Pigs And Dogs: Exercising Discernment In Preaching The Gospel

Jesus commanded every believer to take His Gospel message of salvation to every creature (Mark 16:15). He also said to not give what is holy to dogs and pigs. Knowing what kind of person we are sharing Christ with, requires wisdom and discernment. The rule is simple: People who listen to our words about Jesus with consideration and eagerness, should have the opportunity to hear what Jesus has offered the world. People who are hateful, reject our message about Jesus and turn to ridicule and mock us, do not deserve to hear.

Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. ~ Matthew 7:6

When Jesus said these words, He was likely thinking of the text from Proverbs 9:7-8:

Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. ~Proverbs 9:7-8

Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs. ~Matthew 15:26

Jesus is speaking to Jews when He makes these comments. To the Jew of that day, dogs and pigs represented the most unclean of all animals. Dogs were scavengers[1,2], and no Jew was allowed to keep or eat a pig. In no way is Jesus saying that certain races, gender, the Gentiles, poor or despised, should not have the Gospel presented to them. Jesus is not saying that simply because a person seems to be resistant to our sharing of Christ, we should reject them. The lesson here is that when a person is hostile towards us as we present Jesus, we should stop and walk away. We should not continue because they will only take the precious news of Jesus and trample it, and then turn and attack us. Jesus did not command any of His followers to do this.

And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. ~Matthew 10:14

We notice that Jesus never tried to force anyone to accept His offer of forgiveness and eternal life. He told people the truth and let them decide. The idea that the church should try and force people into conversion is a man-made concept, not a principle that Jesus ever taught. The crusades were an evil creation of men that God did not approve of, and in fact, Jesus consistently condemned such behavior. Our message is one of love, but not under compulsion. Those who have a desire to listen and gain understanding should have every opportunity to hear more and have all their questions answered. People who immediately become angry when we present Jesus, mock our message in person or online, we should cease and desist.

To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. ~Matthew 13:12

The life Jesus lived and the sacrifice He made for the world is a very precious and costly gift that God has offered to every person. It should not be trampled upon, mocked, or scorned. Anyone who has this reaction to the message when it is shared with them, does not deserve to hear it.

Don’t subject yourself or the Gospel to further rebuke when you are rejected. As soon as you hear or see opposition, turn and walk away, or cease to answer any further comments online from people who mock the message of Christ or your attempts to share it with them.

When Jesus said not to “throw your pearls to pigs,” He meant that we should not expose the Gospel and its precious truths to the vicious and vile comments of people.

When we examine the comments of Paul, we find that he exercised great discernment in speaking to people about Jesus

The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. ~Acts 13:44-46

And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.” ~Acts 18:5-6

Jude wrote that when people scoff at us and act as though they know all about Jesus, when they clearly don’t, we are not to try and force them to believe. The issues are far greater than evidence, or your witness, the problem is a heart that doesn’t want to believe.

Evidence For God

But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. What sorrow awaits them! ~Jude 1:10-11

When a new believer goes to their friends and family to tell them about their new relationship with Jesus, often friends and family will laugh and make fun of them. Don’t get into an argument, or get angry. Recognize that the way to save those who are closest to us, is to live a consistent life for Jesus, and over time they will begin to soften their hearts.

Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. But remember that they will have to face God, who stands ready to judge everyone, both the living and the dead. ~1 Peter 4:4-5

I gave my life to Jesus in April of 1975. My family and friends rejected me. They said it was only a phase I was going through and they were not interested. After 35 years of living for Jesus, my mother and father told me that they wanted what I had in Jesus. Both gave their lives to Christ just before they died. Most of my friends did not receive Jesus. My best friend died without the Lord in 2017. It broke my heart. Despite my consistency, and the power of the Gospel that I shared with him many times, he loved his life of sin more, and refused to come to Jesus.

There are also people who claim to be Christians, who are not. Jesus called them “tares” that satan has planted in the Christian church who work against the Gospel. When Jesus comes again He will separate the true believers from the false. We are not to try and figure out who the true believers are. We love everyone who claims to know Jesus and accept them as they are. It is up to Jesus to make a determination for whether anyone is truly saved.

The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares (True and False Believers)

Paul said that we can see certain people who claim to be believers that cause division in the church. These persons want to argue doctrine and they get upset when people don’t accept their teaching. These persons often teach principles and doctrines that are in opposition to what the Bible declares. The Bible is the final authority on all matters, not the feelings and opinions of people, or the traditions of the church.

And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. ~Romans 16:17-18

Often these people will oppose you for sharing the Gospel. Last year I had a man who claimed to be a pastor, oppose me for sharing Jesus with people who were reading about the death of a famous person. I talked about the brevity of life and how short our time is here on earth. I shared the words of Jesus that even if we gain the whole world, but lose our soul, there is not profit.

This man said I was wrong to share Jesus during the time when a famous person had died. I said that this was the best time, while people are thinking about life, death, and what comes afterwards.

For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. ~Philippians 3:18-20

Often when we just share the words of Jesus with people in person or online, some people will oppose us and insist that we are not quoting the Bible correctly. In truth, the Bible is not that hard to understand. It says what it means, and means what it says. Jesus said we must all repent or we will all be lost, this is exactly what it means (Luke 13:3,5). Some people will try and say that this is not what Jesus meant, and they will change His words to suit their agenda. Don’t be fooled by these persons. You can read the Bible for yourself. If Jesus said we must all repent, that is exactly what He meant.

Don’t get into arguments with critics. state your belief that the Bible is true and Jesus meant what He said. If someone does not agree and wants to fight with you, refuse and tell them you don’t believe that the followers of Jesus should argue about such things, and walk away.

Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. ~1 Timothy 6:4-5

Jesus came to earth to preach the Gospel to every person. He called twelve men to witness all that He said and did. He commanded them to write a testimony of what they saw and heard, and send it to the world so everyone could know what Jesus has done.

You Are My Witnesses: The Men Who Saw Jesus

You and I have this same command. We are to tell people about Jesus and what He has done for us. If people receive our words, we go further. If they reject us or mock us, we stop and do not argue with them. A good way to end a confrontational encounter with someone who we are trying to share the Gospel with, is to say, “If you ever change your mind and want to hear more, you can call me or contact me anytime and I would love to share more with you…”

Remember that we are called by Christ to be His witnesses and tell people about Him and the salvation He offers. We do not save people, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. We are called to witness, God saves people. Sometimes others have already told a person we meet, about Jesus. We come along and share more with them, and they are ready to hear and perhaps, ready to receive Christ.

Never be afraid to ask a person who is willingly listening to you, if they would like to receive Jesus as their Savior. This website has hundreds of articles and tools about how to lead someone to Jesus and what to say to them. Remember it is the Holy Spirit who draws people to Jesus and saves them. We are only instruments in the hands of Jesus. Use discernment when you are speaking to people and share the Good News with those who want to hear it, not with those who will argue, scoff, rebuke you, and trample Jesus’ love as though it was nothing.

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The expositional style of this book takes the reader through the scriptures verse by verse, describing all things written from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms regarding the promise and arrival of the Messiah.

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7. Jesus’ Future: 9 Chapters
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[1] Matthew 15:22, 26 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. But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.

If we are not careful here, we might assume that Jesus was disparaging this woman who came to Him for help. The Lord was not calling this woman a little dog; He was telling her that the Jews thought of her as a dog. Jesus wants to increase the faith of this dear woman, so He puts her off on her first approach for help. She will not be dissuaded, and she continues to humbly request the Lord’s mercy. Though she comes from the hated people of Canaan, her faith in seeking the Lord compels Jesus to grant her request. God is not concerned with what people might think of us. He is concerned with what we think about Him. Anyone can come to Jesus and find forgiveness for their sins, and gain eternal life.

Matthew 15:27-28 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 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.

This dear woman tells Jesus, “I might be a little dog, but I still believe that You can help me.” Now that is what faith is all about. Nothing was going to stop this woman from seeking help from the Lord, because she believed that He was the Messiah.

We learn here that the common thought amongst the Jews of this time period was that the Gentiles who were in Jerusalem, particularly the Romans, were “dogs.”

When David writes that “dogs have surrounded Me,” he is referring to the Gentiles who were near Jesus’ cross, mocking Him and ridiculing Him for believing that He was the Messiah.

[2] A second possibility is discovered in the Jewish writings of Tosef, Git 7:1 and Git 70b. Because the crucified were only one or two feet above the ground, the bodies of the condemned were accessible to the wild dogs, which roamed the land at that time. These ancient Hebrew writings describe one of the ways that death was determined to have occurred for a person crucified—by the presence of feral dogs in the area that would come and begin to feed on the flesh of the feet and legs of the person crucified. These animals were able to gain access to the dead on the cross because of their near proximity to the ground.

Tosef, Git 7:1 and Git 70b, As the exact time of death was not ascertainable, the fact that a man was seen hanging on a cross was not sufficient evidence of his death (Yev. 16:3). It might be otherwise when wild beasts or birds had already attacked him at vital parts of the body (Yev. 120b).

Categories: Causing Division in Jesus Church, Hearing Jesus' Voice, Jesus Church, Leading People to Jesus, Living For Jesus, Reasons For Unbelief, Robert Clifton Robinson, The Condition of the Heart, The Historical Jesus, Watching for Jesus return

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