Body and Spirit - Cleanliness is Godliness
1CO 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
I write this sermon because I would like to focus on that part of us which is not focused on so much in "western" thinking, which is the body.
We are made up of our body, our mind, and our soul/spirit.
The most important command in the bible reads: MT 22:37 `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (strength in Old Testament DEUT 6:5).'
Before the priests could approach the holy altar, they had to make sure they
were ceremonially clean. Before Moses could approach God, he had to take off his
sandals. In the same way, I believe that keeping a clean body helps us reach a
more harmonious relationship with God. I am not saying it is absolutely
necessary, only that I believe it can help.
2CO 7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
In the bible our body is often referred to as a tent which houses the spirit which lives in us. If, as new born Christians, we receive the Holy Spirit from the father, do you not think we would want our "house", to which we have invited the Holy Spirit, to be clean and in order?
1CO 6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?
In the US, there is a saying that cleanliness is Godliness.
MT 23:25 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
This refers to the cleanliness of our hearts inside us. We cannot worship God
in an outwardly way but it must come from the heart.
When Christ came, he spent much of his time "healing" people’s bodies from
all sorts of sicknesses. After all, can someone burdened with an unhealthy body
serve God as effectively?
For example, I have many times read interviews with successful people who stated they were very active in sports. When you are active in sports, your heart becomes strong and your circulation increases, which helps clean out your system. I find that people who are more active in sports generally have more energy. People who are less active tend to find it more difficult to get up in the morning or to motivate themselves. A ‘sluggard’, as the bible refers to it.
Therefore, another reason why we may want to focus on our bodies in this way
is to become more effective so that, when we serve God, we can do it more
JUDE 1:8 In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.
Therefore, polluting your bodies by smoking cigarettes for example could
disrupt your relationship with God.
DA 1:8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and
wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself
this way.  Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to
Daniel,  but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king,
who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than
the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of
The same people who preached for vegetarianism also preached about the
benefits of fasting.
Anyway, the bible often refers to fasting as a means of humbling ourselves
before God. It is also often spoken hand in hand with worshipping and prayer.
RO 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer
your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your
spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this
world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able
to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Other ways we can help to keep our bodies ‘clean’:
MT 15:17 "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the
stomach and then out of the body?  But the things that come out of the
mouth come from the heart, and these make a man `unclean.'  For out of the
heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false
testimony, slander.  These are what make a man `unclean'.
These three passages focus more on the heart and spirit’s relationship to the body. If our heart is at peace, it will live in better harmony with the body. If we receive the word of God, our bodies will be filled with the spirit life that God offers. And we should watch what comes out of our own mouths, for
JAS 3:6 The tongue is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
As the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are in unison, so should our
bodies, minds and souls in serving God. If one of these elements are neglected,
the others may suffer.
The Tai Chi Chuan Classics say, "Tai Chi came from Wu Chi, the mother of Yin
and Yang." In the past, Tai Chi Chuan students generally had a complete physical
and spiritual training by working on the Wu Chi Posture or static component and
Tai Chi Chuan or the dynamic component.
A part of this training is most certainly meditation, something which David does and frequently refers to in his writings.
In conclusion, I would only like to say that there may be many ways how we can achieve God’s greatest command of loving him with "all our hearts, strength and soul", only one of which may be purifying our minds and bodies so that we can offer our temple as a clean instrument to God.
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