Today we continue in our message series Jesus In Action from the book of Mark. In this series, we’re focusing on Jesus’ actions and the miracles that He performed. The things that Jesus did in His ministry on earth are the same things the He does today through His Spirit and His people.
Today’s message is entitled “Set Free.” What does it mean to be free or to have freedom? The dictionary defines freedom as liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another. The Bible teaches us that everyone is in bondage and needs to be set free.
John 8:34 (ESV) Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
Since everyone is a sinner by nature and practices sin, therefore everyone before they are saved is a slave to sin. They do not have freedom, they are in slavery to their sin whether they know it or not. But Jesus tells us the good news in …
John 8:36 (ESV) So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Jesus came to set people free in every dimension. Jesus came that we might live our lives in total freedom. That we would no longer be a slave to sin, but that we would be slaves of God. Fundamentally, every person is either a slave to sin or a slave of God. And, of course, who is behind sin? Jesus speaks to the unbelieving Jews in …
John 8:44a (ESV) You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.
The devil or Satan is behind the sin that people are enslaved to. So, everyone is serving either Satan or God. True freedom, the freedom that God created you to live in comes only in serving God. God created us in the image of God, that our lives might reflect His character in freedom. On the other hand, Satan seeks to destroy the image of God in people and reduce them to acting as animals or beasts in their sin. Sin leads a person in a downward spiral into increasing bondage to sin of all kinds. Sin repeated leads to sinful habits, bondages and addictions of all kinds. These bondages descend into violence, destruction and death.
When a person experiences physical death without a relationship with Jesus Christ, they enter into eternal death. A permanent state of eternal torment with the devil and his demons in hell from which there is no escape. The good news is that Jesus came to give us hope and break that downward spiral.
Hebrews 2:14-15 (ESV) Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself [Jesus] likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
Jesus died physically, as we all will unless Jesus returns before then. He died physically and paid the penalty of our sins so that He might destroy the devil and his power over people. Jesus broke the power of sin over people’s lives and He rose from the dead, never to die again. Jesus now can deliver every person who believes in Him from the fear of death to the hope of eternal life.
That is a life of freedom that God created us to live. What should be our response? Since Jesus has the power to set us free, we must seek Him to live in that freedom. Today, we’re going to turn to Mark 5 to learn three things that Jesus came to set us free from. He came so that we may …
Mark 5:2-3 (ESV) And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain,
Last Sunday, we talked about Jesus calming a furious storm with a simple command in Mark 4. In this chapter of Mark, Jesus and His disciples get to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, as Jesus had commanded. The minute that they landed on the beach, they were confronted with a strange sight. They encountered a man with an unclean spirit or demon. That means that the man was under the control or enslaved by this demon or demons as we’ll see.
We begin to see what the power of the demons had one to the man. He no longer lived with other people, but lived by himself. Not only did he live alone, but he lived in the place of the dead, in the caves on the shore line where dead bodies were entombed. The unclean spirit made him to live in an unclean place. The demons also gave the man supernatural strength, so that he could not be controlled by any ropes of chains. He would break them all. We learn more about him in …
Mark 5:5-6 (ESV) Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him.
This man was in torment from the demons. He was crying out in pain and anguish throughout the day and night. He was hurting himself by cutting himself with stones. Why? Because he loathed his present condition and the demons wanted to destroy him and take his life. As we read the entire story, we see that Jesus was commanding the demons to come out of the man, when the demon spoke. He said that his name was legion, for we are many. A legion in the Roman army consisted of 6000 soldiers. As we’ll see, there were thousands of demons enslaving this man. The demons requested permission from Jesus to go into the pigs.
Mark 5:13 (ESV) So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
The demons entered into the pigs who proceeded to stampede off a cliff and were drowned in the sea. The demons, being spirits, were not destroyed, but went about seeking other people to enslave. The pig owners were not happy with the loss of their pigs and told many in the town about what had happened.
Mark 5:15 (ESV) And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.
Everyone in the town undoubtedly knew the demonized man and the transformation of his life was miraculous. He was clothed, in his right mind and conversing with Jesus. They were afraid of the power of Jesus and asked him to leave their region. The man who had been set free from the demons wanted to follow Jesus.
Mark 5:19 (ESV) And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
Jesus instructed him to tell others what the Lord had done for him in setting him free from the bondage of the demons.
We see in this case the power of Jesus to set a man free from an extreme case of demonic possession. The cause of this man’s mental illness was demonic. The results were self-destructive and in effect causing this man to be living as a wild animal. There are just as many demons active in our world today as there were in Jesus’ time. As we have already said, neither demons nor angels die, they are spirit beings. Behind every temptation, every bondage or addiction is a demonic influence.
When a person gives into temptation repeatedly, a habit or an addiction begins to form giving the demons more power over the person. People can be set free from demonic oppression of all kinds through prayer and taking authority over their power. Can Christians be oppressed or attacked by demons? Certainly, the apostle Paul wrote that a messenger from Satan had afflicted him.
How can you break free from strongholds or habits of sin in your life? These are not just the obvious addiction of drugs or alcohol, but other ungodly habits such as fear, worry, laziness, overeating, lust and the list could go on and on. You need to pray and seek God to be set free. Often, you will need the help of other believers to pray for you and walk you through the steps to complete freedom in Christ.
One resource we have at Life Church is our Living Free group that meets on Thursday nights at 6:30 pm and is led by Mike Wallace. If you are walking in freedom, God wants to use you and our church to set others free. Our nation is in deepening demonic bondage, but God is going to bring revival and freedom. I believe we will have many opportunities to set people free from bondage in the near future as we seek God.
Mark 5:25-26 (ESV) And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.
The next story of Jesus setting a person free involves a woman who had a continual flow of blood for twelve years. This condition caused her great pain and suffering and made her ceremonially unclean, so she had to stay away from others, just like the lepers. She had sought help from the doctors of the day, but they had caused her even greater suffering. The expense of her medical treatment had exhausted all her finances and she was growing worse.
A very sad story so far. There didn’t seem to be any hope for this poor woman at all. But this woman had heard reports of Jesus healing others and setting people free. So, she began to think about and believe that perhaps Jesus could heal her as well. So, the woman came to the crowd that surrounded Jesus everywhere that He went. Rather than stay away from the others as she was supposed to do because she was unclean, she pressed through the crowd to get near to Jesus. Somehow God had spoken to her and given her the thought that …
Mark 5:28-29 (ESV) For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.
As she touched Jesus’ robe, she sensed that something powerful had happened in her body. She felt that the bleeding had stopped and she knew that she had been healed of her sickness. The woman had gotten close to Jesus and in faith reached out to touch Him. When she did, the healing power of God had set her free from her sickness.
Mark 5:30 (ESV) And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?”
Jesus sensed that the power of God had touched and healed someone and asked the crowd who touched his clothes. The disciples didn’t understand what He was asking as the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and physically many people were touching His garments. So, it is important to recognize that this woman was not just healed because she physically touched Jesus. She was healed because of the faith she had behind the physical touch. I believe Jesus knew who had touched Him in faith, but He wanted her to come forward and acknowledge her healing. She came forward out of the crowd and told Jesus and those surrounding Him what had happened.
Mark 5:34 (ESV) And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
Jesus confirmed to her that her faith in Him was the avenue to release the power of God into her life and set her free from this long-term sickness. In the Greek language, Jesus said, your faith has saved you. The woman was saved by putting her trust in Jesus and healed at the same time. She had been set free from sickness.
What can we learn from this story about how to be set free from sickness? This woman who had been sick for 12 years, was out of money and was getting worse, she didn’t give up hope. She had heard that Jesus was able to heal people, to set them free from sickness. She believed that if she could get near to Jesus, if she could reach out and touch Him, she would be healed. And she was.
If you’re suffering from a sickness, follow the example of this woman. Her story is in the Bible to give you hope. If Jesus could heal her, Jesus can heal you as well. Believe that Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Have faith and reach out and touch Him through prayer. Prayer on your own, prayer with others, prayer and anointing with oil from the church leaders. Confess any known sin in your life. Sin will keep you from getting close to Jesus.
The crowd represents many things in life that could keep you from getting close to Jesus. Keep pushing through the crowd, the doubt, the fear until you’re so close to Him that you feel that you could reach out and touch Him. Many times, you may need to pray and be prayed for over a season of time. Do you think that this woman in the story prayed for healing during those 12 long years of suffering? I do. And as she persisted, finally God opened for her to touch Jesus and experience the power of healing.
After every service, I and my wife Carol and the announcer are available for prayer, as are many others in the church. You just need to ask us. Maybe we’re talking or praying with someone else. Just wait, we won’t leave until everyone who desires prayer or counsel has been blessed. Not only should we believe that God is able and desires to set us free from sickness, He also wants to use us to bring healing to others.
The same power that went out from Jesus to heal the woman is in every believer through the Holy Spirit to bring healing to others. Ask God for opportunities to be able to pray for others for healing and believe that He will set them free from sickness. Do you have any friends who are battling some sickness? Invite them to church. We’ll pray for them after the service and believe God to heal. God also desires for you to …
Mark 5:22-23 (ESV) Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.”
I’d encourage you to read the entire 5th chapter of Mark this week to better understand these remarkable three stories of Jesus setting people free. This next story is intertwined with the story of the woman being healed. In this story, a synagogue ruler, Jairus, came to Jesus asking Him to come and heal his daughter. She was so sick that death seemed imminent. Jairus asked for Jesus to come to the house and lay His hands on her to bring healing. Undoubtedly, Jesus often laid hands on people as He brought God’s healing power.
Just at this point in the story, the whole incident with the woman with the issue of blood takes place. Jesus appears to be distracted by this woman who needs healing. After she receives her healing, Jesus talks to her further. You can imagine what is going through Jairus’ mind. Time is of the essence as his daughter was dying. Yet Jesus was seemingly wasting time with a much less urgent case of sickness with the woman. Finally, Jairus’ worst fears were realized.
Mark 5:35-36 (ESV) While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
Word came that Jairus’ daughter had died. The messengers indicated that Jairus’ should just come home to mourn. Nothing more could be done. But Jesus spoke to this synagogue ruler and said “Do not fear, only believe.” We saw a similar instruction from Jesus last Sunday as He spoke to the disciples concerning their fear over the storm. This was a very important lesson for Jairus and for us today. Fear and faith don’t mix.
Jesus commanded the ruler to do two things. First Jesus told him to stop being afraid. Jesus never commands someone to do something they can’t do. You can stop being afraid of anything. Secondly, Jesus commands him to just believe. Again, you can choose to believe and have faith in the power of Jesus. So many people think that they can’t stop being worried or fearful. Yes you can, just obey Jesus. Many people think they can’t believe. Yes you can, make a decision to obey Jesus and believe.
I believe that Jairus stopped fearing and put his faith in Jesus. He brought Jesus and the disciples to his home were his dead daughter lay. By the time that Jesus got there, mourners were already wailing over her sad death. Jesus told them that the girl was not dead, but only sleeping. The crowd laughed at him. They had no faith at all and Jesus put them out of the room where he was with the body.
Mark 5:41-42 (ESV) Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.
Jesus took the girl by the hand and commanded her to arise. Her spirit returned, she got up and began to walk around. She had been raised from the dead and everyone was amazed. Jesus has the power to raise the dead and to set us free from the fear of death.
Was Jesus the only one who could raise people from the dead? No, the Bible shows that although raising the dead is a very special miracle, there are other people who did it. Some of the Old Testament prophets, Elijah and Elisha raised people from the dead. Jesus commanded His disciples to heal the sick, cast out demons and raise the dead. As we read through the book of Acts, we see the dead being raised by both Peter and Paul. However, even in the Bible, this is a very rare miracle. So, although it is still possible for God to raise the dead today, it is certainly not something that we should expect to see regularly.
Five years ago, we had the story of John Smith in St. Charles who had drowned and been without breathing or a heart beat for 45 minutes, who came back to life as his mother prayed for him. More importantly, the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead, never to die again, give us hope for eternal life. Those who are raised from the dead physically, will all die again. But when Jesus returns, every believer will be raised from the dead and receive their eternal body suited for eternal life. Because we have that hope, we can have no fear of death. Death is simply the doorway into the presence of God and eternity with Jesus.
Unless Jesus returns in our life time, all of us will eventually die physically. But those who are believers in Jesus will have eternal life and a glorified body when Jesus returns. Therefore, we can go through life with no fear of anything other than fear of the Lord. He will guide us through this life and into His presence in eternity. Jesus sets us free from fear of death.
Our nation is suffering from the very things that Jesus came to set us free from. Our nation is in increasing bondage to demonic forces that are leading people to destruction, farther and farther from the image of God. Jesus can set people free. America needs to be set free from sickness of all kinds, especially the modern day plague of COVID. Jesus still heals those who put their trust in Him. Finally, the United States needs to be set free from the fear of death and all anxiety.
Jesus can bring hope and eternal life as believers pray and seek God for revival. The outcome of the election this week will tell us if America is turning towards God’s freedom or descending further into bondage. Pray hard the next few days and vote according to biblical values (see bulletin insert). Continue to pray and believe after the election, as our nation will go through a time of great shaking. Don’t be afraid, just believe. God is on the throne and His Kingdom will prevail.