Principles for Discipleship Mark 9:38-50

What are some of the things that other Christians do that drive you crazy? One day, the disciples of Jesus were getting agitated by a man who was using Jesus’ Name to drive out demons. They disciples could not bear with him.

The disciples of Jesus were given the authority and power to use His Name. They had been empowered to preach, to teach, to heal and to chase away the evil spirits in His Name. They saw people being freed from bondages and being healed. When the disciples noticed that there was someone outside of their group of 12 doing what they were doing, they got agitated and stopped Him.

Jesus told them not to stop the man. There are a few things we can learn from Jesus’ response. These can be applied in our lives as His disciples.

1. Uphold unity (v 40)
The disciples judged the man for not worthy enough to use the Name of Jesus because he was not one of them.
The original audiences of the Gospel of Mark would see themselves behaving like the disciples. There were conflicts over Jewish-gentile relations. The church was a young church and yet, the Christians were quarreling and having disagreements with each other.
Much harm is done when Christians fight among each other, when we behaving self-righteously and condemning others. Jesus wanted His disciples to look at themselves first, and not be to judge others. Similarly, today, let us not be so quick to find faults in others or judge others lest we hinder others from knowing Jesus and experiencing His love.

2. No actions are forgotten by Jesus (v 41)
The second principle of discipleship is that no action is unseen by Jesus. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward”.
What Jesus means is that everything that we do in His Name will not be forgotten. Think about the missionaries who obeyed Jesus and went to foreign lands for Jesus. They left everything behind for Jesus: their homes, their comforts, their possessions, their cultures and for some, even their lives. Jim Elliot lost his life reaching out to a group of tribal people. He left behind his wife and an 8-month-old daughter, who later on went back to minister to the people who killed Jim.
Think about Mother Teresa, who left behind her homeland to serve the sick, forgotten, rejected and dying in India. Think about the many ordinary everyday people who served in Jesus’ Name, who prayed in Jesus’ Name, who ministered in Jesus’ Name, who are making differences in people’s lives because they love Jesus.
All that they have done in Jesus’ Name is not forgotten by Jesus.
May be right now, you don’t always see the results of serving in the church ministries. You wonder are all these worth it.
But the ripple effects will always be there. As what Jesus said, giving someone a cup of water has its life changing effect. Sometimes, the person who received kindness will be changed. We have all experienced kindness and love from someone: our parents, our Sunday School teachers, our school teachers, our pastors and so on. They may not even know how they have touched us and impacted us with their actions and love, but we remember their acts of kindness and we passed it on to others around us.
One day, we will be surprised to see the impacts of the little actions which we have done in Jesus’ Name. So, don’t be discouraged. Keep doing good to glorify Jesus. May He be exalted in your life.

The next 3 principles is the warning of Jesus about the way we live our lives:
3. Don’t stumble others (v 42)
Jesus said in verse 42, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.”
Jesus said it would be dangerous if His disciples make people fall down, especially the children and the weak. Jesus said for those who stumble others, it would be better if they were to be thrown into sea with a millstone around the neck than do harm to the children and the weak.
As disciples of Jesus, we are to live out the teachings of Jesus. If we are careless, it will bring irreparable damage to the body of Christ. We have heard of stories of Christians living in such a way that repel people from Christ. May God grant us grace so that we will be watchful and not stumble people or prevent them from knowing and enjoying the love of Christ.

4. Live in purity (vv 43-48)
Jesus very bluntly tells us about the realities of life after death, and we will either enter Heaven or Hell. To those who believe in Jesus by faith, we will go to Heaven. On the other hand, Hell is the destination for those who sin against God, who rebel against God, who are not obedient.
We have to be watchful. Guard the way we live. Jesus specifically mentioned the three body parts: hand, foot and eyes. Pay attention to how we use our hands, our feet and our eyes. Are we doing things, taking things not ours, going to places that are displeasing to God? As we seeing things with our eyes that cause us to stumble and sin? May God help us to live in holiness.

5. Do it (vv49-50)
Therefore, live out your lives as Christians. In the Old Testament, the burnt offerings and sacrificed were offered to God. Salt preserve the sacrifices which were to be offered up to God.
Apostle Paul also mentioned being holy living sacrifices for God as our spiritual act of worship in Romans 12:1. “Therefore, i urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship”.

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
When Jesus said, “Be salted with fire” (v 49), it means, “to be empowered with the Holy Spirit”. Jesus was saying to offer ourselves as living sacrifices for God. Live in purity and holiness. When we renewed our hearts and mind, we want to live in ways that are pleasing to God.

Don’t underestimate the power of Christ in you. The power of the Name of Christ that sets you free from bondages and give you victory over temptations. As children of God, we have been given the authority to use the Name of Jesus. We pray in the Name of Jesus to cast away evil thoughts. When we are traveling, we pray protection and cleansing of the room in the name of Jesus. We also surrender our emotional and physical pains to Jesus in His Name and to receive healing. May our lives tell others the joy, the blessings, the peace and the unity we have as disciples of Jesus.

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