Mark 9:38-41 God Alone Saves His People

The Text

Mark 9:38-41 (CSB)
38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.”

39 “Don’t stop him,” said Jesus, “because there is no one who will perform a miracle in my name who can soon afterward speak evil of me.

40 For whoever is not against us is for us.

41 And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ—truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.

The Devotion

In this miniseries of "God Alone", we examined that:

  • God gives faith
  • God snatches us from death
  • God receives every single person who comes to him

If God is big enough, strong enough, loving enough, gracious enough, merciful enough to do that, then are we saved as individuals, to believe and love in isolation and by ourselves, and just wait until God comes and gets us?

What about those who claim the name of Jesus but interpret the Bible differently sometimes, or hold to a different confession or worship differently? How can we still be unified in God?

Let us start off with brass tacks:

Christ alone saves his people: Those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved

Romans 10:11-13 (CSB) For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Romans 1:16-17 (CSB) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.

John 3:16 (CSB) For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Christ alone saves his people: Christ has already completed the work

Matthew 1:21 (CSB) She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Christ alone saves his people: Father has adopted us as his children who are declared as fellow heirs with Christ

Romans 8:14-17 (CSB) For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Christ alone saves his people: The Spirit is our down payment of our inheritance until we are brought home

Ephesians 1:13-14 (CSB) In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.

Christ alone saves his people: The Triune God dwells in us

John 14:23-26 (CSB) Jesus answered, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. The one who doesn’t love me will not keep my words. The word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me. “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

Christ alone saves his people: Christ has commissioned all of us to take his gospel to the ends of the world

Matthew 28:16-20 (CSB) The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted. Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Christ alone saves his people: Christ has taught, trained, gifted, and equipped each of us to ministry

Ephesians 4:7-16 (CSB) Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. For it says:
When he ascended on high,
he took the captives captive;
he gave gifts to people.
But what does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower parts of the earth? The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things. And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head—Christ. From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of each individual part.

This is not on the part of man.

This is not well-wishing on those who calls for unity just as long as you see things their way.

This is a call for unification based on the absolute saving power of the Triune God.