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Finding Unity In "Inclusive Exclusivity"

by Rev. Kirby Williams

Discovering the unity of "inclusive exclusivity" within Christianity and the church-- and how to discern the distinction!

Text: Luke 9:49-50
Date: 03/26/2023, the Combined service.
Series: "Luke: Thy Kingdom Come" Part 100

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As we come to these final verses in Luke's record of Christ's Galilean ministry, Jesus has just reprimanded His disciples for arguing over who will be the greatest. Using a child as an example, He has emphasized that true Kingdom greatness is grounded in humility rather than pride. In response, the apostle John relates an encounter with a mysterious exorcist who was casting out demons in Christ's name but was not one of their tight-knit group of followers. It is almost as if John was questioning Jesus' broad statement of who should be included in their fellowship with an example of someone who should be excluded. The harmony between these seemingly opposite concepts will become the focus of our study as we probe the vital distinction between inclusivism and exclusivism within Christianity and the church. Once we have established and analyzed the reality of this distinction, we will tackle the critical question of how to recognize the difference between the two in real-life situations. Ultimately we will turn to the Scriptures for practical applications of how we can learn the vital lesson of Kingdom discernment and find unity in "inclusive exclusivity".

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I. Introduction
II. Exposition of the text, Luke 9:49-50.
A. Context
1. Luke's major themes.
2. A continuation of thought.
a. The picture of Kingdom humility.
b. The analogy of two soils, Luke 9:48.
B. The case of the mysterious exorcist.
1. John's "answer", vs. 49.
a. The nature of John's response.
b. The unknown exorcist.
i. A mysterious identity.
ii. A successful exorcist.
iii. In the name of Jesus, Matt. 7:22-23.
iv. An apparent confrontation.
v. Outside of the group.
c. Summation
2. Jesus' surprising response, vs. 50.
a. Analyzing the words, Phil 1:18.
b. Searching for the meaning.
i. Known by Jesus, Acts 19:15-16.
ii. The meaning of "in your name".
1) As a "magical formula", Acts 19:13.
2) According to Jesus' will and purpose, John 14:13-14.
C. Interpretation
1. The difficulty of interpretation, Luke 11:23, 18:25; Matt. 7:15,21, 8:11-12, 10:34-36, 18:17, 24:25.
2. What Jesus means by "inclusivism" and "exclusivism", John 14:6, Gal. 3:28.
III. Application
A. Cultivating Kingdom soil!
B. Practical steps to learn Kingdom discernment.
1. Start with a knowledge of Scripture.
2. Follow the Greatest Commandments, Matt. 22:37-40.
a. Love the Lord your God, Psa. 119:97-100.
b. Love your neighbor as yourself.
i. The inclusivity of true Christian love.
ii. The exclusivity of true Christian love.
c. Keep to the narrow path.
i. Seek unity within the church, Phil. 2:3.
ii. But be willing to confront error.
3. Pray for help.
IV. Conclusion

The Preaching Ministry of Kirby Williams

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