A Spirit of Rebellion


You would recognize him the moment that you saw him. His hair was matted together. His face was unshaven. He was foaming and frothing at the mouth. Blood was flowing from self-inflicted wounds. The clanging of chains could be heard as he dragged them around. He didn’t wear any clothes or live in a house, but dwelled among the tombs. He would come at you screaming and crying like a wild animal.

Who was this man? We don’t know his name, but we know where he lived.

Mark 5:1-13 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

Another name for unclean spirits is demons. Since they are a spirit, they need to inhabit a body to manifest themselves. Even without inhabiting us, they can still tempt us with unclean thoughts. They can afflict humans in many ways. According to the New Testament, demons can cause:

a. Insanity (Matthew 8:28; 17:15)

b. Muteness of speech (Matthew 9:3)

c. Blindness (Matthew 12:22)

d. A person to harm themselves (Mark 5:5)

e. Paralysis (Luke 13:11)

f. Deafness (Mark 9:25)

Jesus delivered and healed people with these afflictions when he cast out the demons that were causing these things.

Anyone who is unsaved is a candidate for demon possession. But there are at least six groups of people that are more likely to become demon possessed than others.

1. Those who enter into a covenant or a contract with Satan, selling their souls.

2. Those who dabble in the occult, paganism, magic, horoscopes, astrology, fortune telling, card reading, Ouija boards, charms, séances, Satan worship, and etc.

3. Those who abuse drugs and alcohol.

4. Those who practice false religions.

5. Those who indulge in sexual abuses, homosexuality, and promiscuity.

6. Those who are vile and wicked.

We don’t know how this man got into the condition that he was in. A person, who rebels against God’s Word and purposely sins, opens himself to the devil and his demons. The Bible warns us not to give the devil any opportunity to affect our life.

Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

As people in this country today call good evil and evil good, we are seeing the evidence of a demonic spirit of rebellion against all authority. It says, “Don’t tell me how to live my life. Nobody is going to tell me what I can or cannot do! I will live like I want.”

The spirit of rebellion is even in the church! In subtle ways, it leads members to ignore the church leadership and their instructions. It causes members to withhold their tithes and offerings from the general fund. It causes members to miss services and ignore their responsibilities. Ultimately, it causes members to disobey God and His Word.

Because of a spirit of rebellion, the parent is no longer respected in the home, the teacher is no longer respected in the classroom, and the police officer is no longer respected in the street. There is no respect for the President of the United States. There is no respect for the Flag. There is no respect for the Bible. Ultimately, there is no respect for God.

It is difficult to find those who have a teachable spirit and a humble heart. Many children are not taught in the home to obey immediately. They decide to obey if it suits their will. As a result, it is difficult to retain qualified school teachers. School teachers, who love teaching and have a heart for helping children, are resigning from teaching altogether.

When one school teacher who taught successfully for over 25 years resigned, she explained that rebellion had taken over her classroom and she was afraid. She said, “I don’t have any authority in the classroom anymore. When I make a decision concerning a student, the Principal doesn’t back me up. All the teachers are afraid of the Principal. The Principal is afraid of the school board. The school board is afraid of the Superintendent. The Superintendent is afraid of the Federal Government.  The parents are afraid of the children. And the children are afraid of NOBODY!

Vance Havner said, “Our world is fast becoming a madhouse and the inmates are trying to run the asylum. It is a strange time when the patients are writing the prescriptions. The students are

threatening to run the schools, the children are managing the homes, and the church members – not the Holy Spirit – are directing the churches.”

Yes, there is a spirit of rebellion among us! And it has been here since the beginning of mankind. It is the spirit of Satan—Lucifer, he is sometimes called.

Isaiah 14:12-15 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.

It is Lucifer’s goal to rebel and dethrone God so he will be worshipped. By using lies, deception, and promises of pleasures to our fleshly desires, the devil and his demons tempt us every day to rebel against God and His Word. After Adam and Eve fell to the serpent’s temptation, all of mankind was infected with a rebellious sin nature. It didn’t take long to see the consequences in the home that is caused by sin and a spirit of rebellion.

Genesis 4:3-9 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

The very tone of Cain’s voice was evidence of a spirit of rebellion. Like so many today, Cain didn’t want to be called into question. No accountability; no responsibility! It is a rebellious spirit that defies authority, and rebellion is an evil wicked sin!

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king."

This was said to King Saul, who rebelled against God’s commands and did things his own way. He didn’t consider himself rebelling; he just thought he was wiser and knew a better way than complete obedience. He even made a sacrifice to God as an appeasement, but God rejected Saul. He was told, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.”

Later, Saul rebelled more by consulting witches for advice instead of God. As a result, demons possessed Saul and tormented him. Only when David sang psalms of praise to God would Saul get any relief from the demons. That is where a spirit of rebellion will take you.

Why is there so much interest today in witches, zombies, death, vampires, magic, demons, horror films, paganism, homosexuality, promiscuity, and the occult? It is the influence of a spirit of rebellion—a rejection of the things of God. People are not interested in nor excited about God’s goodness and His ways. They are entertained and enthralled by what is evil and whatever rebels against all authority.

What people don’t realize is that rebellion can take you so low until it looks like there is no hope. Such was the condition of the Gadarene; that is, until Jesus came by! The evil spirits and sin are no match for the Son of God! The demons tremble in His presence, and also when they hear His Name! As we see with the Gadarene, the head demon, called Legion, cried out to Jesus for mercy—and the demons had Jesus outnumbered at least 2000 to one!

What happened after the demons went into the pigs and drowned them?

Mark 5:14-15 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.

There is a transformation that takes place when you meet Jesus, and He saves and delivers you! When the town’s people arrived they found this man in his right mind. He had been wild, unreasonable, and irrational. But now he is intelligent and coherent. Outwardly, they found him clothed! He was no longer tearing off his clothes and cutting himself. Emotionally, his behavior had changed. They found him sitting peacefully at the feet of Jesus. His desire was to be with Jesus.

Mark 5:18-20 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

When the Lord comes into your life, He will affect the way you think, act, dress, and live. This man’s life was so changed that he wanted to become one of Jesus’ disciples. He wanted to follow the Lord wherever He went.

It sounds strange, but Jesus denied his request. Jesus told this man to go home and witness to his family and friends. Can you imagine the testimony that this man had when he went back home? He became the greatest missionary in the area, because after he went home, he went throughout the region that included ten cities (Decapolis), telling people what Jesus, the Son of God, had done for him!

You will always do your best work for the Lord where He puts you! If the Lord has done great things for you, then let your testimony be heard wherever you are.

It is hard for us to conceive how anyone could ever get into such a condition as this Gadarene. Today, we lock up people like him in an asylum and declare they have an illness instead of recognizing the demon possession. We think doctors can treat their condition because we call it an illness. Instead of chains, they control these people with drugs and lobotomy. They never get to meet Jesus, so they never get delivered and to be in their right mind. Because we don’t see these people daily, we think demon possession doesn’t exist. We think this message is for those people back then. That is a serious mistake.

Like this Gadarene, sin and the spirit of rebellion will alienate you from God, family, and society! It will drive you crazy and make you do crazy things, like trying to change your gender, which is genetically impossible. Yet, if you rebel against how God made you, that is an example of what you might do. And those with a spirit of rebellion, instead of labeling you crazy, they will hail you as courageous!

Think about other examples. How many families have an alienated family member because a spirit of rebellion makes their behavior unruly, defiant, disobedient, and uncontrollable, leading to drug abuse, crime, and prison? Sin will degrade a person and bring them down to the lowest level of an animal where they have to be locked up to protect others.

A rebellious sin nature abides in every person. We are born with it. However, there is hope. We have a savior and a deliverer. Jesus atoned for our sin on the cross; therefore, the Father gave Jesus all authority in Heaven and earth, including authority over sin and the devil.

When Jesus saves and delivers us of all evil spirits, He sends the Holy Spirit to be in us and to give us a new character, like Himself, that loves and obeys God, the Father.

So what can we do about our sin nature and the spirit of rebellion?

James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Until we submit ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ, we are in rebellion to God, and therefore, subject to the dominion of Satan. So, like the Gadarene, run to Jesus.

The demons know Jesus is the Son of God and they tremble. That is why they make you afraid to come to Jesus for deliverance and salvation. Resist them and believe in Jesus by publicly confessing Him as Lord and Savior, who atoned for your sin on the cross and rose from the dead, victorious over death, sin, and Satan. He lives today to intercede for you.

Do you believe this?

If so, give your life to Jesus by repenting of your sin, your rebellion, and your self-rule. Die to yourself by following Jesus in baptism and you will be born again of the Holy Spirit. Then, like the Gadarene, joy and peace will fill your soul.