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1. Where do we live on the prophetic timeline? Revelation 14:6, 7 NKJV
“Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’ “
In previous lessons we saw how Daniel 8:14 predicts earth’s judgment hour, the “cleansing of the sanctuary,” that began in A.D. 1844. Knowing where we live on the prophetic timeline helps God’s people know best how to glorify Him during these last days. In this lesson we will look at the significance of the “cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary” for us as Christians.
2. What was important about the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary? Leviticus 16:30 NKJV
“For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your before the Lord.”
The cleansing of the earthly sanctuary was the most solemn day of the year, because it was when people earnestly sought God for cleansing of sin. In this judgment hour just before Jesus returns, God seeks to do for us what the Old Testament ceremony symbolized—cleanse His people of sin.
3. Does this “cleansing time” help prepare us for Jesus’ return? 1 John 3:2, 3 NKJV
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him himself, just as He is pure.”
Understanding the eternal importance of the time in which we live—the last judgment hour and Jesus’ soon return—helps us seek Him as our number one priority in life. This hope of His coming leads us to Christ so that He can purify our hearts of sin.
4. Can we cooperate with Jesus’ “cleansing of the sanctuary”? 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 NKJV
“For you are the of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be , says the Lord. Do not touch what is , and I will receive you.’ ‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’”
We are temples for God’s presence. We cooperate with Jesus’ work of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary by letting His Spirit guide us into all truth to separate us from the sinful practices of this world John 16:13).
5. What are these “unclean” sinful practices that God separates us from? 2 Corinthians 7:1 NKJV
“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the and perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
There are two categories of “unclean” sinful practices from which God cleanses us. First, there are the sins of the flesh. These are the actions of our physical life that dishonor God. Then there are the sins of the spirit—the inner sins of our lives. The disciples instructed first-century Christians, and us, to “cleanse ourselves” by making lifestyle choices to separate from the degrading sinful influences the devil has placed in society.
6. How do we determine the best lifestyle choices for a Christian? Philippians 4:8 NKJV
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy— on these things.”
We must recognize the devil is “like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Even though we have accepted Christ, we still live in a sinful world and need to be vigilant to overcome Satan. This is why the apostle Paul instructs Christians to be conscientious about what they allow their minds to take in. The five senses are doorways to the heart, mind, and soul. What we watch on television, videos, and movies, the recreation we participate in, the music we listen to, and even the books and magazines we read will influence our spiritual, mental, and moral nature. Whatever we behold with our eyes and ears affects our thinking and “as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (2 Corinthians 3:18; Proverbs 23:7). Wise Christians will not allow themselves to be polluted by things that do not meet the standard of Philippians 4:8. Instead, we will focus on that which is pure and lovely.
7. What type of things feed the sinful nature? Galatians 5:16-25 NKJV
“Now the works of the are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God…. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Even though we are born again, the flesh and the Spirit still war for control of our will. The spiritual nature wants to please God, but the old sinful nature seeks to draw us away from Him. The things we put into our minds and the influences we surround ourselves with will strengthen either the spiritual or carnal nature.
If we watch, read, or participate in the works of the flesh—adultery, fornication, lewdness, idolatry, lying, sorcery, hatred, violence, jealousies, etc.—we strengthen our sinful desire and make it impossible to truly follow Christ. Successful Christians will protect themselves from sinful influences and fill their minds with godly material.
One good test to determine if an activity is good for you is to ask, “Is this something Jesus would do?” If it contains any of the above mentioned sins of the flesh, you can know that Jesus wouldn’t participate. What is the influence of movies, theater, non-Christian music, taverns, dancing, and gambling on our spirituality? Would Jesus gyrate on the dance floor in sexually suggestive moves? Would He watch movies that glorify crime, violence, sex, and greed? Would he laugh at a comedian’s filthy jokes? If you desire to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” into a spiritually strong person, then don’t subject yourself to influences that will only lead you to “be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2).
8. What practical instruction does the Bible have on dress? 1 Timothy 2:9, 10 NKJV
“In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but that which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”
The text says “women,” but the principle also applies to men. Christians will dress modestly and not in a way calculated to arouse the lusts of the flesh or draw attention to themselves.
“Braided hair” (“broidered” in the KJV) does not refer to fixing our hair neatly. Paul is actually referring to a common practice of weaving jewelry into the hair. Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible describes this: ‘Thin plates of gold were often mixed with the hair, to make it appear more ornamental by the reflection of light and of the solar rays. Small golden buckles were also used in different parts; and among the Roman ladies, pearls and precious stones of different colors.” Though the details of the current fashion may change from time to time, the Bible principle is clear: Christians should wear modest fashions and avoid the use of gold, pearls, or expensive clothing.
9. Did the apostle Peter also instruct the church on dress? 1 Peter 3:3, 4 (KJV)
“Whose adorning let it not be that adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
The apostles instructed new believers on many aspects of Christian lifestyle including dress, sexual relations, business, and social customs. For the apostles, Christianity didn’t consist of just attending church, but it was a total way of life that reflected the values of God.
This instruction to refrain from wearing jewelry used to be followed by many Christians, but as churches have conformed more to the world, they have neglected these Bible teachings. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church taught, “Wearing gold, [by way of ornament,] and putting on costly or gay apparel … ought never to be allowed, much less defended, by Christians.” (John Wesley, Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, on 1 Peter 3:3).
10. What did God’s people do before entering the Promised Land? Exodus 33:1-6 NKJV
“And no one put on his . For the Lord had said to Moses… ‘ Now therefore, take off your , that I may know what to do to you.’ So the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments.”
Whenever God leads His people out of sin and into a new experience with Him, He always has them remove the distracting ornaments of jewelry. (See Genesis 35:1-4; Isaiah 3:16-23.) We will soon enter the heavenly Promised Land and God wants us to prepare to walk on streets of gold, and not be preoccupied with how to wear more gold here.
11. How can a Christian strengthen his spirituality?
a. “Search the .” John 5:39 NKJV
b. “And in the morning, … he went out, and departed into a place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35 NKJV
c. “Go ye therefore, and all nations.” Matthew 28:19, KJV
d. “Not forsaking the of ourselves together.” Hebrews 10:25 NKJV
These texts contain the secret to spiritual strength and longevity. Study the Bible daily, have a quiet time to study and pray every morning, share what you learn with others, and worship together with God’s people on the Sabbath. By nurturing our spirituality in this fashion we will grow in God’s grace.
12. How can we best express our love for Christ? 1 John 3:18, 22 NKJV
“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in and in …. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
The Christian life is much more than just saying we love Jesus. True love also expresses itself in actions that please the object of our affections. At times this will mean giving up our own pleasures to please Jesus. For those who love Christ, this will not be a burden.
13. Do you love Jesus and is it your decision to live a surrendered Christian life by following His lifestyle principles?
We can be so thankful that Jesus “became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because of Jesus did for us on the cross, we can be cleansed of all sin and develop a character like Jesus’. By spending time with God each day through Bible study, prayer and service to others, we will find that the worldly pleasures and pursuits we used to enjoy are no longer appealing. Jesus is changing us at the core of our beings because we have given Him permission to work in us.