"Good Over Evil"
Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Love Under Fire - Ch. 31
Love Under Fire - Ch. 32
How to Defeat Satan
A spiritual war is taking place—a war beyond what human eyes can see. Thus, the question remains, How does God’s power over evil get fleshed out through His people in the days in which we are living?
Faded and Tattered
If God’s commandments were a flag, sadly, they would be faded and torn. Television shows, movies, and music make disregarding God’s laws look normal or even good. It has gotten harder to clearly see the contrast of good and evil in the world. However, gray areas in entertainment, education, and relationships, where we are not quite sure what is truly right or wrong, are not really gray. In reality, there is still only good and evil, light and darkness. God’s laws still stand as our guide for life on this planet and God’s eternal kingdom is established on those principles. There are no neutral choices, only choices that lead us closer to God or away from God. The demon possessed man in our lesson this week was not born that way. His choices likely created opportunities for more and more evil to come into his life. If your perspective is faded and torn, you need to surrender to Jesus and ask Him to shine light on your motives, choices, and how they are shaping who you are.
OPENING ACTIVITY: WHAT COLOR IS YOUR LIFE?
Supplies: round clear vase half filled with water, a box of food coloring, bleach, baking soda, cup, and a large spoon.
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
Read each Bible passage, then discuss the questions.
Light or Darkness
Read John 3:19-21.
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
Wise or Unwise
Read Ephesians 5:15-17.
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Stand Your Ground
Read Ephesians 6:10-13.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
If the demoniac in today’s lesson (Mark 5:1-19) had made good choices, he might not have ended up in such a frightening condition. When you look at this story through the lens of how life is typically lived in your local town, it is not likely you have seen a demon-possessed person acting like this man did. However, we still have an enemy who is “prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). His methods and his influences might look different, but there are still solid lines between right and wrong, light and darkness. Pray that God will help you to be able to clearly define what is good or evil. As you stand firm with Jesus, He will continue to help you stay in His Light.
Consider applying what you learned in this week’s lesson by doing one or all of these activities:
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
Jesus and His disciples start out across the Sea of Galilee for respite from the pressure of the crowds. On the way, they encounter a wild storm that threatens their lives and calls out the authority of Jesus over the forces of nature. After Jesus rebukes the winds and calms the waters, their voyage continues toward the eastern shore of Galilee, a relatively remote area inhabited by Gentiles. No sooner do they land on the shore in the country of Gadarenes, then Jesus is challenged again. This time, it is the wildest of human nature, a demon-wracked man.
It was a part of the seaside where there were many caves in the limestone rock, and many of these caves were used as tombs in which bodies were laid. At the best of times, it was an eerie place. As night fell it must have been grim indeed.
Out of the tombs there came a demon-possessed man. How completely this man felt himself to be possessed is seen in his way of speaking. Sometimes he uses the singular, as if he himself was speaking; sometimes he uses the plural, as if all the demons in him were speaking. He was so convinced that the demons were in him, that he felt they were speaking through him. When asked his name he said his name was Legion.
Roman legions which occupy the land of Gadarenes are made up of six hundred armed men. In its extended meaning, Legion means “thousands.” Whatever the number, demon-possession is so complete and so multiplied that Jesus has to resort to extraordinary means to save a man. The demons themselves give Him a choice. He can wipe them out of existence by expelling them from the country or He can send unclean spirits into unclean animals, the two thousand swine which rooted nearby. Jesus chooses the swine.
Results of deliverance are mixed. Fear strikes the swine herders, who beg Jesus to sail back across the sea. He has ruined their business. The man who is healed, however, appears as a witness to the glory of God. Sitting rather than pacing, clothed rather than naked, and unpossessed rather than possessed , the miracle strikes fear into the hearts of those who see him.
It is time for Jesus to leave. As He gets into the boat, the demoniac of Gadarenes, who is now known as the miracle-man of Gadarenes, begs to go along. Jesus decisively answers “No,” and urges him to “Go home to your friends and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you” (v. 19).
The encounter with the demoniacs of Gergesa had a lesson for the disciples. It showed the depths of degradation to which Satan is seeking to drag the whole human race, and the mission of Christ to set men free from his power. Those wretched beings, dwelling in the place of graves, possessed by demons, in bondage to uncontrolled passions and loathsome lusts, represent what humanity would become if given up to satanic jurisdiction. Satan’s influence is constantly exerted upon men to distract the senses, control the mind for evil, and incite to violence and crime. He weakens the body, darkens the intellect, and debases the soul. Whenever men reject the Saviour’s invitation, they are yielding themselves to Satan. (White, Ellen. The Desire of Ages, p. 341.)
Likewise, at least one lesson is learned for us. We must guard our senses, to be sure that they are influenced by Jesus’ life, mission, and ministry. If we neglect to do so, we are subject to the same demonic possession that embodied these men of Gergesa. It will look different in our culture, perhaps like some addiction, but it will still leave us at least partially out-of-control.
“Grace > Disgrace!”
Can you share about a moment that you overcame an evil thought?
Read Mark 5:1-20.
1They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
1. What makes it so difficult to resist what is evil?
2. What is John’s main point in Mark 5:1-5?
3. What is the meaning of the man’s words upon seeing Jesus (vs. 6, 7)?
4. What is the purpose of Jesus asking the man his name?
5. Why did Jesus grant the request of the demons (vs. 12, 13)?
6. What was Jesus’ instruction to the man after his healing?
7. What habits possess you that may be your legion?
8. How can you share your story of freedom with others?
My imagination visualizes the scene for the miracle-man of Gadarenes. As he enters his hometown and his kinsfolk greet him, jaw-dropping awe encompasses them. This one who was inhabited by demons now inhales the purity of Christ’s Spirit. Everyone is apt to listen as he tells of the compassionate embrace of Jesus Christ. Only God could tame his wild nature, that came about because of evil habits cherished, and only the healing of Christ can bring him the peace he needs. He must be a witness and share his story. No wonder, then, that he becomes a one-man witness in the ten cities of the Decapolis, telling what Jesus has done for him. No wonder that everyone marvels. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has tamed the wildest of human nature.
Mark dedicates more of his account to Jesus’ miracles than any of the other Gospel writers. For Mark, these miracles were demonstrations of Jesus’ power—His power over disease, the forces of evil, even over nature. Many flocked to Him to be healed and fed. This man’s healing was because of the power of Christ over the power of darkness. Jesus evicted his demons and set his soul free.
Below, find some application activities to interface with this lesson. These are simply to provide ideas for your usage, or to invite you to imagine and create some of your own, as you impact the lives of teens for God’s glory.
By Vandeon Griffin, Tracy Wood, and Armando Miranda
The #ONETEAM CHALLENGE is a 21-day devotional written by leaders for leaders. As co-laborers in the Seventh-day Adventist Church commissioned to lead and serve the youth and young adult generation, we share the burdens and triumphs of ministry.
In this devotional, we will walk together through scripture and journey through the lessons of life and ministry. Daily, you will be challenged with reflective questions and to share your affirmations on social media to encourage and inspire others. We are #ONETEAM!
Birthday in a Box
Spread birthday joy at shelters. Collect and assemble birthday candles, cake mix, frosting, decorations, plates, cups, napkins, and a simple toy or two in a box. Decorate the box.
Cost: Less than $10.00
Sock Collection for Homeless
Give the item most requested at homeless shelters. Collect and donate white crew socks for men, women, and children.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Paper Bag Decorating for Meals on Wheels / Food Bank Snack Pack
Add pizzazz to lunch for seniors. In addition to receiving the hot portion of the meal in a tray, Meals on Wheels recipients get the cold portion in a lunch bag. Add life to their meals by decorating lunch bags. Simply buy paper lunch bags and use your creativity, crayons, markers, stickers, or any art materials you have on hand.
Cost: Less than $5.00