Matthew 12:30
The circumstances under which it was spoken explain this parable. Our Lord had just cast out a demon from a poor creature who was both blind and dumb. A more pitiable object than such a demoniac can hardly be conceived. And yet in this extreme instance of the tenderness of Jesus to the bruised reed his enemies only see sinister motives and suspect malign influences. they charge the great Deliverer with being in league with Satan. The parable is our Lord's reply to this monstrous allegation.

I. SATAN IS LIKE A STRONG MAN. Some men speak lightly of temptation, and boast of their strength to resist it. These may be its earliest victims. Christ knew the powers of evil, and he did not despise their magnitude. He had met the tempter in the wilderness, and though he had come off completely victorious, he had seen the awful might of the great enemy of souls. Satan is so strong that no human being can master him alone. Only a stronger can bind him.

II. THE SIX-POSSESSED WORLD IS A HOUSE OF SATAN. The miserable demoniac was like a house of Satan, in the power of the prince of evil. But the whole world is described as under the spirit of evil. He is the prince of this world.

III. EVIL INFLUENCES ARE THE WEAPONS AND TOOLS OF SATAN. We might render the word "goods" as "instruments." The demon in the poor possessed man was one of Satan's instruments. In a secondary sense we may now say that evil passions and corrupt habits are Satan's weapons, because it is through them that the power of evil works in the world and inflicts his cruel tortures on his victims.

IV. IT IS THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST TO DELIVER THE WORLD FROM EVIL INFLUENCES. His principal miracle-working is described as the casting out of demons. Doubtless this was intended to be suggestive of his great spiritual work in liberating souls from the bad influences, the sinful habits and passions with which they are possessed. Thus he is a robber, breaking into the house of Satan to take away his detestable instruments. When he has done this the house itself will no longer be in the power of the evil one.

V. THE HOUSE OF SATAN CANNOT BE ROBBED TILL ITS MASTER IS OVERMASTERED. The strong man will keep his house and will permit no weak intruder to rob it.

1. The first work in the salvation of the world must be the binding of Satan. Something more must be done than to bring gracious influences to bear on individual men. An awful conflict must go on till the power of evil itself is restrained.

2. It is impossible to raise the fallen till the sin that has ruined them is conquered. The problem of rescuing the degraded inhabitants of great cities must be faced on its moral side. Drunkenness, gambling, and profligacy must be fought and conquered before the wretched condition of these people can be effectually overcome.

3. Evil must be east out by conquering temptation. The tempter must be bound. It is a Christian work to restrain or remove the influences that tempt to vice.

VI. CHRIST REDEEMS THE WORLD BY MASTERING THE POWER OF EVIL.

1. He worsted Satan in his temptation.

2. He effectually vanquished the spirit of evil in his work, and beheld him fall like lightning from heaven.

3. He completely mastered the evil one at Calvary and in the resurrection.

4. He now hinds Satan in individual hearts, conquering the ruling powers of evil within. - W.F.A.







He that is not with Me is against Me.
I. THE CHARACTER DESCRIBED.

1. Let us direct our attention to the openly profane.

2. There are others not habitually profane.

3. The honest and well-disposed.

4. The outwardly religious.

II. THE LIGHT IN WHICH THEY ARE REGARDED BY CHRIST. All who are not with Christ are against Him, and will be chargeable —

(1)With rejecting His salvation;

(2)With inducing others to reject it;

(3)With preventing as far as they can the display of the Saviour's glory. Learn:

1. How inevitable is the destruction of the Saviour's enemies.

2. How awfully severe will be their destruction. (5'. Steer.)

I. DESCRIBE THE MAN WHO IS WITH CHRIST. Union and companionship.

II. THE PROOF OF AN INTEREST IN CHRIST, AS AFFORDED BY OUR GATHERING WITH HIM.

(T. Dale, M. A.)

The principle illustrated is the impossibility of a state of neutrality in the service of Christ: illustrations are fetched first from the battlefield — "He that is not with Me," etc. And, secondly, from the harvest-field — "He that gathereth not," etc. The immediate occasion of the text was the blasphemous imputation of the Pharisees, that Jesus cast out devils by Beelzebub. In reply our Lord appeals to reason Every kingdom divided against itself, etc. He also appeals to the acknowledged duct. Thus He must be the stronger.

I. MAKE A PERSONAL APPLICATION OF THE SUBJECT. In the battlefield of life, whose side have you chosen? In the great harvest-field of the world, whose interests are you serving?

1. The battlefield is the world. We are soldiers. Are we fighting? Are we clad in armour?

2. The harvest-field. Are you gathering or wasting?

II. MAKE A NATIONAL APPLICATION OF THE SUBJECT. Has England gathered with Christ, or scattered?

(C. R. Alford, M. A.)

I. THAT THOSE WHO ARE NOT WITH CHRIST IN DISCIPLESHIP AND IN THE PROFESSION OF FAITH ARE AGAINST CHRIST, AS THE DISCIPLES OF ANOTHER MASTER, AND IN THE DISOBEDIENCE OF UNBELIEF.

II. THOSE WHO ARE NOT WITH CHRIST IN THE PURPOSE AND DESIGN OF HIS DEATH, ARE AGAINST CHRIST IN DEFEATING THE PURPOSE OF HIS DEATH

(1)The first purpose was to make an atonement for our sins;

(2)To give repentance and pardon to guilty men;

(3)To make meet for the glory of heaven. We can be with Christ by enjoyment and participation.We are against Christ by defeating the purpose of His death.

(1)By rejecting it altogether in a spirit of infidelity;

(2)By embracing a system which does not contain any of its grand principles;

(3)By careless unconcern.

III. THOSE WHO ARE NOT WITH CHRIST IN THE AFFECTIONS OF THE HEART, ARE AGAINST HIM IN ITS ENMITIES AND IN ITS INDIFFERENCE. To love Christ is an essential of Christianity; we may be against Christ by enmity or indifference.

IV. THOSE WHO ARE NOT WITH CHRIST IN GATHERING, ARE AGAINST HIM IN SCATTERING ABROAD. Neutrality here is opposition.

(J. Dixon.)

In those days when there was war in heaven, and Satan and his angels rebelled against the Almighty, one circle of angels alone, it is said, remained neutral. They would not join the arch-rebel, neither would they range themselves among the hosts of their Almighty Sovereign. At the final discomfiture of the rebellious angels, that circle which had not joined in their rebellion could not justly be associated with them in their punishment; nor, on the other hand, did it deserve the blessedness of heaven. Those angels, therefore, were consigned to the earth, and bound irrevocably to its fortunes. These are the fairies. They enjoy all the pleasures and all the happiness which their new habitation can afford; but it is on a lease, as it were, and every seven years their lease expires. It is renewable as long as the earth lasts, and they are always reinstated in their privileges on paying to Satan a quit rent of one of their number. Now this is an allegory. Whenever we have been neglectful of our duty, whenever we have refused to fight the battles of Him whose soldiers we have vowed ourselves, we may be forgiven, indeed, and reinstated in our former privileges; but it is always at the expense of some sacrifice to the principle of evil, whose power we should have resisted from the first, but did not.

(Newland.)

I. WHO ARE ALLIED WITH CHRIST?

1. They who are delivered from the power of Satan.

2. They who are in co-operation with Christ.

II. ALL NOT THUS WITH CHRIST ARE OF NECESSITY AGAINST HIM.

1. That man's natural state is one of antagonism to God.

2. That it is a necessity of man's nature to influence for good or evil all with whom He may associate.

3. That our allegiance is Christ's righteous and inalienable due.

(H. C. H.)

I. The human heart cannot be in a state in which neither Christ nor the world has the supremacy. Man must have a master and a God, etc.

II. Neither Christ nor His enemy will accept of, or allow of, neutrality — serving both in turn, and hence warring against both in turn.

III. Neutrality is impossible, inasmuch as Christ holds it to be war against Himself. Christ requires the whole heart, life, etc.

IV. Neutrality is seen to be practical hostility to the kingdom of Christ — enemies of Christ.

(J. Stewart.)

Christ's words contain a principle and an appeal. We cannot occupy a neutral position in relation to either morals or religion now when life is before us, or by and by when the issues of life are manifested.

I. THIS TRUTH. Border-countries are proverbially bad to live in. The two clauses of the text may be read thus:

1. He that is not in heart with Me is against Me. No externality of observance will suffice: no mere association will suffice. There must be personal heart-union with Christ.

2. He that is not in life-service with Me is against Me. Unpractical sentimentality will not suffice. Loudest professions will not suffice. Christ's words appeal searchingly to two classes.

(a)Those who excuse wrong life by right creed.

(b)Those who excuse wrong creed by good life.

II. THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THIS TRUTH. Temporary uncertainty may be good, or at least may be excused. Such as comes in

(a)Mental states of indecision;

(b)Beginnings of religious life;

(c)Occasions of religious doubt. There is no excuse for uncertainty or indecision in relation to Christ. We ought to follow Him wholly.

(R. Tuck.)

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