The EpistleGalatians 3:23-29
Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.
The GospelLuke 8:26-39
Jesus and his disciples arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me" -- for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" He said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.
Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him
The Sermon: Demons
This story of Jesus casting demons from the man who was possessed and sending them into a herd of pigs is a very well known story. The man had been so taken over by demons that he really was unable to function. He was literally driven crazy by them. This is a wonderful miracle story and it is one that almost all people are familiar with but I would like to look at it from a more personal perspective.
In a metaphorical sense, we all have demons that struggle to control us. We all have desires that seem to take hold of us and control our thoughts and actions. You have heard the saying, “the devil made me do it.” That of course is a good way to pass responsibility for our actions onto someone else. The devil may be real and the devil may whisper temptations in our ear but whether we listen or not is really up to us. In the words of the comic character Pogo, “we have met the enemy and he is us.”
Whether it is a demon whispering in our ear or not, we still can make some very basic decisions about who we look to for advice in our lives. Jesus gave us a blue print. His teachings have given us a direction to follow and it is up to us to choose to go there or not. It is easy to get distracted by all that the world offers. We can hurry on down to Hardee's where the burgers are charcoal broiled. We can see the USA in our Chevrolet.(that dates me). We can even go to Marlboro country. Or, we can pass by all of those distractions and focus all our attention on loving our God and loving one another. We can show that love by caring for those around us, attending worship and making our days a tribute to our faith as we prayerfully travel on life's journey.
Paul said it so well when he wrote to his fellow Christians, “ You have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. “
When you fully commit to Christ, the distractions drift away and like the demons entering the swine, they fall of the cliff and are no more.
What happened last Sunday in Orlando has been a part of our conscientiousness all week. I do not know how many time tears have run down my cheeks when I reflect on that horrible murder that took fifty lives in Orlando. I pray for them and the survivors. My prayer is that something will be done to prevent it from happening again.