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Friday, March 7, 2014

Would Jesus Say You Are on His Side?

Mark 9:40 (ESV)
40 For the one who is not against us is for us.


Matthew 12:30 (ESV)
30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.


It is so easy to take scripture out of context and confuse what it really says. The first (also recorded in Luke 9:50) speaks to someone the disciples pointed out as not being part of their number but was casting out demons anyway. They thought that those who cast out demons had to have demon certification before they could practice. These people really weren't against Jesus. They just weren't a part of the twelve.

The second speaks of those who try to be neutral in their relationship to Christ. They remain neutral when a commitment is required. Jesus points out that they are not neutral. They are against Him.

The latter is a dangerous group that no one really addresses. Often I hear people tell me that these people are Christians who made a commitment to Christ long ago but have been silent about it ever since. I don't think so. I don't understand being silent when a commitment is required. To me, that is like joining the army but refusing to wear the uniform and refusing to fight. These people are often those in the church that use up valuable resources in the church's effort to get them to return to church. They come back and demand attention. If they don't receive the attention they leave again. Then, someone in the church church listens to these absent "Christians" and blames the church for not giving them enough attention. The church, then, goes after them again and the cycle keeps repeating itself.

Then, one day I am called to do this person's funeral. The family points to the baptism record and claims their loved one is in heaven. I know God's grace is great but I wonder if this person really knew the Lord. Jesus says that those who didn't stand with Him stood against Him. Could this person really be standing with Him now?

Jesus didn't stop there. He also says that the person who doesn't gather with Him scatters. Those who are not a part of reaching people, discipling people and loving people into God's kingdom are those who are really repulsing people away from a relationship with God. Therefore, to be on Jesus side you must continue to declare your allegiance and work to bring souls to Christ or you are really against Christ and keep people away from the Kingdom.

The question at hand isn't really whether or not we consider ourselves on Jesus side but does Jesus consider us to be on His side. What evidence is there that we are gathering with Him? Who are we seeking to bring to Him right now? Evidence is seen in a life lived to give Him glory. It is a life that honors Him.

So, would Jesus say that you were on His side?

2 comments:

Anthony Chia said...

If I discuss this, I will be put Matt 12:30 first. Those not with Him are against Him. And then those who are against Him are not for Him; only those who are not against Him are for Him - Mark 9:40. Combining, it also mean those who are not with Him are not for Him, and so, are against Him.

"With" has 2 dimensions, one, spatially (presence) as in God is with us by His indwelling Holy Spirit; two, in agreement or functioning in one accord, as in God (though present with you, for His Spirit indwells you) is NOT with you in your evil doings.

We want God to be with us, we want both His presence as well as His agreement, for if He does not agree with us, He would NOT act with us on a matter. So what, if God is with you spatially, but is NOT with you. Rather I should "fear" people like Moses who had God with Him. The account of Korah opposing Moses' leadership with disastrous consequence, was an example. Rom 8:31b - when God is for us, who can be against us? 2nd dimension referred to (God with us, and so, for us, and so, who can be against us?)

A coin has 2 sides. So, on the flip side, are you with God in the second dimension, agreeing and functioning in one accord with Him? This can also be called abiding in God.

Many people, well, including Christians(!), come to church and in their mind they think, "I will go where God is". There is nothing wrong with that, for God is in most churches; He is there, His presence, although He is already present with the person through the indwelling Holy Spirit, if he is a believer.

In fact, in evangelism, when I sense that I have shared enough and the person seems saying, "I have heard all of that before", I do suggest he goes to a good church consecutively for say, 7-10 services with a sincere heart, and I would suggest if at the end of period, he still feels there is nothing to this "Jesus business", he can leave the subject for a season, and I will not "disturb" him, for a season! Why I do that is because, for a good church, God is present, and He allows Himself to be moved and acts. I am NOT saying God is NOT present when you share the Gospel in your office or anywhere else; but there is such a thing as a CORPORATE dimension of being gathered with The Lord (you can be in one accord with The Lord singly, I am NOT saying you can't)

When there is that corporate "one accord with God", God allows Himself ( He cannot be compelled or arm-twisted) to be moved to act to bless, to heal, to restore, and bring breakthroughs. So, do go to church, and go to a good church (I will not explain what constitute a good church); don't be a pure cyber or internet believer.

But remember, you and I form that corporate atmosphere with God. God wants that, and honours those coming into the "one corporate atmosphere". Please, you and I are NOT going to the church service to see what God will perform today, like we go to a show and watch the actor acts out his part; we should go with expectation, but we are in the act with God. In other words, you and I need to be with Him or else you may just get His spatial presence, that's all.

Cont...

Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

"But brother Anthony, what's all these fuss; I just come, and I am blessed." That is despite you are NOT doing your part, and you are blessed because God is gracious, and as a result of others, enough of them, enjoin themselves with God in one accord. It is alright to be receiving, but NOT always, please. Do the giving as well. That you are blessed, well and good, be thankful, and join in, the "one accord". That is the problem of all these overly grace stuff dished out to people, they ended up, thinking everything is like it is a matter of their entitlement; they don't need to do a single thing. Perhaps they think, "I don't need to do a single thing, I do a thing already, coming to church service".

It used to be "it is not right, I leave it all to the other people" or "I cannot be at the receiving end all the time; I should also give, after all, God's words said it is better to give than to receive". Now, their conscience they numbed, because of overly grace teaching, "no need to do anything". "Go, good enough". Read the parable of Wedding, some people were "pulled in" from the streets, and then they did not do what others did, adorned themselves with a proper garment, and got thrown out.

We need to be with Him even as we want Him to be with us, so that we can hold on to "if God is for us, who can be against us?"

What about the bit on "gathering with Him" in Matt 12:30b? I have already talked a little about it using the gathering together in the church. We have said, when we combine the texts, we have "those NOT with Him, are NOT for Him, and so, are against Him". So, if you are NOT with me, you are NOT for me, and so, are against me (you are against me, for you won't move in one accord with me) would you gather with me? No? But many people would, when I am rich and powerful. Therefore, the "gathering with Him" has precise connotation as far God is concerned. The ones gathering with Him are to be the ones with Him (agreeing with Him) and for Him (would function in one accord with Him, in the Kingdom purposes), NOT against Him.

So, how? There are the many "stick around" fellows. Some are sitting on their purported fence, although as far as God is concerned there is no fence to sit on. It is either you are with him and for him and so, not against him, and so, work with Him in one accord, or you are on the other side, against Him. The clear-cut ones, we know; the "lookalikes", how? My prescription is this: Ask The Lord, if He is silent, leave it to Him, in other words, leave the tares there. We don't carry the sickle, and the one with the sickle will come. Those who are truly gathering with Him, will continue to gather with Him, others, they will be scattered, in His time. Also, sanctification is a process; it takes time, diamonds don't look exactly like diamonds until the master has fashioned them.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions.