Mark 9:37-41 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. 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.

Would I be incorrect if I said that the vast majority of Christendom today talks and acts more like a franchise than the family of God? I think of the many fast food chains. They all sell burgers and fries and soft drinks, but they “package” their specific brand of burger or fries with their own unique title. Other than the logo outside of the restaurant, and the different name of the establishment, a burger at McDonalds is not much different than a burger at Burger King. Yes, there are marketing differences and a few other distinctives about each franchise, but at the end of the day, there is not much difference. The apostle John detected a problem. There was a person casting out devils in The Name of Jesus, but he wasn’t “one of them.” Jesus tells John something that every follower of Christ should take heed to. “Forbid him not, for he that is not against us is on our part.” He then goes on to talk about the importance of recognizing those who belong to Him. And how can we tell those who belong to Jesus? They show it by their actions towards one another.

Beloved, are you are a part of a religious franchise? Are you all “wrapped up” in the theological vocabulary of your particular franchise? Is it possible for someone who is not in your franchise to belong to Jesus Christ? Has your franchise blinded you to the reality of the many members in one body? Does your ear look like your eye? Does your nose have the same function as your foot? A house divided against itself cannot stand. The disciples needed to learn that. So do we. The family of God is much bigger than one member. No one group can franchise The Name of Jesus or claim exclusive ownership of the gospel. Do you love all those who belong to Jesus, or do you only love those who belong to your franchise? Is your litmus test of whether or not a person is a Christian the love of Jesus and fruit, or franchise verbiage and attire?