Broken Chains

Broken Chains

Scripture: Isaiah 14:12
Date: 10/02/2015 
Why would a loving God make a devil and how can we be protected from evil?

Are the Dead Really Dead? - Paper or Digital Download

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>>This presentation is brought to you by the friends of the amazing facts ministry.

>>Jesus is there on the shore - God filling a man - the demoniac is there on the shore - the devil filling a man. Matter of fact, you don't find two more polar opposite pictures in the Bible of someone who is perfectly saved and someone who is perfectly lost.

>>The Bible is all about sin and salvation and it's a book of stories. And in this collection of stories in the Bible, it helps us understand what the purpose of life is and what God's plan is for our life. You know, tonight's presentation is dealing with - it's actually found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and it's called Broken Chains. If you have your Bibles, we invite you to look along. And I'm going to start by reading the account that you'll find - this is sometimes called the Demoniac of Gadara.

You find it in Mark chapter 5 - it starts with the first verse - and it says, "Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when he had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 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. 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." This is somebody who is, ostensibly, he's filled with the wrong spirit - you think he'd run the other direction. But it says he ran to Jesus and worshiped Him.

Now you go to the account that you find in Luke chapter 8, verse 26, "Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee." - this is the southeastern shore of the sea of Galilee - and when He had stepped out on land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, 'What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me! For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. Jesus asked him, saying, 'What is your name?' And he said, 'Legion,' because many demons had entered him."

And then you'll also find an account of this, as well, in the book of Matthew. So here you have the picture of an individual who is as probably far gone as anybody as you could ever imagine in the Bible. This man is filled with devils and it says he calls himself 'Legion.' This is one of the only or few times that Jesus actually dialogued with the devil, you might say. Now a Roman legion could have 6,000 soldiers in it - in a legion - so can you imagine a man having thousands of devils? How does a person get that way?

You know, everything we find about this story describes the condition of the lost. It also is a great story to study because it illustrates the extreme opposites - Jesus is there on the shore - God filling a man - the demoniac is there on the shore - the devil filling a man. Matter of fact, you don't find two more polar opposite pictures, in the Bible, of someone who is perfectly saved and someone who is perfectly lost.

Now how do you get to where you're possessed by a devil? Now everybody here is probably demon harassed. We're all tempted by the devil. Jesus was tempted by the devil. It's not a sin to be tempted by the devil, it's a sin to give in to those temptations. So all of us are harassed, but being possessed is different. Little by little, when you toy with the devil over a period of time, you start revealing yourself. You start giving in and he begins to move into your life and, as we get better and better at saying 'Yes' to temptation, you can get to the place where you cannot say 'No'.

It's sort of like what happened with Samson when Delilah kept badgering him for the secret of his strength and little by little he toyed with her instead of running and getting away, knowing she would be treacherous. He toyed with her until pretty soon she discovered the secret and she cut off his hair and he lost his strength and he became a captive. And that's what happens. People toy with the enemy until, pretty soon, it's like playing with a snake that gets so big it can choke you. And little by little, through this man's life - it doesn't give us the particulars - he continued to toy with the devil until the devil moved in and completely took over. That's why God came to save us from our sins.

Well, if you look at the different things that are mentioned in this story, it really outlines what the lost condition is like. Let me just start with something obvious - and you can help me - where did the man live? Cemetery. Who typically lives in the cemetery? Dead people. Now that's a trick question. Do dead people live in a cemetery? (Laughter) they don't, hopefully, do a lot of living there. You know, it says in the Bible in Ecclesiastes chapter 9, verse 5, "For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing."

The Bible's pretty clear that those that die are sleeping a peaceful, dreamless sleep. As Jesus said about Lazarus, 'Our friend sleeps.' When the resurrection happens and the judgment happens, then people are going to be very aware of what's going on. But this man lived in a cemetery. That's a sign of death. Because, when you don't have Jesus - and this man represents - it's a true story but it has meaning. He represents the lost condition. The Bible says 'He that has the Son has life; he that has not the Son has not life.' If you don't have life, what do you have? The Bible is interesting. You know, the book of Genesis - how many of you know the first few words in Genesis? 'In the beginning God created.'

How many of you know the last five words of Genesis? 'In a coffin in Egypt.' It starts in a garden with paradise - everlasting life - tree of life - ends in a coffin. This world has become a cemetery. There's so much death. There's so much dying. There's so much disease. And it's all because man doubted the Word of God. The devil said, 'Has God said?' and when man began to question the truth of God's word, it went downhill from there. But God wanted to redeem us and so God sent His Son into the world for three principle reasons: to show us what God is like - Jesus said, 'If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father.' To show us how we ought to treat each other. The Bible says He's given us an example that we should walk as He walked and He also came in as our sacrifice to take what we deserve that we might have what He deserved. But we need to ask Him in.

So this man is living surrounded by death. It represents the dead. What else do we learn about this man? What's he wearing? Not much. He's got the chains on. We'll talk about that in a moment. What does clothing represent, biblically? I heard someone say 'Righteousness'. Clothing really represents your character. All of our righteousness is like what? Filthy rags. What happened to Adam and Eve when, you know, they used to have these garments of light. They had no artificial clothing, in the Garden but after they sinned, the light went out. You know, Moses talked to God and he glowed. Adam and Eve used to talk to God and they had these robes of light, like it says in Revelation. But when they sinned, the light went out and they were what?

>>Naked.

>>When that man in the parable of the good Samaritan fell among thieves, the thieves robbed him and they beat him and they stripped him. In the story I shared a moment ago from Acts 19, when that demon beat up those young men, it says they fled naked. And the devil wants to strip and humiliate the world - to rob us of any righteousness or character. So this man has no clothes. The problem is, he's naked and he doesn't seem to care. Most of us, you know, right now, if you should suddenly discover that you are naked, you'd probably - I'd like to think that you'd stay 'til the end of the sermon, but I guess not. You'd excuse yourself. Even if the temperature was comfortable, you probably would leave because you'd feel this compelling desire to cover yourself. This man, he doesn't care. He represents the lost - no desire for righteousness.

You know what the Lord says about the condition of the church in the last days? It says you're poor and wretched and miserable and blind and naked. And they don't know and they don't seem to care. And then He said, 'I counsel you to buy of me that robe of righteousness - that clothing that Jesus is offering. That He purchased with His own blood. You know, the only thing Jesus left behind at the cross was a robe - a blood-stained robe. And the only way we're going to get to heaven is to have that wedding garment on, according to the parables of Jesus. We need to accept the righteousness that Christ has provided.

Well, what else do we learn about this man? It said that whenever they tried to restrain him, he would not accept any restraint - no self control - he'd break the chains and - totally independent - unsocial. You know, we need order in our lives and we need law in our lives to be happy. I went to two of the most opposite schools in North America. One of them was New York military Academy. In fact, I went there - I was entering elementary school when Donald Trump was graduating. It's called nymA - New York Military Academy. It is the strictest school in North America. We had rules about everything. It was - it's like a military establishment for kids. I mean, they inspect your room every day and you had to stand at attention and go through all these drills and march everywhere. And they measured how you folded your underwear. They would bounce a quarter off your bed. Your clothes had to be in your closet in a certain stacked order. I mean, it was - white glove inspections - government inspections. Not every day, but we were inspected every day - strict.

And then, after a couple of years there, my mother, who was very different from my father who - they had divorced years earlier, but he was more military and she was more Doug needs to express himself. And she told my father, 'Doug really, you know, he's going through the teenage years. He needs to find himself. I found a great school for him.' It was an experimental school called 'Pine Henge’. I just looked it up again today on the internet. And no rules - well, they had three rules: no drugs, no sex, no fighting - nobody paid attention to the rules they had. Co-ed - all ages - co-ed dorms. You didn't have to go to meals if you didn't feel like it. You didn't have to go to class if you didn't feel like it. They figured, 'Kids are going to learn what they want to learn.' And it was just - the whole year was just a wild bedlam. Now here's the question: where do you think I was happier, the military school with the order and the control and the restrictions and the rules, or the free school with no order? God doesn't give us rules to restrict our happiness, He gives us rules to preserve our happiness.

>>Amen.

>>Because we need order. We need law. Otherwise, you've got a lawless world and a lawless life. And the devil, he wants us to cast off all restraint. What else do we learn about this man? It says he went around always in the mountains crying out and cutting himself with stones. Does he sound happy? Always - he was in the mountains and, boy, it must have just really haunted the area of Decapolis when at night they'd hear this man moaning, dragging his chains, and then they'd hear him shriek. He would pick up knives and he would cut himself. It doesn't mean he fell down, it means he was mutilating himself.

This is what the devil wants us to do. He leads us into lives that are self-destructive. Satan entered Judas and he went out and hung himself. The Lord withdrew from Saul and he fell on his own sword. Sin will make you self-destruct. Jesus said if you live for yourself you'll lose your life. If you let go of your life now for God, you will find your life. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but in life, the secret to happiness is by giving everything you are and everything you have to God and then He gives it back to you and He gives you peace and He gives you direction and purpose. This man tried to live life like it was one big party and he became the ultimate slave of the devil.

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>> All of this is telling us about what the devil's plan is for us. Think about it for a moment. There on the beach that day, the disciples - you know, they probably paddled their boat out a couple of hundred yards and they looked back to the shore and they saw Jesus was still there. Jesus did not run from this devil. He stood there because Christ was not afraid. And I think that Jesus knew, whatever was left in that man of his own free will, had come to Christ looking for help. There on the beach that day you've got the great controversy. You know what God's plan is for your life? The Lord's plan for each of you is to be like Jesus.

What is a Christian? A Christian is a follower of Christ and the more that we look at Christ, the more He is impressed on our souls and we become like what we worship. And so, a Christian, as he keeps his eyes on Christ, he is transformed little by little and he becomes like Jesus. The purpose of the plan of salvation - in the beginning God made man in His own image. The devil's been trying to erase the image of God from man. Jesus came to restore the image of God to man.

Now, this other character - you know, the devil has a plan for your life too. The devil's plan is to remove any trace of the image of God from you. Can you think, in the Bible, of anybody that is further from God than this man? Just look at the picture. He is naked. He's covered with scars - cutting himself. Some of you remember, in your Bibles, a story of Elijah on Mount Carmel, that when the prophets of Baal, these demon-worshiping prophets, when they wanted to impress their god they took out knives and they pierced and cut themselves. The devil wants us to destroy our bodies and Jesus said, 'Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.' this man is - he's wild, he's naked, he's living with - there's pigs up on the hill. But whatever was left of that man inside, came to Jesus.

You might be wondering, 'Doug, who's the hero in this story?’ Obviously Jesus is the hero in every story, but this man I'm holding forth to you as a hero of faith, why? Not because he ended up demon possessed, but because he made a decision - whatever was left of that man inside, with all those demons howling in his head, when they said, 'Oh here's Jesus, it's the Son of God. What will we do? Let's get out of here.' Whatever was left of his will, he went to Jesus just like he was.

Have you ever known people that felt, 'I'm too far from God. I can't come. I've got so many problems. I've got so many devils.' You ever felt like that man where you just hear so many - the cacophony of diabolical voices inside and you just wonder, 'Can you get through to God?' If that man could recognize the face of Jesus and say, 'I don't know how I can be saved. I don't know how I can be changed - with my chains, with my nakedness, surrounded by death, with my wounds' - he came to Jesus just like he was. And, you know, that is the step to eternal life. Because he did that, everything changed. It wasn't because he worked his way back to holiness, it's he came in his helpless condition.

I challenge you. Find an example of one person in the Bible that is more pathetically possessed than that person. A legion - thousands of devils controlled his life. How could a human ever break free? You know, this is actually a very encouraging story. If the Lord can save that man, is there hope for you and me?

>>Amen.

>>This man is a picture of not just you and me when - in a lost condition; it's a picture of a lost world. Jesus crossed that stormy sea. He saves this one man. And then He gets in His boat and He leaves. Christ crossed the universe. After calming a raging sea, He then calms a raging soul. And what He does for that man He wants to do for each one of us. He wants to transform our lives.

This is a whole - the whole gospel is encapsulated in this incredible story. And, as the Lord broke his chains and set him free, and cleansed him and covered him and commissioned him, that's what He wants to do for each one of us.

>>Amen.

>>Now, you may not know it, but this - this was a true story 2,000 years ago and it's still true today. And this story is especially precious to me because I was that man. I lived up in the mountains, naked, using drugs. I was one of these young people that got mixed up with the wrong people and - parents - multiple divorces and had a brother that was gravely ill and just went down the drug scene and rebelled and tried to find some purpose and petty crime, 'til I found myself up in the mountains a big zero - living like a madman.

And I found a Bible in a cave. I wanted to read the Bible so I could argue with Christians. And I started reading the Bible and, as I read the stories in the Bible, I realized there's a power here. And I was an atheist. I had no intention of believing it, but there was something supernatural about this book and I saw that it was changing me. And I went from being, you know, drugs and alcohol and cigarettes and had all these addictions and problems. I had chains and, little by little, as I kept coming to Jesus - in spite of my weakness, I kept coming - He broke the chains. He cleansed me. I'm not - He's still working on me; don't misunderstand. But He cleansed me, He accepted me, and then He gave me a work to do.

Do you know what he told this man to do? He said, 'Go tell what great things God has done for you.' Do you think that man, when he showed up on the streets of Decapolis all cleaned up, and they said, 'Is this that crazed demoniac that has been haunting our territory all these years?' And he said, 'I want to tell you what happened to me. I came to Jesus. This is the son of God.' He knew he was the Son of God because he heard the devils that knew Him on a firsthand basis. And he said, 'I came to Him just like I was. I had faith in Him that He could help me and He did. And what He did for me, He can do for you. He can clean you up. He can set you free. He can give you joy. He can give you everlasting life.

And the change in this man's life was so dramatic and so radical, the Bible says, in the gospel of Luke, that when Jesus returned - sounding like He came back to this region, they were all waiting for Him. Because this one man, who would have been the biggest reject in the community, God was able to use the lowest person - the most hopeless person, to absolutely transform the whole territory. Jesus went into the area and He reached one person. And through reaching that one person, He was able to transform so many others.

Well, friends, not only is this story true; because of what He's done in my life, you know, to me, it's always amazing when I see how God has taken me over the last forty years - forty years ago I gave my heart to Jesus, up in the hills living - running around naked, like a kook. And I came to Jesus and He has changed me. And then He sent me out telling others what the Lord did for me. I still can't believe they pay me to do it, because I was doing it for free until I found out you could get paid to do it as well. (Laughter) And that's what every believer ought to be doing.

>>Amen.

>>We all have, really, two choices: we've got Christ and Satan. You've got God and the devil. You've got light and you've got darkness. He goes by many names - Jesus calls him the prince of this world - Satan, Lucifer, Apollyon, Beelzebub, master of darkness, the deceiver. There is an evil power in this world. Do you know that? It's very real. And your only safety against his devices is by having Christ in your heart. You cannot fight him on your own. Jesus said, 'He that is not with Me is against Me.' The devil is out there to rob and to kill and to destroy as many as he can. And he will seek to enslave and he wants us to self destruct.

You see, the reason the devil's doing that is because the devil, before he fell, he knew God. He knew what it was like to love God. He knows that God is love. And, while the devil doesn't feel love anymore, he knows that God loves us and the devil wants to hurt God by hurting us. What would hurt a person more - if they're a parent - to hurt them or to hurt their child? The devil knows that God loves the world. God so loves you - He so loves me, He sent His son that we won't perish. But He wants us to have everlasting life - but we need to come. 'Well, Pastor Doug, I've - I've got these problems. I'm weak. I've got these addictions. I've got these chains. I've got these obstacles. I've got these habits. How can I come to Jesus?'

Really? Do you think you have an excuse not to come to Christ? If that man could have enough faith to come to Jesus, then can anybody come? If Jesus would receive that man, will He receive you?

>>Amen.

>>And that's what these meetings are all about. We want to encourage you - show you through these stories of the Bible - these portraits of faith in the Bible - that your life can be transformed by the power of God's Word. Now, I don't know where you are in your relationship with Jesus. Those of you who are watching, some of you may have come to the Lord before, but you've drifted over the years. You've been backsliding or the devil's got his chains on you again and you feel those haunting voices in your head. You can come just like you are. And, you know, there's no time like the present. Christ was only on that shore for a matter of hours and then He left, but in that time, that man came when he saw the opportunity - when he saw Jesus he came like he was. And each of you can make a decision right now that you want to come to Jesus just like you are.

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Announcer: Throughout recorded history, tales of ghosts and spirits can be found in folklore in nearly every country and culture. Egyptians built pyramids to help guide the spirits of their leaders. Rome sanctioned holidays to honor and appease the spirits of their dead. Even the Bible tells of a king that used a witch to contact the spirit of a deceased prophet. Today, ancient folklore of spirits and apparitions have gone from mere superstitions to mainstream entertainment and reality. Scientific organizations investigate stories of hauntings and sightings, trying to prove once and for all the existence of ghosts. Even with all the newfound technology and centuries of stories all over the world, there is still no clear-cut answer.

So, how do we know what's true? Why do these stories persist? Does it even matter? We invite you to look inside and find out for yourself. Visit deathtruth.com.

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