Testimony FOR GOD
Scripture Reading: Mark 5:1-20 Text: Verse 19
said to him, "Go home to your people and
tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how
He had compassion on you."
Our first reaction to the title of this message
might be to disagree with it. It sounds self flattering and maybe
even self-serving. That reaction would be true if:
We were testifying of what we have done for
ourselves. Such a testimony could easily cross the line into
We were testifying of what we have done for the
Lord. Jesus cautioned His disciples about doing their good works
to be seen of men for the only reward they receive is the praise of
man and none from God.
However, it makes a great difference when we are
telling what God has done for us and through us. When this is our
motivation we can join with the Psalmist when he wrote, "In God
we boast all day long, And praiseYour name
forever." Psalm 44:8
THE LORD ENCOURAGES HIS PEOPLE TO GIVE TESTIMONY
"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Whom He
has redeemed from the hand of the enemy." Psalm 107:2. In
verses 3-7 we have a description of that redemption and verses 8 and
9 encourages again, "Oh, that men would give thanks to the
Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! For
He satisfies the longing soul, e has
satisfied the thirsty soul, And fills the hungry soul with
The last words Jesus spoke before ascending back
to heaven were, "Öbut you shall receive power when the Holy
Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in
Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the
The word "witness" and the word "testimony" mean
basically the same thing. In a legal sense we can provide testimony
in court when we can tell of what we have seen, heard or learned by
personal experience. In daily life we share the worth of products
used, doctors consulted and services rendered, etc. We are giving
testimony about these things every day. The Lord wants us to give
testimony about how He has had compassion on us and about the great
things He has done for us.
THE EARLY CHRISTIANS GAVE ENTHUSIASTIC TESTIMONY.
Luke, the beloved physician, summed up Peterís
words that followed his sermon on the day of Pentecost; "And with
many other words he testified and exhorted them,
saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation". Acts 2:40
The same religious leaders who led in
bringing about the crucifixion of Jesus rounded up Peter and John
because of their fervent testimony about Christ that resulted in
thousands of Jews becoming Christians. "ÖAnd commanded them
not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and
John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of
God to listen to you more than to God, you judge; for we cannot but
speak the things we have seen and heard." Acts 4:18-20
As Paul journeyed to Jerusalem he called the
elders of the church at Ephesus to meet him. He shared, "Öthe
Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that
chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me;
nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race
with joy, and
the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify
to the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:23,24.
We may think this kind of testimony for Jesus
isnít happening today. The fact is that if the news media considered
it newsworthy we would find that it is happening very often. At
Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado one of the gunmen asked
a group of students if anyone believed in Jesus Christ. There was a
quiet pause and then one of the girls answered "yes". The gunman
replied "for what?" and then killed her. Her pause indicated that
she was searching her heart to confirm that she was willing to die
for her faith in Jesus Christ. She was.
In our scripture reading we have the story of a
man set free from demonic possession by Jesus Christ. The man
requested that he might be able to go with Jesus wherever He went.
Jesus did not grant this request, but instead, told him, "Go home
to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has
done for you, and how He had mercy on you."
This story is an example of how believers should
bear testimony of Jesus Christ. It teaches us:
The Cause of the Manís Condition
He was a man with an unclean spirit. - verse 2.
In verses 9 through 13 we find that he was possessed by a Legion of
unclean spirits. Admittedly, this is not the prevailing academic
belief of the 20th century. So, we must make a choice
between prevailing academic correctness and the word of God. I
choose the word of God. Jesus gave permission to whatever possessed
this man to enter into a heard of swine. They all ran down the steep
hill and perished in the sea. You can call it being "extremely
maladjusted to the point he was mentally deranged" if you want, but
when it was transferred to the porkers, it wrought havoc with some
farmerís hog business.
The Bible identifies Satan as the chief evil
spirit, and often refers to him as the Devil. Peter warns, "Your
adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking
whom he may devour." I Peter 5:8 The Bible also teaches Satan
commands a host of fallen spirits that are highly organized to carry
out their evil work. Paul writes, "Put on the whole armor of God,
that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness
of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly
places." Ephesians 6:11, 12.
The cause of this manís condition was demonic
The Effects of This Manís Condition
"Öhe had his dwelling among the tombs." Verse
3. He chose to live among the dead. Our reaction might be, "How
gruesome!" or "How gross!". And yet, consider the condition of every
human being before they experience salvation through faith in Jesus
Christ. Paul wrote the Christians at the church of Ephesus, "And
you He made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you
walked according to the course of this world, according to the
prince of the power of the air, the
spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience." Ephesians
2:1,2. Before they got saved these Christians at Ephesus were
spiritually dead and living their lives according to the influences
of Satan. The same statement could be made of any group of believers
anywhere. When we are spiritually dead we choose to run with others
who are spiritually dead. After we get saved, we prefer to run with
those who are spiritually alive.
"And constantly night and day, among the tombs
and in the mountains, he was crying out and gashing himself with
stones." Verse 5 Can you imagine the terror this man struck in
the hearts of parents and children. The strongest of men were
fearful of being out on the roads and paths by night and even in
daylight everyone kept watch for this one they feared.
This manís crying out constantly speaks of the
agonies he experienced in his mind and spirit. His gashing of his
body speaks of efforts to kill unbearable pains in his body. Scarred
in body without and tormented within he must have made a horrible
What The "World Village" Did For This Man
In the past weíve called it "Society" or The
Community" or "The Citizenry", but the current popular name is
"World Village". It speaks of producing a culture by which we can
solve the problems that people have. It seems that some intellects
who live in ivory towers never tire of dreaming up such idealistic
They bound him with chains and shackles. They
believed that if they could put strong enough restraints on him they
could bring him under control. That is still being done today.
Criminals are under strong constraint in jails and prisons.
Psychotics, neurotics, etc. are under strong constraint in mental
institutions. In this manís case, it didnít work because he broke
the shackles and there was no man who could subdue him.
It seems "the world village" will never face the
fact then when a man or woman is in the control of Satan or his
demons they are also empowered with supernatural Satanic or demonic
power that no natural solution can control.
What Jesus Did For This Man
Jesus commanded the evil spirit to come out of
the man. All the evil spirit could do was negotiate with Jesus to
let him and the other spirits with him enter into a nearby herd of
swine. Since Jews didnít have any business raising hogs, Jesus gave
permission. When Jesus saves a soul Heís preparing the body to be
the temple of the Holy Spirit and there is no room in that temple
for Satan or demons. This is the only miracle with destructive
consequences that Jesus performed. May I say that I have seen people
saved who were in such businesses that their businesses had to go
after they got saved.
Jesus gave the man peace of mind and decency.
When the people of the area came to check out what happened to the
hogs, they found this man "sitting down, clothed and in his right
mind." That he was sitting down speaks of the peace of mind and
spirit Jesus gave. That he was clothed speaks of the sense of
decency Jesus gives. Remember that when God restored our original
parents to His fellowship after they sinned He clothed them. The man
was in his right mind. This means that he had received a spiritual
understanding that comes only from God. "But the natural man
does not receive the things of the Spirit of God; for they are
foolishness to him, nor can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned." 1st Corinthians 2:14. Unsaved people donít think
different from saved people because they are smarter or better
educated. They think different because they are totally devoid of
the spiritual illumination of the Holy Spirit. We can only truly be
in "our right mind" when we have that spiritual illumination.
What Jesus Told The Man To Do
"Go home to your peopleÖ" Sometimes people
are bashful about bearing testimony of what Jesus has done for them
to their friends and relatives. "They know all the bad things I did
before I got saved!" But when Jesus truly saves us our life will be
changed, and that gives credibility to our testimony. One pastor
related a story about a man who would often come home drunk. He
would beat his wife and kids, and kick his dog. The pastor said,
"When he got saved, even his dog knew it."
"Öand report to them what great things the Lord
has done for you, and how He had mercy on you." Please note that
we donít have to report on what Heís done for others. We donít have
to report that we are an instant Bible scholar and can answer all
their questions about the Bible. All we have to do is give testimony
of our personal experience of what the Lord has done for us. Will
they believe it? Some will. As this former demon possessed man gave
testimony of what Jesus did for him in the ten Roman cities of
Galilee everyone marveled. We cannot say with certainty, but it is
likely that some placed their faith in Christ. In time, various
apostles and other preachers would come to these cities and bear
testimony of Jesus. This manís testimony would still be in their
minds and give weight to the 2nd and 3rd and
more times that they would hear of Jesus. They Holy Spirit would
bring the gospel message home to their hearts in power and many
would be saved.
Our testimony for Jesus has a power about it
today just as the testimony of saved sinners always has. Letís love
that testimony and give it to our friends and relatives. Down lifeís
trail some will say, "if God can do that for him/her, He can surely
do it for me."
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.