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913. Demons and their World

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2021 7:00 pm

913. Demons and their World

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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January 27, 2021 7:00 pm

Dr. Brian Hand continues the series entitled “Our Ancient Foe,” from Mark 5.

The post 913. Demons and their World appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Beacon Baptist
Gregory N. Barkman
Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts

Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today on The Daily Platform, we're continuing a study series entitled, Our Ancient Foe, which is a study of Satan, the reality of his presence, and how Christians can be victorious against him. Today's message will be preached by seminary professor, Dr. Brian Hand. that have their own structures of authority and seek to influence or destroy both individuals and nations.

C.S. Lewis observed for us that people either tend to become overly infatuated with the study of demons and concentrate on trying to learn special words of command and all the demonic hierarchies that are not given in Scripture, or they ignore the presence of demons altogether and act as if they don't exist. And that same dichotomy is true even within most of the Christian church, and yet neither of those attitudes is biblical. We do need to be content with what the Scriptures reveal to us about demons, but we need to know what the Scriptures reveal to us about demons as well. The Bible, in dealing with demons and the forces of darkness, a biblical understanding of demons and their world, does not explain their origin. We know that they, like all other creatures, were created by God, but the Scriptures don't go into detail about that explanation. But the Bible does tell us their destiny. It is in the lake of fire. Matthew 25 41 tells us that the lake of fire, in fact, was created for the devil and his angels.

That's where they're destined to go. The Bible does not explain their appearance. Oh, we have little hints here and there, at least one in 1 Corinthians 11 that Dr. Talbert alluded to last week, that they can appear as angels of light, but other than that, we don't know much about them. But the Scriptures do tell us in places like Acts 19 and many other locations that they are powerful. They are powerful enough that a single demon-possessed man, under the power of that demon, could attack and utterly overmaster multiple other individuals.

In that case, seven men who were resisting him. The Bible does not explain their essence. We don't know the ins and outs of their makeup, although we do know that they are intelligent, spiritual, and evil. Matthew chapter 10 verse 1. The Bible doesn't even tell us what demon possession is.

It doesn't articulate all the refined processes. How did the demons get there in the first place? But the Scriptures do tell us some of the effects of demons if they happen to be within a person, or if they happen to be influencing the person.

In many passages, Matthew 12-22 among them, describes demons can bring all sorts of physical maladies and catastrophes, as well as spiritual injury to mankind. The Bible does not tell us to seek them out. And that's where many people go astray today, as if somehow the process of advancing the gospel in this world meant that we are primarily to go after demons.

Now, in missionary countries, or places where the gospel is spreading, they will confront missionaries at times. But the Scriptures don't say, go looking for them. And yet, at the same time, the Scriptures tell us to stand. That is, if the demon seeks us out, or if somehow we have to confront them through our lives, we are to stand.

Ephesians 6-11. The Bible does not tell us that they have no influence on the believer. In fact, there are several instances, Peter as a classic example, in which it seems that Satan is actually affecting the thinking of Peter, though not capable of being within Peter, so that Peter was thinking doctrinally, inappropriately, with reference to Christ and the crucifixion that had to happen.

So they may have some influence on a believer. However, many passages, including 1 Corinthians 6-19 and Mark chapter 3 verses 22 to 30, tell us that the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is so extensive and so pervasive that when Christ takes control of the life, he binds the individual who is in that life, if a demon happened to be there, and removes him. And it is not possible for the demons to remain.

And some of you have even asked that question as believers. I wonder, am I possessed by a demon? If you are a true believer, the answer is no.

Can they influence your thinking externally to you? Maybe, but they cannot be within you because of the presence of the Spirit of God. So our text today gives us important insight into demons and their world, and it prepares us to respond biblically to their activity in this world. So let's begin reading in verse 1 of Mark chapter 5. And Jesus and the disciples came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs, a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs. And no man could bind him, no, not with chains, because often he had been bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked apart or wrenched apart by him, and the fetters broken into pieces.

Neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, and cried out with a loud voice and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God that thou torment me not. For he, that is Jesus, said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name?

And he answered, saying, My name is Legion, for we are many. And he besought him much, that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding, and all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, entered into the swine, and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, they were about two thousand, and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled and told it in the city and in the country, and they went out to see what it was that was done.

And they came to Jesus and saw him that was possessed with the devil and had the legions sitting, clothed, and in his right mind, and they were afraid. I once competed in a tug of war match that had about thirty people on each side, and the rope itself was surging a little bit back and forth, but in the process of its surging, the people were not moving their feet, because you didn't want to give any ground. Well, eventually in the process of the struggle, occasionally a person would take a couple of steps, and even some people fell over. One poor guy fell over, jumped up, couldn't find a good place on the rope, so he ran all the way around to the back of the line. And at the back of the line, he also looked for a place to grab on and help his team, but there was already the guy with the rope wrapped around him as the anchor, and becoming a little bit flustered as to what he was supposed to do, he started pushing from the back.

And the whole team just tipped over, crumbled, and the other team just walked off the field with the rope. He wasn't our hero that day. Traitors rarely are. Have you ever considered the fact that sometimes your own behavior with reference to your Lord Jesus Christ is a lot like that? Where He has delivered you, He has put you, as it were, on His side.

You are in Christ. And at times, instead of finding ourselves aligned with Christ and carrying out His will, we instead find ourselves aligned with demons and their will. That is, we are doing exactly the opposite of what we ought to be doing as the children of God.

And so our passage today is directing us to this overall concept or theme. Since demons oppose God and everything He stands for, and since they influence people to join that opposition, they want you to act and think like they act and think, you must seek God's help to live a victorious Christian life. These spiritual forces are out there, and in some senses we feel like we're shadow boxing because we can't see them.

We're fighting against an adversary that is elusive. If we don't have God's help, then the suggestions they bring to bear on our minds, coupled with just our own destructive, sinful flesh, will carry us right over into, at very least, the same agenda that demons have. You see, we don't have to be indwelt by demons to do the same kinds of things that demons do. They are intelligent creatures, so are we. They are spiritual creatures, so are we.

They have a will, so do we. And will our will align itself with God by the power of God's Holy Spirit, or will it align with a demonic agenda? The passage begins by showing us that demons oppose God by provoking destructive behavior.

The first five verses are showing us this. To begin with, they provoke spiritual and social isolation in verses 2 through 4. And the isolation here is not the isolation of an introverted person.

God has created personalities, and some of you are more outgoing, some of you are a little more reclusive. But rather this is a pretty radical, spiritual isolation. Where is this man? When Jesus and the disciples get out of the ship, a man meets them, but he has come from the tombs and from the mountains. Those mountains are set back off the Sea of Galilee. And he's been in the tombs in the mountains. He's been at a distance.

He has not been in a place where normal humanity is operating. I was telling my children about this message just this morning. And I said, what do the tombs communicate to you? And my oldest daughter looked at me kind of funny and goes, they're filled with dead people?

And I thought about that and go, well, obviously. But the more I thought about it, that's exactly what Satan and his demons are trying to do. They are trying to take God's creatures, specifically mankind, and associate us with the dead. With that which is spiritually destroyed, with that which is overthrown. And one of the ways Satan does that is by isolating us from each other. And this has been very easy in the Western world because we're such radical individualists at times.

We want to push people away. I'll deal with my own problems. I'll keep it close to my chest. I'm not going to get help. After all, I'm a man. I'm not going to look to other people for biblical solutions.

I'll sort it out on my own. That's exactly what Satan wants us to try to do. Push people away, spiritually isolate you, and then pick you off one at a time. Some of you have been thinking even along these lines because Satan has so spiritually isolated you, you think God doesn't care. God doesn't care about me.

He cares about somebody else. Look at his life. That guy came to school and he's from a great Christian background. His parents are wonderful people. The church he went to was wonderful. All this good surrounds him.

And to boot, his school bill is completely paid for. And I struggle for every little bit. God doesn't care about me. That's not divine thinking. God is not the one that is encouraging that kind of thinking. And therefore, the only place that that kind of thinking can come from is either from your own corrupt, fleshly nature or Satan influencing, that is demons external to you influencing your thinking. But in either case, whether it's just your flesh acting alone or whether it's demons influencing you, at least we ought to admit that since demons want to isolate you spiritually and want to push you away from God, then as God-fearing men and women, we need to draw near to God.

And we need to draw near to God's people so that they will help us through the troubles that we face. We have a fairly large blacktop area at our home on which we play basketball. Recently, I was playing with my two younger children.

I have a 10-year-old boy and a 7-year-old daughter. And they were passing back and forth, keeping the court nicely spread so daddy can't get a hold of the basketball. And they thought it was a great lark. Well, finally, I got my daughter. She had just caught the ball and I rushed at her really quickly. And she tucked the ball under her arm and took off running.

Dribbling, we're going to work on that concept in the future. But she started running. And first she ran over to the side of the court and I chased her. Then she ran off the court, I still chased her. Then she took off down the driveway, I still chased her.

Finally, she went all the way around the house. Game over, I win. There's no possibility that they're going to be victorious when I've isolated the players. Now look, if we're smart enough to figure out divide-and-conquer strategies, don't you think demons are as well? If we know, militarily, commercially, in business and lots of other areas of life, we can divide and conquer, Satan knows that as well. And so push back against his attempts to isolate you, to make you turn inward reflexively and deal with your spiritual problems without help.

You're surrounded by many believers who love you, who care for you, and who want to build you up. Don't follow Satan's agenda and the demonic world in resisting God's plan for your life. The passage continues, they often provoke self-destruction. So demons oppose God by provoking destructive behavior, spiritual destruction and isolation, but also self-destruction. Verse 5 shows us, always day and night he was in the mountains and the tombs, crying and cutting himself with stones. Those kinds of impulses to treat your body in a way that is injurious to the body, does not come from God.

And that's everything from cutting, to self-starvation, to overeating. Marking up and marring the body that God has given to you is not stemming from God's input into your life. And again, that means it has to stem from either your own fleshly nature, or that fleshly nature as influenced externally by the demonic world. And again, in either case, you're siding with demons against God, rather than living in the victory that Christ has given to you.

This poor individual is cutting himself with stones. The passage goes on, and we do actually have to look at a parallel, at least mentally, and that is in Luke's Gospel, one additional feature is made, or given, that's not even alluded to until the very last section here in Mark's Gospel. Remember when the people of the town came out to see this man?

They found him sitting, clothed, and in his right mind. Why the clothed? There's no other reference to clothing in Mark's Gospel. Ah, but Luke's Gospel told us that the man wore no clothes for a long time.

Think carefully. In our fallen state, the Scriptures mark off nakedness as having legitimacy only within very special and very limited social confines. A husband and wife, and men in particular, you are actively siding with a demonic agenda when you use pornography.

Yeah, we've heard messages, we know it's bad, it's over there, but it's not that bad. No, it is actively siding with a demonic agenda. Because demons, for whatever reason, hate the human body. Maybe it's because we're made in God's image. But from the beginning, demons have been attacking the human body, disfiguring the human body, debasing the human body, taking us from being these glorious creatures that God has given and created, and treating us like dirt, like something to be transacted, like a mere commodity.

And there is no middle ground in this. When you cross over the line and you are misusing God's gift that He's intended for marriage, you are siding with demons and their disposition against God. So the Lord is calling us out of this kind of destructive behavior and turning us into His own kingdom. Demons oppose God, secondly, by exerting self-will. Verses 6 through 10 show us this.

To begin with, they confess complete antipathy toward Christ. Have you ever wondered what that expression is? And we've tried to gloss it several ways in English. When the demons cry out, what have I to do with thee?

Can I go ahead and give you how that actually sounds in the Greek? It's what to me and to you. What to me and to you?

It's basically saying what, from my perspective, is the same as it is from your perspective. That is, where's the common ground? If God thinks something is good, demons think it is evil.

If demons think something is good, God thinks it is evil. There is no overlap. There is no rapport. There is no negotiation.

There is no common ground. Now these demons exhibit submission by force. They have to prostrate themselves before the God of heaven and earth.

But they're not really submissive in spirit. Even in this confession, they're actually rebellious. This is the defiant criminal who walks into his prison cell while cursing the judge, the police, and society. I have nothing to do with it, and I don't care what verdict is read out.

I still hate them. He has to go. Overwhelming force stands behind those who are ensuring his incarceration. But he exerts self-will by spitting invectives at those who are imprisoning him. How many of you were supposed to read Melville's Moby Dick in high school?

How many of you actually? Never mind. One important part occurs in the final battle between the implacable Captain Ahab and the whale. The struggle results in Ahab being caught in harpoon lines and dragged to his doom. The whale has won, but in a vicious expression of defiant self-will, Ahab cried out, towards thee I roll thou all-destroying but unconquering whale.

Unconquering whale? It's about to kill you. To the last I grapple with thee. From hell's heart I stab at thee. For hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. That's demons. They hate God that much.

They oppose everything he stands for. And so when we are aligning ourselves with wrongdoing, we're aligning ourselves with personal forces that hate God, not just with abstract concepts of good and evil. They also shift the blame for evil. Verses 8 through 9. That little phrase, I adjure you by God, do not torment me, is actually something of a shift for the blame. When he says, I adjure you by God, you think, why in the world is he calling God into a situation of oath-taking to keep Jesus from doing something? They're basically saying, Jesus, if you try to exercise authority over us right now, then you're wrong.

Then you're bad. You're not supposed to torment us ahead of the time. It is actually a defiant and accusing tone toward Christ himself, shifting some of the blame for their wrongdoing. Third, demons are going to oppose God by attacking creation, 11 through 15. So they've not only attacked us spiritually, but they're also attacking creation out there.

They attack creation to destroy God's work, and they attack creation to discredit Jesus Christ. When the demons leave, where do they go? Into these 2,000 pigs. Why did the demons take the pigs and just run them off a cliff? That doesn't make any sense.

It doesn't have to make sense. Demons hate God's creation. They want to mar it up and destroy it. Therefore, when you are participating in the destruction of God's created order wantonly, you're siding not with God anymore. They drive these animals off a cliff.

But I think there was a more subtle motivation. Kill the 2,000 pigs, and what happens? Well, the herdsmen run away in dread terror. Are they running to Jesus?

No, they're running away from him. They go and tell it in the towns and the villages, and the people come out of the towns and villages, and what do they do? They come out and see Jesus. They look over here and see the man sitting clothed and in his right mind that none of them had been able to control, who was strong enough to tear apart at least bronze fetters and smash those things, who was out of control, who was fierce, who was unclothed, and he's completely under control. And you would think they would start praising God and glorifying him for a marvelous work done in their midst.

No, instead they go, can you please leave? I mean, after all, you just destroyed 2,000 pigs. No, the demons destroyed the pigs. Christ was saving a man, the demons were destroying the pigs, and by their work, demons actually impugned God. How many times have you heard people assert out there that, see, there's evil all around us in the world, and evil is proof that God doesn't exist.

Excuse me, how so? Because if God existed, and he's good and powerful, then he would overpower evil. Actually, about that, the Scriptures tell us that God did create everything perfect, and it was beneficent and good, and it is your sin and Satan's sin and Adam's sin and all of our sin that has destroyed this. So Satan, in the process of his marring up and destroying the world under the curse and with the suffering that we're under right now, gets to turn an accusing finger back to God, and he succeeds.

People agree with him. God's at fault. Why don't we recognize, no, we are on the opposite side and have to have God's salvation. So where is that salvation? Oh, this is a great passage for that. Have you ever noticed the first verse? They came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

Big deal. The big deal is Jesus' ministry has been on the other side of Galilee, closer to Israel. Now he crosses over the sea. By the way, in the process of crossing over the sea, what has he had to go through? If you back up just a few verses into chapter 4, which is directly connected with this incident in chapter 5, Jesus gets into the boat and his disciples and crosses over the sea, and there is a huge tempest in the sea. Jesus is crossing over the sea at the peril to his life. And what does he do when he gets to the other side? Well, he preaches a wonderful evangelistic campaign and thousands of people come to... No, that didn't happen. I know he went to a posh resort and got a little bit of rest and relaxation.

That's what... No. Well, what did he do when he crossed over the sea? He destroyed Satan's power over one man.

Do you think we're exaggerating this? Go down in the passage, right to the very end. Okay, we actually have to read just past where we were. The people in verse 17 were asking Jesus to depart, and when he was coming to the ship, the demon-possessed one wanted to go with him. Verse 20, and he departed. He departed.

Verse 21, Jesus passed over again. What else did he do in the country of the Gadarenes? Nothing.

Nothing. He risked life and his ministry and his time and his effort to save one legion-possessed man. And he did so with a word. Jesus Christ has the power to deliver us from the evil that is around us.

Whether the evil is your flesh, whether the evil is demonic influence over that flesh by suggestion to your own heart and mind, by the persuasion that can go on internally for you to despair, God doesn't care, for you to side with that which is evil, God's not caring as well with that, he's not looking, he's not paying attention. Jesus Christ crossed over the battlements of heaven and the gulf that separated God from man to become incarnate to save you. That's more than crossing over the Sea of Galilee.

And instead of finding ourselves succumbing to demonic-like thinking, let's reject it in the name and power of Jesus Christ. In 480 BC, the Persians invaded Greece. At the Battle of Thermopylae, with which many of you are familiar, 7,000 Greeks held off an estimated 150,000 Persians. That's not good odds. But the Greeks were being successful.

Why? Because the past was so narrow that the Persians' numerical superiority was completely obliterated until Epialtes of Trachus, a Greek, showed the Persian army how they could get around the passive Thermopylae and come into the Greek army from behind. The Greek general Leonidas recognized that he was being outflanked, and he sent away the bulk of the Greek army, remaining behind with only 300 Spartans.

They held out for several more days but were annihilated. Epialtes felt that by having led the Persians on this alternate route, he was going to be richly rewarded. After all, the Persians are this massive juggernaut of an enemy. Instead, the Persians were soon after defeated at the Battle of Salamis, forced to retreat. A bounty was put on Epialtes' head by the Greek city-states.

Ten years later, the bounty was collected when another Greek caught up with Epialtes and killed him. We hate traitors, don't we? Satan is a traitor to God.

We were traitors to God. Let us not continue in the kind of demonic thinking that causes us to be traitors to God. There is no common ground here. There is no middle ground in this war.

This is not capture the flag with a large no man's land. You are either actively advancing God's kingdom, or you are participating with demons in opposing God. Knowing that demons oppose God and influence people to join that opposition, you must seek God's help today, again in repentance, and again, and again, and again, so that we would live victorious Christian lives. Father, we're thankful for this beautiful testimony that depicts forces that are opposed to us and opposed to you that are so powerful that we cannot resist them in our own strength, and that are so weak that one word of Christ will fell them. And so in Christ today, may we not side with demonic opposition to your agenda, to your will, to your love, and instead follow you. In Christ's name we pray. Amen. You've been listening to Dr. Brian Hand. Listen tomorrow as we continue the series of Our Ancient Foe on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-30 16:46:54 / 2023-12-30 16:58:10 / 11

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