"Get up and Walk!" Faith and Healing

Scripture: Matthew 9:5, Leviticus 13:44-50, John 10:10
Date: 04/23/2016 
Lesson: 4
"Whatever our physical struggles, even in the worst-case scenario they will always and only be temporary. Why is it crucial that we never forget this truth?"
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Good morning, friends. Welcome, again, to Sabbath school study hour coming to you here from the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. A very warm welcome to our regular church members and those who are visiting with us today. We've been studying through the book of Matthew and today we find ourselves on lesson #4 entitled get up and walk: faith and healing, but before we get to our lesson for today, we'd like to let you know about a free offer, especially those who are joining us across the country and around the world. Our free offer today is a magazine called amazing health facts and we're happy to send this to anybody in North America that gives us a call on our resource number.

The phone number is 866-788-3966. Again, that number is -788-3966 - and you can ask for offer #806. We'll be happy to send you this beautifully illustrated magazine dealing with some biblical principles of health. I think you'll find that very fascinating. Well, before we get to our study for this morning, I'd like to invite our song leaders to come and join me here on stage.

And we're going to begin by singing praises to God for his blessings and his goodness. Good morning. Happy Sabbath. We're going to start our Sabbath school song service this morning with #645 - God of our fathers. God of our fathers, whose almighty hand leads forth in beauty all the starry band of shining worlds in splendor through the skies, our grateful songs before thy throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past, in this free land by thee our lot is cast; be thou our ruler, guardian, guide, and stay, thy word our law, thy paths our chosen way. From war's alarms, from deadly pestilence, be thy strong arm our ever sure defense; thy true religion in our hearts increase, thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace. Refresh thy people on their toilsome way, lead us from night to never ending day; fill all our lives with love and grace divine, and glory, laud, and praise be ever thine. At this time we have a special music number. By faith we see the hand of God in the light of creation's grand design, in the lives of those who proved his faithfulness; who walk by faith and not by sight.

By faith our fathers roamed the earth with the pow'r of his promise in their hearts, of a holy city built by God's own hand; a place where peace and justice reign. We will stand as children of the promise we will fix our eyes on him our soul's reward till the race is finished and the work is done we'll walk by faith and not by sight. By faith the prophets saw a day when the longed-for Messiah would appear, with the pow'r to break the chains of sin and death; and rise triumphant from the grave. By faith the church was called to go in the pow'r of the Spirit to the lost; to deliver captives and to preach good news in every corner of the earth. We will stand as children of the promise we will fix our eyes on him our soul's reward till the race is finished and the work is done we'll walk by faith and not by sight.

By faith this mountain shall be moved and the pow'r of the Gospel shall prevail; for we know in Christ all things are possible, for all who call upon his name. We will stand as children of the promise we will fix our eyes on him our soul's rewards till the race is finished and the work is done we'll walk by faith and not by sight. Amen. Amen. At this time I'd like to invite you to bow your heads as we begin with a word of prayer.

Dear Father in Heaven, once again we are grateful for this beautiful Sabbath that you've given us. We are also grateful for the opportunity to gather together to study Your Word so we ask the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds as we open the Scriptures, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson today will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you, Pastor Doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross.

I want to thank the weimar students for that beautiful music. Amen. And the conductor. How is everyone? We're going to be continuing in our study with the book of Matthew, and today our mission is going to be to go through Matthew chapter 8 and the first few verses in chapter 9. - Matthew 8 through Matthew 9, verse 8 - and the title of our lesson today is get up and walk: faith and healing.

I have a number of examples of healing here in the Bible. And we have a memory verse - and that's Matthew 9:5 - if you'd like to say that with me, I'll give you a second to find it. Matthew chapter 9, verse 5 - are you ready? Karen's saying, 'wait, wait, wait!' Ready? Here we go - it's supposed to be a memory verse - you should memorize it - "which is easier, to say, 'your sins are forgiven you' or to say 'arise and walk'?" And, by the way, that verse is also found in Mark chapter 2 and some others. Well, we're going to dive right in. We've got some big stories to talk about in our study today and the lesson is, sort of, divided into a number of healing experiences that you find in the life of Jesus.

And the first one is talking about the leper. There's a leper that comes to Christ, and you can read this in Matthew chapter 8:1-4, and this verse is also found - or this story is also found in the Gospel of Luke 5:12-14. It says, "when he had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him." - Now, notice that part about the great multitude - "and behold, a leper came and worshiped him, saying, 'Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.' Then Jesus put out his hand and touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be cleansed.' Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, 'see that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.'" Now why was this an unusual experience, in particular? Because leprosy is a deadly, contagious disease. And what was a leper supposed to do if they got close to anybody? Leviticus 13 - now how would you like to have leprosy back then? Listen to this: Leviticus 13:44-46 - "he is a leprous man.

He is unclean. The priest shall surely pronounce him unclean; his sore is on his head. Now the leper on whom the sore is," - the evidence of leprosy - "his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache," - I guess that's evidence we're supposed to have mustaches - "he shall cover his mustache and cry, 'unclean! Unclean!' He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

" So they knew leprosy was contagious and you had to dwell in an isolated spot. And if you had leprosy, you had to go - whenever you saw people you had to announce that you were a leper - and you wouldn't just say, 'I'm a leper.' You'd say, 'unclean!' I mean, how would that make you feel? So Jesus is teaching a great multitude - there's a lot of people there - and as he - this man approaches, evidently, he's mustered the courage to come to Jesus and ask for cleansing, but the problem is there's a crowd there. So as he approaches, he has to say, 'unclean! Unclean!' And what happens if you are clean and you touch something unclean? Does the unclean thing become clean or does the clean thing become unclean? Normally, if you're clean and something else is unclean, if you touch what's unclean, then you become contaminated. But the opposite's getting ready to happen. So this man is approaching Jesus.

The crowd is melting back because, you know, he's saying, 'unclean! Unclean!' They don't want to be contaminated. They knew it was contagious. They didn't want to be unclean. And - but Jesus doesn't run and he falls down at Jesus' feet. Now, by the way, in Luke's account of this story, it says he was full of leprosy.

So this man has an advanced case of leprosy and so people can see he's a leper - it's a pitiful sight. And so he comes to Jesus in this terrible, decrepit condition and he says, 'Lord, if you want to, you can clean me.' That takes faith. What would give him faith that a person could be cleansed from leprosy? Do you remember any stories in the Bible of people who were cleansed from leprosy? Name one. Naaman. Naaman was cleansed from leprosy.

Miriam was cleansed from leprosy - that's right. And, matter of fact, you can read the story about miriam in Numbers chapter 12 - someone's going to read for me Isaiah 59:2 in just a moment, okay? In Numbers chapter 12:9 it says, "so the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and he departed. And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly miriam became leprous, as white as snow." - You remember miriam was a little jealous and she kind of instigated aaron that Moses was not consulting her, the older sister of these three siblings and, instead, he was confiding more in his wife - now we're not sure if this was zipporah or if she died and he remarried, but it calls her an Ethiopian. And they begin to kind of backbite behind their brother's back and it really displeased the Lord. And it says that when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly miriam became leprous - as white as snow - a very advanced case - "so aaron said to Moses, 'oh, my Lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned.

'" - Notice, leprosy is a type of what? Because of the sin there was leprosy. What about the servant of naaman - Elisha - his name was gehazi? What happened to him because of his covetousness? Because he stole the money that - God said the healing of naaman would be free. It says he went out of Elisha's presence a leper, white as snow and a curse was pronounced upon him. Go ahead, read for us Isaiah 59:2. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

" So - and what did Isaiah say when he saw the Lord? 'Woe is me, I am undone. I am a man of' - what lips? Unclean. 'Unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of - he says, 'undone, unclean, unclean.' When he saw the presence of the Lord he became aware of his (leprosy) which is a type of sin. But he came to Jesus like he was. This is not like the ten lepers.

The ten lepers come later. You'll notice this is early on in the Gospels. The ten lepers come later - maybe they've heard about this leper that was healed and so they got courage to go. But this man he comes and he - what if Jesus said, 'no, I'm not willing. You're getting the curse of God.

' He believes in the mercy of God. He believes God has done it before. He sees how compassionate Jesus is - maybe from a hill he's watching as Jesus is healing all kinds of other sickness and he says, 'you've got the power. If you want to, I know you can. The question is, do you want to? And so he comes to him and what does Jesus say? 'I am willing.

' So if we ask the Lord, 'are you willing to cleanse us from our sin?' What does Jesus say? 'I am willing.' You know, sometimes I meet people - they feel like they've got too far or their sin is so bad that God just doesn't want to forgive them. But if they would come to him and say, 'Lord, if you're willing.' What would the Lord say? Is God willing that you perish? Do we have Scripture for that? 'the Lord is not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance.' So if God is not willing that any should perish then is the Lord willing to make us clean? And then it says - he says, 'I am willing.' And Jesus said - he put out his hand - verse 3 - "and touched him," - now can you hear the crowd gasping saying, 'don't do it! Don't do it!' As he's reaching out to touch that man because what's going to happen to Jesus when he touches an unclean man? If he's not cleansed, that leprosy's either going to flow to Christ or the cleansing of Christ is going to flow into the leper. Which river has the strongest stream? It's going to push back the other one. And so, by Christ reaching out with his cleansing, it pushes back the leprosy and this man becomes clean. Normally, what happens if you and I touch the sick person, the disease comes towards us.

I think it's significant that it says, 'he touched him'. Could Jesus have spoken? I mean, wouldn't that have been a - later in the story - in our study today, you're going to find where Christ spoke and a person was cleansed. Why would you want to - I'd prefer just speaking to the leper, wouldn't you? I mean you go to the hospital and someone with leprosy - I could say, 'look, I don't need to touch you. I'm going to speak the word. Matter of fact, I'm going to go to the other room and speak the word because God can do it that way too.

' But Jesus lets him get up close and personal and touches the untouchable. You know, legally, the caste system is abolished in india. I said 'legally' because in reality it's still very much there. You know what I mean by the caste system? There's a whole group of people in india - they call them untouchables - they're the very lowest - and the highest are the brahmans and they've got several in between. They kind of recognize a caste and the untouchables do some things for work that you would consider untouchable and they have the lowest positions.

But Jesus was not afraid to touch the untouchable. How important is touch? You ever yearn for touch sometimes? Something about human touch. You know, it always feels better when Karen rubs my neck than when I rub my own neck. Have you ever noticed that it feels a little better when - there's a human touch - I don't know if there's electrical aura impulses - exactly what's happening - but when someone else touches you it's like something happens - and there's something tender. Do you remember when the children - mothers brought their children that Jesus might touch them? He was going to bless them, but to bless them he was going to touch them.

And the disciples said, 'no, don't bother. He's busy. Come on. These little kids - get them out of here.' And Jesus said, 'nooooo. Such is the Kingdom of heaven.

Except you become converted like a little child, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.' And he took them up in his arms and he laid his hands on them. Jesus saw there was an importance of touch. You remember the lady - she wanted to be healed by Jesus - she'd been bleeding for twelve years and couldn't get near him for the crowd. And she thought, 'but somehow I've got to touch him. If I can't touch him, at least touch them hem of his garment.

' And, for her, reaching out and getting a hold of that and actually touching it - we're tangible creatures. It really meant something. And she was healed! In Desire of Ages page 266, it says in our lesson, "the work of Christ in cleansing the leper from his terrible disease is an illustration of his work in cleansing the soul from sin. The man who came to Jesus was full of leprosy; it's deadly poison permeated his whole body. The disciples sought to prevent their master from touching him, for he who touched the leper became, himself, unclean.

But in laying his head upon the leper - in laying his hand upon the leper, Jesus received no defilement. His touch, instead, imparted life-giving power. The leprosy was cleansed, thus it was the leprosy of sin - deep-rooted, deadly, impossible to be cleansed by human power, but it can be cleansed by the power of Christ. That means, if we come to Jesus and say, 'Lord, I've sinned, if you're willing you can make me clean.' Will he give us that touch of life? Is he willing? Amen. Alright, we're going to go on to the next section.

This is talking about the roman centurion and the Messiah. You find this in verse 5. You just keep going through the chapter here - Matthew chapter 8, verse 5 - and it says, "now when Jesus had entered capernaum, a centurion came to him, pleading with him, saying, 'Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.' And Jesus said to him, 'I will come and heal him.'" - Now, I've got a few things to talk about. We're going to talk about centurions for a moment, we're going to talk about capernaum, and we're going to talk about a conflict in this story - because two Gospel writers tell it a little differently. First of all, centurions: a roman centurion typically had somewhere between 600 and 1,000 soldiers under him.

They were, sometimes, the best men in the roman army. The reason is, they didn't get appointed because they had family with money and it was some special political favor. To be appointed as a centurion, according to the Romans, you had to be elected by other soldiers that went to battle with you, that you were someone of courage, you were someone they could trust that was not going to order them into a foolish battle plan that was going to kill them. You needed to be a person of intelligence, you needed to be a person of honesty, integrity, courage - and so the other soldiers would be involved in electing those who would be centurions and they ended up being some of the best people in the roman army. Can you think of anything bad that can be said about a centurion in the Bible? Are there several centurions that appear? Was there one at the foot of the cross? And what did he say? It's interesting, the testimony that Jesus is The Son of God came from a thief and a roman soldier.

The thief on the cross and the centurion who saw the earthquake and heard Jesus cry out and said, 'surely this was The Son of God.' Who was the first gentile to have the Gospel preached to them? A roman centurion. What was his name? Cornelius. Cornelius - chapter 10 of acts. Did Paul - was Paul guarded by a centurion? Was he a good centurion? And his name was orange julius - no, it was just julius. Now you'll remember it.

And do you remember when all the other soldiers wanted - the shipwreck - the soldiers said, 'let's kill all the prisoners' and he, wanting to spare Paul, he said, 'no.' And he saved Paul's life and he gave Paul liberty when he went to shore. And so when you look at all the centurions in the Bible, they're all pretty good guys. And so here's a centurion - it doesn't tell us his name - you wonder, was he one that later was at the cross? You don't know - it doesn't say. And it says that Jesus has this - His Word has gone abroad about his healing - and so the centurion, in capernaum - it says in Luke 5, he sends a delegation of jews. Matter of fact, if you go to Luke 7, rather, verse 2, "and a certain centurion's servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die.

So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the jews" - he thought, 'I'm not worthy' - "...pleading with him to come and heal his servant." And they argue with Jesus and say, 'he loves our nation. He's built us a synagogue.' Now you wonder, was this later cornelius - you don't know, but he's a - centurion who ends up believing in jehovah. Now, first, it says the centurion came - in Matthew. Luke says a roman - Jewish delegation came. Which is it? Well, when you read the book Desire of Ages she kind of clears it up.

First he sends a delegation of jews and they say, 'will you come and heal this man's servant because he loves him. He's done a lot for our nation. He's worthy.' And so Jesus says, 'I'll go.' So he's on his way - messengers went back to the centurion and said, 'he's coming.' And the centurion said, 'no, no, I didn't ask him to come. He's too busy. I just wanted him to speak the word and so now the centurion comes personally and says - he kneels before him and says, 'I'm not worthy you should come to my house.

Just speak the word.' So that's why one Gospel says there's a delegation. The other Gospel says that he came in person. First he sends a delegation. He didn't mean for Jesus to come, he just meant for Jesus to speak the word. He sees that Jesus is coming, he says, 'no, I didn't want to trouble him.

It's a distance!' He comes in person. See how you reconcile the two? And so - go back to the story. You go back into the Gospel of Luke and it says here - I'm sorry, Gospel of Matthew - it says he entered capernaum - so where did Jesus do most of his ministry? If you look in Matthew chapter 4, verse 15, it says, "the land of zebulun and the land of naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the gentiles: the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." And, actually, Matthew, there is quoting Isaiah chapter 9, verses and 2. You can read in Matthew 9:1, "so he got into a boat, crossed over, and came to his own city." Now did I - did I tell - I did. I took somebody's verse.

Someone was going to read - sorry katrina. Tell you what, I'll swap with you. I've got one I was going to read - I'll let you read. Go to Matthew chapter 4, verses 23 and 24 - it's a better verse, anyway. Can you say that about the Bible? Matthew 4, verses 23 and 24.

Now you - you got to practice the other one. This one's going to be cold turkey. She's going to have to - Matthew chapter 4, verses 23 and 24. I get excited talking about centurions and I read her verse. Yeah, go ahead.

"And Jesus went about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all kinds of sicknesses and all kinds of disease among the people. Then his fame went throughout all syria and brought to him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments and those who were demon possessed, epileptics, and paralytics and he healed them." Alright, so here it talks about the appealing ministry of Jesus, especially around capernaum. The main focus of his ministry was around Galilee, but what did it call capernaum? His own city. Now, normally, if I said what was the city of Jesus? You would have said, 'Bethlehem.' Or 'he wept over Jerusalem.' Maybe nazareth. But a lot of people don't know that once he began his ministry his city was capernaum.

Where did Peter live? It was capernaum. And here's where this miracle was. And there's another miracle we're going to talk about a little later - and it was all happening in capernaum. So you go back to the story of the centurion in Matthew chapter and it says that the centurion answered - now the centurion comes personally and he says, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.

For I also am a man under authority... And I say to this one, 'go,' and he goes; and to another, 'come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'do this,' and he does it.' When Jesus heard it, he marveled," - this stopped Jesus in his tracks - he said, "'assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!'" There's a couple of times in Jesus' ministry that he commended people for great faith. You know who they were? Gentiles. You remember the woman who dogged after his steps and said, 'please heal my daughter.' And he said, 'it's not good to take the children's food and give it to the dogs.' And she said, 'oh, but yes, even the puppies get the crumbs that fall from the children's table.' And Jesus said, 'great is your faith.' And so the Lord commended the faith of some of these gentiles. That was a woman from tyre that he performed that miracle for.

'Great is your faith.' Now Jesus says, 'blessed are those who believe without seeing.' Believing in the word - God makes promises. Thomas said, 'if I see and if I can touch, then I'll believe.' Jesus said, 'I want you to go beyond that. I want you to believe without seeing.' And so this centurion, he just sent a message. He said, 'just speak the word. I think Your Word is so powerful that Your Word can heal without even coming.

' Do you believe in the promises of God? Amen. When you see promises in his word and you say, 'Lord, look, you said this and I believe it and I'm going to claim this promise.' And you don't have to see evidence - you say, 'God said it. I believe it.' I was talking to somebody yesterday - I won't tell you the whole story but I'll just say it's someone I have known for 40 years - and they were in very frail condition. They once were members of our church but they had drifted away. And, believe it or not, they ran into the tv program.

They called the office. Bonnie gave me a message this week. She said there's somebody that's up in covelo, they've been watching the program.' And I thought, 'well, that's providential I'm here.' And so Karen and i, yesterday, we stopped to see this person that I'd known for years - that had drifted. And when they had drifted, they drifted pretty well, if you know what I mean - pretty far. And so they're in very frail condition in a bed with oxygen and I talked to this brother and he just said, 'boy, you know, I've been so far from God for so long.

' And I said, 'do you believe the promises of God?' I said, 'he doesn't say 'how bad a sinner have you been?'' I said, 'you may have wandered all your life' - I said, 'look at Samson. In the last hours of his life he turned back to God and he prayed.' I said, 'God says if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us.' I said, 'God said it. Do you believe it?' And we prayed together. And it's a simple question of do you believe the promises of God? Amen. And so, keep my friend up there - you don't need to know his name - God knows - in your prayers.

And he said, 'look, I've got two of these Amazing Facts study guides. How do I get the rest of them?' Great. Anyway, you've got to believe. Jesus was so excited he said, 'look, since you believe, be it done.' And the very hour Christ spoke the word, the centurion went home and found that his servant was healed at that moment that Jesus had spoken the word. Alright, let's go on now.

We're going to talk next - about demons and pigs. I know that sounds kind of ominous. Now this is a story that you find - you can read it here in Matthew chapter 8, verse 28, "when he had come to the other side, to the country of the gergesenes, there met him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs," - now I need to stop here and ask you, do you notice a problem? You read this story in Mark 5 and in Luke chapter 8 and it says there's one man. You read it in Matthew, it says there's two men. People love to point to these things and say, 'the Bible can't be trusted.

' To me, this would be evidence of the Bible's truthfulness because if Mark and Matthew just all copied from each other, why would you make a blunder like that? But they're telling what they really saw and remembered and Matthew says there were two. Mark and Luke say there were one. Why is that? If you look at all the commentators, the ones I trust, they say there were probably two men. One of them may have stayed in the background, one was the spokesman that the devil spoke through. One maybe came running to Jesus but there were actually two in the vicinity.

One was real notorious so - for Mark and for Luke, they talked particularly about this man who was especially possessed that spoke to Jesus - that came down to Jesus. One may have still be up in the tombs, but there are actually two demon-possessed men. I hope you're okay with that. You ever see people give a report on a traffic accident at an intersection? And the different perspectives that they'll have of the same accident? And the disciples were giving their honest account of what they saw. So that doesn't shake my faith at all but I just need to be honest.

There's a little discrepancy there. And it says here that "when he had come to the other side, to the country of the gergesenes," - this is opposite Galilee - that means it's across the ocean from the sea of - from capernaum - across the sea of Galilee - and it is what you would call - it's a region that was known as decapolis. It was named by alexander the great because there were ten cities - deca - a decade - ten years - polis - decapolis - they had ten cities. They were not Jewish cities. These were cities that had been built by the Greeks and that comes into prominence because they're growing pigs and you would know that would not go well for a Jewish Sabbath school ministry to have a pig farm.

And so he's crossed the sea - and he's not there totally by design. Do you know what happens the night before is there's a terrible storm and the boat is driven by the storm. It's wet - they're all waterlogged - and after Jesus calms the storm he directs them to this coast - maybe to build a fire and dry off a little bit and recover and bail the water out of the boat. But they normally would not have gone to minister in this community, especially since they bring the boat up on the shore of a cemetery. They land and it's a place full of tombs.

That wouldn't be the first place you'd go and do evangelism, would it? If you're struggling in your evangelism it could be because you're going to a cemetery. You've got to be going where the people are, right? But Jesus, actually, he has great success there. So these two demon-possessed men come running out of the tombs - exceedingly fierce - they're furious - they're filled with anger, which is what happens when you're - you got full of the devil - people that lose their temper are often, at least, temporarily, demon possessed. So that nobody would pass that way. They broke chains - it says in Luke and Mark - cut themselves and cried out - "and suddenly they cried out, saying, 'what have we to do with you, Jesus, you Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?'" Why would they say that? Is there torment for fallen angels? Does the Bible say they're kept in chains reserved for destruction? Is the devil - and his angels - are they going to a lake of fire? Doesn't it say that in Matthew chapter 25? Do the devils know what their fate is? Yes.

Don't you wish some of the lost knew? If lost people knew what some of the devils knew, maybe we'd repent. Does the devil know he has a short time? Yes. Don't you wish some of the lost knew that - and then they'd repent? The devils, they believe and tremble. "'Have you come here to torment us before the time?'" You know, it says in Mark, 'don't cast us into the abussos.' And that word 'abussos' is the same word - bottomless pit - you find in Revelation when satan and his angels are bound. They know there's a time when they're going to be in the abussos and they can't possess anybody.

Right now, the devils stay occupied possessing people and pigs and serpents and what have you. Now, you jump along here in the story and it says, "now a good way off from there was a herd of many swine feeding. So the" - oh wait, no, someone's going to read for me - did I - one of you have Mark - Mark 5:5 and 6. Go ahead, dear, why don't you read that? "And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him.

" One of them ran and did what? Why would a devil come to worship Jesus? Now this man - or these men - are demon possessed. But even people who are demon - and these men are possessed with legions of demons, according to their own word. When people are demon possessed, is there anything left of the original person still inside? Yes. Yeah. If there wasn't they'd have nothing to possess - they'd die.

Whatever was left of this man inside, when he heard the devils talk and say, 'oh, it's Jesus, Son of God, what are we going to do?' He thought, 'this is my only hope.' He ran to Jesus just like he was and worshiped him. Does the devil want to worship him? No, the devil says to Jesus, 'you fall down and worship me.' The devil doesn't want his minions worshiping Jesus. Whatever was left of that man wanted to worship Jesus and ask for help. But he couldn't even pray. Now this is a great story in the Bible of somebody - or two men - that were as far away from God as anybody could be.

First of all, where do they live? Cemetery. Cemetery. Who typically lives in cemeteries? Dead people. We're going to talk about this - and that represents spiritually dead. That's a trick question: do dead people live in cemeteries? No, they're not really there.

What is he surrounded by? What kind of animals are up in the hills? Pigs, right? I haven't gotten there yet, but you've heard it in the title of the day's study - pigs - surrounded by herds of pigs. Are pigs clean or unclean? He cuts himself with stones leaving blood and bruises. Is blood clean or unclean? Are the dead clean or unclean? So for the Jewish mind, when you read this story - in the tomb - unclean. You're unclean if you touch a dead body. Pigs - unclean - blood - unclean.

He's isolated. He's across the sea. He's by himself. He's covered with chains - a symbol of his bondage. This man is - it says he's naked.

What does clothing represent in the Bible? Character - Christ's robe would be righteousness. This man is as far from God as anyone could be, but he comes to Jesus like he is - and does Jesus turn him away? He is the most unsaved person in the Bible. Would you agree? I'll give you a moment. If you can think of anyone in the Bible who is more lost than this man, you tell me. He is naked, cut, chains, pigs, dead bodies, I mean, crying - it's a picture - it's a pitiful, pitiful picture of a desperate lost person.

And so he comes to worship Jesus and Jesus tells the devils to go. And the devils said, 'don't cast us into the nothingness, cast us into the pigs.' And he says, 'okay, go.' Now, you might be thinking, 'why would Jesus let' - why would you answer the prayer of a devil? And that also begs another question - if Jesus is willing to answer the prayer of devils that ask, why don't we ask more? Isn't that a good question? Even the devils got their prayer answered. Why do we pray so little? They said, 'don't cast us into the nothingness, cast us into the pigs.' Well, the pigs were not being raised for pets, they were being raised for food and God cares more about people than pigs so he cast these devils - there may have been thousands of devils, because two thousand pigs went berserk and they went running off this steep place like an avalanche of pork chops cascading off into the water and they drowned. Two thousand of them - sea of Galilee is not that big. You can see across it.

Can you imagine why this story is found in the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, and Luke? If you had two thousand bloated pig carcasses floating in a Jewish lake, did everybody know - talk about a toxic spill - did everybody know what had happened? This story went everywhere. So Jesus allowed it. The devils thought that, 'oh, this is going to backfire.' When the people living in the city heard what was happening, they came out and asked Jesus to leave. And Jesus left. But Christ told the man, 'you go out and tell what great things God has done for you.

' They came, they found the man sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed and in his right mind. Joe Crews liked to bring the connection between being clothed and being in your right mind. And the more and more you live in a culture where the people are unclothed, the more out of their minds it appears they are. And you would probably - if someone stripped down to nothing right now, wouldn't we call for medical help? (Laughter) right? Don't prove it. Don't test that.

They begged him to depart and Jesus departed. They were more worried about the pigs they had lost than the man that was saved. Isn't that something? This man had been tormenting the territory for ages - breaking chains, haunting them - Jesus saves the man. He's in his - where'd he get the clothes? He was sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed. I think the chains fell off when Jesus spoke.

He took him to the water, he washed him, he gave him his outer robe. Wouldn't you like to have the robe of Jesus? Where'd he get the clothes? This is the story of his, like, baptism - and then he commissions him right away and says, 'you go tell others what God has done for you.' And he goes and tells everybody. And in the Gospel of Luke it says when he came back they were waiting for him. It sounds like he came back to that area and the people were ready because of the ministry of the demoniac. So it's a great story of a person who is as lost as they can be.

Jesus saves them, heals them, and then sends them to tell others. Now what he does for that man, he can do with each one of us. Alright, that's - that's the pigs. Now get up and walk - Matthew 9, verses 1 through 8, "so he got into a boat, crossed over, and came to his own city. Then behold, they brought to him a paralytic lying on a bed.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.' And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, 'this man blasphemes!' But Jesus...said, 'why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, 'your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'arise and walk'? But that you may know that The Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins' - then he said to the paralytic, 'arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.' And he arose and departed to his house. Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men." Oh, another great story. You'll find this in Mark chapter 2. It actually says that his friends - they carried him a long way, because when they get to the house there's already a crowd there at the house. It may have been Peter's house - capernaum.

So they come to the house, they can't get through the window, they can't get through the door and so what do they do? They tell their friend they've carried to Jesus, they said, 'look, it's too crowded. We'll try another day.' Is that what they do? No, they may have said, 'look, we carried you here. You're walking home.' (Laughter) and so they go around behind the building and they find a way up on the roof. Now, I know this sounds a little bit violent, it says they tore up the roof and they let the man down in the presence of Jesus. They didn't get up on the roof like firemen with axes and picks and start hacking through the roof.

In the Jewish culture they often had a place where you walk on the roof. They actually had laws about having a border around your roof. David was up on his roof. Peter's praying on the roof before lunch - you remember? In acts chapter 10? And so you could go up on your roof and there was often an opening in the middle - especially during the summer - they removed some tiles - the inner cooking smoke would go out and it created a natural convection - it brought the air in through the door and the window and it went out the ceiling. So that was very common.

So what they did is they just moved aside the tiles. Jesus was in the middle of the room. They saw the sunlight coming in and the dust filtering down and these guys began to lower their friend, maybe with some ropes or they tied some sheets together, down into the presence of Jesus - and he's there teaching - some of the scribes and rabbis and pharisees are in there and they think, 'what a spectacle. What are they doing?' And when Jesus said, 'your sins are forgiven' - this man's all gnarled and paralyzed - he's there looking pitiful and Jesus said, 'son, your sins are forgiven.' And they thought, 'this man speaks blasphemies. Who can forgive sin but God only?' Now, did they tell the truth? Yes.

Does the Bible say that God and God only can forgive sin? Yes. That's true. There is one Savior from sin. It's - by the way, the Bible says only jehovah can forgive sin and it says only Jesus can forgive sin, which might make you think maybe jehovah and Jesus are similar. It's just if you ever have a study with a jehovah's witness - but anyway, so he says, 'your sins are forgiven.

' And then he knows what they're thinking because they thought in their hearts, 'this man speaks blasphemies' - they didn't say it, they thought it. You know, another definition for God, it says, 'God and God only knows the thoughts of men's hearts.' And John says he knew what was in man. God can read your prayers, your hearts. And he said, 'what's easier, to say to this man 'your sins are forgiven' or 'take up your bed and walk'? Well, which is easier. Saying 'take up your bed and walk' is easier than forgiving sin.

Men might be able to use their gifts to heal other men, but only God can forgive sin. And so he said, 'but that you might know' - so why did Jesus heal anybody physically? 'That you might know The Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins' - he said to the sick and the palsied. Why does Jesus heal physically? Everybody that Jesus ever healed physically later got sick and died. Isn't that right? So what was the purpose? Well, he prolonged their lives, that's nice. The ultimate purpose of his healing is that we might know - first of all, he wants to bless us, but - he wants us to have abundant life - but that he has power to heal spiritually.

And he said, 'but that you might know' - he said to the sick and the palsied - 'arise, take up your bed, and walk.' And he got up, strength came into his limbs. His muscles filled out suddenly and he stood up and he obeyed - rolled up his bed and walked out and they were all amazed and glorified God. You know, what healed this man, the faith of the man on the mat or the faith of his friends that brought him? You notice in the verse here it says, 'when Jesus saw their faith.' Yeah, a lot of people that were healed by Jesus were brought by others. Can you intercede in someone else's behalf? Now, I think the man had faith too. He said, 'take me to Jesus.

' But he saw the persistence - they could have given up when the doors were blocked. They could have given up when they couldn't get through the window or the back door, but the way they showed their faith is they persisted. Have you sometimes had to pray persistently for someone for years? Yeah, I just told you a minute ago - this fellow that we saw yesterday, I've been praying for for thirty years. I've known him forty years - left the church thirty years ago. And God answers prayer, but you've got to keep praying.

Persistence - he saw their faith. Now, when that man came to Jesus he had a bed. When he left Jesus he had a bed. But was there a difference between when he came and when he left? How many of us would admit that we have a carnal side to our nature? And there's a spiritual side. And there's sometimes a war between the Spirit and the flesh.

You going to admit that? Yes. When you come to Jesus does the carnal side of your nature disappear? No. No. What's the difference between before Jesus and after Jesus? It's in this story. When you come to Jesus you're controlled by the flesh and not by the Spirit.

That man had a bed when he came to Jesus, but the bed carried him. After Jesus healed him, he carried the bed. Amen. Before Jesus, he went where the bed took him. After Jesus, he took the bed.

Amen. You may still have carnal temptations, but you are no longer controlled by the flesh. The Bible says sin shall not have dominion over you anymore - that Christ - 'do not let sin reign in your mortal members' - who's in charge? Who's on the throne? It must be Jesus on the throne, amen? So that man went out and they all glorified him. Alright, our last story: letting the dead bury the dead - Matthew :18 - and it says here, "and when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave a command to depart to the other side. Then a certain scribe came and said to him, 'teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.

' And Jesus said to him, 'foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but The Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.'" Now it's interesting that Jesus would use those two analogies - he said one goes down in the ground and the other goes up in the trees - they're completely opposite. You can have a clean bird but you can only have an unclean fox. And he - who was he talking to when he said that? It says 'a certain scribe'. You know, if you read the book Desire of Ages it says that was Judas. Jesus chose the apostles, Judas sort of volunteered.

And he said, 'Lord, I'll follow you.' And Jesus knew he had possibilities and Jesus finally endorsed - or approved - Judas being recommended by the other apostles, but he said, 'look, if you're following me for earthly gain, I don't have anywhere to lay my head in this world. If you want earthly gain - if you're not thinking about your kingdom - your treasure in heaven, don't follow me.' He says, 'in this world, even foxes have a place - birds have a place - the animals are better off than me. I've got to sleep, you know, in an olive garden or depend on someone else's hospitality.' He says, 'if you're following me because you want an earthly kingdom for The Son of David, don't follow me.' So it was a warning to Judas because Jesus read his heart. And then he said something really strange: another man came to him - and he said - this is verse 21 - Matthew 8:21 - "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." - Now, that could be meant one of two ways. One, it may mean his father died and they had to settle the estate.

Another means 'my father is aged. He's home. Death isn't far away, but I've got to stay and take care of him and after he dies then I'll follow you.' And Jesus said something strange. You think he'd say, 'sure, go ahead, take care of your family affairs.' I mean, even Elisha, when Elijah called Elisha, and he says - he put his mantle on him. You know what Elisha said? Let me go kiss my mother and father good bye.

' And Elijah said, 'go, what have I done to you? That's fine.' And he let him go say good bye and then he followed. But Jesus says to this man, 'follow me. Let the dead bury their own dead.' Wow, that's a little rough. Who are the dead that he's talking about here? So you're going to read - someone's going to read Ephesians 2:5 - who has that? I'll get you set up. While you're finding that I'm going to read Luke 15:24.

What did The Father say regarding the prodigal son? "For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." What did he mean by dead? Spiritually lost. Is that safe to say? When a person doesn't have Jesus do they have life? He that has The Son has life; he that has not The Son has not life. Go ahead, read please, Ephesians 2:5. "Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)." So he's talking about being dead in trespasses and sins. And Christ said, 'look, if you get preoccupied with the cares of this life, there'll always be an excuse.

' You know what Jesus is saying, is 'when I call you to follow me, don't let any earthly affairs distract you from following me because the call to life is something you should be taking care of right away. Let the dead bury the dead.' There's always going to be some excuse or some distraction for you to do other things, but when God calls you, there's nothing more important than following Jesus and that's what Jesus was saying. He said, 'look, I've called you to follow me.' He called Peter, James, and John to follow him. This is someone he called to be an apostle. Nothing can distract you from that.

Don't turn to the right hand, don't turn to the left, right? Amen? Well, we are out of time. We got through most of the lesson. I want to remind our followers, we have a free, sort of a premium offer. I hope you take advantage of this. Eight - it's called amazing health facts: 8 Bible secrets.

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