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October 18, 2020 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
This past weekend, we had an amazing online experience with you! We shared a wonderful time of worship, enjoyed a powerful and timely teaching, and experienced a refreshing time of community while having conversations, praying together, building one another up, and sharing in the Word of God through online groups.
Continuing our “Miracles” series, Pastor Doug Sauder explored the miracle of transformation as we looked at Mark 5:1–20 and the story of the demon-possessed man.
Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your online group! Watch the video below to see a recap of this weekend’s teaching. You can also scroll down to check out expanded notes and summaries from the teaching, reflect on some great questions, and get informed on some of the great resources available to you.
To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
FOR THE NOTE TAKERS
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug’s message:
There Are Spiritual Forces in This World That Are More Powerful Than You (Mark 5:1–5): Friends, when the apostle Paul tells us to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” because “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:11–12 NIV), he was speaking very literally. There IS a spiritual realm, there ARE battles taking place each and every day in the spiritual realm for the souls of those who don’t yet believe and for the health of believers, for their ability to experience and walk in the fullness of what God has for them, and for their effectiveness as witnesses of Christ Jesus to a lost and dying world. The battle is real and it wages and, apart from the power of God through the Holy Spirit, we have no power to stand against these oppressive demonic forces.
In this story, we see the disciples go with Jesus into an area they didn’t normally go and meet a man who was actually quite scary. He was demon-possessed; he was tormented by a legion of evil spirits. But he wasn’t always this scary, crazed, tormented, unrecognizable, barely human, demon-possessed person. This man was once a little boy. And the truth is no one starts out thinking they’ll be a demon-possessed person or someone who would battle and struggle with alcoholism, drugs, porn, depression, anxiety, cutting, gambling, eating disorders, anger, co-dependency, lack of self-control, or anything else. As children, we have such big hopes and dreams. We imagine this beautiful—often fantastical—life full of fun, family, friends, love, and joy. But demonic forces want to destroy us, and little by little they seek to steal, kill, and destroy us. Like with this man, who had lost his own voice to the demons within him, the devil wants to steal your voice. He wants to fill your head, heart, and mouth with either distraction, depravity, disillusionment, or devastation.
Think back to when you were eight years old. Did you think you would struggle with or tormented by ______? Did it ever cross your mind that you’d be facing ______; that you’d have to deal with ________? Probably not . . . but Jesus knew, and when He sees you, He still sees that child!
Jesus knew and He came to earth and died so you could have life everlasting for all eternity and an abundant life here and now! He came to give you a life far beyond what your eight-year-old self could have ever imagined. He came to fill you, fulfill you, give you hope, peace, joy, forgiveness, love, and satisfaction. He came to make you a child of God and a minister of reconciliation, a fully accepted, deeply loved heir of God. And just as He came to this demon-possessed man in Mark 5, He wants to come to you now!
If you’re not a believer, He wants to come into your life and make you whole. He wants to make you right with God and give you everlasting life; to drive out the emptiness, the darkness, the hurt, and the uncertainty. He wants to drive out all the darkness of the demonic and fill you with His Spirit! If you're a believer who’s struggling and suffering, who feels tormented and oppressed, He wants to remind you that “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 NIV). And He is the ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO THIS! Why? Because . . .
Jesus Is Stronger Than Your Demons (Mark 5:6–15): Jesus Christ has overcome the world! He has conquered sin and death, He has broken every chain, and He wants you to experience complete freedom. The Greek word here for healed actually means both healing (to be free from your suffering) and spiritual wholeness. Our Savior delivers healing past the surface to the deepest needs we have.
After his encounter with Jesus, the demon-possessed man sat clothed and in his right mind. He was free, like a new man. When Jesus saves us, He clothes us with His righteousness (His “right-ness” before God). He transforms our lives. He sets us free and makes us new. And this miracle of transformation leaves us with a smile on our face as we look back at our lives and think, Look at what Jesus did? He got to the deepest part of my soul and healed me! More on this in a bit . . .
Witnessing a Miracle Doesn’t Make You a Believer (Mark 5:15–17): Seeing is not always believing. In Mark 5:17, the townspeople had an interesting reaction to seeing their neighbor healed. They pleaded with Jesus to leave. Why? Because the miracle was too disruptive. The townspeople preferred the devastation and destruction to the man's life over the disruption in their economy (they lost all those pigs over the cliff).
The truth is miracles draw out two contrasting responses in most people: 1) fear and hatred, the reflexive human response to a supernatural encounter or 2) joy and faith, the reflex of one responding to the Holy Spirit’s work.
As we move past the COVID crisis in our world and society and push to get back to normal, will we forget all the things God has revealed in the areas of our lives where we started to realize how much we need Him? Will we forget all that God has done in and around us? Will we go back to our comfort zone and forget about our neighbors?
Your Transformation Doesn’t Have to End with You (Mark 5:18–20): Your miracle of transformation, the healing in your heart and soul, the new life gifted to you by the grace of God through Jesus Christ doesn’t have to be the end of your miracle story. It can lead to someone else’s transformation! Just as Jesus told the man in verse 19, “Go . . . and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you," Jesus wants to use us to tell the people He puts in our lives all about what the Lord has done for us. And when we are obedient to that call, when we share the message of hope and healing, when we share our story of transformation and people see the transformation in us, just as it says in verse 20, people will be amazed by how much Jesus has done for us!
Quote to Remember: Miracles ripple to the deeper parts of our soul.—Pastor Doug Sauder
1. A lot of what we struggle against and battle with isn’t just “in our heads,” and it also can’t simply be explained away as mental health disorders to be treated with drugs. Whether we realize it or not, whether we admit it or not, a great deal of our battles and the strongholds in our lives are battles in the spiritual realm. How does this change your perspective on your struggles?
2. How does knowing Jesus is stronger than your demons impact the way you approach your battles?
3. Why do some see miracles as a disruption?
4. How are you sharing your miracle story with others? How can you help bring transformation into the lives of others?
START A NEW BIBLE PLAN
We have several exciting Bible plans available for you to subscribe to! From a reading plan to follow along with our “Miracles” series to a plan on experiencing peace, to a few great plans that explore the basics of Christianity, we have a variety of awesome resources for you to grow in your faith and study the Word of God.
To view our reading plans, click here.
A LOOK AHEAD
As we continue to track the news and information about COVID-19 and its effects both worldwide and right here in our surrounding cities, this week we will continue to hold services ONLINE ONLY.
Join us online this Wednesday as we continue our slate of online spring classes! Even though classes have been going for two weeks now, there’s still time for you to register. These class experiences are designed to help you get to know Jesus on a deeper level and learn valuable and practical ways to experience the life God created you for. Check out our classes page today to sign up.
Then on the weekend, we’ll continue our “Miracles” series with a message from Pastor Doug. In this message, we’ll explore the miracle of multiplication as we look at the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4 and the feeding of the 5,000 in Mark 6.
We look forward to spending another awesome week with you!
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