Commands of Christ: 52

Do not hinder anyone just because they are not in your group.

John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”  Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.  For whoever is not against us is for us.  Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, truly, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.”  Mark 9:38-41

Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.”  Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”  Luke 9:49-50

This is reminiscent of what Paul says in Philippians 1:15-18: “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”

It seems that in our day there are a lot of self-proclaimed servants of Christ who draw the lines more and more tightly in identifying who are legitimate disciples.  They make major distinctions based on minor issues, while ignoring major considerations such as love.  Pride is rampant, based on comparing themselves with others.  Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17 where He prayed for unity among His followers ignored.

Paul says in Romans 14:4, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall.  And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.”

There are lines that need to be drawn.  Those lines are between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness.  There are only two camps.  Those who are for the Lord and those who are not.  I love the time when Joshua was getting ready to attack Jericho.  In Joshua 5:13-14 it tells us, “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand.  Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”  “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”  Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”  

Whether people are for us or not is irrelevant.  The question is, are they on the Lord’s side.  Let’s not shoot His allies.