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MANKIND DIVIDED BY CHRIST

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, May 18, 2003


"And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he [Jesus] was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him"(Mark 5:17-18).


The opening sentences of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones' sermon on these verses capture the very essence of them:

"They seem to sum up the whole of mankind, and to indicate the only two possible divisions or categories into which mankind can be divided. We all, finally, belong to the one or the other of these two groups. We desire either to be rid of Christ or else to be with Him and give ourselves entirely to Him. There is in reality no other possibility.  We  are  either  for  or  against  [Christ]"   (Martyn  Lloyd-Jones,  M.D.,  Evangelistic  Sermons,  Banner  of  Truth,  1983,  p.  103).

"And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts"
     (Mark 5:17).

on the one hand. And

"…he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him" (Mark 5:18)

on the other.

And I want you to think very carefully about those two positions this morning - because every single person here in church today is in one of those two categories. You either desire to have Christ depart from you, or you desire to be with Him.

I. First, are you one of those who want Christ to depart from you?

The people in this city came out "to see what it was that was done" (Mark 5:14). A demon-possessed man had been delivered from the power of Satan by Christ. The demons had "entered into" a herd of pigs which then "ran violently down a steep place into the sea (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea" (Mark 5:13). Those who took care of this great herd of pigs "fled, and told it in the city, and in the country" (Mark 5:14). Then the people flocked in great masses to where Jesus was to "see what it was that was done" (Mark 5:14). Instead of being glad that this demon-possessed man had been delivered and was no longer a maniac, they were disturbed. They seem to have been upset by two things: the loss of this huge herd of swine, and by the power of Christ.

Those are the same two things that disturb people today when Christ is preached correctly. Notice that I said people are disturbed when Christ is "preached correctly." I am not talking about the boring little sermon you have heard a Catholic priest give. I am not talking about the fluffy sort of preaching you hear on television today. No, I am saying that preaching on Christ disturbs people today, just as it did in our text, when Christ is preached correctly. When we present the true Christ of the New Testament, He upsets people, for precisely the same reason that He upset those people by the shore of Galilee. When we preach Christ Biblically, which is the only correct way to preach Him, people are upset by Him. That is as true today as it was back then.

We are told that Christ divides people over and over in the New Testament. Three times in the Gospel of John alone, we are told this:

"So there was a division among the people because of him"
   (John 7:43).

Again,

"Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them" (John 9:16).

And when Jesus gave His sermon on the Good Shepherd,

"There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings" (John 10:19).

So, it should not surprise us that Jesus divided the people here in Mark, chapter five, when He cast the demons into pigs and they were drowned, and delivered the demon-possessed man.

This first group of people

"Began to pray him to depart out of their coasts" (Mark 5:17).

Their lives were disturbed by having those two thousand swine killed. They made their living this way, even though it was against their religion even to keep swine, much less to sell them, as Dr. Gill points out that they did - to the Romans, "under whose government they now were, and with whom swine's flesh was in great esteem" (John Gill,  D.D.,  Exposition  of  the  New  Testament,  The  Baptist  Standard  Bearer,  1989  reprint,  volume  7,  p. 86).

They simply did not want their way of life changed by Jesus. A good many people are like that in Los Angeles. In fact, nearly all of the people in Los Angeles are like them. Some of your parents are like that. They don't want you to be involved in this church, and they try to keep you from coming here - because they realize that we are preaching Christ forcefully, and that this will change your life - and they don't want your life to be changed. They don't want you to take Christ seriously and be in church every Sunday. It frightens them to think that you might become a serious Christian. They are just like these people in Jesus' day.

Then, several of you are like these people. You hold back your life from Christ because you fear that He will take away some sin that you love. You would rather have your sin than Christ. And so, in your heart, you too "pray [for] Him to depart" (Mark 5:17), as Dr. Gill put it, "[You] are afraid of being sufferers, or losers by Him; [you] don't care to part with [your] swinish lusts for Him: these [you] prefer to a Saviour, and love the world, and the things of it, more than He, and therefore [you] are not worthy of Him" (Dr. John Gill, comments on Mark 5:17).

Isn't that the way it is with you? Aren't you afraid that Christ will take something "good" away from you if you trust Him? Isn't that really why you refuse to throw yourself on Christ - and leave the world and its sinful pleasures? And so, your love for the pigs of sin keeps you from wanting Jesus Christ. You "will not come to [Him] that [you] might have life" (John 5:40) because you love the pig in your heart. Isn't that so? Isn't Gill right when he says that you don't want "to part with [your] swinish lusts for Him"?

Some of you think, "Why, if I came to Christ, I would have to give up my Sundays. I want to keep my Sundays for myself. I don't want to be in church every Sunday!" Isn't that the "pig" that you want more than Christ? Isn't that your "swinish lust"? Or there may be another secret "pig" in your heart that you want more than Christ. Is there? Is there some secret sin that you want more than Christ? I say, kill the pig! Away with the pig! The pig will not help you! The pig will not save you, or make you truly happy! Kill the pig - and come to Christ - and do it now!

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16).

Don't lose your soul because you love a pig! Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Christ! Kill the pig in your heart and come fully to Jesus Christ - and do it now!

This passage of Scripture has quite a bit to say about demons and the Devil. The Gadarene demoniac was full of demons before Christ saved him. Are there really such demons today? Dr. J. C. Ryle, the great British commentator, said there are- and I agree with him. Dr. Ryle said,

Human nature has not changed since our Lord was on earth. Satan is not yet bound. Satanic possession is therefore neither impossible nor improbable… (Expository Thoughts on Mark, Banner of Truth, 1985 reprint of the 1857 edition, p. 93).

Yes, the Bible teaches that demons are still here today, and they want to destroy you,

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against…the rulers of the darkness of this world" (Ephesians 6:12).

Demonic influences were at work not only in the maniac, before he was saved, but these demons were also obviously active in the minds of the people in the town,

"And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts"
     (Mark 5:17).

Young person, the Devil and his demons do not want you to be converted. Demons will do everything they can to keep you from becoming a true Christian. They will work every crafty trick they can to stop you from becoming a converted member of this church. But the Bible says,

"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

God will help you to do it if you ask Him in prayer. Start praying now for God to save you from the demonic temptations you have - and come to Christ. He will wash your sins away with His Blood and save you, and keep you safe from the Devil! But, remember, only Christ can save you from the Devil and his snares. That's why you must not wait! Come to Christ now - before Satan hardens your heart and ruins your soul, and it is too late for you to be saved. You must be very serious - and strive to enter into Christ - and do it now - before it is too late, and you are given up by God.

So, first, I ask you, are you one of those who want Christ to depart from you? I hope and pray that you are not.

II. Second, are you one of those who wish to be with Christ?

As I said, all mankind is divided into two groups: those who do not want Christ, on the one hand, and those who do want Christ on the other.

"And they began to pray him to depart…[but] he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him" (Mark 5:17-18).

The words translated "pray' and "prayed" are translated from the Greek word "parakaleo," which means "to beseech," "to beg," "to request earnestly." The people of Gadara "strongly requested" Him to leave their coasts - the region where they lived. They begged Him to leave! "Please go, and leave us alone!" The saved Demoniac, on the other hand, begged Jesus to let him remain close to Him, and accompany Him.

You are either for Christ, or you are against Him. Jesus Himself divided all mankind into these two categories. Christ said,

"He that is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30).

You are either "with" Christ like the Demoniac, or you are "against" Christ, like those Gadarene people.

Your heart is "deceitful above all things" (Jeremiah 17:9). And because of this inward bent toward deceit and self-trickery, you try to avoid admitting that you are on the side of the Gadarenes - against Christ. You try to convince yourself that there is some third category of people - and that is where you fit. But nowhere does the Bible speak of a third group.

The Bible speaks of sheep and goats.

"And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left" (Matthew 25:33).

There is no third group. You are either one of the Devil's goats, or one of Christ's sheep. There is no third category.

The Bible speaks of the saved and the damned. There is no third category. You are either saved or damned.

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16).

Which group are you in? Are you damned - or are you saved? Are you with the damned people of Gadara, or are you with the saved Demoniac? Are you with the goats of Gadara, or are you with the sheep, like the Demoniac? It's one or the other. There is no third category. Which one are you in this morning?

Or, again, the Bible divides all humanity into two divisions - the saved and the lost. Jesus said,

"For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost"
    
(Matthew 18:11).

So, which division are you in? Are you among the saved, like the saved Demoniac? Have you been saved by Christ? Has Christ delivered you from the power and penalty of sin? Are your sins washed away by the Blood of Christ? Are you saved?

Or, are you lost? Are you lost in the present, cut off from God by your sins? Are you lost eternally - just waiting for that day when you will be plunged into the flames of judgment for ever? Are you lost now - waiting for the flames of Hell? Will it be said, after you die, that

"The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night"? (Revelation 14:11).

You are either saved, or you are lost. You are either going to Heaven with the saved Demoniac, or you are going to Hell with the lost Gadarenes,

"Into the fire that never shall be quenched" (Mark 9:43).

Are you saved or are you lost? There are only two groups in this world, only two divisions, only two categories. Of which one are you a member? To which one do you belong?

How can you tell which group you are in? Why, that's fairly easy. Are you in church every Sunday? If you are not in church every Sunday, it is quite clear that you are with the lost Gadarenes, and not with the saved Demoniac, who "prayed him that he might be with him" (Mark 5:18). If there is some other place you want to be on Sunday, rather than being with Christ in His church, then you are clearly not saved like the Demoniac. You are still in the Gadarenes' group.

Ah, but there is a subtlety here. If you were raised in the church, or have been here a long time, you may be coming out of habit, and not be with Christ at all. Please remember that these Gadarenes were religious people. They believed in God. They were even awakened, in a sense, because verse fifteen tells us, "they were afraid." They were more close to salvation than many of those who have come to our church for a long time, but do not have the sense of any fear at all. And yet they remained unconverted. Why? Because they knew that if they submitted to Christ He would change their entire lives. They didn't want that.

Some of you are exactly like them. You sit in church Sunday after Sunday, but your heart is barred against Christ. You are not honest enough to say out loud, "I don't want Christ." You have tricked yourself into thinking you want to come to Him, but the truth is just the opposite. You really don't want Him at all. If you truly want Christ, why not come to Him? What stops you from coming to Him? Why not come to Him now?

"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).

The Demoniac was delivered. He was saved by Christ. But he made the mistake of thinking that he had to be physically with Christ to be safe. Now Christ sends the man back to witness to his acquaintances.

"And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel"
   (Mark 5:20).

He was quite safe because Jesus would keep him saved. And you will be safe as well. When Christ saves you, He will keep you saved. Christ said,

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:27-29).

When you are saved, you can go back to a sinful world, and they will not be able to stop you or cause you to give up Jesus. Christ the Son, and God the Father, will keep you safe till the end of your life - "and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28).

Why not leave the Gadarenes and come to Christ? Why not come to Him now, this morning? He died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. He will wash away your sins with His Blood. He will save you. He will keep you saved forever! He has risen physically from the dead. He is alive at the right hand of God, up in Heaven. He will save you, and He will keep you saved, because

"He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).

We have a living Saviour, who will pray for you and save you, and keep you saved, for all time, and for all eternity.

Conclusion

There is one further thing you should notice from the text,

"And they began to pray him to depart…and… he that had been possessed…prayed him that he might be with him"
   (Mark 5:17-18).

"They" were lost! "He" was saved! Those words show us that most people will never be saved. The vast majority will be lost for all eternity.

Literally hundreds of people from Gadara rejected Christ and went to Hell. Only this man, the Demoniac, was saved. One person saved. Hundreds upon hundreds lost - now in Hell. Jesus said,

"Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14).

That's right - Jesus told us that only a few people would be converted, and go to Heaven. The vast majority of people in the world will go to Hell, according to the Bible, because they reject Christ, as the people of Gadara did. That's why Christ said,

"Many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14).

All the Gadarenes were called, but only the Demoniac believed on Him and was saved.

What about you? Many young people come to church here a few times and then reject Christ. Will you do that also? Or will you be one of the chosen few? Will you come to Christ and be saved by Him?

I would like to talk to you for a few minutes about getting saved - up in my office. While the rest of us sing, I want you to get out of your seat - and come stand here in front of this pulpit. When you have come, we will go to my office and talk about your salvation. You get out of your seat and come while we sing.


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Mark 5:1-20.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Then Jesus Came" (by Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986).

THE OUTLINE OF

MANKIND DIVIDED BY CHRIST

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he [Jesus] was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him" (Mark 5:17-18).

I.   Are you one of those who want Christ to depart from you?
Mark 5:13-14; John 7:43; John 9:16; John 10:19; John 5:40; 
Mark 16:16; Ephesians 6:12; James 4:7.

II.  Are you one of those who wish to be with Christ?
Matthew 12:30; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 25:33; Mark 16:16; 
Matthew 18:11; Revelation 14:11; Mark 9:43; Revelation 22:17; 
Mark 5:20; John 10:27-29; Hebrews 7:25; Matthew 7:14; 
Matthew 22:14.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."