Archive for December, 2016

DRINKING ALCOHOL FOR A CHRISTIAN IS WRONG

Proverbs 20:1 – “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Wine and alcohol not only lead to foolish behavior, but they have led even good men (such as Noah and Lot) into folly and sin; since wine and strong drink darken the reason and bring the soul under the control of excitement and passion, and by that control prepare it for foolishness and wickedness of every kind, no wise man will ever give himself up to the influence of them.

Drunkenness is foolishness epitomized. The Bible tells us that wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging. To those that decide to take of it, it will mock you, it will make a fool of you, and it will promise you satisfaction which it can never deliver. It will smile upon you at first, but at the last it bites.  It is raging in the body, damages your health. Wine will mock a man, make him look like a fool or rage like a madman. Drunkenness, which pretends to be a sociable thing, makes men unfit for society, it makes them abusive with their tongues and can make them physically abusive to those around them. It makes men act outrageous and act out sinful passions. (Proverbs 23:29-30 – 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.)

Thomas Haweis speaking on this topic said “Drunkenness is a vice most odious; exposes a man to be the jest and sport of others; brings him into broils: disorders his body with feverish heat; and though the liquor at first seems to exhilarate his spirits, he is deceived thereby; it drowns his reason and his conscience together, and tends to ruin of body and soul both here and hereafter.”

***I am a Christian and I don’t drink. I am a Youth Director and the son of an alcoholic and the nephew of alcoholics. I need to make that disclaimer right up front. Although it makes me a little biased on the subject, it also gives me real world experience to draw on when teaching on this matter. In other words I know what I am talking about in the statements I make. ***

Some of the worst “shudder moments” of my life have been watching men I love while under the influence of alcohol.  I have witnessed extreme self destructing moments in the lives of men in my family because of alcohol. You will never be able tell me it’s God’s best for a Christian to drink, or it’s OK for a Christian to drink socially. I repeat, you will never be able to tell me that or convince me of that. Common sense tells you it is wrong, and the Bible teaches that it is wrong.

We are living in a church age where drinking has become the in thing to do for some. Christian young adults post pictures of their signature drink on Facebook, or they talk about what a great night they don’t remember on social media. Middle-aged Christian’s may name drop their favorite brand of this alcoholic drink or that one to impress their worldly minded friends. I have even recently heard of some pastors that drank. Then I later heard of one of those pastors losing his ministry and family over his alcoholism.

This lesson is not only a biblical defense on the topic of Christians and why they should not drink alcohol, but it is a heartfelt plea. I humbly ask you to put aside any knee jerk, pro the right to drink alcohol arguments that you may have ever heard, or made, and prayerfully consider what the Bible says on the topic and what just plain common sense teaches us on the topic.

FIRST LETS LOOK AT 25 COMMON SENSE REASONS NOT TO DRINK

  1. Alcohol is a depressant. Anything that depresses should be avoided at all costs.
  2. Alcohol skews judgment.
  3. Alcohol leaves people worse, not better.
  4. What I do in moderation, my children will do in excess.
  5. Even the unsaved know Christians shouldn’t drink. Bible in one hand, beer in the other—any lost person could point this out as a confusing contradiction.
  6. Alcohol doesn’t bring us closer to the Lord when we drink, but further away.
  7. Show me a family for whom alcohol has made a positive difference in their lives. You won’t be able to.
  8. I have never heard anyone say, “Wow, that gin and tonic made me feel so Christ like!”
  9. Alcohol makes it much harder for someone to practice self-control.
  10. Alcohol is a legal mind-altering drug.
  11. Alcohol is addictive.
  12. Many regrets are associated with alcohol.
  13. No one has ever said, “If only I had taken a drink, things wouldn’t have gotten out of control.”
  14. Alcohol causes people to act in ways they normally wouldn’t.
  15. Alcohol kills brain cells.
  16. Alcohol is a counterfeit and provides a false peace.
  17. Alcohol is a waster of: money, gifts, talents, futures and so on.
  18. Alcohol leads to really bad behavior. It is a factor in 50 percent of violent crimes.
  19. Alcohol has ruined many, many marriages.
  20. If you don’t start drinking, you’ll never have to stop.
  21. Alcohol lowers your resolve to resist temptation.
  22. Alcohol = Brokenness (broken lives, health, dreams, etc.)
  23. When the world sees a Christian drinking, it sends the message that Jesus isn’t enough.
  24. Social drinking? How about social pornography or social heroin use or social lying or social adultery?
  25. Alcohol fills your mind with impure thoughts.

NEXT LETS LOOK AT 25 BIBLICAL EXAMPLES & TEACHINGS ON WHY CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT DRINK ALCOHOL OF ANY KIND – One has only to examine the Bible to find abundant references condemning and demonstrating drinking as evil. Below is a summary of Scriptures about this topic:

  1. Genesis 19:30-38– In this instance drinking resulted in Lot’s debauchery of his own daughters.
  2. Leviticus 10:9 “Do not drink wine nor strong drink…” here is an express command not to drink.
  3. Deuteronomy 21:20 – Drinking leads to stubbornness, rebellion, and gluttony by young men; and brings dishonor to parents.
  4. Deuteronomy 29:2-6 – Abstinence assures better knowledge of God.
  5. 1 Samuel 1:14-15 – Hannah, an example of all honored motherhood, practiced total abstinence.
  6. II Samuel 13:28-29 – Amnon, while in a drunken brawl, was murdered by his brother Absalom.
  7. II Samuel 11:13 – Only by strong drink could David lead Uriah into a trap.
  8. Proverbs 4:17 – Through drinking the wicked become violent. They are bad enough at best, but drink leads them to violence.
  9. Proverbs 20:1 – No wise man will take wine or liquor.
  10. Proverbs 23:21 – Strong drink leads to poverty.
  11. Proverbs 23:29-30 – Strong drink produces woe, sorrow, contentions, babbling, wounds without cause, redness of eyes.
  12. Proverbs 23:31-32 “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.” – We are urged not to even look upon intoxicating beverages, let alone drink them.
  13. Proverbs 23:33 – It fills men’s minds with adulterous and impure thoughts.
  14. Proverbs 23:34 – It brings on insecurity.
  15. Proverbs 23:35 – It is habit-forming; one drink always calls for another.
  16. Isaiah 22:13 – Drinking and carnal behavior go together.
  17. Isaiah 28:7 – Drinking brings on spiritual blindness.
  18. Daniel 1:5, 8, 16; 10:3 – God honored Daniel because he abstained from the king’s wine.
  19. Amos 6:6 – Drinkers tend not to be concerned about God, nor about the welfare of other people.
  20. Hosea 4:11 – Strong drink and immorality go hand in hand.
  21. Luke 1:15 – Greatness of John the Baptist linked with his total abstinence.
  22. I Corinthians 6:10 – No drunkard shall inherit the Kingdom of God.
  23. Galatians 5:21 – Revelers in drunkenness shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.
  24. Ephesians 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” – Here is a direct command not to become drunk.
  25. I Thessalonians 5:6-8 – Sobriety, as opposed to drunkenness, is celebrated and encouraged upon the Thessalonians.

THE TEMPTATION OF ALCOHOL – Lots of people you may know consume alcohol of some variety. I have seen it consumed by several different family members in my life and I have seen lots of destructive behavior and lots of destruction because of it. Alcohol is a strong temptation and once it has its hooks in you it is one of the hardest things to get away from. First, never take the first sip. Never try it. But if you are tempted by it remember what the Bible says about temptation in I Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

  • The demands of life may tempt you to seek gratification in alcohol and other things. We must be on high alert for this temptation. The enemy uses “opportune times” to draw us away from God (see Luke 4:13). The line is so thin that it is often hard to determine when we cross over. I believe that total abstinence from alcohol should be practiced by all Christians, especially if they have members of their immediate family that drink often and in excess; they could be more at risk for alcoholism. The Bible teaches a principle of the sins of the fathers being visited onto the 3rd and 4th The influence of the lifestyle lived by fathers onto their prodigy has been scientifically proven to exist (it is called epigenetics) and it is passed on and extends to the 3rd and 4th generations just like the Bible said. (Exodus 34:7bvisiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.) So if you had a father, a grandfather or even a great grandfather that was an alcoholic you could be more susceptible to becoming one too if you were to ever take that first sip.
  • Social media influences people on a broad scale. In Jesus’ day, society was much more isolated—no Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. We have no idea how many people are affected or tempted by social media posts. We can foster temptation by the things we post and we can be tempted into making life altering decisions by viewing others posts. We need to call on the Lord to help us resist all temptations no matter the form they take or the avenue they use to get to us. (Matthew 26:41 – Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.) We need to be vigilant about resisting temptations like alcohol consumption.

“In Christ alone there is deliverance from man’s tortured thoughts and freedom from the sordid habits which are destroying so many people. Why does the Bible so clearly denounce drunkenness? – Because it is an enemy of human life. Anything that is against a person’s welfare, God is against.” – Rev. Billy Graham

THE DESTRUCTIVENESS OF ALCOHOL – In August of 2016 Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte was flying high, just winning a gold medal, but then news broke that he was robbed at gunpoint. We soon learned this report was not true, what we now know to have happened is he was under the influence of alcohol and vandalized a gas station and then while still under the influence of alcohol talked to a reporter and made up the story of being robbed at gunpoint. He was made out to be a liar, he caused a bit of an international incident, he disgraced himself, he embarrassed his teammates and his country, and he ruined his reputation, all because of the influence that alcohol had on him that one evening in Rio de Janeiro. This brings us back to our opening verse Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

  • Alcohol is destructive. God is never for anything that could destroy Alcohol, unfortunately, is also promoted and elevated as a normal/sophisticated activity in society today; even among some Christians this statement is true. It is also expensive, addictive and enslaving. People get hooked by America’s number one legal drug. And just like all illegal drugs, alcohol finds its way into the body, the bloodstream and the brain of the user/abuser.
  • I had two uncles whose lives were damaged by alcohol. The exception you say? Hardly. Alcohol damaging or ruining lives is the norm where it is concerned. It is not what they wanted when they dreamed of their futures when they were in their 20s. But praise God, they were wonderfully delivered in their 60s when the grace of God became real to them. My one uncle, especially, his salvation testimony was amazing, and can you imagine what a strange coincidence they both had, they both became total abstainers from alcohol and got their lives back by the power and direction of the Holy Spirit! – Alcohol has no place in the life of a Christian who is right with God!

IN CONCLUSION: Matthew Henry said this about the use of alcohol “It seems hard to believe that men of the greatest abilities, as well as the ignorant, should render themselves fools and madmen, merely for the taste or excitement produced by strong liquors.Drunkenness is foolishness epitomized. The Bible tells us that wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging. To those that decide to take of it, it will mock you, it will make a fool of you, and it will promise you satisfaction which it cannot deliver. Alcohol is a strong temptation and once it has its hooks in you it is one of the hardest things to get away from. First, never take the first sip. Never try it. But if you are tempted by it remember what the Bible says about temptation in I Corinthians 10:13.  Plain common sense teaches us to abstain from all alcohol, and the Bible clearly teaches us to abstain from it. It is destructive, it ruins live, it ruins reputations, it ruins relationships, it destroys your health and it can kill innocent victims on the road. Stay away from Satan’s beverage and make it a conviction you will never waver from, that you will NEVER drink any alcoholic beverage in your life; but if you have already, God is the God of forgiveness and the God of the second chance. Seek out his forgiveness and deliverance now, and set your conviction that from now on you will never partake of alcohol again. (I John 1:9 -If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.)

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Ezra 7:10 – “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments”

Ezra’s reigning desire had been to study the divine law, its principles, institutions, privileges, and requirements; and now from love and zeal, he devoted himself, as the business of his life, to the work of instructing, reforming, and edifying others.

The order of things in this verse is very observable; first he prepares his heart to understand God’s law and Word, and that not for curiosities sake, but in order to practice it in his life; he then earnestly desires and labors to instruct others, that they also might know and do it. Ezra had prepared his heart to seek, do and teach the law of the Lord; he had set his mind and affections upon it, and made it his chief design and business. We need to all get the passion that Ezra had about the Word of God in our life and make it our life’s business to learn it, to observe its teachings and to instruct others in the same.

Ezra was intent upon the statement laid out in Ezra 7:10. He had his heart set on it, bending his thoughts and studies to it. The Hebrew word “cun” (which we translate prepare) signifies, to establish, to confirm, and to make things fixed and immoveable. Ezra set himself to “seek the law of the Lord,” that is, to inquire into it, and search after the will of God therein contained, that he might understand it himself; and then he set his heart “to do” what God commanded, and put in practice what he knew to be his duty, so that he was the better qualified “to teach” others what he knew and did himself.

Ezra was God’s man who led His people from captivity in Babylon back to the land which God had promised to their fathers.  God’s judgment had resulted in the armies of Nebuchadnezzar obliterating Jerusalem, tearing down the walls surrounding the city, destroying the Temple and deporting the most influential people as slaves to serve in the pagan land of Babylon.  Israel was completely embarrassed by defeat, made totally vulnerable by loss of status and reputation, plus they felt abandoned by God because their worship and spiritual identity had been completely lost.  One word described Israel for 70 years, DEFEATED.

When God made a way for His people to return to their homes and renew their place as the people of God, He called Ezra to lead the way.  Here is a description of Ezra’s qualifications: “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra 7:10. Ezra was a scribe who gave himself to the recording and maintenance of God’s Word.  He loved the Word of God, protected it and provided for its preservation from generation to generation.  He was a man of the Bible.

How about you? Do you love the word of God?  Do you read it?  Do you try to memorize important verses?  Your attitude toward, and devotion to the Word of God will make a difference in the way God uses you in His service.  Your love for the Bible will make a difference in the way people respond to your influence.  King Artaxerxes, the king of Persia, said this about Ezra, “Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time. Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?” Ezra 7:12, 23.  It could be that one reason today’s culture lacks respect for what God says is because we have lost our passion for the Word of God. Do you have a passion for the Word of God? – If not you should!

Someone recently submitted an interesting question to an online blog, “If someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared today, what would be the most difficult thing to explain to them about life today?

One person responded, “I possess a device, in my pocket that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. … Yet, I use it to look at pictures of cats and get in arguments with strangers.” – That is a sad commentary on the state of society today.

Do you spend more time online looking at pictures of cats and getting into arguments  than you do reading the Bible and meditating on the Word of God?  It may be when God asks us to explain why we watched our world slip into an obsession over cats and arguments with strangers we will be forced to admit our lack of passion for His holy Word.  Renew your passion and love for the Bible. Your passion for the Word of God will make a difference in today’s society.

I Timothy 2:9-10 – “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”

INTRODUCTION: The Bible establishes guidelines and principals for us to live by when it comes to how we are to dress. There are different circumstances and different styles of appropriate dress for each occasion. While the Bible may not give certain specifics about dress standards for some things, it does give us clear standards and instruction in the area of modesty, and purity in our standards of dress.

Modesty is not anti-fashionable. Modesty does not mean you have to dress like an old maid. Modesty does not mean you have to make sure even your ankles are covered. I know a lot of people seem to think like that when they hear someone start to speak on modesty and dress standards. These verses in I Timothy actually mean quite the opposite of dressing down to be modest. The word “adorn” in this verse speaks of a bride beautifying herself for her husband (Revelation 21:2). It is a term that has the meaning of being well-kept, put in order, neat, ornamented. You can be modest and be stylish at the same time.

In Ephesus the cultural well to do were known for their gaudy and extravagant immodest wardrobes, expensive clothing and hairstyles that were meant to communicate wealth and in today’s terminology “coolness”. Paul was saying you don’t have to mimic this type of dress but you still can be dressed sharp, stylish and modestly all at the same time to the glory of God. In this lesson we are first going to examine how we should dress for God’s house and then we will examine the issue of modesty.

DEFINING MODESTY – modesty does not mean unfashionable, modesty suggests pureness, modesty shows respect for God and others, modesty is about freedom not enslavement. Modesty is motivated by a hatred of sin and a desire to not draw attention to one’s self but to draw attention to God.

PURITY NEEDS TO BE PART OF OUR STANDARDS OF DRESS. (II Corinthians 6:14-17 – Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,)

To be pure means to be clean and unspotted. Is the way you are dressing projecting purity to those around you? Christians need to be separated apart from the world on our standards of purity on dress. There should be no doubt we are a Christian when it comes to our manner of dress.

Separate” in this passage means to be distinguished from or to be different. As a Christian is your manner of dress easily distinguishable from that of the world? If you were accused of being a Christian based on your manner of dress… would there be enough evidence to convict you?

CHRISTIANS SHOULD DRESS IN A MODEST AND DECENT WAY SHOWING RESPECT FOR GOD, THEMSELVES AND OTHERS. (I Timothy2:9-10 – In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.)

  • Paul uses the Greek terms “kosmios & aidos” which mean “well ordered” & “decent” to describe the appropriate dress of a Christian lady.
  • A Christian lady is to dress in a well ordered and decent way that does not cause shame or embarrassment to themselves, God or others.
  • A lady can also violate this principle by drawing attention to herself by her manner of dress. It may be modest in that it covers what needs to be covered, but it does it in such a way as to draw attention to a certain area.
  • A Christian lady should act as if the eye of Heaven is upon her, because it is.
  • To dress modestly and decently means to provide sufficient covering for the body so that others are not embarrassed or tempted by the manner of your dress.
  • The Bible in no uncertain terms condemns the lusting after a woman by a man. (Matthew 5:28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.)
  • But by dressing immodestly the lady can contribute to the sin of the man by affording him the opportunity to sin that would otherwise not have been if she would have dressed in a modest fashion.
  • It is sin to tempt others and be the cause of others to fall into sin. (Romans 14:13 – Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.)
  • God calls us to dress modestly not only to prevent sin but to preserve intimacy. Because if the man can see all he wants to see prior to a marriage union, the intimacy or specialness of the marriage bed is tarnished. (Hebrews 13:4 – Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.)
  • Dressing modestly shows respect for yourself and others and it shows a sensitivity to sin. “With shamefacedness” in our text has the connotation to it of bashfulness and “shame”; and the word implies the idea of grief over sin that is in the world. Knowing that sin is offensive to God a lady should never dress in a way that could provoke others to sin.

MODESTY IS ABOUT HAVING FREEDOM NOT REPRESSION. (Romans 6:12 – Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.)

  • A lot of people see modesty standards as repressive and restricting a woman’s freedom; but modesty standards is the exact opposite of that. True Biblical modesty standards represent freedom, freedom from the chains of the world and its sins of lust, desire and temptation.
  • A woman can be enslaved by her desire to attract a man by her manner of dress. She’s enslaved to wanting to project a certain image to men. She may dress immodestly to do so and think she is free; but she really is not free, she is truly enslaved by that sin and letting that sin reign in her life. There is no freedom in that attitude only enslavement to her own desires and to getting the lustful responses from men she encounters.
  • Paul on the other hand, taught instead of a lady being enslaved by worldly fashion, instead of being enslaved by what she desires to get out of her manner of dress, instead of being enslaved by the lustful responses of men, Paul taught that true Biblical modesty is freedom from all of this. It is freedom from what the world says is beauty and freedom to express your outward and inner beauty on your own terms not on what the world dictates.

IN CONCLUSION: The whole world is under the sway of the wicked one. (I John 5:19 – And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.) We can find in God’s Word clear instruction and principles on how to govern our manner of dress; whether it is our manner of dress when we are in service to Him or whether it comes to determining to dress pure and modest for our Lord. We are by God’s direction in this world but it should be clear we are not of this world by our dress standards. We have dress standards and those dress standards come from the Bible. We need to honor God’s Word on the subject. He knows best in all things. Our wisdom on this subject is foolishness compared to His (I Corinthians 3:19a – For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God). We looked at how we need to have a standard of purity in our dress. We looked at how we need to have a standard of modesty in our dress. We need to have a God fearing, God honoring, and submissive attitude about the standards and principles of dress set forth for us by God is His Word.