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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Pearls Before Swine

"And as we see it in experience, that dogs do always bark at those they know not, and that it is their nature to accompany one another in those clamors: so it is with the inconsiderate multitude; who wanting that virtue which we call honesty in all men, and that especial gift of God which we call charity in Christian men, condemn without hearing..."

From "Preface to the History of the World" by Sir Walter Raleigh (1614)

Alice C. Linsley

In Matthew 7:6 we read Jesus' warning: "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 in pieces."

Perhaps you have attempted to reason with someone who simply will not hear a word you have to say. You may have discovered that further attempts to reason with this person only produces hostility.

In Matthew 7, our Lord is teaching those who would take up their cross and follow Him. The Cross is the very symbol of the world's hostility toward Jesus Messiah and His followers. Perhaps that is why some churches have removed the cross from their worship spaces.

 As the chapter continues, we hear more about those who are hostile to the Gospel.
"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me you who practice lawlessness (Matt 7:21-23).
Jesus wants his followers to make disciples, but He also warns us to be cautious. We do not waste time by offering the Good News to someone who does not understand it. We do waste time in arguments with those who are hostile to the Gospel. They are driven by their hostility to win every argument. It is not possible to reason with them. The Cross offends them. Holiness offends them.

Holiness has many expressions. There is holiness of life, holiness of worship, holy space, and holy events such a Baptism and Communion. These are not for the unholy. They are for the holy people of God.

Congregations who offer "seeker-friendly" worship should take Jesus' warning very seriously. Those who are not saved cannot worship the Savior. Evangelism is what Christians do Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, we worship in the beauty of holiness and are renewed.

Vouchsafe unto us, O Lord God, that we may stand before thee in purity and holiness; and with knowledge and fear, in the beauty of spiritual order..."