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Shake the dust off your feet or be persecuted?
#1
So in the scriptures we see the following:

"whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet." Matthew 10:14

But we also see the Christians not doing this, but rather suffering persecution.

How does one discern what one should do out of the two?
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#2
Nigel Wrote:So in the scriptures we see the following:

"whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet." Matthew 10:14

But we also see the Christians not doing this, but rather suffering persecution.

How does one discern what one should do out of the two?


I think the important thing to consider when looking at Scripture is to first of all take into account the context. In this case for instance, it helps to look at the surrounding text, and there we see that Jesus had given a specific command to his recently called disciples:
5  These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.
6  But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7  And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
Matthew 10:5-7 (NKJV) 

This was prior to the great commission given by Christ, at a time when the Messiah prophesied in the Scripture was being presented to those who were acknowledged as God's covenant people. The miracles that He had been doing, and now the miracles that would be wrought at the hands of the twelve, would testify to Christ being the promised Messiah. Their rejection of their Messiah was to be met with the shaking off the dust of their feet, as was the custom of the Jews, who considered even the dust of the ground of the Gentiles to be utter polution. Doing so meaning to remove all trace of connection with the heathen that they were. In other words, Jesus was saying that those of the Jews who rejected His message, were to be considered as the heathen. Outside of the commonwealth of God's covenant people.
When we proclaim the Gospel message to unbelievers today, it is different in the sense that without doubt they are most definitely outside of the commonwealth of God's covenant people. Rather than exhorting those acknowledged as God's chosen people in the earth to receive their Messiah, we are proclaiming the Good News of being reconciled to God to those acknowledged as being excluded from His chosen people in the earth. As Paul says in Romans 11 that the Jews have been partially blinded until the fullness of the Gentiles have come in. Also he said similarly to the Ephesian church:

11  Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands--
12  that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:11-13 (NKJV) 

With all that said, I believe that distinction described in the text can be applied today, which in turn answers your original question. Tongue 
When we encounter those who are professing Christians, but in reality deny the Gospel or even proclaim and teach another gospel, these can be likened to the Jews who rejected Jesus at that time. These would come in all shapes and forms obviously, but when people claim to be within the commonwealth of God's people by faith, and yet reject the faith once for all delivered unto the saints through the apostles, they are those we should shake off the dust from our feet at. For instance take these texts as examples:

8  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Galatians 1:8-9 (NKJV) 

4  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5  deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1 Corinthians 5:4-5 (NKJV) 

18  This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,
19  having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,
20  of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
1 Timothy 1:18-20 (NKJV) 

On the other hand however, when we are proclaiming the Gospel to those who would themselves not consider they are of God's people, our approach is to be different. If we read through the majority of the book of Acts, it follows a similar pattern. Namely the apostles (especially Paul on his journeys) would remain in a place proclaiming and teaching the Gospel with great patience and perseverance, only moving on when pressured to do so by circumstances usually brought about by the unbelieving Jews.

To apply that to us as Christians today, I believe if we are in situations where we are amongst unbelievers in our daily lives, we are to continue in our efforts to proclaim the Gospel with patient endurance until the providence of God acting through our circumstances prevents us from doing so any longer. We never know who are His and who are not, but we have the promise of God's Word that all who are will come to Him (John 6:37). And the very saving faith that is given as the gift of God to the believer is delivered through the proclamation of the Words of Christ (Rom 10:17).

God bless,

John
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