Summary: At first glance, do you know what this verse means? We need to know who the ‘dogs’ and ‘pigs’ are and what it is we are not supposed to do.
Dogs, Pigs and You
Lighthouse Assembly of God
Pastor Greg Tabor
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6 NIV
This is a difficult verse, is it not? I mean, at first glance, do you know what it means? It comes right after Jesus told us to take the ‘plank’ out of our eye so that we can take the ‘splinter’ out of the other person’s eye. Jesus was telling us we needed to be in a right condition in order to judge. Now, verse 6 is telling us we need to make a judgment call. We need to know who the ‘dogs’ and ‘pigs’ are and what it is we are not supposed to do.
Who are dogs and swine?
Who they aren’t
While the Jews sometimes referred to Gentiles as “dogs,” Jesus is not using this term to mean that His disciples shouldn’t give His message to Gentiles. While Jesus’ earthly ministry prior to the cross targeted mainly Jews, after His resurrection He gave a Great Commission in all four gospels and the book of Acts that declared a worldwide evangelism that would take place. God would also later show Peter that he was to minister to Gentiles as well as Jews. So we can know that Jesus is not against evangelism to ethnic groups other than the Jews. As if we didn’t know that already!
Who they are
So if dogs and swine are not terms for certain ethnic groups, then what are they?
Last week we learned that we were not supposed to judge, at least in a self-righteous, hypocritical manner. We also learned that we were supposed to learn to make proper judgments. In order to do this our spiritual lives need to be cleansed of things that blur our spiritual vision. The need to extract the plank out of our eye in order to extract a splinter out of our brother’s eye is a great illustration painting a picture of the right way to judge. David understood in Psalm 51 that after God had restored him, then he could teach transgressors God’s ways.
With all that in mind, it is so important that our spiritual life be cleaned up so we can wisely discern who and who not to spend time on when it comes to giving the truths of God’s Word concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now, the reality is God wants us to go to all people. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. I believe like Ezekiel we will be held responsible for the lives of those we didn’t tell but could have told. Just like Ezekiel, our message may not always be accepted, but it is our responsibility to tell people.
BUT, Jesus’ words here tell us that there are people that we shouldn’t waste a lot of labor on because they are not receptive.
Listen. The illustration I picked up from commentaries was that of the priest throwing the offering dedicated to God off of the altar and into the streets for the wild dogs of that time period to eat. That would be unthinkable. That would desecrate that offering. A priest would never do that. The other illustration is that of a wild pig being thrown pearls. The pig would think they are food and become angry and tear into the person that tricked them. The illustration is one of giving something to someone that does not appreciate it and treats it with contempt.
Dogs and Swine are people who reject our message and treat it with contempt.
What warning is being given concerning dogs and swine?
The reality is that you and I are required here to make a judgment. The judgment is one of discerning whether or not we should continue laboring among certain people. When people treat the message with contempt and ridicule it and are not being receptive, then you and I need to know when to call it quits and move on down the road.
Listen to what Jesus told the 12 when He sent them out:
“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” Matthew 10:14 NIV
“And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.” Mark 6:11 NIV
“If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” Luke 9:5 NIV
Listen to what He told the 72:
“But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’” Luke 10:10-11 NIV