He who is not with Me is against Me
Matthew 12:22-45 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. 23 All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”
25 And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? 27 If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.
30 He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35 The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. 36 But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”…
43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”
One of the greatest failures of the church in the last 30-50 years has been that it has believed that in many issues, political, social and sadly even moral it must remain neutral. There is more concern that we might offend people than if we would offend God. In today’s text Jesus says: “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” There is no neutrality with Christ. It is not that the church should govern in this natural realm. Believers though, and so the church, have through Christ been restored to the place of dominion in and over the things of the world. Just as Adam and Eve ceded their authority through the sin of disobedience, so too has the church ceded much of its authority through negligence, apathy and neutrality. In Matthew 11:12 Jesus says: “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.” Many political entities, national governments try to remain neutral concerning wars and conflicts between other nations and governments. But when their nation comes under attack they can no longer remain neutral, they must either fight or surrender. The church needs to recognize that the kingdom of heaven is subjected to violence and being raided by the culture and society we live in. To remain neutral, not to fight against the advancing immorality and unrighteousness is to surrender to it.
In the text Jesus says: “I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” Jesus came for the very purpose of forgiving sin. On the cross He offered forgiveness even to those who rejected, mocked and blasphemed Him. He said: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) Because of God’s grace and love: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) On the other hand, Jesus says: “I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you.And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:7-8) It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us; makes us aware of our sin. When we deny the conviction of the Holy Spirit, when we choose to do the things which the Spirit bears witness to us as being wrong, those sins, the ones we choose, remain unforgiven. Jesus says: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:16-19) Being made aware by the Holy Spirit, it is the choice of darkness over light, sin over righteousness, which leads to condemnation.
Jesus says: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.” Again we cannot be neutral concerning the things of God, concerning darkness and light. In Revelation 3:15-17, Jesus message to the last day church at Laodicea is: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” Neutrality, tolerance to and of sin is being lukewarm to God. Those who are unaware, who don’t know what they are doing, are forgiven. Those on the other hand who have been convicted, made aware of sin and unrighteousness, by the Holy Spirit and choose to remain neutral, accepting, tolerating and condoning sin are not for Christ. He says: “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” : “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.” Remaining neutral toward sin, produces the fruit of unrighteousness. Is that the fruit we want to be known by?
Jesus says: “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.” When we try to cover or replace sin and darkness using human philosophies, we are left open to even more of those human philosophies. The answer is to be forgiven by the work and words of Jesus on the cross. Then to be filled with the Holy Spirit who will replace and displace all unrighteousness. Jesus says: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16) Light cannot be neutral toward darkness, nor can those who call themselves by the name of Christ remain neutral to the darkness in the world.
Heavenly Father thank You for the demonstration of Your love, that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Lord Jesus Christ thank You that while we were unaware of our sin You forgave us. Precious Holy Spirit thank You for the conviction of sin, which brings awareness. Through Your indwelling presence and guidance may I walk fully in the light of Christ. I desire to bear good fruit. I choose to be with Jesus. Amen.