Sermon Series: ‘Encountering Jesus’
Message: ‘His Sovereignty’ Pt. 1 Text: Luke 8:26-56
Introduction: Control and chaos. No, I’m not talking about the two spy networks on the old tv series ‘Get Smart.’
If you’ve been reading/watching the news or connecting on social media outlets, you may be worried that chaos will overpower control.
- I’m talking about North Korea’s threats to strike Guam, a US territory in the Pacific.
- And President Trumps heated promise that it will be met with ‘fire and fury!’
Understand something: chaos is always the work of Satan. It’s his preferred method for destroying the work of God. And it has been very effective.
- Race relations are at an all-time low. I suppose you’ve heard about what happened in Charlottesville, Va. yesterday. A car rammed into protestors at a white supremacy rally killing one and hurting a couple dozen people. We are a divided nation, and the racial chaos is pleasing to Satan.
- Through the LGBTQ movement Satan’s bringing chaos to God created order.
- The chaos is seen in the political, social, and educational realms. Sparking hatred even violence, between family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers and students. And Satan is pleased.
- Chaos is also seen in the realm of the church. Churches are fighting and leaving the foundations of orthodox, conservative Christianity, to accommodate the rising liberal beliefs Satan is spreading. The church, worldwide, is in chaos. And Satan is pleased.
Folks, life as we know it, is not slowly but quickly spiraling out of control. Chaos dominates
- in our homes, in our streets, in our schools, in our businesses, in our governments, and yes, in our churches.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking:
- Gee Pb, thanks for that gloom and doom introduction. Now I can go home and be even more depressed.
Listen. Just as God’s Word tells us not to grieve as those who have no hope:
- It also tells us that God is in control.
- It also tells us that yes there is chaos in the world, but Jesus has overcome the world.
- It also tells us that through faith in Jesus, we’re in a special, a safe, a loving, forever relationship with the One who is sovereign over all things in the world, even in our own personal world.
Background: I mentioned last Sunday that Dr. Luke, in chapter 8, Jesus was developing in His disciples, the knowledge of who He truly is. And He’s doing it by revealing His sovereignty. In other words,
- Jesus is revealing His full divinity, by His complete authority over all things, even the chaos that Satan brings to life.
Last Sunday we saw Jesus’ complete authority, that He is sovereign, over the natural realm of life. Today we’ll see that He’s sovereign, over the supernatural, the spiritual realm.
Transition: Open your Bibles to Luke 8:26.
- Luke 8:26-39 The supernatural realm
- Luke 8:26-33 A life in chaos
Read: Luke 8:26-33
This takes place immediately after Jesus calmed the raging storm at sea. The pounding storm that night resulted in chaos both outside and inside the boat that was so great, the disciples feared for their very lives.
While Jesus calmed the raging storm and brought peace and tranquility to the wind and waves, I’m thinking that peace and tranquility was not so readily apparent, in the minds and hearts of the disciples.
- Remember verse 25 said they were afraid.
As the boat they were on was approaching the shore, I’m sure the disciples were anxious to get off, and put both their feet on dry ground.
- But I believe their hearts/minds were still racing. The fear that gripped them in the midst of the storm, was fading, but there was still a remnant.
Immediately after they landed on the shore, Jesus is confronted by a naked, raging lunatic. I can picture this poor guy running to Jesus, screaming, waving his hands and looking very scary. (show)
- Listen, I’d bet good money that it was Satan’s desire to further frighten, to place Jesus’ disciples back into chaos mode, by forcing this man to act like a raving lunatic as he approached them.
- He was demon possessed, controlled by Satan. He brought chaos to those around him. And… chaos was a resident in his heart and mind as well.
When he got to Jesus, three things are especially revealing.
- First, He fell down before Jesus. He didn’t attack Jesus, He didn’t hurl insults at Him. He fell down before Jesus. That, is a position of submission to someone who’s greater. The demons understood their place before Jesus… and showed it.
- Second, He called Jesus, Son of the Most High God. Not only did the demons in this man submit to Jesus, they said why: They knew Jesus was the Son of the Most High. They knew Jesus was fully divine, they knew Jesus was God!
- Third, the demons asked Jesus, I beg you, do not torment me. They recognized His authority over them as God.
By asking Him not to torment them, they were admitting that He had absolute authority over them.
I keep saying them, because when Jesus asked for the demon’s name, he responded with Legion.
- A Roman legion was about 6000 soldiers.
Luke tells us that there were in fact, many demons who were possessing this man. Perhaps the demons wanted to frighten Jesus by their sheer numbers. But it didn’t work. So the demons asked Jesus not to cast them out of the man and into the abyss.
- The abyss, also called the Bottomless Pit, is the abode of demons, a jail of sorts, meant to restrain the amount of evil in the world.
Step back for a moment. Do you see it? In their request the demons acknowledge their end. Didn’t see it? OK, listen to what Mathew adds in his Gospel:
- And behold, they cried out, “What have You to do with us, O Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29)
They know Jesus’ authority, as fully God, extends even to their destruction, later, in the Lake of Fire.
So, they ask Jesus to send them into the nearby herd of pigs so they wouldn’t have to go to the abyss and wait for their ultimate destruction.
- Notice again, the demons needed to ask Jesus’ permission to enter the pigs…
Sidebar: This is the first occurrence in history, of ‘deviled ham.’
Jesus agrees and sends them into the herd of pigs. (Mark 5:13 tells us there were 2000 in the herd)
Then we read that the pigs run over a cliff to their death.
- In other words, the pigs committed ‘soooeee-cide’
Jesus has been condemned by many, even in the liberal churches, for sending demons into innocent, pigs. I don’t want to spend the time defending Jesus’ action.
- I will say that He’s sovereign over all things and has authority to do what He deems necessary. And this was necessary. Why?
- It would have shown all those watching, including those who were herding the pigs, that the demons had in fact, left that man. Otherwise the townspeople might not have believed it and would not have welcomed the man back into the town.
And the disciples would not have seen that Jesus is sovereign over the supernatural, the spiritual realm.
Luke 8:34-37 Chaos stilled
Read: Luke 8:34-37
First the man, then the townspeople.
I think we can rightfully assume that it took some time for the herdsmen to get to the town, convince the townspeople that something extraordinary had happened and for everyone to come to the shore.
When they arrive, they find the man they knew as demon possessed;
- in his right mind (sane)
- and calmly sitting at Jesus’ feet.
Think about this. When we see people sitting at Jesus feet in Scripture, it’s usually because Jesus is teaching them. Is it possible, that during the time it took for the townspeople to get there, Jesus began to disciple this man?
- I think it is, because in verses 38-39 Jesus tells him to return to his home and tell people what God had done for him. Before Jesus sent this man out to witness, He prepared the man for the work.
Yes, we’re not told that, but it would be consistent with what we read in Scripture of how God works when He calls us to serve Him.
He was sitting at Jesus’ feet. In verse 36 we read the demon possessed man had been healed. The word used here for healed in the Greek is sozo and it’s used 93 times in Scripture as saved.
- It seems to me that by God’s mercy and grace, this man placed his faith in Jesus.
The text tells us that he was calm, dressed and in a learning posture.
- The chaos that ravaged his life was over.
- He was calm because he came to know the Prince of Peace.
The townspeople, however, were another story. And their reaction reveals a lot about their hearts.
First, it seems they had some relative peace before Jesus came.
- Perhaps they made a deal with the demons, ‘We won’t try to restrain you any longer, if you agree to just stay out of town.’
BTW, we’re never told in Scripture, to make any kind of deal with evil. Just saying!
But when Jesus cast out the man’s demons into the pigs, they might have thought the demons would come back and retaliate in some way. They got nervous and that disturbed their sense of peace. And people don’t like that.
Second, they didn’t seem to care that a human being, one of their own whose demon possession was on steroids, they didn’t care that he was delivered, free, that Jesus had stilled the chaos that ruled his life.
- It seems they cared more for the value the pigs brought them
- than they did for the value of a man’s soul before God.
They tell Jesus to leave them alone… and He does. He gets in the boat and returns with the disciples, to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.
But that’s not the end of the story. Dr. Luke gives us an epilogue.
- Luke 8:38-39 A grateful heart
Read: Luke 8:38-39
ILL: Steve Cole tells the following story:
Years ago a farmer from the interior of China had come to a mission compound where a doctor had removed the cataracts from his eyes.
A few days after the farmer left, the doctor looked out his window and noticed the same man holding the end of a long rope. In single file behind him, holding to the rope, were several dozen blind Chinese whom the farmer had rounded up and led for miles to the doctor who had worked “miracles” on his eyes. Because his sight had been restored, he wanted others to experience the same thing!
You see the big idea right? Those who have experienced Christ’s transforming power should proclaim it to others.
- Jesus had calmed the raging storm in this man’s life
- He brought peace where once there was only chaos.
- And He revealed Himself for who He truly was, God in the flesh.
And he responded, by wanting to serve Jesus.
And serve Jesus he would. But, not the way he had asked.
- Instead of granting this man’s request to go with Jesus,
- Jesus tells him: Return to your home and declare how much God has done for you.
Very important, but easy to miss: Did you notice what Jesus said? Declare how much GOD has done for you.
He would have understood that Jesus was saying that He was God, since it was Jesus who had cast out the demons from this man’s life.
And on another level, what we see here is a paradigm of what getting saved, coming to faith in Jesus, involves: We tell others the changes following Jesus has made in our lives.
Look, not everyone is called to full time Christian service, but everyone is called to declare how much God has done for you.
- This man was called by Jesus to be the first missionary to the Gentiles.
- And you too have been called by God to be a witness, a missionary, in your sphere of influence, of all that God has done for you.
We’re told in verse 39 that this man was obedient and proclaimed throughout the whole city how much Jesus has done for him.
- How are you doing with that?
Conclusion: Let me close with a few additional points of application:
Jesus can calm the storms in your life, just as easily as He calmed the storm at sea.
- Anxiety, fear, worry, depression, low self- esteem, guilt, hurt, brokenness, can all be calmed with just a word from Jesus.
- Fall at His feet, trust Him. He is sovereign over the storms in your life.
If Jesus can transform a man with a legion of evil demons inside him, He can certainly transform the mess we’ve made of our lives.
- Drug & alcohol abuse, sexual addictions, gossiping, gluttony, hatred, sex outside of marriage, adultery, lying… any sin that has been causing chaos in our lives can be calmed with just a word from Jesus.
- Fall at His feet, trust Him. He is sovereign over the effects of sin in your life.
In every and all situations that you’ll face, Jesus is sovereign. Fall at His feet, and trust Him.