THE WORDS OF JESUS – What Are You To Do With Them? Part 27

THE WORDS OF JESUS

 

Creative, Causative, Prophetic, Instructional – Part 27

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, because they will trample them underfoot and turn to attack you and tear you to pieces.”The Words of Jesus, Matthew 7:6

Holy refers to that which is sacred, physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially, consecrated – most holy one or thing; A follower of Christ, The Word or deeds of God.

The “pearl” as mentioned here, comes from a proverb, meaning to thrust the most sacred and precious teachings of the gospel upon the most wicked and abandoned men, incompetent as they are, through their hostility to the gospel, to receive them, and thus to profane them.

A dog, universally despised in the East, comes from the Greek word ‘kyon‘ literally, a scavenging canine; figuratively, a spiritual predator who feeds off others.  A loose dog was disdained in ancient times – viewed as a “mooch pooch” that ran about as a scavenger.

The swine was forbidden as food by the Levitical law, ( Leviticus 11:7 ; 14:8 ) the abhorrence which the Jews as a nation had of it may be inferred from (Isaiah 65:4 ). Swine were considered ceremonially unclean and naturally filthy animals.

They were also associated with demons (Mark 5:11-13), and another time swine and dogs are mentioned together (2 Pet. 2:22), they are associated with “false prophets”, who, like Balaam, knew the way of God but had “forsaken the right way”, men who had “known the way of righteousness”, but chose to “turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them”, showing they were Hebrews who were never saved (1 John 2:19).

This might raise questions. Why would Jesus, on the one hand, tell His disciples to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you” and, on the other hand, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs”?

Is this a contradiction or a controversy, or is there a distinction?  The answer to these questions must be found by considering ‘the dogs’ and ‘the swine’ as representing, not men and women as such, but the passions of this kind or that which make them brutish. So long as they identify themselves with those passions, we must deal cautiously and wisely with them, as one would with an aggressive dog or a swine.

The dogs and swine of these verses represent those people who are hardened and altogether incapable of receiving evangelic truth, and to whom that which is holy is utterly foreign and distasteful. The capacity to discern, distinguish, or to discriminate the source of a spiritual manifestation — whether it emanates from a good or evil spirit (i.e., a ‘dog’ or a ‘swine’), is the gift and ability of discerning of spirits which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit to Christian believer.

One certain way to discern a spirit is that “Anyone who confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God”. (1 John 4:15). Conversely, they do not know Him and are not from Him.

EXAMPLE: While members of a Nazarene church, we had a youth pastor whose attitudes, speech and behavior were not lining up with the Biblical qualifications to serve as a pastor.

Since he was teaching our sons, I asked him what he thought it took to be saved. His answer was ‘believe in God’. I pressed him further, asking if he had ever ‘confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in his heart that God raised him from the dead’?

He asked, “where did you get that idea?”

I told him it comes from the Apostle Paul, Romans chapter 10.

His answer was, ‘That was just something Paul said. After all, Helen Keller was a mute, so she could never say that, but she was a Christian”.

I continued, “So, you are saying you have never confessed your sins to God, asked forgiveness, confessed Jesus as Lord, and submitted yourself to Him?”

He repeated that these things were not necessary as long as he believed in God, his way. After our encounter, he began to gossip about our talk.

Our senior pastor did not see any failings, contradictions or conflicts of interest, so, I had little choice but to remove my sons from this influence.

I resigned my position within that church, and we left that denomination. (The senior pastor followed up by retaliating against me, as well as preaching against me from his pulpit.)

EXAMPLE #2:  I once counseled a man who claimed to be a Christian, who had been charged with acts of sexual deviancy. At one point in our discussions, he told me that God understood his weakness toward sexual matters, had forgiven him, and that he could now continue to behave in that manner with impunity from God.

I felt a degree of compassion toward this man, knowing that this behavior would make his life a living hell and would destroy his chances in life. So, told this man that his attitude and behavior demonstrated a complete lack of understand of salvation and a severe addiction that required extensive therapy, and that he most likely was not a Christian and was in rebellion toward God and His Word.

He became defiant and angry and hostile.

I ended our sessions. Both these rather obvious examples led me to ‘discern’ that I was right to “not give dogs what is holy, and not to throw pearls before swine, because they will trample them underfoot and turn to attack me and tear me to pieces.

Tragic? Yes. Difficult Yes. Necessary? Also, yes. The takeaway?

I am leaving this to you. Please let me and others know what you see as the takeaways.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PREVIOUS: THE WORDS OF JESUS – What Are You To Do With Them? Part 26, Judge not that you be not judged…”

NEXT:  THE WORDS OF JESUS – What Are You To Do With Them? Part 28, “Ask, seek and knock…”

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