Introduction: In Lesson 6 we learned that our bodies are temples “of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19). We need clear minds so God can effectively communicate to us, and we need healthy bodies with which to serve Him properly. As with money and time, God has made us stewards of our body-temples. The principles of healthful living are set forth in the Bible, but because ours is a special generation that God wants to translate, and because this generation is facing health problems that have never existed before, God has given us special health counsels through Ellen White. To shed light on the Bible, we will quote from her books, The Ministry of Healing (MH) and Counsels on Diet and Foods (CD). Not all these principles are standards for church fellowship–some are ideals to grow into.
1. Why is God holding off earth’s final disasters? Rev. 7:1-3 [The Further-study verse is Mal. 3:2, 3]
2. What will the church be like when Jesus returns? Eph. 5:25-27 [Rev. 19:7, 8]
3. Therefore, to be acceptable, how should we present our bodies to God? Rom. 12:1, 2 [1 Cor. 10:31]
4. To what extent is God concerned about our physical health? 3 John 2 [Ex. 15:26]
5. How should we live if we hope to win the “imperishable crown”? 1 Cor. 9:24-27 [1 Peter 2:9]
6. What do the Scriptures say about wine? Prov. 20:1 [Note: The immediate effect of intoxicating drink is to deaden the conscience and distort reasoning. It has destroyed millions of lives and homes–surely it is not of heavenly origin. Jesus refused even to taste vinegar upon the cross, and the wine He used for communion was “new” (unfermented) wine. The Adventist Church believes in total abstinence from alcoholic beverages. This applies also to mind-altering drugs, except for true medical purposes. Tobacco, tea, and coffee contain addictive drugs and poisons, and must be given up before baptism. “Tobacco is a slow, insidious, but most malignant poison. In whatever form it is used, it tells upon the constitution …. Can you as Christians indulge a habit that is paralyzing your intellect and robbing you of power rightly to estimate eternal realities?” “Tea and coffee do not nourish the system…. What seems to be strength is only nervous excitement…. These nerve irritants … wear away the life forces.” MH 327, 329, 326. Rom. 6:3, 6, 16; 2 Peter 1:6 KJV; Matt. 27:34; 26:29; Prov. 23:29-33; Isa. 28:7; Gal 5:19-21; 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Hosea 4:11; Lev. 10:9-11]
7. What is another area of intemperance that Solomon warns about? Prov. 23:2, 19-21 [Note: We should not overeat even of good food. Rom. 8:12-14; Matt. 4:4]
8. What balancing counsels about work does God give? Prov. 6:6; 23:4 [Note: God wants us to be balanced–neither lazy nor “workaholics.” Matt. 6:31-34; Ex. 20:8-11; 2 Thess. 3:10-13; 1 Tim. 6:8; 5:8]
9. What was God’s original diet for mankind? Gen. 1:29 [Note: While vegetarianism is not a test of church fellowship, it is a goal toward which to work for “Flesh was never the best food; but its use is now doubly objectionable, since disease in animals is so rapidly increasing.” MH 313. In most countries, modern transportation and refrigeration make it unnecessary to include flesh in the diet. Moreover, “Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away.” “God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design,–that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth.” CD 380. Dan. 1:8-20]
10. What does the Bible say about honey as part of one’s diet? Prov. 24:13; 25:16, 27 [Note: Just as “It is not good to eat much honey,” so it is not good to eat much sugar. “Far too much sugar is ordinarily used …. Especially harmful are the custards and puddings in which milk, eggs, and sugar are the chief ingredients.” There are other refined foods that, especially when eaten to excess, tend to weaken our bodies. “Fine-flour bread”, for example, “is lacking in nutritive elements to be found in bread from the whole wheat.” MH 301, 300]
11. Into what kind of environment did God place our original parents? Gen. 2:15 [Note: “The Creator chose for our first parents the surroundings best adapted for their health and happiness.” MH 261. Exercise in nature promotes health of body and soul.]
12. What disposition leads to health? Prov. 17:22 [Note: This is that joyful, happy, inner peace that comes from Christ. John 14:27; 15:11]
13. Can healthful living earn us a place in heaven? What do you think should be our motive for healthful living? Eph. 2:8-10 [2 Cor. 5:14; Titus 2:11-14]
Commitment: Keeping our body-temples in health involves the proper use of “pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, . . . diet, . . . water, [and] trust in divine power.” MH 127. Will you dedicate your body-temple to God for His service? Will you invite the Holy Spirit to teach you how to preserve your health, preparing you to meet Jesus at His coming?
STEP 3 (Lessons 21-30): Becoming Part of Christ’s Remnant People