Pearls and Pigs

When you think of pigs, what do you think of? Well, I’m hungry so I’m thinking bacon. But we see the Bible talking about pigs being the lowest of the low, like dogs. Gentiles were considered to be pigs and dogs. The picture of a pig is not like the cute and cuddly Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web. Pigs stink and roll around in the mud. If you have ever fed hogs you know they don’t have manners. They will knock you over to get to their food.

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
(Matthew 7:6)

Jesus told us to have discernment in order to determine when to cease teaching someone. As Christians, we can learn when it is time to move on. As God’s children, we can begin to recognize when we are casting pearls before swine. We have to be careful about it, and pray for God’s love and mercy. We don’t want to move on when God wants us to stick it out and keep teaching. But we also probably have experienced times in our life when we spent way too much time and tears on someone who could have cared less.

The Lord taught us that we must develop discretion and learn when it is time to move on. Sometimes you are just laying down fancy jewelry on the ground for a pig who could care less about pearls. If the pig does happen to swallow the pearl, it will just pass through if you know what I mean.

Here are several passages from Scripture that teach us God’s wisdom about learning to move on. There are some people that will eventually display to you that it is not worth beating your head against the wall for them.

Look at the contrast Jesus gives between his disciples and the crowd. The crowd, for the most part, didn’t really want to learn, nor did they really see Jesus as the source of eternal life. The disciples on the other hand, were always asking and begging to learn and understand more.

And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”
(Mark 4:10-12)

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
(Mark 4:33-34)

You see, Jesus knew when to take time to explain things. He also knew when it was time to “shake the dust” off His feet.

And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.
(Matthew 10:14)

Some are constantly learning and never coming to the knowlege of the truth (2 Timothy 3:6-10). They get an “A” in book smarts but an “F” in wisdom. The Scriptures warn us that if we focus so much on casting pearls before swine, then we may get trampled by the pigs.

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
(Proverbs 9:7-9)

A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.
(Proverbs 15:12)

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words.
(Proverbs 23:9)

Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool. Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools. Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool. Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools. Like an archer who wounds everyone is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard. Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
(Proverbs 26:1-12)

Meditate upon these things today. There are people around you who are hungering for the word. Teach them. There are others who will fight you on every point. Teach them too, but know there is a time to move on and let the seed that was planted do its work. God’s word will do exactly what He designed it to do in their heart. You could be driving yourself crazy with someone who is acting like the fool of Proverbs while someone else is really hungering for the word and you have not given them the attention and time they need.

Think about it.

Do Not Go to Glean in Another Field

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn” (Ruth 2:8-9).

Ruth the Moabitess said, “He also said to me, ‘You shall stay close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’ ” And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that people do not meet you in any other field.” So she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law (Ruth 2:21-23).

The book of Ruth is about redemption. To the Jews, it told the history of King David’s great grandmother, and to the Christian it tells us where Jesus came from (Matthew 1). Ruth and Naomi were “redeemed” by Boaz. He was their savior or redeemer in a sense. Because of Boaz, the family line of Naomi’s deceased husband and sons would go on through the child of Boaz and Ruth. Moses’ law was designed by God to help widows in situations like this so that their family line, inheritance and properties would not be lost.

Just like Boaz was Ruth and Naomi’s redeemer, Jesus is our redeemer. He paid the price with His own blood when we were powerless and enslaved to sin.

What I want to focus on this morning in connection to this redemption is the advice that Ruth received from both Boaz and Naomi. “Do not go to glean in another field.” Make sure that “people do not meet you in any other field.” If you want Boaz’ redemption, then stay on Boaz’ property!

Take that advice and apply it to our relationship with Jesus. Stay in Jesus’ field! Do not go to glean in another’s field. People should not meet us in any other field. If we truly desire and honor the redemption given us through the precious blood of the Lamb Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18), then we won’t be trying to harvest the devil’s crops.

Jesus is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5; 2 Corinthians 11:2). He instructed us by saying, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

Paul follows that concept up with the idea of us eating at two different tables.

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? (1 Corinthians 10:21-22).

The exhortation for us today is to stay in Jesus’ field and live in full gratitude of His redemption. Let’s harvest on His land today. Our friends should not meet us on another field. No more planting, cultivating and reaping in the Devil’s field. That means keep our minds pure when we are on the internet and watching TV. Don’t be reaping in the Devil’s field. It means keep ourselves loyal to Christ in our business decisions and associations. Being in Jesus’ field means that we go to Him first for comfort, support and advice.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:7-9).

Have You Seen God?

Have you seen God? John was very plain in saying, “No one has seen God at any time.” Do you know what God looks like? Many have undergone the futile task of trying to imagine what God looks like. All kinds of paintings and sculptures have been done through the centuries, and those artistic works reflect the imagination of the artist. They do not reflect reality, because no one could even come close to describing the features of God. God is a Spirit (John 4:24). We see in Scripture that He has hands, eyes, and arms, but we also see God described as having wings. It is all figurative and descriptive.

We go back simply to the words of John, “No one has seen God at any time.” But then again, I ask the question, “Have you seen God?” I can with all certainty and conviction say most positively, “Yes!” I have seen God, face to face, because His image and heart is being reflected and lived out in His people.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit (1 John 4:11-13).

“If we love one another, God abides in us.” Did you see that? God is seen in His people. Christ is reflected in His body. I often preach and discuss the concept of “putting skin on” these Bible concepts. I didn’t come up with that, God did. Notice how John begins his gospel account in chapter 1,

And the Word became flesh (put skin on) and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (John 1:18).

See that phrase again? “No one has seen God at any time.” But Jesus put skin on, He became flesh and we saw God in the flesh. When you see Jesus in Matthew through John, you see God face to face. But Jesus doesn’t stop there. Not only do we see God in the face of Jesus, we now see God in the face of the people who walk with Him. Jesus develops His heart and His love within His people and then we reflect the face and nature of God in our lives. We become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Have you seen God? Well, if you like me have experienced the love of God lived out among His people then you can shout from the mountaintops with all confidence that you have seen God.

So who will be seen in our lives today? Will people see God through us? Do they hear God when we talk? Are we reflecting the image and glory of God in our relationships?

May God be seen in us today.

Everyone who is perfectly trained

And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher (Luke 6:39-40).

I’m working on some studies on the word “disciple” and how it is used in the Scriptures. Luke 6:40 always comes to mind when I think of the word “disciple,” but I want you to notice the previous verse in connection with it. We will get there in a minute.

What is a disciple?

A disciple is a student and follower of another. This implies some things: (1) that you recognize you want to learn something, and (2) that you go to someone you believe can teach you what you want to learn.

I believe a modern equivalent would be an apprenticeship relationship. A young man wants to be an electrician, so he is mentored by a experienced electrician. This is how Jesus learned to be a carpenter, He grew up in the house of a carpenter (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3).

Everyone who is perfectly trained

What is the end goal of a teacher-disciple relationship? Plainly stated, it is for the student to become just like his teacher. Keeping that in mind, go and research how many times the followers of Jesus are called “disciples” in the Scriptures. The whole point of following Jesus is to become like Him.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Please go back to Luke 6:39 now and consider what Jesus said just before the “disciple” statement in verse 40.

“Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?

Men, what if the teachers/masters we are following are blind leaders taking us into the ditch? Jesus said we will become just like them. Everyone who is perfectly trained by a blind leader will also become a blind leader and everyone ends up in the ditch.

Take inventory today, men, of who is teaching you and mentoring you. Who are the masters to whom you have made yourselves disciples? Where are they heading?

Finally, I will leave you with one verse as your plan of action for today:

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:7).