Thursday, November 11, 2010

How do I interact with followers of Jesus who are not like me?

churchHow do I interact with followers of Jesus who are not like me? What if they being to a different group? What if their worship style is different than ours? What if they spread the gospel using a different method than my church? What if they have a different emphasis in the community?
Here is a truth I learned from Luke 9:49-50: Jesus has many servants and most do not look like me.
49  Now John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us."
50  But Jesus said to him, "Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side."
What is Jesus teaching us here? The context is always important. What had been going on before John made this statement? Did he just make this remark "out of the blue?" No. John's statement is connected to what had been just going on. John and the other disciples had been fussing among themselves about who was the greatest (see: Luke 9:46-48 and Mark 9:33-37). John says this in answer to what Jesus had just said in verse 48: "Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great."
Don’t you see two great ironies in this statement of John? First, Jesus had just told His disciples about receiving, or welcoming, the child in His name and that by welcoming someone in Jesus’ name they would be welcoming Jesus and His Father. Now the disciples are doing the opposite of that. Instead of receiving and welcoming, they are forbidding and excluding.
Another irony is that this unnamed man is casting out demons in Jesus' name -- something that earlier in this chapter, the disciples were unable to do. This man was not part of their group, but he was out there doing ministry, casting out demons, apparently successfully. So John tells Jesus, “we forbade him because he does not follow with us.”
One day a lady criticized D. L. Moody for his methods of evangelism in attempting to win people to the Lord. Moody's reply was "I agree with you. I don't like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?" The lady replied, "I don't do it." Moody retorted, "Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it."
John probably expected Jesus to commend him for his action, but instead, Jesus uses it to teach a lesson. Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.” It’s like Jesus is saying, “I like the way he’s doing it better than how you’re not doing it.”
Jesus has a variety of servants and most do not serve in the same way as me.


  1. Thanks for the post. I really appreciated it. Yes, it does seem we often get caught up in critiquing each others styles and approaches instead of working on the common cause of the Gospel of Christ.

  2. I agree with Douglas. We often criticize people because they are not like us instead of working to do something good ourselves.

  3. Douglas and Larry, it is especially ugly when we begin thinking that unless you are part of my group and do things my way, then you are wrong. When I think that way then I can use that excuse to justify my unforgiveness and critical spirit.

    God save us from our sinful, selfish spirits!



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