"DO NOT CAST YOUR PEARLS BEFORE SWINE"
By David J. Riggs
A. Jesus said, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to
serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Matt. 20:28
1. Jesus' disciples are also to be servants. Matt. 20:25-27
a. Through love, we are to serve one another. Gal. 5:13
b. We not only serve one another, but we serve the lost in
trying to lead them to salvation.
c. Also, as good Samaritans, we aid those who have
2. In our materialistic society where self-centeredness is the
rule of the day, Christians are to be different.
a. We are taught to be good neighbors, hospitable, kind,
courteous, and considerate of others.
3. We do not take these responsibilities lightly.
I. THERE IS ANOTHER SIDE. Matt. 7:6
A. As is often the case, there is another side regarding our
responsibilities as servants.
1. Sometimes Christians, in their eagerness to be kind and
compassionate, fail to recognize that God put limitations on
certain aspects of their discipleship.
2. It is not always good stewardship to expend the time and
energy to teach or to render assistance to those who
apparently are unworthy.
3. To aid or teach all people, regardless of whether they are
worthy or not, is not in keeping with the Lord's command.
4. We should not waste the things the Lord has entrusted to us.
B. We do not want the Lord's instructions in Matt. 7:6 to cause us
to excuse ourselves or to ignore our responsibilities.
II. LET US EXAMINE THE PRINCIPLE OF NOT GIVING THE HOLY TO DOGS OR
CASTING PEARLS BEFORE SWINE.
A. Of course, the words of Jesus are symbolical. We know that
people were not literally casting pearls before swine.
1. The meaning is easy to understand: "Do not persist in
offering what is sacred to those who have no appreciation
a. Also, Jesus shows that such efforts may only bring harm
to ourselves. Matt. 7:6b
b. Many people, not only do not appreciate spiritual things,
but belittle and rail against them.
c. And, not only that, some will persecute those who try to
bring the sacred things to them.
2. Thus, the "dogs" and "swine" here stand for these
unappreciative and evil people of the world.
a. "Dogs" are always spoken of in an unfavorable sense in
(1) Phil. 3:2 - The dogs here probably refer to the
Judaizers, the false teachers who were insisting on
circumcision in order to be saved.
(2) Rev. 22:15 - In this verse and along with Deut.
23:18, it appears that "dogs" refer to homosexuals.
3. That which is "holy" and the "pearls," of course, refer to
God's holy word. Also, it can refer to our spiritual
sacrifices which are offered to God.
a. A dog could care less whether his food came from the
altar or the garbage can.
b. The swine have no appreciation for the beauty and value
of pearls, and would simply trample them under his feet.
III. LET US EXAMINE SOME EXAMPLES OF THE PRINCIPLE APPLIED.
A. In John 6:1-14, Jesus feeds the five thousand.
1. The purpose of Jesus' miracle was twofold:
a. To feed the hungry people. Mark's account shows that
some of the people had followed Jesus for three days
without eating anything. Mark 8:1-2
b. To illustrate the more important spiritual bread, the
bread of life.
2. Sadly, the people were more interested in the physical bread
than the spiritual bread. John 6:26-27
a. In His discourse which followed, Jesus tried to show
them that He, Himself, was that spiritual bread which
came down from heaven. John 6:48-51
b. Jesus' words were not to be taken literally.
(1) As physical bread must be eaten and digested, so
the spiritual bread must be eaten and digested.
(2) It means to accept, appropriate, assimilate Him.
3. The people did not understand or appreciate what Jesus was
trying to teach them. John 6:60-61
a. As was often the case, Jesus did not tone down, or
apologize for, His words.
b. He refused to allow His efforts to be wasted on those
who had no appreciation for them.
c. From this point on, many disciples no longer followed
Him. John 6:66
(1) There is no indication that Jesus went chasing after
d. The Lord's true disciples continued to follow Him. John
4. Although Jesus had worked many miracles, there were those
who demanded that He provide more. Matt. 16:1
(1) They were testing Him and were not really
interested in what these signs signified about Jesus'
a. Jesus did not grant their request, but rather rebuked
them. Matthew 16:2-4
(1) Jesus did not come to perform miracles just to
satisfy people's curiosity or so that they could see
something unusual or spectacular . Luke 23:8-9
(a) Herod not only did not see a miracle, but he
didn't receive a single word from the Lord.
B. Jesus taught His disciples to move on when a city indicated its
lack of interest in the gospel. Matt. 10:11-15
1. Paul and his companions did likewise. Acts 13:44-52; 18:5-6
2. The writer of Proverbs added some wisdom along this line.
Prov. 9:7-8; 23:9
3. As we consider all these things, let us likewise not cast
our pearls before swine.
C. As we mentioned, the Lord's words in Matt. 7:6 also have their
application in the realm of benevolence.
1. All of us are stewards, overseeing certain possessions which
God has given to us. Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 4:1-2; 1 Peter
2. Our possessions can be looked upon as God's "pearls."
a. We must show wisdom and discernment as to how we
b. When people are unworthy of assistance, we are not to
give anything to them. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11
c. We should avoid the professional con-artists who travel
from church to church trying to defraud brethren of their
A. As we mentioned, let us not use Matt. 7:6 as an excuse to not
act when we really should.
1. Remember, we will all answer to God who knows our hearts.
2. Let us not stand before God having, through selfishness or
laziness, shirked our responsibility.
3. Jesus told us that we can "know them by their fruits." Matt.
4. We need to pray for wisdom. James 1:5-6
B. Let us, as Jesus commanded, not give what is holy to dogs, or
cast our pearls before swine.
1. There are times when the right thing to do is to say "No."
2. As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, let us
endeavor to learn when those times are.