Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sabbath School Insights No. 9, Qtr 3-05

Special Insights No. 9

Third Quarter 2005 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Spiritual Life”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“Lord of Our Body Temples”



One of the earliest research studies performed was designed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and recorded in Daniel chapter one. Daniel and three other teenage youth were among some of the children of Israel who caught the eye of King Nebuchadnezzar. Young men “in whom there was no blemish,...... who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they could teach the language and the literature of the Chaldeans” (Dan. 1:4). The king decided to feed them the king’s delicacies and the king’s wine. But Daniel determined in his heart not to defile his body with the portion of the king’s delicacies nor with his wine and asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him and his three teenage friends to eat a vegetarian diet and drink water! The chief eunuch was concerned for his own life because he knew that a vegetarian diet and water would certainly be inadequate. He thought that the king in his displeasure might require his life if something happened to Daniel. Daniel began to set the parameters of the experiment. He decides that 10 days would be sufficient, and the outcome measure would be the appearance of their countenances compared to the countenances of those who ate the king’s “delicacies” (the royal food), and drank the king’s wine. “Now at the end of the days,...... the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. Then the king interviewed them, and among all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah” (Dan. 1:18, 19). How is it possible for teenagers to submit their appetites and passions willingly to the control of the Holy Spirit?


The lesson this week is entitled “Lord of Our Body Temples.” The memory verse, 1 Cor. 6:19, 20, says, “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? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” It would be helpful to focus this insight on a question posed in the teachers’ section of the quarterly on p. 107: “What can we do to reclaim the gospel of good health from legalists and extremists? Make three specific suggestions.” I believe the answer is found in the “most precious message” the Lord gave this church in 1888. We will begin to answer the question with two texts, one from Sunday’s lesson, John 1:1-3. and one from Monday’s lesson, Gal. 4:4, 5. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1). This tells us that in the beginning God the Son had all the glory of heaven and the homage of all the angels, and that He had a special intimate relationship with His Father. We can’t comprehend what life with the Father was like, but they agreed that when the fullness of the time had come God would “sen[d] forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law......” (Gal. 4:4, 5). Now He would be God with us. Ellen White in The Desire of Ages (DA), pp. 22, 23, says, “Jesus might have remained at the Father’s side. He might have retained the glory of heaven, and the homage of the angels. But He chose to give back the scepter into the Father’s hands, and to step down from the throne of the universe, that He might bring light to the benighted, and life to the perishing.” She goes on to say, “Nearly two thousand years ago, a voice of mysterious import was heard in heaven, from the throne of God, ‘Lo, I come.’” It was at this point that the Father and Son knew that their relationship would be changed forever. There is a love which is self-sacrificing, self-renouncing, a love “which seeketh not her own” and this is called agape. Again in DA Ellen White says, “The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought,...... It was a revelation of ‘the mystery which had been kept in silence through times eternal.’ Rom. 16:25. It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. So great was His love for the world that He covenanted to give His only begotten Son” (p. 22). “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.” Commenting on Phil. 2:5-8 Ellen White says, “As the high priest laid aside his gorgeous pontifical robes, and officiated in the white linen dress of the common priest, so Christ took the form of a servant, and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim” (ibid., p. 25).


With this background I would like to suggest three reasons why the gospel presented in 1888 prevents the Health Message from becoming legalism:


1. 2 Cor. 5:14 says that the “[agape] of Christ constrains us.” This is not based on legalism but on a heart appreciation for the sacrifice of Christ and the Father. We will with Frances Ridley Havergal say, “Take my will and make it thine it shall be no longer mine.” Agape is powerful enough to cause us to lay aside our selfish desires including those related to health reform and submit to God.


2. Health reform is part of the New Covenant. Paul says in Gal. 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” The faith of Jesus enabled Him to deny Himself, submit His will to His Father and by faith do only those things which pleased the Father. The faith of Jesus makes a reality the promises of the New Covenant. “I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts.” This faith is given to us and if we don’t resist, this New Covenant experience will be ours and that includes the experience of healthful living. Waggoner says in The Glad Tidings, p. 47, “It is not we that live, but Christ that lives in us, and uses His own faith to deliver us from the power of Satan. ‘What have we to do?’ Let Him live in us in His own way. ‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.’ Phil. 2:5, KJV.”


3. This reason is the most important because it deals with motivation. A proper understanding of the gospel removes our selfish motivation to live 7 more years and instead to be concerned about the honor and vindication of God. How we treat our body temples has more to do with God’s glory than our own personal salvation. 1 Cor. 10:31 says, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” The memory text has the same idea. Jesus came to manifest the glory of the Father and now we have the same privilege. Daniel chapter 7, verse 10, tells us that 10,000 x 10,000 (100 million) at least are watching to see whether or not there is power in the blood. The universe is watching to see if self is cast out of the hearts and minds of His people. Eph 3:10 says, “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” Our diet is not just so we can live another 7 years, but so we can participate in this final revelation of God’s character to the on-looking universe.


The 1888 message is a powerful answer to legalism. By the power of agape, we are motivated to live not only for ourselves but for Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. May God bless us as we seek to give Him glory in every area of our lives.

Lyndi Schwartz


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