Playing for the Same Team
“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.” “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, for whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:38-40).
How do we know who is really on Team Jesus?
The question is not as simple as it may seem. We know that in the last day, many people will cry out, “Lord, Lord!” who did not truly know the Lord. There will even be some people who drove out demons and worked miracles in the name of Christ who did not know the Lord (see Matthew 7:21-23).
Perhaps the better way to say it is that the Lord did not know them. Some people who say they know the Lord aren’t known by him at all. In the last day, some people will be exposed as frauds who apparently worked miracles and somehow cast out demons.
Although they thought they knew the Lord, he did not know them.
In this passage, we have the other side of the question. What about people who are born again but are not in our group? They may have different views on the end times or on baptism or on church government. How should we view them? Should we try to stop them from serving the Lord?
The answer is no. In this case, they are casting out demons by the power of Christ. They aren’t fakes or frauds, and they aren’t wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are brothers and sisters who serve in a different part of the Lord’s vineyard.
Jesus said we should leave them alone and not try to stop them.
They will answer to the Lord someday, just like we will. They won’t answer for us, and we won’t answer for them. The Lord who loves us also loves them. He can take care of them today and tomorrow.
To bring these two truths together requires wisdom and discernment. There are false teachers out there who must be exposed, but not everyone who differs from us is a false teacher.
I have learned that God has a big family—bigger than I once imagined. The Lord knows his own, and he takes care of his own.
I don’t need to spend my life correcting everyone around me. I have enough trouble with the man in the mirror.
Let’s keep our eyes focused on the task before us, and let’s leave the final judging to Jesus.
Lord Jesus, set us free from the spirit of competition. Give us grace to accept those who, though different from us, are truly your servants. Amen.
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