Good morning Sword Church family. Good Yes, thank you. Thank you for that. And good morning to those who are tuning in on the live stream and I think some of our students are doing that as well. I know a group of our students went down to Selena for a conference this weekend. I was just noticing that looking over here to the right, they like to kind of congregate in this area and I was like, where are they? Oh, they’re in salina. Um, but yeah, I’m really excited this morning. We’re gonna look at the gospel according to luke, we’re going to continue our series are teaching through uh, this gospel account. Um, I’m gonna try to get to it pretty quickly here, but I do want you to know that if you’re new here, my name is first of all, my name is dan and I’m one of the five elders and um, I’m excited that you’re here and I do hope you take Cindy up on that offer to connect with us um, fill out of connect card and so we can pray for you. We can help you pursue jesus, know him and and discover what he has for you in any way that we can. So that would be my encouragement to you. But also if you’re new here, um, don’t be discouraged that were Teaching Today on Chapter eight of Luke, you can listen to the previous teachings online at our website or via our podcast. So feel free to check that out as well. Alright, on that note, Luke, Chapter eight verses 26 through 39, I’m going to read the entire account here from luke. So the patient and read along with me. Here we go, verse 26. Since then they sailed to the country of the garrisons which is opposite galilee. When jesus had stepped out on land, they’re met him, a man from the city who had demons for a long time. He had worn no clothes and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw jesus he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, What have you to do with me, 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 many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert. Jesus then asked him, what is your name and he said legion, for many demons had entered him and they begged him not to command them to the part into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and enter the pigs and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned. When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened and they came to jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of jesus clothed and in his right mind and they were afraid and those who had seen it told them how the demon possessed man have been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the garrisons asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned the man from whom the demons had gone, begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away saying, return to your home and declare how much God has done for you. And he went away proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him! Let’s pray Father, We thank you for your word. We thank you for your mercy. That is indeed new. Every morning we thank you for the very power of God that is at work in the teaching of your word and the receiving of your word and then the applying of your word and father, we ask you, and the time that we have this morning that your spirit would indeed apply the word very powerfully in our lives God in such a way that we know that you are with us and we ask this in jesus name amen a man. So, this is an interesting passage. This passage follows um the amazing scene where jesus and his disciples are trying to cross the sea of galilee and a storm comes and the disciples are afraid that they are about to die and jesus rebukes the winds and the waves and demonstrating to his disciples that he has authority over the winds and the waves, even creation obeys him. And so right after they finish their little boat trip, they land here in this setting with the garrisons. And when you read this passage, you’re probably wondering, okay, what do we think about this story? What should we do about this story? What should we do about this passage here? Is it just something we reading our bibles and we quickly just move on from it and say, well man, that’s an interesting story there. Glad, that’s not me, glad, I’m not in that context. Move on. What’s the next little thing that I can read about? That might be good for me, right, but I would have you to stop and I’m actually going to help you do that this morning. We’re gonna stop, we’re gonna look at this passage more closely and we’re gonna see that there are a number of different things about our God, about who he is and how he works and also some things regarding human nature that we can see that we can learn from, that we can apply to our lives, that we can begin to be more faithful followers of jesus christ and see the very power of God at work in our lives. In fact, that’s what I want you to take away from today’s teaching the power of God and you need the power of God to work in your life. The power of God. That’s the theme I want you to take from this passage, because that’s what we see on display here, the very power of our God to change a life. Now, when many people think about the power of God and our current contacts, it’s rarely in a good light. It’s often with the intention of disproving Christianity, disproving the reality of God, What I’m talking about here is, you might find someone who is suffering or maybe someone who has witnessed a tragic event. And the very first question again, this is to disprove Christianity, to disprove the very reality of our God. The very first question, in the face of tragedy and suffering is where is God? Right? Because if God indeed exists, surely has the power to prevent this thing from happening or to quickly make the pain go away and and make this person’s life be returned to, you know, whatever normalcy that they, you know, had hoped for. And so when we think of the current environment and context that we live in, it’s so saturated would un believe that the very idea of the power of God is only mentioned in the context of disproving the existence of God Brothers and sisters. That is bad. That’s the context that we’re constantly surrounded with. And I highlight that for you, so that you can be aware of these things that you can know, that that’s not the reality that we are called to live. We are called to have a faith in a God who is powerful, who’s faithful and who can do great things. Even now, that’s what we’re called to. You know, there’s this phrase that we hear tossed around a lot in terms of a new normalcy. Well, there are some new normal sees that we need to reject, especially those that would introduce unbelief and doubt regarding our God in his goodness in his ways. And in this context, this morning in the land of the Garrisons, the new normalcy, there was unbelief and jesus comes and he demonstrates the power of God. We’re gonna look at just how human nature, in response to this Witness to the power of God, this witness to the love of God, how fallen human nature quickly dismissed it. Now, that’s something that I would have us think about a little more because in this environment of unbelief we can be conditioned to quickly dismiss the power of God and it happens like this. Someone shares a testimony of how God changed their life, how God delivered them from the power of sin, how God did an amazing work of restoration in a damaged and broken an irreparable relationship. And immediately, in a context of unbelief, we dismiss it by saying, well, that’s just for you. That’s not me. In my situation, in my context, that will never happen, or that won’t happen, or God won’t do that for me, or maybe you’ve been the person that has shared that story, and the response was, well, that’s good for you, but that’s that’s not what we’re dealing with here. You see, this context of unbelief tries to condition us to dismiss quickly the very witness and testimony of the power of God at work in our lives and around us. So brothers and sisters, we need to be aware of this, We need to be sober minded and alert and we need to fight the good fight of faith. Sometimes we have even religious people looking at situations like this and saying very religious statements that essentially couch their own unbelief meaning. They might look at this man and his tortured soul, and I might say something like, well, he’s cursed and hopeless and only an act of God could save him. Now they say that not to indicate their own prayers for this man, their own hope for this man, none of that is at play here. It’s simply I have the ability to wash my hands of this situation, because only God can save this man. So religious people can perpetuate the same environment of unbelief if we’re not aware of, for not mindful of this. But thankfully, Jesus does not image this kind of heart. He does not give us this example. He shows us something completely different. He shows us that he is a man that follows his own teachings. He leaves a crowd of people who are in awe of his wise sayings, seeing him do miracles surrounding him, wondering what is he going to do next? This amazing crowd of people following him and for every preacher, you know, you want big crowd cause you feel like you’re successful and for jesus, he is not distracted by that. He is not enticed by that, but he has the heart of God to pursue one battered, tortured, hurting soul, he leaves the crowd, he goes through a storm to pursue this one soul, Jesus follows his own teachings and he taught this very principle and he tried to teach it to some religious people In Luke 15. He says This, it says that he told this parable to the Pharisees and says, what man of you having 100 sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open country and go after the one that is lost until he finds it. And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing and when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors saying to them, rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. Just so I tell you there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents Than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance. So it is very parable that jesus is saying to a group of religious people, he’s demonstrating the heart of the father to go after that one lost sheep to chase the strays. So the speed and implied in that parable is that he’s willing to work hard in pursuit of him. He’s willing not to be turned away easily in his pursuit of him. He’s willing to climb hills and mountains and travel across creeks or whatever is in front of them to find that one lost sheep. That’s exactly what jesus does. He goes through a storm to get to this one soul. So here, so we’ve adopted the same phrase, we’ve heard Others of our brothers and sisters in different churches using this phrase that comes from Luke chapter 15 chasing the strays. Those wandering sheep, those who are somehow around the flock, but in their heart they’re they’re drifting, they’re they’re fading away into the background there. They’re not necessarily um pursuing further into the crowd, they’re drifting away, they’re getting distracted or getting pulled away, their hearts are getting pulled away and we’ve adopted this phrase that we want to chase the strays because that image is the heart of our God and father and that’s what jesus preached. That’s what he modeled and that’s what he is doing here. And this story chasing this stray. But back to our passage this morning, the garrison Dam Pontiac to say that this man was a troubled soul would be quite the understatement. To say that this man was a tortured, troubled soul would be quite the understatement. Let’s look at some of the amazing details that luke the doctor and the historian has given us. Let’s look at this gear seen to mani ac First we find in the story that he is naked as this in south Naked. I’m from the south. That’s why reference it. He was naked and alone and completely out of his mind. He lived among the tombs, you know, being from the south from south florida. There’s something called beachfront property. It’s very expensive. Nobody wants to buy property around the tunes or the cemetery, right? Nobody wants to build a house there. And you know, this man, that’s how, that’s how much he’s out of his mind. He wants to live among a graveyard of sorts. You know, further, we’re told that demon’s audibly spoke through him. Demons audibly spoke through him. We’re not talking about your common spiritual warfare. When demons can give ideas thoughts or you know, try to influence you with the temptation and they float these things before you right and you you might be convinced of it. You might give into it. You might be afraid of it. You might have a response to it. But this right here is something stronger than that. They are using his vocal cords to speak. I mean this is the stuff of horror films, right? And then the demons would occasionally give the man superhuman strength. If you grew up in church, you’re familiar with the man Samson, how he had the strength that would come upon him by the spirit of God and how he could accomplish great feats, right? And the source of his strength was his long hair and then he had his hair cut and then he lost his strength. This man is receiving strength from a spiritual power, but it’s not of God, it’s from demons and they are, they’re animating his physical body in such a way that he is breaking bonds and this is terrified the local authorities, the local cops, the security guards, the tough guys. But then the demons, they drove this man away from people and then people themselves had no clue on how to care for him. Now, as we examine the story further, let’s look at the demons, I don’t want to spend too much time on this, but it’s in the passage. So I gotta deal with it. It says even the demons believe in Christ and they tremble before him. So when James 2 19 talks about that. You know when James asked a rhetorical question, do you believe in God good. Even the demons do so and they tremble at the mention of his name right here is an example of that happening. When jesus shows up on the scene, these demons tremble and then the demons identified themselves using military language is that we are a legion of soldiers of troops. We are legion not least. Another interesting aspect of this story is that apparently many demons can occupy a small space all at the same time and somehow they could all fit and be in a tiny space like that one human soul and we find that they fear the abyss but that they also desire two occupy human flesh but they want to occupy human flesh. And so naturally curiosity you might be asking, okay, what are demons? Alright, I think many in the church have understood them to be fallen angels. Um But I mean if you look at how the bible speaks about angels and demons, I’m not so sure psalm eight. It’s a Messianic song but it speaks of humanity and Angels. And let’s look at what it says, the citizen verse five and says speaking of God says you you have made him um specifically he was talking about christ coming in human form says that you made him a little lower than the heavenly beings. But for him here also applies to humanity. So you made man a little lower than heavenly beings who are the heavenly beings. They’re angels. This is that you crowned him with glory and honor many you call man to subdue the earth to rule over it? You’ve given man a domain to rule in your name. You haven’t given that too. These heavenly beings that are greater than men. I know that was a tough one to swallow their buddy. I get it. The angels are above men. They are far superior to us in nature and design. They have a more glorious design. I don’t think that glorious heavenly creatures are desiring to make their home in human flesh. I think there’s something else here. There’s a different kind of spiritual creature that is at work here. That let’s look at what Jesus says about these demons in Matthew 12 43 through 45. He says that when the unclean spirit and the unclean spirit is another term used for demons. We read that in the passage in Luke eight, it started out by saying demons and unclean spirits and spirits and demons, they use those terms uh interchangeable. And so when the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest but finds none. He wants to find rest. And then it says, I will return to my house from which I came human flesh, the soul of humanity and when it comes, it finds us empty, swept and put in order, then it goes and brings with it seven. Other spirits more evil than itself and they enter and dwell there and the last state of that person is worse than the first? So also will it be with this evil generation? So what jesus describes here is the casting out of a spirit and then or a demon and then returning. And he says that it literally considers this human soul at home, it wants to occupy there again. I think that there is a categorical difference between a fallen angel and what the passages referring to as unclean spirits and demons. I think there’s a hierarchy within the Kingdom of Darkness that we need to be aware of Ephesians 6, 12 says this for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, I think the fallen angels are those spiritual authorities, rulers and cosmic powers and that the demons are the infantry or the foot soldiers on the ground. No, again, my goal is not to dive deep into the things of satan this morning or to make you fearful of satan, but it is too, make you aware of the nature of spiritual warfare in some regards, and ultimately, ultimately, to get you to see the very power of God, the very power of God. You know, when you look at this, this de Montignac here, this man with the legion of demons. This batter tortured, hurting soul. When you look at his life before christ you have to ask yourself, how does he keep on going, how does he keep it up? How does he continue? How is he able to do that? And if you don’t think that’s a good question, Look at what happened to the pigs as soon as they demons left the man and went into them. Where did the pigs go Off the cliff to kill themselves? How many times do you think? 6000 demons try to get this man to end his own life? 6000 trying to get one man to end his own life? That was there will for him. If all hell was unleashed against you and I, if all hell was unleashed against you and I it does not matter one ounce if God be for us, It wouldn’t matter one bit. Did God be for us? The demons have the strength to make this man break bonds to chase away crowds of people and yet God’s will with for this man to remain. And so they could not kill him. Because if God be for us, who can be against us? One fiber of his grace is stronger than a legion of demons, stronger than the strongest human will. one fiber of his grace, you might be thinking to yourself, depending on where you’re at in life that your life feels like you’re hanging by a thread of his grace. That threat is stronger than all the powers of hell? If God before you, who can be against you romans, eight tells us what then shall we say to these things to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us, who shall separate us from. The love of christ shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword as it is written for your sake. We were being killed all the day long. We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us more than conquerors. Brothers and sisters. It’s good to be a conqueror. But he says that we are more than conquerors more than conquerors because of the power of God, because of the love of christ that compels us that holds us, that keeps us, that leads us more than conquerors. I’m so fired up by Keenan finished reading the passage back. This is what I’m sure that neither death nor life nor angels nor rulers nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God. In christ, jesus. Our Lord, not a storm, Not 6000 demons nothing not see not land, nothing will keep the heart of God from chasing after the stray. And then releasing the love and power of God into that man’s life to change in change couldn’t keep this man, demons and their power animated this man. But the will of God for this man prevailed. The love of God wanted that changed his life the chapter him because God had a mission and a plan for this man. So it’s once crazy and demon possessed man was found healed and sitting at the feet of jesus by all of the watching neighbours. The picture of the now same garrison, this is what it teaches us. God’s love compels him to leave the 99 to find the one God is almighty. There are none equal or greater than him. Satan is not a peer of God. He is not equal to go. He is a creature on a time clock. God is sovereign over his creation. His will be done. And God’s love and power puts on display all of his attributes. His holiness, his wisdom is justice. So in a situation like that when people looked at that man and have the question, where is God or why would God allow this thing to happen? God shows you his love power, wisdom, holiness, Justice puts it all on display. Well, at the conclusion of this scene, we get another honest look at the spiritual reality that the people, the garrisons were living in, but also one in which we ourselves deal with daily one man experienced the love power and forgiveness of God and that man wanted to follow jesus and a host of people saw this change, saw this transformation, witness how God changed this man’s life. And they were still not convinced of their own need for christ. What do they do in response to this? How do they dismiss this testimony? This witness the power of God. We are afraid of you. We don’t know nothing about you. We need you to leave, you’re bad for business. We’ve already lost a bunch of pigs. We don’t want to lose anything else. John Uh John tells us in his Gospel and John Chapter one, he says the true light which gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world and the world was made through him yet. The world did not know him. He came to his own and his own people did not receive him, but to all who did receive him who believed in his name. He gave the right to become Children of God who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. That’s what we see here. The light of God coming into a very dark situation, not the wisdom of man, not the will of man, but the power of God changing this man, making him a child of God, adopting him into the family of God. And some did not understand it. Some dismissed it. That’s a weird day, but I gotta be honest with you, Jesus responds to the situation completely different from what I would expect him to do or what I would want him to do and you know that’s a reminder to me and to you that he’s Lord, that he is lord, we exist to serve him, but he responds in a way this differently than what I would have wanted. When the people quickly dismissed this display of the power of God and asked him to leave, he obliges their request. It doesn’t pronounce the judgment on them, say some things about them, call them a bad name, make a funny mean about them, which I would inevitably fine and then repost it somewhere, it doesn’t do any of those things, he simply obliges their request and he leaves. But in reality and leaving, that’s far worse than anything he could have ever said or done to have the presence of God in your life and then to have the presence of God be gone from your life. That’s bad. That’s a far worse judgment than any of us could ever possibly fully understand the implications of. But even still he shows himself to be merciful because what does he do? This new disciple wants to follow him again, we would say yes, get in the boat with jesus right, and in a sense he is, but his boat must remain in that land and to be a perpetual witness to the power of God to those people every day. They saw this man and heard his testimony. They have to deal with the fact that he was once that way. And now he’s this way every day they are confronted with the reality that there is a God who is powerful and who is love and who can forgive sins. And every day the mercy of God is put on display through this man’s life through this man’s testimony, this disciple of christ giving himself to this region, I saw jesus does something that I would not have expected him to do and yet it is the most wise and beautiful thing he could have ever done. This is why we’re called to submit to him. This is why when paul wrote to the Corinthians In first Corinthians chapter 12 he says. But as it is God arranged the members in the body, each one of them as he chose. That God gets to determine where we go, where we serve who we do this with and that God being wise and all knowing and merciful has a plan. Even when we don’t fully understand it. And so this, this de Montignac who have been delivered of all these demons. God places him in this region as a perpetual witness for his love and power and he tells the other disciples that they got to get in the boat and go back, he calls some to plant churches, some to go overseas and do missionary work and then he calls others to stay in their local context and be a light. And he needs every member of his body to serve its purpose to be committed and all into whatever he’s called them and to be a perpetual witness of his love and power. So as I close this morning, there are a few things I want to ponder, a few things I want you to consider the first one is this. If you know in your heart that you’re straying from jesus, if you know in your heart that you sense that you are like what Pastor Shane covered a few weeks ago that the cares of this world, the things of this world are drawing you away from jesus and you’re straying in your heart from him. Stop! Stop resisting him. Stop resisting his love, stopped resisting his leading of your life. And cry out to him, Jesus shows us that even in the midst of a crowd of people and the noise of that crowd, he can still hear that one soul crying out for help for deliverance, for guidance, for direction that he can hear and he will meet you in that place. So stop resisting him. Stop for everyone else in the room. God wants to demonstrate his love and power in you right where you are and your family and the place of problems and difficulty. How can God demonstrate his love and power. And and threw you in that place in your community group. God wants to demonstrate his love and power in you the area where you serve in this church. He wants to demonstrate his love and power through you and your witness to him. It doesn’t mean that we have to put up some kind of, you know, pretense of being perfect and having it all together. You know, the way we put his love and power on displays by being honest, are being humble, not being faithful to, that’s how we display. So that means when we fall short for honest or humble, were faithful to repent, to turn to him and do not try to hide it. So what I need you to do this morning, as I need you to come to jesus in your heart and commit, commit to wherever it is. He’s placed you whatever context he’s put you in. That jesus, I’m all in here a mauling in in this place to be a witness of your love and your power in this context. If you call me, if you placed me here, if you want me to serve in this way, if you want me to walk in this relationship with this person at this time, I’m all in for you. I need you to commit to that and I need you to share that with a faithful brother or sister and say, hey, this is where I met, this is where I’m committing. I need you to pray for me and I need you to check up on me. I need you to remind me of this commitment that I’ve given to the wall and to encourage me to trust him and his grace to get it done. And then the last thing I want to put before us, all of us, all of us commit to chasing strays that none of us would be content with one brother or sister leaving the faith or drifting away from christ that all of us would commit to chasing strays, reminding our brothers and sisters that were called to our God. But he’s good that he loves us and we’re called to give our lives. Will you commit to these things? My spray Lord, I thank you your faithful God that you cannot deny yourself that you do not give up on your word, that you do not change that you are faithful. That you are the same that you are forever faithful God for we’re not always faithful. We’ve all short. We get distracted. We do dumb things. We say dumb things. We hurt one another. We need more than ever. Lord, your presence in our lives so that your love and your power may be put on display in and through us God wherever we prayed today to make a commitment to give ourselves to that Lord, would you meet us in that place powerful and put your love and power on display. Thank you for this church. I thank you for your hand on our lives. We love you and bless your holy name in jesus name. Amen!