Holy Fire

Luke 8:26-39

Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire (Lk 3.16). The Holy Spirit comes on people as tongues of fire (Ac 2.3). Jesus’ eyes blaze like fire (Rev 1.14). Ministering angels are described as flames of fire (Heb 1.7). God is described as a consuming fire (Heb 12.29). When we pray for healing we experience fire-like heat in the hands. People that are demonized sometimes shrink back when we extend our hands to heal. I wonder what demons see when believers lay hands! I wouldn’t be surprised if it was something similar to the picture above. In Scripture fire represents God’s glory on the good and God’s judgement on the bad. The fire of the Holy Spirit is a problem for evil spirits.
In the Scripture above Jesus delivers a man from a legion of demons. The NIV Bible titles the story ‘The HEALING of a Demon-possessed Man’ because verse 36 tells us that the man was ‘cured.’ But in what way was he cured? It was his mind and spirit rather than his body that was cured. He was delivered from bondages to the mind and spirit. His ‘healing’ was an inner healing.

Let’s take a closer look at the kind of things he needed to be healed of:
Firstly, the man wore no clothes (27). Some demonized people have a tendency to undress in public. I think this happens when the person’s bondage involves lust. Demons like to pervert what’s created to be private and loving by making it public and lustful. Now, like a certain Pharisee, we might say “I thank you Lord that I am not like this man” (Lk 18.11); after all we don’t undress in public, but do we delight in pornography or dirty jokes? It’s the same road. This man had many demons, and they would have come one by one over a period of time as the man got into increasingly more sin. Heavy bondages start light.
Secondly, the man needed to be chained (29). He was violent and his violence was a public problem. You can be sure this problem also started small and grew. So we need to take warning. We may not need to be chained but do we suffer from fits of rage; are we overly aggressive, do we get into fights; have we started hitting our partners? It’s the same road.
Thirdly, the man was seized by the demons (29). He had moments where he lost control. Perhaps like a drunkard, or someone who experiences fits of anger, he only realized afterwards what he had done. When we are out of control we are on a similar path.
Fourthly, the man was driven into solitary places (29), in fact he was staying in the tombs (27). He had left his family, friends, and loved ones to live alone. Demons are out to destroy families and friendships. It must have been difficult and sad for the family he left behind.
All these problems start small. Recently I watched a neighbour of mine being arrested by the police. He had been pretending to take peoples cars for servicing and not returning them. I could see the confusion in his eyes when he was arrested. I think he suddenly realized how bad things had got; that he was now a criminal. It’s amazing how ‘little’ vices grow into big ones. If you recognize the path, don’t treat it lightly, get off quickly!

Now let’s take a look at how the man was delivered:
When the man saw Jesus approaching he cried out (28). The cry was the cry of the demons. They obviously saw more than you and I see. If we looked at Jesus we would just see a man. I think they could see that he was anointed with the fire of God. And this has not changed. When the presence of God manifests in church meetings today, demons cry out. We need to take confidence in this; demons are fearful of the fire of the Holy Spirit that is in us and on us.
Jesus commanded the demons to come out. He was confident. He knew who he was, he knew his authority, and he knew he had the anointing and fire of God. This is what it means to have the belt of truth buckled around our waists, the breastplate of righteousness in place, and our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (Eph 6.14-15). Jesus was like a warrior who knew he had mighty weapons (see The Full Armour of God).
This begs the question; are most Christians confident in who they are in Christ? Are they aware of the Holy Spirit within them? Are they ready to cast out demons? Many seem to want the pastor to do it. But all are supposed to do it. Jesus once sent out seventy two ordinary people to cast out demons and they returned excited because they had been successful (Lk 10.17). If we claim we have the authority but believe the pastor must do it, there is a breakdown between what we believe and what we do. Demons want us to rely on our pastors do it all because then there will be fewer ministers for them to worry about. Let’s not buy into their lies.

Now let’s look at the healing the man received:
Once the man was cured he sat at Jesus’ feet (35). This shows he was in submission and ready to learn from Jesus. In those days disciples sat at their Rabbi’s feet to receive instruction. What a change; from one who cried out in fear to one who wanted all he could get from Jesus.
We also see that the man was now dressed (35). This shows he was sexually pure in his thoughts. And the verse also says the man was now in his right mind (35). This means he was at peace, thinking straight, and in full control. He also begged to go with Jesus (38). This indicates that he now had new purposes and desires. Often those who have been set free desire to see others experience the same thing, and they get involved in giving ministry just as they had received ministry.
Jesus told the man to return to his home and he did (39). This is very important. If he had a family, imagine what it would have meant to them to have him back changed and at peace with everyone. If he was a husband or father it would have been hugely emotional. By healing this one man, Jesus probably healed a family too.
Finally, we see the man started telling the town what Jesus had done (39). He became a preacher of Jesus wherever he went. What a transition. It’s bit like what happened to the apostle Paul.
When Jesus started his ministry he was clear about what he had come to do. He read from the scroll of Isaiah, The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (Luke 4.18-19). As the Body of Christ indwelt by the fire of the Holy Spirit we have the same calling; to free people of their bondages, heal their minds, and restore their families.
“Oh, that such fire might first sit upon the disciples and then fall on all around … Consume all obstacles, heavenly fire, and give us now both hearts of flame and tongues of fire to preach Your reconciling word, for Jesus’ sake” – Charles Spurgeon ‘Power for You’

Illustrations: The Fire of God (3 photos), A Lonely Abusive Man, A Neighbourhood Arrest.

Words to Vineyard Mombasa: Goat on the Siloam Street – Temptations that block healing, Phone Dial and Plug – God’s got your number and wants to pull the plug on your bondages. This includes the broken and addicted.

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