If God can use the former demoniac to reach his family, he can use you to reach your family too. The power of new believers simply telling his story is tremendous.
We are about to discuss something that should be dear to your heart, your family. You can be assured that your family is dear to the heart of God as well. I want to emphasize your family using the story of the demoniac in Mark Chapter 5.
Now I am not going to compare the demoniac to your family, no! Actually I am going to compare YOU to the demoniac! There is a great lesson in this story in what God has for us to do. If God can use the former demoniac to reach his family, he can use you to reach your family too.
I) the Miracle: Mark 5 verses 2-6.
Here we see one of the most dramatic miracles of Jesus. He healed a man who was in a desperate spiritual state. This was a demon possessed man. We will see how the Lord used this man.
When Jesus entered the Garasenes area this demon possessed man came to him. He lived in the tombs. He had been chained hand and foot and the demons gave him an uncontrollable strength to break the chains. No one could subdue him. He was not in his right mind, crying out continually in self destructive behavior. Living in the tombs, crying out, cutting himself he had sunk to the lowest low.
This demon possessed man ran up to Jesus and fell on his knees before Jesus. The demon cried out, What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me! He begged Jesus again and again not to send him out of the area.
Jesus did a miracle and healed the demoniac. Jesus cast the demons into a heard of two thousand pigs. The pigs ran over the side of the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
The people who had been attending the pigs ran off into town and told them in the town what had happened. They came and saw the man formerly demon possessed sitting there in his right mind. The whole thing frightened them.
The reaction of the people was not about the healing of the demon possessed man, but rather their reaction was on what happened to the pigs. They wanted Jesus to get out of their region. They asked Jesus to leave. Despite the miracle the people wanted Jesus to leave. Their focus was on the economic loss of the two thousand pigs.
A demon possessed man was delivered. You may not have reached the same low as this demon possessed man. But every person without Christ is in the same spiritual condition. We are totally depraved until the Lord saves us.
II) The request: Mark 5:18
Now let’s look at the request of the man formerly demon possessed who has now been healed. Now he makes a request. What is his request? Jesus I want to come with you.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.
We see this kind of request all the time in the political realm- politicians expand their cabinet all the time. Instead of leaving his home place, he tells him to go back to his home place. Jesus puts the emphasis on this mans family.
He wanted to follow Jesus. He was asking Jesus to be his thirteenth disciple. It is a natural request. Jesus, you have saved me, let me walk with you. Jesus, I will leave everything, including my home place and go with you.
III) Jesus response: Mark 5:19
19 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.”
Jesus knew what would be best. The greatest benefit to the Kingdom would be if this man went back to his family. He instructed him to go back home and tell everyone how much the Lord had done for him.
The Lord’s will to use a new believer is by starting with their own family. Look at throughout the Bible how God used his servants to save their family. In the training for trainers (T4T) study there are a number of examples of God’s desire to save your family laid out; Noah, Lot, Rehab, Cornelius, Lydia and the Philippian Jailer.
Who was saved along with Noah? His family. God used Noah and saved his entire family through him. (Genesis 7:1)
Who was saved along with Lot? His family. (Genesis 19:12-23) – When God wanted to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Regretfully, Lot’s daughter in laws did not listen to him and were not saved (this might be the result of Lot not having a good testimony so in time of emergency; he could not save his entire family). In the end, only Lot and his two daughters survived, but this was not God’ will. God’s desire is to save the entire family.
Who was saved when Rehab placed the scarlet thread outside her window at the time of the destruction of Jericho? Her entire family (Joshua 2:17-20)
Who was saved when Cornelius heard the Gospel? His entire household (Acts 10:23-25)
Who was saved when Lydia came to Christ? Her entire family. (Acts 16:14-15)
Who was saved when the Philippian jailer believed? His entire family. (Acts 16:31)
In 1Tim.5:8, the Apostle Paul said that if a man doesn’t take care of his own family, he is worse than an infidel. God is concerned about your whole family and wants to use you to save your whole family.
Here is Jesus telling the man (Mark 5:19) that his ministry is not to leave his family. Your ministry too is to go to your family. Go and tell them how much the Lord has done for you. Tell them the mercy God has shown to you!
I was in a situation where we were counseling a man in India. This is an area where there is a strong Christian presence, but only in certain cloistered areas. There is Christian Colony, Jerusalem Colony and Nazareth Colony. But the for the first time ever the Gospel was reaching the Hindu colonies, Shiva Colony, Lingeshwara Colony and Eshwara Colony. Here was a young man named Ramesh from one of these Hindu colonies. He knew the Lord and wanted to serve him.
Ramesh wanted to come out from his family, get ordained and become a full time Christian worker. For him it would be the easier thing to do. It is difficult for him to stay in his Christian family and witness. I was counseling with him along with a Hindu background believer in Christ, named Kumar.
Kumar told Ramesh to stay in his family and he used this verse when telling him. The conclusion was if he joined the full time Christian ministry he would spend the rest of his days in Christian Colony, Nazareth Colony and Jerusalem Colony ministering to Christians. He would be busy, every day praying for the strained backs and sore necks of the people in these colonies. They would call him to their homes and pray and he would be busy from morning till evening, but making virtually zero impact on the great commission.
In contrast, if he stayed in his Colony he would be at the center of one of the world’s most unreached peoples of which he belonged. He needs to pay the price to stay in his community and make an impact. He needs to tell his family what the Jesus has done and the mercy Jesus had on him by paying the penalty on the cross for his sins. He has given Ramesh eternal life and his family needs him to stay and bring them the living water of Jesus.
Jesus sent out this man to proclaim the good news to this Gentile area. When Jesus truly changes people, it is an amazing thing. This man was a vivid demonstration of this fact.
No one can argue with your story, your testimony. You just tell them what the Lord has done. This man simply had to say, I was demon possessed. I lived in the tombs. I used to be self destructive and cut myself with stones. I ran and threw myself at the feet of Jesus and he cast out the demons. Jesus healed me. He made me whole. Now I am saved and in my right mind. I obey the command of my master Lord Jesus who told me to go and tell my family, and also I am telling all around me of what the Lord did in my life.
Every testimony contains a before, during and after of knowing of Christ. It is his story and you cannot argue theologically with his experience. There is the power of the testimony. There is also a power in going back to your family.
In the Mission history of India there has been an emphasis on coming out of your family. For so many years the ministry went on like this. The missionary took the Gospel to the Hindu. He became a Christian and changed everything. He was convinced to change his dress, his diet and his whole circle of friends. Soon he did not fit in with his own family.
The new convert was then told to be separate, come out of his family. He was told, we have a compound, with a church, a hospital and a school. You come from an educated family and we need a Headmaster for our school so leave your family, forsake them for Christ and come live here. He could then not at all relate to his family. The Gospel dead ended when it is meant to spread like wildfire.
Illustration: Spiritual Gossip
Early this year we began using a new method for training nationals in South India in getting to Church Planting Movements. We were finding that, prior to this training; the effective evangelists were sharing the gospel with the family members of the new believers. In many cases these evangelists were leading the family members to Christ, but new believers were left with the impression that sharing the gospel was not their responsibility, but that of the evangelist.
We began to train the evangelists to help the new believers immediately share their faith using a very simple testimony or, “story” after coming to Christ. We gave the evangelists a list of scriptures to show the new believer that it is their responsibility to take the gospel to their own family members.
Some of the new believers would still ask the evangelist to come and share the gospel with their family members, but now instead of going he would train the new believer how to share the gospel. He would also train them in how to train those they led to Christ in how to share the Gospel. This approach enabled the number of people sharing Christ to grow exponentially.
We saw an immediate breakthrough using this method. Some evangelists started seeing twenty times more people come to Christ than when they were doing all the evangelism themselves. There were so many Hindus coming to Christ that new house churches and Bible study groups were being organized rapidly.
One of the evangelists was giving his testimony on how this change in method, from sharing the gospel with the family members of new believers to training new believers to share their faith changed his ministry. He said that in one village of India, so many new believers were sharing their faith and training others to share Christ that people were calling what was taking place a, “spiritual gossip.” The village was amazed and perplexed to see their fellow Hindus not only coming to Christ, but immediately leading others to Christ and training them to share their faith.
We are seeing this over and over. When a new believer goes back and tells his story of what Jesus did to save him it is powerful. We are asking every new believer to list one hundred people they know and share their story and train them to do the same. The Gospel is exploding exponentially.
This man couldn’t help doing what Jesus charged him to do. He was overflowing with joy. Anyone can tell their story. Who can argue: this is my story: Who can say no it is not? New believers are the best at this.
This is the power of the ordinary believer. Not an ordained pastor. No seminary training when Jesus sent him out. He didn’t undergo lengthy training. He just went out and shared his story of what Jesus had done in his life.
Jesus sent him back to the people who had sent Jesus away. This is so much better than what he wanted to do. He wanted to leave the Decapolis and follow Jesus.
IV) Results of this strategy
What happens when a man goes and tells his story to his family? The power of new believers simply telling his story is tremendous. In Mark 5:20 we read that this man told the whole Decapolis what Jesus had done for him.
Jesus left the Decapolis and we do not read of him returning there until in Mark 7:31 we read he returned to the Decapolis. What a difference. Now in the Decapolis they gathered around Jesus, four thousand. They would not leave that is why he fed the four thousand in the Decapolis (Mark 8:1-10). The only reason we know of from this crowd chasing out Jesus to flocking to worship at his feet is that this former demoniac made an impact
When Jesus went back to the cities of Decapolis they would not leave him. Previously they got rid of him. No other reason for this dramatic change except that the former demoniac telling his story made the difference for our thousand people.
It is a good thing Jesus did tell the former demoniac to just forget his family who was probably part of the groups who sent Jesus away. It is better that Jesus sent this man back to his family to tell them what the Lord had done for him. Jesus uses ordinary people saved by grace.
God also cares about you and wants to save your entire family through you.
Four thousand people from the cities of the Decapolis were impacted. Tell your story! The fields are ripe and ready for harvest. When you sow abundantly you will reap abundantly.