Outline of a Sermon by James Stewart
Mark 9:40. For he that is not against us is on our part.
Matthew 12:30. He that is not with Me is against me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.
1. The first verse declares that he that is not against Christ is for Him.
2. The second that he that is not for Christ is against Him.
3. Thus in the warfare between Christ and Satan no man can be neutral.
4. There is a large class whom this text ought to alarm – they strive to be neutral.
1st. They will not declare against the world.
(1.) They are of it.
(2.) They love it.
(3.) They fear it.
2nd. They are not inclined to renounce all fellowship with Christ.
(1.) They are associated with believers
(2.) The truth acts upon their consciences.
(3.) They think with fear of eternity.
3rd. They therefore seek to be friends of both.
5. The outward conduct of such shows the nature of their policy.
1st. They give Christ His titles, and the world their service.
2nd. They give Christ tribute, and the world voluntary offering.
3rd. They would retain Christ as their agent, but the world as their friend.
4th. They pay to Christ visits of ceremony, but the world dwells with them.
5th. They are seen in the ranks of the one and the other alternately.
6. Such neutrality is serving both in turn – not inaction.
1. The human heart cannot be in a state in which neither Christ nor the world has the supremacy.
1st. Man must have a master and a God.
2nd. According to his moral state – as regenerate or unregenerate – he has Christ or the world. The same heart cannot have both.
3rd. His master, whoever he be, employs him in his service.
4th. But the service of the one is war against the other.
2. Neither Christ nor His enemy will accept, or allow, neutrality.
1st. Neutrality in this case does not, as in general, mean inaction. This is impossible.
2nd. It means serving both in turn; and hence warring against both in turn.
3rd. But this Christ cannot permit. He retains the heart when He has got it, and goes on conquering.
4th. Such an attempt Satan will allow, for it is the service of himself.
3. Neutrality is impossible, inasmuch as Christ holds it to be war against Himself.
1st. Christ requires the whole heart, which is inconsistent with neutrality.
2nd. Christ requires the whole life, which is inconsistent with neutrality.
3rd. Christ requires fervency of spirit in His service, which is the reverse of being neutral.
4th. Christ commands to resist the devil and war against his kingdoms. And to do nothing is to disobey.
4. Neutrality is seen to be practical hostility to the Kingdom of Christ – those who are neutral are enemies of Christ.
1st. The principles and views which they express are fitted to diminish the active promotion of Christ’s cause.
2nd. Their example has the same effect.
3rd. Their example is specially dangerous.
(1.) They are among believers.
(2.) They are not suspected as enemies.
(3.) Their influence is unfelt, but sure.
(4.) They are Satan’s most valued auxiliaries; “they scatter abroad”.
1. Stewart (1813-1846) was minister latterly of an Aberdeen Free Church. For a sketch of his life, see this magazine for October and November 2000. This is no 94 in his Outlines of Discourses.