Deceivers and diviners

tree by water

Psalms 1:2-3 – But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruits in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper.

What was the intention of Bar-Jesus (Elymas)?  He….withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. (Acts 13:8)

I see many modern-day ‘prophets’ do this same thing. The people are deceived through sorcery and magic. They will “see” the color of a person’s car or gate, will know the illness someone is suffering from, will apparently heal some people. But when you take your eyes away from the magic show and listen carefully to how they preach, it becomes obvious what you are dealing with. For example, the parable of talents will mean – invest your money carefully and wisely, 3 John 1:2 will mean that the Lord wants you to be rich and healthy, where Jesus sends a disciple to get the tax money out of a fish’s mouth will mean your business plan – timing, positioning, vision, etc.

Let’s take a look at the girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination in Acts 16:17. This girl followed Paul and cried out saying “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”

She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

What is wrong here? What she said is good stuff. There is nothing untrue. And it is helpful to Paul at first glance. So then, what is wrong? Here is how St. John Chrysostom explained this situation:

The demon acted maliciously – he wanted credibility. If Paul had stayed quiet and admitted his testimony, that would endorse the demon with credibility. He would have deceived many believers as being received by Paul. So the demon spoke against himself (by proclaiming a truth) that he may establish what will work for him.

So the demon used accommodation in order to destruction. – John Chrysostom

Paul is annoyed (or grieved) because he saw through the malice of the demon. In 2Corinthians 2:11 he says : “For we are not ignorant of his devices.”

In addition to the superficial, we hear very accommodating prophecies today as well.

Such as:

…..You will build schools for the under privileged; your son or daughter will serve the Lord in a mighty way in the next 10 years or so; you will serve the Lord in a way you have never imagined and will have the power of the Holy Spirit with you, etc, etc..

Now let’s see what is the meaning of Divination.The dictionary gives the following:

Divination – The practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means.

Nowhere in the Bible does it ask us to seek divination – in fact, we are to completely reject such practices – Deuteronomy 18:10-11.

What about the “prophets” who stay away from personal prophecy and move on to global prophecy? These are the people who believe the Bible is missing some information and they are the chosen people to receive special revelation concerning world matters. Some even have the audacity to say “thus saith the Lord!”. If you listen very carefully to these ‘prophets’ one thing becomes very clear – they are speaking in the most vague spaced-out language you can think of. Nothing specific. Nothing according to Scripture. Totally un-Biblical things such as a certain country will be the “hub” for the work of the Holy Spirit or 2018 is a new beginning because of the significance of the numbers 8 and 1. They also bring in the Hebrew numbers to sound even more intellectual.

What’s this interest in all the numbers? – these ‘prophets’ are now delving into the occult practices of numerology in the name of Christianity. The Bible has 7 and 40 representing certain specific things, but nowhere does it teach us to search numbers to get God’s message. We are not told to seek hidden meanings of numbers. This is a true form of fortune-telling. We are not to seek revelation in numbers or in anything occult.

Without consulting mediums and numbers, we are told in Isaiah 8:19

….should not a people inquire of their God?


We are to seek God always. In every situation.

Of course, we are given spiritual gifts – but how are we to use it? We have to use it for the common good and edification of the church. 

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
 – 1 Corinthians 12:7

To equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ – Ephesians 4:12

How do you build up the body of Christ when you attract seekers with carnal things? They will come for carnal things, and the preacher / pastor will have to keep giving them carnal things in order to keep them coming to his church. So the spirit of divination comes at an opportune time. No common good is served when a Pastor tells someone – “I see you are building a house with a swimming pool”. There is no edification of the body of Christ by saying – “you came to this church today in a metallic grey car”.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Prophets from God are always persecuted – because they brought a message of repentance. If Nineveh did not repent, they will be overthrown. If Israel did not turn from idols, Babylon will invade.

On the other hand, false prophets are always loved by the world – because they painted a rosy picture – always.

There is nothing new under the sun.

In the end times, the entire world will be full of demonic activity trying to control every aspect of our lives. This will be the sign of the coming glorification and victory of Christ. Our time should be spent on reaching souls for the Lord. But without knowledge of the Word, we will be deceived and destroyed. But when we are rooted in the Word,

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. – Ephesians 4:14

 

 

 

Idol Worship and False Prophets

american dream

What is idol worship – anything or anyone that distracts and derails us in our journey of getting to know Jesus Christ. Anything or anyone that we glorify in our hearts by holding it or him / her in higher esteem than Christ. This “idol” causes us to stumble into iniquity. (Ezekiel 14:3)

What are the idols – money, good health, travel, migration, education, business success, career progression, spiritual progression apart from Christ and Him crucified, good name, belonging to a particular group / church / club, creativity, sportsmanship, being enslaved by any other natural talent, self-realization,  physical aesthetic, etc.

We come across Pastors and preachers who feed the idol worship in us rather than direct us away from these idols. They draw crowds with “prophetic moments” which give sensational  supposed words from God about their education, migration opportunities, business start-ups and many more worldly entrapment. Even fore-telling about the person whom they should choose as life partner – some of these prophecies have ended up in disaster.

What happens when we, as Christians and believers, set up idols in our hearts and crowd around a false prophet expecting a “word” from God? We don’t want to hear about how to serve the Lord, but all we want is “what does my future hold in earthly matters?”. Should I marry, should I migrate, if so – which country? What are my business prospects? The false prophet feeds this ego-based idol-focused yearning to the maximum. What a thrill. People saying “hallelujah”, “Praise the Lord”, “Amen”. The heart-strings are pulled so much that many are crying.

Here is a summary of a ‘prophetic moment’ picked up from Facebook:

Pastor addressing a young couple:

Pastor – you are having an on-line business?

Husband – my wife had a business but we closed it a couple of months ago. We are hoping to go to Australia.

Pastor – Ah, but the Lord is telling me that you will start an on-line business and I see money flowing from the internet! I also see you traveling to another country which will be more prosperous for you than Australia. I don’t know what made you want to go to Australia.

Wife (being very curious) – can you tell us which country? (at this point, indulgent laughter from the congregation).

Pastor – It will be the Middle East.

What have we done to the gospel of Jesus Christ? Who will stand up against these false teachers? Where is the voice of truth?

This is what the Lord says: Ezekiel 14 :3-6

“Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the Lord will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry. I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted Me for their idols.’

“Therefore say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!

I hear no one asking anyone to repent. No one to tell the sheep what is foremost in your mind is your idol, which is making you stumble. Even your worry about your loved-one is an idol. It is hard, but we have to trust Jesus – He is faithful. He is trustworthy. He will keep His promises.

What happens when the prophet is induced into giving a prophecy? Ezekiel 14:9-10.

“‘And if the prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the Lord have enticed that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel. 10 They will bear their guilt—the prophet will be as guilty as the one who consults him.

Who is Israel in the New testament? Israel are the believers – those who are redeemed. Israel is the regenerated born-again soul. We have no business looking around for fortune-tellers and psychics. If you are saved, keep your eyes on Christ, because you are now made righteous. All sins forgiven. A new man born of the Spirit. How grateful should we be? Where is our indebtedness to Christ? Are we going to pay back Christ with glorified idol worship?

And you who call yourself anointed and possibly believe that Christ is giving you these prophetic visions: How do you know if the prophecy is from God or Satan? If it is from God, it is precise, specific and always accurate. There are no exceptions. Prophecy is meant to predict, to encourage, to direct and to provide what we need for our salvation. What is the purpose of a prophet? It is to reveal God’s truth. God’s truth is now revealed to us completely in the Bible. So when you say “thus says the Lord”, you are meaning it to be a prophecy of revelation or God’s truth. This cannot be as then we would need to add-on to the Bible.

However, God can give you a message for another’s  benefit. But it cannot contradict the Word of God. When you encourage people to run after money, this is a direct contradiction to the Word of God. When you encourage people to build on their natural talent as opposed to the Spiritual gifts that we all receive when we are born-again, you are misdirecting the Christian into burying the (real) talent under-ground (Parable of Talents).

Remember, your job as a Pastor is to tend the sheep, not to fatten them up for slaughter.

Repent with godly sorrow. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10). If you don’t love the truth, true repentance will run away from you. You will feel no sorrow for your sins. God Himself will give you up into delusion.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-11

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

 

Spirit-filled Church

Spirit filled church

Spirit-Filled Church. What is it?

“Church” is the body of Christ.
The body of Christ are the believers.
A believer cannot be a believer unless the Holy Spirit indwells him.
1. Therefore, the Spirit-filled church is a congregation of the believers (saved / born-again / regenerated).
2. It is a congregation living holy lives.
3. It is a people being persecuted (ridiculed / insulted / harmed) for their faith – because being Spirit-filled, they are in constant friction with the world.
4. It is believers who submit to the authority of the Holy Spirit.
5. The Spirit-filled church exalts Jesus Christ – not His gifts.
6. It is believers whose gifts of the Holy Spirit work in unity and harmony. No particular gift overtaking another.
7. A Spirit-filled church is always the target of the Enemy who will woo the flock from Holy worship to unholy entertainment, wonders and signs.
8. Believers whose eyes are on Christ and Him crucified.

Spirit-Filled Church – what is it not?

1. It is certainly not an entertainment venue.
2. It is not a gathering of seekers looking for miracles of earthly abundance.
3. It is not a place where people fall into an unholy trance and utter gibberish in public in total disobedience to the Word of God.
4. It is not a place for psychic readings.
5. It does not glorify the gifts of the Holy Spirit over and above Jesus.
6. It is not a place for personalities and celebrities to teach their own man-made doctrines.

Who will be uncomfortable in a Spirit-Filled Church? (according to A W Tozer – Alive in the Spirit)

1. Controlling people – their good intentions go higher than God’s purpose. Even their prayers are based on what they want and when they want it, even if its contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture.
2. Sunday Morning Christians – They carefully remove the religion suit and keep it for next Sunday.
3. Pleasure addicts – They are so addicted to entertainment and pleasure that if the Holy Spirit moved in their midst, they will be highly uncomfortable.
4. Big shots – The Spirit Filled church will never be a platform for those desiring to be popular. They need to die to themselves for the Holy Spirit to work in them. They will be rather uncomfortable if the Holy Spirit takes over.
5. Those who confuse worship with entertainment. Worship is not for our pleasure but for the glory of God. Spirit-filled worship will make some people mighty uncomfortable in some churches today.
6. Cultural Christians – those who come to church to better themselves, upgrade their life status or business, meet the right partner. These people have a very different agenda than that of the Holy Spirit.

Who is this man – Jesus (A poem)

jesus

Who is this man – Jesus?

No other teacher has ever said;
“Before Abraham was I AM.”*
Nor has anyone dared to say,
“I and My Father are One.”*

“I am the way, the truth and the life”;*
Such absolute conviction.
“I go and prepare a place for you”;*
He promises with affection.

The seventy said, “even the demons,
Are subject to us in Your name;
Jesus said “I beheld Satan –
Fall like lightning from heaven.”*

Such lofty words spoken;
With authority, might and power.
Who is this man – Jesus?
Does not your heart inquire?

* John 8:58, 10:30, 14:6, 14:3, Luke 10:18.

Science and Bible

bible

Three examples where Bible verses are proved by science (compiled from Fight the Good Fight of the Faith FB page).

1. Agnostic polymath Herbert Spencer – the single most famous European intellectual in the closing decades of the nineteenth century, discovered that time, force, action, space, and matter are the five manifestations of all scientific phenomena. Millenia ago, God gives us this information in the first sentence of Scripture:

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning – time
God – force
Created – action
Heaven – space
And earth – matter.

God uses even those who reject Him to bring about proof of His truth into the world.
Who reads Spencer now? But the Holy Bible brings wisdom to 2.3 billion people today.

 

2. Life Blood

Circa. 1620, William Harvey discovered systemic circulation and properties of blood and that biological “life” is maintained by the blood.

Apprx. 3300 years ago, in the 3rd book of the Old Testament- Leviticus, God reveals this fact to Moses :

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood…(Lev.17:11).

Praise God!

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Proverbs 2:6

 

3. When man had never even dreamed of DNA:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Psalms 139:13-16

 

What happened to Saul?

paul off the horse

Saul stood by when they killed Stephen. Saul, breathing threats and murder against the Lord’s disciples, was out to hunt them down. On the way, a brilliant light knocked him off his horse and blinded him. The ground-breaking conversation ensued:
The Voice said ” Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
Saul asked, “Who are You, Lord?”
The Voice answered “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

When Ananias laid hands on Saul and said “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit..” Saul got his sight back, got baptized and didn’t waste time – he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.

The dismay and astonishment at this transformation – can you imagine? Saul confounded his former mentors and peers and went about proving that Jesus is the Christ.

What happened to Saul can happen to you. Are you on an agenda to mock Jesus? Disprove Jesus and His gospel? Place Jesus among “ascended masters”? Watch out – God can easily knock you down from your high horse and use you for the glory of God’s Kingdom.

If what happened to Saul happens to you, don’t worry – it is not such a bad thing. The smart thing to do would be to turn to Christ before you are pushed off the horse!

When I am weak, then I am strong

out of the wreck

DOES God “test”us?

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.Deuteronomy 8:2

David sought God’s testing asking Him to examine his heart and mind and see that they are true to Him:

Test me, Lord, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind; – Psalms 26:2

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalms 139:23

Abraham was tested to see if he would obey. The result – to show that he IS the father of the faith!

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.Romans 4:16
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, Hebrews 11:17

In both the Old and New Testaments, the translated meaning of the word “test” is – to prove by trial.

God needs no proof. But we need to know with confidence that our faith is real – that no trial will overcome our faith.

Jesus talks about this in the parable of the sower. As soon as testing comes along, some who have received the Word in joy, fall away.

This leads me to believe some testing comes from the Lord – because its purpose is to build up faith in the believers. This is why James is saying:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,James 1:2

Testing comes in many ways :

  1. Small daily irritations – annoying habits of people you live with, unruly kids, noisy neighbors, gossip at work, etc.
  2. Severe afflictions –

See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.- Isaiah 48:10

3. Attacks from Satan –

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. – Job 2:7

Job’s story is proof that Satan’s evil work in us is limited by God’s sovereign control. Our trials work toward God’s perfect purpose – many instances talk about how God will discipline His children.

Testing is of great benefit to the believers.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. – 1 Peter 1:6-7

We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things – not in spite of trouble, but because of it. Paul says he is exceedingly joyful in all tribulations. Oswald Chambers says: Undaunted radiance is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can alter.

God does not keep us away from trouble. Instead He says He will be with us in trouble. Paul is not talking about imaginary things when he says “we are more than conquerors in all these things”. They are real things. Actual life issues. We are living that experience right now in our Christian life. But as believers, we are victorious always, not because of our own prowess, but because of our relationship with Christ. Isn’t it a sad thing when a Christian says he wishes something unsavory in his circumstances not to be there?

God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Tribulation, anguish, famine – can they separate us from the love of God? Never.

Oswald Chambers says : “..some extraordinary thing happens to a man who holds on to the love of God when the odds are against God’s character. Logic is silenced in the face of every one of these things. Only one thing can account for it – the Love of God in Christ.

Out of the wreck I rise.

Big Bad Wolf

The deception of the Galatians

Wolf

Paul is brokenhearted. The Galatians have risen up against him with false charges.

IF a teacher addresses the pupils with mildness even when they need severity, he is not their teacher, but their corrupter and enemy.

Our Lord shows us by example what is perfect teaching when He having said to Peter, Blessed are you Simon Barjona, (Matthew 16:17) and having promised to lay the foundation of the Church upon him, shortly afterwards rebukes Peter, Get behind Me, Satan: you are a stumbling block unto Me. (Matthew 16:23). On another occasion, Jesus shows exasperation in Matthew 15:16 – Are you even yet without understanding? And then again, inspires awe in the disciples when they see Him talking to the Samaritan woman. The disciples knew that Jesus was aware they had gone to get food, so why was He talking to this woman (was it for refreshment? Even though He knew it was coming?) No one dared to ask Him the question. (John 4:27)

Having been thus taught, Paul is walking in the steps of his Master and is varying his discourse according to the need of his disciples. O foolish Galatians. (Galatians 3:1) – not once, but twice, towards the end when he says reproachfully, Let no man trouble me (Galatians 6:17). He soothes them again with My little children, of whom I am again in travail (Galatians 4:19).

This whole Epistle breathes indignation. Why is Paul so angry with his disciples in Galatia? To be exasperated in common matters is just small-minded and morose. Paul is not such a man. What offense has roused his anger so much? They have done something so terrible which was estranging them from Christ.

This is what happened:

Some Jewish believers came to the Galatians desiring to be held in high esteem as teachers of the new faith. They had not let go of their Judaism customs. They taught the Galatians the observance if circumcision, sabbaths and new-moons. They lied to the Galatians that these were necessary and Paul should not be believed because even Peter, James and John did not forbid the customs. Now in fact, they did not forbid the customs because it is part of true doctrine, but only in condescension to the weakness of the Jewish believers. However, Paul had absolutely no requirement to act the same when preaching to the Gentiles. But when he was in Judæa (among the Jews) he employed the same preaching as Peter, James and john.

The deceivers of the Galatians withheld the causes of the Apostles’ varying teachings and misled the simpler believers. They charged that Paul preached one thing to the Jews and another to the Gentiles. Paul saw the attack against the Galatian Church. Filled with just anger and despondency, – I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my voice (Galatians 4:20) he writes the Epistle as an answer to these charges.

(Summarized from a homily by St. John Chrysostom)

Reflections:

The deceivers of today are no different.

  1. They wait until the teacher of truth is absent / sneak in through the back door.
  2. They bring in unsubstantiated claims. Believers without knowledge of the Word are none the wiser. Bringing to mind the Scripture – my people are destroyed due to lack of knowledge.
  3. They attack the simpler believers first – drawing them out of their fellowship and church and building up a congregation for themselves.
  4. They bring the teacher of truth to ill-repute.
  5. They love praise!

In the perceived absence of Christ, many wolves have worn sheep’s clothing. Deceiving the believers, and destroying the faith of the simple.

It is no longer enough to have a “simple faith” as it was understood years ago. Our faith needs to be rock-solid. Unshakable rooted in the Word. It is no longer enough to just teach parables to our kids. Our kids need deeper lessons in faith and apologetics. We can send them to Sunday School and sing hymns and pray at home, but without knowledge they will not withstand the big bad wolf of deception when they go on to University or move out of home.

Legion and I

Garesene demoniac
Gerasene Demoniac
 
John’s gospel ends with: 
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I
suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
 
Why are some stories included the Scriptures and not others? The story of the Gerasene demoniac seems to span the whole life process of a child of God.
 
1. The man was possessed by many demons – Legion.
Are we not seeing the many demons of alcoholism, sex, drugs, pornography, idolatry possessing us? We are attacked by the lying and murderous spirit all the time. As long as we are a slave to our sinful nature, we live in blind subjection to evil.
 
2. He lived in the tombs.
Just like us when we didn’t know Christ. We were like “whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” (Matthew 23:27)
 
3. He was strong – no one could restrain him even with a chain.
Today, evil is stronger than ever before. To conquer, you need to make friends first. So it is with evil. We fall with subtle deception – a little bit of false doctrine or a little bit of alcohol to keep yourself healthy. No harm done. Satan has patience. over the years, we are hopelessly addicted to evil practices inviting demons to run our lives believing it is the Holy Spirit. The strength of evil is strong within us that we cannot comprehend the gospel – Christ and Him crucified, anymore. We think its old news – now the Holy Spirit is working in a new way and we like it. We experience God – do you? We have the gifts – do you? We have the numbers – do you? 
Here is the most terrifying verse of the Bible:
2 Thessalonians 10-12
………..They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that they will all be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
We are truly done for when God Himself allows us to be deceived.
This is how strong evil can get in our lives. Evil makes us blind to the truth. The truth becomes offensive, uncool, burdensome, not seeker-friendly, gloomy, pauper gospel and out-of-date.
4. He would cut himself with stones
The man was bleeding all over. We are familiar with the horror stories of people on certain drugs wanting to hurt themselves. This spirit drives you to hurt yourself and eventually kill yourself. The pain becomes a pleasure.
5. The demons who were possessing the man recognized Jesus as Son of the Most High
We, in all our sinfulness, recognize Jesus. But we want nothing to do with Him because our sins will emerge into the light as soon as we surrender to Him. We don’t want that – we love our sin. We are not yet ready to give up on it. It gives us pleasure. What else is life for? Recognizing God is unavoidable. But we are quite capable of searing our conscience to such a degree that we come to a stage of not recognizing our Creator. We see these people all the time, who say there is no God. For them, a terrible destiny awaits truly without God.
6. The demoniac asks to be sent to the pigs = prays to God to be sent to the herd of pigs.

At the feet of the Lord, the demoniac prays – not for forgiveness, but to be sent off to the pigs. We do this all the time, when we have not the spirit of God. We believe we are Christian, but we want to dwell in the world with the Prince of the world. We pray to God for money, jobs, wealth and all material things instead of heavenly things. We love the uncleanness of the world and detest the heavenly blessings that are promised to us as said in Ephesians 1:3.

7. Jesus answers the prayer of the demoniac!

Beware! God might answer your prayer too. And if we are persistent enough, He does answer. The unsaved will ask for the things of the devil and they just might get it. The saved – having the mind of Christ, will only ask for what they ought.

8. The man comes to his right mind and is clothed.

Releasing the powers that bind us give us freedom and our right mind back to us. Not only that, when we are saved, the mind of Christ is given to us and we are clothed in the fruit of the Spirit – Gentleness, kindness, self-control, joy and love.

9. The people of the town ask Jesus to leave = pray to God to leave them alone.

Losing about two thousand swine must have been an economical catastrophe for the owners. They would have been afraid of what else they might lose! No one cared about the deliverance of the man. Isn’t this why we don’t open our heart’s door to Jesus? We stand to lose the world and the world means more to us than eternal salvation. We are asked to carry our cross and follow Jesus. We cannot hold on to our old way of living. It is dead. But who can make the change? So instead of inviting Jesus in, we convince ourselves that we need to balance our lives, we simply cannot afford this religious nonsense at this time. We have jobs to do, children to raise, deadlines to meet, holidays to take, homes to build.

10. Jesus answers the prayer of the townspeople!

We see clearly free-will at work. Jesus does not enter into our hearts by force. He stands and knocks, and will enter only if the door is opened. One day, it will be too late because we will not hear Him anymore. So here is Paul’s message :

Hebrews 3:7 – So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…v.13 -…as long as it is called “Today”, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

11. The man who was demon-possessed begs to be with Jesus = yet another prayer to God in this story.

When we are saved, we experience true zeal for the Lord. Out of sheer gratefulness and love for the Lord, we want to immediately  get into ministry. Sometimes, our zeal leads us into a ministry that requires knowledge of the Word. It is a real danger when zeal goes before knowledge. Once saved, some are given the gift of teaching. It is important that we all spend time learning the Word with the guidance of the Holy Spirit before we embark on our ministry of teaching or evangelizing.

12. Jesus answers the prayer / request of the man by giving him a more suitable answer than that which he asks for.

Jesus has called all believers to be witnesses – not attorneys. A witness tells the story as he saw it. The man has to go back home and tell everyone what happened and how the Lord had compassion on him.

13. The man witnesses for Jesus in Decapolis.

We are to do the same. We cannot keep the knowledge of how our salvation came about a secret. We are propelled by the love of God to go and tell. We are to tell our story to the glory of God who saved us.

And…..if you have no compulsion to witness, it is a good time to ask yourself, “am I really saved?”