1. Introduction:
    1. Read I Corinthians 6:19–20.
    2. What the passage entails:
      1. It contains very strong, drastic directives—both positive and negative.
      2. In I Corinthians 3:17, the apostle addresses the entire church as God's temple and prohibits the Christian from defiling it.
      3. Here is how the word defile is defined. “To spoil, ruin, morally deprave, spiritual ruin; cause to decay.”
  2. Discussion:
    1. The two passages referred to above discuss:
      1. The church as the temple of God.
        1. The prohibition is against morally defiling the church—fornication, adultery, and any other moral aberration—a departure from what is right, pure, and true.
        2. This happened in the church in Corinth when a man took his father's wife (I Corinthians 5).
        3. The church may also be defiled by teaching and espousing false doctrine (I Timothy 1:10; 4:3; Titus 2:1, 7; II John 9).
      2. The Christians body is God's temple. The Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian (Romans 8:9).
    2. How we consider the matter of the physical body as the temple of the Holy Spirit:
      1. There are many ways in which a Christian mistreats his body—alcohol, drugs, tobacco, overeating, etc.
      2. A way in which we are concerned in this lesson is the use of tobacco.
        1. The Surgeon General of the United States revealed that in 1989, 400,000 people died from smoking cigarettes.
        2. Advertising, which makes the product appealing to so many, is done in the most attractive manner.
        3. The world is not told of the dangers and of the damage that is done in so many ways.
        4. What else, short of war, has ever caused so much human pain, misery, and destruction?
        5. 358

        6. The evidence is clear from doctors and scientists, so that there is no question of its devastation.
    3. The increased risk of cancer among smokers.
      1. Coronary heart disease increased 80 times over nonsmokers.
      2. Pancreatic cancer is increased 100 times.
      3. Kidney cancer is increased 180 times.
      4. Bladder cancer is increased 383 times.
      5. Peptic ulcers are increased 390 times.
      6. Esophageal cancer is increased almost 800 times.
      7. Lung cancer is increased 1500 times.
      8. Laryngeal cancer is increased 2000 times.
      9. This is only some of the havoc wrought by smoking cigarettes.
    4. It is a fruitless waste.
      1. Is there a habit one has that is more nonproductive?
      2. Think of the fortunes it would save families where such cancers and illnesses take over on account of the habitual use of tobacco!
      3. Think also of the millions of earth's poor and hungry the expenditure would feed and house—of the medical care and the education it would provide.
      4. The cost of this misuse would pay to send the gospel to the ends of the earth.
    5. It is offensive:
      1. To those associated or near the habitual smoker. The clothing he wears and even the pores of his skin exude the foul order. The odor is exceedingly unpleasant.
      2. Babies and small children reared in homes where the parents smoke are far more susceptible to cancer than children reared in nonsmoking homes.
      3. What greater abuse could there be than killing a child by causing it to inhale your tobacoo smoke during all the years of growing up?
  3. Conclusion
    1. Laws passed prohibiting it:
      1. There are many public establishments where smoking is banned.
      2. It is prohibited on most airlines.
      3. In other places, it is confined to specified areas.


    2. What a blessing when laws are enjoined which will outlaw it all together.
      1. It would prevent innumerable diseases. It would stop the rapid climb in the death rate. It would stop millions from having to struggle with nicotine addiction.
      2. When smoking is outlawed the misery caused by it which is now prevalent will disappear and make existence in our society more tolerable.



“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” (II Corinthians 6:19–20).

What the Passage Entails

This is a very strong and drastic passage of Scriptures. It is both positive and negative. It restricts and debars the Christian from anythign that might defile and destroy his body, for it is God's temple. On the other hand, it enjoins certain duties and obligations upon him—any and all that have to do with glorifying God in His body. It also brings to the Christian's attention the fact that he does not belong to himself. He is owned by another, the Lord Jesus Christ, by virtue of purchase. He is the Lord's property and is, therefore, answerable to Him for the use of his body and the service he renders.

In I Corinthians 3:17, the apostle prohibits the Christian from “defiling the temple of God” which is the church. Most likely he had reference to moral and spiritual corruption. This is how the word defile is defined by lexicographers: “to spoil, ruin, corrupt, morally deprave, spritual ruin; cause to decay.”

While, in this verse, he speaks explicitly of the church, he also distinctly expresses in I Corinthians 6:19, that the Christian's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is definite, then, that where the Holy Spirit has residence, it must not be defiled or corrupted by man.

The injunction is clearly issued against moral and spiritual pollution in the passage regarding the body as the church (I Corinthians 3:17). If fornication were allowed or condoned in the body of Christ, it would corrupt and destroy the whole body (I Corinthians 5). If false doctrine were proclaimed and practiced among God's people, then God promises to take retribution against His people (Acts 20:29–32; Romans 16:17–20; II Corinthians 4:2–4; II Peter 2).

The physical body of the Christian is the “temple of the Holy Spirit” and must not be abused, mishandled, and maltreated.


There are many ways in which people buffet and batter and savage their bodies—alcohol, drugs, tobacco, etc. Many Christians persecute their bodies, torment them, and defile them by the use of tobacco. The Surgeon General of the United States revealed on national television that in 1989, 400,000 people died from smoking cigarettes! Our country is not beset by a greater health problem.

How We Consider the Matter

The tobacco companies portray their products in the most glamorous and alluring manner the human mind can conjure. What could be more beguiling and captivating than to picture a young handsome man in the vigor of health riding a beautiful horse or engaged in activities with a sports car, diving gear, mountain climbing, or some other popular sports project? What attracts more immediate attention than a beautiful, shapely young woman scantily clad, sensationally poised aboard a sail boat or provocatively smiling while reclining by a swimming pool?

They do not tell you that in the real world, it is a daily struggle as they are plagued by hacking coughs and shortness of breath. They do not portray the stained teeth and hands, the burned spots on clothing, furniture, beds, and floors. They fail to tell you of the irritability it creates in the individual who habitually uses their product; and they neglect to mention the difficulty in concentrating, the anxiety restlessness through the nights and the headaches of the days unless a steady fix of nicotine is regularly introduced into the blood stream.

These large tobacco companies do not divulge, they don't even whisper, that their product causes cancer of the lips, mouth, throat, and lungs as well as heart attacks. The would never breathe in their advertising that the last years and months of the smoker's life ebb away slowly with the strangulating disease of emphysema. This totally unnecessary and preventable cause of death is little, if any, short of a massacre. What else in this world besides a major war has slaughtered 400,000 people in a year's time? A bloodbath of that magnitude would cause a general uprising of the people to protest to the point of revolt and insurrection. It would be put in the same class of the genocide of the Jews—that systematic effort on the part of Nazi Germany to exterminate a whole people.


I have often wondered if our atomic energy program in America were responsible for the deaths of nearly a half million people a year, how far it would advance in its purpose. Yet it is lawful to produce, sell, and consume a product that causes incalculable suffering and death far greater than this country has endured in any kind of war in which it was engaged! By what kind of logic and reason, judgment, or common sense is our nation characterized?

I have watched films taken by doctors of patients whose mouths and throats were eaten away by cancer, whose lungs are blackened and degenerated, and whose breathing was seriously impaired. I am told by those who know that cigarette smoking aggravates heart and circulatory problems by increasing fatty deposits on the inner walls of the arteries and produces blood clots.

You would think that those smokers who puff away happily on their cigarettes would not be oblivious to what is happening right now to patients in hospitals who are having their cancerous mouths, jaws, lips, tongue, and esophagus cut away by surgery because of smoking.

There are so many devastating effects from the habitual use of this product that the list becomes almost interminable. I am looking at a chart, a kind of outline of the multiplicity of afflictions and physical disorders which bring the human body to irreparable infirmity—and ultimate death. I will not go into detail of what doctors have said and written, but look at this list of the effects of smoking tobacco on the brain, heart, muscles, stomach, pregnant women, breast feeding mothers, blood vessels, face, mouth and throat, bronchial tubes, lungs, and the blood.

Read what informed and experienced doctors have to say about the consequences and the aftermath on all of the organs of the body and what will eventually occur if the person persists in his habit. It will ravage him, consume him, and destroy him. The temple that God gave him for the purpose of dwelling in him will be utterly and thoroughly consumed—and I may add, painfully.


The Increased Risk of Cancer Among Smokers

I have before me a chart from the U.S. Surgeon General's Office which gives the significant figures of the damage done to the human body by smoking—figures that should frighten and ought to be impressed immensely on the mind of every man and woman who smokes tobacco. In persons who smoke as many as two packs of cigarettes a day, coronary heart disease is increased 80 times; the risk of pancreatic cancer is increased 100 times, kidney cancer 390 times, esophageal cancer 430 times, oral cancer 493 times, emphysema almost 800 times, lung cancer 1500 times, and laryngeal cancer 2000 times.

What I have discussed in the foregoing paragraphs about the deleterious effects of smoking tobacco to one's health and well being constitutes one of the vital and foremost reasons for representing it as a sin against God and against one's own body. It has not been exhaustively discussed, but enough has been said to depict the defiling practice as a desecration of God's property. To misuse and despoil what belongs to Him is an offense that dishonors Him The Christian must cease such infraction if he desires forgiveness.

It is a Fruitless Waste

Is there a habit one takes up that is more nonproductive and, therefore, more unavailing than the frequent and regular use of tobacco? Add to this the vast expenditure which goes each year into this worthless usage and established way that has become an addiction to millions.

Literally hundreds of millions of dollars are spent by men, women, and children in America each year that could be profitably used to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and provide medical attention for the sick and the diseased.

Psychologically and physically one becomes dependent upon the chemical found in tobacco and his craving is so strong it turns out to be virtually uncontrollable. He will then spend the last dollar he has to satisfy his appetite. In this capitulation of his will, his habit has mastered him. Tobacco holds priority over everything else and his subordination is tantamount to slavery.


Paul spoke of this forfeiting of moral fiber and self–possession when he said, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness” (Romans 6:16)?

Earlier, Paul had urged them not to relinquish that strength of mind and purpose: “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:12–13).

The smoking of cigarettes is not only a misuse and corruption of one's body—that has been abundantly proved—but it is a misapplication, a mishandling of the goods which God has entrusted to the Christian's stewardship. Billions are spent in an effort to satiate his appetite and the world is lost. Put at the disposal of Christians the money that is spent on tobacco and the gospel could be preached to the ends of the earth in this generation. We are custodians of what we possess; it is not ours. God gave it to us. As agents of His, we must make proper disposition of His goods. That entails our learning what must be first in our lives. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness ...” (Matthew 6:33). “... they first gave themselves to the Lord ...” (II Corinthians 8:5).

Jesus told a story in Matthew 25:14–30 which illustrates how God expects us to make proper use of our possessions. That with which He has entrusted us is to be used, exercised, and multiplied to His glory and honor. He tells another story in Luke 15:11–32, in which he pictures a young man who, “wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” He misspent his inheritance. When one walks to the cash register with two cartons of cigarettes and pays $40.00 for them and then drops a five dollar bill into the collection basket on Sunday morning, he has certainly perverted the use of his inheritance and possess a twisted and distorted view of the values God intends His children to have.

For many years, this country has produced almost two billion pounds of tobacco every year and the largest percent of this goes


for cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, and chewing tobacco. Imagine what these two billion pounds of tobacco costs the American public. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The health costs to this country are staggering. The Office of Technology Assessment, a scientific advisory group for the United States Congress, states that the health cost of smoking in the United States amounts annually to $65 billion and could conceivably approach $100 billion each year.

You can understand, therefore, why I said that with what the tobacco costs are to the American public the gospel of Christ could be preached to the whole world in this generation. Likely, there would be enough money left over to feed the hungry!

The United States are not the only people who are spending these vast sums and reaping the dreadful results in lost health and lost production. The little country of Sweden, going back to 1980 with their statistics, published findings that indicate smoking related illnesses cost that country $500,000,000 a year. Increase that by many millions by adding unseen costs of smoking in the form of medical bills, health care insurance premiums, lost worker productivity, and premature deaths.

The former Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. C. Everett Koop, said: “A smoking employee is a more expensive employee than a nonsmoking employee.” If there could be erased from our budget these preventable costs, America's productivity would be greatly expanded, the needs of pitifully poor people could be more nearly met, and living standards of legions could be substantially raised.

A recent newspaper article on the front page caught my attention. It pointed out that this disastrous habit has flooded the Soviet Union and virtually overwhelmed that nation. In that nation of 280 million people, 70 million, one of every four, smoke. There is presently a shortage of cigarettes in that country and it has led to strikes and demonstrations—to say nothing of long lines. They stand in those interminable lines for hours and are limited to five packs—the inferior, nonfilter brands sell for $4.80 a pack. One Russian said: “Three times I have tried to quit, but I almost went mad.”


The tobacco situation in some cities was so acute that packets of tobacco dust, normally used to control pests, showed up in the marketplace. A government official said, “We have to admit that the situation has gotten out of control. But who could think that such things could happen just became of cigarettes?” “No cigarettes—no work,” the strikers were saying. So, in central Russia, an airplane was on standby to fly anywhere that cigarettes are available! What a picture of human foible—only the frailty is not very slight. It is, in fact, mighty!

It Is Offensive

Many nonsmokers in this country are deeply concerned about the dangers in being exposed to secondary or side–stream smoke. The British Medical Journal reported in 1986, “About a third of lung cancer in nonsmokers who live with smokers, and about a quarter of the cases in nonsmokers in general, may be attributed to such exposure [side—stream smoke].” Similar studies have been made in the United States, Asia, and Europe that have added evidence of the risks to the health of the nonsmoker from the “second hand smoke.”

Nonsmokers have suffered burning eyes and nasal passages and headaches and nausea from secondary smoke. Someone only a few days ago spoke of how allergic he was to the smoke from tobacco—almost a complete blockage of the air passages in his nose and a restriction of the path of air to his lungs. Even this sad affair does not move the average smoker to curb his insatiable appetite for nicotine even for a few minutes.

I recall on some long distance airplane flights before there were restricted areas for smoking, how dreadfully uncomfortable and unpleasant was that cigarette smoke from the passenger in front of me as it would curl against the sloping side of the plane above my head and enter freely into my eyes, nose, and throat. Six and a half hours of that experience across the ocean leaves an indelible impression on one's mind—and not a very gratifying one!

Many times I have sat on the front seat of the church auditorium on Sunday morning and night by a brother who had been asked to lead the prayer. He had smoked cigarettes so voluminously that even his Sunday morning bath had not washed away the


offensive odor. It seemed to exude from the very pores of his skin! The cars that are driven by habitual cigarette smokers and the houses that are lived in by these people are literally permeated by the scent—it is more of a stench. They literally reek with the foul odor. Contrary to the advertisers of the product, I refuse to call it an aroma—that signifies something pleasant.

The word that best describes it is malodorous, and the definition of that word is stinking. It is as penetrating and nose–piercing as a lovely perfume, but contrariwise, it is repugnant and suffocating. It has been difficult for me to understand why otherwise nice and considerate people do not know how disagreeable and objectionable their cigarette smoke is to other people. This is sharp language, but it is true; and more than that, it helps constitute the smoking of tobacco as sin.

To Christians I say with a strong note of urgency and concern, “Stop this sinful habit. If you cannot do it alone, get medical or other help, that your health may be improved, the years of your life extended, your money better spent, and your influence more valuable.”