What does it mean to be demon-possessed?

In "Word Focus" William Sillings writes:

The text says that this man had an unclean spirit (pneumati akatharto — a spirit, an unclean one). Another way to describe this unclean spirit is to say that the man was mad. According to the Talmud, there were four signs of madness — walking abroad at night, spending the night on a grave, tearing one’s clothes, and destroying what one was given. This man had the added characteristic of unnatural, almost supernatural strength. He tore the chains and shackles that had been used to bind him, and no one was strong enough to subdue him (v. 4). Add to this the fact that he was self-destructive and often cut himself with stones, and you have a classic case of extreme demonic possession.

While this definition of demon-possession is intriguing, Sillings' next paragraph exploring the fact that this man had no control over himself is more important...

His name was Legion, he said, for we are many. The word legion is the name of a Roman army unit containing about 6000 soldiers. Even when this man spoke, it was not a man that spoke, but a multitude of demonic spirits speaking through him. What could this person have done to have become so possessed with this multitude? It is clear that the man had not the slightest control over himself, his thoughts, his actions, his words, his feelings, his strength, or anything else. He was a pitiful case. Anyone who is in any way bound by sin is, in some ways, in a pitiful condition, but this man was hopeless.

Discussion: Do you know anyone who, while not demon-possessed, seems hopelessly out of control, spiritually? What is our hope for such hopeless cases?
Source: Miracles of Jesus: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 52.

2016-01-29T08:00:50+00:00January 29th, 2016|Categories: Lesson Highlights|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Delivering the Demoniac

Read Mark 1:23-26
“And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him” (v. 25).
You never know what or who you may see at church! I remember D. P. Denton telling of the time he stood up to preach at Mascot, Tennessee and saw the barrel of a shotgun poking through the double doors of the church. Although Denton was a brave man, he determined to keep moving while he preached. When he finished the gun was gone.
In our text, Jesus went to church only to be met by the devil! It seems strange that the demons would have permitted this man to go to church, knowing that Jesus was going to preach. Capernaum was not a large town, and Jesus’ arrival in town the night before seems to have been a clear signal that He would be preaching in the synagogue the next day. Still, the man and the demons that possessed him were there. But when they saw Jesus, they were terrified! Jesus, on the other hand, was quite calm. He knew the power that was in Him.
No one knows what a day will bring. We may come face to face with the devil — even at church. But we can know that the power of the resurrection works within us. And with that confidence we need not fear any obstacle. (Gordon Snider)

I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my guide. — John Ernest Bode

Oh God, whatever comes my way today, may I know you are with me!

This devotional is the Friday, January 29, 2016 entry of Opening the Word.

2016-01-28T08:00:49+00:00January 28th, 2016|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

The Demoniac Released

Lesson 9 - January 31, 2016
Focus Text: Mark 5:1-15, 19, 20
Central Truth: Christ has power to deliver those bound by Satan.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list at least one sinful habit from which God has delivered them or from which He will deliver them.
Lesson Outline: 

  1. The Picture of a Demoniac (Mark 5:1-9)
  2. Delivering the Demoniac (Mark 5:10-15)
  3. Instructing a Follower (Mark 5:19-20)
2016-01-27T10:03:49+00:00January 27th, 2016|Categories: Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

A Young Lady Freed

Read Acts 16:16-18
“And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour” (v. 18).

I cannot imagine what the girl in today’s scripture was going through. An evil spirit possessed and controlled her. If that was not bad enough, some money-minded people had enslaved her for their profit. How tragically sad, indeed, that people would take advantage of someone mired down in sin.
Still today people are trapped in sins. Try as they might, they cannot free themselves. Others take advantage of their bondage, and they are helpless to do anything about it.
The gospel brings good news. Regardless of the depths of your sins, and regardless of who has contributed to your slavery, God has power to free from sins. The Apostle Paul emphasized, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Despite there being too much sin in the world, God’s grace over super-abounds in saving from sins. When we can do nothing about our sins, God can. When sin has us trapped, God can release us from sin’s death grip, giving us hope and eternal life.
A young lady was freed from sin in Acts 16:18. Just like her, you can be set free, and “if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (MDA)

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

— Robert Lowry

There is power in Jesus’ name!

Sunday, December 27

2015-12-22T09:00:39+00:00December 22nd, 2015|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Lesson 4: The Spirits Exorcised

Lesson 4 - December 27, 2015
Focus Text: Mark 9:14-29
Central Truth: God's power to deliver is gained through prayer.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list several reasons why prayer is necessary to see God’s power unleashed.
Lesson Outline:

  1. The Need Described (Mark 9:14-18)
  2. The Remedy Defined (Mark 9:19-27)
  3. The Secret Explained (Mark 9:28-29)
2015-12-21T09:00:43+00:00December 21st, 2015|Categories: Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , , |0 Comments


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