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A Clash of Kingdoms
Today we’re back into the Amazed by Jesus Sermon Series- The message is the third of the series and is titled “A Clash of Kingdoms” because we’ll be looking at Mark 5:1-20 where we see Jesus attacking the Kingdom of darkness. We see the Kingdom of God engage the Kingdom of evil. The passage is split up into four main sections: VS 1-5 we see the Enemy Territory VS 6-15 we see The Kingdom of God advancing on the enemy territory VS 16-17 we see the World’s reaction to the conflict VS 18-20 we see a Kingdom response. Let’s begin in section one where we encounter the Enemy Territory.
Enemy Territory/Kingdom of Darkness (Mark 5:1-5)
Mark 5:1-5 1They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones.
In this section we notice 4 characteristic of the Kingdom of Darkness.
Kingdom of Darkness characterized by demonic activity (VS 2)- 2 When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean (NIV=evil) spirit met Him. Ephesians 6:12 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against … the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. As we go about our lives may this be a reminder to us that the Enemy Territory is marked by evil forces with whom we must engage.
Kingdom of Darkness characterize by death (VS 2 & 3) It says in verse 2 & 3 that this man was “from the tombs” and “had his dwelling among the tombs” The man is living his life in a cemetery as a dead man walking He’s the picture of men and women in the world who are dead in their sins- and in need of forgiveness, redemption, rebirth, and new life in Christ- whether they realize it or not. Jesus said “you must be reborn to see the Kingdom” Ephesians 2:1 As for you [Christians], you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. The enemy territory is marked by death. Is your life today marked by living death because you are a resident of the Kingdom of Darkness- dead in your sins?
Kingdom of Darkness characterized by Bondage (VS 3b&4)- 3 And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. No one is strong enough to put this man into bondage exept the evil one who already has him. Here we see another picture of those in the world in bondage to the darkness trying to control the darkness with more bondage. And this is what we see today- The world attempts to control the darkness with jails, prisons, institutions. It tries to control the darkness with pills, and potions, pop-psychology and religiosity- all ways in which the evil one further traps people in deeper bondage to the darkness. As we go from this place let us beware of the schemes of the Evil one to trap us further in bondage to his kingdom.
Kingdom of Darkness characterized by Destruction (VS 5)- 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. The bible says the evil one is seeking to destroy lives. 1 Peter 5:8 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. And the devil seems to be devouring this man- the torment of his soul iss continual- Day and Night he cries out fealing compelled to destroy his own body- gashing himself with stones. Did you know that this kind of self-injury is a problem in the world today: According to one research site- over two million people in the U.S. intentionally injure themselves by such means as cutting their bodies with sharp objects in order to mask emotional pain. In other parts of the world the numbers are considerably higher. And 50% of self-mutilators have been sexually molested. –helpguide.org The evil one seeks to destroy people’s lives- He brings all kinds of emotional pain upon people and then he tempts them with pleasures of the world that relieve that pain for a time but ultimately lead to further destruction. To mask the pain- some people cut themselves for relief, others drink too much alcohol, some take addictive drugs, others view pornography, some people overeat, others go shopping, some hold grudges, and others pursue fame and fortune, and flashy cars. The end of such pursuits being the destruction of your soul. May we never forget that the Kingdom of darkness is seeking to destroy. Example: Portland Street Kids
We’ve just seen a glimpse of the Enemies territory- the horrible hell of a kingdom characterized by evil and darkness. But now in verses 6-15 … we see the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of life and light. We see our King attack the darkness. And as we look at the conflict we discover 4 characteristics of the Kingdom of God. The King Attacks-
The Kingdom of God engaging the darkness (Vs 6-15)
The Kingdom of God is characterized by Jesus’ Initiating Love- If you go back and look at Mark 4:35- Jesus tells his men to get into the boat they are going over to the other side of the lake. My point is that Jesus purposed to go across the lake- to confront the enemy on the otherside of the lake because of his initiating love Luke 19:10 10 “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” And when Jesus comes across the sea and gets out of the boat as we are told in vs 8 he begins to engage the darkness by commanding the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Do you notice that Jesus is on the attack here. Jesus is the one initiates the conflict with the darkness because of his love for the man- He’s not sitting stagnant but he’s engaging the darkness. Matt 16:18 The gates of Hades will not prevail against the church- Do you realize that the the church- the body of jesus Christ is on the offensive against the gates of hades- the Kingdom of Darkness. The kingdom of God is marked by Jesus initiating love. Will you and I attack the gates of hell with Christ and be on the offensive against evil? Will we model God’s initiating love and compassion for people in our lives and culture?
The Kingdom of God is characterized by Jesus’ Lordship- At the end of verse 6 and through verse 7 we read that the man “ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and shouting with a loud voice, he said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” Here we see the demons inside of the man compel him to kneel before Jesus in fear because they of know he is the Lord, the Son of the most High God who has already determined to one day cast them into hell. Luke 8:31 they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. And at this point, Jesus asked the man 9″What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” The Latin word “Legion” here was commonly known in Palestine to signify a Roman army regiment of about 6500 soldiers; but it could also mean a very large number. And so what the Scriptures seem to indicate is that the man was possessed by multiple demons under what looks to be one combined force. But “How many” demons were in this man is really not the point. The point is that all the demons in this man (how many ever there were) ultimately bowed down to the sovereign Lordship of Jesus- the Son of the Most High God. 11 Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. 12 The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” 13 Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.
The third aspect of Kingdom of God we see in this passage is that is it characterized by Jesus’ Power- What kind of power is it that with mere words a legion of demons is compelled to leave a man and go into a heard of 2000 pigs and rush off a cliff into the sea and die? It is a divine power. A power that only Jesus- the living God could exihbit! And it is a power that this man needed in order to be freed from the influence and control of the darkness over his life- a bondage that he could not break free from on his own When Jesus Kingdom attacks the darkness, the power of God is manifest in the destruction of strongholds in people’s lives. Do you want to be free today of a stronghold in your life that you can’t seem to break free from? Turn to Jesus and his power will help you.
The Kingdom of God is characterized by Jesus’ Salvation 15 They came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened. When the Kingdom breaks into the darkness, Jesus salvation comes to the whole man. We notice that the transformation of this man is in his: Will It says that he “had been” demon possessed. But now he has freedom in his will from the bondage of the evil one. His will is no longer compelled to walk in darkness. Emotions- It says he’s “sitting down”. Luke says in his account that he’s “sitting at Jesus feet.” Peace has replaced torment. No longer are his emotions controlled by the demons or desires of the flesh. No longer is he shrieking but he is calmly seated beside Jesus. Physical It says he’s “clothed” The man had been naked but Jesus clothed him- I don’t know if this was a miraculous clothing- if God miraculously put clothes on his body or if one of Jesus disciples gave hime some clothes. But either way Jesus provided. My guess is, that this man’s whole physical appearance changed. He probably looked happier, stood taller, and felt healthier. Jesus may have even healed some of the cuts from the stone gashes Mental- It says that he was “in his right mind.” His mind was given coherence. He’s no longer out of control. No longer driven by irrational thoughts and demonic ideas. He has begun the reasonable process of renewing the mind and taking his thoughts captive to the obey the Truth of Christ. Have you experienced Jesus salvation? Transition: We’ve just seen some characteristics of the Kingdom as it engages the darkness. In verses 16 and 17 we see the world’s response to the clash of these Kingdoms.
The World’s Response (VS 16-17) 16 Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. 17 And they began to implore Him to leave their region. When the Kingdom of God breaks into the darkness, often many people in the world’s society will reject Jesus- they will implore Jesus to leave the area- to leave them alone as they do here because Jesus’ values don’t mesh with the values of the world.
Jesus values the man over animals- We notice that to Jesus, restoring the image of God in one human being is worth the destruction of thousands of animals. One human being matters more than 2000 pigs and I would say all the pigs in the world. He would rather save one man even if it meant the extinction of some animal species. Not very Politically correct.
Jesus values the man over money and economics systems- One commentator said that the monetary value of 2000 pigs in that culture was close to a quarter million dollars. Many of these people’s livelihood would likely be ruined because of the pigs drowning. The economy probably hit the tank. But Jesus valued the one man’s soul- not the financial affluence of the community And its my guess that this event really got people thinking about God.
Jesus values the unloveable- he ascribes worth to the unlovable, the hard cases- This man seemed to have lost his value to society- but he did not lose his value to God. Here is a human being who was a naked, mass of bleeding lacerations, scabs, infections, scars, out of control, , smelly, on fringe of society, dangerous, and embarrassing to the society. You think he wasn’t aware that to the society- pigs had more value. What a day it must have been for this guy when he came to realize how much God loved him and valued him.
The Kingdom Response (VS 18-20) 18 As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. 19 And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed. Colossians 1:13-14 13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. In thes final verses, we see 4 responses that come From the one who has been transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of God:
Residents of the Kingdom:
Desire the Presence of Jesus The reality of your salvation brings a desire to be with Jesus- to go where he goes- you don’t want to be on the otherside of the lake from him. You don’t want there to be distance between you and him. you want close relationship with Him.
Seek Community with Jesus- not isolation Before his transformation, the man was an isolated tomb dweller. Now he wants to be around Jesus and to be apart of Jesus community of disciples. His faith was personal but not private He is instructed to go be in community- to go home to his people.
Pursue Obedience to Jesus- not rebellion Although this man will wanted to go in the boat, Jesus wanted him to go home. Christ was undoubtedly thrilled by the man’s faith and love, but Jesus knew where this man’s life and testimony would be most effective in bringing about His will to advance the Kingdom in his home region Jesus instructed him to go to his own and the man obeyed.
Get on Mission for Jesus 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.