They Begged Him to Depart
The Sonshine March 1, 2017 by Walter Olsen
They Begged Him to Depart
When someone is asked to depart a gathering, it usually suggests a difference of opinion or interest. Sometimes it is not so serious, but at other times it is. This article is about some people who asked Jesus to depart from them. When He had cast the demons out of the demon-possessed men we read, “And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region” (Matt. 8:34).
By means of application, I would like to discuss why it is that even today people beg Jesus to depart from them. Many, on the basis of what they do know, want no association with Him except maybe on an intellectual basis. Many who are somehow identified with a Christian church maintain an association with Him only on a feigned basis. The question is, “Why is this so?” Let’s discuss few a possibilities.
Some cannot identify with Him as a Person, that is, on a personal basis. They neither comprehend nor desire intimacy with Him. Intimacy with God is beyond their comprehension, perhaps because they are not really born again or they have never sought to know Him in a personal way. Being one with God is the great blessing and privilege of the Christian life. However, if one does not posses His life, there can be no true identity with Him.
Jesus, in His prayer to His Father said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one…” (Jn. 17:20-22).
Because being saved requires genuine intimacy with God, many would rather He would leave than to become one with them. It is for this reason that many attend churches where God is mostly left out of the picture. He is given but a token nod which leaves people in charge of their own lives.
Some cannot identify with His message. They may readily identify with any number of religions, but not with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such is the message and intent of the New Age Movement. Any and every god is accepted except the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God! This is seen in Paul’s message on Mars Hill in Athens. There, Paul said, “…Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22-23).
Then, at the end of his message, we read, “…some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter…Howbeit certain men clave unto Him, and believed…” (Acts 17:32-34). Sometimes when people hear the message of salvation in Christ, they, in a sense want Jesus to leave. They have no desire to hear of personal sin and that they need a Savior. Repenting of sin is not attractive to them. Many love their sin too much to seek forgiveness!
Some cannot identify with His power. They cannot, or desire not, to believe in a personal God who has the power to create all they see in the world. To them, it makes more sense to believe in some kind of an evolutionary process than in a God who has created all things. How unlike those who John saw in his vision of heaven, who were, “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).
Many cannot believe in the miracles of the Bible, such as when the children of Israel came out of Egypt. They cannot believe that Jesus fed the 5,000 from a few loaves of bread and a few fish. They cannot believe that he could change the water into wine. The only logical conclusion, then, is to not believe the miracles and thus not to believe in Jesus. It follows that the one who preaches the reality of Jesus Christ will be shunned as well.
Consider, if people cannot identify with the power of God, that leaves them in control of their own lives. They make their own way and “solve” their own problems. It is the way of the flesh and thus is pleasing to men who do not know God. It is part of the broad way that leads to destruction. Remember the words of Jesus, “Enter ye in at the strait [narrow] gate: for wide is the gate , and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matt. 7:13).
Some cannot identify with His will for their lives. This has been somewhat indicated above, but I believe it has a special reference to Christians. Just because one knows the Lord Jesus as Savior does not mean he is necessarily submissive to the Lord’s will for his life. If one is saved but not walking in fellowship with the Lord, he will be made uncomfortable by certain truths of the Bible. The Apostle Paul said, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2). This is the desire of every child of God who is in fellowship with Him, but for all others, it is often a truth to avoid.
The tragedy of this is that many believers live their entire lives apart from the fulfillment of God. They know little of Paul’s word, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
Jesus Christ exemplified this truth in Himself when He said, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me” (Jn. 6:38). If a believer chooses not to identify with the will of God for His life, he will seek to have Jesus to depart from his life, not as his salvation, but as the Lord. [I am not referring here to Lordship salvation]. Unfortunately, such a believer will never know the joy and blessing of surrender to the Lord, nor will he be used much as a witness for the Lord.
Some cannot identify with His presence in their lives. What I mean by His presence is the character and nature of who God is. Some may be ok with the idea of God from a distance. He is real, He is the Creator, He is a good and eternal God. However, they cannot countenance the idea of God living within them. The Bible is clear that God lives, dwells, within each believer. Paul’s word is clear here, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (I Cor. 6:19). Indeed, there is no such an one as a believer without the presence of the Holy Spirit within him or her. Of course, God only comes to live within a person when He has been invited. Some cannot think of living with a holy presence within them. However, when one is convicted by the Spirit of his sins and seeks forgiveness, he is eager for the presence and ministry of the Spirit.
Some fear the demands the Spirit may make upon their lives so the natural thing to do is to ignore Him, to push Him aside.
Some cannot identify with His plans for the world. If anyone knows much of the word of God, they know God has a plan for everyone and everything in the world. If one is not a believer or is not walking in fellowship with Him, they will most likely shun the truth of God’s plan for the future. God’s plan is totally contrary to man’s plan and hope for the future.
Let’s consider some aspects of God’s plan for the future, things the world is unaware of in many cases and has no way of comprehending apart from the truth of the Bible.
The escalating danger of the world we live in. The Apostle Paul warned, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (II Tim. 3:1). He then goes on to list the many ways in which the world will become more corrupt and dangerous. The Biblical reason for the danger is the prevalence of sin. The world, however, blames such things as inequity in society for the prevalent ills. The “fixer,” then, becomes the government.
The rapture of the church. The rapture is when Jesus returns to take all believers home to be with Him in heaven. He will instantly take them out of this world to be with Him forever. The Biblical account is, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:16-17).
Believers anticipate this glorious event and wait for His coming. Unbelievers would tend to shun this truth and ignore it if they are familiar with the Bible’s teaching.
The coming time of tribulation on the earth after the rapture of the church. Without going into much detail, the Bible speaks of a seven year period of time in which there will be great tribulation on the earth. It will be a time of unprecedented suffering and disturbances of which the world has never seen nor will it ever see again. The prophet Daniel recorded, “…and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time…” (Dan. 12:1). It will be a time of great judgment upon all who reject Christ as Savior, but it also will be a time when the nation of Israel will repent of their rejection of Christ as the Messiah and Savior and will turn to Him in repentance.
People who do not know the Lord, of course, scoff at such teaching. They assume all things will continue as they always have. Indeed, “…there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (II Pet. 33-4).
Some cannot identify with His call to separation from a sinful world. The Apostle Paul exhorts in reference to a sinful world and lifestyle, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Cor. 6:17-7:1). If we look upon this as a command to be worked out in our own power, we will not appreciate the truth of it. We may even feel it is harsh and unnecessary. However, when we know Jesus Christ as our Savior and have entered into a personal relationship with Him, this truth will indeed be a blessing! The point is, fellowship with God on His terms is a far greater blessing than anything the world has to offer.
For the believer, a lack of separation from the world [that is, the world system] always brings a sense of loss and often grief and disillusionment. If one is truly saved, there will be something of the conviction of the Holy Spirit including a lack of personal peace and the joy of the Lord. On the other hand, the seeking of the righteousness of God fills one’s heart and life with something of the presence of God Himself.
Some cannot identify with His teachings of heaven and hell. This is especially true of what the Lord has to say about the judgment of the lost. The liberal church of today emphasizes the love of God in such a way that it dismisses any thought of eternal punishment for those who reject their need of forgiveness of sins. Many have made God to be a figment of their imagination. They want to believe in God for the good things they suppose He can do for them, but reject the idea of any consequences for their sins. Of course, such teaching greatly diminishes the authority of God’s word. The result is that man becomes his own authority regarding issues of life and death but, in doing so, he must accept the consequences of his own reasoning!
Many scriptures teach about the reality of hell, but especially consider the following, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works…they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:12-15).
It can be made no plainer than that! However, to the extent people reject the truth about salvation, they will also reject the truth about what Jesus has to say about hell.
My heart goes out to multitudes who sit in churches where they are made to feel comfortable in their sins! How significant is the need for the preaching of the gospel in our churches today! Apart from that, people will continue to say “no” to the only One who can save them from their sins and give them a glorious eternity with the Lord Jesus in the place He has prepared for those who have confessed their sins and trusted Him as their personal Savior.
The greatest good of anyone’s life is Jesus Christ Himself. There is no competition or alternative. The point is, Jesus can do only what Jesus can do, and that is to give us eternal life and a life filled with His goodness while we wait for His coming. If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and are walking with Him, you know and appreciate this truth. If perchance you do not know Him, I urge you not to continue to reject Him. To do so is to miss the glory of His presence and provision! To know Him is to know the blessing of the following verses:
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jn. 14:27).
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12).
“I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:9-10.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand” (Jn. 10:27-28).
“These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (Jn. 15:11).
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (Jn. 1:25-26).
We are thankful as a family to enjoy several special days in February. February 5th marks Walt’s birthday. Some years later, niece Dana was born on this same date. Brother-in-law Paul Diedrich celebrates his birthday on February 12th. Our son, Daniel, was born on February 17th. Great niece, Anja Diedrich, now shares a birthday with Daniel. When you add in Valentine’s Day, there is always a reason for cake and coffee and a birthday party!!
Our snow has slowly been disappearing with lots of sunshine outdoors. True, Spring is a ways away, but we can look forward to it with great anticipation.
If you would like to add anyone to our mailing list, please give me their mailing address. There is no cost. We also send The Sonshine via email. My desire is to share the truth of the word of God with all who are willing to listen. We are living in critical times. Like the song says, “People need the Lord.” Only the Lord can give real peace as we face an uncertain future in this world!