This morning we shall be challenged to examine who we are fighting with and against. In our passage this morning Jesus tells His followers “whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters” (23)
The choice for most, if not all, of us is clear; we know John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” and we will say that we desire to gather with Jesus because that is much better than the alternative.
But while we may say that we want to gather with Jesus and fight against the spiritual forces of evil, our actions betray that we really wish to remain neutral. The problem, however, is that there is no neutrality in spiritual warfare.
Satan’s Kingdom and Mission
In verse 14, we discover that Jesus has cast a mute demon out of a man. This mute demon was causing the man to not be able to speak. Jesus cast out the demon, “the mute man spoke, and the people marveled” (14).
Verses 15-16 tells us that some people attributed Jesus’ ability to cast out the demon to “Beelzebul, the prince of demons, while others, to test Him, kept seeking from Him a sign from heaven.” Jesus “knowing their thoughts” replies:
Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? (17-18)
In Jesus’ discussion about the absurdity of Satan fighting against himself we are told that Satan has a kingdom. I do not know if many of us realize this. Satan not only has a kingdom that is fighting but his kingdom has a mission and a vision. The mission is to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). His vision is to excel at robbing God of the glory He deserves through keeping as many people as possible from Him. The devil wants to either destroy love, peace, and joy or at the very least seek to separate it from God as much as possible.
God’s Kingdom and Mission
We are also told about God’s kingdom. In verse 20 Jesus says, “But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” God has a kingdom, a mission, and a vision. His mission is to “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:3) and bring “life more abundant” (John 10:10) to “all who call upon the name of the Lord” (Rom 10:13). His vision is to call “a great multitude that no one can number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (Rev 7:9) “to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5) so that they would “cry out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ ” (Rev 7:10). God brings love, peace, and joy and reminds us that these are gifts from Him and cannot be fully enjoyed without Him.
I am sure that there are some in this world who are depraved enough to say they would rather work for the devil than for God. But I am positive that most, if not all, of us reading this would recognize the vast difference between the two kingdoms, missions, and visions. What we must recognize is that you are either gathering with Jesus or scattering with the devil. There is no neutrality in spiritual warfare.
When Jesus said “whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters” (23), He affirmed the truth that there are only two groups of people: 1) Those who are gathering with Jesus and 2) those who are scattering with the devil.
Those who Gather
Who are those who gather? These are the ones who are “His [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). In other words, the gatherers are the ones who are doing the good works they are told to do in the kingdom of God. The gatherers are the ones who are loving God and loving others. The gatherers are the ones who are humbling serving one another through acts of kindness and praying for one another.
John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.” Basically, the gatherers are the ones who are seeking to do all that they can do whenever they can do it out of love for God and love for others. The ones who are His workmanship are those who have “by grace been saved through faith” (Eph 2:8) and “toil, struggling with all His energy that he powerfully works within me” (Col 1:29).
Those who Scatter
Who are those who scatter? Jesus said, “whoever does not gather with Me scatters” (23). Anyone who is not gathering with Jesus in his kingdom is scattering against the work of His kingdom. While this includes professing non-believers, it also includes people who made a profession of faith yet think, speak, and act like non-believers. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Tragically there are many people who live with a false profession of faith scattering instead of gathering.
If you think, speak, and act like a non-believer then you must “examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Cor 13:5). If you are a follower of Christ and He has forgiven your sins then gather with Christ and fight against Satan knowing that Jesus is “One stronger than he [who] attacks him and overcomes him” (22).
Questions for Reflection
- What is the mission and vision of Satan’s kingdom?
- What is the mission and vision of God’s kingdom?
- What does Jesus’ power over demons prove and what is He doing to Satan’s kingdom?