“’Master,’ said John, ‘we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.’ ‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said, ‘for whoever is not against you is for you.’” (Luke 9:49–50)
God’s people include all who serve Him and do His will. The people of God are multinational, bearing different gifts and speaking many languages.
This great throng of people is united by common allegiance to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Jesus is the Shepherd of His sheep—-all those who call on the name of Christ. He knows His sheep and calls them by name.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, it is impossible for us to determine who is one of Jesus’ disciples, except in the way they act and talk with others. The disciples had seen a man driving out demons in Christ’s name and it is by this name, they have authority to do so, just like it would be for one of us who claim to be Christians. This we pray in Jesus’ holy name. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“God wants to do through us, what HE has done to us!”
“He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.” (John 11:51-52)
Even the religious establishment unconsciously and against their own wills acknowledged the atoning work of Christ. The church goes beyond all racial and political boundaries (or must at times). Christ’s death offered salvation to all people. The Jewish leaders thought they could escape punishment from the Roman government by letting Jesus die. God’s purposes go beyond the Jewish nation to include all people. He works to unite all people under Christ. Churches are local groups, but they are part of the spiritual church and, consequently, are not to live in isolation. Christ’s spiritual church includes all people every where who follow Jesus as Lord.
“I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me—-that just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—-and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will I listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—-only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it don and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John10:14–18)
Jesus is the Shepherd of His sheep—-all who call on the name of Christ. He knows His sheep and calls them by name. The flock of God is not a large, nameless group of people, but individuals known of God and called by Him. God’s people include others who are different in race, nationality, and native religion than those to whom the gospel first came.
All these belong to God because Jesus laid down His life for the sheep. God’s purpose in Christ is to bring all His people together in His service. Spiritual unity under Christ is God’s plan for all His people. Church groups maintain separate identities to accomplish a unique mission, but all have a spiritual relationship to Christ’s larger family.
Second Thought of the Day:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am I you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)
Beloved, the church was not limited in time. Jesus sought fruitful disciples who would carry on His work after He ascended tot he Father. He prayed for all the church through all ages. He wanted the expansion of the church to produce a unified people. Divisions of he heart among God’s believers are not His will. A united people of God can witness effectively for Him. The continuing presence of Jesus with His church brings unity, displaying God’s love to the world.
All believers should work for unity of heat and mind with other believers rather than engaging in that which is divisive. Individual identity and mission of individual groups with Christianity must never blind us to the larger unity of the church around the world. You see, it’s not just what we do locally that matters, it is what we do within our communities, that fit into God’s larger plan of worldwide churches, working together to accomplish the goals of God, and we should do so in concert with others, not working against what others are doing. Clear enough?