Question: Mark 9:38-41, & Luke 9:49,50. ?? In these two passages of scripture we see John telling the Lord they had saw a man casting out devils in Christs Name.John said they forbade him because he followed them not. I’m assuming this man was not one of the Lords disciples here, as he followed not the Apostles and they did not recognise his authority to do such things as casting out demons, not being a follower of Christ. Why then does the Lord say, “Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can speak lightly of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.” Mk. 9:39,40. Now I am aware of the ecumenical movement of today, and the error and deception involved. My question is; Why did the Apostles get rebuked for forbidding this man? He wasn’t among the followers of the Lord. Some could use these passages to promote ecumenical unity, but what do you think? Thought: Could this be the same thing the Apostle Paul meant in Philippians 1: 15-18??? Whether by pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached, and I therein do rejoice. This doesn’t seem to fit the scriptural command to be separate from the world, and yet not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, i.e. the unity of the believers?? Perhaps you can offer some light into this for me, and thank you for your time and help.
Mark 9:38-41 says, “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. For he that is not against us is on our part. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.”
Luke 9:49,50 says, “And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.”
The first passage that you mentioned is Mark 9:38-41. The context of Jesus’ statement seems to be to squash the worldly pride that was welling up amongst the disciples. Notice Mark 9:33-37, “And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for BY THE WAY THEY HAD DISPUTED AMONG THEMSELVES, WHO SHOULD BE THE GREATEST. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.”
It was then that John came out with his statement, “Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.” John had not really grasped what Jesus had just taught them, as evidenced by his statement. John did not say that he rebuked someone for teaching false doctrine, but simply because “he followeth not us.” Notice how he twice pointed out that “he followeth not us.” Jesus then said to John, “Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.”
Remember, the disciples had been arguing who should be the greatest among themselves. The only thing that bothered John was that there was someone else out there doing the work of God, and not reporting to them about it. It was the same old thing — “I want to be the boss!”
In the Old Testament, Joshua had the same feeling when he was younger. Numbers 11:24-29 says, “And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And JOSHUA the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, ONE OF HIS YOUNG MEN, answered and said, My lord Moses, FORBID THEM. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!”
Joshua’s problem was one of envy. Two of the men had not come out like they were supposed to do. Why, we do not know. But the Lord still put of His Spirit upon them, because their names were written down, but Joshua did not like it.
John’s problem was the same — envy. He did not want someone else being used in a great way; that is, unless they were working under him and doing what he said to do.
The man in question must have been a true believer in Christ. First, because of Jesus’ statement, “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. For he that is not against us is on our part.” Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, “HE THAT IS NOT WITH ME IS AGAINST ME; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”
The sense of being “with” must certainly mean that the person has received the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. He is “with Christ” in that sense, even though he may not be able to follow Him and travel with Him everywhere. If a person is not gathering people to the Lord Jesus Christ — pointing people to Him as Savior, then they would be scattering people away from Christ. “He that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”
Jesus clearly said that the man was not against them, so that man had to be pointing people to Jesus Christ, even though he was unable to travel around with them.
The Lord did give the apostles certain authority, but they were not to get the idea that everyone had to answer to them. I Peter 5:1-6 says, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; NEITHER AS BEING LORDS OVER GOD’S HERITAGE, BUT BEING ENSAMPLES TO THE FLOCK. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”
The second reason that I think the man was saved was because of what happened when people who were not saved tried to cast out demons in Jesus’ name. Remember, John specifically said that was what this man was doing, “And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name.” Notice what happened when an unsaved person tried to do that in Acts 19:13-17, “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.”
One may immediately have a question, then, about Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and IN THY NAME CAST OUT DEVILS? and in thy name done many wonderful works? AND THEN WILL I PROFESS UNTO THEM, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
How do we answer this one? These people said that they cast out devils in Jesus’ name, and Jesus replies that He never knew them (they were not saved). How can this be? The only thing that we can say is that “They CLAIMED that they had cast out devils in Jesus’ name.” But there is certainly no proof that they actually did. Matthew 7:21-23 describes exactly what the Charismatic Movement of our day emphasizes. They CLAIM to cast out demons, too, but what do they mean?
The Charismatic Movement of our day has made a “demon” out of everything. They have taken the phrase “the devil made me do it” to the ultimate extreme. Every sin that a person commits seems to be a “devil” in them, according to their teaching and practice. They cast the “demon of lust” out of people; the “demon of greed;” etc. Every sickness seems to be a demon in people.
We do see in the Scriptures that some physical ailments were caused by demons. Matthew 9:32,33 says, “As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.” But we see examples of people that were blind, were lame, were unable to hear, etc., that had nothing to do with demons.
Matthew 9:27-29 says, “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.” There is no mention of demons there.
Mark 8:22-25 says, “And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.” No mention of demons there.
Mark 10:46-52 says, “And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.” No mention of demons there.
The Charismatics have taken the same error of the psychologists (you find someone else to blame for the wrong things which you do in your life). To a great extent, the Charismatics are teaching people, “You are not responsible for sin in your life — it must be a demon in you!” That fails to really take into account man’s own sin nature. James 1:14,15 says, “But EVERY MAN IS TEMPTED, WHEN HE IS DRAWN AWAY OF HIS OWN LUST, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” That said nothing about demons, but a lot about man’s own sinful nature. Man has no one to blame for his lust, but himself.
So the point at hand is that the Charismatics are claiming today to be casting out devils in Jesus’ name. But the fact remains that they are playing religious games with people, and are not really casting out anything. Every Charismatic ought to fear and tremble at the reading of Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
You are very correct in the Ecumenical Movement being a very great problem. And it is no surprise that the Charismatic Movement is the leader in ecumenical activities. All someone has to do is say “Jesus,” and show “signs” and “wonders,” and they are accepted as “brothers” and “sisters” in Christ, despite their false doctrines. The Catholic doctrine of salvation is one of sacraments and works, but scores of them are accepted as “Christians” in the Charismatic Movement. The Charismatic Movement is gathering together the “one world church” (the false church) of the end times. They are paving the way for the antichrist himself to be accepted, because that is exactly how he will come — with signs and wonders. II Thessalonians 2:8-12 says, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all POWER and SIGNS and LYING WONDERS, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Philippians 1:12-18 says, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
I do not think that this passage would apply to the man previously mentioned, because Jesus said of him, “For he that is not against us is on our part.” The people mentioned above by Paul WERE AGAINST him and what he was preaching. “The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds…” In other words, they were all talking about Paul, and why he was in prison. By doing that, they were discussing what Paul was preaching, and by such discussion, people were hearing the gospel.