Sunday, April 20, 2008

With us. . . Against us. . . With Him. . . Against Him. . .

Luke 9:49-50
And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us. (50) And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

Luke 11:23
He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.

I had a quiet evening last night. Jackie, my wife, was on her way back from a conference in another city. I was listening to my audio Bible, as I tied the cords and strung beads for the door hangers of the little tracts that we pass out to the neighborhood around the church. I heard these verses from Luke read in succession over a period of fifteen minutes or so. These verses have rested in the back of my mind, for some time now, under a large question mark. They have seemed to me to be a contradiction. I did not know how to understand these two verses. How can we have on the one hand a statement: he that is not against us is for us. . . and on the other hand: He that is not with me is against me? They seemed to be opposed to one another. How can these two statements be reconciled?

Listening to them and hearing them like that, I suddenly realized that the difference between the two verses is in the us and Me. . .

In Luke 9 the disciples speaking, saw someone they did not know, doing a good work, casting out devils in Jesus name. They wanted to stop that man because he was not in their little band of disciples. Jesus replied, speaking of the disciples little band, that if that worker is not actively trying to disrupt what we in our group are doing, then whether we know him or not, he is supporting our effort.

In Luke 11, now Jesus speaking, says that if He opposes ME, he is doing a bad work. See the difference? The determination of whether someone is doing a good work for God is not whether they are with your group, not whether they are with your little band, but rather what is their relationship to Jesus. Do they support Him or do they oppose Him and His effort?

There is no confusion. There is only one road to salvation. There is only salvation in one Name. There is only one road to heaven, but. . . but. . . but. . . there are lots of roads to Jesus. We cannot confuse the two. Some of those roads pass through us and some through people we know nothing of. Jesus is the door, but there are many aisles and trails and hallways all leading up to that door. Just because someone is not in our little group does not mean that they cannot be doing a good work for Jesus. If they oppose Jesus, if they oppose His truth, if they hinder His way, if they advocate another way, if they preach another truth, then they are not directing people to Him, then they are pushing people away and they are scattering and not gathering them in, then they are against Him.

I love you my God. . .
I thank you my Lord. . .


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