Go Home and Tell (Luke 8:26-39)
Maybe you feel inadequate to share your faith. What if someone asks you a question you don’t know how to answer? What if you get into a “sticky” situation and you need to confront a major sin? What if someone brings up an “embarrassing” sin–something we just don’t talk about in polite company? What if someone becomes angry?
I think we’ve all experienced similar emotions when it comes to soul-winning. There are times to this day that I stop to visit someone and part of me is praying that there is no one on the other side of the door. Soul-winning can be uncomfortable, and it will push us well beyond our comfort zones. Yet, Jesus never promised an easy life.
I also think that we make sharing our faith too hard at times. Yes, we need to preach the Gospel. The gospel of Christ is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16). “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17).
p>But, not everyone is going to have the ability to sit and do a Bible study. Scripture recognizes that fact. In listing the gifts that the Resurrected Christ has given to His church, Paul says, “He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” (Eph 4:11). Not everyone has been so gifted as to be an evangelist.
So, if you do not have the gift of evangelism, what can you do to sow the seed of the kingdom? That’s an important question. We have VBS coming up in a few weeks. What can you do to help souls lost in sin? Our Friend and Family Day is immediately after VBS. We plan on having at least one hundred on that Sunday. What can you do to help us reach that goal?
This morning’s text helps answer that question. What can you do to reach lost souls? You can tell what God has done for you.
Scripture (Luke 8:26-39)
When Jesus gets to the country of the Gadarenes, He is met by a man possessed with demons.
This man is a sad case.
He has had demons for a long time.
This man hasn’t suffered for just a little while — He has suffered for a long, long time at the hand of these demons. He has been away from his family for a long, long time.
He wore no clothes.
The demons had taken away this man’s dignity.
Luke likely mentions the nudity to speak about the indignity this man experienced. Adam and Eve experienced the shame of nudity in the Garden. Isaiah prophesied naked for three years to speak of the shame that would befall Egypt (Is 20). This man has no dignity–the demon has taken it all.
He did not live in a house but in the tombs.
Contact with the dead rendered a Jew ceremonially unclean: “He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days” (Num 19:11). This man is a sad case, indeed.
The demons begged Jesus not to torment them. Such was common when a demon came into contact with Jesus.
Jesus commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man–He’s going to give this man his dignity back.
The man was so strong that he had to be bound, but he could break the bonds. The demon had completely overtaken this man’s life. This man might not have been willing to hurt a fly, but this demon has completely overtaken his life.
The man says that his name is “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. A legion of Roman soldiers consisted of approximately 6,000 men–the idea is that a great number of demons inside of him.
The demons begged Jesus that He would not send them into the abyss. The abyss in Scripture is the abode of Satan and demons.
Jesus sent the demons into swine. As with the man living among the tombs, you have the idea of uncleanness. Swine, of course, were unclean. These demons are quite unclean. As they had with the man, the demons cause the swine to act in a self-destructive way. When they were allowed to roam this earth, demons sought people’s destruction.
The people flee and tell what has happened; a great crowd comes back.
Notice how they find the formerly possessed man: Sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind. That’s a big change from how they’ve seen him in the past. Notice that the man is sitting at Jesus’ feet. That is the position of a disciple. This man has fully become a disciple of Jesus, a point that’s going to be made throughout this text.
The people become afraid of Jesus. That really shouldn’t be surprising–If this man has power over the demons, what else can He do? Jesus, respectful of their wishes, leaves.
The man from whom the demons had departed begged that He might go with Jesus. We’ve already seen that this man is a disciple of Jesus. He may also want to go with Jesus to make sure that the demons do not come back.
Jesus does not allow him to go. I’ve thought about why that is–Was there something about this man that didn’t make him a good fit to be one of Jesus’ closest disciples?
I don’t know, but Jesus did have a role for him. “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” No matter this man’s talent level, he could tell how Jesus had healed him. Notice that the man doesn’t just go home and tell what great things Jesus had done for him–He went throughout the whole city proclaiming what Jesus had done for him. This man just couldn’t keep his mouth shut about all that Jesus had done for him.
“You can tell what God has done for you.” As we plan VBS and Friend and Family Day, it’s going to be important that you tell what God has done for you. How can you go about telling what God has done in your life?
You need to stop and think about all that God has done in your life.
How has God changed your life? What sins did you once have that you no longer carry? 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. The Corinthians had been changed by the blood of Jesus. Haven’t you also been changed by His blood? Can you not share how different you have been made by Jesus’ blood?
What penalty has Jesus taken from you? Were you not headed for hell and were you not hopeless? Ephesians 2:11-12. Can you not share how Jesus has replaced your hopelessness with hope?
Understand that inviting someone to worship can have eternal consequences. Heaven and hell hang in the balance. Jesus will go with you. After giving the Great Commission, Jesus says, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20). You will never go alone!
Yes, some may say, “No.” After all, people told Jesus, “No.” But, our business is too serious to quit.
I want each of you to invite five people to come worship with us next week. If someone says, “I can’t come with you then. Maybe next week,” don’t let him/her off the hook. Invite again next week. Let us strive to have a full house that God may be honored and glorified!
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Dale Ridge church of Christ in Roanoke, Virginia.