Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Holiness to Dogs and Peals before Swine

Matthew 7:6 "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces" (NKJV).

Last week, we learned from Matthew 7:1-5 about "Good Judgment". A person with GOOD judgment follows a particular process before approaching someone else in judgment. First, he examines himself for any sin in. He prayerfully searches the Scriptures to see if his life is in line with the Lord. Second, he determines if the "splinter" in his neighbor's eye is of eternal significance. Is his brother/sister truly overtaken by some sin or are they simply living contrary to a personal preference? Third, a person with GOOD judgment prays for their neighbor; realizing that Jesus is their ultimate Judge and, if they truly belong to Him, He has promised to sanctify them and conform them to His own image.

  1. Holiness & Pearls

Jesus warns us, "Do not give what is HOLY…nor cast your PEARLS". Just what is our Lord referring to here? It must be something that is in our possession as believers if He is commanding us NOT to give it.


There are two requirements for something of this world to become Holy; first God chooses a person, place, or thing for Himself, second people recognize God's choice and reserve that person, place, or thing for God's chosen purpose.

Sacrifices were often used to sanctify the holy thing. The tabernacle and the temple were made by man but according to God's instructions and for His purpose. Everything used for worship in the OT was never used for anything else.

We know that Jesus came to be the ultimate holy sacrifice for our sin. He shed His innocent blood that we might find forgiveness and live forever with Him in His kingdom. This Bible tells us that all who receive His gracious gift of salvation are now "set apart" to serve Him and live for Him.

1 Peter 2:9 says, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a HOLY nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light".

Romans 12:1-2 says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, HOLY, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

1 Peter 1:15-16 says, "But just as He who called you is holy, so be HOLY in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy'"

To be holy means that all we are and all we have belongs to God, and that every aspect of our lives is to be shaped and directed toward God. Our warning for holy things is to avoid using them for a purpose that God himself has not chosen.

Jesus compared His kingdom to precious pearls in Matthew 13:44-45, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it" (NKJV).

Christ's Kingdom is the most precious possession on planet earth; nothing compares. In fact, what price tag would you place on your eternal salvation? It's PRICELESS! The symbolism of pearls in God's Kingdom tells us it is precious, worth more than all our earthly goods.

So, how is holiness and the pearls of God's kingdom measured out in our everyday existence? In other words, how and where do we make investments of these commodities we have in Christ? I propose at least four - our: Trust, Time, Treasure, and Testimony.

If you think about it, these are the investments of our daily lives. We trust certain people and certain systems, we spend our time doing certain things, we spend our money on certain things, and we share our testimony along the way. All of these resources are considered "pure" and "precious" to God because we belong to Him.
1 Cor. 6:19-20 reminds us, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (NKJV).

Everything we have and do is a stewardship from God. We can either waste or invest it. There are a number of Scripture passages that instruct how and where we can invest these resources, but Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:6 how and where they will be wasted…

  1. Dogs & Pigs

The symbols of dogs here are not the family pets, but the wild feral animals which live on the edge of town. They usually traveled in packs and were very dangerous. In fact, if you were to travel to places like Cambodia and Guatemala even today to visit some MANNA feeding centers in outlying areas you would be warned to "STAY AWAY from the dogs".

Matthew 15:21-28

21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed." 23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, "Send her away, for she cries out after us." 24 But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" 26 But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." 27 And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Jesus refers to a Canaanite woman who is a Gentile, as a dog. When know from the OT that Messiah was to be a light to the Gentiles, but he was first fulfilling God's promise to Israel. Yet this woman instead of being insulted, accepts His rebuke and asks in all humility if He would just let the crumbs of his grace and mercy save her demon-possessed daughter. Jesus was so impressed by her humility and faith that her daughter was instantly healed. Jesus had still not chosen the gentiles, because he must first be rejected by the Jews, to fulfill all prophecy. Only later would he instruct Peter and Paul, then demonstrate by the Holy Spirit that salvation is also for the Gentiles.

The only thing worse than being called a "dog" was to be called a "pig" (It's still pretty insulting today). Under the dietary laws given by God for Israel, the pig was a forbidden, unclean animal. Jesus uses these strong comparisons to warn us that there are those who would treat the holy and precious things like our: trust, time, treasure, and testimony with disrespect and hatred.

If we offer the pearls of God's kingdom to "swine" they will trample in the mud your most sincere efforts and then turn and tear at you with their tusks.

Peter portrayed false teachers in the same way in 2 Peter 2:9-22. We don't like to think that there are actually folks in the world that have been "reserved for judgment", but even Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 10:14-16, "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment, than for that city. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves".

Jesus has called us to wisely discern both where and how we invest the things entrusted to us for His Kingdom. We go and give and preach the gospel to all nations for the glory of God, but instead of shaking trees for the green apples to fall, we search for those who are ripened and ready by the Holy Spirit of God.

Instead of wasting all of our God-given resources trying to teach a dog the difference between prime rib and his own vomit; and training a pig to stay clean and wear fine jewelry we should be vigorously investing in those whose spiritual eyes are being opened by the power of the Holy Spirit. Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

If you've been pouring your trust, time, treasures, and testimony into someone's life that just seems now even more antagonistic, needy, and resistant than ever perhaps it's time to turn them over to God and invest in someone else. Be wise as serpents, harmless as doves. Pick ripe fruit, plant in fertile soil, and invest where there is good return.

"Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge"
(Proverbs 14:7).

"Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out, even strife and dishonor will cease" (Proverbs 22:10).

Questions to Consider:

  1. Have you ever encountered someone that has been aggressively disdainful of the King and kingdom you represent?
  2. How did God "ripen" you to the gospel?
  3. When do you think a person is most "open" to the precious message of the kingdom?






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