Defeating the Flesh

Numbers 11:1-9 (HCSB) Now the people began complaining openly before the Lord about hardship. When the Lord heard, His anger burned, and fire from the Lord blazed among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and he prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. So that place was named Taberah, because the Lord’s fire had blazed among them. Contemptible people among them had a strong craving for other food. The Israelites cried again and said, “Who will feed us meat? We remember the free fish we ate in Egypt, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now our appetite is gone; there’s nothing to look at but this manna! ” The manna resembled coriander seed, and its appearance was like that of bdellium. The people walked around and gathered it. They ground it on a pair of grinding stones or crushed it in a mortar, then boiled it in a cooking pot and shaped it into cakes. It tasted like a pastry cooked with the finest oil. When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.

Numbers 11 31-35 (HCSB) A wind sent by the Lord came up and blew quail in from the sea; it dropped them at the camp all around, three feet off the ground, about a day’s journey in every direction. The people were up all that day and night and all the next day gathering the quail — the one who took the least gathered 50 bushels — and they spread them out all around the camp. While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the Lord’s anger burned against the people, and the Lord struck them with a very severe plague. So they named that place Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved the meat. From Kibroth-hattaavah the people moved on to Hazeroth and remained there.

When most people think of worshipping the Devil, they think of 666, rituals, burning incense, sacrifices, candles and sorcery (and all those things are true); but pure satanism is much simpler. So simple in fact that you may be a satanist and not even know it. The very essence of satanism is to do your own thing.

This following statement was taken from an article written on 02-18-03 by journalist Eric Gillin in an interview with Church of Satan high priest Peter H. Gilmore…“What they [satanists] essentially believe, is that life should be lived in the pursuit of pleasures, and we only get one chance to do it. Sounds like America to us.”

It is interesting that satanists declare America an “absolutely satanic nation.” What is even more disturbing is “why” they consider America a satanic nation, that is, because of our freedom to DO AS THOU WILT SHALL BE THE WHOLE OF THE LAW.

Pursuit of Happiness – The pursuit of happiness is defined as a fundamental right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy, as long as you don’t do anything illegal or violate the rights of others.The right to “the pursuit of happiness” affirmed in the Declaration of Independence is taken these days to affirm a right to chase after whatever makes one subjectively happy. Further, the Declaration doesn’t guarantee the right to happiness, the thought usually goes, but only the right to pursue what makes you happy.

So the Satanists equate independence from God with satanism (doing your own thing instead of obeying God’s Word). This is what the serpent offered Eve, that is, independence from God. Satanists define satanism as “freedom from God’s Laws.” Satanists say, “Hey, in America we can legally do wickedness.” They define satanism as “the pursuit of pleasures.” “If it feels good, do it” they say. Welcome to SIN SIN America!!!

Satanic Beliefs

The Church of Satan neither worships the Judeo-Christian devil nor does it believe in the being’s existence. “Satanism” to church members is more like a philosophy than a traditional religion. The following three lists are starting points in understanding the church’s belief system.

The Nine Satanic Statements articulate what “Satan” means to the church:

Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence.

Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams.

Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit.

Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates.

Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek.

Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires.

Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development”, has become the most vicious animal of all.

Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification.

Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as He has kept it in business all these years.

1 John 2:15-17 (HCSB)Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle — is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

Satanism is all about doing it YOUR WAY instead of GOD’S WAY. Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey (1930-1997) taught his followers that they were their own gods an goddesses, their own final authority“…and he must, as a satanist, knowing this, realizing what his human potential is, eventually, and here is one of the essential points of satanism, attain his own godhead in accordance with his own potential. Therefore, each man, each woman is a god, or goddess in satanism.”—Anton LaVey (1930-1997), Church of Satan

Christianity began as a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When it went to Greece it became a philosophy. When Christianity went to Rome it became an organization. When it went to Europe it became a culture. But when Christianity came to America it became a business. Apostasy is widespread in these Last Days

2 Timothy 3:1-5(HCSB)But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people! 

2 Timothy 4:3-4(ESV) For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

DO WHAT THOU WILT SHALL BE THE WHOLE OF THE LAW. Or as the Bible says in Proverb 14:14(ESV) The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.

Titus 3:3-7 (HCSB) For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us — not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy — through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out this Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by His grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.

The Manifestation and Struggle with the Flesh

How does the flesh manifest itself in human beings? The Bible answers the question this way:
Galatians 5:19-21(HCSB)19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Examples of the flesh’s outworking in the world are evident. Consider a few sad facts taken from a recent survey on the effect of pornography in America. According to the study, every second in the U.S.:

• $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography

• 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography

• 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines

And every 39 minutes, a new pornographic video is being created in the United States. Such statistics underscore the statement made by the prophet Jeremiah who mourned that Jeremiah 17:9(ESV)“the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”

The Consequences of the Flesh

The Bible says that living in the flesh produces a number of unfortunate consequences. First, Scripture states that those who live according to the flesh, and who never desire change or repent from their sinful behavior, will experience separation from God both in this life and the next:

Romans 6:21(ESV)“But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things (Sinful Practices)of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.

• Romans 8:13(ESV)13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

• Galatians 6:7-8(ESV)Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Further, a person also becomes a slave to his/her fleshly nature:

Romans 6:16(ESV)16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

This slavery always leads to a destructive lifestyle and deteriorated living. As the prophet Hosea said,Hosea 8:7(ESV) “For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind”.

The fact of the matter is that obeying the flesh always results in breaking God’s moral law. Nevertheless, in a very real sense, a person can never break God’s moral law, although he can certainly disobey it. For example, a person can climb up on a roof, tie a cape around his neck, and leap off the roof in hopes of breaking the law of gravity. However, he will quickly learn that he cannot fly; he cannot break the law of gravity, and the only thing he breaks in the end is himself, while proving the law of gravity in the process. The same is true of moral actions: a person may disobey God’s moral law through fleshly living, but he will only prove the moral law of God true by breaking himself in some way via his own behavior.

Overcoming the Flesh

The Bible provides a three-step process for overcoming the flesh and restoring oneself to a right relationship with God. The first step is a walk of honesty where a person acknowledges his sinful behavior before God. This involves agreeing with what the Bible says about everyone born of human parents: people are sinners and enter the world in a broken relationship with the God who made them:

Psalm 130:3(ESV)If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,

    O Lord, who could stand?

1 John 1:8, 10(ESV) If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The next step is a walk in the Spirit, which involves calling out to God for salvation and receiving His Holy Spirit that empowers a person to live rightly before God and not obey the flesh’s desires. This transformation and new walk of life is described in several places in Scripture:

Galatians 2:20(ESV)“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” 

Romans 6:11(ESV) 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

  • Galatians 5:16(ESV)”16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

• Galatians 3:27(HCSB) For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ like a garment. 

  • Romans 13:14(HSCB)But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.

• Ephesians 5:18(ESV)”And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

• Psalm 119:11(ESV)I have treasured Your word in my heart

so that I may not sin against You.

The last step is a walk of death, where the flesh is starved of its desires so that it eventually dies. Even though a person is born again through the Spirit of God, he must understand he still possesses the old nature with its desires that war with the new nature and the desires that come from the Spirit. From a practical standpoint, the Christian purposely avoids feeding the old, fleshly nature and instead practices new behaviors that are driven by the Spirit:

1 Timothy 6:11(HCSB)”But you, man of God, run from these things,(Sinful Actions)and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith,love, endurance, and gentleness. 

2 Timothy 2:22(NLT)“Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

1 Corinthians 9:27(HCSB)27 Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

  • Colossians 3:5(HCSB)”Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.

• Galatians 5:24(HCSB)”Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

  • Romans 6:6(HCSB)For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 

Ephesians 4:20-24(HCSB) 20 But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, 21 assuming you heard about Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus. 22 You took off your former way of life, the old self[j] that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed[k] in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

Conclusion

Susanna Wesley, mother to the great preachers and hymn writers John and Charles Wesley, described sin and the flesh this way: “Whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things, in short – if anything increases the authority and the power of the flesh over the Spirit, that to you becomes sin however good it is in itself.” One of the goals of the Christian life is the victory of the Spirit over the flesh and a change of life, which manifests in righteous living before God.

Although the struggle will be very real (which the Bible makes clear), Christians have assurance from God that He will bring them eventual success over the flesh. Philippians 1:6(ESV)”For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus”.

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The Flesh is Never Satisified

Numbers 11:1-9 (HCSB) Now the people began complaining openly before the Lord about hardship. When the Lord heard, His anger burned, and fire from the Lord blazed among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and he prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. So that place was named Taberah, because the Lord’s fire had blazed among them. Contemptible people among them had a strong craving for other food. The Israelites cried again and said, “Who will feed us meat? We remember the free fish we ate in Egypt, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now our appetite is gone; there’s nothing to look at but this manna! ” The manna resembled coriander seed, and its appearance was like that of bdellium. The people walked around and gathered it. They ground it on a pair of grinding stones or crushed it in a mortar, then boiled it in a cooking pot and shaped it into cakes. It tasted like a pastry cooked with the finest oil. When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.

Numbers 11 31-35 (HCSB) A wind sent by the Lord came up and blew quail in from the sea; it dropped them at the camp all around, three feet off the ground, about a day’s journey in every direction. The people were up all that day and night and all the next day gathering the quail — the one who took the least gathered 50 bushels — and they spread them out all around the camp. While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the Lord’s anger burned against the people, and the Lord struck them with a very severe plague. So they named that place Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved the meat. From Kibroth-hattaavah the people moved on to Hazeroth and remained there.

When most people think of worshipping the Devil, they think of 666, rituals, burning incense, sacrifices, candles and sorcery (and all those things are true); but pure satanism is much simpler. So simple in fact that you may be a satanist and not even know it. The very essence of satanism is to do your own thing.

This following statement was taken from an article written on 02-18-03 by journalist Eric Gillin in an interview with Church of Satan high priest Peter H. Gilmore…“What they [satanists] essentially believe, is that life should be lived in the pursuit of pleasures, and we only get one chance to do it. Sounds like America to us.”

It is interesting that satanists declare America an “absolutely satanic nation.” What is even more disturbing is “why” they consider America a satanic nation, that is, because of our freedom to DO AS THOU WILT SHALL BE THE WHOLE OF THE LAW.

So the Satanists equate independence from God with satanism (doing your own thing instead of obeying God’s Word). This is what the serpent offered Eve, that is, independence from God. Satanists define satanism as “freedom from God’s Laws.” Satanists say, “Hey, in America we can legally do wickedness.” They define satanism as “the pursuit of pleasures.” “If it feels good, do it” they say. Welcome to SIN SIN America!!!

Satanic Beliefs

The Church of Satan neither worships the Judeo-Christian devil nor does it believe in the being’s existence. “Satanism” to church members is more like a philosophy than a traditional religion. The following three lists are starting points in understanding the church’s belief system.

The Nine Satanic Statements articulate what “Satan” means to the church:

Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence.

Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams.

Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit.

Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates.

Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek.

Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires.

Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development”, has become the most vicious animal of all.

Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification.

Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as He has kept it in business all these years.

1 John 2:15-17 (HCSB)Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle — is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

Satanism is all about doing it YOUR WAY instead of GOD’S WAY. Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey (1930-1997) taught his followers that they were their own gods an goddesses, their own final authority“…and he must, as a satanist, knowing this, realizing what his human potential is, eventually, and here is one of the essential points of satanism, attain his own godhead in accordance with his own potential. Therefore, each man, each woman is a god, or goddess in satanism.”—Anton LaVey (1930-1997), Church of Satan

Christianity began as a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When it went to Greece it became a philosophy. When Christianity went to Rome it became an organization. When it went to Europe it became a culture. But when Christianity came to America it became a business. Apostasy is widespread in these Last Days 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

2 Timothy 4:3-4(ESV) For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

DO WHAT THOU WILT SHALL BE THE WHOLE OF THE LAW. Or as the Bible says in Proverb 14:14(ESV) The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.

Titus 3:3-7 (HCSB) For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us — not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy — through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out this Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by His grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.

The Manifestation and Struggle with the Flesh

How does the flesh manifest itself in human beings? The Bible answers the question this way:
Galatians 5:19-21(ESV)”Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”.

Examples of the flesh’s outworking in the world are evident. Consider a few sad facts taken from a recent survey on the effect of pornography in America. According to the study, every second in the U.S.:

• $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography

• 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography

• 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines

And every 39 minutes, a new pornographic video is being created in the United States. Such statistics underscore the statement made by the prophet Jeremiah who mourned that Jeremiah 17:9(ESV)“the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”

The Consequences of the Flesh

The Bible says that living in the flesh produces a number of unfortunate consequences. First, Scripture states that those who live according to the flesh, and who never desire change or repent from their sinful behavior, will experience separation from God both in this life and the next:

Romans 6:21(ESV)“Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the [sinful practices] of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death”

• Romans 8:13(ESV)”For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live”

• Galatians 6:7-8(ESV)”Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life”

Further, a person also becomes a slave to his/her fleshly nature: Romans 6:16(ESV)“Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” . This slavery always leads to a destructive lifestyle and deteriorated living. As the prophet Hosea said,Hosea 8:7(ESV) “For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind”.

The fact of the matter is that obeying the flesh always results in breaking God’s moral law. Nevertheless, in a very real sense, a person can never break God’s moral law, although he can certainly disobey it. For example, a person can climb up on a roof, tie a cape around his neck, and leap off the roof in hopes of breaking the law of gravity. However, he will quickly learn that he cannot fly; he cannot break the law of gravity, and the only thing he breaks in the end is himself, while proving the law of gravity in the process. The same is true of moral actions: a person may disobey God’s moral law through fleshly living, but he will only prove the moral law of God true by breaking himself in some way via his own behavior.

Overcoming the Flesh

The Bible provides a three-step process for overcoming the flesh and restoring oneself to a right relationship with God. The first step is a walk of honesty where a person acknowledges his sinful behavior before God. This involves agreeing with what the Bible says about everyone born of human parents: people are sinners and enter the world in a broken relationship with the God who made them:

Psalm 130:3(ESV)”If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?”

1 John 1:8, 10(ESV)”If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. . . . If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” 

The next step is a walk in the Spirit, which involves calling out to God for salvation and receiving His Holy Spirit that empowers a person to live rightly before God and not obey the flesh’s desires. This transformation and new walk of life is described in several places in Scripture:

Galatians 2:20(ESV)“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” 

Romans 6:11(ESV) “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

• Galatians 5:16(ESV)”But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

• Galatians 3:27(ESV)”For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” 

• Romans 13:14(ESV)”But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

• Ephesians 5:18(ESV)”And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit”

• Psalm 119:11(ESV)”Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”

The last step is a walk of death, where the flesh is starved of its desires so that it eventually dies. Even though a person is born again through the Spirit of God, he must understand he still possesses the old nature with its desires that war with the new nature and the desires that come from the Spirit. From a practical standpoint, the Christian purposely avoids feeding the old, fleshly nature and instead practices new behaviors that are driven by the Spirit:

1 Timothy 6:11(ESV)”But flee from [sinful actions], you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness” 

2 Timothy 2:22(ESV)“Now flee from youthful lusts” 

1 Corinthians 9:27(ESV)”But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.“ 

  • Colossians 3:5(ESV)”Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”

• Galatians 5:24(ESV)”Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

Romans 6:6(ESV)”Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;”

Ephesians 4:20-24(ESV) “But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Conclusion

Susanna Wesley, mother to the great preachers and hymn writers John and Charles Wesley, described sin and the flesh this way: “Whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things, in short – if anything increases the authority and the power of the flesh over the Spirit, that to you becomes sin however good it is in itself.” One of the goals of the Christian life is the victory of the Spirit over the flesh and a change of life, which manifests in righteous living before God.

Although the struggle will be very real (which the Bible makes clear), Christians have assurance from God that He will bring them eventual success over the flesh. Philippians 1:6(ESV)”For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus”.

Fruit Producers

At key points in His ministry, Christ emphasized His equality with God in the clearest possible terminology. The strongest affirmations of His deity employed the name for God used when the Father first revealed Himself to Moses–“I AM” (Exodus 3:14).

John 15:1-8(HCSB)“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.

Jesus had already said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12); “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35); “I am the Way” (John 14:6); and “I am the Door” (John 10:9). Now, the night before His death, He tells them, “I am the Vine.” Like the other great “I am” passages recorded in the Gospel of John, it points to His deity. Each one is a metaphor that elevates Jesus to the level of Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and Lord–titles that can be claimed only by God.Jesus promises to do the same for us. He is the “true vine” bringing life to each of the branches. The purpose of the vine is to bring nourishment to the branches in order that they might produce fruit. When separated from the vine the branches wither and die. The vitality of our spiritual life is dependent upon our connection to Christ the “true vine.”

The metaphor in John 15 is of a vine and its branches. The vine is the source and sustenance of life for the branches, and the branches must abide in the vine to live and bear fruit. Jesus, of course, is the vine, and the branches are people. While it is obvious the fruit-bearing branches represent true Christians, the identity of the fruitless ones is in question. Some Bible students say the barren branches are Christians who bear no spiritual fruit.  Others believe they are non-Christians.

Each of us must answer two questions this morning. First, are we connected to the vine, or is the life of Christ flowing within us? Secondly, if we are connected to the vine and we are joined to Christ, then how much fruit are we producing through our lives; is there no fruit, some fruit, or an abundance of fruit?

1. JESUS IS THE SOURCE OF LIFE. (Verse 1)

John 15 continues Jesus’ teaching with, “I am the true vine” Jesus was a master teacher. He didn’t talk over people’s heads; He used things which were common to those He taught so that they could understand His teaching. So I believe that as Jesus and the disciples were making their way they walked beside something familiar to everyone in Jerusalem–a grapevine.

Everyone living in Jerusalem, and even those rough fishermen among the twelve who walked with Jesus knew that life flowed from the vine into the branches. So Jesus uses this common sight around Jerusalem to bring further understanding to what He had said earlier.

Therefore, Jesus is showing His disciples and us that He is the source of spiritual life. Jesus is the source of life, a resource made available by the Holy Spirit when He comes to dwell within the believer. John spells it out plainly for us:

1 John 5:11-12(HCSB)11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

12 The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life. 

Now before we move any further we need to stop and deal with our first question, “Are you connected to the vine?” If you are not connected to Jesus through the forgiveness of your sin, if you have not let Jesus rescue you from drowning in a turbulent sea of sin, then you are as good as dead. The life you are living is empty and meaningless because your aren’t connected to the source of life.

Romans 6:23(HCSB) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The choice is yours. You can either stay the way you are, or you can choose to be grafted into the life giving vine. All the other vines are lifeless; the branches have no real fruit because there is no life in the vine. But when you are connected to Jesus, suddenly everything will be made new and alive.

2. THE LIFE SOURCE PRODUCES FRUIT. (Verses 2-8)

Jesus is the life source and His life within the believer is for one purpose–to produce fruit. The question we need to think about for ourselves is, “How much fruit is being produced, is there no fruit, some fruit, or an abundance of fruit?”

Remember, Jesus is talking with His disciples. Jesus is the true vine and His disciples and those who believe in Him are the branches. So when we think about the quantity of fruit in an individual’s life we are talking about believers– that is those connected to the vine. As we said, anyone who is not connected to Jesus cannot bear fruit.

Now before we deal with that question, let’s quickly THINK ABOUT THE FRUIT. Some of you may be wondering exactly what is this fruit we are supposed to be producing.

· Some have taught that the fruit Jesus is talking about is OBEDIENCE. This fits with the context, those who love Christ will obey His commands.

· Others have taught that the fruit is to REPRODUCE OTHER BELIEVERS. One of the signs of life is that it reproduces itself. Fruit carries within it the seed which has the ability to reproduce.

· Others have taught that the fruit is the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control is the fruitful evidence that you are connected to the vine.

So which one is it? Let’s have Jesus answer that question.

Matthew 7:16-20(HCSB)16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.

Jesus says you will can recognize the fruit; we are fruit inspectors. So let’s check out the fruit.

· Is OBEDIENCE to Christ’s word something that the life of Christ would produce within the life of a believer. YES!

· Is REPRODUCTION of new believers something that Jesus’ life within you will yield as fruit? YES!

· Is the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT a byproduct of Christ’s life at work within a believer?YES!

So what is the fruit of the believers’ life that is connected to Jesus, the true life-giving vine? ALL OF THE ABOVE! Those who are Christ’s branches should desire to produce more and more of ALL His fruit.

That brings us back to the question of quantity. How much fruit is your life producing; is there no fruit, some fruit or an abundance of fruit?

1. The branches that produce NO FRUIT. (Verses 2a, 6)

There is no such thing as a fruitless Christian. Every Christian bears some fruit. You may have to look hard to find even a small grape, but if you look enough, you will find something.

It is the essence of the Christian life to bear fruit.

Ephesians 2:10 (HCSB)For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

The fruit of salvation is good works. James 2:17(HCSB) explains the close relationship between faith and works, 17 In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.

If salvation is legitimate, it produces fruit. That does not mean a person is saved by works, but works are evidence that faith is genuine.

Jesus said a genuine believer can be tested by his fruit.

Matthew 7:16-17(HCSB) 16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit.

Jesus’ illustration would make no sense if every Christian did not bear at least some fruit.

John the Baptist recognized the connection between salvation and fruit-bearing.

Matthew 3:7-8(HCSB)7 When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to the place of his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance.

Lack of fruit showed that their repentance was not genuine.

Since all Christians bear fruit, it is clear that the fruitless branches in John 15 cannot refer to believers. In fact, the fruitless branches had to be eliminated and thrown into the fire. Yet, in verse 2, Jesus refers to the fruitless branches as those who are “in Me.” If they are “in Him,” are they not genuine believers?

Not necessarily. Other passages in Scripture show it is possible to be attached to the Vine without being a true believer. For example, Romans 9:6 says, “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” A person can be part of the nation of Israel yet not be a true Israelite. Likewise, one can be a branch without abiding in the true Vine. Some only appear to be a part of God’s people.

Luke 8:18(HCSB)8 Therefore take care how you listen. For whoever has, more will be given to him; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him. 

Those who only appear to belong will be removed from God’s people.

Clearly, some who appear to be in Christ do not truly abide in Him.

1 John 2:19(HCSB)They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us.

If you are religious, you need to be sure your connection to Christ is genuine. The apostle Paul said, 2 Corinthians 13:5(NLT)5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.

We have a stern warning from Scripture to check our own lives and make sure our salvation is real. This is serious; a branch that does not bear fruit is taken away and burned. Those who say the discarded branches are Christians have a problem: the branches are burned. If they are Christians, it would mean they have lost their salvation forever.

But those fruitless branches are Judas-branches, false branches, people who associate themselves with Jesus and His people and put on a facade of faith in Him. But even though they may appear to be connected to Christ, their association is superficial. So the Father removes them.

2. The branches that produce SOME FRUIT. (Verses 2-4)

Not all branches are as fruitful as others. Some branches may have bushels of fruit while another branch may only have a single bushel or a peck or two, and still other branches while not barren have very little fruit at all.

NOW DON’T CONFUSE QUANTITY AND QUALITY. As a believer you are joined to the vine. The life of Christ within the vine is what produces the fruit. Therefore any fruit produced in your life, obedience, reproduction, or the Fruit of the Spirit, IT IS ALL GOOD FRUIT. Christ’s life in you will not produce inferior fruit. Christ, the true vine, only produces the best quality fruit.

However, each of us as branches can restrict the quantity of fruit produced in our lives. Look again at what Jesus said.

John 15:2-4(HCSB) 2 Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.

What is it that restricts the production of fruit? In a word it’s SELF.

We love Christ; His Spirit is within us, and His fruit is evident in our lives. But from time to time, more often for some and less for others, we stop relying upon Christ and His life within us and live our life in our own strength. Jesus said, “No branch can bear fruit by itself!”

In those times when we stop depending on Christ and rely upon our own strength and ability, it is then that the branch is unable to continue to produce fruit. Often times we may fall into sin once again simply because we didn’t depend upon Christ the source of life to help us.

What does the Father do for the branch that only produces some fruit? Does He cut the branch off and throw it away? No, the Father’s desire is that each branch produces an abundance of fruit; that’s not possible if the branches are cut off of the vine. What did Jesus say the Father would do? “Every branch in me that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

What is the Father doing when He prunes the branches? He is causing us to stop depending upon self in order that we might rely fully on Christ and bear more fruit.

Although the fruitless branches are removed from the vine and burned, the Father tenderly cares for the fruit-bearing branches. In verse 2, Jesus told His disciples, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”  All the fruit-bearing branches are included. The vinedresser prunes the branches so they will bear much fruit.

Kathairo is the Greek word for “prune,” or “cleanse.” In farming, it referred to cleaning the husks off corn and cleaning the soil before planting crops. In the metaphor of the vine, it refers to cleaning shoots off branches.

Have any of you noticed, PRUNING IS PAINFUL. But have you also noticed that although pruning is painful, PRUNING IS PRODUCTIVE. When the branches are pruned back more fruit really is produced. The pain of cutting accomplishes what the Father intends–FRUITFULNESS!

Pruning is also necessary in our spiritual lives. The Father removes sins and the unnecessary things that limit our fruitfulness. One of the best ways to cleanse us is to allow suffering and problems to come into our lives. He prunes us with a vinedresser’s knife. Sometimes it hurts, and we wonder if He knows what He is doing. It may seem we are the only branch getting pruned while other branches need it more. But the Vinedresser knows what He is doing.

Spiritual pruning can take many forms. it may be sickness, hardships, or loss of material possessions. It may be persecution or slander from non-Christians. For some it is the loss of a loved one or grief in a relationship. Or it may be a combination of difficulties. Whatever the method, the effect is to narrow our focus and strengthen the quality of our fruit.

Whatever the method of pruning God uses, we can be assured He cares about us and wants us to bear much fruit. He wants to free us from the shoots that drain our life and energy. He continues His care throughout our lives to keep us spiritually healthy and productive.

Hebrews 12:5-7(HCSB)5 And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons:My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him,6 for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives.7 Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?

If we remember that God is trying to make us more fruitful, we can look past the pruning process to the goal. It is thrilling to realize that God wants our lives to bear much fruit.

Hebrews 12:11(HCSB)11 No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

The Vinedresser’s pruning knife is the Word of God. In John 15:3, Jesus said to the disciples, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” The word translated “clean” in that verse is the same word He used in verse 2 to describe the pruning process. God’s Word cleans the sin out of our lives. That stimulates fruitfulness.

The Father uses affliction to make us more responsive to His Word. Most of us become more sensitive to the truth of Scripture when we are in trouble. When we have a particular problem, a verse of Scripture sometimes will seem to jump off the page. In adversity, the Word of God comes alive.

3. The branches that produce an ABUNDANCE of FRUIT. (Verses 5, 7-8)

John 15:5(HCSB)“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.

These are the branches that have been properly trained through the discipline of pruning. They have crucified self and have learned that apart from Christ they can do nothing.

Galatians 2:20(NLT)My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

John 15:7-8(HCSB)7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.

Why can Jesus say what He does in verse seven? Those branches that remain in Him and His word remains in them will not ask selfishly. They have died to self and the passions of the world; they live for Christ. Therefore whatever they ask for is what Jesus would ask for.

How do we produce an Abundance of Fruit?

He places us in relationship with other believers. We need each other to grow effectively and be fruitful; none of us can make it alone. I believe this is the single most important thing that God does for us. Being a part of a church and sharing in loving relationships with other Christians is vital to your spiritual health.

He instructs us in His Word. The Holy Spirit is our teacher; through our personal devotions, sermons, teaching and interaction in small groups the Holy Spirit will cleanse and strengthen our lives through the Word of God.

God renews our minds so that we no longer conform to the ways of this world but pursue His kingdom; He teaches us to hate sin and desire righteousness in our lives. When we have sin in our lives we want to be restored in our relationship with God and He is faithful to forgive us.

Finally when we mature as believers that we bear an abundance of fruit the Father is glorified as we show ourselves to be Christ’s disciples.

Spurgeon once said,

The Word is often the knife with which the great Husbandman prunes the vine; and, brothers and sisters, if we were more willing to feel the edge of the Word, and to let it cut away something that may be very dear to us, we should not need so much pruning by affliction. It is because that first knife does not always produce the desired result that another sharp tool is used by which we are effectually pruned.

The pruning process helps us bear more fruit. If there is no fruit in your life, if there is no genuine connection to Jesus Christ, you are in danger of being removed and cast into the fire of hell. If there is fruit in you life, you can rejoice that affliction is making the pruning knife more effective, and that the Vinedresser’s ultimate goal is that you bear much fruit.

Jesus, the true vine is producing fruit within His branches. Christ’s fruit is good; it alone will endure. How much fruit are you letting be produced through your life? Is there no fruit, some fruit or an abundance of fruit?

New Creations

New Creations

2 Corinthians 5:14-16(NLT)14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us.Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!

Paul tells us that all believers have died with Christ and no longer live for themselves. Our lives are no longer worldly; they are now spiritual. Our “death” is that of the old sin nature which was nailed to the cross with Christ. It was buried with Him, and just as He was raised up by the Father, so are we raised up to “walk in newness of life”

Romans 6:4-8(NLT)4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.

That new person that was raised up is what Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 5:17 as the “new creation.”

2 Corinthians 5:17(NLT)17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

To understand the new creation, first we must grasp that it is in fact a creation, something created by God. John 1:11-13(NLT) 11He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

This tells us that this new birth was brought about by the will of God. We did not inherit the new nature, nor did we decide to re-create ourselves anew, nor did God simply clean up our old nature; He created something entirely fresh and unique. The new creation is completely new, brought about from nothing, just as the whole universe was created by God ex nihilo, from nothing. Only the Creator could accomplish such a feat.

Second, “old life is gone.” The “old” refers to everything that is part of our old nature—natural pride, love of sin, reliance on works, and our former opinions, habits and passions. Most significantly, what we loved has passed away, especially the supreme love of self and with it self-righteousness, self-promotion, and self-justification. The new creature looks outwardly toward Christ instead of inwardly toward self. The old things died, nailed to the cross with our sin nature.

Along with the old passing away, “new life has begun” Old, dead things are replaced with new things, full of life and the glory of God. The newborn soul delights in the things of God and despise the things of the world and the flesh. Our purposes, feelings, desires, and understandings are fresh and different. We see the world differently. The Bible seems to be a new book, and though we may have read it before, there is a beauty about it which we never saw before, and which we wonder at not having perceived. The whole face of nature seems to us to be changed, and we seem to be in a new world. The heavens and the earth are filled with new wonders, and all things seem now to speak forth the praise of God. There are new feelings toward all people—a new kind of love toward family and friends, a new compassion never before felt for enemies, and a new love for all mankind. The things we once loved, we now detest. The sin we once held onto, we now desire to put away forever. We “put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9-10(NLT)9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 

(Ephesians 4:24(NLT)24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

The more we learn about God the more we will be like Him, Holy and Righteous, We are to put the new nature on and put to death the old nature.

What about the Christian who continues to sin? There is a difference between continuing to sin and continuing to live in sin. No one reaches sinless perfection in this life, but the redeemed Christian is being sanctified (made holy) day by day, sinning less and hating it more each time he fails. Yes, we still sin, but unwillingly and less and less frequently as we mature. Our new self hates the sin that still has a hold on us. The difference is that the new creation is no longer a slave to sin, as we formerly were. We are now freed from sin and it no longer has power over us

Romans 6:6-7(NLT) We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.

Now we are empowered by and for righteousness. We now have the choice to “let sin reign” or to count ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” Romans 6:11-12(NLT) So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.. Best of all, now we have the power to choose the latter. 

The new creation is a wondrous thing, formed in the mind of God and created by His power and for His glory. All those who put their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately and permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit

Romans 8:11-15(NLT)11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.

The Holy Spirit works in and through believers to accomplish His will. His power leads us, convicts us, teaches us, and equips us to do His work and spread the gospel. The Holy Spirit’s powerful indwelling is an amazing gift we should never take lightly.

Jesus Heals the Demoniac

Mark 5:1-5(NLT)So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes.2 When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil[b] spirit came out from a cemetery to meet him. 3 This man lived among the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. 4 Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.

6 When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. 7 With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.”

9 Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”

And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” 10 Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place.

11 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. 12 “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.”

13 So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

14 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. 15 A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. 16 Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. 17 And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.

In verse 16 they were more comfortable with a naked demon possessed man that would cut himself with clay pots, notice that didn’t scare them, they became comfortable with the dysfunction. They were afraid of the man that after 1 encounter delivered a man from his dysfunction which gave them no more excuse to live in theirs. We find that this man had a radical deliverance and people are scared of radical deliverance because that radical deliverance shows them they are living in compromise.

People get mad when you push the button of compromise in their life. They think they doing good as long as they are not around people who live radically for the gospel. People like to go to the place where they can continue in their compromise and no one challenges them for deliverance out of their state of lukewarmness.

Jesus is the founder of the one step program, he didn’t tell the man to go through months of counseling, he met a whore at a well and turned her into an evangelist with 1 meeting. One touch he made a woman who was bleeding and could not reproduce as long as she was bleeding, He healed her and she became an evangelist. The story of the bleeding woman is a correlation of the church.

Mark 5:18 (NLT)As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Jesus instructs the healed man to tell people about his deliverance, particularly those who were familiar and knew him. He wants him to be an example of God’s grace, first among his own family and friends, so that they can come to repentance. Then to the cities and towns around him.

When Jesus has the conversation with the woman at the well, He told her to go tell the men of the city. Homegirl had a problem with men, she had 5 husbands and the one she was with wasn’t her husband. I don’t know about that counsel Jesus. We have to tell her not to be around men anymore.When you meet THE MAN then you will not have to worry about being bound by a lesser man again.

1 Peter 2:9(NLT) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

The darkness does not get darker, it does not get an adjective, only the light gets an adjective. It doesn’t matter how dark the darkness was in your life. It could be sexual darkness, anger darkness, addiction dark, when you shine the light, the wonderful light of Jesus the darkness has to flee. Darkness is just regular darkness we can try to magnify the degree of darkness or celebrate the wonderful light! 

The degree of the darkness has no effect on the degree of the light.

No matter how dark a room is the smallest amount of light illuminates it. It can’t be so dark that light doesn’t work. The reason the world is so dark is not the degree of darkness but the absence of the flame in the heart of the believer. When there is an explosion of the flame in the heart of the believer you will see the driving out of darkness.

Mark 5:11(NLT) 11 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby.

While Jews do not eat pork, Roman soldiers did, and providing unclean meat for others does not seem to have bothered the Jews’ consciences.

The Bible tells us of demonic powers entering into only two species of animals: the serpent—a symbol of deception and shrewdness—and the swine—a symbol of uncleanness. What more appropriate place is there for unclean spirits to be contained than in swine?

There was still an element of compromise in the Land because of the past generations compromise. The land was still covenant land with people who had a covenant not to around swine. A land will stay in compromise until someone comes around who has the authority to break the compromise off the land. America is not a godless nation, we have a church on almost every corner in America, they are compromised churches and we are a compromised nation.

One generation’s compromise will be another generation’s captivity. What you do in moderation your children will do in excess.
Most of us are content to set up camp just out side of Egypt and far from the entrance to Canaan(The Promised Land), and are content to live free of bondage but not in the land flowing with milk and honey.ie Lukewarm living Normal lives, as in Revelation 3:15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

Cold coffee/tea is good, hot coffee/tea is good, lukewarm room temp, not good.

The land that they were in was the Land of Gad, in the region of the Gerasenes. Gad was a tribe of compromise in Numbers.

Numbers 32:1 Now the people of Reuben and the people of Gad had a very great number of livestock. And they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, and behold, the place was a place for livestock. 2 So the people of Gad and the people of Reuben came and said to Moses and to Eleazar the priest and to the chiefs of the congregation, 3 “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon, 4 the land that the Lord struck down before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock, and your servants have livestock.” 5 And they said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession. Do not take us across the Jordan.”6 But Moses said to the people of Gad and to the people of Reuben, “Shall your brothers go to the war while you sit here?

There are a few things that we see from the Exorcism of the man in the graveyard

First, the exorcism left the man with a new posture, that of sitting and resting, in direct contrast to the constant roaming and wandering about the tombs and mountains and wilderness day and night. Christ says in Matthew 11:28(NLT)28 -30“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”,

A problem of sin is discontentment, the lack of peace and rest. However, that all changed when Christ entered the lives of the demon-possessed men to deliver them from the evil adversary.

Second, before the exorcism, the possessed man want nothing to do with Christ, but afterward a tremendous change in attitude occurs: The delivered man wanted to go with Christ out of reverence and respect for his “Savior.” But Jesus, had something else in mind: It is more important that he witness to others of what happened. The man wants to follow Jesus physically, but Jesus wants him to follow the great commission.

Third, before his deliverance he did not wear any clothes, yet afterwards he was clothed (Mark 5:15). Sin makes people shameless and immodest, a natural development due to their separation from the righteous God. Wherever God’s truth is received, people’s morals improve,But also in that time people were identified by the clothes they wore, he had no clothes therefore he had no identity. But after the encounter with Christ He had an identity and it was found in Christ.

Fourth, they regain their sanity. Fools, not wise men, reject God

Psalm 14:1(NLT)Only fools say in their hearts,“There is no God.”They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;not one of them does good!, 

and sin invites Satan into a person’s mind. Ultimately, his influence causes madness. Jesus explains:

Luke 11:24-25(NLT)24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order.. When a demon is removed, a person’s mind is cleaned of chaos and made orderly. To avoid being possessed again, he needs to replace what was swept out with God’s Spirit and truth.

Fifth, the words “sanity or right mindedness” Mark 5:15(NLT)15 A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. suggest the controlling of thoughts and actions, so it indicates, not only sanity, but also self-control. The demons in the men are uncontrollable (“neither could anyone tame him,” Mark 5:4), but when Jesus comes, they recognize God’s authority over them. Evil people cannot control their desires, and society cannot control them, so crime rages on. Living God’s way of life as revealed in the life of Christ is the answer. God provides the right mind to produce the fruit of the Spirit, including self-control

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!