Summary: When the disciples were disturbed about the other work going on outside their group, Jesus set them straight.
There is a difference in having a lot of Churches and making an impact for Christ.
There are just over 20 Major religions in the world and Christianity is one of them. Each religion has multiple, sometimes tens of thousands of, denominations. A denomination is defined as a group of Churches within a religion that identify with one another because of harmony in important beliefs and purpose in missions.
There are over 38,000 groups that identify themselves as a Christian denomination. According to Wikipedia, a Christian denomination is defined one that views Jesus Christ as an important person to their faith. I think you can see the problem in this.
As SBTC-Southern Baptists, we are one of 96 recognized Baptist denominations. We are in a wonderful situation here in Eula. We have a large ministry footprint in an area that is not inundated with Churches. The Churches within our footprint are either good Churches or stand in sharp contrast to our message and ministry.
Yet with that opportunity comes a vital responsibility. If we do not accomplish what God has called this Church to do, do not be surprised if another Church shows up and takes off. Churches who have operated as a convalescent center for retiring saints have been startled by an upstart Church moving into the community and making a stand for Christ.
One writer said, "When Christianity began there were no denominations. All believers were one! They were called by many names believers for their faith, brethren for their love, disciples for their knowledge, saints for their holiness, servants for their works Christians for their Lord."
Mankind has always had a "we vs. them" mentality. There are two extremes that are to be avoided. Jesus addressed one here, but it would be reckless to present it without presenting the other warning. We will cover both today if we can accomplish our goal in today's sermon.
Mark 9:38-41 John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us." 39 But Jesus said, "Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.
The disciples received several stings from this encounter. First, remember that the disciples tried to cast out an evil spirit prior to this and could not. Now, someone who was not as close to Jesus was doing the same. When the disciples saw that this one was using Jesus' authority, they attempted to stop him. When he would not stop, so they went to tell Jesus.
I. Choosing Sides.
"Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us."
We often feel that if we are for something or against it, Jesus is on our side.
I am reminded of when the Israelites were getting ready for the the first battle in the promise land. A man appeared before them. Joshua 5:13-14 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you for us, or for our adversaries?" 14 And he said, "No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, "What does my lord say to his servant?"
That's the way God operates. It is not a question of whether people are with us or not. The question is whether the other person will surrender to the Captain, the Lord of Host. That should be our only question. When we are choosing sides, we better choose His.
II. Cheering Servants.
"...for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me."
Jesus sees the end before the beginning. He would not empower someone to do mighty works and they speak evil of Jesus. Because we can't see in the future, we often consider labels and not fruit. We should rejoice when other Churches do well. We should rejoice when other Churches are leading people to salvation in Jesus Christ.
The mightiest work of God is the redemption of a life. God's true salvation plan saves families. God's plan delivers the alcoholic from the bottle and the druggy from the fix. Jesus' salvation not only forgives one's sins, but opens the avenue of all the cures for what destroys his soul. No one would speak ill of Jesus after "they have tasted that the Lord is good," as Peter says in 1 Peter 2:3. (those who praise him with life and tongue, we should praise.)