Where you find your value informs the values you live by. John Elmore walks us through values the first “apostle” displayed to the Gentiles and how Jesus embodied them perfectly for our sake.
Vision and Values | Core Values
Vision and Values | To Love Like Christ
Vision and Values | Transformed by Christ
Often, as humans, we can find ourselves with misplaced value and values apart from God. Mark 5:1-20 shows us four ways (Watermark’s Core Values) we can be transformed by Christ to love like Christ.
Good morning, family of God. Let's start by asking your forgiveness. We know parking was a little bit of a headache. My wife, at the first service, was like, "I am backed up to 635." We are working on it. We're going to be working with DPD, those off-duty officers who are helping us out. We are going to make things more fluid. The 5:00 has room, too, if you guys want to invite others to that also. Will you please forgive me? I mean, not that I did it, but we did it. I don't know. I work here. So, thank you.
I want to start today by telling you about somebody you're likely never going to meet. Maybe one day in heaven. Her name is Miss Clemmie. I tell you about Miss Clemmie and her life by how she reached another person's life. There was this kid who was raised up by believing parents, raised in the faith, but around junior high started to find his identity and worth and value in other things, so he went down a bad path.
He found himself a member of a gang. He got kicked out of one school by pulling a gun on someone. He then went into the next school and hated it. It just wasn't a good fit. Then, finally, there was this other school that would take him, but the only way they would take him was as part of a work study program. So there he is. While all of the other kids are playing and having fun, this kid is on the floor, scrubbing sneaker scuffs off the gymnasium floor.
Miss Clemmie, this mom of another student at the school, walks in, sees this kid scrubbing the floor, checkered past and all, and is like, "Hey…" She pushes through and says, "There's this youth retreat my son and another one of his friends are going on. Would you want to go?" It was an expensive trip. It was from Baton Rouge to Florida…a nice hotel, conference, all that. The kid doesn't have the money for it, but she says, "Hey, this other family and I are going to pay your way if you would want to go."
Well, the teen doesn't necessarily want to go to this Christian conference. He's a punk. But Florida sounds nice…Panama City. So, literally, the youth group leader writes up and has him sign a contract. "You will not do this. You will not do this. You will not do this. You will do this." He has to sign it. Beyond that, it was like, "All right. Also, I'm your roommate for the weekend. You, me, Miss Clemmie's son, and the other son…we're all rooming together. I'm not letting you out of my sight."
So there it is…speakers, and David Crowder is there leading worship, but this guy would tell you his heart didn't move until they were in their hotel room later in the middle of the week. The youth leader was like, "Hey, before we go to bed, let's pray." So the other two high school boys began to pray. This guy would tell you, "I'd never heard prayers like this. They were praying to God as if they knew God." He was only used to hearing "Our Father" and "Hail Mary." He's like, "These weren't memorized, recited prayers. They were talking."
Then the youth leader, Matt McCoy… It gets to be the kid's turn, the gang member, this punk kid's turn. There's awkward silence, and he's ready to pray a memorized, rote prayer, and what comes out of his mouth in that moment is, "My life is yours." He would tell you he was born again. I say he would tell you because he's here. He's a member of this church.
He is now raising his kids in the faith because his value changed. He went from lost, diminished, wandering value, being a gang member, in trouble, getting kicked out of school… It could have been with the law with the gun. Now he has value in Christ, and now the values he lives by have completely changed, all because of one woman living on mission, one woman who herself was a Christ follower.
As she was walking through the gymnasium, rather than just walking past, like, "Okay. The kid probably did something wrong, cleaning up the gym," she stopped and was like, "That boy needs Jesus. I'm going to step out in courageous faith. I'm going to live on mission, and I'm going to invite him to go to this youth conference." He's now a member of this body because of Miss Clemmie living out her values because of the value of Jesus Christ.
I long for that same thing to be said of us, that we would reflect, because we have found our value in Jesus Christ, the one who gave his life for us, has ransomed us, redeemed us, and now indwells us; that because of our value we've found in him, we would now reflect those values, our values, to a watching world, that others, just like that punk kid, now a faithful member here (you're going to find out who he is later on)… That we would reflect those values that others might come in (maybe not to this service, because we're packed) and find a home with Jesus Christ.
We've been, in the last two weeks, talking about the vision of the church. That's the what. We have been transformed by Christ to love like Christ. That's the what. Now we're going to talk about the how. The how is through these four embodied, lived-out values. In order to do that, we're going to walk through the life of a person who has been called the first apostle to the Gentiles…not the twelve apostles, but the first sent one that Jesus said, "I want you to go to the Gentiles."
You might think, "Who's that? Who's the first apostle to the Gentiles?" Bible trivia. You're like, "Paul." We're not talking about Paul. We're talking about the Gerasene demoniac in Mark, chapter 5, the first one that Jesus said, "I want you to go back to these 10 Roman cities, the Decapolis, to tell them all the Lord has done for you in transformation."
So, your road map today, the four values we're going to talk about in order of the Scripture, is authentic relationships, then fully surrendered, then courageous faith, and then missional living. We're going to walk through those four values and the implications of living those out.
In Mark, chapter 4, right before Jesus lands there on the shore with the demoniac… This is when he says, "Let us go to the other side." Jesus and the disciples get on a boat, and a storm hits, a storm like they haven't seen before, these trained fishermen. The waves are coming up, crashing into the boat. The boat is getting swamped, going down. They think they're dying, and Jesus is asleep. He's sleeping through the storm. He knows, "I don't go down in the sea. I'm going to the cross."
So he's not concerned, but they clearly are. They're like, "Master, do you not care that we're perishing?" He gets up and calls to the wind and the waves. "Peace, be still!" The sea becomes glass, and they get to the other side. This is the context of what's going on. So, all that, sea and storm… Now they arrive at the other side, and you have verse 1.
"They came to the other side of the sea [the Sea of Galilee], to the country of the Gerasenes." This is important. Context matters. The Gerasenes… This is part of the Decapolis, 10 cities of Rome, but they weren't always under Roman control. Alexander the Great had come into Israel. This was post-Babylon. He had swept in. So, here you have Greece now ruling as the nation, but then in the Maccabean Revolt, the Jews take control of this area of land.
Well, then you have the Romans come in under General Pompey, and he kills 15,000 Jews, so they flee from the area of the Decapolis. Fifteen thousand! It matters because you know the disciples are like, "We're going where? You're taking us to the Gerasenes? That's where our field trip is today? You know they killed my grandfather, my great-grandfather. All of our hereditary has been killed there. That's where we're going? What are you doing? You said you've come to the lost sheep of Israel, and we're going to the Gerasenes?" Yes. You're going to see why.
"And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit." You're going to see this is a demon…2,000 demons. "He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him." He had supernatural strength because he was indwelt by supernatural evil.
"Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones." You see self-harm and suicide tied to the demonic. Satan is wanting to destroy this person. "And when he saw Jesus from afar…" By the way, another gospel says he was naked, unclothed. He's unraveling. "…he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, 'What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.'"
You have demons speaking from this man, pleading with Jesus in the flesh, the Son of God. These demons rightly knew, "There's God in flesh," so they fell before him. "For he [Jesus] was saying to him [the demoniac], 'Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!' And Jesus asked him, 'What is your name?' He [the demon] replied, 'My name is Legion, for we are many.' And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country."
It's a big passage, but what you have here is authentic relationship. You have authentic relationship with God, and you have authentic relationship with man. He's there with God in flesh and the disciples, and they're seeing everything. The brother was not clothed. You have a naked madman, filled with demons, scars all over him from cutting himself with stones and from being bound with shackles, and there he is just laid bare.
My point here is if you do not have authentic relationships, your isolation will lead to deterioration. Your isolation from God and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ will lead to deterioration. You see this man as a deteriorated shell of a man, now indwelt with every kind of evil, coming undone at the seams because he was isolated from God and from other believers.
So, he steps into the light. He pushes himself forward. In 1 John 1:9, it says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." So, here you have an authentic relationship with God. You're going to confess to God. You're like, "Well, God is omniscient. He knows everything. Why do I have to confess to him?" Martin Luther (the great Reformation) called daily confession his daily baptism. Luther was like, "Well, I confess to God daily because he cleans me daily." That's what 1 John 1:9 says. He forgives and he cleans.
Then you have him laid bare before all of those other brothers in Christ. He's there having authentic relationship with them as he comes to the shore. This is where the Lord has given us to each other. If we isolate not just from God, but from our other brothers and sisters, then we also deteriorate. This is authentic relationship in the form of Christian community. It's not easy. It's hard.
Christian community, because you have people who sin, life on life together, counseling each other, praying for each other… It's clunky. Laura and I have hard things, hard seasons. The kids and I, my Community Group and I, coworkers… That's just life. Just because we've trusted in Jesus doesn't mean everything is fine.
As I thought about this, I was thinking about… I was born in 1975, so 80s music was my anthem in my childhood. I thought about this passage, and I went right back to an 80s song. Anybody here who knows 80s rock, show of hands. I'm going to need your help. Don't worry. You're not going to get called up onstage. That's good. That's better than the 9:00. I think we got a younger crowd there.
I'm going to give you a little teaser. I'm going to sing half a lyric, and I need you guys to sing the second half of the lyric. I'm going to step out on a limb here. You have to catch me. So, I'm going to narrow the field. This is John Cougar Mellencamp. Super cool name. I think he only had two cool songs. Sorry for him, but I'm being authentic. And you know I'm not singing "Jack & Diane" in church. So here we go. "Sometimes love don't feel like it should; you make it…"
Congregation:"…hurt so good!"
Yes! In my mind it was going to be good. I didn't know. You're like, "No, it stunk. Your singing is horrible." "It hurts so good." That's authentic relationships. It hurts so good. It's hard, but it's good. The alternative is horrible, because isolation leads to deterioration. I was talking to this guy. He's in his 30s. He's serving in South Dallas in the Institute.
We were talking, and I was like, "How's it going?" He was like, "Man, it's hard, but I think it's really helping me. It's good for me, but, man, it's tough." I was like, "Yeah, it hurts so good, right?" He was like, "Whoa! That's a really helpful phrase." I was like, "Well, it's John Cougar Mellencamp." He was like, "Who?" I was like, "Oh man. You're so young and I'm so old."
This is the reality of living in Christian community, authentic relationship. It's hard to be fully honest with everything, to share your deep, dark, and ugly; to share that thing you thought you were going to take to the grave when, in reality, it's taking you to the grave; to bare your soul to the Lord and to other brothers and sisters in Christ, not for shame but that you could be loved and shepherded and cared for, because when things are brought into the light, they dispel.
Hear me say this: the depth of your sharing will directly correlate to the depth of your relationship. This is 1 John 1:7 where it says, "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light…" Meaning, there are no shadows, nothing hidden in darkness. It doesn't say you'll be embarrassed or you'll be exposed or you'll be awkward. It says you will have fellowship with one another. "If you walk in the light, as he is in the light, you will have fellowship with one another, and…"
You're like, "How is that not going to be awkward?" Because, it says, "…and the blood of Christ will cleanse you from all sin." You're going to be covered. Those things don't define you. I don't care what you did last weekend or 10 years ago or whatever happened in your childhood. You're forgiven. You're in Jesus. We can live authentically without condemnation and have deep fellowship, and the blood of Christ cleanses us from everything. It hurts so good. It is hard, but it's healthy. It's humbling, but it's holy, and it's so healing. Live in authentic relationships.
Verse 11 says this: "Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him…" These are demons begging Jesus. "…saying, 'Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.'" You're like, "He's not going to do that. He doesn't listen to demons." He does it. "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."
Y'all, when I used to read this, I was like, "Why is Jesus doing favors for demons? Why was he willing…? I mean, he knew what was going to happen. He stands outside of time. He knew they were going to destroy 2,000 pigs. What's going on?" I think what Jesus was doing was he was separating the problem from the person.
He's like, "Oh, you people of the Gerasenes think he was the problem. He's not the problem. The evil within is the problem. So I'm going to separate it so that he can be restored, that he can have dignity. He was made in the image of God, imago Dei. He has worth and value, but you guys have now started to tie those together." He was chained with shackles and left for dead in a graveyard to die of hunger and thirst because they didn't know what to do with him. Talk about a disregard for someone.
Jesus is like, "No, I'm going to separate the problem from the person." We have to as well. That's how we would want to be treated. Like, "This doesn't define me, but I did something terrible last weekend. I slipped up with my girlfriend or boyfriend, looked at something I shouldn't have, did something at work." That we would separate the problem from the person and love them. That's Jude 23, where he says, "…to others show mercy…hating even the garment stained by the flesh." That's the problem. Love and show mercy to the person. Authentic relationships.
So, the herdsmen who were taking care of the pigs go away. They run into the city. They bring all of these people back, and they're standing there looking down this cliff, and they see 2,000 dead pigs. A sight to behold, one of the eeriest scenes you have in the entire gospel. There's a man they used to know as incredibly wicked and Jesus, who they've never seen before, and his boat of followers. It's like, "What is going on here?"
My point is when you live a fully surrendered life, people are going to take notice, and things are going to die. People will take notice, and those things that were previously in and around your life will die. As Jesus separates you, the person, from your problems, there will be death. I was up at re:gen once with a buddy, James Romero, who works on the Dallas fire department. He was serving in first-time guests.
He texted me and said, "Hey, there's this guy." Change of name for the story. He's like, "This guy Charles who's here… Did you meet him?" I was like, "Oh, yeah. He came. Great. I met him. I told him to come to re:gen." He's like, "Well, he's telling me he has something pretty bad in his trunk and that he needs to get rid of it." I was like, "All right. Well, let's help him out. Let's get rid of it." He's like, "I'll be down in a second."
So, I walked out. I was standing right there under the overhang, and here's the picture of James. James has these two black boxes. James is a strong dude. Y'all, what was in those boxes was 50 pounds of porn…DVDs, magazines…you name it. This guy Charles in full surrender was like, "I don't want it anymore. I got everything out of my house. I don't want it anymore, but I don't know what to do with it."
I was like, "Well, we can't just put it in the trash can in Town Center. That could go really bad." I was like, "Oh, there's a dumpster. Let's walk over to this dumpster." It's, like, Watermark's construction dumpster. So James is carrying these 50 pounds of porn. Here's Charles and me. We're walking. We get to the dumpster, and James is about to put it in. I was like, "Hold on. Hold on a second. Hey, Charles, I think you need to throw that in there." He was like, "Okay."
So, James takes one of the boxes. Charles got it. I was like, "Are you ready?" He goes, "Aaah!" Boom! It slams into the back of the dumpster and drops to the ground. He grabs the second one. "Aaah!" Boom! Then he just starts weeping. We put our arms around him. He's like, "I've never felt so free in my life!" People take notice and things die when you are fully surrendered.
He was already a believer. He's now fully surrendered, and there are dead pigs, porn, lying here. The next day, David Kinney, who shared his testimony two weeks ago… I shared that story, and he goes, "Oh man, I was wondering. We were throwing stuff in the dumpster and saw all this porn in there." He was like, "Man, somebody got free." I was like, "Yes, they did."
Verse 15: "And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man…" M-A-N…man. There's a problem. It's a problem that it says man and not men, because in Matthew's gospel, Matthew records there were two of them. Mark is just following the path of this one because he's fully surrendered. Matthew tells us there were two. There were two men who were demon possessed, living among the tombs. He's giving a different vantage point. As Mark follows the individual, Matthew is telling it holistically.
My point is this. The one was delivered, but he wasn't surrendered. The surrendered one we know a lot about, and he bore fruit. The one who was delivered but not surrendered… It's like, well, he was saved, but that's kind of about it. The rest of his life… Maybe it was squandered. But we know the one who surrendered did not squander.
There's a difference between being fully saved and fully surrendered. There's a difference between being healed and being healthy. Laura was healed of breast cancer, and she now lives healthy as a result. She didn't have to. She used to feast on hot wings and Big Red in college. She has now changed her eating habits. She has been healed, and she now wants to live healthy. It's the same as being saved and now being led.
You can be saved by Jesus and still live according to the flesh. That's the carnal Christian of 1 Corinthians 5. Or you can be saved and then daily led by the Spirit. Paul says, "I die daily." That we would daily take up our cross and follow Jesus, to not only be saved but be surrendered and be led and, as so, bear fruit. You'll be lord of your life daily or you'll be led by Jesus daily. Be lord or be led daily. Christ will either be exalted or you will be exhausted. It comes through full surrender.
Verse 15b says, "…the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid." He's sitting. This is a position of humility. He's clothed now. He was naked. Now he's clothed. That's dignity. And he's in his right mind, which is sanity. There has been a transformed renewing of the mind. Jesus has given him dignity, and there is humility.
As I thought about this passage… My parents used to have this amazing Goldendoodle. He has since died. His name was Bob. He wasn't always amazing. When he was a puppy, a little guy… Then he got into teenage years of "doghood." I'd come to Missouri to visit my parents. They were in their 60s at the time. This dog would rear up and put its paws up, and it's looking me eye to eye. This was a "monster doodle," not a Goldendoodle. It was huge. That's kind of a problem when a dog is that big and doesn't do what it's supposed to do.
One particular time that I was visiting in Missouri… (My mom was like, "Don't share the story. I don't think it's right." I was like, "Well, I'm going to.") I was like, "We have kids. I can't have this dog… He needs to know who's who." So, it started to do that thing again, and I grabbed it by the scruff of its neck. (Don't call PETA. I'm not Cesar, but I did good here.) I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, not in a rude way. I didn't slam him down, but I pushed him down against his own will and strength.
So he's lying there, and you'd think, "Okay, so you got him to subdue." I was like, "No, no. We're not done yet." Then I bite his neck. We're not done yet. As I'm biting his neck, I start growling, and then I'm shaking him. This poor dog is like… But you know what? I sat up, and I was like, "Now what's up?" Bob very slowly got up. Dude, that dog loved me. It would stay by my side. We had a thing, Bob and I, because Bob now knew his place. He knew his role. He knew he was not alpha and that, I guess, I was, but I'm not.
Bob had already been my parents' dog. He was redeemed from wherever they got him. They were his, he was theirs, but he was not surrendered. So, he was theirs, but he wasn't surrendered. We can be God's but be not surrendered, and we can cause trouble. We can hurt people, do what we shouldn't do, until the Lord disciplines those he loves. In a sense, he gets us by the neck and is like, "Hey, you're not in charge, and you're hurting yourself and others. I'm going to get you to submit out of love." Then, when we come back up… Bob was the best dog ever.
You can have a transformed life by having a surrendered life. We can be fully surrendered because he is fully sovereign. Like, that's a scary thought. Full surrender… I need to keep a lot of things in control, and that gives me a lot of anxiety if I'm just openhanded. It's like, "Okay, Lord, fully surrendered. Not my will, but your will be done, like Jesus in the garden. But, man, are you sure you're going to come through?" He's fully sovereign, so we can fully surrender. Control is an illusion. It's a mirage. We have none. So, you fear God and, thus, nothing else. Leave it all to him.
The man has been saved, delivered of demons, and he is now begging Jesus, "Let me go with you." All throughout Jesus' ministry he was like, "Leave your nets and follow me. Leave your tax collector booth and follow me. Let the dead bury the dead and follow me." Then the demoniac is like, "Hey, let me follow you," and the Lord tells him, "No," which is crazy.
But he says, "I want to follow you." He has known him for all of 5 to 10 minutes. I don't know how long it took him to cast out 2,000 demons, clothe him, and have him seated, but it's a short amount of time. He knows very little about Jesus, and he's like, "I want to go with you." What I would say to you here is I think we concern ourselves so much with where and how, and all we need to concern ourselves with, like the demoniac, is a courageous faith to say, "It's just with."
It's not where. It's not how. Like, "God, where are you going to lead me, and how are you going to do this?" It's with. He begged Jesus that he might go with him. "If I'm going with you, I don't care where we go. I don't care how you're going to do it. I don't care when you're going to do it because I'm with you; therefore, I'm okay." It's a courageous faith to step out and be like, "Because I'm with you, I'm okay."
There's a quote by Clovis Chappell, who was a long-time-ago, turn-of-the-century Methodist preacher. He said, "God owns all. He owns me. He owns my home. He owns my children. He owns my property. I have called your attention before to the fact that the modern idea of ownership is pagan. The Christian idea is this: that God is the absolute owner of all things."
As a result, this courageous faith that's like, "I'm going to follow you no matter what the cost…loss of reputation, loss of a job, loss of opportunity, loss of finances. I'm going to follow you because I know who I'll be with." It's a courageous faith. This is really important. Listen to me, please. This courageous faith is not lived out by grit. It is lived out by grace.
We can try to be like, "Courageous faith? All right. Bootstrap. Let's do this. Let's go. I've got this." No, no, no. Courageous faith is not in you having courage. Courageous faith is having the audacity to think, "God, you can do anything. I have courageous faith in you, not in me." Not like, "Okay, I'm going to step out; I'll go big," but instead, it's like, "No, I have a courageous faith in you, that you part seas, that you raise the dead, that you cast out demons, that you heal, that you restore marriages. I have a courageous faith that you can do all things. With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. My faith is in you, which gives me courage." By grace, not grit.
In verses 19-20… This is the conclusion of the passage. Here's the missional living. Listen to this value. Listen to Jesus speaking missional living into this man who had just been saved. "And he did not permit him…" Can you imagine the disheartening feeling of the demoniac? "Wait. What? You're going to leave me here with… These people tried to kill me. These people left me for dead in a graveyard. I just want to go with you." He says, "No."
"Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord…" That was a statement of deity. Jesus was saying, "I'm God in flesh. I've come for you." "…tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." Here's his missional living: "And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis…" That's 10 cities. It doesn't say he went away to proclaim in the Gerasenes. It says he went away to proclaim in the Decapolis.
That would be like, "He went away to proclaim in Waco, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Red Oak…" He covered that region. "…how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled." Here's the thing. Jesus tells him, "No." I think it's really instructive for us in our missional living, because sometimes we have wrong values. We have misguided desires. Jesus said, "No" to him.
That was his desire. That was what he wanted. "You've restored me. I want to go with you." He said, "No." We have to learn to trust God's noes because he knows. He's doing something. He is up to something. So we trust him. "Okay. You're after something more than what I can envision. I think it would be good for me to go with you. You're telling me to go back there where they wanted me dead?"
"I'm going to trust your no because I trust that you know."
There is a guy named Frank. He worked at Sky Ranch, and he heard about The Porch, because we were going out there to have retreats, the young adult team. So, he started driving an hour and a half just to attend The Porch on Tuesday nights, this awesome young adult guy. That's three hours drive time for an hour-and-a-half event. That's commitment. He was like, "I was fed there."
So, when Sky Ranch said, "Hey, you can live in Dallas if you want," he was like, "Okay. Then I'm going to move to Dallas, still work for Sky, and I'm going to attend Watermark." He continued with The Porch, then went through re:generation to be more discipled and grow in his love for the Lord. Then he applied for East-West.
East-West is a missionary organization to the ends of the earth. He got taken on as a missionary. I can't use his last name or tell you where he's going, because Frank goes to closed countries to tell people who have never, ever heard the spoken name of Jesus, where he could be persecuted, put in prison, or even killed for doing so. This missional living out of courageous faith and a surrendered life.
The demoniac goes back to tell others all the Lord had done for him, and it says the people were amazed. Well, they couldn't have been very amazed if he just waltzed back into the Decapolis, and they were like, "Wow! Jim, you look better today." "Yeah, I got things in order. I'm good now." They would have been like, "Oh, cool. Good for you." Instead, they were amazed. He had to tell them the past for them to be amazed by his present.
I think that brother probably rolled up his sleeves and said, "Let me show you the scars where I used to cut myself with stones day and night. I lived naked among the tombs. Here are the scars from the shackles. They left me for dead, but I wrenched them apart. But I met a man." Everyone in this world has sin, but they don't have a Savior. Not everyone.
You have a common ground with every single person you'll ever encounter. "Hey, I have and had, certainly, sin. I now have a Savior. I know you have sin. You may not have a Savior." So, we can live on mission, just like the demoniac, living out that value of missional living. Here it is. The demoniac's devastation was his preparation for his proclamation. That's what gave him a platform to share the hope of Jesus Christ.
He didn't need Jesus apart from his devastation, but when he would go to the Decapolis and say, "Man, I was a man destroyed, dead within, evil within…" That was his devastation. That was the preparation, that he would have something to proclaim. It says he proclaimed. It's the same Greek word that is used of Paul for preached. He was preaching the forgiveness of sins, the restoration that Jesus brought, the mercy, the restoration.
There was an old Puritan named Thomas Brooks. Brooks said this peculiar thing to me. I was reading, and it said the Pharisees had negative righteousness. I was like, "Negative righteousness? What is that? Righteousness is good. It's always positive." Well, he calls negative righteousness when you don't do what you shouldn't do. The Pharisees were all about, "Hey, I don't…" You know, whatever we would say. "I don't get drunk. I don't look at porn. I don't smoke. I don't steal."
He says that's negative righteousness. He's like, "Okay, good. What about your positive righteousness? It's not about you. You've been saved to be sent, so what about 'Go and make disciples of all nations'? What about giving? What about laying down your life? It's great that you don't do those things. What about the things you don't do that you're supposed to do, the missional living?"
Oh, brothers and sisters, that we wouldn't be marked by negative righteousness. We should have some of that, but it should be equally matched by the positive righteousness of living on mission and doing what we should do. James writes and says, "If you know the good you ought to do and do not do it, for you it is sin." It's a sin of omission rather than commission.
Here's one final example of missional living. There's a girl in our Community Group named Beth, who is an extreme introvert, who can really relate to my wife, because she's an introvert. By the way, for you introverts in the room… This is funny. I'll tell people, "Yeah, Laura is an introvert," and they're like, "Oh, I wouldn't have guessed so. I mean, she loves people." I'm like, "What?"
Just because you're an introvert doesn't mean you don't love people. It just means the extroverts are like parasites, feeding on your energy. And all of the introverts said, "Amen." You have to pull back and restore a little bit. So, Beth (introvert) gives my wife (introvert) this coffee mug. Check it out. This is the mug she gave Laura. So, now you know a little bit more about Beth.
Well, Beth, a year ago, was like, "I feel like the Lord is calling me to have a Bible study on a weekday really early in the morning." Well, that's not what she wants to do. She has four kids. She's not bursting at the seams to bounce out of bed and be an extrovert all of a sudden, but she does. She's like, "I feel like the Lord is calling me to this. I'm going to open my home and have a women's Bible study."
So, seven women whom she knew came. Well, here we are a year later. They've been through Daniel and 1 Corinthians. They just keep going through books. They read. They talk about it. They pray. It's now 30 women, but the 30 women… It chokes me up. There are unbelievers there. There are women who are in cults who are there. They're hearing the spoken Word of God, seeing the gospel lived out, and being prayed for. She's living on mission. It's so simple, right? It doesn't even cost anything. She just opened her house and texted some people, and then God spread it. God grew it.
The one who embodies the values even more than the demoniac is Jesus. Jesus embodies those values, and he did it for you. Authentic relationship, to be fully known and fully loved. Jesus takes on flesh that he could be fully known. Jesus says, "If you have seen me, you've seen the Father." He makes himself known, reveals himself to mankind.
Then in full surrender, Jesus in the garden. "If possible, let this cup pass. Not my will, but your will be done." Full surrender. Courageous faith. He set his face like flint to Jerusalem. Someone says, "Hey, not you, Lord. Don't do that." He says, "Get behind me, Satan." This courageous faith, like, "I have come at whatever the cost to lay down my life for sinners that they might be saved and reconciled to God." Missional living. He left heaven and came to earth on our behalf.
Like the demoniac, very much like the demoniac, here you have you in a place of evil, and Jesus leaves where he is and goes through that sea of separation of God's holiness and our sin on a vessel of wood. Where he laid down in a boat and took a nap, now he would lay himself down upon a cross. That would be the vessel by which he would pass through sin and death to reach us on the other side, crossing through for us.
Jesus went for the one. He came for one person, the demoniac, that he might be saved, got back in the boat, and went to go save more. So, he stands now on the shores of eternity, having passed through on that vessel of the cross, died, and rose again that you could have eternal life, asking, "Do you want to be saved?"
Today could be your day of salvation to place your faith in Jesus and be cleansed from every evil within, set free. Not just set free, but that your life would be used to share that same hope you can receive today with every other person you ever come in contact with. Authentic relationships, fully surrendered, courageous faith, and missional living.
I told you about that punk teen at the beginning and how Miss Clemmie lived out the four values to reach him and how he's a member of our body. Well, it didn't stop with Miss Clemmie. There was another person who lived by courageous faith who thought, "You know what? I believe that when I pray God answers." So, this individual's mom… He was graduating from high school, which was amazing given his track record.
He's graduating from high school, and his mom prays, "God, what would you have me give him for his graduation gift?" First of all, who does that? We're just like, "Okay, I'll write him a check, give him money, a new suit, a watch…whatever." This faithful mom was like, "Lord, what do you want me to give him?" She feels like she hears the Lord say, "Get him a guitar."
The kid had no musical background. It was like, "A guitar? Really? For graduation?" Well, that young boy is now a man, and he now leads us in worship every Sunday. He's our worship pastor, Jon Abel. Because Miss Clemmie lived on mission and because his mama had a courageous faith, now he leads us in worship and praise to the Lord. Let's pray.
Lord, you are incredible. Those hand claps, Lord, are our astonishment at you. Our faith is in you. If we have courageous faith, let it be courageous because it's a belief in you, not because we are courageous, but to have the courage to believe that you make all things new. Lord, take us from spiritual narcissism to live on mission, that we would get real with you and with each other, to be free and live in full surrender, that we'd no longer be a liability to others but to be a servant leader. Lord, as we stand and sing, we are singing our hearts out to you. You alone are worthy of praise. We love you, Lord Jesus. Thank you for crossing the sea of sin and death for us, amen.
Watermark's vision is to be "Transformed by Christ, to love like Christ." What does it mean to be transformed by Christ?