Advindication Part 4: Healing the Health Message

Scripture: Acts 10:1, Leviticus 11:1-47, Genesis 7:2-8
Date: 01/02/1999 
This is the fourth in a series on dealing with some common misunderstandings about the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This message looks at the health message of the Bible. It deals with misinterpretations of New Testament passages that apparently teach it doesn't matter what we eat.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

You know I’d like to continue a series that we have been doing off and on for the last couple of months called “Advindication”. If you are visiting let me bring you up to speed. I’m dedicating about five messages to the most common misunderstandings and criticisms that are leveled against the Seventh Day Adventist Church. You know I spent one time talking about that we’re legalists. Is obedience legalism? We talked a little bit about Ellen White and why we believe that she was inspired. Talked about the Sabbath and the law in particular. Today I’m going to be talking about “Advindication, Part 4 Healing the Health Message” and I’m sort of playing on words a little bit trying to dispel some of the misunderstandings that are connected with the health message from a Biblical perspective. And next Sabbath we’ll be talking a little bit about the subject of the judgement in the sanctuary. A very misunderstood subject but it is intended by God to be very beautiful. I’m not going to spend a lot of time this morning preaching the health message. That’s not my intention.

I’m going to dedicate a few minutes to explaining that it’s really absurd to think that Jesus when He saves us from our sins does not care about our bodies. It’s I think ludicrous to suggest that Christ is indifferent to our eating and our drinking. He made our bodies. In the Garden of Eden He stipulated what our diet was to be. Just in the scripture reading you’ll notice that Matthew shared with you there are some things that were considered clean and some that were unclean. And most Christians, and what I’m saying today is really not intended to talk with the Pagans out in the world and the heathen. But we are misunderstood by other Christians from other faiths. We’re thought to be peculiar because we still believe in the health laws of the Bible. Most Christians also believe in the basic health laws. A lot of them have to do with just practical common sense.

If you touch something you wash and you wait. You know bacteria cannot live on a dry surface for very long. And so even science supports that. Most Christians do not dispute the basic health message in the Bible of cleanliness. But when it comes to stipulating the specifics that there are some things you are and are not to eat you’re accused of being extreme or legalistic. Let’s go to the Bible here. First of all keep in mind that Jesus was very interested in physical health. Matthew 4:23, “And Jesus went about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.” It’s hard to be happy when you’re sick. Amen? God wants us to be a joyful people. He wants us to have abundant life and he wants us to prosper physically. Health is very important to God.

All the sickness and disease that we experience in the world today is part of sin and none of that was God’s will. God made everything “Good, good, very good”. He wants you to prosper physically and be in health. You know one reason for that is because we are called to be witnesses. We are more attractive witnesses when we are healthy. And I’m not saying unhealthy people are unattractive but not too many people say, “Hey! See that sick fellow over there? I want to be like him!” You know when the Lord healed people He did it so they could also serve God more efficiently. When you’re healthy, when your mind is clear, you comprehend the gospel better and you articulate it more effectively. And so being healthy is very important to God and in particular spiritual health, mental health. Just a very basic principal is that it’s hard to share the gospel with a person that’s drunk. I’m not saying that the Lord is not capable because “all things are possible with God”, but I’ve tried it. And I have had people knock on my door drunk, say they wanted to give their hearts to the Lord and they cry and blubber and accept Jesus and walk away and they sober up and forget all about it. The clearer your mind is the better you comprehend in a sober way the requirements of the gospel.

When your head is clear it is easier to resist temptation. When you’re healthy. Why do you think that a man tries to get a lady drunk when he wants to have his way with her? Because your resistance to temptation is lowered when your mind is not clear. Very simple principle. Now you don’t have to drink Jack Daniels to have a foggy brain. You can have a foggy brain from a banana split. You didn’t say “Amen” to that. You just laughed but you didn’t say “amen” because that would be going too far in a commitment to do that, right? But some of us have not yet made the connection between our fuzzy thinking our quickly being overcome by temptation and our poor living habits. “Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. What a man sews he’s going to reap.” If you sew bushels of cholesterol, you’re going to reap a heart attack. I see my friend Ken Tolke sitting here. Used to live up in Covolo. I remember he said one time, “Drinking egg nog is like getting a cholesterol I.V. drip.” Doesn’t that make you feel good after the holidays to think about that?

I thought this would be a good message the first of the year. How many of you have New Years resolutions that are connected with dieting? Are you willing to confess? Let me see your hands. I do. I’m confessing. You know what my plan is? I’m going to India. And I’m thinking that eating all that curry and running around is going to make the difference. So I just want to establish God wants us to be healthy. And there were some specific things God said we should not eat. Leviticus chapter 8, you can read the whole chapter there. In particular it says “among the animals”… First of all, are you aware God did not create man to eat any animals? I don’t want to sound like a kook or anything. Some of you are not vegetarians and you think this is extreme but I’ve got news for you God’s original plan was a vegetarian diet for people.

In the Kingdom we will be vegetarians again. There will be no McNuggets or chicken parts up there. Some of you are going, “Oh! What are we going to eat, right?” But killing animals and eating them is a result of sin. You know I meet these hunters every now and then and when they find out I’m a vegetarian they say, “Well, if God didn’t want us to eat them then why did He make them?” Now talk about primitive thinking. You know everything God created is for us to devour all living creatures. And I’ve met people that really think that way. Some people say, “You can’t be healthy unless you eat animals.” And “You know He gave us these canine teeth because we’re supposed to eat meat.” I told myself I wasn’t going to do this but I can’t help it sorry. Do you know that the biggest animals are vegetarians?

Now to some of you that’s not a good argument because you don’t want to be any bigger. But what I mean is, the largest, like for instance, elephants are vegetarians. Gorillas have the biggest canine teeth of any primate and they’re vegetarians whereas some of the others are not. And so the idea that because you got canine teeth you’re supposed to eat meat that’s absurd. You can’t support that. God made man to be a vegetarian. Everything about our digestive system operates more efficiently that way, but in the same way the Lord made a provision in the Old Testament because of the hardness of our hearts He allowed divorce I like to say because of the hardness of our arteries He made permission for us to eat certain animals. He said if you’re going to eat animals they need to have certain qualifications. They need to be clean. Oh, Doug, these are Jewish laws. Wait a second.

We just read in the scripture reading there in Genesis 7 that Noah took the clean animals on the ark by seven. Now Noah was a Jew, right? No. If he was a Jew, so are you because everybody here came from Noah and his posterity. Amen? And so obviously God made a distinction between clean and unclean way back in the beginning. Now it says “among the mammals in order for you to be able to eat it,” remember this is not encouraged but God said, “you may eat it”. It’s permissible. “Cloven hooves and chew the cud”. That would mean it’s safe to eat technically the deer and the goats and the sheep and the cow and animals that have a cloven hoof. Horse does not have a cloven hoof. It’s not clean. They’ve got worms. In the waters it had to have fins and scales. This is all Leviticus chapter 11. That would mean the unclean animals, Biblically, were catfish.

Catfish are scavengers. You put them in your fish tank to clean the tank. I didn’t want to get too specific. Oysters and clams, they live down in the mud. Anything that lives on the bottom is getting what’s dropped by everybody else. They’re scavengers. God made some animals that clean the environment. On the ground he’s got a pig. It’s a scavenger. It’s the filthiest of all animals. Their bodies are filled, swarming with vermin and parasites. You look at a piece of pork under a microscope, just right off the market and it’d give you the heebie jeebies. I used to be in the meat business. I know what I’m talking about. Among the birds God simply stipulates the foraging birds were clean. That would be your turkey, your quail, the chicken, the doves. Anyone had any dove lately? Seems sacrilegious to eat a dove, but technically they were clean, right? And the birds of carrion and the carnivorous birds like the hawk and the vulture they were all unclean. These are the basic rules that separated the clean from the unclean animals, but there are five places roughly that people go in the New Testament to say, “That’s not true. God abolished the clean and the unclean. Christians now, we’re more spiritual than everybody else. We’re so spiritual we can eat anything and it won’t hurt us.”

There’s no Christian doctor that really believes that. Incidentally, the fact is Seventh Day Adventists live longer than everybody else on a whole and most of us aren’t even practicing what we ought to be practicing. I forget. Someone here might correct me but I thought it was something like eight or ten years longer on an average Seventh Day Adventists live. Seven years longer? Thank you, Jim. Seven and a half? Seven and a half years longer? Ok. Can I have a nine? Do I have a nine? I’m not asking how much longer you plan on living. I want to know what the study, there was a government study. Ok? Now that’s across the board. And you and I know. I’ve been to potlucks and you and I know that a lot of us are not following what we know we should and still we’re living longer. Those that really follow it they die at a hundred in their gardens. Right? And so the fact is that those who eat that way do live longer. Some of you listen to these doctors that do talk radio and they share the statistics that are just plain fact that the vegetarians have less disease, those that do not eat the pork and certain animals have less heart disease, less incidence of cancer. And the statistics are overwhelming and so for us to say, “Because we’re Christians it doesn’t matter” is absurd. It’s an insult to God.

How many of you are parents? Do you care what your children eat? Do you think you care more about your children than God cares? Are you concerned with the specifics of what they eat? Do you read the labels and look for nutritional value? And the idea that the Bible says nothing about the specifics about what God does and does not want us to eat is absurd. I don’t accept that. It’s too clear. But there are five passages we’re going to look at quickly that are often quoted, misapplied, to try and say that the Lord doesn’t care anymore. And that’s where we’re going to go now.

First one and I’m not doing these in order of priority. I’m just kind of serendipity. Acts 10:1 we’ll start with. This is Peter’s vision. How many of you have heard somebody in the past go to Peter’s vision and say, “God cleaned everything to eat.” Have you heard it used that way? This is the most gross example of dishonest Biblical interpretation for someone to use Peter’s vision to say that it’s ok to eat anything that crawls across your plate. The gospel among the disciples after the Spirit was poured out they were preaching exclusively to Jews. Even though the Spirit was given God gave them truth in degrees as they could handle it and they still did not realize that now there was no distinction between Jew and Gentile, that God was taking the gospel to everybody and He needed to get the message through. And it tells us that “there was this Roman Centurion Cornelius who was a devout man,” Chapter 10, verse 1, “who feared God with all his household. He gave alms generously to the people. He prayed to God always. And one day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying ‘Cornelius,’ and when he observed him he was afraid and he said, ‘What is it, Lord?’ He said, ‘Your prayers and alms have come up as a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa and send for Simon surnamed Peter.

He’s lodging with Simon the Tanner whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.’” I like that God uses people to tell people. The angel said, “I’m just going to tell you someone’s coming, but he’ll tell you.” “And when the angel who spoke with him had departed Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. And when he explained to them these things he sent them to Joppa.” Now they’re on their way. It’s quite a journey to go to Joppa to retrieve Peter. Peter is up on the roof praying. He’s waiting for them to prepare lunch. He can smell the lunch wafting up through the window and his mouth is salivating and he’s hungry. God gives these visions right on time. “About the sixth hour he became very hungry,” verse 10, “he wanted to eat but while they made ready he fell into a trance and he saw heaven open and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners descending to him and let down to the earth and in it were all kinds of four footed animals of the earth; wild beasts and creeping things and birds of the air.” It might have been elephants and rhinos and buzzards we don’t know, but everything was in there. “And a voice came to him and said, ‘Rise, Peter, kill and eat.’

Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord, for I have never eaten anything common or unclean.’” Now friends to me this is the best argument. Peter this is 41AD. Jesus died 31AD. Ten years later he had never eaten anything unclean. If Christ during his life and ministry said the health laws were negated by the cross they would have known at some point during their life. He says he’s still never eaten anything unclean. He said, “Not so, Lord!” It’s like God was testing him he thought, “Of course you don’t mean this, Lord.” And the voice spoke and said, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” Now some people stop right there and say, “Doug, God cleansed everything in the sheet. All animals are clean now.” This was done three times. Three times the sheet went down, the sheet came up. Peter said three times, “Not so, Lord! I’ve never eaten anything common or unclean.” And the sheet goes up to heaven. Now Peter is wondering within himself, verse 17, he’s wondering what the vision means. God is giving him a message in an allegory. Obviously the vision does not mean eat anything that God made because that would mean that you can eat maggots. You could eat boa constrictors. Be careful how you take this. Some people think that “you can eat anything, just pray over it.”

I’m getting to that in a little bit. Peter never eats anything from the sheet, does he? Three times he says, “Not so. I’ve never eaten anything common or unclean.” Now he’s wondering, “What does this mean?” It doesn’t mean eat anything. God’s using the Jewish truth, I should say the Bible truth about things being clean and unclean to teach him that the Gentiles were not unclean. That now he could go and share the gospel with the Gentiles. And while he is wondering what this means three men come from a Gentile house saying, “Come and preach to us.” God’s timing is telling him what it means. Now he goes to Cornelius’s house, verse 28, and he says, “You know how it’s unlawful for a Jewish man to keep company with or to go into one from another nation (a Gentile), but God has shown me (through the vision) that I should not call any man common or unclean.”

So what is the purpose of Peter’s vision? To not call any pig unclean? Not call a buzzard or a skunk unclean for food? It’s talking about not calling other people unclean. That’s what he says. Verse 34 Peter opens his mouth and says, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality but in every nation whoever fears him and works righteousness is accepted by him.” Yet people have used this vision to try and say this is where God cleaned all animals. That’s not the purpose of the vision. Peter explains himself what it means and it has nothing to do with food. There are no specific foods mentioned in the whole thing. No food is eaten in the whole story. The only thing that happens is the gospel now goes to the Gentiles. Amen? So that’s one of the most common misunderstandings. Let’s go to the other one.

I Corinthians 10:24-28. Now let me give you the context here. If you understand what I’m about to say so much of the discussion in the New Testament becomes very clear. When the Jews accepted Christianity, and they had a struggle. You see, in the Roman Empire they ate anything. All kinds of things. They ate pigs and everything else. When they slaughtered an animal they offered it to Pagan gods whether it was a sheep or whether it was a goat or a deer even the clean animals. They figured, “If we’re going to kill it let’s make it a sacrifice. We’ll offer it to our gods,” and they would offer it to idols. The Jews said, “We cannot eat the food that is sold in the market places that’s been butchered and offered to these idols.” It’s not kosher because you’re acknowledging the idol. And a lot of New Testament discussion revolves around this. Here Paul explains it. I Corinthians 10:24. “Let no one seek his own but each one the other’s well being. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market asking no questions for conscience sake.”

That doesn’t mean you go to the meat market and say, “See that carcass hanging there? I think I’ll buy that. I don’t care whether it’s a pig or a horse or a dog. I’m not going to ask any questions. I don’t know what the animal is.” Now I know folks who have eaten in other countries and there’s meat in the food and they’re afraid to ask. “Is this monkey or rabbit? What is this?” They say, “Oh, see? Don’t ask any questions for conscience sake.” That’s not where you apply that. What he meant was don’t ask, “was this offered to an idol?” because once you know it doesn’t change the meat it changes the influence. Do you see what I’m saying? And so he’s saying, “Don’t ask if it was offered to an idol for conscience sake. If you know it’s offered to an idol and then you eat it then you might be making someone else stumble because they think you’re not supposed to do that.” It wasn’t saying that anything was clean. You’re not supposed to ask whether it’s a clean animal or an unclean animal. “And if those who do not believe invite you to dinner and desire to go eat whatever is set before you asking no question for conscience sake.” I’ve heard people say, “Doug, eat whatever is set before you. It might be a pig with an apple in the mouth. Just eat it.” And that’s not what it’s talking about.

These are Christians. It’s naturally assumed they’re not going to be eating unclean animals. You know why? The highest insult that you could perform would be to bring a pig into the temple of God and to sacrifice a pig as an offering to God. Because the Bible says, “Do not touch their carcasses. They are an abomination. They’re unclean. They’re scavengers. They are disease ridden.” They’re animals that are intelligent, but not for food or sacrifice. In the Bible it talks about dogs and pigs as the most unholy creatures. “Pig returns to wallow in the mire.” “The dog returns to his vomit.” The Bible says, “In the new Jerusalem outside are the dogs.” And so these were scavengers. To slaughter or butcher a dog and to bring it into the temple of God was a great insult. Anticus Epiphanies. A lot of people believe the abomination of desolation was when he brought a pig and sacrificed a pig in the temple and they spread pig’s blood all over the temple and after they recaptured possession of the temple the Jews went through this process to cleanse it from the defilement of pig sacrifice and pig blood and it was a terrible time in the history of God’s people. Your body, are you with me? Is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

For you to bring into your body an unclean animal as an offering and have it consumed on the altar of your digestive system is an insult to God especially those of you that know. Daniel was willing to go to the chopping block rather than defile himself with the Babylonian food that was unclean. And did God honor Daniel for that? Not only was he honored with long life he was honored with wisdom ten times above all the other wise men. His head was clear. So the idea that these things don’t matter you cannot support from scripture. So he said, “Eat whatever is set before you asking no question for conscience sake but if anyone says to you ‘this was offered to idols’…” Do you understand what the issue was? It’s not whether it’s a pig or goat. If this lamb or if this sheep or if this deer “‘was offered to idols’ do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you and for conscience sake for the earth is the Lord and the fullness thereof.” Now with that understanding you go to Romans chapter 14. Go with me to Romans chapter 14 verse one. I’ve had people use this and try and tell me I’m weak because I’m a vegetarian. “Receive one who is weak in the faith but not to disputes over doubtful things for one believes he can eat all things but he who is weak eats only vegetables.”

You know I used to do back handsprings at my evangelistic meetings. I’m not going to do one today. I’m getting ready to go to India and I want to make it. You know how that started? I didn’t plan it the first time it happened. I was in an evangelistic meeting where someone was questioning my health because I was a vegetarian. They were saying I’m weak because I’m a vegetarian and you don’t get enough B-12. I always like to say well, where do the cows get their B-12? I mean, you’ve got to eat a cow to get it through them? And so anyway I said, “I can do a back handspring.” And so I tried illustrate that vegetarians can be in good health and then I challenged anyone else who was 35 to do a back handspring and I had no takers. And so I’m in pretty good health for 41. I’m not… I still don’t like the idea of saying I’m 41. I never had my forty-first birthday. I got on the plane March 8 for Australia and I landed the tenth. So I’d like to go forty one more year if I can. That sounds fair to me. Anyway so they say, “Oh, he that is weak eats vegetables.”

Now is he saying that vegetarians are weak? Well, I told you an elephant is a vegetarian. A mountain gorilla is a vegetarian. The biggest and the strongest in the world are vegetarians. So that’s ridiculous. He’s saying, “He that is weak in faith does not eat the animals that are sacrificed to idols because he thinks it’s gonna hurt him.” And Paul actually disagreed. Are you aware that the apostles disagreed on this issue? If you read Acts 15:20. I want to show you something. Oh, and I’ve never heard a sermon on this. Never have heard a sermon on this except for me. Acts 15:20. They’re trying to decide what to tell the Gentiles as priorities over some areas that were disputed. He says, “Write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols.” In other words don’t eat food sacrificed to idols. Paul said if it doesn’t bother you don’t ask any questions.

It’s not an issue because the idol isn’t anything. You didn’t offer it to an idol. You know how I apply that? I’ve had Christians say, “Doug, don’t buy anything from this company or that company because they support this cause or that cause.” And to some extent I go along with that. There are some very blatant things that I can’t support but most of you shop at supermarkets that also sell alcohol and tobacco. Am I right? I’ve got a friend who owns a market and he’s struggling because he’s trying to change his life and he says, “I’m selling alcohol and tobacco to people and hurting them.” And he’s trying to get out of it because he just doesn’t feel right. Well, when you put your money in the bank are you aware most banks also buy stocks in things that you would never support? You can go crazy thinking like that. So you got all your money in a sock somewhere and you only shop in these corner… they can’t even shop in a corner market. You gotta go to a food stand. Do all your shopping at a food stand because you don’t want to support anything.

You know and you’ve got to get to the place where you’re intelligent and you’re not destroying yourself with guilt and say, “Look. I’m not going to buy the alcohol and the cigarettes. I’m not going to support that industry, but I’m going to buy the other.” You cannot be responsible for everything everybody is doing. And if you buy something that’s been offered to an idol Paul said, “You didn’t offer it to the idol.” But some people are weak in their faith and they say, “Oh! What’s gonna happen to me? I’ll be under a curse!” And Paul says, “Look! If it’s going to bother you, don’t violate your conscience.” And if I’m eating with somebody who… You know I’ve gone to restaurants before and I’ve got to be careful how much I say because some of you are going to approach me. I eat a lot of Mexican food. I’ve gone to restaurants before with people when the waiter comes over they say, “Now I want to know everything that’s in everything. What do you use for this? What do you use for that? Oh! Can’t eat here!” For their sake if they find that there’s something inappropriate in something… I mean I’m a vegetarian I always say, “There’s no meat in this?” and all that but they dissect the menu and if that person finds something that makes them uncomfortable I say, “Well, ok.

Let’s go eat somewhere else.” But you know it gets to the place where I’m sure that there’s a gnat in your beans somewhere. You know what I mean? If you get your microscope out. I think a lot of health has to do with a good attitude and I’ll get to that in just a minute. Anyway Paul was talking about… Oh! You know the part I left out here? Said, “They abstain from things offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled…” That means when they killed an animal you know they would have cut the throat and drained the blood out. “…from things strangled and from blood.” You know I’ve never heard a preacher… this is to the Gentiles saying “you’re not supposed to eat blood” but most of the meat you buy in the market is filled with blood. It’s not butchered in the Biblical manner and yet you never hear them talking about that. It’s blatantly New Testament theology for Gentiles. It’s part of the health message but they look the other way. They’re afraid they’re going to lose influence or whatever. Alright. So when he said, “Those who are weak eat only vegetables” he’s talking about they’re afraid to buy the meat in the markets even if it’s sheep or lamb because they say, “It might have been offered to a Pagan idol somewhere.” Sanctified by prayer.

You know that one? Go with me now to First Timothy 4:1-5. This to me, is another classic example of misapplying the scriptures. I Timothy 4 I’m going to read the whole thing verse 1 to 5. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some will depart from the faith giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of daemons speaking lies and hypocrisy having their own conscience seared with a hot iron forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” Now it’s talking about a religious institution that would forbid some of its people to marry and say you could not eat certain things that God said you can eat like fish on certain days even if it’s clean fish. Now here’s the part they seize upon. “For every creature of God is good and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving for it is sanctified by the word of God in prayer. They say, “See, Doug? Every creature of God is good.” Squid. Does that give you the creeps? I like picking some of these.

People eat it. People eat snake. And you know friends you can’t gross me out. I’ve eaten frogs. See I can gross you out. I’ve eaten snails. I’ve eaten turtle. I’ve eaten ants. I’ve eaten squirrel. Rattlesnake tastes like chicken. It’s not worth it. All bones! And I’ve got news for you. God did not create us to eat escargot. You know what that is? Snails! How come you know? Chocolate covered ants. People eat some really bizarre things. You know the delicacies of the world you never find that stuff growing in the field so to speak. It’s always exotic restaurants and it’s very expensive to kill yourself with those things. You know I can’t believe that I went to a restaurant and we paid just exorbitant amounts to eat snails and they’re crawling all over the garden. And ants! You can’t get them out of your house. People eat some weird things especially in France. “Every creature of God is good.” Now let’s look at this. First of all, let’s take it to the extreme. Suppose that he is saying every creature of God is good and you could eat anything.

Well, that means that technically… First of all, what’s a creature? Anything that God created. There’s no boundaries. Creature. It’s a living creation. “Every creature of God is good.” Are you a creature? Technically. “Nothing is to be refused.” It starts getting scary. Cannibalism, right, would be ok? I mean you’d wait until they died. We could solve the food problems. Every creature of God is good. There’s all kind of really creepy things out there. I mean, would you want a maggot and mayonnaise sandwich? See? I got your attention! Nobody sleeps when I talk like this. So is… Take it to the extreme. Just pray over it because it is sanctified by the word of God in prayer. Have your blessing. Now some people who claim to be Christians are using this argument that they would never accept coming to them from their children. Suppose before school in the morning the kids are getting their breakfast together and they get out their sugar frosted flakes and they fill the bowl and there they get the sugar and begin to heap the sugar on top of the sugar frosted flakes.

Some of you aren’t reacting now because that’s how it is at your house every day. And you say, “Wait! Hold on! That’s enough!” And the child says, “But Mom, it’s about to be sanctified by prayer. It doesn’t matter what I eat because I’m going to pray over it. It will be blessed then.” And then they get out the marshmallows. They top off their sugar frosted flakes swimming in sugar syrup and they heap the marshmallows up. Then they go to the fridge and get the chocolate syrup. And you go, “Wait a second!” They go, “Nope. It’s not a lot and I’m going to pray over it.” Any parents here that would accept that? Your kids are watching you right now. Alright and so we think that God is an ignoramus and we’re going to say, “Lord, I’m going to eat all kinds of contemptible things that even science tells me is an abomination and I’m just going to pray over it.”

You know my Bible says, “Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked.” People are mocking God by violating their conscience and eating junk and thinking they can pray over it. Eating unclean, filthy animals… Shouldn’t eat any animals, but if you’re going to eat them don’t insult the Holy Spirit by eating things He’s declared an abomination and saying, “All I’ve got to do is pray over it because it’s sanctified.” Now what does this mean? The extreme obviously isn’t’ true. What does this mean? It says, “This entity (this power) would command people to abstain” I’m in verse 3. “Abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving.” Some foods were created to be received with thanksgiving. Some were not. Which ones will they command to abstain from? They’ll command to abstain from the ones “which He created to be received with thanksgiving.” It’s specifying certain foods. It also specifies foods that are sanctified by the word of God. There are some foods that are sanctified by the word of God, some that are not. So this scripture has nothing to do with declaring everything clean. I hope that’s clear. Otherwise if you take that all the way, you’re going to end up in the abyss of bad judgement.

Ok, let’s go on to the next one. Mark 7:1-4. I hope some of you here have a New King James, no a New International Version. Mark 7:1-4 and this is, I’ve saved this for last. “Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled that is unwashed hands they found fault.” Ok, what’s the issue here? What to eat or what kind of hands to eat with? No type of food is ever mentioned in this passage. Don’t miss this. The issue here is whether the hands are washed or not. “For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way holding the tradition.” It’s talking about a tradition not talking about a Bible commandment, tradition of the elders. “When they come from the market place they do not eat unless they wash.”

Doesn’t say even if you touched anything. And there are many other things which they have received in whole like the washing of cups and pitchers and copper vessels and couches. These were ceremonial washings that the disciples of Jesus neglected before they ate. Then verse 5, “The Pharisees and scribes asked Him, why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition.” It was not a Bible command. “Of the elders. But they eat bread with unwashed hands.” Talking about a ceremonial washing. “And He answered and said to them, well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites as it is written, This people honors me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. In vain they do worship me teaching as doctrines commandments of men.” Man made commandments. They weren’t talking about eating clean and unclean food because that was a doctrine of God in the Bible.

Jesus is condemning them for ceremonial washings. The things that they had manufactured aren’t in the Bible anyway. Now I want you to especially notice verse 18 and 19. The disciples came to Him later and He tried to explain to them. Wait! I want to read verse 11. Jesus says in Matthew chapter 15 verse 11, don’t miss this, Matthew chapter 15 verse 11, it’s a parallel passage, “Not what goes in the mouth defiles a man but what comes out of the mouth this defiles a man.” This is in the same context of this story. It doesn’t matter what you eat because what goes in your mouth does not defile you. I was so happy when I was up in the mountains and I read this scripture because as I came close to Jesus the Holy Spirit convicted me I needed to give up my drugs, my alcohol, my cigarettes.

I was convicted by the Spirit and I was reading one day and it said, “Not what goes in the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of his mouth.” I went, “Praise the Lord! I don’t need to worry about what goes in my mouth.” So I kept drinking and you know what I found out? What goes in your mouth will effect what comes out. And I kept on smoking. Girls told me it was like kissing an ashtray. What goes in your mouth effects what comes out. Christ when He made that statement was saying that you don’t put the emphasis on purity of heart based on whether you have eaten with ceremonially washed hands. And He elaborates on this.

Go back with me to Mark. Matter of fact, if you’ve got the New International Version it’s the worst offender. It says in verse 18, “So He said to them, ‘Are you thus without understanding? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from the outside cannot defile him because it does not enter his heart but his stomach and is eliminated thus purifying all foods?’” If you read in the New International Version this is how it reads, “for it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach and then out of his body” and then it says in parenthesis “in saying this Jesus declared all foods clean”. That’s when I traded in my NIV. Do you know that’s not in the Greek? They took a manuscript that had a footnote and they incorporated it. And if you think translators don’t have a little bit of personal prejudice in some of their translations think again.

It does not say that. Now I even went into the Greek on this one. When Jesus says… In saying this… Mark 7 verse 18-19, “So He said to them, ‘Are you thus without understanding? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from the outside cannot defile him because it does not enter his heart but his stomach and is eliminated thus purifying all foods?’” The word purifying there is the word kathetos where we get the word catheter in English. It means “to drain or to clear” and what Christ is saying is you’ve got a digestive system and your stomach eats and processes the food and then it’s cleared. And you know we take in and we eliminate. He’s talking about eating with unwashed hands is not going to defile your heart. There is nothing in this that declares foods clean. The other thing is the word that’s used for foods there is the word broma and broma is a general word for foods.

It doesn’t mean meats. No specific food is identified. Broma can be used for vegetables. And so for people to take this verse and say, “Jesus declared all foods clean saying that you can eat anything now” that is not at all what is being addressed here. It's talking about eating with unwashed hands. Nobody eats. No specific food is mentioned. Jesus never said, “Pork is clean.” You know a simple principle to understanding truth in the Bible is when God makes a strong clear explicit command if He is going to revoke it somewhere in the Bible He will be equally clear. You will not have to dig around and root around for these vague ambiguous concepts and try and twist them to fit your understanding. When God says, “The Seventh Day is the Sabbath of the Lord” you shouldn’t have to twist the New Testament upside down to try and make it say it’s not. It’d be clear.

He’d say, “It’s no longer the commandment. It’s now a new day.” And that’s not there. When God says, “Do not eat these unclean animals, do not touch them. They’re an abomination.” When you get to the New Testament God would say, “It’s ok now to eat swine.” He doesn’t say that! Nowhere. There’s nothing like that. People are trying to extrapolate these meanings from these stories and that’s why they come up with these dangerous interpretations. Our bodies are still the temple of the Holy Spirit and the Bible says very clearly that God expects us to take care of our bodies. Paul says, First Corinthians 9:25, “Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.” Not only do I think that we ought to be careful to avoid those things God has forbidden, I like to put it this way. You know when you’re driving you’ve got the red light, the green light, and the yellow light, right? I remember one time a television host was asking a little six year old what the lights meant.

He said, “What’s the red light mean?” “Stop.” “What’s the green light mean?” “Go.” “How about the yellow light?” “Go real fast!” But we know red means no. Green means proceed freely. Yellow means caution. God has that principal I think in the foods. There are some things He told us that we can eat freely of. And the Bible tells us in the Garden of Eden “fruits, grains, nuts” later vegetables were added. We should eat those things freely. The things that would be definite red would be alcohol, tobacco, the meats that God has declared unclean. No Christian should eat those. The things that should be done cautiously… Well, I sort of put the meats in an amber category but you know, Biblically and I’ve got to go to you from the Bible, it says you can eat the clean animals. I would do it in moderation.

You know in America where they have a large meat consumption we’ve got ten times more cancer than other parts of the world where they eat meat because they don’t eat the quantities that we eat in America. We think a meal is not a meal unless we have some dead animal there with it. It’s incomplete. And really that’s the philosophy. In other parts of the world they eat principally the beans and the rice and an occasional piece of meat. And then the other thing for us in America you know one of the biggest killers that’s unsung? Sugar. We eat so many sweets and so much sugar. We have so much diabetes and it causes all kinds of problems and that ought to be in the yellow category. Caution. Moderation. Your body is the temple of God. First Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God?”

Not only us collectively but you individually “and that the spirit of God dwells in you. If anyone defiles the temple of God God will destroy him for the temple of God is holy which temple you are.” Now Daniel tells us it’s possible to defile your temple by eating the wrong thing. You don’t believe that you need to tear Daniel chapter one out of that book. Jesus did not do that with Daniel’s writings. He refers us back to them. Amen? Paul also says, I Corinthians 6:19-20, “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 for you are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.” I like the way Paul puts it in Romans chapter 12, “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present yourself a living sacrifice holy, clean and acceptable.” You come to God just like you are and if you come to the Lord, you know some of us have not been healed because Jesus knows we’re going to keep doing the very thing that made us sick.

If you would covenant with God to follow the light that He has given you and then ask him to heal you, you know so many times Jesus healed someone and he said, “Sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you.” Some of us have not been healed because a worse thing would come upon us if He healed us because we continue in these destructive lifestyles. And if we commit and covenant with God and say, “By your grace, Lord, I’m going to present myself a living sacrifice. I want to have a clear mind in these last days to be able to resist temptation and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit,” you’d experience spiritual healing mental healing and He’d give you the power that you’re lacking. My challenge is to you to present yourself a living sacrifice. You are the temple of God. We are the temple of God collectively. You are the temple of God individually and God wants to fill His temple with His presence and His Spirit. Do you want to be available? Do you want to be filled with His Spirit? Then present yourself. I’d like to invite you to turn to our closing hymn, “Draw Me Nearer” and what’s the hymn number? 306. I’m sorry I lost track of it here. 306, “Draw Me Nearer”. Let’s stand together and make this song a prayer in our hearts. (verse 1)

The next verse begins with the words “Consecrate me now.” If we sang without meaning it then it’s sort of an insult to the Holy Spirit. If it’s your desire to say, “Lord, by your grace I want to present myself. I want to consecrate myself. I’d like to remove from my life and my diet the things that are defiling your temple.” Is that your prayer? Especially now, a good time to start with the new year, make a commitment to have our minds and bodies clean and clear before God that He can more efficiently and effectively through us. Let’s sing verse two and let’s sing it like a prayer. (verse 2)

Before we sing the last verse I always want to make an opportunity available for anybody and everybody here to come for special prayer. Some of you may want to come to pray about things you’ve heard in the message today to ask God to give you victory in your life in some particular. It might be related to health. Might be related to healing. Some of you might have some other issue that you’d like to bring to the Lord. Some of you may be here today maybe visiting and you’ve not yet made a decision to consecrate yourself to Jesus and to accept His forgiveness and His sacrifice and His plan for your life. You can use this opportunity to come just like you are. So as we sing this final verse if the Holy Spirit moves on your heart and you’d like to stay behind for a moment and council and pray with the pastors please come if the Spirit leads you. We’ll pray with you. (verse 3)

Lord Jesus, we are so thankful that we can come nearer to Your side that was pierced. Lord, in the beginning you made an incision in the side of Adam and out came Eve. And Christ on the cross had His side pierced and out came that flow of blood and brought forth the church, His bride, and we know that it provided power and cleansing. Lord, we all come to You today and we all need cleansing from our sins. Some of us are struggling with specific battles for victory maybe over habits that are defiling the temple. Maybe we’re struggling with health and we’re coming asking Jesus to heal. We know that He still can and I pray You’ll release Your power in the lives of those who need to experience physical healing. But most important, Lord, we need that healing that will last through eternity, the spiritual healing. We ask for forgiveness for our sins. I pray that You will intensify our hatred for sin and increase our love for Jesus and our desire to please Him in every area. We want to be holy living sacrifices that we present ourselves on the altar that you can fill us with Your Spirit and we can be mobile temples for Jesus. Bless this church collectively as your temple that it be a place where people will see Your face and it’s in Your Name that we ask. Amen.

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