Lesson 2 – Interdependent Relationships

Interdependent Relationships

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs.  If you do they will trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.  Matt. 7:6


This is another command of Jesus about an issue where everyone knows what we ought to do but we don’t always do it.  Consequently, in this lesson we will seek to understand why Christians may give in to sin.  The sin Jesus identified happens when Christians give up the values of the life principles of God’s kingdom in order to be socially acceptable with people who are living in Satan’s kingdom.    Mankind’s need for social acceptance is a God given need.  Mankind broke covenant with God in the Garden of Eden and got the capability of awareness.  God sent Jesus to help us in our “awareness state.”  We need His teaching to increase our awareness of how to attain satisfaction for our innate needs.  However, the knowledge capability we attained because Adam broke covenant and “the privilege of choice” God gave mankind to develop as His children requires wisdom from God.  Mankind’s relationship to Adam is how we have the knowledge of good and evil as a part of our mental faculties (Gen. 3:22).  In the context of the mature man “in Adam,” the Apostle Paul said:

For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  Rom. 7:19, 20

Jesus probably did not have Peter’s denial of being one of His disciples in mind when He said, “do not give what is sacred to dogs.”  Still, we cannot help but feel the “tearing and trampling” that took place in Peter’s mind, conscience and heart.  This happened after he gave up his pearls to avoid the “wrath of the pigs” (Luke 22:62).  Peter did not plan to or want to sin, but he did (Luke 22:33).

Peter’s refusal to eat with the Gentiles after James and other Jewish Christians came to Antioch may be better in line with Jesus’ principle in our text (Gal. 2:11-14).  The principle is this:  When people lower their standards to get social acceptance from people who do not live by those standards, they get trampled.  Instead of getting what they sought – friends; they become disillusioned.  Their emotions of friendship get trampled.  The parable of the lost son is a good example.  This story had a happy ending, but most do not.  The intent of that lesson was to show how our loving Heavenly Father is always waiting for us to repent, ask for forgiveness and return to the state of holiness (Luke 15:11-32).

Every disciple of Jesus is a student of the Bible.  Disciples are learners.  Every learner of the Bible is at the same time an interpreter.  When interpreters do literary analysis of a block of scripture there is one question foremost in our minds.  Why did the author say what he said right here in this scripture? And then, how does this block, or teaching, function in the total document?  Rarely does a block of scripture stand alone when it is placed in the body of a document.  These are the questions we need to contemplate about our text when we seek to understand ourselves “in Adam, in Christ.”  I Cor. 15:22.


Generally, a paragraph or block of scripture will relate to what has been said before and after its placement.  If this is the case with our text, it could be a continuation of our study about the terrible habit of judging?  If Jesus was adding our text to His lesson about judging, we might come to the conclusion that Christians, who judge others, may also be prone to throw our “pearls to pigs.”  The question is, what did “pearls” represent in Jesus’ analogy?  Since He used pearls in a parallel analogy with sacred, we understand He is talking about the possibility of a Christian entering into an unholy relationship with a person, or persons, who are not Christians.  Mature people who are not Christians are the dogs and pigs in Jesus’ analogy.  In fact, they may claim to know God but like Paul told Titus:

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.  In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.  They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.  They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.  Titus. 1:15, 16

Paul described people in Crete who had given up their holiness and pearls.  This could have happened in their adolescent years during the maturing of their minds and consciences.  Children are holy.  They enjoy the “pearl of great price,” they belong to the kingdom of God (Luke 18:15-17; Matt. 13:45, 46).  However, in the adolescent years people mature in mind and conscience.  They become sinners and become separated from their previous state (Rom. 5:12).  God has arranged for all of them to be born again in order to regain what they lost because they relate to Adam (John 1:12, 13; Acts 17:26-28).  Those people in Crete who claimed “to know God” may have been born again; however, they had “fallen from grace” at the time Paul wrote to Titus.

For the sake of civility, we must keep in mind that Jesus used the words, pigs and dogs, in the context of an analogy.  Analogy, in this context, means there is a resemblance in some particulars between things otherwise unlike.  Jesus never classified or treated people as animals.  However, it is very important that we catch His point about the “unlikeness” of people who are citizens of the kingdom of God and those who are in the kingdom of Satan (Acts. 26:18).  We can start with dark and light (John 3:20, 21): Free and the yoke of slavery (Gal. 5:1): Life and death (John 5:24): The Spirit of God and the spirit of the antichrist: The Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood (I John 4:2, 3, 6).  Then there are the covenant keepers and covenant breakers; otherwise, identified as vessels of mercy and vessels of wrath (Rom. 9:22-24).  There are the insiders and outsiders of the church (I Cor. 5:12).  There are those who live by the Spirit and are themselves, the fruit of the Spirit.  The other people are those who will not inherit the kingdom of God because they, themselves, are the result of their sinful nature (Gal. 5:16-26).

Please note, there are no grey areas in Jesus’ thinking or teachings.  Mr. In-Between does not exist in His mind.  He spoke only of a narrow way and a broad gate (Matt.7:13, 14).  He identified fruit as either being good or bad, but said nothing about an “in between.”  His final point in His Sermon on the Mount is that people will stand or fall in the storms that they encounter.  It will be one or the other.  There will be no one left “leaning.”  Just “hanging on” is not a third dimensions in Jesus’ thought process.  The purpose of the Hebrew document was to warn those Christians who might have been in danger of “drifting away.”  Heb. 2:1.  They needed to “approach the throne of grace with confidence.”  Heb. 4:16.  The final warning to these Hebrew brethren was to do the will of God.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.  Heb. 10:35, 36

God has always kept a clear line between those who are His people and those who are not His people.  During the flood there were eight souls in Noah’s Ark.  The multitudes outside died.  The Ark did not carry life boats; consequently, their salvation depended on remaining inside.  There were those people who were blessed with faithful Abraham and the Gentiles, who were without God (Eph. 2:11-13).  Jesus came to make God’s “line in the sand” even more clearly defined.  Christians are either the “salt of the earth” or we are “no longer good for anything.”  Of course, we can repent unless we digress to the “Esau level.”  Heb. 6:4-6; 12:16, 17.  We must stop judging others and become their light for the removal of the “specks” from their lives.

With these thoughts in mind, let us consider why Christians might give into the forces of Satan.  The following is an excerpt from Part I, Lesson one.

A.  First, we will need to be aware of the influence of what God has designed within the creation of each newborn baby.  The spirit of all human beings come from God and their bodies come from the substance of the earth (Gen. 2:7; Eccl. 12:7; Acts 17:26).  Added to the spirit and the body are inherent features, such as capabilities and needs.  All of these affect the development of various personality and character traits in people.  The following comes with the new born baby:

  1. Varying amounts of intelligence.  We may or may not all be created equal in every aspect.  We understand people do have varying degrees of intelligence. 
  2. The physical attributes are basically inherited: color, form, hair texture, and etc.
  3. Our needs, or urges, for food, security, sex, sociability, achievement and glory are all “built in.”  We do not need to learn or adopt these urges.
  4. A baby is born with certain capacities.  They have the capacity and freedom to choose, to imagine and the will to act.  As they mature there is evidence of the function of their conscience.  They have the God-given capacity to examine themselves.  Since all people in all places and at all times have these characteristics, we can say they are inherent – they are God installed by the act of His design of mankind.  End of excerpt.

God, our Father, Jesus Christ, our Lord, and our friend and associate, the Holy Spirit, are all ready and willing to help every human being to attain satisfaction for the way God created us through Jesus Christ (Matt. 6:25-34; I Cor. 8:6; II Cor. 13:14).  However, they will not fellowship willful sinners (Heb. 10:26).  They will fellowship “justified sinners.”  They will help Christians but we must seek, knock and ask for God’s kingdom and His righteousness.  Christians are slaves to God’s righteousness (Rom. 6:18).  Please note how the scriptures that follow our text relate and carry the thought forward:

Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.  For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.

Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone?  Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will give him a snake, will he?

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! 

Therefore whatever you want others to do for you, do so for them, for this is the law and the prophets.  Matthew 7:7-12

We recognize Jesus’ declaration in verses 7-11 could apply to any one of our worthwhile goals.  In fact, there are many applications that can be made with the principles of life Jesus has set forth in this great sermon as Luke has shown us in his gospel.  However, it appears Jesus applied this block of scripture to our innate needs for social acceptance with other people.  This assumption is based on verse twelve.  All people are born with a strong need for social acceptance.  Observe a new born baby and observe how they start seeking, knocking and asking for acceptance into the family.

Those sweet innocent smiles are one of the baby’s tools to engage others.  After some growth they will do all kinds of tricks in order to satisfy their need for achievement and attain social acceptance.  When their parents and other family members accept and applaud their achievements, they get satisfaction for their need for glory.  Glory is a very strong urge that relates to the inner man, the part that lives eternally.  If the child’s needs for physical and emotional security are adequately satisfied, he or she will be a happy child.  And so their life goes.  Their learning experiences will develop the person they are in adulthood.

Mankind is a social being.  We do desire the acceptance of other beings, even if sometimes we do not act like we do.  Children, themselves are holy.  They are jewels, that is, treasures for parents who assist them in their continual efforts to find satisfaction for their innate needs.  Parents especially need to school them properly in their passive learning years by setting good examples for them.  The adolescent years can be a very difficult period for youth who have not had the benefit of a healthy Christian home.

Jesus could have been directing His cautions in our text to maturing youth.  It is in these years so many give up their holiness in order to attain the social acceptance of Jesus’ analogy of dogs.  They attempt to share their pearls with the swine.  Those who suffer with inferiority complexes are easy prey for their peers who do not appreciate holiness and the kingdom of God.  Our next lesson will be developed especially for them so they can avoid the “adolescent trap” that Satan’s world society has developed.

Let us continue to examine the scripture in Matthew 7:6 in the light of what Jesus taught before and after this text.  Please note that Christians, as well as children, have something to give up.  People cannot give up what they have never had.  We are the sons of God.  We have something holy.  We have the pearls.  We must recognize that just as real dogs and swine do not appreciate treasures over and above garbage, people who have not developed according to the law of life will not appreciate spiritual and holy things (Eph. 4:17-19).  It is not to say, they desire to be offensive or hurt others.  They just don’t know Jesus (Matt. 7:23).  They have been seeking the satisfaction of their innate needs in Satan’s kingdom of darkness.  They live in an environment where sin reigns over the spiritually dead.  Money is their source for security.  They are the covenant breakers who are identified as “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.”  Jesus’ aim for Christians is for them to be salt and light.

However, we must not miss the grave warning from Jesus.  He knows Christians desire social acceptance.  His warning is that we cannot maintain social acceptance with people who do not appreciate the kingdom of God and His righteousness unless we give up our appreciation of and the state of sainthood.  If we make the choice to give up God’s kingdom and His righteousness, then what are we more than they?  Dogs will chew up expensive clothing as quickly as they will a bundle of rags.  A hog will trample a pearl necklace into the mud while looking for another bite of garbage.  In the same way when Christians offer their holiness of a Christian personality to carnal minded people Jesus has told us what to expect.  They will not appreciate the sacred things of life and the kingdom of God.  In fact, they will want to defame and eliminate them because they expose their sinfulness (John 3:19-21).

When Christians try to fellowship carnal minded people for satisfaction of our social needs, it will not be attained.  Satisfaction is found only in primary relationships.  Christians must have secondary relationships with people in the world because this is our physical address (I Cor. 5:10).  However, secondary relationships will not provide satisfaction for peoples’ social needs.

Fellowship with primary relations is what Paul and the Christians in Philippi enjoyed.  They were partners in sharing the gospel, that is, they had common goals.  They had a common hope in the blessings their goals would provide for themselves and others.  They struggled together to achieve their goals (Philippians 1:3-8, 29, 30).  As faithful Christians we have spiritual goals for the satisfaction of our higher needs of glory, honor and immortality (Matt. 6:25; Rom. 2:7).  Mature people who are not faithful Christians must seek the satisfaction for their needs in the physical world; therefore, Christians and other people can never enjoy primary relationships. People in the world can have primary relations with one another because they have common goals.

Christians must understand that social acceptance is not possible.  But what happens if Christians persists in seeking social involvement?  Since it is not possible for the carnal person to know and appreciate the holy pearls in our possession they will not give up their present condition.  The only ones who can “give up” something are Christians.  They can drop their kingdom standards and go down to swine hood so that the two parties can have a social involvement.  For a very short time it may appear we have gained our goal.  But no, that will not work because after we have given up the things of the kingdom for swine hood we find we have lost the status of holiness.

We will no longer possess the pearl of great price (Matt. 13:44-46).  We will feel cheated by the one we thought we wanted to be involved with socially.  We will feel as if we have been robbed.  From the other persons view we are no longer the person they once knew and they may no longer be interested in us socially.  We will have been trampled and torn.  We will have lost all – our holiness, the kingdom of God within us.  We will have given up everything and for what?  All we would have received was a broken heart and crushed spirit.  The result is even more devastating because we will have a guilty conscience.  Our guilt may drive us deeper into Satan’s world if we do not repent quickly.

The Apostle Peter may have had the foregoing scenario in mind when he wrote his second letter (II Pet. 2:20-22).  If for the sake of attaining a spouse for marriage was the reason this Christian gave up their holiness and the kingdom they often do not return to the Lord.  They will soon come to realize they are bound together with an unbeliever.  Let the record show that most Christians do not recover their holiness and pearls of the kingdom when this happens.

Christians love our enemies.  (The Greek word for love in this case is agape and not phileo.)  We desire to help the lost find their way back to God.  We want to help the down trodden, but we cannot have a social involvement with anyone in a carnal state.  We can only help them out of that state by refusing to lower our standards.  They must accept God’s kingdom and His righteousness before a social involvement is possible.  Some people will never come out and Christians must never, never go back into their old habitats in Satan’s kingdom.

 The Apostle Paul gave a very clear message on this same line of thought:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?  What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God.  As God has said:  ‘I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.

Therefore, come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.  Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”  II Cor. 6:14-18

Questions for Discussion

  1. What is the sin Jesus identified in the text?
  2. Explain why the knowledge capability mankind attained in Adam and our freedom of choice requires wisdom from God.
  3. How does the parable of the prodigal son serve to illustrate the principle in the text?
  4. If our text relates to the scripture that precedes it why might inferiority complexes need to be understood?
  5. Why might we assume Jesus is speaking about a Christian seeking fellowship with a mature person in the world realm?
  6. How should Jesus’ use of dogs and swine be understood?
  7. Write a short paragraph that summarizes the condition of mature people outside Christ.
  8. Explain why a Christian might turn back to the environment you just described in the world.
  9. How did God clarify the line between His people and others?
  10. What motivates all people to seek, knock and ask from their environment?
  11. How do young children illustrate this motivation?
  12. Who are the people who have something to give up?
  13. Explain the main reason a carnal minded person cannot have a primary relationship with a Christian.
  14. Describe the condition of a Christian after they sought to attain a primary relationship with a person “in Adam” in the world realm.
  15. If the primary relationship they sought was marriage would this make everything work out for a happy home on earth and then a happy home in heaven?

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