I know that Jesus crossed the lake from Galilee to the region of Gerasenes as it says in the book of Luke, but I did not know why the people from that region asked Jesus to leave after He healed the man from his demons (Luke 8:37) and why they feared Him, until today. During his sermon, Pastor mentioned that Galilee was predominantly Christian whereas the region Jesus sailed to (Gerasenes) was predominantly pagan. They were afraid of Him - their pagan practices took them far away from anything Godly. That brought the boat trip and the storm that tested the disciples’ faith to mind. What was the significance of that storm and the fear they had about their survival? Did someone have a bit of doubt to begin with? It caused them to better understand who Jesus was, that He could even command the winds and water. If they were not fully trusting in Jesus what might have happened on that shore? We as Christians are facing spiritual conflict with Satan and his evil spirits every day. Fear comes from Satan, so don’t forget - Jesus waged battle against him at the cross and Satan lost that battle!
Pastor continued this morning with Luke 8:26-36. He told us that in order to win, we must understand our enemy. Last week he covered five of the nine names given to Satan in the Bible: Accuser, Adversary, Destroyer, Deceiver and Father of Lies. Today he gave us the remaining four. Satan is the Tempter – “There is flesh within us, a seed of rebellion from our first father, Adam, that wants to disregard, dishonor and disobey God…you need to know, when you’re tempted to sin, there’s a demonic battle that’s raging in your life”, said Pastor Randy. Satan is the Murderer – “This is his final goal. He hates life. God is the living God. God is the author of life. Satan is the one who loves death”. Pastor shared that Satan wants marriages, families, friendships, cultures, churches and even the unborn, to die. He wants us to die through reckless behavior, depression and suicide. His ultimate goal is death. Satan is the Evil One – “When you look at the world and its history, all the devastation and destruction, the sin and the suffering…the wars that have been waged and the dollars spent. The elections that have been held and the organizations that have been launched, evil has not come to an end”. He added that to believe that we’re all good people and things will get better in time is just naïve mythology – a lie and a deception, because behind the world system is the Evil One. Lastly, the name Enemy is given by Jesus in Matthew 13:28-29 and 39 – “Your enemy is not flesh, and if you know Jesus you are in a war. You and I have an enemy and he has nothing good intended for us. He has nothing truthful to tell us”.
As tired as Jesus was, He still got into the boat to heal the demon possessed man. He did not care that the man was naked and filthy, and knew He was going into a place where the people would not appreciate His presence. “He cared enough about this outcast to go to the other side of the lake and share the good news of who He, Jesus, is. Here at New Beginnings we’ll share the love of Jesus with anyone and everyone until this city is changed”, said Pastor Randy. He was told that this is not a place (New Beginnings) where you can just sit and not make some sort of decision, and to that he said that we are building warriors here, not wimps. “Jesus is coming so very soon and I am trying to get you ready, and trying to get you to understand how to get others ready”.
God is real. Jesus is real. Satan is real. And we are really responsible for our own behaviors and choices. I am so thankful for the heart that God has given Pastor Randy to reach ‘anyone and everyone’ no matter who they are or where they come from, if they are clean or dirty, rich or poor, addicted or sober, young or old…he desires to lead them all to the Lord and equip them to live the way God has intended for them to live. ‘Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand’ –Ephesians 6:13 (NIV).