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DEMONS AND TODAY’S YOUTH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, July 19, 2015

“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” (Mark 5:1-2).


I have never heard a pastor preach on the Gadarene demoniac. Billy Graham used to preach on it – but never the pastor of a church, in my experience. Why is that so? I think it’s because the story is about demons. It’s about the conflict of Christ and Satan. That scares some women in church. David Murrow wrote a whole book about that. It is called, Why Men Hate Going to Church (Nelson Books, 2005). I wish every pastor could read that book! Murrow points out that men and young people, 18 to 29, are the least likely to be in church (p. 18). He said that men and young adults are “challenge oriented.” Their key values are adventure, risk, daring, conflict. “They want to be known as bold, adventurous, even dangerous.” On the other hand many women and older adults “tend to be security oriented” (p. 19).

Christ did dangerous things. He was daring and not afraid to take risks and enter into conflict. I think David Murrow was right. Some women are like that, and some older men. It is a tragedy that they often sent the tone in our churches. Sermons on demons and Satan have not been given, as a result. They do not want any conflict.  

No wonder so many young men are becoming radical Muslims. Their leaders tell them to go out and conquer the world for their religion. They are like that 24 year old man in Tennessee who killed four Marines last Thursday. This is happening repeatedly today. Those young people are looking for something to believe in. They are looking for reason and purpose in their lives!

But radical Islam is not the answer! Neither is the soft, feminine Christianity presented in many churches today. But I am asking you to follow Jesus. I am asking you to become a radical disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ! There is a conflict. We are at war. But this war is not a physical war. It is a spiritual war. The great British preacher Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) spoke of that warfare. He said, “As we come into the Christian life we become part of this mighty conflict between the forces of God and the forces of hell...Our life in this world is a spiritual warfare...because of Satan” (Life in God, Crossway Books, pp. 105, 179). I completely agree with him!

This story of Jesus and the demonized man is important. God recorded it in three different places in the New Testament – in Matthew, in Mark, and again in Luke. There is a tremendous lesson in it for young people living in our time – in this time of terrorism and spiritual warfare!

The story is simple. Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee in a little boat. He came to the other side of that small sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. My wife and I were there several years ago. We saw with our own eyes the place where this all happened.

“And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit” (Mark 5:2).

Now, I’m going to bring out several things about this young man, and his encounter with Jesus Christ.

I. First, this young man was demon possessed.

Do I believe in demon possession? Yes, I do – I very definitely do! The Bible teaches that there are many demons. The Apostle Paul spoke of them when he said,

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against... spiritual wickedness” (Ephesians 6:12).

He spoke of different kinds of demons and evil spirits in that verse. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “There is a plurality of evil spirits. There are thousands, perhaps millions, of evil spirits” (Christian Unity, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1980, p. 58).

I do not know how you can explain the terrorism and materialism, and the sins of America, if you don’t believe in Satan and his demons!

And this young man was demon possessed. He was controlled by demons. I have personally dealt with people in that condition. I know it can happen when a young person takes drugs, or becomes involved in Black Magic and the Occult.

But there is a lesser degree of demonism that controls the thinking of virtually everyone who has not been converted. The Apostle Paul spoke of the demonic as “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). There was a time when my own mind was blinded by the demonic. That is true of everyone who has not been converted and delivered by the Lord Jesus Christ. We are all in that state and that condition before Christ saves us and we are born again. Real conversions are always deliverance from the power of Satan! 

Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin. He shed His Blood to cleanse your mind and heart from all sin. He rose physically from the dead to give you life – and deliver you from demonic blindness! The great preacher and hymnist Charles Wesley (1707-1788) said it well,

He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
   He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
   His blood availed for me.
(“O For a Thousand Tongues” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

Christ “breaks the power” of sin! Christ “sets the prisoner free.” He did that for me one morning when I was twenty years old – and He can do it for you as well! There are scores of people here this morning who could tell you that Christ set them free from sin and the demons. If you have been saved by Jesus, stand up right now! – you may be seated. Christ can do for you what He did for each of them!

II. Second, this young man was alone.

The Bible says that he did not live “in any house, but in the tombs” (Luke 8:27). My wife and I were there. We saw those tombs on the side of the hill. They are there – holes in the rock of the hill, where dead bodies were entombed. The Bible says,

“And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones” (Mark 5:5).

Many young women cut themselves with razor blades. And they can’t explain why they do it. I saw one teenage girl on television, who had cut her arms repeatedly like that. The interviewer asked her why she did it. She said, “I don’t know. I feel forced to do it. I can’t stop.” What that young woman needs is Jesus Christ! Christ can break that Satanic bondage!

And this man in our text was alone! The demons drove him away from his family into that lonely place, where Jesus met him. Today there is no greater problem for young people in America and the West than loneliness. Loneliness! Most of the problems young people experience are rooted in loneliness. The Beatles even had a popular song about, “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?” (“Eleanor Rigby”). And Carole King’s song “So Far Away” said it all. It was very popular a few years ago. You can still hear it on KRTH101 sometimes.

Traveling around sure gets me down and lonely,
   Nothing else to do but close my mind.
I sure hope the road don’t come to own me,
   There's so many dreams I’ve yet to find.

But you're so far away,
   Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?
(“So Far Away” by Carole King, 1942-).

Philip Slater wrote a book called The Pursuit of Loneliness: American Culture at the Breaking Point, Beacon Press, 2006 edition). In The Pursuit of Loneliness, the author links loneliness to “the national addiction to technology.” Mr. Slater said, “The automobile, for example, did more than anything else to destroy community life in America. It...scattered them about so they became unfamiliar with each other” (pp. 126, 127).

Young people get in their car and drive to Santa Barbara or Berkeley to go to college. It’s so easy, but they lose all their friends, probably forever. No wonder college age young people are so lonely. You say, “We’ll keep in touch.” You mean you can text each other. Does that keep you “in touch”? No – there is no real “touching” at all through a cell phone.

My wife’s grandmother in Guatemala was as smart as a savvy sociologist. Her sons tried to put a telephone in her house. She said, “No. If I have a phone, you’ll never come to see me.” When I see young people walking around and glued to a cell phone it makes me very sad. A machine often takes the place of real friends.

Did you hear about that movie last year called “Her”? I do not recommend it – but it was a movie about a lonely young man who actually fell in love with his computer, that he called “Samantha.” I did not see it. It had some explicit sex scenes. But a lot of young intellectuals saw it – a boy in love with a machine! You can read about that movie by clicking here for a Wikipedia article on it. I do not recommend that you see it.

I believe that the loneliness of American and European culture is used by Satan to enslave young people and destroy them. That young man who killed four Marines last week was connected with ISIS through a machine called the “computer.” He was really alone! The man Jesus confronted was alone in the tombs. He became controlled by demons! God help us!

I’m not telling you to get rid of your cell phone and your computer. But I am saying, “Don’t let those machines control you! Get off the computer long enough to make some real friends! Get off the computer long enough to make some lasting friends – in this church!” Listen to a song about that man in the tombs,

From home and friends the evil spirits drove him,
   Among the tombs he dwelt in misery;
He cut himself as demon powers possessed him,
   Then Jesus came and set the captive free.
When Jesus comes the tempter’s power is broken;
   When Jesus comes the tears are wiped away.
He takes the gloom and fills the life with glory,
   For all is changed when Jesus comes to stay.
(“Then Jesus Came” by Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986;
     music by Homer Rodeheaver, 1880-1955).

Young people, I am urging you to come into our church. Be here Sunday morning and Sunday night. Be here with us Saturday night as well! I promise you – we will be your friends! I promise you – you will never again feel lonely if you come with us! Amen!

III. Third, this young man was afraid of Jesus.

The Bible says that he

“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” (Mark 5:7).

He felt afraid of Jesus. That, too, is common among young people today. Jesus and this church could help you, but you may be afraid! You may be afraid of commitment. You may be afraid of spending a few hours with us in church every weekend. I can only say that this makes me very sad. I know that your fear comes from Satan. Why does he do that? Because he knows he will lose you if you come with us and come to Jesus.

When I was 19 years old I walked the streets of Los Angeles alone at night. My friends were gone. I was alone, and very lonely. One Saturday night I walked around Olvera Street. I walked past Chinatown. I turned right on Yale Street. Near the end of that street I saw a church. It was a Chinese Baptist church. I knocked on the door and a young woman named Lorna Lum opened the door and spoke to me. She invited me to come there to church the next day, which was Sunday. I went there the next day. And I went there for many years afterwards. Jesus saved me while I was there. I made real, lasting friends there.

Don’t be afraid of us! Don’t be afraid of Jesus! Come with us and we will do you good! Come back with us and, I promise you, it will change your life for the better. If you come with us again next weekend – and come to Jesus as well – you will be glad you did a thousand years from now!

Jesus cast the demons out of that man of the Gadarenes. Jesus saved him! Yes, he was saved by Jesus Christ!

So men today have found the Saviour able,
   They could not conquer passion, lust and sin;
Their broken hearts had left them sad and lonely,
   Then Jesus came and dwelt, Himself, within.
When Jesus comes the tempter’s power is broken;
   When Jesus comes the tears are wiped away.
He takes the gloom and fills the life with glory,
   For all is changed when Jesus comes to stay.

Christ can set you free from Satan! Christ can give you life and power! Christ can change your life! Give us a chance to show you the way to Jesus Christ! Get ready for a new adventure here in this church! Yes, a new adventure! Come back and we’ll show you the way! Someone may say, “I don’t believe in demons or Satan.” That’s OK. There was a time when I didn’t believe in them either. But that’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is to feel that Jesus loves you, and to feel that we love you too! This is the place to make lasting friends. This is the place where you will be loved and accepted! May God bless each and every one of you! Amen!

If this sermon blessed you please send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and
tell him. Please also tell him what country you are writing from. Dr.
Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can
write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Matthew 8:28-34.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Then Jesus Came” (words by Dr. Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986;
music by Homer Rodeheaver, 1880-1955).


THE OUTLINE OF

DEMONS AND TODAY’S YOUTH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“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” (Mark 5:1-2).

I.   First, this young man was demon possessed, Ephesians 6:12; 2:2.

II.  Second, this young man was alone, Luke 8:27; Mark 5:5.

III. Third, this young man was afraid of Jesus, Mark 5:7.