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DELIVERANCE FROM A DISTANCE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, May 28, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed” (Mark 7:30).


Three Sundays ago, on May 7, I preached a sermon titled, “The Pharisees and the Woman of Canaan Contrasted.” I promised you that I would preach a second sermon, on the deliverance of the woman’s daughter, the following Sunday, on Mother’s Day. But I was not able to keep that promise because God gave me another sermon.

This morning I am returning to the subject I promised you three weeks ago, on the text,

“And when she was come to her house, she found the devil [demon] gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed”
     (Mark 7:30).

This is one of three instances where Jesus delivered people from a distance.

In our Scripture reading a moment ago Dr. Chan read John 4:46-54, the passage which tells us that Jesus healed a nobleman’s son at a distance. The man said,

“Sir, come down ere my child die” (John 4:49).

But Jesus did not go down to the man’s house. Instead, Jesus said to him,

“Go thy way; thy son liveth” (John 4:50).

When the nobleman got back to his house he found his son had been healed, and was alive and well. He also discovered that his boy had been delivered at the very hour when Jesus said, “Go thy way; thy son liveth” (John 4:50).

A third instance of Jesus delivering a person from a distance is recorded in Luke 7:1-10 and in Matthew 8:5-13. There was a certain Roman centurion who had a beloved servant at his house. The centurion said to Jesus, “My servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented” (Matthew 8:6). Luke tells us that the servant “was sick, and ready to die” (Luke 7:2). Jesus started to go to the centurion’s house to heal the sick man. But the centurion said,

“Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed” (Matthew 8:8).

“And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour” (Matthew 8:13).

This was a third instance in which Jesus delivered people from a distance, without going near them.

The centurion’s servant was healed from deadly palsy. The nobleman’s son was healed “at the point of death” (John 4:47). The Syrophenician woman’s daughter was delivered from bondage to “an unclean spirit,” delivered from demon possession (Mark 7:25). All three miracles were done by Jesus without coming near to, or touching, the person who needed healing. Jesus said to the Syrophenician woman,

“The devil [demon] is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil [demon] gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed” (Mark 7:29-30).

These instances of Jesus delivering people from a distance are recorded in the Bible for a reason. Healings from deadly diseases are pictures of the miracle of conversion.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Deliverance from Satanic oppression are also pictures of conversion,

“If God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Timothy 2:25-26).

Thus, our text is a beautiful illustration of Jesus granting salvation to a girl who was “taken captive” by the Devil. And Jesus said to her mother,

“The devil [demon] is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil [demon] gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed” (Mark 7:29-30).

If you are not yet converted, there are at least three lessons for you in this text.

I. First, the young lady had been held under demonic control.

One doesn’t need much experience in evangelism to realize that there are demonic forces working to keep people from salvation in Christ. We learn about this fact from a classical passage of Scripture. In these verses, Satan is called “the prince of the power of the air.” The Apostle Paul said,

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1-2).

Dr. Morris said of these verses,

The ‘prince of the power of the air’ is Satan, ruling a vast multitude of fallen angels [demons]…In our natural [unconverted] state we are called ‘children of disobedience’ (Ephesians 2:2) and ‘children of wrath.’ We are also called ‘children of the wicked one’ (Matthew 13:38) and ‘children of the devil’ (I John 3:10). This is why Jesus told even such an outwardly religious man as Nicodemus, ‘Ye must be born again’ (John 3:7), and then told him, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Defender’s Study Bible, World Publishing, 1995, p. 1305).

Nothing short of a true conversion in Christ Jesus will save you. It is conversion and conversion alone that frees a person from the dominion of Satan and his demons.

According to Dr. John Gill, Ephesians 2:1-2

Speak of Satan himself, who is a spirit, and an evil and unclean one; and who operates powerfully in unbelievers [the unconverted] for they are meant by children of disobedience, or unbelief…whose minds he blinds, and whose hearts he fills (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume III, p. 70).

Satan has such a hold on the mind of an unconverted person that he is caught in “the snare of the devil, who [takes him] captive…at his will” (cf. II Timothy 2:26).

Yes, there are demonic forces “that worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Could this be true of you? Could it be that you are so worked upon by Satan, in conspiracy with your own fallen, depraved nature, that you reject salvation in Christ Jesus? Isn’t this what the Bible teaches? Isn’t this why your heart is in rebellion? Isn’t this why you refuse to close with Christ? Isn’t this why you hear these gospel sermons and are yet unwilling to submit to Christ? Isn’t this why you stumble into the inquiry room, and then shuffle out, not finding salvation in Christ Jesus? Isn’t this why part of you wants to submit to Christ, while another part of you utterly refuses to come to Christ? Isn’t all this true because Satan is “the spirit that now worketh in [you],” making you balk and refuse to settle the matter by coming to Jesus? I say the deep, spiritual reason that you do not submit to Jesus is because you walk “according to…the prince of the power of the air”? (Ephesians 2:2).

Isn’t your condition quite similar to the young lady spoken of in our text? I hope you will see that staying under Satan’s control of your mind regarding faith in Christ will not help you, but will gradually harden you more and more against the Saviour.

If you do feel that Satan and demonic powers may be playing on your mind, keeping you from Christ, isn’t it true that you should settle this matter once and for all – and come quickly out of Satan’s clutches and trust Jesus? Why wait, going on and on “in the snare of the devil”? (II Timothy 2:26). Haven’t you gone long enough listening to the Devil’s twisted spins and outright lies? Isn’t it true that you need to break free from Satan and cast yourself on Jesus – who is the only one who can save you from the Satanic hold the devil has on your mind?

“And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed” (Mark 7:30).

But there is another lesson in our text.

II. Second, the young lady had heard about Christ.

We are told in this passage that the young woman’s mother had “heard of” Jesus (Mark 7:25). She had heard a great deal about the miracles He had done and the people He had saved. The Syrophenician woman undoubtedly spoke to her demonized daughter about what she “heard of him” (Mark 7:25). The girl also knew that her mother believed that Jesus could save her. But so far she paid little attention in her demonically blinded and Satanically controlled state.

Isn’t that true of some of you here this morning? Haven’t you, too, heard about the saving grace Jesus offers? And yet the demon-controlled girl remained unmoved and disinterested. She wasn’t interested enough to go to Jesus herself.

Aren’t some of you like that – unmoved and uninterested when you hear us preaching deliverance and salvation through Christ? Don’t you often “tune out” the sermon? Don’t you often think of other things, and quickly put the thought of Jesus saving you out of your mind, soon after the gospel sermon has been preached? Isn’t it true that soon after each sermon you hear,

“The devil [cometh] and taketh away the word out of [your heart], lest [you] should believe and be saved”? (Luke 8:12).

And doesn’t your disinterest in gospel preaching put you in exactly the same position as this young girl, whose mind was by so befogged and controlled by Satan? Which takes us to our final point.

III. Third, the young lady was saved by Jesus from a distance.

Jesus never went near the girl’s house. He never saw her. He never laid His hands on her or prayed for her. And, yes, He never even explained the gospel to her. What little she knew about salvation came to her through what her mother told her about Jesus – nothing more. And yet it is said of her mother,

“And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed” (Mark 7:30).

There is a lesson there for you as well, which is our final point. The young lady was saved by Jesus from a distance.

I said earlier in this sermon that a nobleman’s son was saved at a distance, since Christ did not come to his house in person. I also told you about a Roman centurion’s servant whom Jesus saved without ever going near the man.

What does this say to us today? Among other things, it tells us that Jesus need not come down from Heaven and touch you for you to be saved. There’s a popular song that says, “He touched me, yes He touched me, and oh the joy that filled my soul.” But it doesn’t always happen that way. Jesus did not touch these three people when He saved them. He saved them far away from where He was at the time. They were saved by Him from a distance.

This is an important point to remember. Jesus is not near you now. The Bible repeatedly tells us that He is far away from us, up in Heaven, seated at the right hand of God the Father. The Apostle Paul made this clear when he wrote,

“It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God…” (Romans 8:34).

Again the Apostle wrote,

“Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

This means that you must come to Jesus by faith, not by feelings. Coming to Christ means that you trust Him, where He is – up in Heaven.

This morning we have seen three people in Bible times who were saved by Jesus even though He was far away from them physically. And you, this morning, can be saved by Him, although He is physically far away from you.

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

Do not look for a “feeling” of any sort. That is a thing “on the earth.” Do not look into your own heart and mind. That is a thing “on the earth.” I have known poor lost people who went on and on for many months looking for an earthly feeling, looking within themselves for a “change” to take place, looking for some change “on the earth.” Yes, it is possible to go for months, even years, looking at these “things on the earth,” looking inwardly for the right feeling, or looking inwardly for a change of heart. But that will never do you any good.

Have you been like that? Have you been doing that? If you have, I have good news for you! You could be saved this very morning if you will stop looking at yourself, your feelings and mental state. The good news is this – the moment you stop looking within yourself and look to Jesus in simple faith you will be saved. The moment you come to Jesus by faith, even though He seems so far away, you will be saved by Him, just as those three people we studied this morning were saved by Jesus when He was far away from them. He delivered them from a distance. He can also save you from a distance.

Stop depending on a feeling or an inner “change” within yourself. Look away from yourself completely – to Jesus in Heaven. Look to Him. Trust Him. Come to Him by faith. He will save you the very moment you trust Him in simple faith. You will receive deliverance from guilt and pardon for sin the moment that you trust Jesus Christ – even though He seems far away to you. Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. He rose from the dead and ascended back to Heaven to give you life.

One night a man asked the Apostle Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Paul answered him by saying, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). That very night the man trusted Jesus and was saved.

Will you do that this morning? I know it seems hard – but it really isn’t. God will help you. God will draw you. There is no need to fear. Fear is from the Devil. God doesn’t want you to be afraid. God wants to help you come to Jesus by faith, and God will help you do it.

The famous hymn writer of the First Great Awakening, Joseph Hart, had been through years of struggle and fear, but he was still not converted. Then one day He surrendered to Jesus. It was so simple that Joseph Hart could hardly believe he was saved at first. But afterwards he gained assurance that Christ had saved even an obstinate sinner like him. He then wrote the beautiful hymn we sang in the service a moment ago. Here are a few sections of Hart’s hymn,

Come, ye weary, heavy laden, Bruised and broken by the fall,
If you tarry till you’re better, You will never come at all.
None but Jesus, none but Jesus,
Can do helpless sinners good.
He is able, He is able, He is willing, doubt no more.
He is able, He is able, He is willing, doubt no more.
   (“Come, Ye Sinners” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

Doubt no more! Jesus is far away – up in Heaven, but His grace and love can come to you from a distance, as it did in Bible times.

He is able, He is able, He is willing, doubt no more.

Even if you stumbled and didn’t come to Him before, or had a false conversion before, you could so easily trust Him now by faith this morning and be saved for all time and eternity. May God help you trust in His Son, our loving Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 4:46-54.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“It Took a Miracle” (by John W. Peterson, 1948).


THE OUTLINE OF

DELIVERANCE FROM A DISTANCE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed” (Mark 7:30).

(John 4:49-50; cf. Luke 7:1-10; cf. Matthew 8:5-13;
Matthew 8:6; Luke 7:2; Matthew 8:8, 13; John 4:47;
Mark 7:25, 29-30; Ephesians 2:4-5; II Timothy 2:25-26)

I.   The young lady had been held under demonic control,
Ephesians 2:1-2; Matthew 13:38; I John 3:10; John 3:7;
II Timothy 2:26.

II.  The young lady had heard about Christ, Mark 7:25; Luke 8:12.

III. The young lady was saved by Jesus from a distance,
Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1-2; Acts 16:30-31.