Sunday School Material 4-17-16: Recovered Faith

(Luke 8:26-36; 4/17/16)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jesus has power over demons. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live in fellowship with God, instead of inviting Him to leave us alone.

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Read Luke 9:26-33

I. Conquering a Legion. In our Sunday School material Jesus and His disciples sailed to an area where a demon possessed man approaches Jesus.

There is an exchange about Jesus torturing the demons. Jesus allows the demons to possess some nearby pigs. The pigs ran down a steep bank and drowned.

Applications –

- Demonic forces. Notice in vss. 27-29 that there was a man who was possessed by demons. Even if we differ about people being possessed by demons, almost everyone can agree that there are some demonic forces that work against our wellbeing.

One of the things that makes living for Jesus so difficult is that demonic forces are always trying to stop us. Furthermore, whatever the devil promises us, at the end of the day he is really trying to kill us.

Therefore, we would do well to make sure that we are saved and giving our best to living in obedience to God’s will. We should be mindful that those we minister to are fighting the same battles that we are fighting, and sometimes we all lose a battle or two.

And we should be mindful that our real enemy in life is the devil, not those he is able to influence. Those who are used by the devil today can be used by the Lord tomorrow. Let’s work on being mindful of the demonic forces that are at work.

- God over demons. Notice in vss. 30-32 of our Sunday School material that God has power over demons. No matter how strong the devil and his demons may be, our God is stronger.

To live as if God is stronger includes living in obedience to God, having more faith in God than fear of what the devil may do, and anticipating God working things out for the good of His people. Let’s live like we believe that God has more power than demons.

- Mystery and suicide. Notice in vs. 31 that Jesus allowed the demons to go into the pigs, and the pigs killed themselves. First, we don’t know why Jesus allowed the demons to go into the pigs. Today the animal rights people would have been all over Jesus for allowing this.

To say that He did it to get rid of the unclean animals would be speculation. To say that He did it to test the faith of the people would be speculation as well. What we do know is that there are some things about God that we don’t understand. We just have to trust Him.

Second, it seems safe to say that the pigs were so upset about the demonic influence in their lives that they decided to kill themselves, instead of being a host for the demons. On one hand, we should have a made up mind to never allow the devil to enjoy being in control of our lives.

The devil has no rights and should be given no privileges in our lives. But on the other hand, we can stop the devil’s influence without killing ourselves. We can call on the Lord and give our best to obeying His will. God is greater than the devil.

Let’s be mindful of the mysterious ways of God and trust Him to handle the devil who is trying to use us.

Read Luke 9:34-36

II. Restoring a Life. Those who saw what had happened reported to the others in town. The town’s people saw the healed man and at least heard about the dead pigs. They were afraid. In fact, in vs. 37 (not in our printed Sunday School material), Jesus is asked to leave.

Applications –

- Witnessing. Notice in vs. 34 that those who saw what happened went and told their neighbors. They told with no instructions to tell. Think about how the Lord instructs us to tell people about His goodness, and in too many occasions, we don’t tell enough people about Him.

It is sad when church members talk more about the short comings of leaders and members than they talk about the greatness of God and the great things that He is doing. Let’s work on being great witnesses of what the Lord is doing. Our witnessing should be done with our lips and lives.

- Faith over fear. Notice in vs. 35 that the people had a negative fear of Jesus. On one hand, we should have a positive fear of the Lord. “Positive fear” is deep reverence for the Lord.

We should fear Him so much that we do our part to be right with Him. We should make sure that we are saved and striving to love Him and others, as we love ourselves.

But on the other hand, we should not have a negative fear of the Lord. “Negative fear” is being so uneasy by Him that we want Him to leave us alone. The further we are from the Lord, the closer we are to the devil.

The further we are from He who gives us life and that more abundantly, the closer we are to the one who seeks our destruction (i.e., the devil).

Let’s work on having more faith in God than fear of Him.  We do this by prayerfully studying and obeying His word with the support of other believers.

- Don’t ask the Lord to leave. Notice in vss. 35, 37 (vs. 37 is not in our Sunday School material) that the people were apparently so afraid that they asked Jesus to leave.

Perhaps they asked Jesus to leave because they had lost so much money, didn’t know what else Jesus would do with His power, or something altogether different.

Their motives are unclear. However, there are too many who chose the temporary riches of this world over a right relationship with the Lord.

And there are too many who chose to live a life without the Lord because He is too mysterious and out of their control. This is so sad because the Lord will not simply force Himself on us.

Therefore, when we ask Him to leave, He is subject to leave, which leaves us in a terrible situation with Him and leaves us open to all kinds of attacks by the devil.

Let’s strive to live in fellowship with God, instead of asking Him to leave us alone. Our behavior says more about how close we want the Lord to be to us than our mouths.

Conclusion: Let’s work on living in fellowship with God, instead of inviting Him to leave us alone. God has much for those who obey His will.


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