Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If Not One Of Us... Who Is?

Mark 9.38

Teacher,” John said, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.

“Do not stop him.” (Give him a cup of water! Vs41) Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”

Remember in Number 11.16-30 when the LORD told Moses that he was going to take of the Spirit that was on him (Moses) and put it on 70 elders to help Moses carry the burden of the people? He had them assemble around the Tent and the LORD came down in the cloud and the Spirit rested on the 70 elders and they prophesied. Do you remember what Moses said to Joshua when a young man and Joshua took issue (not one of us) with Eldad and Medad, because they were not assembled where some thought they needed to be, yet were prophesying in the camp? (casting out devils in your name) .28 Joshua said to Moses - “Stop them!” 11.29 – Moses replied - “Are you jealous for my sake?” Remember the Apostle Paul said the most important thing is that Christ is preached regardless of the motivation! - Philippians 1.15-.18.

Again - Mark 9.38

Teacher,” John said, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said…

Mark 9.42-.48

“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.”

You have heard it all before that you do not want to be a part of causing someone else to sin. It would be better to cut off your hand or pluck out your eye, than for you to be responsible for causing someone else to sin. To be more precise – it had to do with getting in the way of someone who was not part of the group, not recognized by (the 12), “not one of us.” Someone else that was having success in the name of Jesus. Yes, this individual is considered “a little one!” To add more context here: Be careful that your actions and the things you exercise control over, those things at your command and fall under your jurisdiction, don’t hinder or cause others to fail in their mission in Christ. There are many ways to be un-welcoming to others. We can learn from good examples and bad. So the question I must ask myself is – why is it or what causes someone else to have this type of disposition? Is it because they don’t believe others measure up to their standard? They didn’t want to compete with others? They were afraid of losing their influence over others for the cause of Christ. What about others measuring up? What about the LORD’s standard? The Lord’s standard is his Word and his Word is his command. (More on this on the next Blog Post.)

Matthew 18.10 & .11.

“See that you do not look down (despise) on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” We would be wise to remember that all believers have angels in heaven just waiting on God to send them on a mission! I would hate to be the object of their mission. If I am considerate, welcoming and encouraging to other believers, I can be assured of God’s favor and blessing - not his judgment.

Consider how hard it would be to look down on someone if you were washing their feet? Jesus told the disciple that they would be blessed if that did what he did. You can sin by causing someone else to sin. Did you know that you can cause someone who is serving the Lord to sin by looking down on them and despising them, because they are not part of your group (not one of us)? We need to do everything we can to encourage and welcome those who are serving the Lord - who are serving in the name of Jesus – especially if they are having success in serving him! Why would anyone look down on someone serving the Lord and having success? Why would you want to stop anyone who is being successful in serving the Lord? Why would you want to discredit or discount the service of another Saint? What if you cause that servant, because of your actions to become discourage and sin (to miss the mark)? Jesus warns the disciples to see to it that they don’t! Again, consider how easy it would be to look down on someone if you were ruling or lording over them? There is a difference between Leaders and Rulers – Leadership and Lordship. Jesus and Peter told those who wanted to be the greatest or shepherds serving as overseers of God’s flock that they could not lord it over others, but had to be servants and examples. He was trying to spare them from the judgment that comes as a result of taking a hubristic (prideful or arrogant) position or expressing such a disposition with his people. Luke 22.23-.27; 1Peter 5.5-.3

Luke 9.46; Mark 9.34-37

An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus knowing their thoughts took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me…”

Webster defines Welcomer as one who welcomes, salutes or receives kindly a newcomer.

You can be more concerned about your position that you can forget all about the mission!

You can be more concerned about losing your position that you forget about the mission.

You can be more concerned about someone else’s position that you can forget about the mission!

You can be more concerned about someone gaining a position that you forget about the mission.

MK 9.19 - Don’t forget, the disciples just got rebuked by Jesus because they were unable to drive out a spirit in the son of a man that was brought to them for help.

MK 9.18 - “I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they were unable to.”

.34 - The disciples were more concerned about who was going to be “the greatest” than who was going to be the most effective in serving the Lord.

The Lord new their thoughts. Before John could tell Jesus about their “Police Action.” Jesus took a child – “Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me…’” (IN MY NAME) gets repeated over and over again. “We tried to stop him!” What would have Jesus said to the disciples if they reported to him that when they saw a man casting out devils in his name that they tried to encourage him? “We tried to provoke him on to do more!” “We were cheering him on!” Thank the Lord, even though they tried to stop the man driving out devils in the name of Jesus, in spite of the opposition from those who appeared closest to Jesus, he still carried on with his mission and was successful in serving him! What a great example of perserverance in the face of persecution and opposition, especially from those that appeared closest to Jesus! They were in the group of twelve (12) were they not? I am sure they enjoyed having the folk’s look-up to them, because they were with Jesus! They were riding his shirt-tails! Before, they were fishermen like most everyone else in town. “We left all to follow you.” We want our due!

So to those who are on a mission from the LORD - don’t let anyone stop you! Don’t let anyone discourage you; especially if they appear close to Jesus.

Could it be, since the disciples were concerned with “who is the greatest,” that after their failure to help the man’s son, (drive out the spirit) if someone else was allowed in their group, allowed to be “one of us” or they validated someone not part of their group, that was a successful servant… that person might BE THE GREATEST! If we can discount him, he can’t be in our group. He won’t be qualified to run for the greatest! After all, we haven’t gotten the job done! This guy is showing us up! How am I going to explain his success to others since he is not part of our group?

The LORD answered the disciples concern regarding their climb to the top, their quest to be considered the Greatest and contrasted their desire with his desire to accomplish his mission by sending out 72 other disciples to get the job done! Now they got more competition! Luke 10.1-.20 Numbers 11.28-.29 – Moses replied,”…. I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” Moses had the right attitude.

In conclusion, we need to focus on the mission the LORD has given us and not worry whether or not others - that are “not one of us” - are measuring up to our standards, because they are, for sure, one of HIS!

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