AN ORDER OF SERVICE FOR DIVINE WORSHIP; DESIGNED FOR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS, FAMILY GATHERINGS AND CHURCH MEETINGS.

Hymn—“Standing On The Promises”

Scripture Reading—Mark 5:1-20

“And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. and when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.”

Opening Prayer

Scripture Meditation—“The ‘Great Things Jesus Had Done’”

When the Lord Jesus Christ had delivered the Gadarene demoniac from Legion and set him free from Satan’s bondage, Mark tells us, ‘he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him’. Having once met the Lord this man would not let Him go.

What a transformation had occurred! The wild man of the tombs who struck fear into the hearts of all around is ‘sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind’. Many talk of getting converted but here is proof before our eyes. ‘If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed’ (John 8:36).

However, the local people learning of the events of the day responded rather with fear than wonder. Today’s religion tries to make Jesus appealing to natural men and women, moulding Him to suit their tastes, but Christ’s Lordship is neither pleasing nor acceptable to any but those made willing in the day of His power.

Then, as his Deliverer turns to leave the coasts of that country the man asks to be allowed to travel with Jesus and His disciples. He quickly concluded it was better to be an outcast with Christ than dwell at peace with those who turned Him away. But Jesus had another plan. He said, “Go home to your friends, tell them of the great things the Lord has done for you, tell them of my love for you”.

What a personal testimony that man had to give! Just a few hours earlier his body was home to a legion of demons and his mind a house of horrors. It drove him to despair. He had no power to resist or rid himself of the dominating force. Then Christ intervened. The Lord Jesus came to where he was, searched him out, expelled his enemy and brought peace into his soul.

This is a beautiful picture of sovereign grace. The Lord Jesus Christ did for this man what the man could not do for himself. Christ delivered him. Christ saved him. Christ set him free. The Lord Jesus sought him, found him, healed him, gave him rest, and even clothed him. There is no talk of human agency or inherent power in this account of salvation. There is no ‘decision for Christ’ just deliverance, no ‘choosing to be saved’ only conversion, no ‘exercising free will’, simply glorious free grace.

And there is love. Powerful, particular and personal compassion from the Lord Jesus Christ towards this poor creature. Love that made a change and made a difference. Love that acted and accomplished the end for which the Saviour came. Love that brought salvation, and effected great things in the life of this needy individual. This was this story the man had to tell.

This saved soul was not destined to join Jesus’ band of close disciples. He was not called to be one of the Twelve. There would not be for him the familiar, intimate and personal relationship with the Lord Jesus that characterised the ministry of the apostles. Yet, still he had a service to fulfil and a debt of gratitude to repay. “Go home to your friends”, the Lord told him, “and tell them of the great things the Lord has done for you, tell them of my love for you.”

The Lord Jesus Christ crossed the sea in a storm to deliver this man. The Son of God came from heaven to deliver His church, offering His blood in death to redeem its life. He comes to each of His lost sheep personally, with transforming grace and sovereign power to save.

Having felt that power and experienced that love well might we, like the Gadarene, seek to be with the Lord and dwell in His presence. Soon we shall. The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again to take us home to heaven, that where He is there we shall be also. But not yet. “First,” the Lord says, “go home to your friends, tell them of the great things the Lord has done for you, tell them of my love for you.”

Peter Meney

Hymn—“O How I Love Jesus”

Sermon—“Great Things Jesus Had Done”

Peter L. Meney is the editor of “New Focus“, a web-based magazine available online. Its purpose and aim is to spread as widely as possible the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of free, sovereign grace found in the Holy Bible, the Word of God.

Hymn—“To God Be The Glory”

Closing Prayer

Benediction

May the Lord bless you, and keep you; may the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.



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