Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XV: Identifying And Overcoming Demonic Pressures In Discipling An Area
(Mark 5:1-20; 7:31; 8:1-9)
  1. Introduction
    1. Though we do not have a command in Scripture to address angelic beings in any way, but to address our needs directly to God, it is a fact that we believers experience great pressures in the angelic conflict; Paul said we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against such powers, Eph. 6:12. For this cause, we are to put on the whole armor of God to be able to stand in the evil day, Eph. 6:11.
    2. However, in serving God by making disciples with Him in an area especially fraught with evil, the believer may get so confused in the conflict that he gets disoriented and is tempted to respond rashly and wrongly!
    3. Mark 5:1-20 with 7:31 and 8:1-9 is a nutshell explanation of how God enters a region of darkness with the light, what happens en route, and how He gains victory. It provides invaluable insight for directing our thought in facing the darkness of the angelic conflict as follows:
  2. Identifying And Overcoming Demonic Pressures In Discipling An Area, Mark 5:1-20; 7:31; 8:1-9.
    1. In Mark 5:1-17, Christ's initial confrontation with demons and its apparent setback is described:
      1. As soon as Jesus crossed the Sea to the Gentile-infested southeastern shore, He was met by a man with a severe case of demon possession, Mark 5:1-2. His case is described as follows (Mk. 5:2b-5):
        1. The man lived in a lonely place, in tombs apart from fellowship with other people, Mk. 5:2b-3a.
        2. He was uncontrollable, not subject to human laws or restraints, Mk. 5:3b-4.
        3. He was emotionally unstable and suicidal, Mk. 5:5.
      2. The demons in the man were especially anxious about losing their access to influence by being cast into the abyss of judgment before the time, or being exorcised with no body to inhabit, Mk. 5:8-13.
      3. When Jesus permitted them to leave the man and enter the swine, they caused the herd to rush violently down a cliff and perish, which made Jesus not acceptable in the area by thus misrepresenting His nature as a vicious person. He act ually was begged by the crowds to leave, so He left, Mk. 5:14-18.
      4. Summary: Thus, Jesus faced unsociable, uncontrollable, rebellious opposition that was emotionally unstable and suicidal, that wanted to dominate others, and that sought to misrepresent God's Servant to the harm of His reputation so that He would have to leave by authoritative pressure. It was demonic.
    2. In Mark 5:19-20, Christ's counter to that opposition is laid out for us. When the demoniac sought to come with Jesus into the boat, Jesus did not permit him, but told him to broadcast abroad his salvation fro m demonic possession to God's salvation in the very region where Jesus had been thus discredited by the demons in the swine, Mk. 5:19-20 with 5:1.
    3. The results of this witness show a door into that region of Decapolis opened later on in Mark 7:31, cf. Mk. 5:20. Thus, the testimony of a changed life of the few initial converts become the power that produces faith in a region that minimizes the influence of demons!
    4. In fact, Jesus later ministered to such large crowds there that He miraculously fed the 4,000 there, 8:1-9!
Lesson: (1) If while serving God we run into pressures that (a) isolate people from normal social interaction, (b) that are rebellious against order, (c) that are emotionally unstable or (d) suicidal or (e) try to dominate others or (f) that tend t o harm reputations, we or those we help face demonic pressures. (2) In response, we should (a) give out the truth until or unless urged by authorities to leave, and thus we must comply. (b) Yet, we should have the few who accept the truth testify of the great things God has done for them. (3) In (a) time, this produces (b) an increase in faith in our message (c) so that others wish to hear more and demons are less influential, and we can make inroads with the Gospel. In fact, where we were once not welcome, our work can blossom.

Application: Noting these dynamics, it is apparent that often when we feel compelled the most to feel bad due to the negative pressures or responses we face, we are the most needed to be faithful as we have merely stirred up a hornet's nest of dread among demons who are threatened by our Lord!! Thus, learn to read these spiritual dynamics and f ollow God's lead instead of giving in to Satan!