The disciples catch a man casting out a demon in the name of Jesus...but the man is not one of them. 😲😱😨How does Jesus respond? We continue our series "Peace with one another" in Mark 9:38-41.
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Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
31 Bluebird Lane, Greensburg, KY 42743
*This is not a word for word transcript, the but the sermon manuscript.
PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER
PART TWO: OUTSIDERS
Trapped behind enemy lines. That is a worst cause scenario, one in which two spies found themselves. Outside the door, the enemy king’s men had hunted them down to this house, now they knocked at the door. They were in the hands of the homeowner, who was a prostitute. This whole mission now rested in the hands of a person whose living was based on opportunity. A miracle happened, the prostitute hid the spies and lied to the king’s men. God’s mission had been preserved through this prostitute.
The prostitute’s name was Rahab, and the spies mentioned were Israelites scoping out the land of Jericho. God’s workers survived because Rahab, a prostitute cared for them. Her care involved hiding the spies from her government and lied to keep God’s people safe. But this is what Hebrews 11:31 says about Rahab, “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” She is commended for her faith. Her name can also be found in the genealogy of Jesus.
This is not your typical story of a person of faith. In a lot of ways like the passage we are studying today. The message is titled “Outsiders” and we are trying to answer the question, can a person be with us if they are not one of us?
38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” 39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 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.” (NIV)
This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.
Can they be with us if they are not on our team? That is the question we are trying to answer as we study through this narrative. This answer will also teach us another way of what it means for us to have peace with one another. Something you, me, and our world needs now more than ever.
Verse 38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” It is obvious from the text that this exorcist was no fraud. He was “casting out demons” when the disciples came across him. A feat that the disciples themselves had lacked the faith to accomplish. But this man who was not part of the twelve, had enough faith in the name of Jesus that he was using it to help those in need.
The disciples stopped him because he was not one of them. It was not that the man was using another name to cast out demons. This exorcist had the faith in Jesus, and even not regularly in the presence of Him, to make the darkness flee.
Why did the disciples stop him? Because he was not one of them. This revealed a selfish and selfish-righteous attitude. They were the ones travelling with Jesus, so they were the officially authorized exorcists. The disciples were the ones had picked and sent out by Jesus, so this made them the ones who were supposed to carry out these great acts of faith. Not this man who had not given up his comfy home life to travel with Jesus as they did.
Verses 39-40 “Do not stop him,” 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.” How does Jesus respond to the disciples gloating that they stopped this an unauthorized exorcist? “Shut up and leave him alone.” That is the New King Jason Paraphrase. Our Lord tells the disciples not to stop him.
Jesus informs the disciples that this man was on their side. Faith was the key to the man’s success, and that faith was placed in Jesus himself. The demons fleeing was proof that God was working through this social distanced disciple.
Verse 41 “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.” Jesus goes to explain that acts of kindness extended towards anyone in his name is the same as give it to Him. This means no matter how small the task may seem, if it is done to glorify God is an act of faith. And all it takes for God to work miracles is faith as small as a mustard seed.
Jesus is assuring his disciples that it is okay if there are other disciples not in their circle. Ultimately, following Jesus will lead his disciples in striving to do good, both with other disciples and even those outside the faith. And that is okay.
Can a person be with us if they are not on our team? Yes. First, if they are believers in another church, shut up and stop trying to make one another doctrinally correct and focus on what matters. Bring hope to the hopeless. Second, if they are outside the faith yet aiding cause in arms with the Church, that person is responding to grace, whether they know it or not. The Church demonstrates to that person that Jesus cares about them, sees a need that they see, and His goal is to conquer that evil in lives. So, shut up and work with them in the grace bestowed by the Spirit. You are not capable of good on our own, it is the Spirit who enables anyone to do good.
The theologian JC Ryle said, “Better a thousand times that the work should be done by other hands than not done at all.” Our problem is that we spend more time persecuting other Christians for doing the work wrong than doing it. When the Church drops the ball and an those outside the faith pick it up, we write it off as a need no longer as our concern. But then cannot figure out why the world pushes its values into their systems and methods. We are too dumb to realize that the Church left them alone with it. Shut up! And get to work because it is not who does the work, but getting the work done. The work is people and rescuing them from the darkness that is trying to consume them. Stop worrying about who gets the gold star, start worrying about who gets to the feet of Jesus.
You and I have spent too much time in this world. We think like this world. Our resources are limited, and those in our number are limited. And the truth is we are limited. But God is not! Living by faith is not stuffing an unlimited God into our limited world, it is opening eyes beyond this world to the God who is unlimited. Faith realizes that is all about Him, not about your or me. We have stop judging others by our methods, past successes, and opinions to determine if they are worthy to be used. Look for the Spirit and his stamp on lives and works, then move alongside to disciple them.
For peace to have a chance you to have be last and it also means you must make it about God all the time. The second it becomes about you or your squad, you move from the unlimited riches of God to your limited world. That is to step out of the presence of God, and to put yourself at war not only with him but everyone outside you.
Do you want to have peace in your heart? In this church? With those outside in our community? Then today you must stop making the things of God about you.
Season 1 Episode 33, "Most important question." The text for the message is from Mark 8:27-30, part 1 of a series called The Son of Man. The question we are trying to answer is "What is the most important question?"