Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.
Today we continue our series titled Listening To Heaven’s Infallible Teacher.
The messages for the next couple of weeks will be coming from the Sermon on the Mount.
Today we are talking about Handle the Holy with Care.
Heavenly Father, we are continually overwhelmed by Your grace and glory.
We see Your grace when we look at ourselves.
We see Your glory when we look at you.
With this offering we express our thanksgiving for Your grace to us.
We express our praise for Your glory before us.
Use this offering to further your kingdom.
In Jesus name we pray.
Matthew 7:6 AMP
6 “Do not give that which is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, for they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Matthew 7 AMP
Possibly the hardest saying of Jesus ever recorded is found in Matthew 7:6.
Jesus Christ, who came in love to give His life in a ransom for many, is quoted as calling some of these people dogs and swine.
If you or I used such words when addressing others, people would be shocked by our attitude, and those afforested would feel insulted and offended.
Jesus went on to say that such people are unworthy of Hod’s holy truths and that we are wasting our time trying to persuade them.
In fact, He said that if we persist in our efforts in trying to win such people, we are running the risk of being assaulted and torn to shreds by the very ones we are trying to help.
Matthew 7:6 on the surface seems to be in direct conflict with other statements attributed to Jesus, such as, Luke 6:29,
Whoever strikes you on the cheek, offer him the other one also [simply ignore insignificant insults or losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity]. Whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
And Matthew 5:44, But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Is there any way we can reconcile Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7:6 with these and many other of His teachings?
What is the purpose of such a shocking statement being interjected into the middle of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount?
What was Jesus saying?
This verse divides itself into four segments, e restriction, a reason, a response, and a repercussion.
- A restriction.
“Do not give that which is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before pigs,” is obviously a restriction.
On the surface this command seems to call for an exclusiveness that is foreign to the spirit of out Lord.
We must remember, however, that the church was an island surrounded by a sea of immorality and paganism.
Ever present was the danger that it would be infected with the diseases of the world.
It is not that the early church failed to be evangelistic, they were consumed by a bringing desire to win everyone to faith in Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, the church was keenly aware of the necessity of keeping their morals pure and doctrines unpolluted.
Otherwise the Christian faith would eventually be swallowed up by the surrounding sea of immorality and pagan worship.
The key to understanding this statement is in the word “holy”.
When Jesus spoke of that which is holy, He was surely referring to truth.
- The truth of the gospel.
Paul spoke of the truth of the gospel in Galatians 2:14.
In John 8:32 Jesus said that “the truth shall make you free.”
Since the gospel can do such awesome things, why then does Jesus place a restriction offering such truth to “dogs and swine”?
We generally assume Jesus spent most of His time preaching to the unsaved in evangelistic meetings.
He did minister to the lost and the unchurched, but He spent most of His time speaking to people who were religious yet lost still.
He spent even more time with those who had embraced Him as Lord and Saviour.
The vast majority of His parables and teachings were directed toward those who had become His followers.
And through such teaching He attempted to equip them to carry the gospel to the rest of the world.
Jesus never declined an opportunity to share the good news with publicans and sinners.
Yet in this particular statement, Jesus had in mind religious people who reveal no real interest in Him and who, in fact, are openly hostile toward him and do everything to oppose Him.
As you read again the many incidents found in the gospel accounts where the Pharisees antagonised Him, you will fail to find a single incident where Jesus turned and preached the simplicity of the gospel to them.
He refused to cast His pearls before swine.
There will always be those to whom the preaching of the cross of Christ is foolishness.
These people respond to an offer of God’s grace with hate and hostility.
It is to this group that Jesus restricts our sharing of the beautiful truth of the gospel.
In fact, the implication is that to disobey His restriction is to do more harm than good.
B. The truth in general.
Jesus spoke of truth in general in John 3:19-21, where He talked about the light coming into the world.
He said that people love the darkness of sin rather than light because they desire to do evil.
The truth we offer on behalf of Christ is not to be thrown out indiscriminately.
Our enthusiasm to reach others for Christ must be tempered with knowledge.
If we violate Jesus’ restriction and attempt to force the truth of Christ on others, we should not be surprised when we are met with hatred and insults.
Jesus said of the Pharisees, “Leave them alone.”
There will always be those who say in words and attitude, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!”
After you have done your best to share with others the truth of the gospel and that truth is neither welcome nor accepted, then, in essence, Jesus said “Handle the holy with care. You have done all any person can do, and God’s divine restriction prohibits you from any further efforts to convince that rejecting soul of this truth.”
2. A reason.
The Living Bible translates this verse in part to read, “Don’t give holy things to depraved men.”
And what is the reason for such aq restriction?
Jesus answered this by describing those who refuse to accept the truth and revere the gospel.
Certainly we are not to be critical or judgemental toward others. In His parable of the sower, Jesus clearly communicated that we are not to prejudge people as being rocky ground, the wayside, or thorns.
The question naturally comes, who are the “dogs and swine”?
Let us allow Scripture to interpret itself for just a minute.
Peter must have heard this statement and later in one of his writings said, 2 Peter 2:22 AMP
22 The thing spoken of in the true proverb has happened to them, “The dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “A sow is washed only to wallow [again] in the mire.”
Yet people are not born with the nature of a dog or a pig.
A person must choose to assume this depraved nature.
The apostle Paul said that un Christlike attitudes can disrupt the fellowship of the church.
Galatians 5:15 AMP
15 But if you bite and devour one another [in bickering and strife], watch out that you [along with your entire fellowship] are not consumed by one another.
Christ used the analogy of a pig to illustrate the nature that has lost all sense of values.
To offer “the pearl of great price” to such a person is to have that pearl trampled underfoot.
We must remember that ours is not to judge others.
Our responsibility is to avoid needlessly exposing the truth of Christ to those who are completely lacking in appreciation and are sure to reject it.
3. A response.
In this verse Jesus warned us lest the response of such degenerate people be that they “they trample them under their feet.”
Solomon captured this same truth in Proverbs 23:9 when he said, Do not speak in the ears of a fool,
For he will despise the [godly] wisdom of your words.
There have always been those people who are repelled by the gospel and even stirred to hostile antagonism.
Jesus Himself did not speak as He stood before Herod, even though the ruler asked many questions.
This does not mean that such people are hopeless, but as heavy rain runs off hard ground, so the Word of God runs off hard hearts.
Just as hardened earth must first be softened by a gentle rain, it often takes a lot of time and a great deal of patience to penetrate the hearts of hardened people.
What Jesus was really saying is not so harsh as it may appear at first.
He was simply teaching us that there are those who lack background, training, or the ability to comprehend the gospel of Christ.
Before they can grasp the truth of the gospel and allow it to take root, the Holy Spirit must have time to work with them.
To attempt to argue with such people is to do more harm than good.
To try to force the gospel on them and twist a profession of faith from them is perhaps to close the door forever.
To run ahead of God and attempt to do this is to violate God’s restriction, to ignore the reasons offered, and to be met with an unfavourable response.
4. A repercussion.
Jesus said that if we chose to violate His command, we run the risk that those who reject Him will turn and tear us to pieces.
Christian history verifies this truth.
Acts 7:51-60 recounts the story of Stephen, who steadfastly and honestly proclaimed the truth of Christ.
He laid the guilt of people at their feet where it belonged.
But the end result was that he lost his life.
John the Baptist, in Mark 6, confronted Herod with his sin.
He was speaking the truth to a man who desperately needed to hear it, but the end result was that John the Baptist lost his head and won no convert.
Jesus at His trial in Matthew 26:59-68, held His peace for quite some time.
Then, when asked if He was the Son of God, He replied, “Yes, it is as you say”.
The result was that the high priest tore his clothes, caused Jesus of blaspheming, and pronounced Him worthy of death.
Those in the crowd joined in with this spirit of hostility by spitting in Jesus’ face and hitting Him.
What then is the remedy?
How are we to relate to these Christ rejectors?
Are we to walk off and leave them as hopeless spiritual derelicts?
Is the message of Christ simply for those who seem willing to embrace it?
What our words cannot do, our lives can do.
Certain individuals may be hard nosed toward any Christian truths we may speak.
But they are open to a flesh and blood demonstration of what the gospel of Christ can do in the life of someone else.
The challenge that is ours in light of Christ’s warning to handle with care is found in some other words spoken by Christ, Matthew 5:16 AMP
16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Until next time
Stay in the Blessings
I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.
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Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!
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