Deliver Us from the Evil One

Deliver Us from the Evil One

The evil one is a liar and a deceiver. Jesus refers to him as the father of lies. Whatever lie will cause mankind to doubt and remain in unbelief, Satan uses it repeatedly. “God is dead” is one of his recent lies. However, the most insidious lie the devil tells us is that he, himself, doesn’t exist. Calling the lie “wisdom,” he tells us we are foolish and superstitious to believe there is a devil and demons. Furthermore, the evil we see is the fault of something else (mostly Republicans). However, the evidence of the devil and demons is all around us, among us, and sometimes in us. That is why Jesus told us to pray in Matt 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Throughout the New Testament, we’re told of times when Jesus or the Apostles cast demons out of people. But nowhere in the Bible is the description of demon possession more graphic and horrifying than in Mark 5.

Read Mark 5:1-20

This guy is scary. Not only would you not want to meet him in a dark cemetery, you wouldn’t want to meet him on a crowded street in broad day light. He’s a dangerous and frightening man. He lives in a graveyard. He’s unshaven, ragged. He is scarred from chains and shackles that have been unable to bind him. We’re not sure what he’s wearing - but if he’s wearing clothes at all - it isn’t much. His face has a dark haunted look to it. And his body bears the marks of cuts he’s made on it with sharp stones. He may even be bleeding as he runs down the path to Jesus. Every night and every day, he prowls the hills around the graveyard howling and screeching in a crazed torment of a man whose personal demons will not let him rest. If had you the courage to get close enough to talk with him, you’d have heard him shout at you and perhaps heard the demonic echoes of several different voices in unison. For the demons within him were legion.

What could have happened in this man’s life that would open him up to demon possession? In the Old Testament, the account of King Saul’s life shows us that little acts of rebellion invite evil spirits into our lives.

1 Sam 15:19-24 Why did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD?" "But I did obey the LORD," Saul said. "I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal." But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king." Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned. I violated the LORD's command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them.

Saul’s sin was that he deliberately rejected God’s authority in his life. He feared man more than he feared God. Fear is the opposite of faith. Fear comes from the devil and causes us to doubt and rebel against God’s restrictions and responsibilities. Saul’s rebellion manifested itself in a kind of arrogance that God refused to tolerate.

1 Samuel 16:14 tells us: "Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him."

Like Saul, we all have a choice. If we don’t want the Holy Spirit to control us, God will let a demonic spirit control us. Take your pick. There are no other choices.

The Bible implies that this demon possession that came upon Saul because his rebellion was "like the sin of divination, and his arrogance like the evil of idolatry." Another example in the New Testament, is found in Acts 16.

Acts 16:16-18 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her.

This young woman practiced divination. She invited demons into her mind, soul, and body to consult them about the future and earn money. She did such things as fortune telling, palm reading, interpreting tarot cards and tea leaves, consulting the dead, etc. She would have also consulted Ouija boards or horoscopes if they existed then. If she lived in our day, she would have had a 1-900 #.

There seems to be a close tie between divination and demonic activity. Therefore, God warns us in Deut. 18:9-13 "When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God."

God goes even further and says: Lev 20:6 "I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people."

 Now, whether it was because this man in Mark 5 had been arrogantly rebellious, or had practiced divination, or because of some other reason, this man in the graveyard had become demon possessed. He didn’t just wake up one morning and say: "Hey, I’m demon possessed." This wasn’t something he was born with or something that he just came down with like the flu or a cold.

Somewhere in this man’s life, he had made a conscious decision that he wanted to be free. He wanted to be free of God’s influence. He wanted to be free from restrictions and responsibilities of life. He wanted to be free to do what he wanted to do.

And now, as a demoniac, he is free. No shackle can bind him, no chain can hold him. He’s no longer bound by social conventions that tell him how to dress and or how to behave. He has no responsibilities to society - because society no longer wants him. He has become totally free.

In Romans 6:20-23 Paul writes: "When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Perhaps there’s someone here today that needs to be delivered from the evil one. You might not be demon possessed like that man in graveyard, but you’ve struggled with your own personal demons for a long time. You’ve sensed that these demons have dominated you, held you under their control, held you in an addiction you can’t let loose of. You suffer from failure, guilt, shame, and remorse. And you may have always thought: "I got to get it together, I need to quit doing this." These demons tell you “You can quit, just try harder.” They tell you this to keep you from coming to Jesus for deliverance, because they don’t want to leave you.

When Jesus delivered the demoniac, the change was startling: He was now seated, clothed, and in his right mind. This man, who just moments before had been a raving lunatic, was at peace. The world can’t give us that. There’s no medicine, no treatment, no man-made advice that can reach into the heart of a man and toss out the demons that he struggles with.

These demons had already destroyed the man’s dignity, his sanity, and eventually they would have destroyed his life, had Jesus not cast them out. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

So, if you want a full life, make Jesus your Lord and don’t let the devil have the least bit of control, even over a small part of your life. Don’t give him even one inch, because if you do, he’ll end up taking all you have and ruining your life.

We don’t know how this man in Mark 5 ended up having so many demons in him, but we do know that such demonization is no accident. Demons don’t enter a person unless that person deliberately opens himself up to demonic influence. And that, brothers and sisters, is very easy to do and there are many ways for that to happen.

For instance, Eph 4:26-27 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

This Scripture teaches us that unresolved anger is one way Satan gains a foothold in our lives from which to wreck havoc. We don’t have to give Satan much of an opportunity, but if we give Him just a little bit, he will jump right in and take over.

Have you opened yourself up to demonic influence through little acts of rebellion or unresolved anger? Have you been interested in the occult, other religions, horror movies, or things of demonic nature? If you have, then I beg you, repent of that rebellion; repent of that anger, repent of your interest in evil before things get worse – much worse.

Demons are attracted to things like our persistent sinful behaviors, our reactions to emotional wounds, and sinful generational influences and patterns. These are the issues for which we are responsible. When we repent of these sins, then the demons won't have anything to hold on to.

We must ask Jesus to forgive our sin and deliver us from the evil one. Then we won’t have to worry about opening ourselves up to demonic influence, which will absolutely wreck our life.

We can depend on Christ to deliver us. We can rely on Him to change us from the inside out. That’s what Jesus did for the demonized man in Mark 5. The only thing society could do was chain him up and lock him away, but even that didn’t do any good. Jesus, on the other hand, changed him from the inside by driving out the demons. On the outside (vs.15), he was “sitting there, dressed, and in his right mind.” We see more evidence of change by the next thing the man does.

Mark 5:18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.

This man wanted to stay with Jesus. Demons don’t want to be around Jesus. They don’t want to be around praise and worship, nor around people who are like Jesus. However, Jesus had other plans for this man and the man faithfully obeyed, fulfilling God’s purpose for his life.

Mark 5:19-20 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

“The Decapolis” is a Gentile region east of Galilee which includes 10 cities. And there, God used this man to open people’s hearts to the Savior. When all society could do was chain a “crazy” man up, Jesus changed him from the inside out and then turned him loose to open the way for further ministry in his own community.

Jesus can do the same for you and me. He can deliver us from the evil one and change us from the inside out to use us for His glory right here in our community.

James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Do you want Jesus to deliver YOU? Then trust Christ, submit yourself to God, and let Him have full control. Repent, confess your sin, and ask Jesus to deliver you from the evil one and change you from the inside out.

Jesus is the only one who can give us the peace that we desire? Until we come to that realization, we will try everything else in vain to give us peace. Don’t let Satan ruin your life. Confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and give your life to Him today through baptism. Let Jesus be your Lord and Savior. Let Him fill you with His Holy Spirit. Without His Holy Spirit, we are an open vessel for demonic spirits.