A Convicting Passage In Mark I Had To Skip

A couple of weeks ago when I was preaching on Mark 9, I was pressed for time and unfortunately had to cut a section of my message that I found personally very convicting. Mark 9:38-41 records a conversation between Jesus and at least one of his disciples, John, while the group traveled toward Jerusalem.

Mark 9:38-41 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone 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. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”

While Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to suffer and die, his disciples argued over which of them was the greatest. That same self-important attitude manifested itself in how they saw others who were speaking in Jesus’ name. John’s told the person to “stop because he was not one of us.”

So instead of rejoicing that ministry in Jesus’ name was moving forward, John was upset because this Christ follower was not “one of us.” This man was on Jesus’ team but not on John’s and in John’s eyes that was enough of a problem to tell him to stop. Jesus of course corrects John’s flawed thinking and tells him not to stop those ministering in his name.

Observations and Applications…
1. Are we for Jesus or ourselves? By saying that he stopped the man from ministering in Jesus’ name because he wasn’t “one of us,” John revealed that he was more concerned that his team was winning than he was that Christ’s kingdom was advancing.

I have to ask myself if I am guilty of the same kind of things John was? Am I committed to my team or Jesus’ kingdom? I have to admit that after becoming a Christian in college and getting involved in a campus ministry, I saw other ministries as competition. Knowing that I’ve been susceptible to that sin before, it would be naive on my part to think that I couldn’t fall back into it today. Here’s a good diagnostic question: Would I be okay if revival in Columbia started in another church? If lots of people were genuinely coming to Christ, could I rejoice even if it weren’t happening at The Crossing?

2. On a more individual level are you serving because you want to be involved in ministry that God uses to change lives or do you want others to see all that you do?

3. If the church in Jesus’ day extended beyond the disciples (which obviously it did according to the passage above), then I’m sure it extends way beyond what The Crossing is doing in Columbia. So do I speak respectfully and appreciatively of other churches and ministries in Columbia or am I down talking others who minister in Jesus’ name?

4. Can I rejoice when I hear truth from unlikely places? John heard a man speaking truth but since he didn’t know the guy who spoke it, he wanted to shut him down. Am I guilty of the same? I’m not an Arminian or a Charismatic or a liberal or a Baptist and I don’t home school. But I can learn a lot from people who are. The humble person who follows Jesus knows he doesn’t have a monopoly on the truth and has a lot to learn. And he is willing and able to learn from people different than himself.

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