The Priesthood and Temperance of all Believers

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

While Seventh-day Adventists have a health and temperance message to give to the world, God has been using His people in every church and age to spread this message. A while back, I visited the Congregational church in Litchfield Connecticut, which was formed back in the 1700’s. When I got home, I Googled the history of this church, and found that Lyman Beecher was the pastor of this church from 1810 to 1826.

34 years before there was a Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor Beecher was famous in his day for preaching abstinence from alcohol, even while other pastors of his day were social drinkers.  Thank God He has pastors in every church and age, who simply go by the Bible.

Years ago I was driving home from a Bible study in the Fort Worth Texas area, when I heard a local Baptist pastor on the radio talking about alcohol. He brought up a very interesting viewpoint, I had never thought of. He quotedLeviticus 10:8-11 NLT

Then the Lord said to Aaron,“You and your descendants must never

drink wine or any other alcoholic drink before going into the Tabernacle. If you do, you will die. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation.  You must distinguish between what is sacred and what is common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean.  And you must teach the Israelites all the decrees that the Lord has given them through Moses.

He talked about how alcohol messes with the judgment center of the brain, and how Aaron’s descendants, the priests, were on a special mission and alcohol was to have no interference with their mission. They held a position which set them apart. I remembered listening to another pastor on the radio, years before, talking about why Jesus refused the wine offered to Him on the cross. See Mark 15:23. The health message is not about living longer. It is about living closer to God. Jesus was going to die on the cross if He drank the wine or not. Jesus refused the wine because He was on a mission and did not need alcohol interfering with His brain and connection with God and focus on His mission. It is the same with the priests.

The pastor in the Fort Worth area, drove home this point. While the Old Testament teaches all priests to stay away from alcohol the New Testament teaches the priesthood of all believers.

 You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. 1 Peter 2:9 NLT

His conclusion was, no priest should ever touch alcohol. Every believer is a priest on a mission. Therefore all believers should stay away from alcohol so they can accomplish their gospel mission, and fulfill their role as priest.

While many people inside the Seventh-day Adventist Church today, debate abstinence and moderation in drinking alcohol, people in various Christian churches in various ages had abstained from all alcohol, based solely on the Scriptures, which remind us of our priestly calling.

You may study this topic further here. 

Jesus Wept; The Bible And Human Emotions, Lesson 11

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I have never used my blog before to promote any books other than the Bible, but after reading through this week’s SS lesson, “Freedom From Addictions” there are a couple of books I would like to recommend. The first one was recommended to me several years ago by a stranger at the Adventist Book Center. I was in Collegedale, Tennessee browsing through the Adventist Book Center when, I picked up the book “You Can Be Free” at random, written by Vaughn Allen. A lady I had never seen before or since walked up to me and told me that was an excellent book and had set her free. Free from what I do not know, but I thought, if you can’t trust a stranger at the ABC then who can you trust? So I bought the book and found it to be very powerful in dealing with all kinds of addictions. It helps you see the source of the addiction, find the remedy in God’s Word, and practical ways to not put yourself in a vulnerable position to temptation. It offers other practical steps to find freedom in Christ. I found it very practical and powerful. You can order it at your local ABC.

A few years ago the Men’s Ministry of the Florida SDA Conference had a workshop on sexual purity in Clearwater. A friend asked me to go so I did. We both thought it would be a simple little seminar on maintaining sexual purity. Wrong! It was an intense workshop for sex addicts. This workshop had group times, and while listening to the men share their testimonies, I learned that many of them began their addiction to sex around the age of 11 or 12. I then noticed on the workshop program that it said you had to be at least 17 to attend, so while this addiction begins at 11 or 12 you can’t get help until you’re 17! This is crazy! We need to help these young men while they are young before things get worse. I am so thankful for my parents for many reasons, and one of those is that in our home there were no taboo topics. There were no awkward conversations. I could talk to my parents about sex as easily and causally as we talked about the Bible or baseball or whatever. I was never censored. When I hear people refer to sex as an awkward or sensitive subject I have a hard time understanding that. The way I was brought up, talking about sex is no more awkward than talking about how to change the oil in your car. I would like to submit to you the idea that, it is Satan’s idea to make sex a taboo topic and not God’s idea. Nobody is going to ask for help if it’s wrong to talk about it.

Many years ago, I lost a friend who had a sexual addiction that nobody even knew about until it was too late and it killed her. It breaks my heart that she may have been scared to reach out for help, for fear that she would be judged.

A great book that has been highly recommended by hundreds of pastors of all faiths, is “Every Man’s Battle” by Stephen Arterburn. You can also find, “Every Young Man’s Battle” for the younger as I was talking about.

While on the subject of overcoming temptations and addictions I want to share a study from the classic book, “The Desire of Ages,” on how God and His Word help us to be victorious.

In closing I want to add something I feel is very important. Several years ago I was reading “The Purpose Drive Life” by Rick Warren. In his book he talks about the importance of having an accountability partner. I used to think that was humanism but now I find it to be very Biblical. After all Adam and Eve were to be accountability partners in the Garden as well as husband and wife. On page 212 of the Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren makes a bold statement that a trusted accountability partner is the only way we can find victory. Again a few years ago I thought that was humanism, but it is very Biblical. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16

Healthy Living in Light of the Cross

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You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here

Health and Temperance 

Brief overview: God want us to be healthy and happy. See Leviticus 11, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Proverbs 20:1

Why it is important to know the truth about health and temperance:

You don’t have to be a doctor to know how important, rest; exercise and diet are to healthy living. Seventh-day Adventists have been sharing a health message for many years now. The December 2005 issue of National Geographic had an article on the health lifestyles of Seventh-day Adventists and reports that they live an average of eight years longer than the general population.

Why it is important to understand health and temperance in the light of the cross:

While we all want to live as long as we can this is great news, but the health message Adventists find in the light of the Cross is not just about living longer, but living better. The health message in the light of the Cross teaches us that a healthier body leads to a healthier mind, which is able to appreciate spiritual themes and make morally sound choices. So while those following Biblical health principles live longer, more importantly they live closer to Jesus.

Further Study on Health and Temperance

What does God call us to do?

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18

Will this have an impact on what we eat?

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

What warning does God give?

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are. 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17

Why is this subject so important?

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20

Note: In view of the above principles, one should refrain from the use of things which tend to harm, impede, or shorten one’s life; as well as those things which God has strictly forbidden.

What is God’s warning about alcohol?

Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, [when] it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Proverbs 23:29-32

Who does the Bible say has woe and sorrow?

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto [them that are] mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Isaiah 5:20-22

What should we not be deceived by?

Wine [is] a mocker, strong drink [is] raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. Proverbs 20:1

Will drunkards be in heaven?

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:10

What does God desire for us?

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 2

Did Noah realize a distinction between the animals?

Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that [are] not clean by two, the male and his female. Genesis 7:2

How can we tell the difference?

And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that [are] on the earth. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, [and] cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: [as] the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he [is] unclean unto you. And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he [is] unclean unto you. And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he [is] unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they [are] unclean to you. Leviticus 11:1-8

What must seafood have to be eaten?

These shall ye eat of all that are]in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which [is] in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that [shall be] an abomination unto you. Leviticus 11:9-12

Why did God give this list?

This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten. Leviticus 11:46, 47

Who will be destroyed when Jesus returns?

They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one [tree] in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD. Isaiah 66:17

What does God want you to do?

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. Romans 12:1

 

Click here for a study on wine in the Bible.