“Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of the disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury the dead. And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils [demons], coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils [demons] besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.”
The Great Storm---Two Demoniacs delivered, set free
“We continue, and Lord, these words, Lord, that you used Matthew as the pen in your hand. And these words God breathed, given to us, and as alive tonight, as they were then. And Lord we bring our lives before you, and Lord, we never want to gather just out of habit, we come expecting, Lord, you to be in our midst. You know those here this evening that need, Father, that long for your miraculous healing touch. Father, those lives here this evening that might be held up to glorify the wonderful name of Jesus that we love so much. Lord, you know those of us seeking you for direction right now, those of us whose hearts are so overwhelmed Lord, that it just feels like a huge empty hole in our chest, and we need you Lord to embrace us, we need to find that underneath are the everlasting arms, we need those of us tonight so desperately need you to embrace us and to heal us, and to fill us with your Spirit. We Lord, you know those of us that are rejoicing, that are thankful, you know those of us here Lord whose attitude needs a major alignment, and we trust you to do that. You’ve been so faithful to do it to all of us. And Lord, as we look into your Word then let it be alive in each of our lives. We put these things before you, and pray that it would happen for Jesus’ glory, for his name sake, and in his name we pray, amen.’
Where we’ve been, where we’re going
Verses 18-20, “And when Jesus saw a great multitude about him, he gave a commandment to depart to the other side. Then a certain scribe came and said to him, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.’” We have come as far as verse 18 in chapter 8, we left off with Jesus at the front door of Peter’s house, at the end of a Sabbath. He had healed Peter’s mother-in-law, and then it says everybody in the village there brought to him their sick, their demon-possessed. It was Capernaum. The population at that time is a little over 10,000 most scholars feel [that would make it a city in those days]. Imagine Peter looking out the front door of his house and having 10,000 people on his front lawn, imagine that, gathered at his front door, some of them demon possessed out on the front lawn, screaming, carrying on; some of them lame, some of them blind, some of them lepers, remarkable scene. And it says Jesus healed them ALL, and cast out the demons that were demon-possessed. Now, we jump forward. Chronologically the order changes here. This sequence happened at a different time, Jesus, the storm on the sea, and we’re about to head into that. Pay close attention, I have this eerie feeling that it was recorded for us. Because, the truth is, we’re either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or going into a storm. The only inbetween storms are the coming out---or are we more coming out or going in? But in verse 18 Jesus says “And when Jesus saw the great multitudes about him,” and this is at a different time, when he had been teaching the parable of the sower, “he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.” And Mark clearly tells us “to go over, to go over to the other side”, that’s important, he didn’t say to go under to the other side [aah shucks, he wasn’t a submarine sailor. Would have been calmer going “under”.] But it’s the kind of thing that we hear every day and don’t pay much attention to. If we were getting into a boat with Jesus and he would say ‘Let’s go over to the other side’, we wouldn’t think anything of it. In the middle of the storm he said “over” not under. Ah, “let’s go over to the other side.”
You’re not going to be “at home” following
me---count the cost
Now a scribe comes running to him, before they could get into the boat, verse 19, “A certain scribe came and said unto him,”…now as we read that, look down at verse 21 real fast, then it says “another of his disciples”, so the grammar is telling us is that the scribe was one of his disciples. In fact, the other Gospels tells us more clearly “a scribe who was also one of his disciples”. “Now when Jesus saw the multitudes he gave command, ‘Let’s go over to the other side.’ And a certain scribe (who was one of his disciples) came and said unto him, ‘Master, (now of course he would say that, because he was one of his disciples) I will follow thee withersoever thou goest.’” Now you wouldn’t say that, if you were at home praying, you wouldn’t say ‘Lord, I’ll follow you withersoever thou goest.’ But you’d probably say ‘Lord, I’ll follow you anywhere.’ And that’s what he was saying. Now Jesus answers him in a particular way, “the foxes have their holes, the birds of the air have their nests, but the Son of man has no where to lay his head.’” And he’s saying something to us, because we can get infected with scribe-itis, and I think we have to be careful. A scribe was someone, there were the Scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribe was one who copied the Law, who copied the Scripture. They were considered to be lawyers, experts in the Law because they constantly copied them, and a scribe was someone then who was extremely familiar with the Scripture, with the text itself, with the grammar, with everything, a scholar. And we need to remember, because we can get that scribe-itis, you know the Scripture says that knowledge puffeth up, love edifieth. Jesus is going to answer this guy a certain way. Now I believe his request, what he says to Jesus is completely genuine. He just saw these miracles, he’s been watching this, he’s in the emotion of the moment, and I think it’s a very emotional statement. ‘Lord, I’ll follow you anywhere.’ You know, we can do that at a Men’s Retreat, we’re so pumped up, and we’re so excited, and we’re all smoked up, and we come home from the Men’s Retreat, and say ‘Lord, I’ll follow you anywhere.’ You know, except home, because when I get there, the hot-water heater is broken down and the dog’s throwing up, and this is going on, and there’s water coming out of the light in the kitchen, it looks like a Three Stooges movie, you know. But we get in that emotion, ‘Lord’, and we mean it. ‘I’ll follow you anywhere.’ And Jesus says, ‘Well look, there’s a cost involved in this. I understand what you’re saying. I’m headed into a storm right now, would you follow me there if you knew?’---if he’d read the chapter. ‘Foxes, they have their dens, the birds of the air, they have their nests. But the Son of man, he has nowhere to lay his head.’ Now this is the first time we hear him call himself the Son of man in the New Testament, it is used 88 times in the New Testament, interesting number, referring to Jesus, 32 times I believe in Matthew. We’ll find it first in Psalm 8, but the Jews most readily relate to Daniel chapter 7 “I saw one like the Son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven, with great power and authority”, and they knew it was a picture of the Messiah coming in his majesty. And he refers to himself here as the Son of man, the Son of man. The One who would come in great majesty and great power, doesn’t have a pillow as it were, in this world, has nowhere to lay his head. The foxes, this is their environment is what he’s saying. They have their dens. The birds of the air, they have their nests. They’re made for this world, this is their environment. But this is not my environment. I am passing through, a Pilgrim, a Sojourner, I’m here for a reason, I’m here to do the work the Father has given me, and to complete that work. I’m here not to be served, but to serve and lay down my life for ransom, for many. It’s the reason, he’ll say, I came forth. So this scribe, whose got great knowledge of the Scripture, and he’ll say to the Pharisees and Sadducees and Scribes, you know, ‘You think that in the Scripture you have life, but these are they that testify of me.’ And we can know all kinds of stuff, and we should, and we can have our own systematic theologies, and we should, and we can stand around and argue about Election and Pre-destination, and that’s good, it sharpens us, we should know, we should study, ‘study to show ourselves approved, a workman of God.’ But all of that still is to an end, to where when we really say to him, “I will follow you anywhere”, you know, I understand Election, I understand Pre-destination, but what if he says “pull over and help this guy with a flat tire.” ‘Look, I don’t think I was predestined to do that, Lord.’ I mean, there is a cost. There’s a cost, “I’ll follow you anywhere” you may say. But he’s saying ‘You’re not going to be completely at home following me, you’re going to realize ‘this is not your environment, then.’ Again, when we get to heaven (or ushered into the kingdom of heaven with eternal life), then we will recognize the environment we were made for. Everything will resonate with us there. Be careful of scribe-itis, we all get it, I get it, hopefully it only lasts a few days. We can get an infection with it.
Lord, you first, that’s all there is
“Then another disciple comes and says unto him”, he’s got a different infection, “Lord, allow me first” that’s like a retro-virus, Lord-me-first just do not go together, you know, this is an auto-immune disease here. You can’t say Jesus me first, you can’t say Lord me first, they don’t go together. “Lord, allow me first to go bury my father.” Jesus says to him, “Follow me, let the dead bury their dead.” ‘Well, come on, Lord, what do you mean? His Dad’s at the funeral parlor and he wants to go have a viewing?’ No, it’s saying more than that. He’s saying, ‘Lord, let me go live with my father until he dies. Let me care for my father.’ Jesus says “Let the dead bury the dead”, because there are people in this world who are alive, but they’re dead [spiritually]. He’ll say that later to us in Matthew, that the dead have their gods. There are people that worship their cars, they worship their career, they worship money, the dead have their gods. Jesus says here “let the dead bury their dead” because…Jesus is saying, ‘Don’t procrastinate’, and he’s challenging the guy again to count the cost. ‘Lord, I’m one of your disciples, I’ll follow you, but let me first’…well there’s no Lord me first, there’s Lord you first. There’s no ‘Lord’, and then that infection ‘me first’, it’s a sickness. It doesn’t work. Let the dead bury their own dead, Jesus says to this guy. Because who knows, I mean, look, how old is his dad? His dad, maybe he’s only 35, and he’s saying ‘Lord, 40 more years or so, I’m with you, I’m in there.’ Or maybe his dad is 65 years old and in great shape, maybe he’s like the Jack L’Lane of the Galilee area, and he goes out on the Sea of Galilee and he swims and he pulls fifteen fishing boats behind him, he’s got a juicer, he’ got TV commercials, you know. Let the dead bury their dead, Jesus says to him, challenging these men, challenging us. Natural relationships, knowledge without action, knowledge without obedience, it can be there.
Jesus is sound asleep on the helmsman’s pillow---a
storm of perfecting vs. a storm of correcting, which is it?
And now he gets into the ship, that began back in verse 18. “When he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And behold there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves. But he was asleep” (verses 23-24). You ever have that feeling? ‘Lord, I’m in a storm, and you are asleep!? Obviously, because I’m screaming and you don’t hear me.’ Now the interesting thing, he just said ‘the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head’, ah, Mark tells us, that he is on, and there is a definite article “the pillow”. In the back of these fishing boats there was an oarsman’s usually big leather pillow that he would lean on, and the oarsman was the one who controlled whatever the rudder mechanism was, and Jesus has fallen asleep. Now it’s the only time in all four Gospels that we find Jesus asleep. And it’s in a storm [my kind of sailor]. Don’t you wish he’d fallen asleep on a nice day when there’s no problems? Well he won’t because he has no place to lay his head in this world, he has things to do. But when he’s out in the middle of the Sea of Galilee and there’s a storm, nothing to do until he gets to the other side, so he zonk’s out. They head out into the Sea of Galilee, it’s about 7 miles across, about 15 miles long, it’s between 600 or 700 feet below sea-level [and it is 1,300 feet deep!]. Occasionally, when there’s cold air moving across the Mediterranean, it rushes down by Magdala by the foot of the Arbel, this huge gorge, and the wind when it’s cold, you can have an inversion layer, sometimes where the hot air is trapped underneath, because it’s kind of in this basin, the Sea of Galilee. But once in a while, because of wind, that cold air rushes in under that hot air, and the Sea of Galilee in a matter of minutes can be just a storm. I’ve got photographs at home of 15 foot waves on the Sea of Galilee. Now I’ve been there many times. And it’s astounding to think that could happen, and I’ve got some photographs in a book of these huge waves on the Sea of Galilee, it’s unbelievable. It’s staggering. I think there’s more than that going on here. Because it says “there was a great tempest”, that’s seismos, earthquake in a sense. It says Jesus on Palm Sunday, when he came into Jerusalem, the entire town, city was moved, there was a seismos, there was a shaking. So there may be more going on than just natural phenomenon here, we’re not sure. But there’s a tempest in the sea, there’s a seismos, there’s a great shaking, there’s a great movement. [Strongs #4578, seismos…a gale, earthquake, tempest. By U.S. Coast Guard rating, a whole gale is a 40+ mile per hour wind.] So he comes into the ship, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered, now that’s Matthew’s description, he was a tax collector, he says the ship was covered. Mark’s rendition, which comes from Peter, who was a fisherman, said that the waves beat into the ship so that the ship was full. [That’s a description of a ship ready to swamp or in the process of getting swamped because of big waves breaking over it. There is nothing more fearful or frightening than a wave breaking out at sea, cresting and breaking. And that is what this sounds like, when you combine both accounts. A shipmate of mine, an engineman from the forward engine room of our WWII fleet submarine said he once saw a huge wave breaking out at sea, and he said that even on the submarine, it was a frightening thing. Of course, waves out in the Atlantic can get over 60 feet tall, and taller at times. But anyway, this fishing boat is probably getting swamped, filled up with water from waves breaking over it.] Now I don’t know if Jesus is sleeping on a pillow and his feet are underwater, I couldn’t sleep in that environment, I don’t know. But he’s in the back [stern] of the ship, he’s sleeping. Now look, there are storms of, I mean, these guys are going to cry out, they’re going to wake up Jesus. Now they don’t wake up Jesus to rebuke the wind and the sea, they never read the chapter. They don’t know the story. These guys are scared to death. When you have a group of fishermen waking up a carpenter in the middle of a storm, it’s bad. [Don’t believe him, rent and watch “The Perfect Storm”.] And they’re not waking up Jesus so he can rebuke the wind and the sea, they’re waking up Jesus to say ‘We’re gonna die, and you don’t care’, that’s what it says in Mark, “Carest not thou that we perish!?” That’s why they’re screaming to him, ‘We’re dying and you don’t care.’ And I don’t know if they’re thinking ‘Man, we got the Messiah, we’re fishermen, we’re out on the middle of the lake, he’s gonna drown, God is going to get us [laughter].’ But I think in their minds, there was a genuine possibility that they were going to drown. The ship is filled with water, it says, and there’s a huge storm, and they’re crying out ‘We’re going to perish.’ They had been out in a lot of storms. The problem is, they don’t know the story. If they had read their Bibles, they would be OK, right? We know what’s going to happen, I read through this 100 times, I never get worried. It’s like watching a Rocky movie, you watch it over and over and over and over, you always know whose gonna win, you always know, but you watch it again, it’s fun, but you know whose gonna win. The problem is, I know their story, but I don’t know mine. That’s what bothers me a little bit. I know their story, I don’t know mine. They’re long gone, they’re in heaven. And God’s preserved this, and I have this feeling that I’m supposed to learn something about storms from this. And my problem is, I’m a wimp. [If you met Pastor Joe you wouldn’t think that.] I don’t like storms. And it seems like a mandatory coarse and not an elective. And I say ‘Lord, I want to take the correspondence coarse. I know the Greek, I’m like the scribe, I know everything that’s going on here, I know what it’s saying, and you don’t have to take me out there, I don’t need any lab work on this one, I’ll just go around my lakes, if you don’t mind.’ He does mind. You know, he knew that storm was coming, and he took them out in it anyway. Now was he getting them? Don’t look at my like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’re in the middle of a storm, and you’re saying ‘You’re gettin’ me. Why are you gettin’ me? Is it a secret sin?’ You start to search for all the reasons, ‘Did I say this, did I do…Lord if you’ll get me out of this, I’ll never…’ and you know you have some stuff [laughter], you don’t have to look far when you start dealing ‘Lord, if you get me out of this, I’ll never do this…’ you’re making all your deals, you know. ‘If you get me out of this, I promise I’ll do this. And if you get me out of that, I promise I’ll never do that again’. Have you ever been out in a real storm? Anybody ever been out in a real storm in the middle of the ocean? [Don’t ask me, not a fair question, I was a submarine sailor on a WWII class submarine which spent most of the time on the surface, sailed across the North Atlantic in winter, sailed in the Mediterranean, and then back again, sailed through real storms, saw 30 to 60 foot waves just like on that movie Das Boot, grew up and spent my entire teenage life in summer sailing small sailboats, once like the cocky but brainless good sailor I was, sailed my 14-foot sailboat in a whole gale and survived the episode intact (angels must have been on the boat with me), so not a fair question of me.] You know I looked at this hurricane when it came ashore just a week or so ago, and the guys that were in the Navy, the guys that were on the ships down in Norfolk, they took the ships out into the hurricane. [This is standard procedure, because a ship in harbor or tied up at the pier is in far more peril than out at sea in deep water. They’re built to handle hurricanes. If they’re like me, it’s quite an experience, and some actually enjoy it, like me.] They said the waves at some points were 25 to 45 foot high. [Waves actually get bigger out in the Atlantic or Pacific, but not in hurricane’s which tend to chop off the tops of the waves. Gales and whole gales can create 30 to 60 footers, sometimes 100 footers, which aren’t uncommon in the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific. My father actually saw an aircraft carrier come back into Pearl during WWII with it’s flight deck bent unto the shape of a giant U, from having been hit by what must have been a giant wave.] But the ships do better out in the storm, that’s their opinion anyway, I didn’t ask the sailors about that, than they do tied to the dock. You get out in the ocean when it’s like that, you never want to go back out there again. [Sissy] I was out in a storm, I was about 14 years old, there was gale warnings in the morning, small craft warnings, we got out there far from land, the storm came up, was lightning, the waves, it was unbelievable, and I was not a believer, I was becoming one [loud laughter]. See, this is when atheists doubt [laughter], see. Because when the atheist goes out into the storm, he knows there’s no God, but when he gets in the storm, he’s saying ‘Oh God, oh God, oh God’, so atheists find their doubts in the storms. [the old saying, “there’s no atheists on a life-raft.”] We were out there, and they turn around to bring it in, and everybody was sick inside, I couldn’t go inside because I thought I’d rather drown than smell puke for hours on end, [laughter] and was hanging onto the rail on the side and the waves were washing over, and the ship, it was an eighty-footer, would get lifted up out of the water on the wave, and the prop would then shake in the air, and the whole thing would make the noise a spinning prop makes when out of the water, and then it would get down in the water and make this noise and kind of get caught up again. Some of you are laughing because you’ve been out in those. [I wish I had been there, lots of fun.] And I’m 14 saying ‘God, if you let me live, I’ll never come on the ocean again, Oh God if you let me live I’ll never...’, you know. I haven’t been out since. [loud laughter] [One bad experience, you never had a chance to be brought up on the water and get used to it gradually, in a sailing family that was out on the water all the time, with a naval tradition.] In the bay, that’s ok. You know, I can sit alongside a stream and fish all day and catch nothing, I’m happy, because I know I ain’t going down, you know. But the ocean’s an awesome thing. And the Sea of Galilee, they’re out and these guys are screaming, they’re in a storm. Jesus took them there. You know, there are correcting storms, and there are perfecting storms in their lives. These guys are not in a storm because they’ve sinned. You know, the problem is, Christians sometimes are so sanctimonious that when something difficult is going on in our lives, the first thing they think is ‘Oh man, God’s really dealing with them, they must have some sin. He’s really dealing with them, look at what they’re going through, God’s really trying to get through to them.’ What do you mean? These guys, they’re obedient, that’s why they’re in the storm. They’re right in the middle of it because they listened to him. And he’s got them out there perfecting them, to teach them. You know what, look I’ve raised four kids, and I’m not done raising them, and I guess you’re never done raising them. The most important thing in some ways is preparing them for the storms that are going to come, the storms of temptation, moral, ethical; the storms of persecution; the storms of major illnesses that will come, and ultimately the storm of death. Aren’t we doing that as parents? And these men are going to be, some of them fed to lions, some of them are going to be crucified upside down, some of them are going to be martyrs, and many of them are going to travel endless miles by sea. And they’re going to remember that after the resurrection Jesus had been appearing and disappearing, had been appearing and disappearing, he would appear to Paul in a prison cell…they’re going to remember, that yea, this is a storm, but he’s with us. He’s here, we’ve been through this, this is storm 101, remember this lesson. Jonah was in a correcting storm, God said go one way, he went the other way [don’t ever do that out at sea]. And they all thought they were going to die on that ship, and Jonah said ‘Hey, it’s me. Throw me overboard, the storm will stop.’ Now I would never have said that. ‘Throw me overboard, the storm will stop.’ I’d have said ‘Keep me onboard, you can’t get killed, because he wants me to go to Nineveh, and if I’m dead I can’t do that.’ And so that was a storm of correction, this is a storm of perfecting. And so then people think ‘Well I’m in a storm, is this is the perfect will of God, or this is permissive will of God? If I had gone another direction, would things be working out easier? Or is this really the permissive will of God, and not the perfect will of God?’ I’m not smart enough to figure any of that out. Somewhere when you do that, you lose track of Grace again and it becomes dependent on how smart you are and how smart you can read a spiritual road-map, and Grace seems to fade away. Can you imagine sheep doing that? ‘Is this the per’r’r’rfect will of God, or the per’r’r’rmissive will of God, you know, following a shepherd. No it’s on the shepherd’s side. If you’re willing to follow, if he has your heart and he has your life, he leads, and he’s taking them there for a purpose. They’re crying out, the sea is filling the ship, he’s asleep. Verse 25 says “His disciples came to him, and they woke him up, saying, ‘Lord, save us, we’re perishing.’” Mark says they said “Lord, carest thou not”, ‘You don’t care’…you’ve never said that to him? I’ve said that to him. You all have that strange look on your face, like ‘How could anybody ever say that to him?’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid?’ Now, for you Star Trek fans, this is almost a little Spok’ish here, isn’t it? They’re in a storm, they’re drowning, the boat’s full of water, and he says ‘Why are you afraid?’ Ah, there’s an important answer to that. And that’s what he’s bringing them to. ‘Why are you so fearful, why do you have such little faith?’ as it says in Mark, he says “Ye of little faith”. Now Mark tells us other ships were alongside of them. Were the guys in the other ships saying ‘Wake him up! Wake him up!’?
If you cry out, the Lord will
wake up to your cry
This is a remarkable scene. They woke him up, saying ‘Lord, save us’. Now the interesting thing is, the storm didn’t wake him up. The waves and the sea, which I could not have slept through [did all the time on my submarine], he had no problem, resting in his father’s arms. He was going to the other side. But the disciples woke him up. And I know they weren’t as loud as the storm in the sea. Again, those of you moms that are here, you have that baby-radar. My wife had that when we raised kids, we’d have the house full of people, it was noisy, I couldn’t hear anything, you know, there’s glasses and dishes and laughter and food, and after a while you can’t help thinking, ‘I can’t wait till everybody goes home’, and it’s so noisy, and two stories up the baby in her crib goes ‘Eeh’, and my wife says ‘Did you hear that!?’ ‘What!?’ ‘Did you here that Eeh?’ ‘What are you talking about? No.’ The disciples went ‘Eeh’, and he woke up. He rises at the cry of the disciples, not the storm. But is he telling us that he wants us to cry out to him in a storm? You know, I think that he is. I think that he is. And I think he’s saying to us, ‘Even if you’re terrified, even if you’ve judged me wrong, even if you think I don’t care, even if you think you’re perishing, like David said, ‘All of your waves and your billows are going over me, I’m sinking’, I think Jesus is saying to us through this, he is saying to us tonight thousands of years later, when the waves are going over your head, and you think ‘I’m asleep and that I don’t care, if you cry out I will wake up, and I will rebuke the wind and the sea.’ Either that, or he’s put it there to frustrate us, and to tease us. But he’s clearly said “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.” He’s put it there to woo our hearts, to teach us in all circumstances to cast our care upon him. “‘Why are you so fearful O ye of little faith?’ Then he arose, and he rebuked the winds”---and it’s very important here, it says---“and the sea”---and notice, Matthew says---“there was a great calm.” The grammar in Mark says “peace, be still, be muzzled”, seems like there’s somebody listening, I don’t know, but in any rate, and it says “there was a great calm” there, literally the language gives the sense ‘it was beaten back to levelness.’ You see, even if Jesus had rebuked the wind, and the wind would have stopped like that, that sea would have raged probably for two more hours before it calmed down. The thing that they’re more afraid of is the calm, than the storm. When this all happens, Mark tells us they’re terrified, they saw the calm and they’re all there dripping, Jesus says “Peace, be still”, not only does the wind stop like that, but all of a sudden the waves go flat, and it says there was a great calm. You get up in the morning and the Sea of Galilee is like a piece of glass. And they’re all standing there, dripping, the guys in the other boats are looking around, they’re all standing there looking at each other, dripping, and it says ‘they’re terrified.’ They’re more afraid of the calm than they are of the storm. “There was a great calm.” He says here, “but the men marvelled”, again, Mark tells us that they were “filled with fear, saying, (here’s the question) ‘What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’” What they’re saying is, ‘Wait a minute, this is not just a prophet or a healer, aah, the wind and the sea just listened to him, anybody notice, did he just wake up, or did we just wake up? Who was asleep and dreaming here, who was having the nightmare?’ And I’m sure, as fishermen, that their minds reflected to Psalm 107, you don’t have to turn there, but the Psalm says this, “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the LORD”, of Yahweh, “and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth and raiseth the storm wind which lifteth up the waves thereof, they mount up to heaven, they go down again to the depths. Their soul is melted because of the trouble. They reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man, they are at their wits end. Then they cry unto the Lord”, unto Yahweh, Jehovah “in their trouble.” “And he bringeth them out of their distresses, he maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad, because they be quiet. So he bringeth them unto their desired haven.” (Psalm 107:23-30) [Also the Pilgrims record such an occurrence in the North Sea between England and Norway when the ship some of them were in was driven off course for four days in a raging gale or hurricane. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/saga5.htm and scroll to the paragraph that begins “Normally, it is 200 miles across the North Sea…” and read from there through the next four paragraphs (including that one).] And all throughout it’s Jehovah, capital L, capital O, capital R, capital D, he rebukes the waves and the wind, and he makes it a great calm, the LORD.
“Who is this, that even the wind and the seas obey
him?”---the answer comes from a strange source
“When he had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with you, Jesus, you Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?’ Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. So the demons begged him, saying, ‘If you cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.’ And he said to them, ‘Go.’ So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water. Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they begged him to depart from their region.” And I’m sure that they’re standing there saying “Who then is this, that even the wind and the seas obey him?” They spent their whole life out there on the sea and the wind. Now, they’re going to have their question answered, because as they get out of the ship they are at Gadera. And there’s a demoniac that comes running out at them here. And he’s going to say, “What have we to do with thee, Jesus thou Son of God.” Now that’s the first time in the New Testament he’s called the Son of God, and it’s by a demoniac. [Comment: when you see LORD in the Old Testament typed out in all capital letters, the “L” in larger capital, and the “ORD” in smaller capital letters, it is in place of the Hebrew tetragramaton, YHVH, what we render in English as Yahweh, also rendered as the great I AM in Exodus 3:13-14, whom Jesus said was none other than he in John 8:58. Jesus was the God of the Old Testament, Yahweh. They are just discovering this in a dramatic way out on the Sea of Galilee, when they said in Mark “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”] And it says that the demoniac cried out. You know, you have to understand the impression, he’s not saying ‘I say old chap’, you know ‘Aren’t you the Son of God?’ No, it’s as he cries out. You can imagine these guys, let’s look at it here, OK, so you can have nightmares tonight. Here we go. [laughter] “When he was come to the other side, into the country of the”, it says “Gergesenes”, ah, one of the other Gospels says “Gaderenes”, there was Gasera, there was Gadasa, there was Gadera, these were all different towns within the area of the Gaderenes that were there, “there met him” now Matthew an eyewitness, so he tells us there were “two possessed with demons”. Mark was not an eyewitness, neither was Luke, so they tell us about the one of them who does the talking. They record the conversation. Matthew as an eyewitness says two of these guys came running out, they were possessed with demons, “coming out of the tombs”, and Matthew says “they were exceedingly fierce, so that no man might pass that way.” Now you have to understand these characters. Luke tells us as a physician “they were a great many years”, a long time, “had never dwelt in a house, but they had dwelt out in the tombs, and they were naked.” So imagine these guys through all different seasons, and it gets cold over there, I’ve been in Jerusalem when it snows. They’d been living out there for years, naked. Mark tells us that ‘many times the people held them down, bound them with chains, and tried to subdue them.’ And it says ‘they plucked asunder the chains and they broke the fetters off into pieces.’ So this is real demon possession stuff. And that they constantly gouged themselves, they cut themselves. We have ‘cutters’ today sometimes. So imagine these two guys, now their hair’s all matted down, they didn’t comb their hair before they came out to Jesus. They’d been out there, they’re naked, they’re demon possessed, they’re all hacked up from rocks, aagh, you know. And the disciples are still talking about the storm. Now we don’t know if the demoniac and his buddy sensed the storm going, click!, and knew that the Son of God was coming their way, I would think so. [Comment: Also, as has been related by a pastor I know who had spoken to a demon possessed person, the demon remarked through this person that they don’t like to be around believers, because we glow, the Holy Spirit glows within us. So my guess is that Jesus, filled without measure with the Holy Spirit, as the Scripture says, was probably glowing like Three Mile Island with the control rods pulled all the way out, he was a blinding sight to them in a human form. Of course we can’t see spirit, nor the Holy Spirit, they could. They could pick him out in a crowd without a problem, is my guess.] These guys, the disciples, are still talking about the storm, saying, ‘Who is this? Who is this that even the wind and sea obey?’. And all of a sudden here comes these guys running at them, all hacked up, bloody and bruised, and with a garbled, raspy voice one of them says ‘WHAT HAVE YOU TO DO WITH US, AAGHH, Jesus thou Son of God!’, you know, you saw the movie, like all 12 of these guys hiding behind Jesus now, you can imagine seeing all of them fall in line right behind him. You know, we’re laughing, but that’s what it says, they cried out, they shrieked, they screamed, you know they didn’t have a friendly voice. It wasn’t ‘I say old chap’, you know, naked, all hacked up, cutting themselves, they can snap chains like they’re nothing. You know we talk today about somebody says something foolish like ‘spirit of anger’, ‘spirit of lust’, come on, this is what it’s really like. Anger, lust, drunkenness, those are acts of the flesh. They’re prescribed in Galatians chapter 5 as something to be repented of. A demon is different than a fallen angel. Fallen angels never crave to be embodied, they can manifest. You see God’s angels manifesting coming to Abraham and eating at his tent, sitting there. Evidently the fallen angels manifesting [themselves] before the flood, something strange taking place there, not needing a body in order to manifest. Demons are different it seems, and always longing to be embodied. And John Phillips makes an interesting suggestion that possibly they are from another extinct race, alien race maybe. Maybe from the Nephalim that filled the earth, were produced as a cross-breed between the fallen angels and the daughters of men. They would not be redeemable, and certainly they would seek to be embodied after the flood. But we don’t know. [Comment: Every denomination (and even pastors) have their own spin on who and what demons are. The simple Bible facts are that Satan drew one third of the angels to himself through deception (cf. Revelation 12:3-4). Stars in Bible symbolism represent angels. Demons (King James ‘devils’) is just another term for fallen angels, angels who have fallen from being God’s holy angels, loyal only to God. A demon’s loyalty is to Satan. Those two angels in human form with the pre-incarnate Christ in Genesis 18 are not fallen angels, but angelic servants of Jesus, who just like Yahweh, manifested themselves in human form so they could interact with Abraham. It is perhaps true that fallen angels, now demons, were after the flood prohibited from manifesting themselves in the physical realm. But the apostle Paul advises us to show hospitality, for who knows, as he says, if per chance you may be entertaining angels. Now Paul would never give advice like this, when talking about fallen angels or demons. So it’s obvious, as God’s servants, holy angels can manifest themselves as humans in order to perform certain tasks for God within the physical human realm. We simply do not know more than what Scripture tells us. The speculative things Pastor Focht is presenting here are purely that, speculation, and some of it appears to depart from God’s Word, the simple facts presented in the Bible. The part about Nephalim before the flood has no adequate explanation, since God has not left us one in his Word, the Bible, and it’s kind of pointless to speculate beyond what’s presented in God’s Word. Just my opinion.] I don’t know, and I don’t want to know. That’s another world. I want to teach Bible studies, and have pot-luck’s and get Raptured. I don’t have any desire to get involved in exorcism. “And, behold” Matthew says, ‘Consider this,’ “they cried out saying ‘What have we to do with you Jesus, thou Son of God?’”…now the disciples are saying ‘Who is this who even the wind and sea obey?’. Now they get the answer---“What have we to do with thee Jesus Son of God’ [spoken in a deep raspy voice], ‘Art thou come to torment us before the time?” So they understand prophecy, they know what the Bible says. In Mark it’s going to say, ‘Let us go into the herd of swine, don’t send us into the abyss.’ They understand [cf. Revelation 20:1-3, where Satan gets put, they do too, he’s their king, and where goest the king, so goest his subjects kind of thing.] They are not annihilationists [and that is because God has promised not to annihilate anyone he’s given eternal life to, and the angels have been created eternal, not temporary, of flesh. The Bible nowhere talks of existing eternally for humans, only those who have been created, or resurrected to immortality. Revelation 20:6 talks of the “second death” and Revelation 20:14-15 show what that is, in context with verse 6. Paul says in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” Just thought I’d toss that out for you annihilationist believers, you’re free to believe in such. It’s a secondary issue on which the jury is still out.] They are orthodox, [don’t think for a minute that holding the annihilationist interpretation puts you in an unorthodox position. Pure orthodoxy can be defined as believing doctrine which if not believed disqualifies you from eternal life. Believing Jesus is God is an orthodox teaching. Interpretations about Hell being endured forever verses until a person is burnt up and dies does not qualify as being orthodox or unorthodox, simply secondary beliefs. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.] They know the last chapter. They know the Word of God can’t be changed. They know that the antichrist can’t change his number from 666 to 667. They know what’s written is going to happen. “Are you come to torment us before the time?” “And there was a good way off from them a herd of many swine feeding.” Mark tells us about 2,000. Now it doesn’t mean there were 2,000 demons, doesn’t say that anywhere, we don’t know how many there are, and I don’t care, and I don’t want to talk to one of them.
“So the devils besought him saying, ‘If thou cast us out, allow us”---they’re asking for permission---“suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.”
Jesus loves to deliver
Now it’s an interesting encounter. It tells us when you read Mark and Luke, you get the whole picture, Jesus asked him, singular, what is your, singular, name?---the man, singular, he asked the man, singular. It says “They answered and said Legion.” So as in any situation where there’s demon possession, you have a mingling of personalities. There is no evidence that Jesus is asking the demons what their name is, he didn’t say ‘Who are you guys? How many of you are in there?’ He knew there was more than one. I think he’s bringing the personality of the man to the surface, and he says to the man ‘What’s your name?’ It’s all in the singular when he’s talking to the man. And Jesus knows there’s more than one of them. But they answered, this man’s controlled by many, and we don’t know how much company he has. I think there were 6,248 men in a Roman Legion. They answered Legion because they were many, it doesn’t say there were that many. There’s just many. What does Jesus see when he looks at this man and his buddy? Is Jesus asking the demon what his name is? Why would he do that? Satan’s a liar from the beginning, why would you believe it anyway? ‘What’s your name? Ralph.’ Why would you believe that anyway? You know, that kind of thing has been perpetuated in the Church, when Christians are being told that they have a demon of anger, a demon of lust and somebody standing over them saying ‘What’s your name’ trying to get them to say ‘anger’. Now look, first of all, we know fallen angels have names, Lucifer. We know heavenly angels have names, Michael. He’s not the spirit of archangel, he’s got a name, Michael. Gabriel is not the spirit of ‘birth announcements’, he’s Gabriel. [laughter] To say that a demon can only cause you to lust is stupid. They’re foul, they’re unclean spirits, they can get you to do a multitude of unclean things. To think that ‘This guy can only lust, we need a spirit of fornication here to help us, we gotta carry this all the way to its end.’ That’s stupid. What the Church needs is the spirit of common sense. Because when there’s real possession, there’s something real taking place. And it’s very distinguishable, and it’s recognizable, and it’s not confusing. Jesus looks at this man, and I think, ‘Why would he ask him his name?’. And I think because he sees somebody’s little boy there. This was somebody’s toddler that got tucked into bed at night, that got fed, changed and cared for, and held, nursed, dressed. Somewhere, we don’t know how, somehow, whether the family was pagan, somehow opening himself up, somehow as the years went by, he becomes driven, he’s alone, and that’s just where Satan wants somebody. And there are multitudes today who Satan has isolated, no, not all possessed…cutting, some of them chained with one thing or another, loneliness is such a plague in our society today. Jesus sees a man, somebody’s boy, and says to him “What’s your name?”, calling him back from being buried under all of these spirits. I believe Jesus is calling him to the surface. And the demons know they can’t stay. They’re not saying ‘Now Jesus has got to go on a 30-day black fast now, and he’s got to get a bottle of holy water before we move, and he’s gotta do this, gotta do that’. Look, in this day there were exorcists. Jesus was accused of casting out demons by Beelzebub. He said “If I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?” He knows there were exorcists amongst the Jews, and they would invoke the name of Solomon quite often, and they had all kinds of rituals they went through. In the Book of Acts, chapter 19:13-16 we see there, there were certain vagabond Jews, it says, they were exorcists, seven of them, their father was a high priest in the Temple at Jerusalem, a man named Sceva, they were the seven sons of Sceva, and they saw Paul deal with an unclean spirit or spirits. And they thought ‘This works great!’, because they charged for their services. So they said to some demon-possessed person “In the name of Jesus who Paul preaches, come out!” And the demon said, “Dude, Jesus I know, Paul I know, who the heck do you think you are?” And it says that he jumped on them and beat up all seven of them, ripped their clothes off, they all come running out naked. And ah, good testimony came out of that. [laughter] People want to jump into this all the time, you know, the spirit of this, the spirit of that, there’s ridiculous books written about it, and if you start doing that, it’s like putting a red flag in the spiritual realm in front of a bull, and the enemy’s gonna say ‘There’s a sucker over there, he wants to tussle, he wants to tangle, good, we’ll get this one distracted.’ There’s none of that with Jesus. They say ‘If you’re gonna cast us out anyway, can we go into the herd of swine?’ Jesus says one word, “Go.” I like that. “Go.” We see him with one of the other demoniacs, he says “Shut up and get out.” I like that. Foreclosure, like that. And he’s ours, our Lord. We’re sealed with the Spirit of promise, that’s what the Bible says, and it’s the same word that says when the antichrist and the false prophet and Satan himself are put into the abyss, and Satan is bound there for 1,000 years, and it says “An angel set a seal on him”, they [Satan and the demons] can’t get out for a thousand years. That’s the same word used for when you and I are sealed, by the same God, with the Holy Spirit of promise. It says the evil one comes, he touches us not. We’re blood bought. We’re sealed. Yes, we’re hassled, yes there’s warfare up here [tapping his head]. He knows that. The Bible knows there’s warfare in the mind, Satan knows the warfare’s in the mind. The Holy Spirit knows the warfare’s in the mind. Jesus knows the warfare’s in the mind. It’s just us that’s still realizing the warfare’s in the mind. Fear is such a great tool of the enemy, and he loves to isolate us, and he loves to get us alone and Jesus loves to deliver. Jesus loves to deliver.
Pig farmers is Israel?
Verse 31 says, “The devils besought him saying, ‘If you cast us out, suffer us to go into this herd of swine.’” Now 2,000 pigs, it tells us “And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine, and behold the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and they perished in the waters.” Now there’s only one place around the entire Sea of Galilee, and it’s in the area of the Gaderenes where there’s a very steep embankment that actually goes right down into the water. And we’ll go visit there. It’s always fun to have someone looking over and give ‘em a little shove. You have to do it with somebody you’re friends with, you know, you catch ‘em real fast. Well wait a minute, is that Jesus destroying private property? Well no, because in Leviticus and Deuteronomy it said that there weren’t to be any pigs kept in the land, they were unclean, it would be like somebody cleaning out pornography. [Comment: The Jews in the region of the Gaderenes were raising pigs to sell in the nearby region of the Decapolis, where the ten cities of the Decapolis was a recreation area for Roman soldiers, officers and dignitaries when off duty. So there was a big market there for pork products. He is right about Leviticus 11:1-23. Something interesting too. God created all animals, right? My father died of colon cancer, and my sister is recovering from breast cancer. A “do-not eat” list of foods was given to each by the cancer nutritional specialist, and my sister is somewhat of a nutritionist in her own right. Strangely, the list of things not to eat looked like it was taken out of Leviticus 11:1-23. My sister said that she couldn’t even have red meat, like beef, due to the high fat content (and eating of fat is condemned in the Old Testament too), since fat and foods on this list encourage the come-back of cancer in the recovering patient. No lobsters, shellfish, pork (which is extremely high in fat content), right out of Leviticus. These are health laws God gave his people, that mainstream Gentile Christianity choose to ignore---and I’d say at their own physical peril, not spiritual. You’ll just get into God’s kingdom quicker, that’s all, and the way you get there may be through an unexpected heart attack or cancer, not to say cancer itself is caused by eating these things, because I don’t believe it is.] It was unclean, it was wrong. In Israel today, they raise pigs. And because they’re not allowed to be on the land, they build these platforms. When you go up into the Valley of Megiddo there are pig farms, and the pigs are up off the ground on platforms. [Boy, aren’t the religious Jews good at keeping the letter of the Law, but totally dodging the spirit of the Law!?] And in their mind they think ‘Ok, we’re not breaking the Law, because the pigs are not on the ground, they’re not on Israel, they’re up on these planks.’ That’s the problem with the Law, you’re always looking for a loophole. They shouldn’t have been there. Everybody knows that was the first case of deviled-ham, everybody knows that, everybody knows this is sueecide, they run down the embankment into the water. Now that’s always the temptation of the enemy, is to destroy. When they come down from the Mount of Transfiguration there’s a little demon-possessed boy, and the father says the demon always throws him into the water or into the fire. Satan says to Jesus when he’s on the Temple Mount, on the pinnacle, ‘Cast yourself down…’ And if you came here tonight with suicidal thoughts, the enemy loves to have someone destroy themselves, because when someone dies, physically, without Christ, they’re lost forever. People commit suicide because they want to end the pain, they can no longer take the pain, and because they can’t deal with the pain, Satan will drive them over the edge with self-destructive thoughts. And the illusion is, once I end this, it ends. No, no, no, it only begins then, it’s eternal. [There are various beliefs within the body of Christ about what Hell is, and not all are in agreement with each other. This makes the subject of Hell a secondary doctrine in the Bible, not primary, much to the surprise of many. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm to read more on this subject.] Because killing the body doesn’t kill what you’re trying to kill, you’re trying to kill the pain inside. Don’t kill your body, it got dressed, it came to church, it’s sitting here, it’s paying attention, it works. What isn’t working is something deep inside where the pain is. And that’s what people are trying to kill. And there’s a way to do that. Jesus says if you lose your life for my sake and the Gospel, you’ll find it. There’s a way to commit suicide. If you came here tonight, and you’re at wits end, and you don’t want to live another day, there’s a great plan for you in the Bible. Paul says “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh, I live for the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” You can do away with your life. The problem is you’re so intent on holding onto it, that’s why you’re miserable. Let go of it, let Jesus live in you, give your entire life to Jesus Christ, and you will be set free. You will be set free, and most wonderfully, from yourself. Don’t kill this [your body], kill what’s inside, by giving it over to Christ.
They care more about their pig industry than having
the Son of God in their midst
These pigs run down this embankment, drown in the sea, verse 33 says “They that kept them fled, and they went their way into the city, and they told everything that happened, and what was befallen to the two demon possessed” guys, because a few other Gaderenes must have, you know, they were out there somewhere, and they saw all of a sudden the wind go Wooosh, stop, they saw the water go Woosh, calm, and these guys must have been out there seeing Jesus and his disciples coming onshore, and then they must have seen the two naked guys coming, growling, and said, ‘Wait till you see this, it’s really gonna freak these guys out. Nobody can even go past that way.’ And they saw the very opposite. They saw this guy and his buddy crying out “THOU SON OF GOD, WHAT HAVE WE TO DO WITH THEE!?” And they saw Jesus rebuke them, and they saw pigs, 2,000 of them, stampede into the sea. And they went back into the town and they told everybody what happened. Isn’t it interesting, it says in verse 34, “Behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.” ‘Would you please leave!?’ And it tells us in Mark, they saw the demon possessed sitting clothed and in their right minds. They looked at the guys who were delivered, they looked at all the dead pigs floating in the water, and they looked at Jesus and said, ‘You gotta go, before all the pigs drown themselves, would you leave?’ More concerned about their pigs than these two guys that were delivered. Look, how many are there that we see tormented, we see them in the world, we see drugs, we see them suicidal, we see them empty, and we try to present Jesus to them, and they would rather choose some illicit trade over the Son of God. They would rather choose some swine, some illicit sexual thing, or drug thing, or alcohol, or gambling, they’d rather choose some forbidden thing over Jesus. So sad. You know, it would have served them right, if Jesus would have left 2,000 demon possessed pigs in their neighborhood, wouldn’t it? You thought it was tough going by there with two guys possessed with demons? Imagine 2,000 demon-possessed pigs, and what do they sound like, GROWL!!!, [laughter] that would have been a BAD scene. [and large swine, even on their own, with no outside demonic help, can kill a man.] Seeing some Gaderene outside with a can of Bud and a cigarette, leaning against the lamppost, you know, 2,000 demon possessed pigs come charging through town. [laughter] We’re told that the man then says to Jesus, “Lord, let me come with you”, and they want to get in the boat and go with them, the men that had been the demoniacs. And Jesus says “No.”
Evangelism should start at home
Now it’s very interesting, because there are three prayers in this scene, the demons, they get their prayer answered. They begged him, send us into the swine. The people, who didn’t want Jesus around, they get their prayer answered, they begged Jesus ‘Depart out of our coast.’ And the one guy who you thought Jesus would say “Yes” to, says “Lord, let me go with you.” And he would have gone with him, and Jesus says “No.” “You go back home, and you tell your friends what great things God hath done.” This guy’s been out there for many years. I think to myself, what kind of friends did this guy have? Go home? Imagine him coming over the hill. See the kids, “MOM, HERE HE COMES AGAIN! LOCK THE DOOR, HERE HE COMES, AAAH!” What friends did he have left? But of course, “Go, let it start at home.” I mean, how many of us, our lives were transformed, they were changed, people didn’t believe us, they didn’t trust us at first. They thought it was ‘Oh, yea, first it was LSD, then it was Flying Saucers, now it’s Jesus’. Didn’t that happen to us? Many of us? And people knew us when we were in the world, when we were wretched and empty and living in sin. And the Lord said the same thing to us, ‘Go home, let people know what great things God has done for you.’ And you know what, it won’t be long after this when Jesus will come into the area of Decapolis, and the multitudes will come running to him, and they’ll bring him a man who was born deaf and mute, and great things will happen there. This demon possessed duo end up doing great ground-work for the Master in their area. [Comment: It says they went on to do a great publishing and preaching work, publishing all around the Decapolis about Jesus.] We’ll have the musicians come, and we’ll sing a last song. I want to encourage you, several things. One is, with this many people, you know there’s a lot of people here tonight in storms. Ah, I’m heading out of one right now, and I hope I keep heading out of it for awhile, before I head back into the next one. There are those storms, they come. And we can be perfectly right in the middle of God’s will, we can be where he told us to be, and be in a storm. Because there are more storms down the line, and he knows what’s more important for us is to know that he is also the Lord of storms. That we actually when it’s over, sit around and say ‘Lord, I am so sorry for complaining, the whole time I was screaming and kicking, and accusing you and saying you didn’t care, and you did this in such a remarkable way, and now in hindsight I can see your faithfulness all the way.’ Because there’s more that will come, and he knows that, and he loves us. And of course, there will be the ultimate storm. Because we’re building on the Rock, it says when the winds blow and the storm comes, our house will stand. We’re building on Jesus Christ. Maybe tonight you’re in a sense the demoniac, maybe you’ve been driven out from your friends, you’re bound, you are lonely to the point of agony. And look, that’s what Satan wants to do, is he wants to destroy. As we sing this last song tonight, if you’re saying ‘You know what, if Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever,’ that’s what the Bible says, ‘and he can set me free, I need his forgiveness, I need his love, I don’t need a scribal knowledge of Jesus Christ, I need an experiential knowledge of the Savior, and if he will deliver me, I will follow him, Lord if you’ll deliver me, I will follow you anywhere.’ And maybe you can really say that in your heart tonight. If that’s you, as we sing this last song, we want you to come and stand here…we’re going to pray with you, give you a Bible, some literature to read…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Matthew 8:18-34, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19116.]
Now you can’t really take part in Pastor Joe’s altar call. But to see how you can accept Jesus into your life, right where you are, even while you are sitting right at the computer, right now, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htm and scroll to the bolded paragraph titled “How to become a Christian” and read from there to the end. Altar calls can be personal and private, or they can be in public, it doesn’t matter to Jesus. What matters is your sincerity when you ask the Lord Jesus Christ into your life.
The Great Storm on the North Sea:
http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/saga5.htm (and scroll to the paragraph that begins “Normally, it is 200 miles across the North Sea…” and read through the next four paragraphs, including that one.)
What’s “Orthodox” for one denomination isn’t necessarily “Orthodox” for another, and what’s “Orthodox” during one period of time is not necessarily interpreted as “Orthodox” by those in another period of time. Time we understood what really is and is not part of “Orthodox” beliefs, isn’t it? see http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html.