“He that is not against us is for us.”
At first this seems to flatly contradict our previous verse, but there is no contradiction. There the Savior was speaking to the unbelieving Pharisees and saying, “If you aren’t for Me, you’re against Me.” But here it is a different matter. The disciples had just restrained a man who was casting out demons in Jesus’ Name. They had no better reason than that he didn’t associate with them. Jesus said, “Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.”
When it comes to salvation, those who are not for Christ are against Him. But when it comes to service, those who are not against Him are for Him.
We are not called to oppose others who are serving the Lord. It is a big, wide world, and there is plenty of room for all of us to get on with our work without stepping on one another’s toes. We should take to heart the Saviors words, “Forbid him not.”
At the same time we should notice that Jesus did not tell John and the others to go and join this man. Some use methods that are unacceptable to others. Some have different emphases in the message they preach. Some have greater light than others. And some have liberty to do things about which others have a bad conscience. We cannot expect to pour every believer into the exact same mold as ourselves. But we can rejoice in every triumph of the Gospel, as Paul did. He said, “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”.
Sam Shoemaker asked the preceptive question, “When shall we learn that in the great warfare of light against darkness in our time, we are going to need the support of allies who may not be to our personal taste, and learn that it is going to take all Christians working and pulling together to make headway against the storm of anti-Christ?”