"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" Principles Of Discipleship (9:38-50) INTRODUCTION 1. Previously, we saw Jesus teaching His disciples the way to true greatness... a. A way involving servitude - Mk 9:33-35 b. A way involving humility - Mk 9:36-37 c. Both important principles of discipleship 2. In response, John brings up what seems to be a totally unrelated subject... a. How the disciples tried to prevent someone who would not follow them - Mk 9:38 b. Which Jesus answers, relating it to principles of discipleship - Mk 9:39-50 [The principles taught may appear unrelated (at least to my mind), but they all relate to the matter of following Jesus as His disciples. Let's consider them one by one, beginning with...] I. HE WHO IS NOT AGAINST US IS ON OUR SIDE A. THE PRINCIPLE... 1. Stated in response to John's question - Mk 9:38 a. The disciples saw a man casting out demons in Jesus' name b. Whom the disciples tried to forbid because the man would not follow them 2. Jesus' response: do not forbid Him - Mk 9:39-40 a. The man was clearly empowered to do works in Jesus' name b. So empowered, it was unlikely he would speak evil of Jesus c. So while he did not follow the other disciples, he was still on their side B. THE APPLICATION... 1. A common misapplication a. Many commentators use this passage to decry denominational rivalry b. Which might be appropriate if denominational distinctions were not wrong c. But denominationalism is wrong within itself
- cf. Jn 17:21-23; 1Co 1:10-13; 3:3-4 2. A more proper application a. Do not fault individuals or churches who may choose to do things differently b. Assuming that what they do is "in His name" (by His authority) - cf. Col 3:17 c. There are often different ways to do the will of the Lord; if someone prefers not to do something "our" way, we should not forbid them doing it "their" way [Next, we learn the value of...] II. A CUP OF WATER IN HIS NAME GIVEN A. THE PRINCIPLE... 1. He who gives a servant of Christ a cup of water in His Name will be rewarded - Mk 9:41
2. The principle further explained in Matthew's gospel
- Mt 10:40-42 3. Even the smallest acts in helping others serve the Lord will be noticed by Him B. THE APPLICATION... 1. When we help the brethren of the Lord, He takes notice
- cf. Mt 25:34-40 2. When we support their ministries, we have fellowship in their work - Php 1:5; 3Jn 1:5-8 [Then we are warned of...] III. CAUSING LITTLE ONES TO STUMBLE A. THE PRINCIPLE... 1. Causing the little ones who believe to stumble is a great offense! - Mk 9:42 2. Again, Matthew's gospel expands on this theme - Mt 18:6-7,10 B. THE APPLICATION... 1. We should be very careful about our example and influence on the young 2. Every one is a role model, either for good or evil 3. The best way to show love for the children of God is by loving God and keeping His commandments - 1Jn 5:2 [Another principle is that sometimes it is necessary to have...] IV. RADICAL SURGERY TO AVOID HELLFIRE A. THE PRINCIPLE... 1. Sometimes radical actions are needed to avoid hellfire
- Mk 9:43-48 2. Eternal life is worth whatever cost it takes - ibid. B. THE APPLICATION... 1. Not to be taken literally, because one could still sin with one hand, one eye 2. But anything close to us (family, job, friends, etc.) that would keep us away from God must be removed if necessary - cf. Mt 10:37; Lk 14:26,33 3. Note: Jesus believed and taught the reality of hell!
- cf. Re 20:15; 21:8 [Finally, Jesus segues from the punishing effects of hellfire to the positive effect of a different kind of fire...] V. SEASONING EFFECTS OF FIRE A. THE PRINCIPLE... 1. We are seasoned with fire, like sacrifices are seasoned with salt - Mk 9:49 2. The salt makes the sacrifice better, so fire can make one better - Mk 9:50 B. THE APPLICATION... 1. Appreciate the purifying nature of trials and difficulties
- Jm 1:2-4 2. As difficult as it may seem at the time, there can be glory in suffering - cf. Ro 5:3-4 CONCLUSION 1. Thus we find in our text five principles regarding discipleship... a. He who is not against us is on our side b. A cup of water in His name given c. Causing little ones to stumble d. Radical surgery to avoid hellfire e. Seasoning effects of fire 2. Seemingly unrelated perhaps, but important to serving Jesus with humility... a. Others don't have to follow "our" ministries, plans, etc., to be faithful b. Sometimes we may only help in the smallest of ways, but the Lord notices c. We cannot arrogantly overlook the needs of the little ones around us d. Sometimes we have to deny ourselves those things that mean much to us e. We need to humbly accept the seasoning effects of trials when they occur Indeed, the way of following Jesus requires much humility on our part. With such humility, we will find ourselves at peace with one another (Mk 9:50). Are we willing to humbly follow Him...?