Christian Universe ™
Forbid Him Not
October 18, 2009
Sometimes we may be too quick to judge and condemn other Christians. Infighting distracts us from enemies without. We must concentrate upon spreading the word of God and living the Christian life in front of others. God, through Jesus Christ, will judge those who fall short. Our job is to preach the gospel to every person on earth.
Forbid Him Not
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 10-18-2009
Mark 9:38: “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.
39: 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.
40: For he that is not against us is on our part.”
We sometimes have a tendency to take umbrage at others who operate in the name of Jesus, especially if they don’t seem to be with us. Jesus cautioned against condemning those who operate in His name. In fact, this parallels something that occurred in the time when Moses led Israel.
Numbers 11:24: “And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.
25: And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
26: But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
27: And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
28: And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
29: And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD's people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!”
Instead of discouraging people from preaching Jesus, based upon both what Jesus and Moses said, we should wish for more people preaching Jesus. In our time, a lot of infighting, distraction, and disruption within the realm of Christianity has depleted our resources and debased our efforts. It may not be coincidence that Islam is taking such a hold in the world, and spreading quickly and widely. Rather than blasting each other, maybe we should be encouraging each other in what is right.
Why do we turn on each other? Egos often get in the way. In the context of this lesson, the apostles were seeking power or prestige over one another.
Mark 9:33: “And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?
34: But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
35: And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
36: And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
37: Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.”
Instead of rejecting believers in Christ, fighting with them, and running them down, we need to instead show them love and try to persuade them of the truth. It is not about personal recognition, or self-aggrandizement, but about Christ.
Mark 9:41: “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
42: And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”
Keep in mind the context. The apostles were discussing who would be the leaders among them. During this, they condemned others who were doing miracles in the name of Jesus. Jesus recognized the egotism and the desire to lord it over others, so He set them straight. You don’t fight those who are on your side, lest you become an obstacle in the very work that you are to champion.
43: And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
44: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
45: And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
46: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
47: And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
48: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
49: For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
50: Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.”
If you become an offender of the innocent, the pure, and the righteous, you will be punished. You have made yourself less than worthless to God, bur the opponent of the very work of God. Be careful about who you condemn, and why.
Mark 3:21: “And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
22: And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.”
Mark 3:28: “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
29: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
30: Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.”
Luke 12:10: “And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.”
Jesus warned that we not speak ill of the work of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is working in someone, and we say that it is not, then we have spoken against, or blasphemed, the Holy Spirit, leaving us in danger of eternal condemnation and destruction.
The apostle Paul said that he was glad that people who opposed him were preaching the gospel of Christ. Why? Because, even though their intentions were wrong, for which they would be judged by God, yet people were hearing the gospel and were coming to Christ.
Philippians 1:12: “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
13: So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
14: And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15: Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
16: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
17: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
18: What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
Where we would be condemning these preachers and trying to shut them down, Paul said that he was glad that they were preaching Jesus. Why? The alternative is that they were not preaching against Jesus, or preaching some other religion.
If we would preach Jesus, and then practice what He preached, we could be much more influential with those with whom we disagree, but more important, we would be more influential on those who have not yet obeyed the gospel. They are watching us – so I ask, What do they see?
You might say, “But some are not right with God”. Recall what Jesus had to say about these people.
Matthew 7:21: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Who will say, “Depart from me”? Jesus. Not me. Not you.
Matthew 13:24: “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26: But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27: So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28: He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29: But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30: Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Who will remove the tares from amongst the wheat? Me? You?
Matthew 13:36: “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
37: He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38: The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39: The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40: As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41: The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42: And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43: Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Our job is to preach the gospel and live it. Charity – undeserved and unearned love – is at the core of the Christian life and the gospel of Christ. If we show the love of Christ to our friends and to our enemies, we will have more influence and will be doing what Christ wants us to do. He will sort the good from the bad.