New Power (Mark 16:14-18)

Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.  And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;  they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:14-18)

The passage you just read is from one of the Gospels, specifically the books that record what Jesus did. The author of this Gospel book is Mark, who wrote about the gospel of Jesus Christ. And the passage we look at is near the end of the Gospel of Mark. It contains the words spoken by Jesus, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved”. ‘This means that, on the contrary, those who do not believe are inevitably in a position of perishing.

However, when it says, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved!” What should one believe? One must believe in the gospel.

The gospel is the joyful news. To explain the gospel simply, first of all, God is almighty. While there are many gods in the world, some of them are not all-powerful. In addition, the God whom we believe in is abundant in love. There are many gods in the world, but we must not get close to just any god. There are also evil gods too. Fortunately, the God whom you are trying to meet by coming to church is the God full of love. How much love does He have? He is the One who sacrificed everything for us, sinners. He even gave up His beloved Son to be cursed and die on the cross in order to save us. He is not the kind of god that will abandon us after using us; He loves us. And very thankfully, our God is not powerless. Rather He is all-powerful. He is able to do everything, and even this world is His creation. We are now calling that God our Father.

Secondly, the gospel tells us that ‘Jesus is the Son of God’. Jesus was a man who grew up in a town called Nazareth. He was a young Jewish man. However, we acknowledge Him as the Son of God. Saying He is the Son of God doesn’t mean He is lesser than God. It actually means He is equal to God. The Son is the One to whom God will inherit everything He possesses. Proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God signifies that He is equal to God. What did we just say about who God is? The Almighty, the One abundant in love. And this Jesus is the One who is equal to God. He is the Almighty. Jesus is the One abundant in love. That is what we believe.

Thirdly, Jesus is Christ. What does the word “Christ” mean? It means God’s servant or messenger. The word “Christ” itself is not in the Korean language. It originally comes from Greek and signifies ‘the anointed one’. When God appoints someone to carry out His work, He anoints them and sends them. So, it means God’s servant. However, we have just said that Jesus is equal to God. In other words, He is God Himself. Yet, we are now saying He is God’s servant. Despite His exalted position as God, He became a servant. He became the lowest of all. The highest One came to the lowest place and undertook the most accursed work.

The One who is to be glorified with God died on the cross. Doesn’t that seem strange? But that’s the gospel. Why did the One who is equally God become cursed? Why did He come to this earth, carry the cross, suffer, receive curses and mockery from people? What is the reason? He did that for us. Originally, we were the objects destined for the curse. However, God commanded His Son to bear it, saying, “You take the curse!” This is a mother’s heart. “My son, let the curse fall upon me. May only you be blessed!” This is the heart of a mother. And that is what our God is like.

Don’t you desire to be close to this God? If you become close with an evil god, you will suffer tremendously. How much do people who are demon possessed curse their own selves? In the Bible, there is a story a demon-possessed man who harmed himself with a stone. However, God is very different. He is full of love. Believing in this truth is the gospel. God sent His Son to pay the price for all our sins and saved us. Whoever believes in this and is baptized will be saved, but those who do not believe are already condemned. They are judged because ‘a sinner will be condemned’. Therefore, we were originally sinners deserving of condemnation and judgment. But, if anyone believes that all our sins and curses have been taken away by Jesus Christ, they will no longer have to pay the price for their sins.

Recently, I went to a restaurant and after finishing my meal, the owner told me, “You don’t need to pay for your meal. Someone else has already paid for it!” “Who was it?” I asked. The owner replied, “They identified themselves as a church member and wanted to cover the pastor’s meal”. So, what would I do? Should I still pay for my meal? Well, I don’t need to pay. But if I didn’t believe what the owner said, I would still have to pay, wouldn’t I? Personally, I didn’t witness anyone paying for me, nor did I see that person eating in the restaurant. But since I believed what the owner told me, I didn’t have to pay for the cost. If I had chosen not to believe, I would’ve had to pay for it myself.

It’s the same as that. God has paid the price of our sins. If we don’t believe that, then we will have to pay for it again. We will perish. Therefore, we must believe. If we believe, we don’t have to pay the price and can confidently walk away. This is the gospel.

Jesus also said, “These signs will accompany those who believe in the gospel”, meaning that they will have testimonies. What kind of testimonies? Jesus said, “In My name they will drive out demons”. You heard from the previous testimony, didn’t you? All those who believe in Jesus can do that. “You will lay hands on the sick and they will get well”. If God is not alive, then nothing will happen even if we lay our hands on the sick. But since God is alive, He fulfills that promise.

When I first came to our church, I was in my 3rd year of university. During that time, the Pastor Ki-dong Kim preached about the power of believers in Jesus Christ. He especially emphasized about this “lay your hands on the sick and they will be well.” Three months after listening to that sermon, I went to the army. The sermon that left the most powerful impression for me during those three months was about the power given to the believers of Jesus. Inspired by what I had learned, whenever I encountered friends who were unwell, I would ask, “Can I pray for you?” If they agreed, I would lay my hands on them and offer a prayer. When a person complained of a headache, I laid my hand on his head and prayed; if someone was suffering from back pain, I laid my hand on their back and prayed. Remarkably, on numerous occasions, they would respond with surprise, saying, “Wow, the pain is gone!”

Since I had only believed in Jesus for three months at that time, and because I saw those results immediately after putting the word into practice, I thought it was natural and didn’t consider it to be something extraordinary. I simply thought it was expected. So, while I was in the army, I engaged in a lot of evangelism. Later on, I evangelized to at least one person per day. It was really joyful to do this within the confines of small army base.

As I devoted myself wholeheartedly, even as a new believer, news about me spread. In the army, there was a practice called chaplain roll call. Normally, during roll call, names are called out before bedtime, and a few guidelines are given before sleep. But with a religion roll call, they call out, “All Christians, into the barracks room 1!”, and we have a worship service. They would call out, “Buddhists, gather in barracks room 2!” for them to read their Buddhist scriptures. And they would call the Catholics to gather in room 3. But there were a lot of people in room 1 because there were many Christians.

Suddenly, one day, I was unexpectedly asked to lead the service. I myself was a new believer and not even holding a high rank. I was just private first class with only a year of military experience, so there were many senior officers above me. However, without any prior preparation, I was told, “You lead this service!” This made me feel nervous, but I stood up thinking of it as an opportunity given by God. And the scary senior officers were staring at me. I wondered what I should speak about. I felt the need to make a strong impression. So out of many possible topics, I chose to speak about how believing in Jesus allows one to cast out demons. It was my intention to leave an impact.

From what I recall at the church camp, that when pastor Ki-dong Kim spoke about demons, people felt fearful and start trembling. Then when they were asked to come forward, the demons manifested. So, while they were coming forward, the demons would leave.

As a result, I thought to myself, “If I continue talking about demons, someone will surely become scared and come forward!” So, I talked about demons for a while. Then I said, “If anyone is feeling anxious or trembling, please come forward. I will drive out the demon!” But there was a moment of silence. I repeated my invitation, “Please come forward!”, but there was still no response, and the room remained quiet. Nobody even budged and it was dead silent. It felt like time stood still for about 30 minutes. After around 3 minutes had passed, I started to feel embarrassed and wondered ‘What should I do? What do I do about this?’ Just then one senior officer stepped forward and said, “I want to!”

Until then I had never actually driven out a demon. I simply followed what Pastor Ki-dong Kim had done. When the person came forward, I looked into his eyes and called, “Hey demon~ demon~” I kept saying it for about 3 minutes, but the person didn’t show any response. I asked, “You don’t feel anxious?” He replied, “No.” At that time the rest of the people were yawning and saying, “Oh we need to go to sleep…” As I was standing there sweating, I think he was a senior officer, came up to me and said, “Hey why don’t we stop here?” So, we ended the service just like that. We had prayer and wrapped it up. My face was burning hot and I felt miserable. ‘How am I going to face them tomorrow?’ I wanted to display God’s glory but it became clear to me that I lacked power.

Then the next morning arrived. Someone came to see me even before breakfast time. He came to me privately but couldn’t speak very well. A senior officer came and asked, “Hey, pray for me! My throat’s been hurting for days. Pray for my throat. I heard you talking about driving out demons yesterday. Drive out the demon from me!” It seemed that at least one person was touched by what I said.

So, I needed to take him place where we could drive out demon, but where should we go? It was around 6:30 in the morning. After searching for a suitable place, we ended up going to the restroom, a somewhat isolated spot. It was an outdoor restroom, but there weren’t flushing toilets. They just had holes in the ground. There were about 10 stalls, and we entered one of them. I asked him to take his cap off and his glasses and we faced each other. We had to be careful not to fall into the hole. Looking at each other, I exclaimed, “Hey demon!” and proceeded to curse. As I continued to drive out the demon, I gained courage and fervently shouted, “You! Get out! Hey you! Get out!” However, all of a sudden, the door opened and a voice exclaimed, “What are you two doing? I caught you! I just witnessed beating!” One of the generals witnessed our actions and took us to the disciplinary department.

If this were to escalate to the military police, it would be a serious matter. It was a time when there was a strong emphasis on no physical violence in the military. And at that moment, I, as a lower ranked officer, was caught in the act of grabbing a senior officer by the collar, after having already removed his hat and glasses already, giving the impression that I was about to beat him. So, I was caught red-handed. No matter how much I explained, who would believe that it was for the purpose of driving out a demon? I said, “Any Christian would know what I’m talking about. It’s written about in the Bible”. “Is there anyone who can testify to that?” “The military chaplain would know!”

However, that chaplain was someone who hated Berea and demonology. He would often tell me not to come to dawn prayers. Yet, I had no choice but to call him in that situation. The general asked him, “Is there such thing as driving out demons in the Bible or not? Does it exist or not?” This chaplain had always said, “Driving out demons is wrong!” But when the officer asked, “Is there the casting out of demons in the Bible or not?”, what do you think was his answer? He could only answer that there is. Although he himself was against it, it is still found in the Bible. So, he answered, “Yes, it is in the Bible.” “So, these guys are saying they were driving out demons. Is that in line with the Bible?” “Yes, it is.” It was really unexpected. This person who usually criticized it harshly now admitted, from his own mouth, that it is in the Bible and that what we were doing were in line with the Bible. It was truly remarkable.

So, we were released. After being released, we didn’t just quietly return to our room Instead we suggest, “Let’s look for another location!” And we headed to the boiler room in the basement. Nobody was there. And it is very soundproof. When I called out, “Hey demon!” and cursed it a few times, the demon in him did manifest. He trembled a lot and then fell backwards. That was my first experience of driving out a demon. I had driven out a demon for the first time ever since I believed in Jesus. And it was incredibly fulfilling because the demon finally left after all the difficulties we had gone through.

Then he stood up, so I said, “Let’s give thanks in prayer!” But he thought I was telling him to pray. Suddenly, he started praying, and this person who could hardly speak moments ago regain his normal voice. He prayed, “Father God!” Not only was the demon driven out, but after it left, the abnormality in his throat was restored to normal.

Since that was the first time, I cast out a demon, it gave me a great courage. As a result, I started driving out demons more frequently during my time in the military. Gradually, I gained more and more experience, and later on, I encountered illnesses that I couldn’t have imagined before. After I finished my term in the army, I even had the opportunity to drive out demons and pray for the opening of blind eyes and the healing of the crippled. I witnessed blind individuals regain their sight and watched as the crippled began to walk again. While I was in China as a missionary, I encountered many individuals in similar conditions in various villages, providing me with numerous opportunities to witness and experience the healing of such people.

Indeed, all of these experiences and promises are written in the Bible. They are not limited to me alone but are available to every person who believes in Jesus. If it doesn’t happen by praying once, then pray twice. If it still doesn’t work, pray three times. If still nothing happens, continuously pray to be given more power.

As believers in Jesus, we possess a new power. Not only is our identity changed but now we also have new power. In our daily lives and within our families, how many sicknesses arise? How many accidents occur? People are worried that they might die. They are also worried that they will have to pay a fortune if they go to the hospital. But we can live without such worries. Of course, there are occasions when it may not go as well no matter how hard you try. But in numerous instances, we experience many times the problem being taken care of by prayer.

When my son was in preschool, there was an incident where he suddenly collapsed and couldn’t get back up. I thought he was going to be crippled. I was worried for a moment then came to my senses, “In Jesus’ name I command! Get up!” And he immediately got up. I said, “Run!” And he began to run. We don’t know if he could’ve become crippled that day. But in such a simply way, he got up.

You have already been given with that power. Just take much of it and use it. The way to do that is prayer. In the name of Jesus, I bless you to be filled with the power that God has given you. Let’s pray.

Father God, we thank you for pouring upon us the spiritual power from heaven. Please help us to live a life filled with this power, so that we can testify Your presence and bring glory to God. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen!

Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center