Sunday, June 25, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon Casting Pearls Before Swine ]

Matthew 7:1-6

In this study we are looking at verse 6 which says, "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 to pieces.” The Lord in this passage was teaching about a common fault among Jewish people. They were harshly critical of their fellpw Jews and overly inclined to find fault. The Jewish people as a whole were a fault-finding society. It was in connection with discussing this problem that he uttered these thought-provoking words in verse 6 about giving holy meat to dogs and pearls to swine. In the first five verses the subject is criticism, faultfinding and unrighteous judging of others. Present day society is just as critical as were the Jews. Criticizing others is the most popular sport in the world. In fact, it has replaced baseball as our national pastime. When Jesus said, “Judge not,” he meant we should not be critical-minded. He was not speaking of clear, open, violations of God's word. People deserve to be criticized for deliberately transgressing the laws of God. He was speaking of petty faults and weaknesses common to us all. We know this because we are commanded to judge our fellow Christians who openly and flagrantly transgress the doctrine of Christ. I Cor.5:12 says, “For what have Ito do with judging those who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person.” The man had committed a terrible immoral act, and the church failed to judge him and bring him to justice. Christians are commanded to judge one another when some practice forms of evil conduct which cannot be tolerated in the church without injury to he church.. When Jesus said, “Judge not,” He was not talking about evil forms of conduct and flagrant violations of God&'s law.

When Jesus said, “Judge not, “the context makes it clear Jesus is talking about petty criticism and pickyness that comes from an unlovely and disgruntled disposition. Jesus said, “Stop being critical. If you don't stop, people will criticize you in return. He simply means when you start looking for other folk's faults, they are going to start looking for yours.” Critical-minded people are going to get it back in full measure and running over. If you don't want people to criticize you, don't criticize them. This thought of Jesus can be restated by the proverbial statement, ‘People who live in glass houses ought not to throw rocks.” I am inclined to think that the person who thought up that expression was influenced by the words of Jesus in this passage. Jesus also uggested another reason we should not be splitting hairs and knit-picking is that we ourselves possibly have greater faults than the persons we criticize. He illustrated this by saying a man with a large splinter in his eye should not try to remove a speck out of someone else's eye, until he removed the big piece of wood out of his own eye. All Christians have weaknesses and faults, even the most devout Christians. Few Christians would win the prize for being “Mr and Mrs. Congeniality.”

After these remarks Jesus then made this statement, ‘Do not give what is holy to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample then under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces.” This metaphor was taken from the Law of Moses which says that meat offered in sacrifice to God was no longer common but holy. The priests only could eat it and they would not think tmof throwing holy meat to a dog which was an unholy animal, along with pigs. No one would cast pearls before pigs for they would not appreciate such a gift but trample them in the mud. Dogs and swine were both unclean to Jews and symbolized uncircumcised Gentiles or worldly people of the worst character. Holy things symbolize anything connected with the true religion of Christ, doctrine or precept. Pearls represent the beauty, truths, and precious wealth of the various parts of the gospel. While we are not to be critical towards our brethren or the people of the world, yet we must recognize the great and fundamental differences that exist between people in the world. There are some people in this world who are not able to appreciate the beauty, holiness and wealth of the religion of Christ. In the Christian context the dogs and swine represent non-Christians who have fallen into the worst moral conditions of life. The meaning seems to be that we are not to present the gospel to people when we know they will despise and possibly abuse us. Sometimes people are given over to such an impure, polluted, unreligious and sensual life that they would not know the value of the gospel, would not appreciate it, possibly trample it down and become violently angry with us. People can become in such a degraded way of life that they become incapable of comprehending and appreciating the kind of We we enjoy in Christ. There are religions violently opposed to the Christian religion. Christians should not become involved in heated controversies and violent arguments with such people. There are some people that we cannot help, as sad it is. We should, however, be cautious in forming that opinion of people we think will not appreciate the holy things of the gospel. People in the world may be far more ready to hear the gospel than we may imagine. Furthermore, we should not meet violent opposers of the truth with harshness or anger, and we should not violate the laws of social behavior Because others become violent and speak boldly against the truth is really no reason for us to get angry. It is my understanding of this passage that it primarily concerns giving the gospel to worldly people in the world who could involve you in a violent and dangerous situation. Jesus is simply saying, “Leave people like that alone.” It is not easy to make that decision.

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