33. A Caution Against Bigotry

“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” (Mark 9:38-39).

Introduction

How does this passage of Scripture affect us today in the 21st Century and is it relevant? The fact is, it has more relevance than we think. Though the idea of people being demon possessed has become fantasy in the minds of many, we have to recognise that Satan is very active today … “The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8.)

In this message we will look at three aspects of our text. First, The way devils are cast out. Second, how to react to those who do not follow our way. Third, why the Lord commands us not to hinder the work. Then we will take a brief look at what bigotry is.

Casting out demons

We must acknowledge that the lost are the children of darkness, for they are under the control of “the god of this world” – Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4.) Demon possession is not a thing of the past, but is just as real as it was in Christ’s day. In different ages Satan works in different ways. Today he seems to be hiding the true condition of man behind technology and science. At times he uses superstition and false religion. The effects are the same, mankind refuses to follow the way of God.

Satan is content to have the world think of him as a comic or fantasy figure, even to deny that he exists at all. When it pleases Satan he will swallow up his victims. Today most religious people are at peace with the devil. He has “blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4.)

Those who know the Lord Jesus Christ are well aware of the activities of Satan … “for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11.) The moral condition of those around us is proof enough of both his existence and the snare he is laying for every man, woman, and child. We understand that his less obvious work is carried out through hypocrites, gossips, liars, slanderers, and the unfaithful.

Though casting out demons has its literal application, bringing a soul to Christ also destroys the devil’s work in his life (1 John 3:8.) At that moment their hearts are purified and their affections cleansed. The Holy Spirit draws them into a holy life. This transformation takes place as soon as Satan is cast out of their lives.

How to react to those who do not follow our way

How should we be reacting to other ministries who are bring people to Christ? Few churches are exactly alike, nor do we worship or conduct our services in the same way. There is often a difference in what we believe on some minor issues. Should we hinder their work in any way?

Too many things that are of no real significance divide those who are truly born again. There may be differences of opinion, but we have the same Lord. There may be just cause for disagreeing with those who are in the ministry, but we must be careful not to become bigots, unchristian, and unloving.

We have to try to see the other person through the eyes of Christ. Jesus reacted very differently than the disciples did when they found one doing a similar work. Would we not be found doing the devil’s work if we hindered those who truly love the Lord?

Why the Lord commands us not to hinder the work

Is that other ministry bring souls to Christ? Are they encouraging their listeners to walk worthy and holy? Do we think that we are the only ones who can get the job done?

It should please us to hear that others are witnessing, preaching, and teaching about Christ. If we hinder them God will require the blood of the lost at our hands. The way we can know if the Lord has truly sent them is to look for the signs. If people are getting saved, being set free, encouraged to live holy, then there is no doubt that the minister belong to God.

What bigotry is

If we hinder other ministries because they not of our way of thinking, then we are bigots. Bigotry is defined as having too strong an affection for one’s own party, opinion and beliefs. Bigots are stubborn, unloving and resist all who are not exact replicas of themselves.

We become bigots when we are unwilling to believe that God can use someone other than ourselves. We are bigots if we keep sinners from hearing the words of life.

Bigotry is a sin that we must rid ourselves of. We can replace it with Christian love, understanding, and compassion. Our prayer should always be: “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”(Psalm 26:2; 139:24).

Conclusion

Let us be innocent of bigotry. Let us realise that God can use whoever He wants to spread the Good News, cast out devils, and bring men to Christ. We should rejoice when we see the work being done in Christ’s name and for His glory.

Others may be bigoted against us, but that ought never be an excuse for us repaying evil with evil. Let them keep all the bigotry for themselves. John Calvin once said, “Let Luther call me a hundred demons; I will still reverence him as a messenger of God.” (John Calvin, Opera Omnia, 11:774.)

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