For or Against?

John seems to have suddenly changed the subject. Jesus had just talked about how to treat children when in Mark 9:38-40, John responded with a question about something else: “And John answered Him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in My name, that can lightly speak evil of Me. For he that is not against us is on our part.” The disciples told this man, who was casting out devils in Jesus’ name, to stop. This individual was not part of their close knit group. Perhaps the disciples thought that He could pull people away from themselves. It’s interesting to consider how Jesus responded. Instead of commending His disciples for being cautious, Jesus pointed out that if this man was doing a miracle in His name, he obviously was not putting Jesus down. Jesus reminded them that if he’s not against us then he is on our side. Evidently, Jesus considered the man reachable and teachable. This is by no means a blanket endorsement of all who claim what they are doing and teaching, using Jesus’ name, is of Him. We need doctrinal guidelines and Spiritual discernment to separate Truth from error. We are to reject error and rejoice in Truth! Charles Wesley gave us the hymn, “Teach Me, the Prophets Smooth to Shun.” It is a charge to us to be discerning: “Teach me the prophets smooth to shun who wrap their words in softest love, but lead their fond disciples down a spacious way to joys above: O may I still my station keep, hold fast Thy Word, and cross, and name, beware the clothing of the sheep, beware the language of the Lamb! Whoe’er for sin and Satan plead, fruits of the flesh they surely bear, to Hell, not Heaven, their doctrines lead; and there the specious prophets are! These by the beastly mark we know, the mark Thou hast Thyself assigned, and on we to perfection go, and leave the brethren false behind.” Selah! Being well grounded in sound doctrine and developing Spiritual discernment will enable us to distinguish between false teachers and those who are reachable and teachable. Therefore, carefully and thoroughly study God’s Word!   Ron

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