In Matthew 12:30 and Luke 11:23 Christ leaves his followers no neutral ground: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters”. The principle illustrated is the impossibility of a state of neutrality in the service of Christ, that is, neutrality here is opposition.
“He who is not with me is against me”: Our Lord does not mean one, that was not personally with him; for there might be some, and doubtless were many, who were not in person with him, and yet were not against him, but friends to him, and to his interest; nor one that was not a professed disciple of his, or not a follower of him, and his apostles; for there were some who called themselves John’s disciples, and did not attend on Christ, and yet were not against him, but cast out devils in his name; and such an one perhaps was he, that is made mention of in Mark 9:38 on occasion of whom, Christ there says some words, which may seem at first view, not so well to accord with these: but such are intended, who acted a neutral part between him and the Pharisees; who could bear to hear them accuse him of casting out devils by the prince of devils, and be easy at it: and such persons are condemned, who can hear all manner of blasphemy against the deity, sonship, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ, and express no indignation at it; these, as they cannot be said to be with Christ, may be truly ranked among those that are against him.
“And he who does not gather with me, scatters”: Christ is the good shepherd, that gathers his sheep to himself, and into his fold, by the external ministry of the word, and internal efficacy of his grace; Satan is the wolf, that catches and scatters the sheep, and seeks to kill and destroy them: and since there is such an open war proclaimed and carried on between Christ and the devil, none ought to be neutral; whoever is not on the side of Christ, is reckoned as an enemy; and whoever is not concerned by prayer or preaching, or other means to gather souls to his word and ordinances, and to his church, and to himself, is deemed by him a scatterer of them.
Most of us paint a self-portrait of ourselves or a pattern of habits that we seldom look at (cf. James 1:23-24). While we are busy with everyday life the picture we paint shows God and the world our true character. However, the character our friends see is often quite different from the picture we want them to see. That first impression of the good guy in the white hat is often interrupted by actions that tell them he is really wearing a black hat. In other words, our actions reveal the true nature of our lives to God and the world.
We are often unaware of the picture we reveal to others. Our lives are a picture that people see and judge us by. In the same manner, God sees what we are doing because He knows our every thought and action (cf. Psalm 139:2-4). Our deeds tell God whether we are trying our best to gather or lead others to Him.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:2-3).
Gathering with Christ demands that we make him the Lord of the harvest. This allows Christ to choose the field we are to work in and the crop He wants harvested. In other words, we follow him and go where He leads. The fields are harvested through faith in God trusting that He will supply the right words and actions to lead a person to Christ. God knows that the truth will convince men and women to repent and He knows that the truth will set us free (John 8:32). Let us remember that not every crop is suited for harvest for everyone has the right to say no.
With the grace of God we can go into the world and gather with Christ. However, the world is a formal adversary that penetrates every area of our life. Without reinforcement of our beliefs and hope for our future, we would revert back to the way of the world.
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:22-25).
We, like sheep, tend to wander off in all directions when we lose sight of the shepherd. Habitually seeking God has its rewards, for we will find Him if we seek Him with all our heart (Jer 29:13). Some day God will gather His people to Himself and then we will see Him face-to-face.
The middle ground is so appealing to most Christians nowadays. How convenient it is to allow Christ to be part of our lives without having to take sides or having any moral conviction. We can continue to do what the world tells us and have His assurance that we are saved. Can’t we choose to neither gather with Christ nor scatter?
I’m quite sure there will be no Christianity today if all the disciples chose the middle ground in the first century. How then can we be sure that the Gospel will still be around in the next century if we do not stop the next generation from choosing a middle ground that does not exist? Why bother to pass down a “counterfeit Christianity” that does not help its followers grow in Christian virtues that render them neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of Christ (cf. 2 Peter 1:1-11)? In the above text Christ is trying to tell us that if we are not gathering with Him then we are scattering in ignorance, that is, there is no middle ground.
Let us praise God with the song “Lord Of The Harvest”: