Luke 9:49-50 – “Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
John proudly reported to Jesus the latest action of the team – they had rebuffed the efforts of a man who was driving out demons in Jesus’s name – because he was “not one of them!” This man was NOT one of the twelve, he had NEVER ASSOCIATED with them nor met with them, but was using the name of Jesus to cast out devils. Because he was not from THEIR denomination, they would not let him preach or practice faith in the name of Jesus. This fellow was not ordained as they were, he did not acknowledge their superior connection with Christ, nor did he seek their fellowship. So, it seemed absolutely right to John and the inner circle to restrain such action from an outsider. Surely the Master would be pleased! But Jesus gave them quite the opposite view point. John was likely surprised by the response Jesus gave to his report. “Don’t stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.” This reproof admonished them to encourage those who were carrying out the same mission and ministry as them, even though they were not a part of their communion. If a person is doing the work of Christ then he’s on the same team, he has the same Lord and Master, and he’s headed toward the same end! If Jesus approves such a person, so should we!
What a great deal of damage to the cause of Christ could be prevented if this short passage was carefully considered – even by those that claim a very close and intimate relationship with Christ Jesus! How easy it can be to begin to feel superior to others that do not belong to our fellowship and denominational preference, because they are “not one of us!” Such bigotry is not uncommon among those who identify themselves as believers in Jesus. We may not call ourselves “The ONLY True Church of Jesus Christ,” but we may inwardly have that attitude! Can we not hear His reproof? “Whoever is not against you is for you.” Our common ground is faith in Christ Jesus. Anyone who believes that Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life, is our friend! Let’s not let our rich and special relationship with Christ cause us to think of ourselves above others who also have a personal relationship Him. Believers face enough opposition to their faith in this world – we can ill afford to make enemies of those who are not against us! Paul addresses this same issue in Romans 14:4 – “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” These are days when Christians truly need to encourage and support ministry in Jesus’ name that drives out the devil – no matter who it is – even if they are NOT ONE OF US!
Thursday: Meet together with at least 1 or 2 other believers to enter the Throne Room of Grace.
Friday: Pray for the Good News families of the week: Christina Griesch (Derek, Alisha), Ryan Hackett (Sara Fellows – fiancée), Matt & Becky Hakes (Stevie, Lydia).
Saturday: Pray that you will not hinder the work of Christ but rather support it, even if it’s being done by those who serve Him outside of your fellowship and denominational preference!
Sunday: Examine your heart to see if there is any “Christian bigotry” in you. Trust Christ to faithfully oversee others who serve in His name in the same way that He is governing your life and service!
Monday: Give thanks for all believers, whatever their level of maturity, wherever they have been led to fellowship and serve, and however they have been called to minister in Jesus’ name.
Tuesday: Allow Christ to rebuke any arrogant superiority of faith in your spirit and promote a spirit of unity with all others who have been united with Christ.
Wednesday: Get rid of all selfish ambition and conceit. Allow humility to blossom in its place!
Prayer Challenge: If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:1-7)