The Anatomy of Deliverence

A person does not have to be possessed by a demon to be under the domain of Satan, who is the god of this world. In addition to the corruption of sin that is present in man, Satan, through the systems of this world, seeks to further corrupt our minds and deceive us. If he can corrupt the way we think, he will influence the way we live.

But when we are delivered by Jesus, He gives us a new mind that is able to bring every corrupt thought in captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). When we are saved, Jesus moves in. And as my friend Manny likes to say, Jesus didn’t move in to rent the house, but to own the house. As a result, there’s a transformation taking place in our hearts where we are no longer being ruled by sin and Satan, but by the Son of God who loves us and gave Himself for us. (Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:13)

Jesus is in the deliverance business, and if you know Him and have been delivered, that’s your business too.

The Corruption of the Demonized

Let’s learn from the gospel of Mark about the anatomy of true deliverance, beginning with the corruption of the demonized.  

“They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.” 
Mark 5:1-5

Jesus, who had just calmed a raging storm on the sea, is now confronted by another storm that is raging in a man’s heart. As soon as He steps out of the boat, He’s confronted by a man with an unclean spirit.

In our text, Mark takes the time to point out the severe corruption that resulted from this man being demon possessed. This man was running around naked. He could not sit still. He had no peace. Night and day he would howl as he cut himself with jagged rocks, probably in an attempt to kill himself. He lived among the tombs, which according to the law, made him unclean and resulted in him being ostracized and isolated from society.

Now, you don’t have to be possessed by a demon to be influenced by the demonic. Satan is the god of the systems of this world. And if we don’t guard our hearts and minds from the lies of the enemy and resist temptation, we will be corrupted. (Romans 12:1-3; James 4:7)

However, its important to also emphasize that we don’t need the help of the devil to make a sinful mess of our lives. We can do a pretty good job without him. As my friend Melody Fabien put it: “Sometimes it’s not the devil. It’s another 'd'…it was your decisions. Take responsibility.”

“We need the theological wisdom and honesty of the little girl who had a terrific fight with her brother. When her mother came in and pulled her off, she said to her daughter, “Why did you let the devil put it into your heart to pull your brother’s hair and kick him in the shins?” The little girl thought for a moment and said, “Well, maybe the devil put it into my head to pull my brother’s hair, but kicking his shins was my own idea.” We are very capable of being evil all by ourselves!” -Kent Hughes

But, let’s not underestimate the fact that we can expose our minds to demonic thoughts and imaginations that can bring corruption and destruction to our lives. It’s been said, whatever captures the mind captures the man.    

This demonized man was in such misery and corruption that everyone around him gave up on him. No one would dare come near him. No one cared about him. He didn’t even care for himself. This man was without hope, that is, until Jesus arrived on the shore.

The Compassion of the Deliverer

“And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” Mark 5:6-8

The compassion of Jesus is not mere sentimentalism. The compassion of Jesus moves you to go where the storm is raging, to go where there’s desperation and misery, to go to people that everyone else has given up on, to bring hope to people who have lost hope.  

Notice also that the authority of Jesus is so absolute that the demons are afraid to make any moves without getting his permission first:

“And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea” Mark 5:11-13

Why did Jesus grant these demons permission to enter the herd of pigs? We know from Luke 8:31 that the demons were afraid that Jesus would cast them into the abyss— a place of spiritual imprisonment where they would remain in chains until the final judgment. So in terror, demons were asking Jesus permission to enter the swine instead, which He allowed. However, Jesus didn’t give permission because He was having mercy on the demons, but to show the value that He places on a man’s soul.    

The Cost of the Deliverance

When we know the compassion of Jesus, we will be moved to bring the hope and deliverance of the gospel to people under the domain of darkness even at great personal cost. Notice that after the pigs where drowned in the sea by demons, who seek to bring death and destruction to our lives, we read beginning in verse 14:

“The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region” Mark 5:14-17

There is nothing more precious than your salvation in Christ which He purchased with His own blood. However, there are people, who are so blinded by sin and Satan, so in love with the temporary pleasures of this life, that they don’t value their own eternal souls, much less someone else’s.

After Jesus delivered the demon possessed man and the people of the town found out about it, did they roast some of the pigs and have a celebration? No! In fact, rather than celebrating the man’s deliverance, they were afraid and began to plead with Jesus to leave their town.

Why did they want Jesus to get out of town? Were they upset that the demonized man, who once terrorized them, was now sitting, clothed, and in his right man? No! They were upset and wanted Jesus to leave because having Him around would cost them more than they were willing to give. Unlike Jesus, they cared more about swines than souls.  

What about the American church today? How much do we value the souls of men? Roger Olsen noted: “For the typical Protestant church member middle class commitments to family, career, and standard of living are so strong that the church commitment is largely...contingent on whether the church appears to serve them. As a result, many local churches tend to become instruments for achieving middle class interests, whether or not these interests can be defended in New Testament terms.”

Sadly, it appears that deliverance is not only opposed by demons, it’s opposed by Christians. Although salvation didn’t cost us, Jesus paid the price, transformation does. It will cost us our time, reputation, money, and best energy.

If we’ve truly have experienced deliverance from the ruin of sin, it should be our joy and urgent mission for others to experience the same deliverance. And God will use us mightily, when we are ready and willing to pay whatever the cost to bring others to the deliverance that’s found in knowing Jesus and His finished work on the cross.

The Commission of the Delivered

In contrast to the people who begged Jesus to get out of town, the man who was delivered, begged Jesus to let him stay with Him:

“As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5:18-19

Now, it’s perfectly reasonable for the delivered man to want to remain with Jesus. But Jesus would not permit it. He wouldn’t permit it because it wasn’t time for Him to be in His physical presence. It was time to go and tell others what Jesus had done for Him.

Have you been delivered by the authority and saving grace of Jesus Christ? If so, you know His presence spiritually and one day you are going to be in His physical presence for all eternity. But until then, just as Jesus commissioned the delivered man, you’ve been commissioned to tell your family, to tell your neighbors, to tell your friends what Jesus has done for you and will do in them if they trust Him.

Jesus didn’t tell the demon possessed man to get a bible degree first before reaching out to his friends with the good news of deliverance. He said to him and to all of us who have been delivered, "go and tell them all that I’ve done for you." Tell them of the cost that Jesus paid on the cross for their salvation. Tell them of His resurrection power. Show them the difference that Jesus makes in the life of a person who trusts Him as Savior and Lord. And the ongoing difference that Christ makes in a believer comes not from deliverance from Satan, but from being a disciple of Jesus. (John 8:31-32)

No matter where you are, no matter how totally lost you may feel, if you will trust and follow Him, He will deliver you from the rule of sin, Satan, and self. Know the truth, Jesus Himself, and the truth will give you true freedom, a freedom that is worth far more than all the pigs and pearls of this world combined.

In your service,
Pastor Marco