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The Believer and Alcohol

Written by: Brown, David L.    Posted on: 03/18/2003

Category: Christian Living

Source: CCN

  THE BELIEVER AND ALCOHOL

  by Pastor David L. Brown

  FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH

  10550 SOUTH HOWELL AVE. OAK CREEK, WI. 53154

  INTRODUCTION

  My heart skipped a beat as I was watching the news one evening in late February of this year (89). A large section in the side of an airplane had torn loose and 10 or 11 people had been sucked out. A thought raced through my mind... my song leader and his wife were headed for Hawaii and that's where this plane was going. Then I realized they were not leaving for several weeks yet.

  Now just suppose you went to the ticket counter to book a flight. You buy the ticket and the attendant hands it to you with these words. "You should know, sir, that on this plane, seating one hundred passengers, ten seats, sometime during the flight, will suddenly give way and drop their occupants out of the plane." You reply, "Don't put me in one of those seats." The attendant replies, "But that is impossible; we don't know the seats that will give way. Have a good flight, sir."

  You'd say, "Forget it!" No way am I going to ride on that plane! I'm not going to take the chance."

  I adapted the ticket illustration from an article that appeared in the April 24, 1965 issue of Christianity Today. The article, on page 25, continues, "People must be informed that the use of alcohol is not unlike Russian roulette: every tenth person becomes automatically hooked.  The only solution is total abstinence."

  Alcohol spells TROUBLE for us all. It is the most dangerous drug in general use today. In this study we are going to take a look at what the Bible has to say about alcohol use.

I.  A LOOK AT THE WORDS

    There are 637 references to drink and drinking in the     KJV of the Bible. In those references thirteen different     words are translated "wine." To understand what the     Bible has to say about drinking, we need to look at     some of these words.

    OLD TESTAMENT

    "yayin" (3196) [pronounced yah-yin] -- This word occurs     140 times. It is a general term for grape beverages and     includes all classes of wine, non-alcoholic or     alcoholic; unfermented, in the process of fermentation     and fermented. It was always diluted with water.

    "shekar" (7941) [shay-kawr] -- This Hebrew word occurs     23 times. It is the word for strong drink, unmixed wine.     The 1901 edition of THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA says "Yayin,     wine, is to be distinguished from shekar, or strong     drink. The former is diluted with water; the later is     undiluted."

    "tirosh" (8492) [tee-roshe'] -- This word is used about     38 times. It refers to fresh grape juice. It is referred     to often as new wine or sweet wine.

    NEW TESTAMENT

    There are some New Testament counterparts to these     words.

    "oinos" (3631) [oy'-nos] is the counterpart of the Old     Testament word yayin.  It is used 33 times.  It is a     general term for grape beverages and includes all     classes of wine, non-alcoholic or alcoholic -     unfermented, in the process of fermentation and     fermented. It was always diluted with water. Often the     context has to be used to determine whether the drink     was intoxicating or not.

    "sikera" (4608) [sik'-er-ah] is the counterpart to the     Old Testament word shekar. It is the word for strong     drink, unmixed wine.

    "gleukos" (1098) [glue-kos] is the counterpart to the     Old Testament word tirosh. "It refers to a fresh wine, a     new wine" Dr. Paul Dixon says.

II.  THE POSITION OF THE BIBLE ON DRUNKENNESS

    DRUNKENNESS IS COMDEMNED IN THE BIBLE

    Isa. 5:11 - "Woe unto them that rise up early in the     morning, that they may follow strong drink (7941); that     continue until night, till wine (3196) inflame them."

    Prov. 23:20 - "Be not among winebibbers (5433);           The word means to drink so much that you become           tipsy or drunk.

    Rom. 13:13 - "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not     in rioting (2970 - drunken partying) and drunkenness     (3178 - general drunkenness)..."

    Gal. 5:19a & 21 "Now the works of the flesh are     manifest, which are these...drunkenness (3178)..."

    Eph. 5:18 - "And be not drunk (3182 form of 3178) with     wine (3631) wherein is excess; but be filled with the     Spirit.

    DRUNKARDS ARE AMONG THE LIST OF THOSE WHO WILL NOT     INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

    I Cor. 6:9-11 (key 10)

Summary

  You can't get around it and in fact all godly men agree that the Bible condemns drunkenness. Drunkenness is a serious matter.

III. THE BIBLE CONDEMNS STRONG DRINK ALSO

    Prov. 20:1 "Wine (3196) is a mocker (3887 - causes one     to act crazy), strong drink (7941) is raging (1993 -     causes one to rage): and whosoever is deceived thereby     is not wise."

    NOTE again, Isa. 5:11 - "Woe unto them that rise up     early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink     (7941); that continue until night, till wine (3196)     inflame them."

      Prov. 23:29-31 -- "Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who     hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds     without a cause? who hath redness of eyes? (30) They     that tarry long at the wine (3196); they that go to seek     mixed wine (4469 - a mixture of wine and spices). (31)     Look not thou upon the wine (3196) when it is red, when     it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself     aright."-- Reference is to drinking fermented wine &     strong drink. The strong drink was the "mixed wine"     which was a potent mixture of wine and spices.

    WHAT WAS "STRONG DRINK" IN BIBLE TIMES?

    Distillation was not discovered until about 1500 A.D.     Strong drink and unmixed wine in Bible times was from 3%     to 11% alcohol. Dr. John MacArthur says "...since     anybody in biblical times who drank unmixed wine (9-11%     alcohol) was definitely considered a barbarian, then we     don't even need to discuss whether a Christian should     drink hard liquor -- that is apparent!

          CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT DRINK STRONG DRINK!

    Since wine has 9 to 11% alcohol and one brand 20%     alcohol, you should not drink that. Brandy contains 15-     20% alcohol, so that's out!  Hard liquor has 40 to 50%     alcohol (80 to 100 proof), and that is obviously     excluded!

    Someone will say, "since beer is only 4% alcohol, IT'S     OK FOR A BELIEVER TO DRINK BEER, RIGHT?" The answer is     NO! Here's why...

IV.  IN BIBLE TIMES, WHAT CHRISTIANS DRANK WAS SUB-ALCOHOLIC,     BASICALLY PURIFIED WATER

    Remember the Hebrew word "yayin" and the Greek word     "oinos" that we looked at earlier? These were the     companion words for wine whether fermented for     unfermented.  Remember, the key emphasis was on the fact     that whether fermented or not, it was MIXED WITH WATER.

    Let's look at what John MacArthur has to say about     this... (see article titled - How do the alcoholic     drinks of today compare to those of biblical times)

          Norman Geisler, Dean of the Liberty Center for           Christian Scholarship, Liberty University,has           written: "Many wine-drinking Christians today           mistakenly assume that what the New Testament meant           by wine is identical to wine used today.  This,           however, is false. In fact, today's wine is by           Biblical definition strong drink, and hence is           forbidden by the Bible. What the Bible frequently           meant by wine was basically purified water.           Therefore, Christians ought not to drink wine, beer           or other alcoholic beverages for they are actually           strong drink and forbidden in Scripture.  Even           ancient pagans did not drink what some Christians           drink today."

    All alcoholic beverages used in our culture fall under     the biblical classification of STRONG DRINK and     therefore forbidden. The least ratio of water to wine     mixture in the was 3 parts water to 1 wine. That     produced a sub-alcoholic drink that was 2.5% to 2.75%     alcohol.  Normally, the ratio was even higher, up to 20     to 1.  Their is NO BIBLICAL SUPPORT FOR CHRISTIANS     DRINKING THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES OF OUR DAY! What     believers drank was sub-alcoholic by todays standards.     Pastor's and deacons were cautioned to steer around even     the sub-alcoholic stuff (I Tim.  3:3 & 8).

    The right choice is to abstain! What is your choice?

    Does the Bible give any instances were alcohol can be     used? Let's move in to our next study and see.



                      SAY NO TO ALCOHOL                   by Pastor David L. Brown

OUTLINE

I.  WHO IS ALCOHOL FOR?

    A.  Someone who is near death and in great pain.     B.  Someone who is experiencing great anguish was given           alcohol as a sedative.

II.  WHY SHOULDN'T BELIEVERS DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES?

    A.  DRINKING LEADS TO DRUNKENNESS     B.  THE BIBLE CONDEMNS THE DRINKING OF STRONG DRINK     C.  DRINKING CAUSES OTHERS TO STUMBLE     D.  DRINKING HARMS OUR BODIES WHICH ARE THE LORD'S     E.  BELIEVERS ARE KINGS & PRIESTS, SEPARATED UNTO GOD     F.  ALCOHOL IS ADDICTIVE

INTRODUCTION

  Richard Quebedeaux, neo-evangelical author wrote in his book The Worldly Evangelicals, "In the course of establishing their respectability in the eyes of the wider society, the evangelicals have become harder and harder to distinguish from other people. Upward mobility has made the old revivalistic taboos dysfunctional." He goes on to say that evangelical business people have "changed their minds" about such things as drinking and smoking and found it necessary and pleasant to do those things.

  That's a sad commentary on the state of Bible believing Christians in light of the fact that we are neither to be conformed to the world (Rom. 12:2) nor love the world(I John I John 2:15). We ARE to be SEPARATE FROM world (2 Cor. 6:17) and LIGHT TO the world (Eph. 5:8; Phil. 2:15).

  Perhaps social drinking has enhanced the acceptability of Christians in society but it has not advanced the cause of Christ and it does not glorify God! Social drinking is simply a means which the devil uses to blunt our testimony for Christ and squeeze us into his mold. There are at least SIX GOOD REASONS A BELIEVER SHOULD NOT DRINK. We will take a close look at each of those reasons as soon as we answer the question -- Does the Bible say there are any legitimate reasons to drink alcoholic beverages in the Bible?

I.  WHO IS ALCOHOL FOR?

    "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and     to those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and     forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more."     Prov. 31:6-7

    This verse lists two categories where strong drink could     be used...

    A.  SOMEONE WHO IS NEAR DEATH

          "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to           perish..."

          The phrase "ready to perish" is but one Hebrew word           that is generally used of a person who is near           death. In reality alcohol was used as a anesthetic           to ease the pain.

          Our Lord Jesus Christ is an illustration of the           medicinal use of wine in this way. In Matthew           27:33-34 we see Christ was offered vinegar mixed           with gall to drink just prior to his crucifixion.           The word vinegar is the Greek word for "sour or           bitter wine." It was mixed with gall to become a           powerful medicine that would take the edge off           pain. After just a taste, Christ refused it.           Again, we see "sour wine" being used as a pain           killer in John 19:28-30. Just before Christ dies,           he requests a drink. Even this request was to           fulfill prophecy. They give him a sponge soaked in           "sour wine."

    The believer does not need to drink alcohol as a pain     reliever today. We have much more sophisticated and     power pain killers available.

    There is a second category where it was allowable to use     strong drink in the Bible.

    B.  SOMEONE WHO IS EXPERIENCING GREAT ANGUISH

          "Give strong drink to those that be of heavy           hearts..."

          Emotionally speaking, the term "heavy heart"(4751)           is used to describe a heart crushing experience.           Strong drink was used in these cases as a sedative           to calm the person. Today, we have much more           effective sedatives.

          Prov.31:7 describes the results that are hoped for.           First, that they forget their "poverty" (7389),           that is their desperate circumstance. Second that           they forget their "misery" (5999) or pain.

II.  WHY SHOULDN'T BELIEVERS DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES?

    A.  DRINKING LEADS TO DRUNKENNESS

          1 out of every ten drinkers becomes an alcoholic           according to American Medical Association.  Rather           than play Russian roulette with the bottle, it is           better not to drink at all.

          The Bible is clearly against drunkenness. It says           "Let us walk honestly...not in...drunkenness"           Romans 13:13

          It says, "And be not drunk with wine..." Ephesians           5:18. That means wine or any other alcoholic           beverage.

          An individual who is habitually drunk will not be           in Heaven according to I Corinthians 6:9-10. We see           from verse 11 that drunkenness, along with the           other sins is spoken of as being in the past..."and           such WERE some of you."           There is another reason believers should not           drink...

    B.  THE BIBLE CONDEMNS THE DRINKING OF STRONG DRINK

          Prov. 20:1 says "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is           a raging and whosoever is deceived thereby is not           wise."

          Wine and strong drink are used as synonymous in           this verse. Anyone who drinks them are deceived.

          Prov. 23:31 says "Look not upon the wine when it is           red, when it giveth colour in the cup, when it           moveth itself aright."

          The reference is to fermented wine or alcoholic           wine (remember, in the Bible, the word wine covered           anything from freshly squeezed grape juice to           alcoholic wine).  The phrase "look not" means don't           give any thought to or refuse to pay any attention           to. The focus it alcoholic wine. So you come out           with the idea -- DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT DRINKING           ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. DON'T EVEN CONSIDER DRINKING!

          All the alcoholic beverages that are produced today           would fall into the category of strong drink and           are subject to the Biblical injunction against           strong drink.

          Another reason believers should not drink...

    C.  IT WILL CAUSE OTHERS TO STUMBLE

          Romans 14:21 says " It is good neither to eat           flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy           brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made           weak."

          Innumerable Christians claim their "Christian           Liberty" when it comes to social drinking. In order           to do that they must turn their backs on this           passage of scripture. "Sipping Saints" have given           multitudes of people an excuse to drink. More than           once I have heard a believer say "there is nothing           wrong with drinking in moderation. Pastor so and so           even says it is OK." I had one of my members say           something like that to be in justification of his           drinking. I discovered his drinking problem one           Saturday when a frantic teenager called me saying           one of the church members was pounding on the           church door and carrying on like a mad man. It           scared her witless. As it turned out "sipping           saints" had given this man a justification to           drink. He had both stumbled and was made weak.

          The problem is, drinking often sets off a chain of           influences like tipping over the first domino.  He           had a wife and kids at home and his actions set off           a chain of events that caused some to stumble,           others to be offended and some were weakened, using           dads rationalization to do the same.

          According to a survey done by the Daily Journal           newspaper, October 26 of 1988 one of the top five           reasons teenagers drink is because their parents           drink. This has proven true time and time again.

          Let me take it one step further. Parents, you must           remember that whatever you do in moderation your           children will likely do in excess.

          The Bible clearly defines drinking as an activity           that is to be foregone because it causes others to           stumble and makes them weak (fall into sin).

          There is yet another reason that believers should           not drink...

    D.  IT HARMS OUR BODIES WHICH ARE THE LORD'S

          I Cor. 6:19-20 "What? know ye not that your body is           the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which           ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are           bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your           body, and in your spirit which are God's."

          I Cor. 3:16-17 "Know ye not that ye are the temple           of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?           If any man defile the temple, him shall God           destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which           temple ye are."

          How many of you had high school or college biology?           I did and it was great. I especially enjoyed the           fit the girls had when we had to dissect first the           large grass hoppers and then the frogs. But what           was really rank was the day we had to walk up to           the big barrel fill with formaldehyde and reach in           and get a cat. That day some of the babes lost it           and I think even one of  the guys. I will never           forget the aroma of the formaldehyde.

          That brings me to what Dr. Robert Haas has to say.           He is the president of the American College of           Sports Nutrition. He said, " Beer, wine and hard           liquor form toxic substances called aldehydes that           can destroy the liver, kidney, and brain cells.           (Most of us who took high school biology probably           dissected a frog that was preserved in           formaldehyde). Aldehydes serve a useful function in           preserving or "pickling" dead animal tissue, but           they serve no beneficial purpose in people.           "Alcohol dehydrates (robs) your body of its           precious water supply, and along with the water go           vital nutrients such as B Vitamins, calcium,           magnesium, and potassium."

          According to the September 81 issue of Good           Housekeeping "Even in moderate amounts alcohol has           noticeable effects on the body. Because it enters           the blood stream it touches almost every organ, and           its effects on feelings and behavior are well           known."

          Alcohol has adverse affects on your esophagus,           stomach & intestines, bloodstream, pancreas, liver,           heart, bladder, kidneys, glands and your brain.           (See appendix for a more complete listing).

          "The most drastic and noticed effect of alcohol is           on the brain. It depresses brain centers,           progressively produces uncoordination, confusion,           disorientation, stupor, anesthesia, coma, death.           Alcohol kills brain cells and brain damage is           permanent." (From - Office of Highway Safety,           Madison, Wi)

          As believers our body belongs to the Lord. We           should not knowingly do anything that would harm           it. Alcohol harms the body, therefore we should not           drink alcohol.

          There is a further reason you should not drink...

    E.  ALCOHOL IS ADDICTIVE

          I Cor. 6:12 tells us that we are not to "be brought           under the power" or to be controlled by anything.           The only exception is the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18).

          Alcohol is clearly a powerful addictive substance           (Prov. 23:35). In the appendix you will find a           chart showing the stages of addiction as well as a           questionaire that can help a person determine where           he/she is at in the addiction process if they are a           drinker. Because alcohol is addictive, we should           choose not to drink alcoholic beverages.

          The final reason we will consider for not drinking           alcoholic beverages is...

    F.  BELIEVERS ARE KINGS & PRIESTS SEPARATED UNTO GOD

          "The prophets, the kings, the Nazarites, the           leaders -- those who were special in the plan of           God were total abstainers" says Dr. Paul Dixon and           he's correct.

          Kings and public officials were not to drink-Prov.           31:4-5

          Dr. Paul Dixon says "the priests of the Old           Testament were to abstain totally." The Aaronic           priests were not to drink because they ministered           in the tabernacle before the Lord (Lev.  10:9).

          The application: Believers are a "royal" or kingly           priesthood (I Pet. 2:9). We are the temple of God           (I Pet. 2:5). We are God's special children and           should choose total abstinence.

SUMMARY

  Drinking, even social drinking, cannot be legitimately supported by the Bible. Every drink that is available today, even Beer, falls into the category of unmixed or strong drink. Drinking unmixed or strong drink is forbidden in the Bible, except in two instances. First, it was given to someone who was near death to relieve pain. Second, it was dispensed as a sedative to those experiencing great anguish. The fact is, there are SIX GOOD REASONS THE BELIEVER SHOULD NOT DRINK... 1) DRINKING LEADS TO DRUNKENNESS  2) THE BIBLE CONDEMNS THE DRINKING OF STRONG DRINK 3) DRINKING CAUSES OTHERS TO STUMBLE  4) DRINKING HARMS OUR BODIES WHICH ARE THE LORD'S  5) BELIEVERS ARE KINGS & PRIESTS, SEPARATED UNTO GOD 6) ALCOHOL IS ADDICTIVE

  YOU MUST MAKE A CHOICE...TO DRINK OR NOT TO DRINK, THAT IS THE QUESTION.

          WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ENSLAVED TO ALCOHOL

    What should you do if you find that you are hooked on alcohol?

I.  ADMIT THAT YOU ARE POWERLESS OVER ALCOHOL

    Before anyone has even the chance of being helped, they     must realize that there is a problem. The Bible is clear     that drunkenness is a sin.  You must be willing to admit     that you have sinned and come short of God's standard.

II.  BELIEVE THAT GOD CAN HELP YOU GET THE VICTORY OVER     ALCOHOL

    There is no problem too big for God. Jeremiah the     prophet prays "Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the     heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched     out arm, and there is nothing too hard for     thee:"(Jeremiah 32:17). The Lord confirms the prophets     estimation of Himself in verses 26, 27 of the same     chapter as we read, "Then came the word of the LORD unto     Jeremiah, saying, Behold I am the LORD, the God of all     flesh: is there anything to hard for me?"  This     rhetorical question implies a NO! There is nothing to     hard for the Lord to accomplish.  God WILL help those to     go to him and determine to follow his instructions.

III. TRUST THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS

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