Mark – The Facts.
Believers of Jesus form groups called churches. Some meet in traditional, grand cathedrals. Some groups meet in houses. Some meet under trees by a brook. Some groups are “planted” by pulling other disgruntled believers into a circle to have service their own way. There are people who are serious about helping others find and follow Jesus. Jesus helps his disciples who are concerned about those “not in their group” to tell the difference between believers and enemies.
Mark 9, The Message
38 John spoke up, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group.”
39-41 Jesus wasn’t pleased. “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally. Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.
42 “On the other hand, if you give one of these simple, childlike believers a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.
43-48 “If your hand or your foot gets in God’s way, chop it off and throw it away. You’re better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owner of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire. And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away. You’re better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty vision from inside the fire of hell.
49-50 “Everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you’ll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace.”
What do we learn?
–Be kind to those who worship in Jesus Name in a different way than what you do. Preserve peace.
–Let us always and consistently evaluate the motive of our own hearts in what and why we do what we do. God sees our hearts.
–Who are we as a “group”? Are others allowed inside?
–Does it matter if we sit or stand during a song of worship?
–Does it matter if we clap or not?
–Does it matter if we raise our hands or humbly bow before the Lord?
–What happens when the last song is sung and we leave the building? Who are we? Do You go with us, Lord? Or did we leave You behind until the next time we come to church?
–Do we, without thinking or forming a committee, offer a drink of cold refreshing water, in Jesus Name, to the thirsty seeking Him?
–In Jesus Name has everything to do with ministry.
–“God will notice.” –Jesus
Dear Heavenly Father,
We believers judge each others methods and ways far too much causing us to be distracted from the simplicity of what you require of us. Forgive us our sins. Help us to live your teaching well. May our hearts, minds and souls be guided by your love in us. May Your Holy Spirit direct our talk and our walk.
In Jesus Name, Amen