"Go and Tell"
Why is it so hard to tell the gospel message to people today? Many of us desire to put into practice the things Tom Butterfield taught. How do I become more evangelistic? What does that mean? Should I feel guilty? Today we will look at those questions and more.
Go Home and Tell
A. Change is not easy. The Bible uses a stronger word: transformation. Paul tells the church in Rome to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom. 12:2).” It is the idea of becoming something different from what you are. To the church in Corinth he tells them that we as Christians are to be “transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory (2 Cor. 3:18). “metamorphosis”
B. It is much like Brent who was ran away to live with his girlfriend along the river and enjoy a life that included drug use. There was Sharon who had committed adultery early on in her marriage, but never told her husband. And there was a Theodore, a young man who was deeply involved in pornography but his parents were totally unaware. There was Mary who was a prostitute, but hated her life. Each of these people were either living in sin or hiding a sin and it was tormenting them. They wanted freedom. Each felt they were possessed, out of control.
I. The Problem
A. Our story begins with Jesus telling his disciples to cross over to the other side. As they traveled Jesus slept, but a huge storm came up and they believed they were going to die. In their fear they woke Jesus and he calmed the sea and the disciples were amazed at his power over nature. It is with background, with that situation fresh in their lives that arrive only to be met by some demon possessed men, and the story focuses on one.
B. The man we read of is wild. He can’t be controlled by other people. He lives among the tombs and can break the chains of men. This wild man has been screaming day and night, but now Jesus arrives. The man runs at him. Can you imagine what the disciples were thinking? (I told him not to get in the boat. The storm should have been a sign to stay way.) What we do know is that man says to Jesus “Don’t torment me.”
C. Jesus simply asks a name, the man says “Legion.” The Bible says it was because he had many demons. I don’t know much about this man. I don’t know anything about his spiritual background. I don’t know if he was a Jew or a Gentile. I don’t know if he worshipped Jehovah or if worshiped the pagan gods.
D. What I know is that man was filled with demons. I know that Jesus crossed a stormy sea to see him, to do for him what no one else had ever done. I know that filled with evil tormenting him, Jesus released him from those chains cast the demons out.
E. To make it personal, I know the feeling of being tormented with sin. I know what it is like to want to run a way, be far away from people because you hate what is inside controlling you. Yet most people I know can run from their personal demons. The people I mentioned in the opening wanted freedom and the only place that freedom came for them was in Jesus.
F. Paul understood the personal struggles of life. He looked into the Law of God and saw only death. He saw that he could not keep the Law perfectly. He saw that the very things he wanted to do – he didn’t do. And the very things he knew he shouldn’t do – he did those. Rom. 7:21-24. That end result of bondage to sin was death. Have you been there? Have you walked in the Paul’s shoes or that of a demon possessed man?
II. The Solution
A. Let me share the rest of the story with you. When the man filled with demons came to Jesus, Jesus was already in the process of healing him. The visual of the pig running down the cliff and into the sea was alarming to all who saw the situation.
B. Why Jesus did? The Bible does not say. It could be that pigs were one of the animals used in the pagan sacrifices and Jesus was making the statement that he was greater than the pagan gods. It could be that to the Jews, pigs were unclean, and Jesus was taking unclean demons and removing them through unclean pigs. Why pigs is not the point. The point is that man, who was once out of control, was transformed, made a metamorphosis, and came into a clear way of thinking. This man was released from the bondage of demons.
C. Was that scary? YES! It was to the owners of those pigs, it was to anyone who saw what was happening, and it is to anyone who understands the grip of sin in their life.
D. The answer was not sending a crazy man to live alone. The answer was Jesus. Jesus has been and always will be the answer to the bondage of our sin. Paul answers his question in Rom. 7:24-25. I need to hear verse 25 often.
III. Go and Tell
A. We saw the problem, the solution, and now the conclusion. The man who had been transformed from the bondage of demons wanted to leave, to get in the boat and go with Jesus. I am sure he loved what Jesus did, I am sure he saw Jesus as his only friend as well as savior, but Jesus didn’t let, and instead he sent him on a mission. The mission Jesus gave this man was difficult.
B. Go home and tell!
C. This past week forty of us sat in a seminar that challenged us to go and tell. To ask spiritual questions to people as a way to start a spiritual conversation. To look for ways that this church can connect to people who are in bondage of sin in our community. The answer we heard is 2000 years old – go and tell. It is just as scary for many of us today as it was to that man in region of Decapolis, surrounded by people who didn’t believe.
D. It’s the story of a demon possessed man, the story of Paul’s person struggle with perfection, it’s my story. I have experienced release from the bondage of sin. I have experienced the joy of salvation and I want to be with Jesus, but the answer to go and tell never changed.
E. When Jesus was about to leave this earth, he took his disciples back up to Galilee and Matthew ends his gospel with Jesus commissioning them with these words (Matt 28:18-20)
A. Maybe God has brought you here, to this congregation to which you do not know or do not belong to and you heard the message of what Jesus can do in your life. Would you talk to me after worship? Maybe you are a part of this family and you fight those demons – can we pray for you? Let the story be yours.