JESUS CAN LIFT YOU UP!

(LUKE 8:26-40)

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

1.    The story in (Luke 8:26-40) is one of the most thrilling stories in all the New Testament.  It is the story of a man who met Jesus in the worst way and left in the best way.  It is a story that exemplifies what Satan will do with a life and what Jesus can do for a life.  It is a story that illustrates the unpleasant life without Christ and the happiness of a life in Christ.

 

2.    John Newton’s great hymn, Amazing Grace, is a fitting backdrop to the story.

 

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me;

I was lost, but now I’m found,

Twas blind, but now I see.

THIS STORY IS ONE THAT MAGNIFIES GOD’S AMAZING GRACE.  LET’S CONSIDER THREE IMPORTANT SPIRITUAL TRUTHS FOUND IN THIS STORY.

 

I.              FIRST, SIN WILL BRING YOU DOWN.

 

“They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee.  When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs” (Luke 8:26-27).

1.     This story is a classic example of the presence and power of sin and Satan in a life.

 

2.     When we consider where he lived, we see how sin and Satan will degrade a life. He did not live in a warm, comfortable house, but lived in the cold, dreary tombs.  You could say that he went from the front yard to the graveyard.

 

3.     Sin will take the innocent and make them guilty.  Sin will take the pure and make them impure.  Sin will take the clean and make them unclean.  Sin will take the moral and make them immoral.  Sin will take the decent and make them indecent. Sin will take the good and make them bad.

 

4.     Contrary to the picture the world paints, sin always lowers a person and never lifts that person.

 

ILLUSTRATION:


One night a man was brought into New York’s busy Bellvue Hospital.  He appeared to be just another bum with a slashed

throat.

 

He had been brought in from the Bowery, which in many cases was the last stop before the morgue.  The Bowery was a

synonym of filth, loneliness, cheap booze, drugs, disease, and the dead end of many a life.

 

He looked like all the rest.  It was obvious that he had only lived to drink.  His health was gone.  He was cold and starving.  On that icy January morning, this man who looked twice his age, was found lying in a heap, naked and bleeding from a deep gash in this throat.  His forehead was badly bruised and he was semi-conscious.

 

A doctor was called…however, time ran out.  The man died…and was sent to the morgue.

 

There among dozens of colorless, nameless corpses with tags on their toes, the man was identified.  When they scrapped together his belongings, they found a ragged, dirty coat with 38 cents in one pocket and a scrap of paper in the other.  This was all his earthly goods.  Enough coins for another night in the Bowery and five words on a piece of paper; “Dear friends and gentle hearts.”

 

Once upon a time before his tragic death at age 38, this man

had written songs that literally made the whole world sing:

 

Camptown Races

Oh! Susanna!

Beautiful Dreamer

Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair

Old Folks at Home

My Old Kentucky Home and over 200 more. 

 

The bum found in the Bowery was Stephen Foster.  What happened?  Who knows for sure, but one thing is obvious.  Sin and Satan can and will take a person to the bottom!

 

II.            SECOND, JESUS CAN LIFT YOU UP.

 

“When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!”  For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places” (Luke 8:28-29).

 

1.    This man who was living in sins domination, experienced transformation.  Jesus freed him from Satan’s stronghold.

 

2.    Jesus commanded the demons to come out of the man, setting him free from the power of sin and Satan.   What others could not do for him, Jesus was able to accomplish.

 

3.    Satan is powerful, but Jesus is all-powerful!  Satan is strong, but Jesus is stronger!  Satan may lower a life, but Jesus can lift that life!

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

On February 24, 2001, a one-year old Canadian girl named Erika somehow wandered out of her mother’s bed and house and spent the entire night in the Edmonton winter.

 

When her mother, Leyla Nordby, found her, Erika appeared to be totally frozen. Her legs were stiff, her body frozen, and all signs of life appeared to be gone.

 

Erika was treated at Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Health Center, and God helped doctors and rescue workers bring her back to life. To the amazement of all, there appeared to be no sign of brain damage, and doctors gave Erika a clear prognosis—she would soon be able to hop and skip and play like other girls her age.

 

Some of us have wandered away from our Father’s house, and it has brought us near the point of death. Our hearts have hardened, and our spiritual bodies look as lifeless as the little girl in the snow.

But our Father noticed we were missing and is searching for us. He can take our lifeless spirits and restore us to health. Let the Father pick you up and take you back to his house.

 

4.    If you are being brought down by sin, Jesus can transform your life and provide you with a new spirit…a new direction…a new hope.

 

III.           THIRD, JESUS HAS A MISSION FOR YOU.

 

“The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him” (Luke 8:38-39).

 

1.    This man was saved by Jesus and then sent by Jesus. There was something that Jesus needed him to do.

 

2.    You see once our lives our transformed, Jesus has a mission for us.  He wants us to “return home and tell how much God has done for us.”

 

3.    We are to tell the story of God’s love and His ability to save the lost.  Others need to know what Jesus can do for them and God has sent each of us to tell them.  God could have commissioned angels to deliver this glorious message, but He chose to us to deliver the message.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

The Times-Reporter of New Philadelphia, Ohio, reported in September 1985 a celebration at a New Orleans municipal pool. The party around the pool was held to celebrate the first summer in memory without a drowning at any New Orleans city pool. In honor of the occasion, two hundred people gathered, including one hundred certified lifeguards.

 

As the party was breaking up and the four lifeguards on duty began to clear the pool, they found a fully dressed body in the deep end. They tried to revive Jerome Moody, thirty-one, but it was too late. He had drowned surrounded by lifeguards celebrating their successful season.

 

I wonder how many visitors and strangers are among us drowning in loneliness, hurt, and doubt, while we, who could help them, don’t realize it. We Christians have reason to celebrate, but our mission, as the old hymn says, is to “rescue the perishing.” And often they are right next to us.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.    The Lord’s message today is this:

 

2.    If sin has grip on your life…if sin has you down…Jesus can life you up.  He can transform you life.  He can deliver you from the grip of Satan and provide you with peace, hope, and a new direction.

 

3.    Come now and prostrate yourself down before the Lord and He will life you up.