The fundamental teaching that binds all Christians together is the basic foundational truth that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. It doesn’t matter where you go to church or even if you go to church. It doesn’t matter what Christian denomination you claim as your own. It doesn’t matter how much of the Bible you’ve read. What matters is that you have put your faith and trust in Jesus. What matters is that you are making a sincere effort to follow the teachings of Jesus.
During the ministry of Jesus, the apostles took on a bit of an attitude of superiority claiming that other followers of Jesus were not authorized to take action in His name. The apostles felt like they were the true believers and all the others were members of the wrong church. Jesus made it clear they were moving off in the wrong direction.
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.” Mark 9:38-40 (NIV)
Following Jesus is not a private club. Anyone with a pure heart can join. Jesus let the apostles know that telling someone to stop acting in His name is the same as turning someone away from God. Challenging the beliefs of other believers is a serious misstep in the eyes of Jesus.
“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.” Mark 9:42 (NIV)
Salt has a way of making certain foods more attractive. Jesus told the apostles that they were to attract people to Christ like salt, not admonish them or hinder their faith by claiming superior knowledge or special privileges.
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” Mark 9:50 (NIV)
Believers are to be at peace with each other. This is what will attract unbelievers to Christ. As followers of Jesus, we are on a mission to share His love, not repeal the lost by demonstrating an air of superiority. What matters is that you have put your faith and trust in Jesus. We should be all about encouraging others to do the same.
Answer each question as though you were speaking privately to Jesus. Don’t just answer yes or no, explain your answer completely to yourself and to the Lord.
Have you encountered someone who believes their Christian church is superior to yours?
How can you identify a true Christian?
What is the most important factor in your Christian faith?
Are all Christians exactly the same?
Do you believe the enemy is trying to divide Christians?
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