The Temple of God

Posted on 08/01/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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King of Kings and Lord of Lords
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King of Kings and Lord of Lords
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I will bless the Lord at all times
I will bless the Lord at all times
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To him who sits on the throne
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To him who sits on the throne
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Be blessing and glory
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Be blessing and glory
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Are you thankful today that the Spirit of God, holy and perfect, has chosen your body as his temple? You may or may not have thought about that very much. I think a lot of us, if not most of us, barely give it a second thought.

Today, for the next few minutes, let's look at this together. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV) says this:

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

You are not your own. You were bought at a price. You have been redeemed. We live in our bodies, but they are the temple of God.

I think all too often, we treat our bodies as though they are a vacation home for the Holy Spirit but the temple of ourselves. After all, a temple is a holy place, a place that is set aside, dedicated, consecrated for the worship of a god. If someone lives in a temple, they must do so with great reverence, making sure their presence there in no way desecrates that holy place. They must keep it clean, keep it consecrated, do absolutely nothing there that would detract from its purpose and its fitness to that purpose, which centers around its deity for which it is set apart.

A temple of the Holy Spirit can belong to no sinful, mortal man. It belongs to God. It is set aside, dedicated, consecrated for the worship of God. You live in God's temple. You should do so with great reverence, making sure your presence and activities there in no way desecrate that holy place. You should keep it clean, keep it consecreated, do absolutely nothing there that would detract from its purpose and its fitness to that purpose, which centers around the Holy Spirit of God, for whom your body is set apart.

If you are Christ's, then your body does not belong to you. It is a sacred temple, set apart to worship God and to obey him and perform only his will.

Now, the context of this passage is speaking of sexual purity, and in verse 18 it tells us to "Flee sexual immorality." This passage has been used quite frequently to condemn things such as smoking and drinking. I think generally the beneficial effects of wine in moderation never come into the discussion.

On the other side of the camp, there are those who answer this passage with Romans 14:1-4 (NKJV), which says this:

1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.
3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.
4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

On the surface, one could claim that the vegetarian is spiritually weak, while the steak and potatoes man is strong. Is that what Paul is really saying here?

Today, I'd like for us to take a closer look at this issue, because I think it's very important for us to determine in our hearts how our actions and choices affect God's holy temple.

Let's continue reading down in verse 14.

14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.
16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

There's a lot in those few verses, too much to boil down into one pat answer or one rash conclusion.

"There is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean."

That word translated "unclean" means unholy, profane, or unclean. You could also say, "not kosher." Pork is one well-known example of this. According to the Old Testament laws, pork is unclean. But according to this and other passages, it is not, in itself, a sin to eat pork, for, as we just read, "there is nothing unclean of itself."

Most of us understand this, at least in our heads. But consider someone who was raised in the Jewish culture, being taught their whole lives, and having been previously thoroughly convinced, that pork is unclean, and eating it is a sin and would make you unclean. Although they know in their heads that having a pork chop is okay, in their hearts they still feel as though they are sinning.

According to this passage, if that person eats pork anyway, they are sinning, because they are disobeying their conscience. Therefore, serving a pork roast when they come over for dinner would not be an action of love.

That person, as we just read, is weak. But what does that mean? Does it mean they are spiritually weak? Inferior to you who live on bacon? Or does it mean that, in that particular area of faith, they have a weakness to the conviction of their heart that eating that particular food is somehow wrong?

I think we can all agree the second conclusion is what this passage is saying. And we could apply this to any number of things, such as the consumption of beverages containing alcohol.

Some would say that if you drink a beer or a glass of wine, you're sinning against God. And so, if they were to do so, they would indeed be sinning, because they would be disobeying their conscience. And if you were to drink in front of them, you would not be acting in love. You would be the spiritually weak one; for they are weak to the faith that no food in itself is unclean, while you are weak in love. Which one of those do you suppose is more important?

So I think we'd all agree that when the Bible says our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, that doesn't mean that we're going to hell if we eat the wrong food.

What it DOES mean is that we should ponder this truth with every choice, and allow it to change our perceptions and the way we treat our bodies.

Let's take a look at one of our previous examples -- smoking. A few years ago, the impact cigarette smoke has on the body wasn't known. Some people still said it was a sin, simply because they didn't like the smell, or some other far-fetched and ignorant excuse for passing judgment.

But then we started discovering that using tobacco, aside from creating an addiction and dependency, causes cancer, among many other illnesses, both serious and mild. And those who seriously considered the fact realized that by smoking, they were literally killing themselves.

Thus comes the shift of perception and conscience. Before, it was a pleasant, harmless form of enjoyment. But then, it became a sweet poison, and personal addiction became its loudest voice of support.

So what do you think? Is smoking a sin? I think we'd have to agree that, for the person who doesn't know what they're doing to themselves, the answer would be "no." But what about you and me? We know we're probably giving ourselves cancer, for one thing. We're opening ourselves up to coughs, colds, and respiratory infections; cancer, heart disease, cardiovascular diseases, lung disease, and problems related to the kidneys, liver, and pancreas.

About 90% of lung cancer is caused by smoking, and it can cause cancer in the mouth, throat, bladder, pancreas, kidneys, and esophagus; for women, it can cause cervical cancer.

The nicotine in the tobacco, the substance that makes them addictive, increases cholesterol levels in the blood, which then get deposited in the arteries, causing them to harden. The arteries become narrow, rigid, or blocked; blood clots form. This causes coronary and cerebral thrombosis, coronary heart diseases, blockage in the legs (peripheral vascular disease), and other complications such as strokes and aneurysms.

Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are two more results of smoking. Emphysema is caused by damage to the air sacks, and smoking is responsible for about 80% of cases. It increases the rate of decline in lung function three times the usual rate.

It can cause gum diseases and tooth loss, not to mention bad breath and mouth ulcers. It can cause sexual problems, and even loss of fertility. It increases the risk of high blood pressure. It can cause early aging, since the blood supply to the skin is reduced. Since it decreases vitamin A in the body, smokers will have paler skin and more wrinkles. It can cause macular degeneration, which causes a gradual loss of eyesight, and can cause cataracts. It can also cause chest infections, diabetic retinopathy, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, and Chrohn's disease.

A pregnant woman who frequently smokes is at a higher risk for miscarriage, pregnancy complications such as bleeding, detachmnt of placenta, ectopic pregnancy, and premature birth. It also increases the changes of low birth weight or that the baby will be born dead. It can cause birth defects such as a cleft palate.

If someone doesn't know these facts, smoking, for them, isn't a sin. But knowing these facts, could you, with a clear conscience, keep smoking, knowing that you are killing yourself and, if you're an expectant mother or think you'll ever be one, you could be damaging or even killing your baby?

The point of all this isn't to preach against smoking. I think your conscience can do a pretty good job of that, and it's not my place to tell you what you can and can't put into your body. Or, I should say, into God's body, the Holy Spirit's temple. For you are not your own, you are bought with a price.

So... How about what we eat? Are vegetarians just weak in the faith that it's not wrong to eat meat? Well, just as with everything else, there are some people who don't eat meat because they think killing and eating animals is wrong. They would fit into that category. If you can avoid eating meat in front of them, that would be love.

But how about those who don't fit into that category? Those who have chosen the food they eat based upon their knowledge of how that food affects the body and mind? Would they be considered weak in faith, or strong in stewardship?

Personally, I believe some people's body types react better to a meatless diet than others, and those who don't eat meat should make sure they take suppliments to make up for some important things they're not getting. But that's based upon my personal research, and the Bible never suggests we live by the conscience of another, except to not offend them.

Sadly, food isn't what it used to be. Once upon a time, meat was meat, veggies were veggies, milk was milk, and so on. Today, meat and dairy are meat and dairy plus harmones, antibiotics, and often nitrites and other chemical additives. The milk is cooked and homoginized, and much harder to digest. Vegetables are often out of cans, so they're dead, and they contain varying levels of chemical pesticides and herbicides.

Bread isn't made from wheat harvested and ground, but is usually made from highly-processed flour mixed with chemicals and other junk to make it more uniform and give it a longer shelf life.

If you'd be willing to practice your patience for a few more minutes, I promise you I'm going somewhere with all this.

Remember how smoking was not inherently wrong until we learned how it was destroying God's temple. Let's imagine, for just a moment, if there were some sort of food that was destroying our bodies.

This particular food substance is highly addictive. It damages your vital organs. To metabolize it, your body borrows vital nutrients from healthy cells, including calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Sometimes, so much calcium is leached from the bones to neutralize the effects of this food, that it causes osteoporosis. The same happens to the teeth, and they start to decay.

It causes the body to eventually deplete its own stores of various vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, and eventually can result in an over-acidic condition, requiring even more minerals to correct the imbalance. This acidic environment is a ripe breeding ground for cancer. If the minerals cannot be found, the poison remains and causes more damage.

These poisonous wastes accumulate throughout the brain and nervous system, speeding up cellular death. The bloodstream becomes over-loaded with these waste products, resulting in carbon poisoning.

This food makes the blood very thick and sticky, inhibiting much of the blood flow into the minute capillaries that supply us with vital nutrients, resulting in gum and tooth disease and decay, among other problems.

This food additive can cause the body to go into shock from rapid rises in blood glucose, causing the pancreas to wear out, as the body becomes more and more resistant to the insulin it's forced to produce in excess.

It can cause gallstones, which 1 out of 5 Americans have. They can cause bloating, and even intolerance to various other foods.

In addition to all this, our brains are very sensitive to quick chemical changes within the body. This food substance robs the cells of B vitamins, effectively destroying them. This can lead to a confused mental state, or an unsound mind, and has been linked with juvenile criminal behavior.

Many nutritional experts say this food substance is possibly as harmful as a narcotic. It is actually a chemical extracted from a plant and highly refined; in fact, it's more pure than cocaine, and resembles it in many ways. In fact, add one nitrogen atom, and it would be cocaine. Studies have shown that it's just as habit-forming as any narcotic, and it certainly has a profoundly negative impact on our bodies.

It can suppress the immune system.

It can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children. Of course we often just spank them or give them ritilan.

It leads to cancer of the ovaries.

It causes deficiencies in many important minerals and nutrients.

It interferes with the absorption of calcium and magnesium.

It can weaken eyesight.

It can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline levels in children.

It can cause premature aging.

It can lead to alcoholism, and it turns to alcohol in the body.

It contributes greatly to obesity.

It can cause arthritis, asthma, yeast infections, gallstones, heart disease, appendicitis, multiple sclerosis, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, periodontal disease, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, toxemia during pregnancy, eczema, and cardiovascular disease.

It can impair the structure of DNA, and change the structure of protein. It can make your skin age more quickly by changing the structure of collagen. It can cause cataracts, emphysema, and atherosclerosis. It can permanently alter the way proteins act in the body.

It can increase the size of the liver and the amount of fat in the liver. It can increase the size of the kidney and produce pathological changes in the kidney.

It can damage the pancreas, and increase your body's fluid retention. It can cause nearsightedness, make tendons more brittle, and can cause headaches including migraines.

It plays a role in pancreatic cancer in women. It can adversely affect school children's grades and can cause learning disorders. It can cause depression, and increases the risk of gastric cancer. It can even contribute to Alzheimer's disease.

It can lead to the formation of kidney stones, can cause dizziness, and causes and feeds cancer; it can also cause colon cancer, and many other types.

It can exacerbate PMS, and can even cause a form of intoxication, similar to alcohol. It promotes excessive food intake, or gluttony.

It can lead to polio, lung cancer, and even epileptic seizures.

In juvenile rehabilitation camps, when the intake of this substance was greatly reduced, there was a 44% drop in antisocial behavior.

It can cause tooth decay, brain decay, and so-on.

Sounds almost as bad as cigarettes, doesn't it? The sad thing is that it's not just a fantasy food I made up to make a point. In fact, unless you are very dilligent to make sure you're not eating it, you probably consume quite a lot of it.

It's in ketchup, bread, many fruit juices, processed meats, salad dressing, french fries, prepared grains such as rice, pasta sauce, canned fruit, chewing gum, flavored yogurt and cottage cheese, and just about every snack food and prepared food alike.

Parents can't seem to control their children, and doctors often end up putting them on drugs. Adults often end up on a surgeon's table or taking prescription drugs because of this substance.

And yet, even behind pulpits that condemn smoking and drinking, stand men and women who consume large quantities of this and other poisons, and they never once mention it to their congregation.

Bear with me, I'm getting closer to getting to my point.

But before I do, I'm sure you'd like to know what this popular, addictive, destructive poison is. You already knew about the effects of cigarettes, which is one reason most of us don't smoke. Surely, if you knew what this poison I'm talking about is, you'd stay away from that too.

Well... It's sugar. The white sugar, usually cane sugar. The kind that's added to just about everything. Take a little bit of fresh, raw sugar cane, and you'll benefit from the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes of which it is full. But after it goes through the intense processing that makes it table sugar, it becomes a poison. That processing and stripping away is the same thing that makes table salt so potentially deadly.

And, sadly, sugar is just one of MANY things we eat that destroy the temple of God. And the only reason I can see that some people preach against cigarettes and beer, after having coffee and donuts for breakfast, is because they just don't know. They just haven't really taken to heart the fact that their bodies no longer belong to them, but they are now earthen temples of the God of the universe; and because they have not really taken that seriously, they haven't spent time and effort researching what they put into themselves.

And so I offer you a challenge: not to eat what I say is good, but to start learning and researching, and to never stop. Don't just accept what the FDA says is good, but go deeper.

You'll probably discover that eating mostly fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables is the best, most constructive thing you can do for God's temple.

We tend to think plastic and straw are perfectly good building materials. And they might be, if we were building a place for us to wallow in self-pitty. But only gold, silver, strong, beautiful wood, and precious jewels, are worthy of being used to build a temple for the Holy Spirit. And now that you have this challenge, it's your responsibility to either find good reason to reject it, or to start finding out if you might really be destroying God's temple.

One thing that's difficult for us to do is ask ourselves tough questions. I know I'd rather not. But here's one: do we eat for life, or for appetite? Now, appetite is a good thing. And enjoying the food we eat was God's idea. But did you know that your tastes can change? And eating poison will most certainly change your tastes, so that other things just don't taste very good. This results in our appetite and our needs getting out of whack. We start craving things that hurt us, and staying away from things that bring us life.

I believe we were created to enjoy what brings us life. And if we start eating for life instead of for appetite, our appetites will begin to change, until they come into line with what builds up the temple of God.

After all, eating for appetite leads to gluttony. And if you're not getting the nutrients your body needs, or if you're getting them in forms that your body has a hard time using, you'll feel the need to eat more, because you haven't yet gotten what you need. But after you get over your withdraw symptoms from removing poison from your diet, you'll start finding you are satisfied after eating things full of life, things that haven't been killed and destroyed by cooking and processing; and instead of craving a sugary desert after dinner, you'll feel comfortable and satisfied. And you'll be able to feel a peace, because you know you're cleaning out and building up the temple of God, using strong, precious materials instead of junk.

Now, let's revisit our passage in romans, verse 3: "Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him."

Are you more spiritual if you eat 95% raw, organic vegan? You'll certainly be more healthy, be much less likely to get cancer and many other diseases, will be better able to concentrate, less likely to develop emotional or mental disorders, etc. But does it make you more spiritual?

It does certainly make you a better steward, and good stewardship pleases God; but pride nullifies all good things, turning what would please God into an abomination.

If you puff up in pride because you don't eat things that destroy God's temple and instead eat only things that bring it life, then you'd be better off, spiritually speaking, eating all your meals at the local burger joint. (Of course you'd be a lot more sick and wouldn't live as long.)

On the other hand, if you think you're spiritually stronger because you can, without feeling as though you're sinning, eat trash and destroy your body living on pizza and french fries, then isn't that pride as well?

If you will be puffed up regardless of what you eat, you'll be a lot better off eating only good stuff. But let it be out of humility, not pride. With pride, a great diet and exercise will make you healthier, but you'll still be a lousy temple, because, as the Bible says, God resists the proud. So get that taken care of first. Humble yourself, asking God for humility. You might have to fall flat on your face a few times before your pride starts to shrink, but pride is far worse than cigarettes, or sugar, or white flour, or chemical additives, or harmones and antibiotics, or anything else you could take into your body.

Jesus said it's not what goes into the body that makes us unclean, but what comes out of us. So just realize that eating right won't make you holy; it is good stewardship and respect for the temple of God that should spur you on to changing, possibly quite radically, how you eat.

Personally, I eat about 95% raw food, mostly fresh vegetables. I'll tell you, so far I've lost about 26 pounds, I feel great, and I've completely gotten rid of heart burn and acid reflux. I know that any plaque that had built up in my arteries is being flushed out, and my risks of cancer and many other common diseases are greatly reduced.

I'm no more spiritual than anyone who eats any differently, but I sure feel a lot better and will probably live longer. The temple of God that is my body is getting cleaned out and built up with good, strong materials.

So what point am I trying to make today... Well, it's my reponsibility to lead you in the right direction. I can't, in good conscience, leave this issue silent. Your body isn't your own. It is the temple of God almighty, of the Holy Spirit of God. Treat it like the sacred place it is. Put forth time and effort to learn more than the mainstream medical community tells you. It's not drugs and cutting that will help God's temple, for the most part; rather, it's what God created for us to eat, as close as possible to the form in which he created it.

Eat only life. Move your body, getting enough exercise to keep your body and its organs from starting to shut down, and to keep them vibrant and healthy. Treat your body, whether sexually, or in activity, or in diet, like the sacred temple of the Holy Spirit. And let's be good stewards of this body God has given us, ready to give an account when we see him face to face.

I'd like to open this altar for a time of prayer and ministry. If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, feel free to instant message me or Mariposa or any of the staff or ministry team. Whenever you need to leave, you're dismissed, and I hope you can stay for awhile and meet us in the Fellowship Room to your left for a time of fellowship.

You're all invited to come to the front and spend some time seeking after God, asking him to bring home to your heart whatever he wants to speak to you today, through this message or otherwise.

Come, let's gather at the front, and just spend a little while listening for his voice. And whatever he speaks to your heart, do it. Whatever you have to give up. Whatever the price. And you will never be the same.

For you are not your own. You are bought with a price. And your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God.