27).

Demonic Influence versus Demonic Possession

In his book entitled Demons In The World Today, Merrill F. Unger distinguishes between demonic influence and demonic possession by saying:

“In demon influence, evil spirits exert power over a person short of actual possession. Such influence may vary from mild harassment to extreme subjugation when body and mind become dominated and held in slavery by spirit agents. Christians as well as non-Christians can be so influenced.  They may be oppressed, vexed, depressed, and hindered, bound by demons.”

Demon possession is a condition in which one or more evil spirits or demons inhabit a body of a human being and can take complete control of their victim at will . . . . The inhabiting demon(s) come and go much like the proprietor of a house who may or may not be at ‘home.’”  [13]

Demonic Influence In The World

Is there any doubt that Satan has a hand in such horrific activity as abortion, partial birth abortion, serial killings and genocide? Within the last month of this writing a mother systematically drowned in the bathtub her five young children. The press is linking the act with post par tem depression, but can there be any doubt that Satan has had a hand in this?! In these instances we have demonic influence if not demonic possession at work.

When we look at the influence and work of Stan in the Bible we see him connected to the following activities:

  • Satan wants to get people to disregard and disobey God’s word. This is what he did with Adam and Eve and look at the effect his successful work has wrought on the world (Genesis 3).

 

  • Satan wants to get people to depend on their flesh, their own strength. We see this in the way Satan attacked Jesus. When Satan tempted Jesus, he tried to get Jesus to indulge self-preservation, self-adulation, and self-achievement (Matthew 4:1-11).

 

  • Satan wants people to murder and lie, to steal kill and destroy (John 8:44; 10:10).

 

  • Satan wants people to act immorally (Luke 17:28-30; Romans 1:24,26-27).

 

  • Satan wants people to focus on material things (1 Timothy 6:10).

 

  • Satan wants people to follow false “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).

 

Satan’s goal and ambition is to destroy God and anything or anyone associated with Him.

 

Demonic Influence In the Life of the Believer

The Bible does not teach that believers can be possessed by demons, but demons can influence believers from without.  Suffice it to say that the indwelling Christ is greater than the attacking demonic forces in regards to the believer (1 John 4:4). The Bible says that if the believer resists the devil, he must flee (James 4:7). God will crush Stan under the feet of the believer (Romans 16:20). We need not fear being possessed by demons if we are in a saving relationship with Jesus. We do however; need to always be aware of the spiritual attacks of the enemy.

Remember Job; his life was greatly influenced by the attack of the devil (see Job). Jesus warned Peter that Satan was after him, but comforted him that Jesus was praying for him:

  • Luke 22:31-32 – “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.32 “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”   [14]

Peter later was inspired to write of our need to be cautiously aware of Satan’s devices. Peter wrote:

  • 1 Peter 5:8-9 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”  [15]

Have you ever awoke in a bad mood? Ever been depressed for no good reason? Perhaps demonic spirits are assailing you. We need to guard against finding demons under every rock, but we also need to be aware that demons are real and they want to influence people against God.

Paul tells us to take our thoughts captive, or bring them under control by way of our relationship with Jesus. He is inspired to say this in his letter to the Corinthians where he states:

  • 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”  [16]

Satan is after the believer to bring shame to the cross of Christ and our Lord Jesus by bringing down the believer morally or in other ways. We need to resist the enemy steadfast in our faith in Jesus.

Read the following comment by Lester Sumrall on this issue. He speaks of a Sunday school teacher who came to him for prayer because she was being influenced by demonic forces. She confessed that she had been going to X-rated movies. Sumrall made the following assertion:

This opened an avenue of thinking to me. I began to understand that when a Christian goes into the devil’s territory, unless intending to do battle and rescue lost souls, that Christian becomes vulnerable to whatever Satan offers, . . . . 

While Louise and I lived in Hong Kong we never feared Communist China. From our apartment we could see the harbor where the American Seventh Fleet had its aircraft carriers, destroyers, and many submarines. When we would go about the city, at certain places we could see large numbers of crack British troops and large guns. We felt secure as long as we stayed within the borders of Hong Kong.

At one place where there is a bridge a sign was posted that said, ‘Communist China ahead of you. Do not advance further unless you have credentials to do so.’ I had ventured to the border and entered Red China; I would have cancelled my right to protection by American and British forces. The same is true of Christian living. When you play with sin you can cancel not your salvation, but the covering of the blood to keep Satan from doing as he pleases.”[17]

Disciple, if you are indulging in sinful activity, understand that you are in Satan’s territory and in great danger. Besides not wanting to bring pain to the heart of our loving heavenly Father by indulging in sinful behavior, the danger of treading in Satan’s territory should be an additional incentive to live a holy life.

Demonic Possession versus Mental Illness

We need to comment here on mental illness. Mental illness in this teacher’s opinion is not the broad expansive network of conditions that are constantly proliferating at the behest of psychologists. Mental illness here is defined as a physical cause of abnormal thinking processes. Much of what is classified, as “mental illness” today is nothing more than sin and the flesh. Mental illness is a physical non-volitional condition whereby a chemical imbalance or injury or other physical defect results in the inability of the brain to process correctly thoughts leading to actions. Therefore, what is the difference between a person who is mentally ill and a person who is demon possessed? A few observations can be made here. If one prays in the presence of a mentally ill person, they will usually calm down. Whereas, when in the presence of a demon possessed person, prayer in the name of Jesus will elicit a violent response.  A mentally ill person may respond to chemical or surgical intervention, whereas, a demon possessed person will not. (The demon may give the appearance of responding to medicine or surgery to cloak their presence – see John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.) A demon-possessed person may exhibit seeming clairvoyant ability to expose inconsistencies in the one ministering to them. A mentally ill individual does not have this capacity. Keep in mind that Jesus is able to heal either the mentally ill person or the demon-possessed person. We need to rely on the Spirit to help us discern between the two in order to minister to their needs effectively and in love.

Dealing With The Devil – Appropriating The Authority of Jesus Over Demonic Forces

Mark 5:7-13 – “And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”8 For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”9 Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains.12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.”13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.”  [18]

This passage in Mark 5 shows us that Jesus has authority over demonic forces. This demon possessed man was fierce but had to submit to Jesus. Earlier in the gospel of Mark Jesus made an interesting comment about dealing with the devil. He said:

  • Mark 3:27 - “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.”  [19] (Matthew 12:29)

We have already seen the influence of Satan in the world and especially in the life of the unbeliever. Through prayer Satan’s influence must be bound before a person can be freed to accept the truth of God. It is in prayer that we utilize the authority we have in Jesus to knock down the strongholds of the devil and take the ground that is promised to us by God. Followers of Jesus, His disciples, need to appropriate through prayer the authority and power of Jesus over the enemy.

 In the Bible we are given many verses about the authority of Jesus over the demonic realm:

  • Romans 16:20 – “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”  [20]
  • Hebrews 2:14-15 – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”  [21]
  • James 4:7 – “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  [22]
  • 1 John 3:8 – “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”  [23]
  • 1 John 4:4 – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”  [24]

Notice, we do not fight the devil in our own strength but in the authority and strength of Jesus. In Christ, (i.e. in our saving personal relationship with Jesus) in the authority that He possesses, because of His work on the cross, we can resist the devil and his dominions victoriously. This is made perfectly clear by Paul’s inspired words to the Colossians where he states:

  • Colossians 2:13-15 – “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”  [25]

While we are given authority over devils through our relationship with Jesus Christ, we should never seek to proudly pick a fight with the devil. In the authority of Jesus’ name we can do battle with Satan. On our own we would be in big trouble with this fierce foe.

Picking Fights With Demons

A word of caution here, it would not be advisable to go demon hunting or to face these dark forces apart from having a saving relationship with God in Christ. Our protection and power against such dark legions comes form our Savior Jesus Christ. Someone has wisely said, when Satan comes knocking at your door, ask Jesus to answer it.

On one occasion in the Bible we are given an account of some itinerant exorcists who tried to exorcise a demon from a man by using the name of Jesus without having a personal saving relationship with Him. Read what happened:

  • Acts 19:13-20 – “Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.”14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds.19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.”  [26]

Jesus has authority over the forces of evil led by Satan. In the case of the two possessed men from Gadara, the demons even had to ask to enter the herd of swine, (the first production of deviled ham!) But something is interesting here, why would the demons want to enter the pigs?

Preparing For The Inevitable Battle

Satan and his demonic hoards will always try to get the eyes of people off of God’s work and onto things. He’ll even try to get disciples distracted with the things of this world. And Satan and his hoards will use many other devious devices to sidetrack and undermine the work of God in the world. How can the disciple prepare to fight this spiritual battle? Here are a few things we should do and be aware of to fight in this spiritual war.

Know Your Enemy

Any good soldier who plans battle strategy includes as much information about their enemy as possible. In war, battles are won and lost based to a great extent on the knowledge of the opponent’s strength, weaknesses and tendencies.  If you don’t know your enemy, you may under or over prepare for the battle. In sports teams prepare for their opponents by watching films and becoming aware of their strengths, weaknesses, tendencies and match-ups so they can construct an effective game plan. A weaker team can overcome a stronger team with the right amount of preparation. While we are not weaker than Satan because of our strength and authority in Jesus, we still need to know our adversary so as to plan an effective strategy to take back the souls of the lost who he holds in a death grip. We need to know our enemy. What do we know about Satan? [27]

First, Satan is not equal with God; Satan is no match for God. Satan is a created being and as such is no match for the omnipotent Almighty God who has no beginning or ending (Isaiah 57:15). Satan must submit to the authority of God and must get permission from God for all that he does (see Job 1-2).

Second, Satan is not omnipresent; he cannot be in more than one place at a time. This means that it is more common for us to be attacked by Satan’s demonic representatives than by Satan himself. It’s doubtful we will ever meet Satan, other than to see him at the Great White Throne Judgment and comment about how such a little being could have caused so much trouble (Isaiah 14:16-17).

Third, Satan is not omniscient; he does not know everything.  Satan can battle us in our thoughts, but he does not know everything and we can guard our thoughts by the authority of Jesus (Proverbs 16:3; Isaiah 55:7; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 2:5; 4:6-9; Hebrews 4:12). Because of this Satan makes mistakes. God thwarts Satan’s plans. Satan does not know the future. This is why occult prognosticators are so often wrong when they predict the future. God is able to take what Satan meant for evil and turn it out for His good (Romans 8:28).

Fourth, Satan is not omnipotent; he is limited in what he can do. Whatever he does has to be permitted by God (see Job 1-2). He cannot go beyond his created nature as an angel.

Fifth, Satan is normally invisible. Because he is invisible, he (and demons who are similarly invisible) can enter a being and not be seen doing so such as was the case with Judas (Luke 22:3). But, if holy angels can materialize and be seen (Matthew 28:2,3,5-7; Luke 1:11-20; John 20:12), it is likely that Satan and demons can do the same as well. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that Satan “transforms himself into an angel of light”:

  • 2 Corinthians 11:14 – “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”  [28]

This is a very important aspect of Satan’s nature and plans given the next truth about him.

Sixth, Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). If he can transform himself into a seemingly good being (i.e. “angel of light”), then we must not trust apparitions, materializations, or beings that say they are “God,” “Jesus,” “Mary,” a saint, a ghost or spirit of the dead, or someone else, (see 1 Samuel 28:4-25). Everyone one and everything has to be scrutinized through the lens of God’s word. Paul said:

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21 – “Test all things; hold fast what is good.”  [29]

Seventh, Satan seeks to usurp God’s authority and Lordship over the universe. Satan wants to rule the universe and for this cause he was cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-15). On earth, he seeks to rule like a tyrant over anyone who does not submit to the Lordship of God in Christ. And as we have seen, Satan does have authority over anyone who does not receive Jesus as Lord and Savior (Ephesians 2:1-5). Satan wants to put people into bondage to do his evil and sinful will.

Eighth, Satan must be a proud maniacal being. The prophet Ezekiel was inspired to write of Satan and described him as having been created a beautiful, “model of perfection,” angelic being. But rather than be satisfied with his position of closeness to God, he was lifted up in pride until he lost reason and sought to rebel against God. Only a maniacal being drunk with pride would attempt to fight against Almighty God, Creator of the universe! Once fallen, Satan is described as violent, sinful, disgraced, expelled from heaven, corrupted (Ezekiel 28:11-17). Satan may have a genius like intellect, but he is mad with pride and living under delusions of grandeur.

Last, Satan is a defeated foe. Satan is defeated; he was defeated on the cross of Christ. What we are fighting now are the left over battles of a defeated despot who doesn’t want to go off the scene easily. Satan will fight to the bitter end, but the war has been won. We can look forward with certainty to Satan’s judgment as it states in the Bible:

  • Isaiah 14:15 – “Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.”  [30]
  • Colossians 2:14-15 – “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”  [31]
  • Revelation 20:10 – “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”  [32]

In his book entitled Satan’s Devices, Robert Morey states that Satan and demons are capable of and characterized by the following:

  • Teleportation - Traveling through space from one place to another in an instant as in the case of Satan moving from the earth to the heavenly setting in the presence of God (Job 1:6-7).
  • Visible manifestations – Satan is able to “transform” himself into “an angel of light” or type of wolf in sheep’s clothing (2 Corinthians 11:14).
  • Apportation – This is the moving of material objects including persons. Satan was able to move Jesus into the holy city and up to a high mountain (Matthew 4:5,8).
  • Levitation – Moving objects or people defying gravity as when Satan moved Jesus and set Him on the pinnacle of the Temple (Matthew 4:5).
  • Visions - Satan showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8).
  • Predicting the future - Satan tries to copy God by predicting the future only he gives false predictions. Satan attempts this through astrologers, palm reading, Ouiji boards, crystal balls, and a host of other occultic methods but the underlying aim is to misguide people away from the Lord. The standard for determining whether or not a prophecy is from God or not is 100% accuracy (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).
  • Matter transformation – When Moses and Aaron encountered Pharaoh and threw down Aaron’s staff to show him the power of God when the staff turned into a snake, Pharaoh’s two court magicians were also able to transform their staff’s into snakes, although Moses snake-staff swallowed up the other two snake–staffs.  (Exodus 7:8-13).
  • Counterfeit miracles – The End Times will be characterized by “power, signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9).
  • Spontaneous combustion – Satan can apparently call down fire from the sky (Job 1:16; Revelation 13:13).
  • Demonic possession – The two demoniacs are evidence of this (Matthew 8:28-34).
  • Demonic oppression – Paul discusses what appears to be demonic oppression or influence of believers by the devil  (2 Timothy 2:26).
  • Plant thoughts – David was moved by Stan to number his troops and depend on his own strength rather than God’s (1 Chronicles 21:1). Peter confessed Christ as Messiah in one breath (Matthew 16:13-20) and then was infiltrated with a Satanic thought against the mission of Christ in the next breath (Matthew 16:22-23).
  • Power to kill – Satan had Job’s children killed (Job 1:13-19). Paul speaks of turning over an immoral person to Satan, “for the destruction of the flesh” in hopes that this would shake the unrepentant sinner to their senses leading to the salvation of their soul (1 Corinthians 5:5).
  • Hinder understanding – Satan blinds the minds of the unsaved (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). See above also.
  • Cause physical illness – Manny illnesses healed by Jesus are attributed to the work of Satan (Matthew 8:16; Mark 1:32-34; 9:17).
  • Cause mental illness – The Gadarene demoniac was mentally tortured by demons as after the removal of the demons the healed man is described as being, “in his right mind” (Mark 5:1-15)
  • Incite opposition to God – A sorcerer incited opposition to Saul and Barnabus (Acts 13:6-12)
  • Remove or snatch the word of God via distraction – The word that is spread on the out to be planted in the hearts of people is sometimes snatched up before it can take route, likely by distractions brought on by Satan (Matthew 13:19).
  • Manipulate weather – Satan can affect the weather and cause it to storm (Job 1:18-19; Mark 4:35-39). See above.
  • Hinder answer to prayer as with Daniel – Daniel prayed and fasted and when the answer was finally brought the delay was explained as caused by the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” a reference to a demonic being (Daniel 10:12-14, 20-21).
  • Tempt to do evil – While temptations come from our own sinful lusts (James 1:1:14),  Satan is also involved in the tempting process (1 Thessalonians 3:5).
  • Invents false religions and heretical ideas - Behind false religions and heresies is the devil who is trying to mislead people with alternatives to Jesus as the only way to salvation (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 1 John 4:1-3).
  • Control animals - The pigs were moved to go over the cliff (Mark 5:12-13).
  • Counterfeit healings - If Satan and demons can bring disease, then by giving a disease and then taking it away they can counterfeit a healing.
  • Satan can produce speaking in tongues that is unholy such as that found in many cults and occultic groups, e.g. early Mormons, Aryan cult, The Way International.
  • Manipulate finances to bring riches that distract from God or ruin that brings blame to God (see Job; 1 John 2:15-16).
  • Incite disunity – Peter attributed the lying deception of Ananias and Sapphira to the work of Satan (Acts 5:3). Certainly Satan wants to divide the church in order to weaken its ranks and make it more vulnerable (Acts 6; 1 and 2 Corinthians). God can take such attempts to divide and turn them out for His good as with the first missionaries (Acts 15:36- 16:1 ff.).
  • Cause depression – The context in Peter’s epistle indicates that Satan is closely connected to depression in people  (1 Peter 5:6-9).
  • Buffet believers – Paul was buffeted by Satan (2 Corinthians 12:7).
  • Facilitate occultic practices such as necromancy – Satan is closely involved in the occult and therefore God prohibits the believer’s involvement with it (Deuteronomy 18:10-11). Demons can wreck havoc through the deception of “familiar spirits” or assuming the personages of deceased persons. This was possibly the case when king Saul in the Old Testament went to the witch of Endor for advice (1 Samuel 28). People do not become ghosts when they die; they go directly to initial judgment (Hebrews 9:27). “Ghosts” are familiar demonic spirits who are manipulating people in their sorrow and grief. Demons are ruthless and will stoop to any means to mislead and bring false hope to people.
  • Involvement in sexual encounters such as that which preceded the Flood (Genesis 6:2; compare with Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Psalm 29:1) where angelic beings are called “sons of God.”)[33]

If all of this can be done by Satan and his demons, how can the disciple withstand such forces?

Trust in God and Use The Weapons He Gives You

The only way to fight this spiritual fight victoriously is to trust God and use the “spiritual” weapons He provides us.  Earlier we quoted from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians in which he was inspired to write:

  • 2 Corinthians 10:4 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,”  [34]

We must rid ourselves of the view of Christianity as a passive monastic-like life where one sits quietly as the world crumbles around us and souls pass over the edge of a cliff of destiny into eternal hell fire. No, the Christian is a soldier at war for the Lord. We do not fight with “carnal” or worldly, fleshly methods or tools, but we do fight. We fight with the weapons God provides which are “mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.”

What are the weapons God provides the Christian soldier? We have to look to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where Paul was inspired to describe such spiritual weaponry. In Ephesians six it states:

  • Ephesians 6:10-18 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” [35]

Without relying on the Lord and putting on His armor, we will be susceptible to the deceptions and devices of the enemy. Notice first Paul exhorts believers to “be strong in the Lord.” We do not enter this battle in our own strength for to do so would be suicide. We fight in the power of God and His authority.

When it comes to putting on the armor, we need to put all the armor on for leaving anyone one piece off exposes the believer to a satanic swipe (6:13). God has provided truth to hold all of His armor in place like a belt that holds all of our clothes in place (6:14a). To “gird” oneself meant to prepare to move quickly. You see the garments of the people of the day were long robe-like pieces. To run in a long flowing robe would be like a bride on her wedding day trying to run in her gown, a disaster waiting to happen. Therefore, the man girding up their loins reached down between their legs and grabbed the read bottom portion of their robe and brought it up to their front waist and tucked it into their belt. The belt of truth is the piece that holds all the other pieces of armor in place. It is essential for the warrior of God to speak truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) because without the truth in love the other pieces of armor are greatly weakened. 

God protects our hearts with a breastplate of righteousness in Christ. Satan aims his “darts” or fiery doubt missiles directly at our hearts (6:14b) Satan and his demons want to discourage you by attacking your righteous standing before God. He’ll shoot you with impressions in your heart that you are a dirty rotten sinner unworthy to be used by God. Satan will try to separate and isolate you from the body of Christ with such notions. If he can divide the body of Christ, he can if not conquer it, greatly limit its effectiveness. But the believer is not righteous because of anything he or she does, a believer is righteous because of what Jesus has done on the cross and that is what needs to cover the heart of the soldier of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:21).

God protects our feet with gospel boots so that we can march in peace thought the battle rages around us (6:15). Satan will try to strewn shards of glass and tacks of trials along our path and if we are not walking in the gospel of God’s peace in Christ we’ll be hopping in pain (See Romans 5:1f.). We also need to understand that the gospel of peace is not only for us, but it is to free the lost souls held prisoner by the enemy.  We need to be prepared to share the gospel with the lost to liberate them form the clutches of the enemy (Acts 28:16). March on with the gospel!

Most importantly he tells us that we need to hold up the shield of faith, which enables the soldier of God to ward off the fiery spears thrown by Satan (6:16). The Roman army was one of the most effective and victorious armies in history. The tactics of the Romans military were incredible. One tactic pertinent for us was that of the turtle formation. Romans soldiers had shields that were nearly as tall as a soldier and wide enough for a soldier to hide behind in battle. But even the best designed shield left a soldier who stood alone vulnerable from above, behind and from either side. The Romans therefore designed a formation to march into the battle with that brought full protection to the soldiers. Soldiers would form a tight line at the front of this formation linking their shields together so that no arrows could break through to reach them. The row of soldiers behind them would hold their shields over the heads of the soldiers. Soldiers on the sides of the formation would also link up their shields, as well as those in the rear row. The soldiers would stagger their places so that all the men in the turtle formation were covered with a shell of shields that protected them from the enemy archers. As long as they stayed together in this formation, the arrows shot at them would glance off the shields and they could march on and storm the enemy lines in the turtle formation. In the same way, Satan wants to divide and separate the soldiers of God’s army church so as to put them in a position of being vulnerable and exposed to his arrows. The church, as long as we stand together with our shields of faith, we are impregnable to the fiery arrows of Satan. Do you see how important the shield of faith is and how important it is that we stick together and not give in to the attempts of Satan to divide and conquer us?

Our minds are protected and assured by the helmet of salvation (6:17a). It is important that we not only know about Jesus (demonic type of assent – see below), but that we know Jesus, have faith in Jesus. Salvation involves our understanding of the teachings of God’s word. Salvation enables us to know Whom we believe in (2 Timothy 1:12).  In Christ we take every thought captive so that we can march on with a “good conscience” (1 Timothy 1:5) and a  “sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Clarity of thought and alertness is essential to the soldier marching in battle.

Until now our weaponry has been mostly defensive, now we are given an offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit, His holy Word (6:17b).  God has not called his army to be on the defensive, but to go on the offensive. When Jesus first described His church He said, “and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Now think about this, does Satan attack us with the “gates of Hades”? Does he come at us with gates? Have you ever been attacked by a gate or had to defend against someone with a gate in hand? No, of course not, the army of God is to go on the offensive and storm the gates of hell with the sword of the Lord, His word. Disciple, with Jesus description of the church He is sounding the trumpet blast that means CHARGE!  With God’s word in hand and heart and mind, we can attack the enemy with assurance of victory.

Once the armor is on, the soldier of God needs to keep in touch with His Commander in prayer (6:18; Joshua 5:13-15). There is no war like this war because we know who wins this war, Jesus. We can therefore be confident as we fight. There are still pockets of the enemies’ resistance who need to be exposed and dealt with, but their hope of victory is gone for Jesus has overcome them (Colossians 2:14-15).

But there is one last thing we can learn from this incident in Matthew 8 involving the demon-possessed men.

Demonic Faith

Notice the demons speaking from the possessed man recognized the power and authority of Jesus to throw them in the pit of hell. In Mark it states:

  • Mark 5:7-9 – “And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”8 For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”9 Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”  [36]

They believed Jesus was the “Son of the Most High God,” (5:7), but would have ripped His head off if they could have. The demon possessed man ascribed authority to Jesus and His ability to “torment me” (5:7). Matthew’s account adds that the demons said, Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29). The “time” referred to by the demons is the end time when Jesus throws Satan and his demons into the pit of hell (Revelation 19:20).

What is interesting here is that at this point the demons seem to have a more informed faith than the disciples do. Prior to this, the last words of the disciples expressed astonishment regarding Jesus’ identity as they said, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”   (4:41; Matthew 8:27).  The demons know who Jesus is, the “Son of the Most High God.” But the belief of the demons about Jesus and who He was only led to there further attempts to manipulate the situation and deceive people.

Demon Assent versus Saving Faith

This shows us that mere assent or head knowledge about Jesus does not save, saving faith is more than mere assent. The demons knew who Jesus was and the pig farmers of Gadara knew what Jesus had done, but in neither case did the belief result in any redemptive end. Demonic faith believes something about Jesus; saving faith trusts in Jesus. (FAITH – Forsaking-All-I-Trust-Him)

The distinction between demonic and saving faith is made clear in the epistle of James. Indeed, James writes in his epistle:

  • James 2:19 – "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!”  [37]

The faith that saves is characterized by a holy-inclined life changing impact on the recipient. We need to look at the context in which James is inspired to make this statement about demonic faith. James’ teaching on the relationship between faith and works (i.e. application of God’s word in life) is as follows: 

  • James 2:14-26 – “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”   [38]

Now this is not to say that our works save us; Paul lays this notion to rest when he writes:

  • Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  [39]

We are not saved by anything we do. We don’t have to jump through religious hoops to earn salvation from God. Indeed, this is an impossibility that only leads to frustration and failure. We all, in our own strength and effort, fall short of God’s glory, His standard and requirement to enter heaven (John 16:8-11; Romans 3:23). But God does have a purpose for works. Notice that Paul follows these verses with the following statement:

  • Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  [40]

God has created us to do “good works.” Therefore, if we are truly created by God, this will be evidenced by partaking in the good works God has created us to do. You see works are the evidence that prove the authenticity of our faith. Martin Luther is believed to have said, “We are not saved by our works, but the faith that saves works.” The Salvation Army stalwart William Booth echoed the sense of the relationship between faith and works when he stated:

Faith and works should travel side-by-side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again -- until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other. [41]

In light of this we can assert that saving faith is more than mere assent to a proposition about Jesus. Demonic faith assents to a belief but does not have any impact or effect toward altering one’s actions or life practices to submit to Jesus. Saving faith connects a person personally with God so that a change of life takes place. Saving faith opens the door for the new life of Jesus Christ as Lord to enter a person. This is shown in the following verses:

  • Romans 6:4 – “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  [42]
  • Romans 10:8-10 – “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  [43]
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  [44] (See Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:1-17).

Now let me add one more comment that brings our consideration of demonic assent versus saving faith all the more relevant for our day. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he is inspired to give the following forewarning:

  • 1 Timothy 4:1 – “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,” 

The point of application I would like to make here can be posed in a question saying, “What better demonic doctrine to deceive people with could there be than to get them to entrust their salvation to a demonic assent rather than a life-changing genuine saving faith?” I fear that many have been deluded by demonic strategy so that they come to rely on a mere assent or acknowledgement and agreement that Jesus is “The Son of the Most High God” but are indeed falsely converted or actually unsaved and still dead in their sins. Remember the parable of the Sower in Mark 4; some gospel seed fell on the surface and was quickly snatched away, some penetrated only superficially as in an emotional response and still other gospel seed was choked off by the things and cares of this world. The second and third soil type (which represent the heart responses of people to the gospel) involve some kind of “belief” in the gospel and it is likely a demonic type of assent, for it certainly is not a saving faith as in the fourth heart soil type represented and validated by spiritual fruitfulness and measurable growth in a saving relationship with God in Christ by the Holy Spirit.

How is your faith? Is it more like demonic faith or saving faith? Have you been deluded into thinking that you can merely repeat a few words in a sinner’s prayer and march on your merry way with salvation while experiencing no change within or without you? The parable of the Sower showed us that saving faith is more than an outward emotional expression; it is a matter of an actual change in the heart wrought by God. If a work has been truly done in the heart of a person via saving faith, that inner work will show itself with outward fruitfulness and change.

Pigs or Jesus?

Mark 5:14-17 – “So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened.15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine.17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.”  [45]

Why did Jesus allow the demons to enter the pigs? Some might ask this question sympathizing with the pigs. But there is possibly good reason for what Jesus allowed. Pigs were animals often bred for  use in sacrifices to pagan gods. Jews sacrificed lambs, Gentiles sacrificed pigs. By allowing the demons to enter pigs bred for pagan worship, Jesus was merely allowing the dead to bury the dead so to speak.

Why would the demons want to enter the pigs? It is possible that the demons had a motive for entering the pigs. Their strategy may have been to negatively impact the pig farming industry of the area and created negative public opinion for Jesus amongst the farmers. Now pork was absolutely forbidden and absolutely illegal for Jews and so this was probably a black market type of setup. If this were the strategy of the demons, why would Jesus play along with it? Perhaps Jesus allowed this to present the people of the area with a situation of decision. They would have to decide between Jesus and their pig industry. Unfortunately they chose the pigs.

Once given permission to enter the pigs, the demons ran them over a cliff and killed them all. Even though a terrifying demon-possessed man was liberated and the security of the area restored, the benefactors of the work of Jesus cared more about their financial losses. They begged Jesus to leave before any more of their precious pigs were lost.

They were probably also concerned that this great work of God would bring attention to their illegal business. This is a sad statement on the people of this area. They cared more about pigs than the power of God. They cared more about possessions than the prophetic fulfillment in Christ. This situation brings to mind the words of Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount when He said:

  • Matthew 7:6 - “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”  [46]

What a sad state of affairs when people will choose pigs over Jesus! We see therefore, that the people of Gadara have a similar faith to that of the demons in that they  saw, assented to and accepted for themselves what Jesus had done, but rather than repent and turn to Jesus for salvation, they urged Jesus to leave because they cared more for their local economy of pig farming than they did for the spiritual power and victory that Jesus was offering. But people very often choose eternally worthless things over the eternal saving relationship with Jesus. Careers will end, homes, cars, clothes, material things will burn, even earthly relationships will end, and yet all of these and more are often chosen over Jesus. Satan uses these distractions to sink people’s souls into the abyss. We are in a battle for men’s souls.

 

Helping Others With the Hope of Jesus

 

Mark 5:18-20 – “And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him.19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.”  [47]

When you experience the saving delivering hope of Jesus, you just want to stay as close to Him as possible. That was the case of the man delivered by Jesus from the demons. He “begged” Jesus to let him go along with Jesus. But Jesus had a different mission for the man. Jesus told him to, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” That, I believe is what Jesus says to all who have been delivered by Him. He wants us to be agents of His hope who introduce others to the hope that is found in Him.

 

Notice also that what Jesus instructs this man to share with others is the “compassion” God has had on him. The word “compassion” is translated from the Greek term ELEEO (Strong’s # 1653 – ejleevw - eáleáeáoµ, el-eh-eh´-o) which means, “have compassion, . . . pity on, have (obtain, receive, shew) mercy (on).”[48] Such compassion comes particularly from God. The apostle Paul is inspired to similarly write of the impact the compassion and love of God should have on those who have been delivered from their various sin problems when he writes:

 

  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 – “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  [49]

Sharing the hope and love we experience in Jesus with others is a common theme in the ministry of Jesus and throughout the word of God.

MARK THAT ACTION:  Jesus has authority over the dark demonic forces at work in this world and therefore when attacked by them, we can turn to Him in hope of deliverance. And when Jesus is faithful to deliver us from such dark forces, it is not enough to respond in demonic assent, our right response is to share with other the hope that is available in Jesus.

Jesus, The Hope For Healing For the Unhealable

Mark 5:21-34 – “Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet23 and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.”24 So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years,26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ”32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing.33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”  [50]

The parallel accounts in Mark and Luke identify this “ruler” as Jairus (Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56). Jairus was likely a man of prominence who oversaw the orderly operation of the synagogue worship (Mark 5:22). This position in the community would make Jairus a very prominent and influential individual.  It’s interesting therefore, that a person of such stature and religious involvement would come humbly kneeling and worshipping Jesus.

Undoubtably Jairus, being a ruler in the synagogue, would have exhausted every religious means at his disposal. But apparently nothing he tried from his religious position was able to heal his deathly ill daughter. A Crisis in life test what we trust in and here we see that Jairus needed something more. He and his daughter needed Jesus.

Coming to Jesus was no easy thing for Jairus. Being a ruler in the synagogue where Jesus was for the most part rejected, would likely result in being denounced or even being defrocked and kicked out of the synagogue (e.g. John 9:22). A crisis in life often leads people to the feet of Jesus no matter what others will say or think.

Jesus of course went to minister to the needs of this sorrowing one. But on the way a woman who had a ritually unclean bleeding condition (Leviticus 15:25) and was likely spurned by the community, reached out to touch the hem or tassel of Jesus garment. She was probably fearful that Jesus would reject her like the other religious leaders had given her religious ritually unclean condition. But Jesus turned and offered words of encouragement. Over and over we see Jesus accepting and ministering to those the world rejects, offering them hope instead of rejection (cf. Mark 1:40-45; Matthew 8:1f.)

What is of additional blessing is that Mark’s account tells us that she had “suffered many things from many physicians” for “twelve years” (Mark 5:25,26). What the doctors could not heal, Jesus could heal. Nothing is impossible with God. And because nothing is impossible with God we can always have hope in Him and never get to the point of despair or where there is no hope.

How about you? Do you have a medical condition that the doctors and all other avenues have been unable to heal? Maybe you’ve prayed over and over again for healing without result. It could be that God has determined that you not be healed in order to experience and share with others the sufficiency of God’s grace (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). It may be that it simply is not the right timing as yet according to God. There is nothing wrong with praying persistently before God for the same thing. Pray for Him to reveal His will and grace to you. He may heal you or He may choose not to heal you. Either way, in Christ you have the hope that what God decides and determines to do in and through you will be awesome and a blessing! (Romans 8:28-29).

 

Jesus, the Hope for Those Encountering Death

 

Mark 5:35-43 – “While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”37 And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James.38 Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly.39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”40 And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying.41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.43 But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.”  [51]

You can’t get more hopeless in this life, than when you encounter the inevitable prospect of death. But even in death there is hope in Jesus. Based on this story, even when a person dies, there is hope for an immediate resurrection by Jesus. I recently read of a young boy around 2 years old who had fallen in a pool and drowned. He had been pronounced dead. Hours later when at the hospital and being prepared for the funeral home, the nurse who was unzipping him from the body bag was startled to discover that he was breathing! For some unknown reason God determined it was not time for this young boy to come home to Him.

What can we learn from the account of the rising of Jairus’ daughter? We learn a number of things that give us hope.

First, when faced with a seeming hopeless situation we need to choose to not fear and put our faith in Jesus (Mark 5:35-36). In Mark 5 a little girl is pronounced dead. As soon as word arrives that the girl has died Jesus says, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” That should always be our first response in every and all seemingly hopeless situations, don’t be afraid, and just believe in Jesus.

Second, when faced with a seeming hopeless situation, we need to put out the doubters and bring in those willing to believe (5:37-40). Jesus only took Peter, James, John and Jairus’ and his wife with Him into the room where the little girl lay.  When He got to Jairus’ house He put out all those who dwelled on death, all those who “ridiculed Him” and were unwilling to believe. The phrase “ridiculed Him,” comes from a single Greek term KATAGELAO (Strong’s # 2606 - katagelavwkatageálaoµ, kat-ag-el-ah´-o) which means, “to laugh down, i.e. deride . . .  laugh to scorn.” [52]

When we are in seeming hopeless situations, we need to put out the doubters and call on those willing to help us bear our burden in Jesus (Galatians 6:2). I am not talking about ignoring those who see God’s reality and who are willing to accept it. I am saying that those who dismiss even the possibility of God’s power and working, those who are faithless, need to be put out. WE always need to be open to the possibilities of God. Nothing is impossible with God and we need to trust in Him even in seeming hopeless situation. It is in the hopeless situations that God often works and does incredibly awesome things. That is by nature the definition of a “miracle,” doing what transcends the normal. Knowing that gives us great hope in all situations.

Third, when faced with a seeming hopeless situation, understand there is power in the word of God. Jesus said, “The child is not dead, but sleeping. . . . Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Jesus has power and authority over all situations and there is power in His word. There is power in the word of God. In Hebrews it states:

  • Hebrews 4:12a – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, . . . .” [53]

When in a crisis situation we run in faith to Jesus, he inevitably will then bring us to His word. God’s word is the channel of God’s hope in Christ as conveyed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. There is power and hope in the words God has given us. (See also Psalm 119; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:15-17).

MARK THAT ACTION:  Jesus brings hope into hopeless situations because nothing is impossible with Him. Therefore, we should never assume the worst but always expect the best from Him. This does not necessarily mean every sick person will be healed or every dead person will be raised up when we ask, but it does mean that whatever God decides to do, it will bless and edify.

Conclusion

The faith and hope God gives are sure and stabilizing. God’s hope is alive in Christ. The hope that comes through faith in Christ is real, dependable and living. The faith of God gives living hope that stands the test of time and circumstances.

Have you ever experienced a seemingly hopeless situation? If not, you probably will at some point in your life. “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed . . . . “ (Romans 4:18a NIV) is the way the apostle Paul paints the picture facing Abraham when Isaac was born. When he rested on the sandy shores of this world, it was hopeless. But Abraham found an “anchor of the soul,” when he came to rest in faith on the solid rock of God and His Word.

           

Life is filled with situations that press beyond the limits of worldly explanation. Worldly optimists, (those whose faith and hope rests on the achievement of mankind) would tell us Science has all the answers, all the solutions to our problems. But that just isn’t so. I know, because I have experienced a situation that stretched beyond the outer limits of this world’s resources. For me this was a point of purity. There came a point when I had nothing and no one to put my faith and hope in but God alone. My faith and hope, of necessity, rested purely on God.

           

Sometimes you can be floating along on still waters and all of a sudden, a life-threatening squall thrashes in on you. That’s how it was for my wife and I. My wife was three months pregnant with our third child. A few days earlier a sonogram had allowed us to peek at a perfectly healthy baby reclined in the comfort of a womb. I had just returned with the answer to my wife’s provolone and salami craving. We were set to spend a nice calm Friday evening together. Then, the storm clouds burst in upon us with a deluge. “I’m bleeding! Oh my God, I’m bleeding!” my wife said as she stood and revealed blood soaked pants. Just that suddenly our child’s life was in jeopardy. I had never experienced such a shocking sunken feeling before.

           

We immediately called our doctor. He was unavailable. As we waited for the doctor to be located, I placed my hands on my wife’s womb and prayed for the life of our baby. All I could think was, “Why Lord? You gave us this gift after many patient prayers. Why would You now want to take the child away?”

           

Things were happening so fast. I was getting ready to take my wife to the hospital and thinking, “this may be a long night, I’ll need God’s Word for comfort.” As I sought out my Bible a still small voice brought to my mind a verse the Lord had been working into my life recently. “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him . . . . “ (Romans 4:18 NIV). Now I clung in hope to those words and the One who had revealed them.

           

The fear and concern in my wife’s face matched my own concerns.  No words of mine would have met our need. I reached beyond myself and shared God’s Word with her, “’Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed . . . .’ Then I said to her, “No matter what honey, hope in God, trust Him. This is too big for either of us. Hope in Him.”

           

That night we learned the hopelessness of hoping in the world. After waiting for what felt like an eternity in the emergency room, my wife was brought to another room and given a pelvic exam. “Aborted fetus” was the emergency room doctor’s diagnosis. I thought of the irony of the millions of babies aborted willingly by their parents and the feared loss of our baby that we wanted so much. Our plight served to make willful abortion seem all the more evil and despicable.

           

We continued to wait for contact from our doctor. Our waiting was filled with intermittent tears and embraces. What we had seen appeared hopeless. What we heard from a doctor was hopeless. But what I still heard in a still small voice was, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed . . . .”

           

Our doctor finally called and had my wife admitted into the hospital. The next day she would have another sonogram to see for sure what was or wasn’t alive inside of her. Once situated, the doctor arrived to speak with my wife and me. He had delivered our other two children. All he could say was, “There’s nothing I can do. We’ll just have to let nature take its course.”

           

That night was the worst of my life. I can only liken it to the feeling I had when my father died. Through the clouds we prayed. I thank God for the support of faithful friends. I called every person I knew and asked them to pray. “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed . . . .” I told them. “Pray for my wife and child,” I implored. All any of us could do was pray and hope in God. The stress exhausted me. Finally, I surrendered that child to God. That’s what Abraham had done with Isaac and I would follow his example (Genesis 22).

           

The next day I returned to the hospital to find that my wife had already been brought for her sonogram. I hurried down the empty early morning hospital corridors. It was like a dream, like some surreal vision.

           

The room where my wife had been taken was dark and filled with curtained cubicles. I called her name and thought, “This is it Lord.” I held my breadth as my wife identified her whereabouts. “Over here” she said. I stepped forward and pulled aside the curtain. “AND THE BABY IS FINE!” were her glorious words! I lost it. I wept openly the tears of relief and joy. I’ll never forget the thump, thump, thump of that little heartbeat resounding loud and clear in a friendly mechanical way. And I’ll never forget how the baby was casually reclined, hands behind head and legs crossed, as though saying, “What’s the big deal dad? Jesus is in control.” It was almost laughable.

           

My joy was not only from finding my baby safe and sound. More substantially, my joy was rooted in the realized faith and hope that had found God and His Word to be sustaining and true. God was there for us and He was true to His Word. I believe if my child hadn’t survived this placental tear, God would have given the grace for that as well. And the reason I believe that is because a little over a year after our son Stephen was born, my wife was pregnant with our fourth child. But in her eleventh week of the pregnancy a similar problem arose to that which we had experienced with Stephen. Only this time, there was a miscarriage. That baby was precious to us because given our ages, she or he would have been our last child. We named that baby Hope. We don’t know why her life was so short. Perhaps it was to show us that in the face of death, as well as life, God’s hope lives on. That’s a great legacy for any child.

 

In both situations, God had allowed me to come to a point of purity. This world had nothing to offer me to ease the pain or meet my need. I could do nothing in my flesh, my own strength. God alone sustained me  (Psalm 55:22).

 

This experience left a lasting impression on me. What I learned prepared me, (and I hope others as well) for “hopeless” situations in the future. Romans  4:19-21 outlines in a practical way some guidelines for coping with “hopeless” situations. The following are some helps to hoping in God and living out His living hope by faith in Him.

           

FIRST, ABRAHAM DIDN’T DENY OR RUN AWAY FROM THE FACTS OF HIS SEEMINGLY HOPELESS SITUATION, BUT HE ROSE ABOVE THEM BY FAITH IN GOD  (4:19).  Abraham “faced the fact” that he and his wife were too old to have children as far as the accepted medical view of his day and that his personal circumstances were seemingly hopeless. His faith and hope in God were pure enough to confront the reality of his situation even when the facts were against him.

           

SECOND, HE DID NOT WAVER THROUGH UNBELIEF REGARDING THE PROMISE OF GOD, BUT WAS STRENGTHENED IN HIS FAITH . . . .” (4:20). He did not strengthen himself but “was strengthened” by Another. God strengthened him as He regarded “the promise of God.” A still small voice steadied Abraham with the promise of God. When life kicks up into a whirlwind, listen for the voice of God and be strengthened by His Word (I Kings 19:1-18). For me it was Romans 4:18.  For you it may be another portion of God’s Word. God sustains us and makes His presence known with His Word (Psalm 119:28).

           

THIRDLY, ABRAHAM “GAVE GLORY TO GOD” (4:20). I can’t tell you how many hearts God has touched from sharing this experience with those around me. Recounting our experience in a way that glorifies God ministers hope to others (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). Don’t let your “hopeless” situations go to waste!

           

FINALLY, “BEING FULLY PERSUADED THAT GOD HAD POWER TO DO WHAT HE HAD PROMISED” (4:21). Abraham’s certainty was based on God’s faithful and righteous relationship with him. Abraham applied what he had been learning about God to this point in his life. God had spoken to Abraham before (Genesis 12:1-4; 13:14-18; 15:17; 18:21) and now God was delivering on His promise. Life with God is a learning process.  Points of purity, (i.e. Times when we are brought to purely hope in God alone) prepare us to progress onward and upward toward the finished product of Christ likeness God has planned for us. Perhaps someday we will learn what it was like for Jesus to hope in the heavenly Father while in the Garden of Gethsemane where He was on the brink of fulfilling God’s will and destiny for His life (Hebrews 12:1-2).

 

Having gone through this situation, God has fully convinced me that His presence is real, hope in Him is sure, and He and His Word are reliable. My past experience with God’s faithfulness enabled me to be “fully persuaded” he could deliver me BEFORE He actually did. A “POINT OF PURITY” IS A PLACE WHERE WE LEARN TO PUT OUR FAITH AND HOPE IN GOD ALONE.   In those points of purity, God teaches us to look to Him first, not last. It is a place of surrender, exhaustion, and illumination.  In those points of purity we learn the realness and reliability of God.  May your faith and hope be alive and rest on Him alone.

 

 

 



[1][1]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[3]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[4]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[5]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

[6]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[7]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[8]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[9]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[10]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[11] Sumrall, Lester, Demons The Answer Book Whitaker House Pub.:New Kinsington, PA 1993)

[12] Sumrall, Ibid. p. 11-25

[13] Merrill F. Unger, Demons IN The World Today, p. 113, 102

[14]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[15]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[16]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[17] Sumrall, Ibid. p. 101-102

[18]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[19]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[20]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[21]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[22]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[23]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[24]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[25]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[26]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[27] See Robert Morey’s Satan’s Devices, Eugene. OR: Harvest House Publishers) 1993. pgs 23-34

[28]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[29]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[30]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[31]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[32]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[33] Robert Morey, Ibid. pgs. 65-84

[34]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[35]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[36]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[37]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[38]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[39]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[40]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[41] William Booth in The Founder's Messages to Soldiers, Christianity Today, October 5, 1992, p. 48.

[42]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[43]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[44]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[45]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[46]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[47]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[48]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[49]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[50]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[51]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[52]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[53]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.