God is looking to train a generation of unintoxicated men and women. He wants them to lead and model Christ’s righteousness in an intoxicated world. God wants men and women who do not succumb to the intoxicating influences that dull and cloud and neutralize and inhibit their minds. Any desire unrestrained by God’s grace can become an intoxicating idol. Even things like fashion, or comfort, convenience, our security, our work, sports, amusements, any of those can be as deadly and powerful addictions as those to alcohol, to drugs, and even to sex.
Welcome to our study, Exploring Proverbs, we are looking at our sixth lesson. You can see on the slide in front of you that the unintoxicated life is actually the sixth hour of 10 hours, looking at living life God’s way as we explore the book of Proverbs.
Exploring Proverbs is actually a 10 part look at the top themes.
In this hour, we’re going to look at alcohol as it’s described 256 times in the scripture. Let’s begin by taking your Bible, let’s jump into the book of Proverbs. We’re going to look at Proverbs chapter 20 and verse 1, because this lesson ties together with the unintoxicated life of self-control, that God says is part of someone that knows Him. Now, if you remember, the whole overview of Proverbs is that it’s about living life God’s way. God’s way starts with salvation, that’s when we receive His wisdom from above and submit to Him. Not completely, not a hundred percent of the time, but our settings are, we want to do God’s will. It leads us to choose as we saw in a previous lesson to clothe ourselves with humility. As we do that, we see that we’re walking down the narrow way. As we walked down the narrow way in this lesson, a part of that is choosing to live this unintoxicated life. Which is totally contrary to the way the world is going and even what I share today from God’s word to unsaved people, the Bible says is foolishness. Of course, that’s where life gets resisted, the Christian life as we live it out, by those that that listen to us and watch us.
Look at chapter 20 in verse 1, it says this “wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it…” now here’s the key, “…is not wise.”
Now, what did the scriptures tell us? The scriptures tell us that our choices about intoxicating things… Now, what am I talking about? Just alcohol. No, not just alcohol. Anything that clouds our minds. There are many believers who don’t touch an ounce or a drop of alcohol whose minds are very clouded. Perhaps it’s by music that they listen to, the lyrics, and they’re just going around and around in their head, they can’t stop thinking of those words. Others, it’s the amusement, the gaming that they’re into. Others, it could be that they’re intoxicated by a constant desire to be entertained or amused. It doesn’t matter what it is, but in Proverbs chapter 20 God says anything that intoxicates us is foolish. It’s not keeping with God’s desire and the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5, of self-control.
Let’s begin a study of alcohol. In your slides, alcohol is described 256 times in the scripture. You see the verse that’s there? We’re going to read that just a second. God’s word mentions or describes drinking what we would call wine or beer 256 times. Now, what’s interesting is 199 times it’s positive. It says that they were at a wedding feast, that they were at a banquet and that they were marrying, their hearts were happy. It doesn’t say anything negative. But 57 times the scriptures say beware of alcohol. So, what is it that we’re looking at in these 256 instances and especially those 57 negative ones?
Proverbs 31 and look at verse 6 and I’m going to start reading in verse 4. It says, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, not for kings to drink wine, not for princes intoxicating drink,” verse five “lest they drink and forget the law and pervert justice of the afflicted.” Here’s a positive, now here we see side-by-side positive and negative. Verse six, “give strong drink to him who’s perishing.” You see the Lord says that there’s nothing wrong with giving to someone a substance that will dull their pain.
Do you remember Jesus as He was hanging on the cross? They put a sponge and dipped it in a wine, and they put it up to his mouth. It says as soon as He tasted it, He wouldn’t drink the wine out of there because it contained a narcotic. It was there to dull the pain. The Romans wanted the person on the cross to last as long as possible and to have a prolonged death, but Jesus wanted to fully suffer. He didn’t want His ability to feel the pain to be dulled. That’s such a picture of us as believers. Like Jesus we don’t want our minds dull from fulfilling God’s will. But there’s nothing wrong, look back at verse 6, “give strong drink,” Proverbs 31:6 “to those that are perishing and wine to those who are bitter of heart.” Verse seven, “Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”
The next slide, as you look at that, the unintoxicated life that Proverbs talks about is described in Proverbs 20, starting in verse 1 that we’ve already read. Then I’m going to take you through chapter 23. Then chapter 23 again, and then chapter 31. So, let’s go through these, just take your Bible with me and follow along. I will comment on them because I want you to see how the book of Proverbs truly gives us this unintoxicated life of self-control, as the pathway of wisdom from God. Even as I’m talking about this many of you, the younger you are, the more you are going to be drawn along by the crowd, the Christian crowd that says, Oh, we have liberty in Christ to drink. What you’re doing in this course is understanding what liberty means and when liberty comes up against God’s specific command, that those who are wise and submit to His truth live an unintoxicated life. You’ll be able to explain that. Now, it doesn’t mean that you try and stop them but what you do is, say I can’t. My convictions keep me from anything that would harm my testimony or intoxicate my mind.
Starting chapter 20 verse 1, “wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”
Second passage look at chapter 23 verses 20 and 21. “Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat. For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”
Now, what does verse 20 say? “Don’t mix with winebibbers.” This is an old-fashioned term for people that just love to drink, and they love the smell, and they love the taste, and they loved the ambience, and they love to be drinking, it’s the bar room setting. The cocktail party that they love. The whole arena of drinking. The Lord says be aware of those, or with those who overeat. Isn’t it interesting that God puts people that drink too much right next to those that eat too much? When’s the last time you heard a sermon on gluttony? It’s so clear in the Bible, drunkenness is wrong, but the Lord says also we should not be comfortable around people that are undisciplined in their alcohol consumption or their food consumption.
Keep going to chapter 23, verse 29. This is a really long passage describing the dangers of drinking. The woes that alcohol brings. Verse 29, “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?” Verse 30, “those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look at the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly.” Verse 32, “At last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a Viper. Your eye will see strange things, your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea or like one who lies at the top of the mast saying: ‘they have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?’ “
What are the characteristics of fools? There are six in Proverbs and I’m going to give them to you in rapid fire order.
Number one, fools deny God. Now take your Bible and look at Proverbs 22 and verse 15, it says “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” Now you say, whoa, what does that mean? That means we were born foolish. Born foolish, born rebels, born on the path to destruction, born proud and wanting our own way on the broad way. In other words, we were born God deniers; lost, unsaved pagans. Do you understand that? Do you know what the first characteristic of a foolish person is? They deny God. Proverbs says it but it says it more clearly in Psalm 14 and verse 1. Do you know what Psalm 14:1 says? It says, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” That’s what we’re born saying. That’s Proverbs 22:15.
Secondly, on the slide, a foolish person worships themselves. Now listen to Proverbs 12:15. Let me back up in my Bible. Proverbs 12:15 it says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” A person who thinks their way is right is being a law unto themselves, is being authority onto themselves. They’re self-governed. In other words, they think they’re a god, they don’t need an external god. They are a god to themselves. They can worship themselves their way. They can sacrifice for themselves. So, a fool, back to the side, denies God, worships self.
Thirdly, they mock sin. It says in Proverbs 14:9 and let me get over there to it. It says, “Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor.”
Fourthly, fools contaminate others. If you go just across the page, Proverbs 15 verse 2, it says “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly…” but listen, “the mouth of fools poor forth foolishness.” Keep going to chapter 16 in verse 22, it’s on the same topic about the way that fools contaminate others. It says in Proverbs 16 and verse 22, “Understanding is the wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly.”
Here’s the fifth one, look at Proverbs 1 and verse 7. They reject wisdom. Look at this, “but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Fools reject wisdom. Fools say no. Now, what’s interesting is wise people reject anything that will cloud their mind. Fools reject anything that will clarify their mind, that will liberate their mind, that will give them life and peace and hope. They say, no, I don’t want, they reject wisdom.
Here’s the last one, Proverbs 1, you’re still there, look at verse 32. Fools self-destruct “for the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.”
What are fools like? The characteristics of fools:
- They deny God.
- Worship self.
- Mock sin.
- They’ll contaminate everybody around them.
- They reject wisdom.
- They self-destruct.
There are four ways that believers can act like a foolish person. Look with me at Luke 24 and verse 25. “Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” When we disbelieve God, see on the slide – that’s Luke 24:25, we’re acting like a fool when we disbelieve God. Now wait a minute. Here’s a practical application. God says you’re foolish to get intoxicated. There’s a whole generation of young people that trifle with alcohol. That play with alcohol. Go from one brewery to the next. They go from one party to the next. They slowly learn to drink and drink and drink and get clouded. Did you know that it doesn’t just say it’s wrong in the Bible to get drunk, it says it’s wrong to get clouded.
The second way that believers can act like fools is in Galatians 3:1. “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth…” What’s the second way that believers can act like fools? Not only disbelieve God, Luke 24, but disobey truth. Any truth, that’s why I marked in my Bible I want to know God’s truth. I want to ask Him by His grace, to help me to obey. When we disobeyed something, we know God has revealed to us as His truth in His way, we’re acting foolish. Foolishly, like a fool.
Thirdly, 1 Timothy 6:9 says this, “but those who desire to be rich, fall into temptation and a snare,” and listen to this, “and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” What’s it saying is, it’s foolish when we desire wrong things. When we desire the things that are drowning and destroying lost people. How foolish it is for us, who are a part of God’s family, who have His wisdom, who have submitted to Him, taken His yoke upon us. He has saved us, and we choose to be humble and stay on the narrow way. How foolish for us to long for the ways of the wicked, the ways of the world, the ways of those headed to destruction. It’s foolishness yet it’s that old fallenness that we were born with. It’s the greener grass syndrome. It’s really hard to stay on the narrow way by God’s grace. Believers come right up to the fence and they look, and they say the worldly people are having so much fun. They are, do you know what the Bible says? The pleasures of sin, Hebrews 11, are but for a season. It is true, they do have these pleasures but they’re brief and empty.
The last thing when believers act like fools, when is it? When they do wrong things? It says in James 3:13. Look what it says in verse 13. “Who is wise….” Okay, that’s this side who’s following God’s way. “Who is wise among you and understanding? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” When do believers act like fools? When they do wrong things, not only when they desire wrong things. When they cross the line and start acting like unbelievers. Whether it’s being intoxicated. Whether it’s not believing that everyone is born lost and if they’re not born again, they aren’t going to Heaven. Whether it’s starting to have a manifestation of pride. Whether it’s rebelling against God or living my way, which is foolishness. When do believers act like fools?
- When they disbelieve God.
- When they disobey truth.
- When they desire wrong things.
- When they do wrong things.
In the next slide, let me just go through basically what I would call a theology of the word of God. What the word of God teaches about alcohol. First, alcohol has positive effects. I’ve already told you that. Proverbs 31:6, give strong drink to those that are suffering. Here’s another one. 1 Timothy 5:23. Now wait a minute, why did Paul write Timothy? 1 Timothy 5:23. Do you know what it says? Timothy, “use a little wine for your stomach’s sake because of your frequent infirmities.” Now, why did Paul have to add that in the Bible for Timothy, his son in the faith, pastoring the church at Ephesus? Why? Because Timothy knew that elders, pastors are not to drink. Now, we’re going to come to that in a minute. I don’t know if some of you know, that if you’ve grown up in a liturgical church, it seems like drinking is just part of the ministry. There’s just this kind of jolliness and drinking. No, God says that an elder or a pastor is not to be even near alcohol. So that’s interesting and because of that Timothy was a total abstinence from alcohol. So much so, that he began getting sick because of the microbes in the water of Ephesus. They didn’t have pure water.
Most people in the ancient world would just pour a little alcohol into their drinking water as an antiseptic, just to clean it out, to have it so you wouldn’t get the little bugs in your stomach and not feel well. Timothy so much wanted to be a testimony that he didn’t stay near alcohol, that he wouldn’t do that. So, Paul says to him, as a positive thing 1Timothy 5:23, use a little wine for your stomach’s sake. Also, the joy of the harvest. The new wine at the wedding feast. Jesus made wine and the people said you saved the best for last, in John 2:10. So, there are positive things about alcohol.
Look back at the slide, the second truth about alcohol is alcohol’s negative effects can lead to eternal destruction. Anyone who surrenders to alcohol or any mind-altering substance, drugs, or chemicals, is part of the list of those who have become dominated by sin and not by Christ; and thus, are slaves to sin and not to Christ. Thus, are eternally headed to destruction. You say where’s that in the Bible? Let me show you, Galatians chapter 5 verse 19, Galatians 5:19. “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery…” By the way, sorcery -one of the uses of that word, pharmakeia, is drug induced occultic activities. So that gets both witchcraft and drug use in one. “…hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies…” Now, verse 21, “…envy, murders,” there it is, “drunkenness…” wow, keep reading the verse.”…revelries and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” They’re headed to destruction. Wow. Same thing, 1 Corinthian 6. Same thing all the way through the Bible. The intoxication, drunkenness, drugs, chemicals, are characteristic of those headed to destruction.
If you look at the next slide, grace energized living is the unintoxicated life. Now, do you see those passages? The references at the bottom of that slide? Start going in your Bible, that’s where I’m going, go to Titus with me. Let me show you what Titus chapter 2 says. I told you in a few classes ago that Titus chapter 2 is the only curriculum in the Bible where we find God addressing what His plans are for every man and every woman, young and old. But I didn’t read to you what it says in verse 11. Look at chapter 2 of Titus, chapter 2, verse 11, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” Verse 12, grace teaches us something. So, if you ever heard someone saying I’m under grace, we’re in the age of grace and we’re thankful for the grace of God. What is the grace of God? Verse 12, grace teaches us to deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live…” what? If you’re in the class, what does it say in your Bible? Say it out loud so everybody can hear it. Or if you’re sitting watching this on your phone and if you have a Bible around, what does it say that we’re supposed to live? “Soberly, righteously and godly in our present age.” Verse 13, “looking for the glorious hope and appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed.” Woah, from every lawless deed, including intoxication. We were redeemed from being under bondage to any chemical, any substance, any lust of the flesh or lust of the eyes or pride of life, He’s redeemed us, what? That we should be “purified for Him. His own special people, zealous for good works.” That’s what God says.
Now back up to verse 2 of Titus 2, it says “that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate…” Right there, unintoxicated. Exhibiting self-control. Grace energized living God said, is what God wants from us. God is looking to train a generation of unintoxicated men and women to lead in His church and model Christ’s righteousness in an intoxicated world. That’s what He wants. Have you partaken of the grace of God? Then ask God as He promised, to use His grace to teach you. To deny, and for me to deny, ungodliness in any form.
Peter, you see that in the next slide, is writing his epistle to a group of people living in a very out of control world. Look at 1 Peter 1, and we’re going to start in verse 13. 1 Peter chapter 1 and verse 13 and this is what Peter is saying. Peter surrounds this word temperate by the way the Greek word is néphalios, with a series of commands we must heed if we love the Lord and want to serve Him. I want to read these to you.
First, we’ll start in 1 Peter 1 and I’ll start with 13, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully on the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
So, there’s future grace, he’s talking about. There’s grace right now that saves us. There’s grace right now that teaches us to deny ungodliness. A future grace is when we’re called into the Lord’s presence or He comes. The called grace is dying grace. Did you know that God has a special dose of grace as we near the end of our lives? We feel so weak and uncertain. It’s the unknown ahead of us, so that we focus on Jesus’ outstretched hand as He comes to walk us through the valley of the shadow of death.
Look what he says as he continues. “The grace is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” verse 14, ” as obedient children, not conforming yourself to the former lust, as in your ignorance.” Now back at the slide, what Peter said is, before you were saved you had an unbalanced life. You just went with the world. You need to live the balanced life of 1 Peter 1:13-14.
Now, look at chapter 2. This is the description of the life God wants from us. He wants us to live as this slide says, as pilgrims. Let me read verse 11 and look again, all underlined and marked. These verses are some of the most powerful verses in the Bible, and you should have them marked and highlighted or an arrow, so you can find them easily and share them with others. This is what Peter said, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners…” Literally aliens. Did you know, we’re supposed to not feel comfortable in the world? This world is not my home, I’m just passing through. My citizenship is in Heaven and so is yours if you’re born again. You’re already enrolled and have a reservation in Heaven. The Lord told us in John 14, He’s building a room for us and when He’s done building the room for us, He’s coming for us. See, that’s the glorious hope we have. We’re not supposed to try and live every single moment possible. Squeeze it out here on this Earth because we don’t want to leave. We’re saying, Lord, I want to be here as long as I’m fulfilling your purpose and doing your will but as soon as my room’s ready, I’m ready to go. Now, do you really think that? Is that how you look at life? That’s how we’re supposed to look at life.
But verse 11 says, “I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims,” literally aliens and temps. Have you ever had a temporary job, seasonal job, or you’re hired by a temp company that puts you in to work here and there because they don’t want to have full-time employees. They cost too much for whatever reason. You understand what temps are. I recently had my teeth worked on. They put in a temporary tooth. That was, they told me… they said, this is just acrylic. It’s very temporary. Don’t eat candy or anything hard, it’ll hurt it. We understand temporary.
Look what Peter says. I beg you. You’re aliens. You’re a sojourner. You’re just living in a tent. Everyone else is building a house, you’re in a tent, and you’re a pilgrim. What are you supposed to be characterized by? Verse 11, “abstain from fleshly less which war against the soul.” Wow. The word war, you want to do a little Bible study, a little word study, a little Greek insight. That word in verse 11, war, is the Greek word strateuō. What does that sound like in English? Strategy. so many words have come into the English language that go across. We call them transliterated words. It’s the same word in Greek and in English, it sounds very similar. Strateuō is strategy. Now, what does that mean? Satan is carrying on a continuous military campaign. He has his strategy, to have a continuous military campaign against us. To neutralize us, how we’re supposed to be characterized by self-control sobriety. He wants us to get intoxicated. He wants us to breathe in the world’s pleasures and philosophies and the foolish teachings of the world, so that we’re no longer, our minds are not sharp and are not tuned in to God. We don’t remember what Paul said in Colossians 3, “set your mind on things above, not on things on the Earth.”
I think in pictures, remember I have a phonographic mind. Whenever I drive anywhere or ride on trains overseas, you see the same thing everywhere, you see these satellite dishes. When you go to the Middle East, when you go to Europe, anywhere, satellite dishes. It’s like more than one per apartment and they’re all pointed what direction, down? If they’re pointed down, what do you know, they’re not working. A satellite dish has to be pointed up to work. Do you know what it says in Colossians 3? You and I, by the power of the Spirit and God’s grace, have to point our minds upward. What happens when people get intoxicated? They looked down at the Earth. We live for the Earth. We live for pleasures. We live for self.
Satan, verse 11, is warring against our soul. How does he do that? By feeding fleshly lusts and getting us intoxicated by them, addicted to them. You ever meet people that say I’m addicted to shopping or I’m addicted…? I’ve met runners who are addicted to running. If they don’t run, they don’t get that rush, that feel. Other people are addicted to painkillers. Other people are addicted to alcohol. Other people are addicted to sex. Materialism. Pride. How about social media? How about endlessly living to self-promote? God wants us to live as pilgrims.
Now in the next slide, look at the words that start in verse 13 and go all the way through. I’ll just read them to you. “Gird up the lines of your mind,” or prepare your minds for action. “Be sober,” It says in the New King James or self-controlled. “Rest your hope fully,” or set your hope fully. This basically is back in verse 13 of chapter 1. So, if you want to follow along. Go from that slide, over to your Bibles, and look at verse 13 of chapter 1, “Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Verse 14, “as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance, but as He who is called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written. ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’ “
Now, look at this slide. This is what a Pilgrim is.
- Gird up the loins of your mind,
- be sober,
- rest your hope in Christ,
- don’t conform yourself
- be holy in all you do.
The next slide is the beginning of how we can reason through, about our convictions. Now I would like to go with you, look at the bottom of that slide, through Romans 14, the book of Proverbs, and Ephesians 5:18 and explain to you what God’s word says about Christians, alcohol, and addictions. Gray areas, sin, sanctification, liberty, and legalism. Wow. That’s a lot. How do we do that?
Acts chapter 17 in verse 11, it gives us a pattern. That’s a good verse to know about. You know what it says in Acts 17:11? “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they […] searched the scriptures daily to see whether those things were so.” Which Paul said, which who said? Paul said. The big guy. The most famous person in the church of that day. The great missionary church planter and writer of half the New Testament. Paul. When he taught in Berea, the people searched through the Old Testament to make sure that what he said resonated with the revealed truth of God. We call those people, Berean Christians. What does that mean? Bereans search the scripture. Now, Paul trained them in Ephesus to do this. In Acts 20 Paul, it says, reasoned with the people through the scriptures.
Now, let me tell you the Greek word behind that word reasoning, dialegomai. That’s a Greek word with two parts. Dia means through, like the preposition through. Legomai means to talk through or to think through or to reason through. So, what English word sounds like dialegomai? Dialogue. Do you know what dialoguing is? It’s finding people where they are with their questions and this is one of my favorite things to do, for years on Sunday nights we had Q and A’s, it’s having people saying this is what is going on in my life. So, this is me and they say, what does God say about that? So, you find they say, I’m having trouble with fear. You say, God says fear not and fear is not from God, it’s from the devil. They say, okay what about this? I’m wondering about whether or not I should go to this party. It says, God says in Psalm 1 don’t stand or sit or be a part of those walking through life that mock God. So, it depends on what kind of a party it is. What you do is you reason through life, you dialogue. Taking people from where they are in 2020, back to the first century or before in the word of God, what God says and then have that impact them today. That’s what dialoging is.
I’d like to dialogue with you through, look at the slide, Christians, alcohol, addictions, gray areas, sin, sanctification, liberty, and legalism. Okay, here we go.
Alcohol, God servants, and my convictions. So, I’m going to show you how I personally… now pause. You say, oh, you live in an ivory tower. You’re this pastor. No, I grew up in a generational alcoholic home. Both of my grandfathers died in the hospital of cirrhosis of the liver. That’s my grandparents. Their wives lived through, my grandmothers, lived through an alcoholic man’s divorce. My one grandmother divorced her alcoholic husband, my grandfather. My other grandmother lived apart from him, she never divorced him, but she didn’t see him the last five years of her life. So, both grandfathers died alcoholics.
My parents now, so that’s my grandparents, now my parents we’re both drinking so much. In fact, my mother said that they drank alcohol so much that they’d rather not eat food, which is one of the little indicators of alcoholism. My parents met in a bar. In fact, the day my mother got saved, she told me she was drinking out of a one-gallon bottle of wine. Drinking out of the box, the one gallon. She bought the economy size, and a knock came on the door, the screen door of their house in 1947, 73 years ago. She said there was a man standing there with the biggest Bible she’s ever seen under his arm. He said, hello. She came up to the door and said, yes? He said, I’d like to talk to you. I’m the pastor of a little Baptist church down the road here, can I come in? She said, come on in. She was pretty happy drinking out of that gallon bottle and so she let him in. He sat across the table from her. She said he put that gigantic Bible on the table, and he sat there for an hour, going from scripture to scripture, explaining where my mother was and where God was. That she was on the path of destruction, not on God’s path. Believe it or not, she sobered up in that hour enough that she said she pushed that big bottle aside and said, that’s what I want. That pastor led my mother to the Lord with that great big Bible.
So, you see I’m from a generational alcoholic family. Grandparents, parents, and even my brother. My brother died an alcoholic. Whenever I would try and get ahold of him, the last days of his life, the only way you could get ahold of him is to call the bar that he lived next to because he didn’t even have money for a phone. He just sat in the bar all day and that was his life.
Let’s talk about as believers God offers through His word, in the entire philosophy of how to please God, in questionable areas, questionable things, gray areas that some people say I have liberty in and how to avoid legalism. What’s legalism? Theologically legalism is when you do works in order to earn your way to salvation, that’s not how most people talk about legalism. Most people talk about legalism, what they mean is, externalism. If I can look the certain way, wear the right clothes, have the right behavior, I’m holy. That’s legalism, which is literally externalism.
How does God, look at your sides, how does God tell us we should build convictions about alcohol? Number one, the first one you see on your slide there. I don’t drink. Now, this is me personally, because God always condemns drunkenness. Now, look in your Bible at 1 Corinthians chapter 6. I alluded to this, but my dear wife who is right over there helping me right now, filming this class tells me, don’t say…I know…you know that verse, instead take you to it and let’s read it. Look at 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived.
- Neither fornicators,” that’s living together before you’re married,
- “nor idolaters,” that’s worshiping anything that is more important than God,
- “nor adulterers,” that’s any sexual activity with someone other than your husband or wife,
- “nor homosexuals,” and that is same sex sexual behavior, homosexuality and lesbianism,
- “nor sodomites,” whoa, wait a minute. Homosexuality and sodomites that says both the active and the passive member of a homosexual relationship, any involvement on either end is sin. But look at verse 10,
- “nor thieves,”
- “nor covetous,” look at verse 10,
- “nor drunkards,”
- “nor revilers,”
- “nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Back to the slide. I don’t drink because God always condemns drunkenness and He says, it is for those who have chosen to head to destruction and hell.
Secondly, I don’t drink because God commanded that any priest who came before Him in the tabernacle or temple was not to drink. That’s what it says in Leviticus 10:9.
Thirdly, I don’t drink because God said those who lead his people are not to drink. We’ve already seen that in Proverbs 31 and 1 Timothy 3, I’ll show you in a second. Keep going, the next slide.
The fourth reason I have a conviction not to drink is because God led Paul to say that He would limit his freedom. In fact, Paul said, I won’t eat meat or drink wine or do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Wow. If Paul said, if drinking alcohol caused any believer to veer off God’s path, I won’t drink. Now look up from your slide. I don’t drink because I would hate for someone to say I can drink because I saw my Bible teacher drinking. I want to be an example like Paul did, to not offend someone who’s weaker, susceptible, maybe like me from a generational alcoholic family.
Back to the slides, the fifth slide, I don’t drink because God contrasts alcohol with the Holy Spirit and Ephesians 5:18. I want to be known as a man who seeks the influence of the Holy Spirit, not the influence of alcohol.
On the next slide six, I don’t drink because God said elders have a higher standard than deacons or others in the church.
Now look up and let’s read 1 Timothy 3:3. I’ve alluded to this, but now I want to show it to you. God gives the qualifications of the leaders of His church and He said that the men who are elders, the pastors. Elders, overseers of the church are described in chapter 3 of 1st Timothy. Verse three, and it says… well, it starts in verse 2, “A bishop,” that’s an overseer, which is an elder, which is a pastor, “must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach.” Look at verse three, “not given to wine.”
Let me write that for you in Greek. Okay? Mē paroinos. Not near wine. Mē = not. Par = preposition, near. Oinos = wine. That’s why Timothy wouldn’t drink at all.
You see back in the ancient world. They had wine in big bowls. You’d come up and it was diluted by the way, it was this kind of a syrup fermented syrup from grapes, and they would pour it into water. They would make a big bowl of basically light beer. Just a very 2% alcohol kind of thing or a very light amount of alcohol. So, people would drink a lot of it. They would stand near the wine bowl and just keep refilling their cup. That’s why it says about deacons, deacons are not supposed to drink too much wine. Normal people in the church were not to get drunk.
Look at the three levels. The pastor, not near. The deacon, not too much. The saints, never drunk. So, the Lord said, all of us don’t ever be intoxicated, but deacons don’t even drink from that bowl enough that people think you might be headed toward intoxication. Look at the standard for pastors don’t even be anywhere near the bowl. In other words, don’t drink. Back to your sides, I don’t drink because God said elders have a higher standard than deacons or others in the church. 1 Timothy 3:3.
Finally, I don’t drink because of our whole beer drinking, bar hopping, clubbing society that portrays alcohol, almost always, with things that displeased God.
In the next slide. I just want to remind you the strength and concentration of biblical and modern times is totally different. On the slide you see, you can look this up online; beer, normal beer is 4% alcohol, wine is about 10% alcohol. Strong drinks that are popular in bars, liquor would be like whiskey, gin, and vodka, would be between 20% and 50%. A hundred proof is 50%.
There are four simple biblical reasons why I do not drink, and I would encourage you, as those who are students of the word, to start forming your convictions.
Number one, God’s word always condemns drunkenness. So, I don’t want to drink, get anywhere near that.
Number two God’s word teaches drunkenness disqualifies a person from spiritual service. I don’t want to be disqualified.
Number three, God’s word teaches that drunkenness is not a part of the life of a citizen of Heaven. In other words, where it says they shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Number four, recreational drinking with lost people who drink to drunkenness is not what pleases God in our lives and it’s part of the world that is passing away.
That’s why I encourage you to the unintoxicated life. God says His grace teaches us to deny any of those. To want the unintoxicated life. To seek the self-control of the Spirit. To live in the wisdom, submitting to God, living out our salvation, following the narrow way with an unintoxicated life.
Thank you Lord, for your word. I pray you’d use your word, empowered by your Spirit to change our hearts today. That your grace would teach us to say no to ungodliness and worldly lusts. So that, we can be those peculiar people, zealous of serving you. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. And all God’s people said, Amen.