Trevor Joll - West Eyreton, Canterbury, New Zealand Gospel Meeting - March 29, 2006

Hymn 79, "Hast Thou Ever Proved the Sweetness"


My thoughts have been in Mark 5. I have just enjoyed meditating again on this man's experience and I asked myself this question, "Am I happy with the spirit that is in me?" It is a great thing in life when we can say, "I am happy and I am content with the spirit that is leading me." There was a power in this man's life that he couldn't handle and we cannot blame this man for that. We are glad when we know in our experience what it really means to be born again of the Spirit of God. We are glad and grateful for what that Spirit can do for us.


People came and tied this man up with chains and bound him and that didn't restrain him. He broke them asunder and carried on living like he was living and there are many people in this world today that have a power in their life that they cannot handle. If we were left to ourselves with the human nature we are born with, no one knows what depths this human nature would take us to. A lot of people in prison these days and in difficult situations, had no idea I am sure how far it would take them, the depths it would take them to. We are grateful that we can have a power in our life that can help us overcome ourselves. Have you ever looked on someone in life and you have seen them in the situation they are in and you have thought, "Poor thing, they are a bit of a hopeless case." But when you read about people like this in the Bible that got help, this man in his experience, he got help and so that gives to us this confidence that no matter what situation people find themselves in, the Gospel can help them and there is nobody beyond the help of God and we are grateful for that.


We might look at ourselves and wonder, "Is it possible for me to live in a manner that is pleasing to God?" We see our own human nature but we are glad that through the help of God it is possible to overcome ourselves. That is our hope, that God will be with us and enable us to be an overcomer of our human nature and human desires. This man, I don't know when this spirit came into him but it came into his life because he had no other power in his life to overcome that spirit. A lot of things in this world today would like to enter into our life and try to have an influence over us but I know this, that there is no power greater than the power of God.


Our safety in this journey of life is having God with us. That is my safety and your safety in life, that if God is with us in our experience, no other spirit will be able to come into our life and rule in our life. A lot of people in prison are bound there, tied up, locked up, but what those people really need is something in here - in their life, in their experience, to change them. The chances of people being reformed are very slim. Not too many people are reformed in those places.


Statistics have it that a lot of people come out of prison and end up back in there again because there is nothing in their experience to change them. We are glad that through the Gospel there is a power that can help us. They chained this man up but it didn't help him but when he saw Jesus coming he ran and worshipped him. I don't know how he knew that Jesus could help him; I don't know whether he had seen Jesus doing things in people's lives but he had faith. He came to Jesus that day and fell down and worshipped Him and he just said, "Torment me not." You think of that man in the situation he was in, living amongst the tombs, crying and cutting himself. What a sad state to be in. When he came to Jesus that day, he just said, "Torment me not."

 

When we think of beginning our day, when we begin our day with worshipping God, that is the first thing in our experience. Uncle Walter once said that worship comes before service - and get help from God, that is our answer. That is where we are going to get help through the day. If we begin the day right then, God will help us through the day no matter what we face in the day. If we begin the day in the right frame of mind, God will help us through the day and that is what we need - God's help through the day - because no one knows what will happen through the day. God wants to keep us safe. This man when he realised Jesus was there, he fell down and worshipped Him and said, "Torment me not." Things may come into our experience - sometimes you can get a wrong spirit about something or even a hard spirit or a bitter spirit . It could enter into your life about something that may have happened but we know this, we have got to get victory over it and the best and only way to get victory over it is to get on your knees and ask God to help you. That is our hope. This man, the spirit that was working in his life brought him into bondage. He didn't want to do that but he couldn't help himself because that spirit was controlling him.

 

People become tormented, upset, about something that maybe happened and they have allowed a wrong spirit to come into their lives. Something that has helped me over the years, that Jesus said, "If thou bring thy gift to the altar and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother and then come and offer thy gift." That is our life that Jesus was speaking about. It is vital in our experience if we are going to get help from God in the beginning of the day, we have to keep ourselves right with one another, keep out anything that would hinder us. It is a very important thing in our experience if we are looking for help from God, it is conditional. We must make sure that we don't harbour any wrong thing in our heart that will hinder us from drawing near to God. When this man came to Jesus this day and said, "Torment me not," Jesus desired to help him. When we come before God really wanting help, desiring help for our soul, if we come in the right condition, the Lord will be only too pleased to help us.


The power in that man's life was sufficient to move 2,000 pigs. Have you ever tried to hold one pig? That was the power that was working in this man's life, that controlled those pigs and drove them to their death. That is what it did when Jesus drove it out of this man - a terrific power that was in that man's life. You think about that power and the power that Jesus had that day to cast out the spirit that was in that man. We are glad that there is no power greater than the power of God and that is our hope in our journey, that God will be with us in our experience, that nothing would come into our life that would destroy us or hinder us. That man would have been destroyed by that power. There are lots of influences in this world that would destroy us but if we understand that and realise it, it will drive us to the source of help. When we really understand what we are by nature, it helps us to realise, "I have got to get help from God today because I don't want this human nature to control me." That helps us to realize, "I have got to get help," and draws us to the place of help. When he got help that day, he was sitting at Jesus' feet, clothed and in his right mind. A beautiful picture to think of that man being transformed to that state, instead of being tormented and cutting himself.


Those people would have to say, "We couldn't do that for him." They had to recognise that Jesus did something for that man that they could never do. That day the Lord took away shame and gave him power into his life and brought peace and contentment into his experience and brought him into fellowship with Himself. You think of that testimony that he would have had that day when people looked on him. Something miraculous had happened to him. He said to Jesus, "I want to come with you." Jesus said, "No, Go home to thy friends and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee." I don't think he would have had to say very much. Even the fact that that man would have gone back home and lived a normal life, his life would have testified greatly that a miracle had taken place. You think of our lives today and God wanting to use our lives to show to other people that the Lord has done a work in us - to me that is a great privilege. His will was to go with Jesus that day but Jesus' will for him was to go and tell others what the Lord had done for him. I like to think of that man; he realised - "That is what I want to do, but this is what the Lord wants me to do," and he was happy to go and do it. He had a testimony that day that a great change had taken place in his life. Even our lives today, just to live a life that is pleasing to God is a wonderful testimony in the world.


It says that all men did marvel when they saw that man. Many people were helped because of that man. You think of Jesus being able to use that man to help others. Romans, "They that are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." That is a nice picture. Where will the Spirit of God lead us and what will it teach us and how will it guide us? The Spirit of God will lead us to follow Jesus and will teach us the things that Jesus taught His disciples. It will never bring people into bondage. It will always bring people into fellowship with one another and with God. Even this man in his experience understood, "This is what the Lord wants me to do," and he was willing to be led by that. If the Spirit of God is teaching us and we are willing to be led by it and to do what the Spirit of God teaches us, we are born again as children of God. When people didn't receive Jesus, the disciples said, "Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elias did?" Jesus rebuked the disciples and said, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." I like it in this respect - if the Spirit of God is teaching us and leading us through life it is going to lead us and teach us in such a way that it is going to bring salvation into our soul. We have nothing to fear because as the Lord said, "I have come to save men and women."


The Spirit of God will never lead us outside of the will of God. It is not going to cause us to do lots of strange things in life; it will guide us into the truth of God. That man that got helped that day and a new Spirit into his life, it just brought him into fellowship with Christ. It didn't cause him to do anything strange or out of the ordinary. He was just clothed and in his right mind, learning of Christ. He wasn't confused about what he was doing. He was clothed and sitting at Jesus' feet. Before, he was tormented, confused and didn't really understand what he was doing or why he was doing it, that he had a power in his life that he had no control over. We are glad today that the Spirit of God will teach us and guide us into all truth, teach us how to remain in fellowship with God, bring conviction into our life to keep in fellowship with God. We are glad that it isn't something that is too difficult for us to understand, that it is simple, that God wants to dwell with us by His Spirit. This man wanted help this day and he received help and when Jesus asked him to do something, he went and did it even though it was contrary to his own will and it proved to be the best thing. If we are just willing to be led by God and to be taught by Him, we are going to have God's help in our life to enable us to overcome our human nature. Keep willing to be led by the Spirit of God, knowing that as we do that, we will be safe from any other thing wanting to enter in and destroy us and bring us into bondage, but be sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed and in our right mind. I hope we will prove that.


Hymn 46, "Lord Jesus, Lead"