Summary: This sermon explores the nature of various relationships that a follow of Christ has - both within and without.
The Disciple’s Relationships
Quote: "No man is an island."
Explanation: People are not designed to survive alone. They must have meaningful relationships that develop.
Question: But how are those relationships used?
Thesis: But in our text we learn the disciple’s relationships are different. The real disciple has responsibility for his relationships. In Mark 9: 38-50, we see at least three areas of responsibility that the disciple has in developing his relationships.
1. Tolerate those who are not like ourselves (vs. 38-41)
Restatement: Perhaps we are too quick to exclude those who are not exactly like us.
Question: Was John licking his wounds? (Look at 9:18)
Explanation: vs. 39 - explains that we need to be confronting evil. Vs. 41 - explains that we need to meet the need of others. So we are not talking about the unbeliever. What we are talking about is extended church. But those who are not just like us are not disqualified.
Amplification: Phil 1:15-18, Paul refers to those in contention with himself. But he rejoices in the advancement of the gospel message (however, we are not talking about false teachers).
Implication: We talk a good game of non-denominationalism, but aren’t we often guilty of the same thing as John? We profess "We are not the only Christians, just Christian only", but do our actions and attitudes follow those words?
Illustration: John comes to Christ about someone who worships … prays … views spiritual gifts … differently.
Transition: As real disciples, we have a responsibility to tolerate others in the family of God, who are not like ourselves, but we also have more active responsibilities.
2. Integrity toward those who observe us (vs. 42-49)
Restatement: If we expect people to accept what we are, we better act that way.
Explanation: "one of these little ones" could be the child or the man told to stop serving the possessed. Jesus continues to express how our integrity should work:
Hand -- what a man does
Foot -- where a man goes
Eye -- what a man sees
The words of integrity are words of radical sacrifice, those of a circumcised heart.
Question: Why was the world distrustful of the church after the Bakkers and Jimmy Swaggert?
Joseph, who with integrity climbed out of the pit of slavery to the second in command over Egypt.
Daniel, who moved from a displaced person living in the ghetto to become ruler over 1/3 of Persia.
Amos, who though a simple uneducated shepherd took up residence in the royal palace as the official prophet.
Job, who though tested beyond belief refused to disclaim God.
Illustration: A pastor preached a sermon on honesty one Sunday. On Monday morning, he took the bus to get to the office. He paid his fare, and the bus driver gave him too much change. During the rest of the journey, the pastor was rationalizing how God had provided him with some extra money he needed for the week. But he just could not live with himself, and before he got off the bus he said to the driver, "You have made a mistake. You’ve given me too much change." And he proceeded to give him back the extra money. The driver smiled and said, "There was no mistake. I was at church yesterday, and heard you preach on honesty. So I decided to put you to the test this morning.
Quotation: Charles Swindoll has said concerning integrity, "When you give your word, you do it. Exactly as you said you would. Because integrity means you are verbally trustworthy. Furthermore, when the bills come due, you pay them. Because integrity means you are financially dependable. Also, when you’re tempted to mess around with an illicit sexual affair, you resist. Because integrity means you are morally pure. You don’t fudge because you’re able to cover your tracks. Neither do you fake it because you’re now a big shot. Being successful doesn’t give anybody the right to call wrong right. Or the okay to say something’s okay if it isn’t okay."
Question: If you lived in a glass house, if your life was open to scrutiny, would it pass the test of integrity?
Illustration: The ancient Chinese built the Great Wall of China as a military defense against the invading hordes. But during the first one hundred years of the walls existence China was invaded three times. It was not because the wall failed. A gatekeeper let them in.
Transition: The real disciple has responsibility of integrity toward those who observe him, along with toleration of those who are not like himself. But if we will be real disciples there is another responsibility that we must perform.
3. Have peace with each other (vs. 50)
Explanation: "Salt" and "fire" are sacrifice language … peace offering … the picture of sacrificing ourselves for the kingdom.