The Company You Keep#4 “Not of our number.”

The Company You Keep#4 “Not of our number.”

Handing out that ‘Cease and Desist Order’ to that random exorcist must have made the disciples day. That was until John told Jesus about it. Up until then it seemed appropriate for John to let the stranger know that casting out demons in the name of Jesus was reserved for a select group, which did not include him. Jesus told them to let people like that go about their business unhindered. Then Jesus said some words that should challenge us to our core: “For he who is not against us is for us” (Mk.9:40). How do we view those beyond our fellowship who are “not against us”? Are we to write them off as John did? Maybe it is simpler just to ignore the question and bluntly exclaim: “Since they are not members of the Church of Christ, they can’t be ‘for us,’ thus, by definition, ‘they are against us; let them keep their water.’ Such talk is madness. What do I know about the hearts, minds, motives and actions of the 7.5 billion people on earth? The Holy Spirit is working everywhere, in everyone, in every moment spreading the Word of Christ.

I heard an arrogant young preacher condemn all those in the Lord’s church who do not believe his views on how the Holy Spirit works in a Christian. A wise old preacher scolded him: “Brother, you don’t even know what goes on in your own spirit!”

As to all those who are beyond my reach, I will glory in these words:Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness” (2Tim.2:19).

I know that there are some who will condemn me for believing in denominationalism. That is not true. I believe that the Lord has but One Body—The Church of Christ. But it is by His counting, NOT MINE!

We need to preach the gospel as we ‘go,’ and work with our brethren who make up “our number.” Those “not of our number” who are handing us cups of water as we ‘go,’ are to be blessed for the work they are doing in the name of Christ. These are moments when the teachable are taught. Praise God!

John Staiger

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