Lets look at a curious thing that occurred while Jesus was still in the middle of His mission on earth. The story is pretty short but the implications are profound. It is in Luke 9:49 and 50, and Mark 9:38-42 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. 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. 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.
Here we see that before Jesus sent the apostles out to all the world to preach the gospel, even before He died for our sins, somebody caught the vision and was giving the devils you know what, which they deserve. Well the apostles must have thought, "who is this interloper, why, he hasn't even sat under the master like we have, i bet he hasn't even heard Jesus preach more than a dozen times at best! We better go over there and put a stop to this right away!" So they did, they forbid him from preaching in Jesus name.
Like a dutiful disciple John told Jesus how they had saved the kingdom. Poor disciples, they just didn't get it, their heart was 100% for the kingdom, which was the reason or one of the reasons Jesus chose them in the first place, but they had a hard time understanding how BIG the kingdom was, or was to be. Imagine their surprise when Jesus said "forbid them not"..."he that is not against us is on our part."
This probably hit them hard but Jesus just continued to preach, like this lesson was no more important than the others He had in mind, which it wasn't.
Lets pick the story up in Luke 9: 51-56 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
Imagine the patience Jesus must have with us. Here John had just been corrected for trying to exclude those who were not a part of the inner circle from preaching, and now he wanted to call fire from heaven and burn up those that wouldn't hear them. When you think about it John's way would be easier, i mean just go around the world, give them all a chance to believe the truth, don't let anybody else talk about it unless they go to your boot camp, and anybody that didn't receive you, fry them. If John was alive today he might have said, "Shall we nuke em lord?"
John's way would work great if God wanted a kingdom where no true love or intimacy was possible. That is not what God wants. Why do you think He allows free will, why do you think He doesn't just come down and reveal Himself, everyone would believe. He must have something else in mind, and patience, and mercy is the only way His plan will work. Everyone who makes it to heaven will have begun as a child. Jesus said in Luke 18:17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. So lets talk about children a minute.
There are some characteristics about all children that i would like to point out. First they are helpless. Unless the Father and the mother take care of them they are going to die. In the kingdom of God, He is the Father and WE are the mother. If we don't do our part, God will find someone who will even if He has to do it Himself. One thing to keep in mind here is raise the children He gave you and don't steal your sisters. If you want more children get more intimate with God and He will give you more.
Another thing they are is resilient, with the most basic of care they will grow. If you just give them food and water, they are going to grow up but what they grow up to be is a direct reflection on how much care you give them. If they grow up sick and weak not always but often it is a result of malnutrition in their early formative years, which leads to the next thing.
They are like sponges, for a while everything goes in and nothing comes out, but sooner or later whatever went in comes out. They see and hear EVERYTHING that goes on in the "house" and in case you don't know, what ever they see is normal. No matter how bizarre or untruthful the atmosphere they grow up in it is imprinted on their minds that this is OK because it is ALL they know for the first several years of their lives. Rest assured that if you provide them a Godly, truthful growth medium they will have a hard time conforming to another lifestyle. On the other hand if you provide them an atmosphere you wouldn't want God to see, well you get the picture.
As you know if you have children they cannot change their own diapers, and that is a nasty job that a good parent will do as often as necessary because they love the child. At the beginning of this study we saw Jesus changing some diapers and He didn't seem to mind at all, neither did He complain or make a big deal of it. He knows, as we should know that babies cannot do this on their own and too often i see babies left at the side of the road because they weren't potty trained in a week. Now it is one thing for a 1 or 2 year old to need a change of diapers but if you have a child that is 6 or 7 and still not potty trained, you have a problem and it's probably your fault.
One last thing about children, they almost always learn how to walk before they learn how to talk.
So lets get back to the theme of the study. When we see others that are not a part of our group but they are preaching salvation through Jesus, even when they don't line up with what our understanding of scripture is i would advise caution. If anybody out there is absolutely certain they have every point of doctrine so correct that they can exclude everyone else then do so but don't hunt the earth for those who disagree with you and put them out of your misery. A guy named Saul tried that once and look how merciful Jesus was to even him but also look at how much trouble he caused.
Am i saying never correct a brother or sister? No i'm saying there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. If you are not responsible for a certain area, you are not authorized to shepherd it. Help yes but our responsibility is to tell the truth and let people decide for themselves. If you are responsible for a church or club or whatever then you have the authority to do whatever is necessary to shepherd those areas God has given you. Of course this does not include violence. Just be careful that correction doesn't slip into persecution which is easier to allow than you might think. Go read Fox's Book Of Martyrs sometime.
One more point and a parable. Jesus said in Matthew 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. If you spend all your time heresy hunting you don't have time to gather and if you don't gather, well you can read as well as i can. After Saul became Paul he still defended doctrine, though a much different doctrine, but the VAST majority of his time was spent gathering, for which he suffered much. Here is a parable Jesus gave in Matthew to think about.
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 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? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 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. Matthew 13:24-30
Matthew 13:36-43 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. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 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; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
My point in all this is to say PLEASE be careful when attempting to correct a brother or sister. Preaching a generic Gospel is one thing. By that i mean just preaching the truth to whoever will hear, not a pointed, personal sermon. In the generic kind you can get as energetic and assertive as you wish and those who can hear will. But when you point someone out in public it becomes a personal attack that is almost never productive to the individual and often causes those who are curious about us to turn away. We MUST love one another to be productive. When Jesus was about to be arrested, before they went to the Mount of Olives, He said a prayer. Here is an portion of it. John 17: 15-23 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Well i pray that the Lord will be more real to you in the coming week than ever before and until next week the Lord bless and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace, and patience.