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May 08, 2016

Tell Them What the Lord has Done for You

Passage: Mark 5:1-20

Speaker: Scott Jeffreys

Series: Mark: An Action Packed Gospel

“Tell them how much the Lord has done for you.” The demon possessed man wanted to be with Jesus, but Jesus said to him, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

Isn’t that strange? Why did Jesus say that to him but not to his disciples? I thought it was his mission to draw all men unto himself, so why would he refuse this man’s request to be with him?

The Scriptures don’t answer that question so we are left to speculate but I think the reason Jesus did not permit this man at that particular time to follow him was because of the nature of the miracle.

The twelve disciples were not raving madmen when Jesus called them to follow him. Their lives had been pretty ordinary up to that point. Many of them were fisherman. Nothing exciting there. But this man… He lived in a grave yard. He was scary. The community saw him as a threat both to them and to himself (he cut himself with stones), so they tried to chain him (institutionalize him) but he was too strong to subdue. Somehow he was able to break free and continue howling among the dead. He was a lost cause. But then Jesus came and healed him. The demons were cast out into a heard of pigs; and what better place for Jesus (who was Jewish) to send a legion of demons, (think Roman army) than into pigs? And the man was restored back to his right mind.

He Had a Story to Tell

This man had a story to tell... We all have a story to tell but this man really had a story! An extraordinary story! The greater the brokenness the greater the grace and this man needed to go tell his story now. That is why Jesus did not permit him to go with him but told him to go home and tell everybody what the Lord had done for him. This man needed to strike the iron while it was hot. Telling his story now would be the most effective way for him to make a difference for the Kingdom of God.

There is much in this story that one could focus for a sermon. We could address the subject of demonic possession, a favorite subject of Presbyterians! That we will not do, though it must be said that it is real. It is not the norm (most people aren’t possessed by demons) but it is possible, it does happen. Don’t kid yourself.

We could focus on the authority of Jesus. In this text we see our Lord being Lord in his exorcism of demons. The demons do nothing unless Jesus permits them and it is he who casts them out. Every knee will bow and every will tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, even Satan and his minions.

We could focus on the idolatry of money, career, and well-being.

When Jesus cast the demons out of the crazed man you would have thought the community would have been happy but they weren’t because Jesus was affecting their economic livelihood. This was a Gentile area and the people lost a major source of income and food when two thousand demon-possessed pigs rushed into the lake and were drowned. When people are more in love with the dollar bill and economic security than Jesus they will throw him out of town and sacrifice gospel principles at the altar of manna so as to not lose the comforts of life.

We see this playing out right now in our own country as states capitulate left and right in order to keep their pigs from plunging in the water because the dollar bill is more important to them than moral sanity. For the record, I admire governor McCrory on HB2. If everything was ok (as the critics say it was) before HB2 was passed then why did the Charlotte City council feel compelled to do what they did? They are the problem, not HB2. We are destroying ourselves as a nation because the NBA, PayPal, and the moral vision and economic power of diversity absurdity social justice warriors has become more important to us than God’s will for humanity.

As I thought about this text in light of Mother’s Day something leapt off the page that could have been focused upon for a sermon. The man in this text, in all of his brokenness and pain, was inflicting wounds upon himself by cutting himself with stones.

When I read that I thought about the prevalence of self-harm amongst our young people, especially our girls who will one day grow up to be mothers. (For various reasons girls struggle with this more than boys.) The gospel can be of great help here. Knowing that the Lord loves us, He has made us in His image, we are precious in His sight, we have been fearfully and wonderfully made, and that “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is greatly to be praised.” Knowing these things and accepting them to be true about ourselves can be of great help to our young people in helping them form a healthy self-image about who they are as God’s beloved sons and daughters.

All of these subject matters could have fit well for a point of focus but instead we focus on the last words that Jesus said in this text. “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

We Have a Story to Tell

This is the great commission. God calls us to share the story of His mercy and grace in our lives.

Is the Lord Jesus Christ at work in your life? What has the Lord done for you? Have you been saved? Do you really know the Lord? If so, then have you bore witness to the world of how God has wiped away your sins on the cross, filled you with his Spirit, and reconciled you unto Himself through Jesus?

Has God brought healing in your life? Has God seen you through a difficult situation? Has the Lord brought you comfort and kept your faith strong even when things did not get better? Have you been encouraged in His Word? Have you been drawn close to Him in worship? Then why haven’t you told someone? How can they hear unless they have someone to tell them? Did you know that you are supposed to be a preacher of the gospel? That you are supposed to be a herald of the good news that God loves this world so much that He gave His only Son so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life?

Find one person this week and “tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy upon you.” Tell the story!

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.