Friday, May 13, 2011
Evangelizing: When Not To
Recently, we dug into the implications of Matthew 7:1-5 and how there is a command not to judge people based on superficial and hypocritical judgments. It was also clear that we are to judge only in a way that is correct and right and not just on mere appearances (John 7:24). We saw how the whole point of removing the log from our own eye was so that we could actually remove the speck from our brother’s eye. Correction is always needed in the Church. Shallow critiquing is another story. This is vital to the spiritual health of the Church and the growth of the individual Christian. We should always be ready to edify and be edified, or corrected, if need be.
The passage directly after this one is another one that I have honestly never really understood in the past. I kind of thought that I had an idea of what it could mean, but that was the extent of my confidence. Sometimes, passages like these ones give us the best opportunities to learn. Certain metaphors and key words rang some bells as to the possibilities behind this passage, but nonetheless I wanted to know for sure. Hopefully, it provides some insight to you as well and is helpful in some real areas in your life as it has to do with evangelism and handling of the Word of God among non-believers.
To start, let’s think about what evangelism is. It is sharing and proclaiming the Gospel to those who need it, right? Some people are better at evangelism than others. This should be clear given that evangelism is a gift given to us from God, along with other forms of Church edification, found in pastors, teachers, etc. Some are called by God to a specific function. On a general level, though, we should all be willing to share the Gospel when given the opportunity. As Peter says in chapter three of his first book, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
As Christians, there should be no doubt that we are to share the Gospel to anyone and everyone. Not everyone is called to make a full time “career” out of it, but everyone should be an obvious ambassador of Christ through their words, actions and character.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
We represent Christ and should always be doing so. Paul says this and then gives a quick shot at what the Gospel entails…that Christ became like someone who had sinned, even though he hadn’t. He did this so he could replace us on the cross and declare us righteous. Of course, all throughout Scripture this comes with repentance of sins and calling upon Christ as Lord in faith and obedience.
So, while we may not be able to travel around and evangelize the countryside, or go to another country as some people are called, we are most definitely called to be an ambassador of Christ, ready to share the good news. In fact, we already are ambassadors, so let’s not slough the implications of what that means when we behave or misbehave. It’s vital that we remember who our Master and Shepherd is.
With that in mind, what is the passage in question that we’ll dive into? Matthew 7:6. One verse. Lots to unpack.
Jesus warned us, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
What does this passage mean? Interestingly enough, it will be a great way to come off of the back of Easter Sunday, remembering what Christ accomplished on the cross. It will help put some of this in perspective. Christ was ministering in a period when the Mosaic Law ruled and Jews were very careful to do all that the law commanded. Unfortunately, many Jews were so particular about it that they ended up creating their own system of how the law should and should not be executed and upheld. They ended up creating a law apart from the law…rules of men, not of God. Many exemplified the epitome of legalism. This created hearts that were far from God, while their lips flapped with their long, glamorous, public prayers (Isaiah 15:8-9 & Mark 12:38-40).
Without going on too much of a tangent, let’s consider the Gentiles, essentially non-Jews, who made up the other crowd in Jesus’ day. To the Jews, they were considered dogs. They were unclean and unfit for anything holy. They were not a part of the chosen nation of Israel and they certainly did not live by the law of Moses, which made them clear scoundrels in the eyes of decent Jews. This is a common thought process that both the Jews and the Gentiles were aware of. The Gentiles knew that the Jews considered them dogs. It was a degrading term.
Another degrading term that could have been used was “pig”. Even today, if you called someone a pig, it wouldn’t have a positive, uplifting meaning to it, would it? Pigs in the Bible were typically referenced to in unclean, spiritually deprived conditions, like when Jesus sent the demons into a herd of pigs, or when the prodigal son ended up in the humble position of feeding a stranger’s pigs and then desired their slop because he had squandered his father’s inheritance and had no food or money (Luke 8 & 15). Pigs are dirty, sloppy, unclean animals. Additionally, Jews were not allowed to eat the meat of pigs because of its designation of being an unclean animal (Deut. 14:8). Again, the law ruled and pigs were off limits for anyone who knew the basics of Moses’ Law. To eat pork would have been a gross, egregious sin.
On the flipside, Jews were constantly referred to as sheep in Scripture. The Israelites were God’s chosen nation (Deut. 7:6) and He was their Chief Shepherd. Isaiah and Jeremiah referred to the nation of Israel as sheep who had gone astray and turned to their own way. They had listened to other shepherds (pastors and teachers) who had led them away from God’s commandments (Isaiah 53:6 & Jeremiah 50:6).
Again, the Jews understood themselves as sheep and God as their Shepherd. David’s famous Psalm, chapter 23, alludes to this type of relationship, clearly, “The Lord is my Shepherd…He makes me lie down in green pastures…He leads me beside still waters…Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
During Jesus’ ministry, this parallelism was not forgotten. John 10 gives us a great passage of Jesus talking to the Pharisees and other people standing around, relating himself as the Master Shepherd that oversees His sheep. Now, while the Old Testament prophets would often refer to Israel as a whole when using the sheep metaphor, Jesus now gets a little more specific with his use of the sheep metaphor and who His sheep really are. Since He is teaching the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law, which seemed blasphemous to many of the legalistic Jews, He is showing who his true sheep are. We will see this as we read into John 10 to set the scene for Matthew 7:6.
Jesus says in the first six verses in John 10:
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.”
There is a ton here that an entirely different sermon could be based on, so I will do my best to keep it short and simple, without filtering the richness of the text out of it. Jesus says a few things about himself. He is alluding to Himself and to others and to the sheep in a way that the Pharisees did not understand: 1) He is the shepherd of the sheep; 2) The sheep listen to His voice; 3) He calls His own sheep by name and leads them; 4) He goes before them and leads them because the sheep know his voice.
He says about anyone else who tries to get into the fold, other than through the gate, that they are a thief and a robber. Think about it if you were in their shoes. They all owned sheep more than likely. Owning animals was the way of life and survival. It was practically a form of currency back then. They all knew that robbers and thieves, like nowadays, do not usually walk through the front door, especially if there is someone standing there watching it. They will do whatever they can to sneak in from the back. They climb through bathroom windows and cut through the screen doors that don’t have lights on the back porches, right? Thieves and robbers are not invited. Alternatively, the shepherd is the authorized one that can enter through the gate and do what he pleases. The invitation is always open to him because it is his sheep pen.
He says about the sheep that are a part of his fold: 1) They listen to the Shepherd; 2) They follow him because they know the Shepherd’s voice; 3) They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from them because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice.
Since the Pharisees did not understand what Jesus was alluding to, or what he meant by this picture, he explains:
“Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
What do we see here? Jesus is the way to salvation. This is the constant teaching throughout the entire Bible. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, but through Jesus Christ, as recorded so clearly in John 14:6.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”
Again, the parallelism is clear here, too. Jesus is the Shepherd that laid His life down for the sheep…us! The hired hand is there to watch over the sheep, too, but he does not have a perfect interest in the sheep. Why? Because he is more concerned with his own interest. When he sees a wolf coming he is not willing to lay his life down for the sheep and fight it, or be taken in the sheep’s place. He runs! This could be a lazy or selfish pastor that is not ready for a serious attack on his flock, and, so, becomes disheartened and takes off at the first sign of adversity. This is precisely why the call to the pastorate is not just a job that people should consider with all others. It is a serious and specific call from God that comes with many difficulties. Only one called by God will be able to withstand the pressure of wolves and be able to discern the wolves in sheep’s clothing from the sheep (Matt. 7:15-20).
He ends with a statement that show that the sheep fold is not meant for Jews of national descent only: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
This is good news for us! John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them […]” Jesus has sheep that are not of the fold of Israel, but also of the Gentiles, which would be us! If you think about this for a moment, we should be completely humbled at the realization that not only were we lost creatures by default, but we would have normally been the outcasts of the chosen nation of Israel had Christ not come to offer himself to all people of every nation.
The other sheep not of this fold already were Gentiles that now had access to eternal life by placing their faith in Christ and repenting of their sins. The law was being fulfilled when Jesus came, just as the Abrahamic covenant was also being changed. The heart of the law, which was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength was found in obedience to Him. John MacArthur was keen to point out that this passage found in Matthew 22:37 is based on the law recorded in Deuteronomy. Multiple passages support it, but look at Deuteronomy 10:12-13:
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”
This basis of the law, to walk in obedience to the commands of God, has never changed. What God requires for external acts has changed, however. Circumcision is now no longer required, which was paramount since its conception at the covenant between God and Abraham in Genesis 17. Abstaining from pork and other animals that were off limits is now no longer prohibited. These were external issues that the Pharisees were good at, so while Jesus came with a new covenant, He did not come with a new law. If you look at the Ten Commandments you will see that those are still the very basis of most of the laws we see today.
Gentiles now had access to the Messiah, just as the Jews did. Romans 1:16 says that the Gospel “is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” What Jesus was teaching was the way to salvation, which was by repenting of sins, placing faith in Christ alone and being obedient to him as Lord and Master. What he condemned was hypocritical and shallow works of righteousness that were far from honoring God in obedience.
King Saul learned this the hard way when Samuel asked him: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
Jesus came to fulfill the law and make a way for the sheep of the other fold to be with him in his unified fold. Where we can really see this symbolism of dogs and sheep and Jews and Gentiles come to a head is in the interaction Jesus has with the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15. This woman came to Jesus in a panic. She needed His help desperately and apparently knew about Jesus’ power. She says in verse 22:
“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
This part may be difficult to understand at first as to why Jesus ignored her, but He knew exactly what He was doing. Remember, He knows people’s thoughts, which is how he knew exactly how to answer the Pharisees whenever they questioned Him. He also knew what this woman really needed to understand. Thus, he guides the conversation with his lack of words and then with his poignant words…
The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
What is going on here? First Jesus says that he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel (Jews, as indicated in Isaiah and Jeremiah). The woman persisted and knelt before the Messiah and begged for help. The next few lines perplex us the most, but knowing the symbolism now should help.
“It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
He is suggesting, rhetorically, that it wouldn’t be right to take what rightfully belonged to the Jews and just give it people who had no regard for the preciousness of the Jew’s God-given law. Digging deeper… The Jews, the chosen nation of Israel, were entrusted with God’s law. They were the recipients of God’s grace and mercy and his sacred commandments. Why would Jesus, or any Jew for that matter, just give some of the blessing to a dog who normally disdained Jewish law and had no regard for it?
The woman knew exactly what Jesus was saying and responded in a way that we would think clever, but really shows that Jesus had nailed the heart of the issue again by leading her to her response:
“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
The bread symbolizes the truth of God, or the sacred, holy things of God. Normally meant for the Jews, this woman admitted that she was indeed a dog and didn’t deserve to be fed the bread, but that even willing dog’s would eat what they could get from the table of the Master and His children. She placed herself in the humble position of admitting her place in a Godless society, but also admitted that she would still do what it took to get what she could from the truth of God. She also properly called Jesus, Lord. Jesus’ response seems to confirm her proper response: “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.” The translation here indicates that it was that very hour.
So, then, what about Matthew 7:6? If the sheep that Jesus laid down his life for are now no longer only Jews, but all who repent and place their faith in Christ, then who are the true pigs? Who are the true dogs? If Gentiles used to be the dogs and pigs, but are now potential sheep, then who is Jesus referring to when he says not to throw your pearls (or bread) before pigs and dogs, or else they will trample on them and turn and attack you? The results are being narrowed since it is no longer as broad as the whole group of Gentiles. These are specific types of people that Jesus warns us about.
First, the pearl. The pearl, like the bread, represents value. In the story of the Canaanite woman, the bread was life because it nourished the body. Jesus is the Bread of Life, right? He nourishes our spiritual life because he is the Word (John 1). The pearl is extremely valuable.
Matthew 13:45 says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
The Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, the pearl, is something that should never be treated like some old story or just another part of your collection of philosophy. If that’s all it is to you then you don’t really have a love for the truth and an understanding of salvation that moves you to repentance and faith in Christ. The kingdom of God, the salvation of your soul, is so precious and so beautiful that you do everything you can to live for it, to be obedient to God. When you finally come to a saving faith, you will be willing to give up everything for it. Many people in history and even today, lose their families and homes and means of survival for the sake of the Gospel…but it is worth it. When we die, we really just start living don’t we?
So, understanding the meanings behind who dogs are and what sheep are can help us understand Matthew 7:6. “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” The ESV says they may turn and attack you.
In John MacArthur’s commentary on this passage he is good to point out that the idea behind this passage is not to show contempt for the dogs and pigs; rather, it tells us to be wise in how to handle what is holy. He goes on to say that this was the very reason that Jesus did not perform miracles in his hometown in Matthew 13:58: “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”
You see, he didn’t spend his time performing miracles (throwing the pearls) for people who didn’t believe him in the first place. Their minds were made up about him. They had rejected Jesus as the Messiah, so Jesus was not going to carelessly share His power with them only to be rejected more. We shouldn’t constantly suggest Biblical principles to people who we know will only use that chance to tear the Bible and yourself to pieces. If they have already and clearly rejected the God of the Bible and infallibility of God’s Word, then why put the holy things of God on the table to be purposely chopped up and attacked.
I remember specific times in elementary school as a young kid where I felt like I needed to correct someone who used God’s name in vain. I knew that the person was not a believer and that they were purposely swearing. When I told them that they shouldn’t use the Lord’s name in vain, do you think they allowed themselves to be corrected? Nope! They would oftentimes just swear louder and more often just to spite me. They were mocking God on purpose. I almost expected it, but it still hurt and I thought I had to “stand up for the right thing”. While my heart was in the right place, it was not necessary for me to try and correct an unbeliever when they don’t even have a saving faith in the first place. It doesn’t even make sense, does it?
Remember the context of Matthew 7:6. It comes right after we learn that we need to remove the log from our own eye in order that we can remove the speck from our brother’s eye. Correction is a must. If we heard another professing Christian take the Lord’s name in vain, then you better believe we should say something. That’s like not correcting a calculus professor when he tells you that 1+1=3. The fruit of a person will reveal whether they are true believers or not and the Holy Spirit will help us know how to handle these different situations.
Let’s also be clear of one thing… Just because Gentiles were typically referred to as dogs, that doesn’t mean that they were never to have the Gospel shared with them. Philippians 3:2 says “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.” These evil dogs were actually the Judaizers who still had no faith in Christ for salvation. They taught a works-based salvation. They still taught that circumcision was necessary for salvation, hence the mutilators of the flesh picture. These were the people that Jesus is warning us about to not throw pearls to. The dogs were now considered the God-rejecters that could be in any nation. They were not just Gentiles anymore. Interesting how the true sheep and the true dogs have different meanings now, isn’t it?
Let me illustrate a point. Would it make sense to tell a bunch of drunks that drunkenness is a sin because the Bible says so? Of course not. Even when they’re sober it won’t mean a thing to them if they haven’t first placed their faith in Christ and repented of their sins. That is when living a life of holiness becomes important to us.
This doesn’t mean we never share the Bible with anyone and help someone see their need to repent of sins and place their faith in Christ, but it does show us that we need to be discerning in who we continue to share with. Sometimes we are just to shake the dust off of our feet because we have done our part in evangelism and the rest is the work of the Holy Spirit, whether or not they come to a saving faith.
If you think this sounds strange, that we would ever come to a point where we should slow down or stop pursuing someone in the desire to see them get saved, then look at Jesus’ specific commands to the disciples right before He ascended to Heaven. He was commissioning them to go evangelize to the world. In Matthew 10 and Luke 9 we have a fascinating glimpse of what he wanted it to look like.
Both gospels say that the disciples were told not to bring anything on their journey…not any money (gold, silver, or copper), bags, extra sandals, extra tunics, or extra staffs. Since their only means of travel was by foot or by boat, this was an incredible commission that would require a lot of faith on the part of the disciples. It would require nothing but belief in the one who sent them…and that’s exactly the point. They were going to go only with the power of the Holy Spirit that was to come, their knowledge of the Old Testament and the teachings they were given from the Lord Jesus Christ that fulfilled it all.
Notice what Jesus tells them about how to handle people, found in Luke 9:5: “If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
Shaking the dust off of your feet was a visible way of ridding yourself of the problem or responsibility of a situation, just like when you “wash your hands” of something. The most poignant example of washing hands of responsibility was when Pilate washed his hands in front of the people, regarding the condemnation of Jesus, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves” (Matt 27:24). To him, the concern was no longer his, although it was really a cheap way out of his own political condemnation of a raucous crowd if he didn’t do what they wanted.
Let’s go to Matthew’s account of what Jesus told the disciples. He said that if they found a house that was worthy then they should stay there until they left. Then:
“As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
Wow! Well, in case you’re wondering if the apostles or disciples actually did this…they most certainly did. Acts 13 is an incredible passage that details Paul giving a very compelling sermon, sharing the Gospel and Jesus’ resurrection with the town of Antioch, in Pisidia. There are a few vital things that need to be noticed. Vital.
Notice the various reactions of the crowds to Paul’s message. The first reaction is that of great rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord. These were the Gentiles! Notice the end of verse 48: “as many as were appointed to eternal life believed”. This is perhaps one of the most clear texts of Scripture revealing God’s sovereignty in salvation. It is always from His initiation and calling. His plan of predestination and election is also a constant theme throughout Scripture and we simply cannot avoid it. Whether or not you believe the doctrine of election will completely change your view and philosophy of evangelism to the core, which I will touch on briefly in a moment.
The second reaction we see is that of certain Jews who stirred up a bunch of influential people in the city and drove them out of the district. Obviously, they were not among those who were appointed to believe that day, maybe forever, maybe just not yet, but salvation was not meant for them that day. They rejected the Gospel message with a vengeance.
Now, Paul is very aware of the doctrine of election and God’s sovereignty in it. He did not dumb down his message and make it easier to believe or easier to understand. He didn’t leave out any offensive parts that are hard to accept. If people are meant to believe it, then they will. Paul’s job, as is ours, is to teach and preach the Gospel as it is, withholding nothing, and then let the Holy Spirit do its thing. Paul and Barnabas did what Jesus instructed and “shook the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.”
What is extremely rampant among our very own churches today is the constant acquiescing to culture and non-believers for the way the preaching is formed in our churches. What does that mean? We are so determined to “reach the world for Jesus” in our attempts at being “missional” that we do whatever it takes to help them understand and accept it. If we see a slight hint of interest from someone about something related to God or the Bible then we call it salvation. If they are willing to say they want to love the way Jesus did and help make the world a better place then we think they are finally a Christian. Missions is important, but there are far too many churches that seek to be missional, while doing nothing more than what the seeker-sensitive churches do, which is cater to the unbeliever by making the Gospel palatable. This is dangerous, wrong and only makes someone who is headed for destruction, comfortable. It’s one of Satan’s classic tricks. Unfortunately, I feel that many people do this without realizing it.
Look, it is counter intuitive, in light of Scripture, to do what EVER you can to convince people to “love God”. Shallow views, easy-believism, false converts and stagnant churches are all products of getting this whole concept wrong. People often mistake moralism for a saving faith. The unadulterated Gospel will produce fruit and it will turn people away in disgust. That’s why 1 Peter 2 explains how Jesus is precious to some and a stumbling block to others. He is a precious cornerstone to those who believe and a rock that causes some to fall because they disobey the message.
Why can’t we accept this? Why can’t we stop taking it personally that people don’t like our church because we preach repentance of sins and salvation is found in Christ alone? A faithful church, pastor, laymen, student of the Bible, or whoever, will get both rejoicing believers and cynical God-haters when they present the un-watered down Gospel. Any pastor or believer who thinks that they can contend for the faith without hurting anyone’s feelings and without causing people not to like them is just plain wrong and their ministry has a huge hole in its theology.
For those who reject the message of Jesus Christ and want to continue wallowing in the mud, returning to their vomit (2 Peter 2:22)…stop casting your pearls to them.
We must be willing to share the Gospel as we have the chances to do so, but we must be careful not to dumb it down to a palatable, bite-sized, sugar-coated candy drop. God works through the preaching of the word, of which faith comes by hearing it (Romans 10:17).
For those who reject the word and the God of the Bible, don’t be personally offended or afraid that you didn’t do something right just based on their rejection. Not everyone is appointed to eternal life and not everyone will believe. For those who aren’t, they are willingly so, and thus, held responsible for their rejection. While we should be sad by this rejection, we shouldn’t continually put the holy word of God up in a vain attempt to convince them over and over again. As Titus 3:10 says: “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.”
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
As with anything, the Holy Spirit will give us discernment as we spend time in His word, as to who the pigs and dogs are in our life who we shouldn’t be throwing our pearls to. Some people will be worth pursuing because they haven’t outright rejected the Gospel, but some may need to be left alone. Some people will resist the Gospel and then come to accept it later. We don’t know how God is working in everyone’s life exactly. Always be ready to share the Gospel. Always be willing to move on if the Holy Spirit prompts. We don’t know who God’s elect are, so we need to be ready, either way, to be used as the Lord intended, for His glory.