Introduction: In our last lesson we learned that Jesus has power to forgive and cleanse us. In this lesson we will learn about one aspect of our lives that Jesus wants to cleanse.
1. Why did God ask the Israelites to build Him a sanctuary? Ex. 25:8 [Note: God’s real throne is in the sanctuary in heaven, but He manifested His presence in the earthly sanctuary (and temple) so that His people might realize His nearness. The Further-study verses are Ps. 11:4; Heb. 8:1, 2; 2 Chron. 6:18, 12; 7:1.]
2. What was one of the first things Jesus did after beginning His earthly ministry? John 2:14-17 [Ans. He cleansed the temple.]
3. At the end of Jesus’ ministry He again cleansed the temple. But because the religious leaders and people refused to keep the temple spiritually clean, God deserted it and it was soon destroyed. Although that temple no longer exists, does God still have a sacred dwelling place on earth? 1 Cor. 6:19, 20 [John 14:23]
4. In the New Testament, the Christian church and the Christian himself are called temples, because God desired to dwell within both. What will God do if we defile or destroy His temple? 1 Cor. 3:16, 17 [John 2:19, 21]
5. What is one way that Daniel believed his body-temple could be defiled? Dan. 1:8, 12 [1 Cor. 9:25, 27]
6. What was the original diet God created for human beings? Gen. 1:29 [Gen. 9:3, 4; 7:2]
7. Man’s original diet for the first 1656 years was of fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables; and the average lifespan was 912 years! When vegetation was destroyed by the flood, God gave permission for the people to eat animal flesh. He had made provision for this by bringing extra of the “clean” animals into the ark. Why did God prohibit the Israelites from eating “unclean” animals? Deut. 14:2. What are some of these “unclean” creatures? Verses 3-20 [1 Peter 2:9; Lev. 11:1-47]
8. Some people, by misapplying Scripture, have suggested that these health laws from our Creator were only for the Jews (though Gentile bodies are really no different!). Paul’s counsels on health were to the Gentiles (e. g., 1 Cor. 6:10, 19, 20; 10:31). How, and when, will God judge those who rebel against Him by defying His health laws? Isa. 66:15-17 [Rev. 21:27].
9. Besides eating “unclean” meat, what is another way we can defile the body? Prov. 23:29-33 [Note: In Bible times, wine meant grape juice–either fermented or fresh. Here it says, “Do not look on the wine when” it turns “red” and “swirls . . . smoothly.” In other words, do not drink grape juice (or any other juice) after it has fermented. 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Prov. 20:1]
10. Although cigarettes were not yet “invented” in Bible times, does not tobacco defile the body? [Note: Deut. 29:18 warns against a “poisonous herb”–KJV margin.]
11. How does Paul summarize the way we are to treat our body-temples? 1 Cor. 10:31 [1 Thess. 5:23]
12. What has God promised people who obey Him? Ex. 15:26 [Note: Though at times we may have infirmities which God does not choose to heal (see 2 Cor. 12:7-9), yet by following God’s counsels we will have better health, and nothing will happen to us but what is for our best good; and ultimately we will be perfectly healed when Jesus restores His kingdom! 3 John 2]
Commitment: Today Jesus is asking us to respect our body-temples so that we may have clearer minds and better health, and may be able to render Him more faithful service. Will you ask Him to give you power over everything that tends to defile the body?
Notes: There are some texts which, when taken out of context, could be “twisted to our own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). Jesus said that “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth” (Matt. 15:11). But Jesus was not talking about food. He was not contradicting Scripture. The Pharisees He was addressing were not questioning food at all, but their human tradition of ritual washing before eating (verses 2, 20). Peter certainly did not understand Jesus to be changing the health laws, for years later he was given a vision of “all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean'” (Acts 10:12-14). Perhaps there were lizards, cats, tigers, vultures, snakes, dogs-we probably would have asked to be excused too! But the vision was symbolic. Peter knew that. After the vision he “wondered within himself what the vision meant” (verse 17). And then he was “shown” that he “should not call any man common or unclean” (verse 28). The Jews called the Gentiles unclean dogs, but the time had come to take the gospel to these Gentiles. Read the whole account in Acts 10:9 to 11:18. Romans 14:2 says that “He who is weak eats only vegetables.” Meat was offered to idols, and those who were weak in the faith still superstitiously avoided food offered to idols. See 1 Cor. 8:4-11.
STEP 1 (Lessons 1-10): Believing in Christ Our Savior and Coming King
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