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We love to form groups. Even early on, the disciples had figured out who was in and who was out. Woe to you if you were out. The disciples were going to report you to Jesus.

Jesus is not going to have anything to do with that. Jesus is all about doing good. People who do it in the name of Jesus are on Jesus side. It does not matter about what group [denomination] they are in. Or does it?

John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of the Messiah [Christ], truly I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward. [1]

Mark 9:38-41 (NASB 2020)

  • Jesus is clear that it does not matter about “the group”.
  • It is about performing miracles in the name of Jesus. Am I doing the powerful things?
  • It is about doing little things, like giving a cup of water, in Jesus’ name. Am I doing the little things?
  • It is all about loyalty to Jesus not loyalty to the group. Jesus did not come to set up denominations. Jesus expects us to be disciples.

What then, should we make of denominationalism? Applying this incident to the church age, we can say that, first, denominationalism is wrong because the Master Jesus can use others who are not involved in our denomination.

  • Further, denominationalism is wrong because the Master may have works in progress that we know nothing about, and He doesn’t need our approval to use someone not associated with our organization.
  • Denominationalism is countered by Jesus’ words “whoever is not against us is for us.”

We cannot assume that other disciples are not “really” serving the Master simply because they don’t belong to our denomination or run in our circles. Service in Messiah’s name will be rewarded. We should allow the Giver of all good gifts to hand out the rewards as He sees fit.

  • Paul acknowledges that not everyone who preaches the gospel is someone he would approve of:
  • “It is true that some preach the Messiah out of envy and rivalry, . . . out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, the Messiah is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (Philippians 1:15–18).
  • What matters is not whether everyone agrees.
  • What matters is that the gospel is being proclaimed.

We have good news! Want to know how to be saved? Click here and here for more.

[1] New American Standard Bible. (2020). (Mark 9:38–41). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.