“And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, …    – Luke 5:17

In every congregation, you have members who are spectators rather than participators. You have practicing critics instead of practicing Christians. Like the apostle Luke mentioned in our text, they are “sitting by.” They are too high and mighty to be numbered with the sinful crowd so they perch on their seat of criticism, sitting by. They would like to give the appearance they are regular hearers, but they are “sitting by.” They are not repenting; they are not believing; they are not entering into the truth at all; but they are “sitting by.” They are not praising, praying, or presenting, they are “sitting by”. They have come to look on, take notes, and pass judgments on everyone else, “sitting by”. They are on the outskirts of the battle, but they are not soldiers at all; they are “sitting by,” where they hope they are out of gunshot
       How could they be indifferent in His presence? Jesus was as a blazing fire , and they were blocks of ice. He was all passion, and they were “sitting by.” He was spending and being spent, and they were “sitting by.” He engaged all night in prayer with his Father, and now coming out full of divine power to preach and heal and they were “sitting by.” Pretending to be hearers of God, they were sitting by” while Jesus was pouring out his soul. Oh friend, none of us ought to be indifferent in the presence of Jesus Christ. He is clothed with a holy zeal, how can we be lukewarm? He laid down his life for the sheep; how can we live for self? He still lives for his people, and does not hold his peace, but by his constant drawing he proves his everlasting love towards us, and for us to be “sitting by” is such an ingratitude! Men are in danger of sinking into hell carelessly “sitting by” while the gate of mercy is opened before them by the pierced hand of Jesus! Oh, God I pray Let them not still be “sitting by!” 

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