Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn
                                                        Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness
Aug 28, 2011                                  "Deviled HAM!" "To Listen the Audio with this Great Sermon click"  "Here"
Sun  Pm Worship                       

Text:  Mark 5:1-20   (King James Version)

          "Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

                                            The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;"

 

Mark 5:1   And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

Mark 5:2   And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

Mark 5:3   Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:

Mark 5:4   Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

Mark 5:5   And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

Mark 5:6   But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,

Mark 5:7   And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

Mark 5:8   For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

Mark 5:9   And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

Mark 5:10   And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

Mark 5:11   Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.

Mark 5:12   And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

Mark 5:13   And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

Mark 5:14   And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.

Mark 5:15   And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

Mark 5:16   And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.

Mark 5:17   And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. 

Mark 5:18   And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.

Mark 5:19   Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

Mark 5:20   And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

 

Let's pray. Father,

Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.

Open my ears so I can hear Your voice.
Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.
And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive. AMEN

 

A lot of people love ghost stories. Horror movies. Halloween tricks.

And here in Marks gospel, there is a wonderfully frightening story. Here are the elements of a classic ghost story that would make anyone's hair stand up in fear.

There is a demon-possessed man. But that is not what frightens people in the story.

This man has been naked and homeless for years. He hangs around the cemetery. He shouts at Jesus. But that is not what frightens people in this story.

When Jesus asks his name, there is that dramatic moment when the demon-possessed man says, "Legion" because there are so many demons in him. But that is not what frightens people in this story.

When Jesus exorcises the demons, he allows them to go into a herd of pigs. The pigs go wild and run off a cliff to their deaths. What a strange image that is. And yet, that is not what is frightening to the people.

You know what scares the people?

Luke writes this in his book: "When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid."

Amazing!
these people have become accustomed to this.

What frightens them is that this man who was evil, becomes good.

What frightens them is the holy, not the unholy.

It is not just discomfort they feel. It is fear, chilled blood, weak kneed fear. Luke goes onto say in his Gospel, "Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear."

Doesn't it strike you as strange that these people are afraid of the wrong things and comfortable with the wrong things.

These people are afraid of that which ought to comfort them.

And they are very much at ease with the very things that ought to haunt them with fear.

And you know the scariest thing of all? Their story is our story.

Because the greatest problem facing our society today is that we have become all too comfortable with evil.

William Bennett wrote a little book a few years ago which he named, "The Death of Outrage." There was a time when society showed outrage at people's misconduct. But no more. We accept the flaws of others so easily, that we accept their misconduct without hesitation. It is not that we forgive these people -- we simply excuse their behavior. we have forgotten how to blush. We have no shame.

What happens when people have no sense of shame? The result is Hitler's Germany where 6 million Jews and 2 or 3 million others were gassed to death. The result is Jeffrey Dahmer who killed and ate 15 victims. The result is Columbine School where young boys kill classmates, teachers, and police officers.

What happens when people have no sense of shame? The result is people who do drugs, engage in premarital sex, and engage in shop-lifting and outright theft time after time after time.

What happens when people have no sense of shame? The result is moral Frankenstein monsters who don't care about the hurt and damage and pain they cause.

A mother, whose teenage son was murdered a couple of years ago in Philadelphia, tells us what happens when people have no shame: "You go to court and the guy is looking at you, like, 'What's the problem? So what if I killed your son?'"

(What happens when people have no sense of shame? We have national and community leaders who are caught in adulterous affairs, yet who look straight into the television camera and declare, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." We have mayors arrested for drug abuse, spouse abuse, or embezzelment, and still they are sometimes re-elected to office later on.

The haunting aspect of Luke's Gospel is that the people were so comfortable with the presence of evil. Here is a man filled with so many demons that his name is Legion. Luke talks about him as a frightening and dangerous individual. People had to chain him hand and foot, and it appears people in the community simply took turns watching over him. But no one is bothered by that. They are so comfortable with evil that what frightens them is the presence of Christ.

In the Old Testament lesson, the prophet Jeremiah talks about the spiritual condition of the people. Their lifestyles have degenerated. The cities are filled with crime. And Jeremiah looks around at them and says (Jer 6:15), "Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush."

That sounds like our culture.

There is something missing in our society.

We have no shame. We are so accepting of the behavior and the lifestyles of the immoral that we have forgotten how to blush.

But I think there is something else that is missing in our society besides shame.

It is the presence of Christ in our community.

In the Gospel of Mark, the community can live with a crazy, naked man living in the cemetery. But they throw Christ out of their community.

And by doing that, they throw out the only hope their community has for redemption.

What is wrong with our community is not so much the presence of drugs and alcohol abuse, and violence and crime. What is wrong is that there is no Christian presence in our community to offer hope and healing.

We come in here, in the safety of our sanctuary and we worship God, but outside in the world, we don't live the Christian life. We see our classmates getting drunk, and we accept it. We hear racist comments, and we are silent. We witness greed, and we join in.

What's wrong with our society is that it is missing something - us.

What's missing is that we aren't acting like Christians.

We have gotten so used to the evil in our culture, that we have stopped speaking out against evil.

We're no longer afraid of the demons in our society.

We've made peace with evil.

As a society, we accept drug and alcohol abuse, we accept violence in our homes, we accept racism, and we not only accept but almost welcome and encourage some immoral behaviors.

During the years of World War II and the Cold War, there was a word for this - appeasement. Appeasement described the efforts of peace at any cost and of accepting evil.

In 1938, Britain and France, still trying to recover from World War I, signed the Munich Pact, which basically said that they would accept Hitler Germany's take over of part of Czechoslovakia, as long as Germany agreed not to take any other territory. The policy became known as appeasement, and it didn't work. Germany eventually took over most of Czechoslovakia, and then a few months later, swept into Poland.

Appeasement didn't work. World War II began.

We are in a spiritual warfare, and we do not win it by appeasement, by accepting the unacceptable. We win our spiritual warfare by standing firm in our faith.

We are the problem in our culture. We are not living the Christian life in our communities. We are not the Christian we need to be.

 
You want to know how to build a better society?

Be the Christian presence in your community.

Jesus Christ, in His Sermon on the Mount, (Matt 5:13-16), said, "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

What did Jesus mean by calling us the salt of the earth? What is salt? It is a seasoning. It adds to the flavor that we eat. It is also a preservative, and was one of the main sources for preserving food in the day of Jesus.

As Christians, we are the salt of the earth. We are the seasoning that flavors the world. We are the preservative.

You know what's wrong with our society? We are what's wrong. We're not being the salt of the earth.

Jesus called us the light of the world. But we have hidden our light. We don't live the Christian life in our communities. We don't let our light shine out.

And I know that it is hard to be that light of the world. That salt of the earth. That Christian presence in our culture.

It takes great courage live the Christian live and to stand firm in your faith. Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 16:13), "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be of courage; be strong."

That is so hard to do. Our culture has forgotten how to blush. Our society is accepting of immoral conduct. It is easier for us to stay silent and not speak out against immoral conduct, or to take a stand against drug or alcohol abuse, or to take a stand in favor of the sanctity of marriage.

Try to live a Christian life in your work place. You'll see you hard it is.

Try to live a Christian life in your school.

Try to live a Christian life in your family.

Try to take a stand. It's hard. As Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians, you have to have courage. You have to be strong.

The Apostle Peter wrote in his epistle (1 Pet 2:12), that we should "Live such good lives among the pagans that ... they may see our good deeds and glorify God."

You want to change society and improve it? Take a look around you and see the evil in our society, then study the Word of God and finally live the Word of God.

The most important way we can improve our society is to live our faith day to day in the midst of our society.

And if you think that by YOUR living the Christian life will have no effect, think again. One life can make all of the difference.

Rosa Parks is one of the heros of the Civil Rights Movement. She is not remembered for any speeches she gave, or books she wrote, or meetings she had with the President, or for organizing millions of people to march on Washington. She is remembered for riding in a bus in a community that was segregated. Segregation was a way of life. It was an evil that everyone lived with. It was an evil that was accepted. It was an evil people were comfortable with. Like the naked, demon-possessed man in the cemetery, no one was frightened by it. But Rosa Parks got on a bus one day and said, "no more. Not today." And she took a seat where she wasn't supposed to sit.

One voice, one action, added with a lot of other single voices made a change.

There is something missing in our culture - salt. Light. A Christian voice to take a stand against the evil among us.

 

 Jesus loved this man so much that He came across the Sea of Galilee just for him,
 Do you understand who I am sending you to? I am sending you to the very ones who are running me off."
"I am still reaching out to the ones who hate me.
"I don't stop loving someone when they reject me.
"Go to the pig farmers, sinners, adulterers, thieves, liars, cheaters, homosexuals, abortionists, liberals, cults, gossipers, pharisees, self-righteous...
"Show them a little bit of my warming love and create in them a hunger for the fireplace.
"Show them a little light and so I can create in them a despite of the darkness.
Mr. Loon said, "Lord, as soon as I graduate Bible College. As soon as I finish Seminary.
"At least let me memorize the names of the books of the New Testament.
"I should have time to meomorize the Roman Road."
Jesus said, "There is an urgency for my message. I would really like you to go now."
Love has an urgency to it.
That is why Jesus said, "Pray for laborers, the harvest is ready now," Matthew 9:37-38.
There is an urgency for Battlefield Ministries, but many are living with a lack of urgency.
We are asleep as the world is dying around us.
In March of 2007, in the Kuban region of southern Russia, at least 62 people were killed by a fire that quickly blazed through a home for the elderly. The greatest tragedy was that it could have been prevented. Authorities say a night watchman ignored two fire alarms. When the third alarm sounded, and the watchman saw flames, he finally took the necessary action for evacuation. Even then, other staffers were notably absent from their posts, making the escape