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CARE FOR TEMPLE
by Dale D. Meredith
December 10, 2017
University Baptist Church
Getzville, NY 14068

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Good News Bible, The Bible in Today’s English Version,  ©1976 by American Bible Society. Used by permission.

OLD TESTAMENT READING.

1 Kings 18:44b-19:9

Elijah ordered his servant, “Go to King Ahab and tell him to get in his chariot and go back home before the rain stops him.”

45 In a little while the sky was covered with dark clouds, the wind began to blow, and a heavy rain began to fall. Ahab got in his chariot and started back to Jezreel. 46 The power of the Lord came on Elijah; he fastened his clothes tight around his waist and ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

1 King Ahab told his wife Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and how he had put all the prophets of Baal to death. 2 She sent a message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me dead if by this time tomorrow I don’t do the same thing to you that you did to the prophets.” 3 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life; he took his servant and went to Beersheba in Judah.

Leaving the servant there, 4 Elijah walked a whole day into the wilderness. He stopped and sat down in the shade of a tree and wished he would die. “It’s too much, Lord,” he prayed. “Take away my life; I might as well be dead!”

5 He lay down under the tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said, “Wake up and eat.” 6 He looked around and saw a loaf of bread and a jar of water near his head. He ate and drank, and lay down again. 7 The Lord’s angel returned and woke him up a second time, saying, “Get up and eat, or the trip will be too much for you.” 8 Elijah got up, ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to walk forty days to Sinai, the holy mountain. 9 There he went into a cave to spend the night.

Suddenly the Lord spoke to him

NEW TESTAMENT READING

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God; 20 he bought you for a price. So use your bodies for God’s glory.

INTRODUCTION: To be happy does not mean that you laugh all the time. To be happy is to be content and satisfied. Happy has synonyms such as glad, cheerful, joyful, joyous. We want to be happy. But we may find ourselves in situations and circumstances where we are not happy. We don’t have to be unhappy. We may not be able to change the situation or circumstances, but there are many things that we can do to contribute to our happiness. We have discussed some things we can do: practice generosity, focus on the present, express thanks, practice forgiveness, and turn trials into opportunities. We may not be happy doing just one of these activities, but each contributes to our happiness. It is the total of the many contributions that causes us to experience happiness. Today we want to discuss taking care of our bodies. Our Old Testament reading presents an example of an individual who had pushed his body to its limits.

ELIJAH: The verses preceding our Old Testament reading describe a winner take all challenge on Mt. Carmel by Elijah to the prophets of the false god Baal who was worshiped by the Canaanites. The 450 prophets of Baal would offer a sacrifice to Baal and Elijah would offer a sacrifice to God and the sacrifice burned by fire from heaven would determine who would be worshiped in Israel: Baal or God. The 450 prophets prayed, danced, and cut themselves for hours, but nothing happened. Elijah placed his sacrifice one the altar poured water on it and prayed. God sent fire to burn the wood and the sacrifice and evaporate the water. God had won the challenge. The 450 prophets of Baal were killed. Elijah then prayed that a three-year drought would end. He saw a cloud forming over the Mediterranean Sea and told the king to run because a storm was coming.

King Ahab got in his horse drawn chariot and drove to Jezreel. Elijah ran ahead of the chariot. It was approximately 26 miles from Mt. Carmel to Jezreel. Elijah ran a marathon against a horse and won! Queen Jezebel, who worshipped Baal, threatened to kill Elijah for what he had done on Mr. Carmel. To escape, Elijah walked as fast as he could to Beersheba, a distance of about 95 miles. He then walked a whole day into the wilderness and literally collapsed. He was exhausted. His body probably refused to move. He began to have suicidal thoughts. He prayed to die. And then he fell asleep.

God awoke Elijah, but God did not say, “Elijah have faith, pray, and go to the Temple and preach a great sermon about how I, God, won the challenge at Mt. Carmel.” God provided Elijah food and water and let him sleep some more. After a time, Elijah was awakened a second time and more food and water were provided. God knew that Elijah’s body had been extended to the limit. What Elijah needed was proper food and rest such that his body could recuperate from running a marathon followed by hurriedly walking the long distance without time to eat and rest properly.

I estimate that God provided for Elijah to have at least two days of complete rest and proper food before asking him to walk to receive his next assignment. Thus, Elijah received the proper food, rest, and exercise to rebuild his body. With his body rested and refreshed, the verses following our Old Testament reading explain that Elijah was able to hear and accept God’s next assignment.

When we don’t take care of our bodies we can’t hear and complete God’s assignment for us. We now turn to our New Testament reading to further examine why we need to care for our bodies.

PAUL: In our New Testament reading Paul reminds us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:17, “But, he who joins himself to the Lord becomes spiritually one with him.” He continued in verse 19, “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God; 20 he bought you for a price. So use your bodies for God’s glory. Not only is your body the temple of the Holy Spirit, it doesn’t even belong to you. Your body belongs to God.

In Psalm 139:13, 15-16, the psalmist wrote, 
"You created every part of me;
    you put me together in my mother’s womb. 
    :
    :
“When my bones were being formed, 
    carefully put together in my mother’s womb, 
    when I was growing there in secret, 
    you knew I was there – 
you saw me before I was born.  
    The days allotted to me 
    had all been recorded in your book, 
    before any of them ever began.”

When you lease a car, you do not know where or how the car was made. The length, number of days, of the lease is recorded. Not only that, but the number of miles you can drive the car without penalty, the condition the car should be in at the end of lease, and what you can use the car for are all recorded. You are given a copy of the items in the lease and you are expected to follow them. That is like what God says about your body.

God created you, you don’t know how he put you together. He loaned you your body for as long as you live. It will be the only body you ever receive. He has given you a manual, the Bible, about how to use and maintain your body. Doesn’t that sound like a car lease. And, He has added one more thing. Because the Holy Spirit lives in you, He will go everywhere you go. Therefore, He will be there when you maintain, care for, you body and use it for His glory.

God’s glory is the disclosure of God’s presence. His presence is seen in his deeds. In Genesis 1:26, God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us.” Then in verse 27, we read, “So God created human beings, making then to be like himself.” However, human beings sinned and some of the likeness of God was lost. When you accept Jesus as Savior your sins are forgiven, and the Holy Spirit works in your life to transform you into God’s likeness. This transformation is a process. As you follow Jesus and practice the presence of God in your life, the Holy Spirit transforms you more and more into the likeness of God (2 Corinthians 3:18). As you are being transformed into the likeness of God you begin to reveal to a greater degree the presence of God. You should care for your body so that it will also reveal the presence of God.

You may remember from last week that Paul said (2 Corinthians 12:9-10), “I am most happy then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me. 10 I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Those were things that Paul could not control, and Paul could be happy and content with them when they occurred because he followed Christ. Then, they really revealed God’s power when he could be strong in these weaknesses. Paul did not seek these weaknesses or limitations on his body.

In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul instructed Timothy, pastor at Ephesus, “Do not drink water only, but take a little wine to help your digestion, since you are sick so often.” Paul was encouraging Timothy to drink a little wine so he wouldn’t be sick so often and would be better able to minister to the people in Ephesus. In our culture, Paul is encouraging Timothy to take his medications. Then, Timothy could better represent God’s presence in Ephesus.

FOR YOU: When you accept Jesus as your savior your sins are forgiven, and the Holy Spirit comes to live in you. You thus become the temple of the Holy Spirit. You should take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit because it represents God’s presence wherever you go. There are some things you cannot control. Therefore, you can accept God’s care and power to overcome those obstacles. Or, as we say, let God help you turn trials into opportunities to reveal God’s provision and power to use you in His service.

There are, however, things you can control. You can control how you care for your body. The Old Testament reading showed that you need to get proper food, rest, and exercise. I walk for an hour five days a week. The New Testament reading helped us to understand that taking care of your body is a spiritual matter. You are to use your body for God’s glory.

God’s glory is seen in what he does. After accepting Jesus as your savior the Holy Spirit is active in transforming you into God’s likeness. A healthy body allows you to minister and reveal more of God’s presence in your community. That transformation includes getting proper food, rest, exercise, medication, following Jesus, and practicing the presence of Christ in you so you can be the presence of Christ in your community to the glory of God. This leads to contentment and satisfaction which contribute to your happiness.