Friday, May 8, 2015

Dealing with an unclean spirit, part 6: For and against

He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters. (Luke 11:23 NASB)

For he who is not against us is for us. (Mark 9:40 NASB)

I gained an insight this morning into a question that has long plagued me. Why doesn't the church behave like the church? It shocks me when people tell me that they are content to be "members" without becoming "servants", planning to "make it into heaven" because their name is on a church roll. This misconception is heartbreaking to me because Jesus did not call us to membership, but to relationship. 

If I choose not to have a relationship with Christ in this world, why do I expect to have an eternal relationship with him in the next?

The verse from Mark 9 may be part of the confusion. There are more than enough jihadi's, eagerly opposing the cause of Christ. Most of us, however, do not actively oppose Christ. We could say, like in Mark 9:40, that we are "not against" Him. If we consider ourselves "not against" Him, we may mistakenly think that we are, therefore, for Him. 

Even a cursory examination of the passage, however, will reveal our misconceptions. The disciples had asked Jesus about someone who was casting out demons in the name of Jesus. "We tried to stop Him because he was not following us," they told Jesus. They didn't try to stop the man because of his lack of faith, but because he wasn't in their group. "He wasn't following us." (Not because he wasn't following Jesus.) 

The Master told them that the one who wasn't against Him was for Him, but this only applied to the person who was working in the name of Jesus, because of his faith in our Lord, but was not a part of the inner circle. It was a little like our denominational squabbles. It was foolish. With which group he ate his meals and traveled was not the important part of this man's service. Whether his faith was in Christ was what mattered. The man was clearly serving Jesus.

The passage in Luke reminds us of the verse in Mark 9, but there is a definite difference. "He who does not gather with me, scatters." This could have been a word about the church today. If we are not "gathering" the harvest, serving Christ, we are scattering the harvest. To put it simply, when we say we follow Christ but do nothing to help gather in the harvest of lost souls, do nothing to serve Him as He called us to serve, we are "scattering". 

This principle is why we see such an uproar against "those Christians" and why Christians are considered narrow-minded bigots by many today. If the world only sees us speaking and acting in judgment and condemnation, rather than as servants of Christ, it is no wonder that they are repelled. We become nothing more than "scatterers".

If, then, we are "scattering", we are not FOR Christ. Instead, we are AGAINST Christ, and that is a terrible place to be. I learned the words to a hymn as a child and they still resonate today. 

"I am satisfied with Jesus, but the question comes to me as I think of Calvary, 
'Is my Master satisfied with me?'" 

If we choose not to have a relationship with Christ in this world, we cannot expect to have a relationship with Him in the next. Let us consider our lives and our service today. Are we harvesting or scattering? Are we staking our eternal destiny on membership or relationship? Christ came that we might have life, and have it abundantly, and that life begins with relationship to Him.