Now the man out of whom the devils were departed sought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,…
What are the principles that are to guide and rule our life when we become His subjects? This is our theme.
I. The first principle that our text gives us is this, that CHRIST'S WILL AND NOT OUR WISH IS TO REGULATE OUR CONDUCT. We are to use our reason; but we are not to set ourselves up in judgment against Christ. Get a good start, by laying hold of this principle in the first instance — that Christ's will and not your wish is to regulate and rule your conduct. Remember that we have a right, whatever our wishes may be, to bring them before Christ. If you have strong desires concerning any matters in your hearts, you will find, if you lay them before Christ, He will not reproach you for doing so. He did not reproach this man for his prayer. The tender and wise Saviour knew what He was about. Instead of lacking in love to the man, He was overflowing with it, and He gave the best answer possible to his prayer, "Go home to thy friends, My good man; thou needest care, thou needest nursing. Do not think of becoming one of My followers; why thou wouldest soon have to give up that; go home to thy friends, and say what great things God has done unto thee." My dear friends, believe me, God will hear and answer you! prayer if it be sincere, and if He does not answer it in your way, He wilt do so in a better way. Never swerve from this principle for an instant, that prayer is a reality. The little eaglet as it sees its mother spread her pinions to the breeze, cries, "Oh that I could fly!" and the mother answers the prayer by overturning the nest: her offspring thinks it cruel, but it is the only way its prayer can be answered.
II. The second principle is, that USEFULNESS AND NOT ENJOYMENT IS TO BE OUR SUPREME CONCERN. NOW a man that lives merely for his own personal enjoyment, although that enjoyment be of a spiritual kind, will find that he will very soon frustrate his own purposes and intentions, and instead of securing that for which he has so earnestly, but selfishly sought, it will evade his grasp and leave him altogether a stranger to it. Christianity is not the last spar of a wreck on which a man may float himself into the still waters of an eternal calm; but it is a life-boat, and every man must "man the life-boat," and try to rescue others from the wreck which sin and Satan had made. Dear friends, you shall have enjoyment, but your enjoyment must come by way of usefulness. This principle of the kingdom of Christ is the principle of all kingdoms over which Christ rules and governs. All life is constituted according to this principle — that it shall only exist in a healthy condition as it gives out of that which it receives. The Dead Sea is a dead sea because it receives all and gives nothing. The brook is beautiful and lovely because it is constantly flowing, and all in nature that is healthy, is healthy because it observes this rule. The clouds take the water from the sea, only that they may give it back again in fertilizing showers to gladden and refresh the earth. In return the earth gives us fruit, flowers and herbs, indeed, everything good for man and beast.
III. Another principle closely associated with the foregoing is this, that OUR POWER FOR USEFULNESS DEPENDS UPON WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE FOR US. Christ said to this man, "Go and show what great things God hath done unto thee." Your power for usefulness will not depend upon what you say, so much as upon what you are; and your great concern, if you want to be useful, is to live lives which are not inconsistent with your profession. Seek first of all to have an experimental acquaintance with Christ's power upon your own heart.
IV. The fourth principle according to the text is that — OUR FIRST PLACE OF USEFULNESS IS TO BE THE HOME. "Return to thine own house, and show what great things God hath done unto thee." We are to begin in the family circle first of all.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,