Derek opens today’s message by asking ”How should we treat our bodies?” Going through various scriptures he addresses the need for us to consider what and how we eat, and the nutritional value. We need to use wisdom in taking care of our bodies.
First Corinthians 9 verse 27. This is Paul’s own statement.
“But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
So with all his revelations and his wonderful gifts and his knowledge, Paul said, “I treat my body with severity.” Actually that Greek word originally means to give somebody a black eye. So I give my body a black eye. I think some of the other translations say, “I beat my body. I bring it into subjection, lest by any means after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.” Preachers, that applies to us. We can preach to others and still be disqualified ourselves, if we do not control our bodies.
How should we treat our bodies? Of course there are a lot of different factors in treating our bodies, but one of the most essential is what we should eat and drink. Of course that’s so simple and basic that we don’t discuss it in church. But the fact of the matter is, people who go to church eat and drink, and God has got some advice to all of us. Isaiah 55—this is a beautiful Scripture—verse 2. This is advice from God on how to eat and drink.
“Why do you spend money on what is not bread, And your wages on what does not satisfy? [Why do you go out for all that fast food which doesn’t do you any good at all, and waste a lot of money on things that don’t nourish you and don’t make you healthy? It’s very up to date. Then God says,] Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good. [How simple. Eat things that are good for you, that nourish you, that strengthen you, that don’t contribute to cancer, which many things we eat do today.] And let your soul delight itself in abundance.”
God says, “Care for your soul by the way you eat. Eat what is good.” How stupid to eat what is not good. And how unfortunate if we don’t even know what is not good.
Now, 1 Corinthians 10:31. You see there’s a lot of verses from 1 Corinthians. First Corinthians 10:31—very simple instruction.
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it to the glory of God.”
So, whether we’re eating or drinking, we’re going to do it to the glory of God. Do you think about that when you sit down at a meal table?
Now, you say, “Brother Prince, people don’t talk about this kind of thing in church.” I know they don’t, but they should. We’re very illogical. When a new convert comes if he’s smoking, we say you’ve got to give it up. If he’s an alcoholic, you’ve got to give it up. If he’s on drugs, you’ve got to give it up. All those things can be very unpleasant and traumatic experiences. Giving up drugs, giving up alcohol, giving up smoking. We don’t hold back and say, “Well, that’s too unpleasant. We won’t go into that unpleasant subject. That’s asking too much.” Why do we never talk to new converts about the way that they eat?
In Hosea 4 verse 6 God says through the prophet,
“My people are being destroyed for lack of knowledge...”
That is absolutely the truth today in America. God’s people are being destroyed for lack of knowledge. I want you to know this is not just an ordinary church service. This is a battlefield here this morning. We are fighting a battle for the lives of men and women, and some of them are right here this morning. If you don’t give to heed to what the Bible and common sense have to say, you’ll regret it. It’s your body that’s at stake, it’s your well-being that’s at stake.
One of my good secretaries has provided me with a little sampling of significant, scientific statements about eating and drinking and how to treat our body. These are taken from such places as the United States Department of Health and Human Life, the United States Department of Agriculture, the American Cancer Society. They’re very reputable distinguished people. They are not freaks.
Scientists have estimated that 40 to 60 percent of all cancers are linked to our dietary choices. The U.S. Government’s National Cancer Institute now estimates that 35 percent of cancer deaths are linked to diet. What that means is that we have the potential in our daily food choices to make a major impact on the cancer risk we face each day. Does that register with you? According to Consumer Reports food has been implicated in six out of ten leading causes of death—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, atherosclerosis (which is hardening of the arteries), chronic liver disease, as well as other non-fat related diseases such as osteoporosis and diverticulosis. All these are selections. Today, 40 percent of Americans are overweight, 25 percent of American adults are critically obese. You know what I’ve observed, there’s no difference between people in the church and people out of the church. The same statistics apply. 25 percent of U.S. children are 20 percent or more above ideal weight. Shame on you parents! You are sacrificing the well-being of your children through ignorance or laziness, because those children run a far greater risk of ill health and other problems later in life. I believe one of the most serious responsibilities of a mother is to train her children in right eating habits. I’ve dealt with so many men later in life who couldn’t recover from the impact of the bad habits that their mother had inculcated in them as children. There’s a strange silence!
Now let’s go on to soft drinks. By 1900 Americans drank 12 bottles or glasses of soft drinks a year. By 1980 they rose to 359 bottles or glasses of soft drinks for every man, woman and child in the nation. And since then, 1980, undoubtedly it has gone higher.
In 1821, the average American, whoever that may be, consumed ten pounds of sugar per year. In the 1970s it was over 100 pounds per year, which is 4.4 ounces a day. By 1996 it had risen to 142 pounds per year, which is almost seven ounces a day. You say, “Well, I don’t take that much sugar.” Well, let me tell you. In a soft drink there are nine teaspoonfuls of sugar. Most of the processed and packaged food that you take is saturated with sucrose, and you don’t know, and you’ll go on not knowing unless the Lord wakes you up.
During a corresponding period from 1960 to 1980, that’s a very short period, water consumption dropped from 70 gallons a year to 42 gallons per person. You say, does that matter because I get plenty of fluid? It does matter because water will do things for you that no other fluid will do. All other fluids put some kind of strain on your kidneys. Water does them good.
Now, listen. This is the most astonishing statement. We’re all excited about 2000 A.D. aren’t we, and getting the gospel to everybody. But there are other facts about 2000 A.D. that we don’t speak about. By 2000 A.D. two out of five people in America will develop cancer. Two out of five. These are all sober statements from medical sources. Now if, in a nation, two out of five people had cholera we’d called it a cholera epidemic, wouldn’t we? You know what we have? A cancer epidemic. And who’s doing anything about it? Who cares? Who knows? How much do we ever hear in church about the cancer epidemic? If there were a cholera epidemic in Fort Lauderdale, believe me, all the churches would be praying. But we haven’t opened our eyes. We’ve been blinded by Satan to the real situation.