Do not share the Gospel to people who reject it

imagesWhy should we not share God’s Word to people who reject Christ? Jesus said, “Lest they trample them underfoot and attack you” (Matt. 7:6).

There is the story of a mail carrier who, while making his rounds, stopped at a house with a large fence in front. He looked through the fence and saw a woman and a dog.

“Does your dog bite?” he asked the woman.

“No,” she replied, “my dog doesn’t bite.”

Whereupon, the postman walked through the gate and immediately the dog bit him hard on the leg. As the man retreated, limping and moaning in pain, he cried out to the woman, “But you said your dog doesn’t bite!”

To which she replied, “That’s not my dog.[1]

Have you been bitten by dogs? I’m not talking about literal dogs. I’m referring to people who reject Christ. Perhaps you have experienced the bite of people who make fun of you. “There’s that weird born again guy again.”

Have you seen the trampling of your pearls by pigs? Some people reject Christ by rejecting God’s Word. Some reject Him by silence. Some reject Christ by finding fault with your religion. Some people reject the Gospel by vowing loyalty to their religion.

Let us look closer at Jesus’ saying. The first half of v. 6 has two parallel clauses.

A     Do not give dogs what is holy

B     Do not throw your pearls before pigs

These two clauses have parallel meanings. Not giving holy things to the dogs is the same as not throwing pearls to pigs.

The second half of v. 6 has two parallel clauses also.

B1   Lest they trample them underfoot and

A1   turn to attack you [Literally, “having turned – may tear you to pieces”]

Trampling the pearls underfoot is the same as turning and attacking you.

Let’s put it all together. Jesus is saying:

A     Do not give dogs what is holy

B     Do not throw your pearls before pigs

B1   Lest they trample them underfoot and

A1   [lest they] turn to attack you   (Hagner)

In sum, do not give dogs what is holy. They might turn and tear you to pieces. Do not throw your pearls to pigs. They might trample them underfoot (Prov. 11:22).

CONCLUSION

Matthew’s dogs and pigs are people who reject the kingdom. What is holy signifies God’s Word about the kingdom. The pearls symbolize the Gospel of the kingdom. To give what is holy to the dogs is to preach God’s Word to those who reject it. To throw pearls to pigs is to share the Gospel to those who resist it.

According to Jesus, we should not preach God’s Word to people who reject the kingdom. We should not share the Gospel to people who resist Christ. Of course, we do not know if they will receive or reject Christ. We will know only after they reject Christ.

Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of all nations. But Jesus also says that we should not share the Gospel to people who reject it. We should preach the Gospel to everyone. But if people reject the Gospel, we are to move on and tell others about Christ (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 19:9). (Blomberg) We should not force the issue to the unwilling. Rather, we should give the gift of the Gospel only to those who are willing to receive it. (Keener)

[1] “A Happy Ending,” Sunday Sermons. Cited June 13, 2015. Online: http://www.voicings.com/sermon/118

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