Take Your Stand! • Honoring the Lord in all we do is our commitment as Christians (Col. 3:17; cf. Rom. 14:23; 10:17). • Does God, in His word, approve of the drinking of alcoholic beverages? (2 Tim. 3:16-17) • Failure to take a stand on this important issue is to put yourself and even your family in a precarious situation!
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 (NASB) 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.
All Christians should know the biblical truth concerning alcohol and make the right choice that will please the Lord!
There is Approval or Condemnation of Wine in the Scriptures, Depending on the Context.
Approval Num 18:12 (NASB) All the best of the fresh oil and all the best of the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of those which they give to the LORD, I give them to you.
Approval Gen 27:28 (NASB) Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine;
Approval Isa 55:1 (NASB) "Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. – cf. Isaiah 55:1-13
Condemned Dan 1:8 (NASB) But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.
Condemned Lev 10:8-10 (NASB) 8 The LORD then spoke to Aaron, saying, 9 "Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you may not die — it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations — 10 and so as to make a distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean,
Condemned in the Proverbs • Wine is described as “the wine of violence” (Prov. 4:17), a mocker and brawler that intoxicates making a person unwise (Prov. 20:1). • The heavy drinker will come to poverty (Prov. 23:20-21).
Condemned in the Proverbs • Wine brings woe, sorrow, contentions, poverty and complaining, it bites like a viper, it confuses, causes visions, poor judgments, violence, bitterness, and destruction (Prov 23:20-35; 31:4-7; cf. Isa. 28:7).
The reason why wine was approved in some cases and condemned in others was because the former spoke of non-alcoholic wine and the latter of alcoholic wine.
Fermented vs. Unfermented Wine • Wine which is alcoholic contains alcohol because the grape juice had gone through a fermentation process. • Non-alcoholic wine is grape juice that is unfermented.
Fermentation • That process in which yeast cells act on the sugar content of fruit juice and convert the sugar to carbon dioxide and alcohol.
The Ancients Had a Choice Between Alcoholic or Nonalcoholic Wine. • For the ancients, making wine alcoholic was not an easy process. • Fermentation was a chance process that required temperatures of the wine to be carefully regulated. • Distillation, the process used to make beverages with a higher alcohol content, 40 to 50% alcohol (e.g., whiskey, gin, vodka, and rum), was not discovered until 1100!
Many actually preferred unfermented or nonalcoholic wine. • Pliny (A.D. 61-113): "The most useful wine has all its force or strength broken by the filter." • Plutarch (A.D. 46-120) wrote, "Wine is rendered old or feeble in strength when it is frequently filtered. The strength or spirit being thus excluded, the wine neither inflames the brain nor infests the mind and the passions, and is much more pleasant to drink."
There were several ways to prevent wine from fermenting or becoming alcoholic. • The burial method • The boiling method (cf. pasteurization is used by the Welch's Grape Juice Co.) • The filtering method.
Thus, the ancients had a choice on whether to drink fermented (alcoholic) or unfermented wine!
Biblical Reasons Why Christians Should Abstain from Alcohol.
Abstaining from alcohol for appearance sake. 1 Thess 5:22 (KJV) Abstain from all appearance of evil. • This kind of reasoning ALONEpresupposes that if there is no social stigma attached to drinking, that it would be acceptable to God to drink.
Why Abstain from Alcohol? Alcohol hinders our alertness against evil and our ability to watch for the Lord’s return.
According to Santamaria, author of Effects of Alcohol and its Metabolism on the Brain, "at low levels of intoxication (below .03 blood alcohol content – B.A.C.) persons may become less self-conscious and more talkative and have the tendency to lose emotional control. They may also be less socially discrete than normal. As the BAC rises to between .03 and .08, social judgment is impaired and individuals have difficulty understanding the importance of events... Later, thinking becomes more difficult and the ability to concentrate is disrupted. Individuals have difficulty learning and remembering. At this point judgment is poor and the lack of self-awareness leads to a false self-confidence.”
Let us not fool ourselves into thinking we can drink alcoholic beverages “moderately”!
People cannot consistently know when they have had enough to drink. Kessel & Walton, authors of Alcoholism inform us that "from the first drink, our judgment, discrimination, and restraint is reduced and impaired."
All modern day alcoholic beverages are “strong drinks” to be avoided. Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise. • Ancient alcoholic wines do not even begin to compare to modern day wines in alcohol content!
To compare the fermented wine drunk today (which is greatly fortified with extra alcohol) from what was drunk in the first century, it would require approximately one gallon of the ancient wine to obtain a .03 blood alcohol level while it would only require 6 tablespoons of the modern wine to reach the .04 blood alcohol level!
1 Peter 5:8-9 (NASB) 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
1 Thessalonians 5:3-7 (NASB) 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.
Alcohol can cause us to forget God’s law. • “Alcohol interferes with short-term memory limiting the ability to store new information. It’s widely understood that alcoholism is seriously damaging to memory, but studies have shown that even moderate alcohol use can interfere with the ability to remember.” - Aging and Technology Research
Proverbs 31:4-7 (NASB) 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, 5 Lest they drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter. 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his trouble no more.
Why Abstain from Alcohol? Alcohol can lead to moral recklessness and wasteful living.
Ephesians 5:18 (NASB) And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit • Dissipation(or “debauchery” or “wherein is excess or riot”): Wasteful, reckless living, shameless indifference to moral restraintse.g., 1 Pet. 4:3-4
Alcohol is an addictive, habit-forming drug (not a mere beverage). • “It [alcohol addiction] has multiple characteristics including the chronic consumption of alcohol, a compulsive need to continue to use the drug, the development of a tolerance to the effects of alcohol, and psychological and physical dependence on the drug” - Davis VE, Walsh MJ.
“Alcohol administration causes release of dopamine in a brain region (the nucleus accumbens) that is a key member of a group of linked structures associated with the development of addiction” – Alcohol Research and Health, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2000
“Approximately 14 million people in the U.S. are addicted to alcohol or abuse alcohol.” • “Approximately 53% of adults in the United States report that one or more of their close relatives has a drinking problem.” - www.alcoholics-info.com
The Scriptures teach that alcohol can be addictive! Example: a qualification of an elder is that he is “not addicted to wine” - 1 Tim. 3:3, NASB; cf. Titus 1:7; cf. 1 Cor. 6:10
1 Timothy 3:3 “given to wine” (KJV) or “addicted” (NASB) from PAROINOS: “addicted to wine, drunken, of one who tends to be quarrelsome as he habitually drinks too much; substantially drunkard” – Friberg Lexicon
Alcohol is an addictive, habit-forming drug. • Alcohol enslaves and controls people! (1 Cor. 6:12; cf. Mat. 6:24). • A life of alcoholic addiction is a miserable life (Prov. 23:29-35).
Proverbs 23:29-32 (NASB) 29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30 Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine. 31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly; 32 At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper…
Proverbs 23:33-35 (NASB) 33 Your eyes will see strange things, And your mind will utter perverse things. 34 And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast. 35 "They struck me, but I did not become ill; They beat me, but I did not know it. When shall I awake? I will seek another drink."
Why Abstain from Alcohol? • Christians are to be holy, separate and distinct people from the rest of the world (2 Cor 6:17; 1 Pet. 1:16; cf. Rom. 12:2).
Alcohol Drinking is Truly a Worldly Activity! • "Alcohol has become so closely interwoven with life in the United States that two-thirds of the adult population use alcohol to some degree” (Alcohol and Behavior, Dr. Clayton Rivers). • “In the U.S., 66% of the population consumes alcohol.” - www.alcoholics-info.com
“Social Drinking” • To drink alcohol or practice “social drinking” is to be like the world which renders us without “spiritual flavor” having no fellowship with God (Mat. 5:13; cf. 1 John 2:15-16).
1 Peter 4:3-5 (NASB) 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
Proverbs 23:20-21 (NASB) 20 Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; 21 For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags. – cf. 1 Cor 5:11; 15:33
The medical use is not an excuse for the social use! 1 Tim 5:23 (NASB) No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.
Why Abstain from Alcohol? • Drinking alcohol may cause others to stumble or sin, including our children!
We need to example for others to follow (e.g., Titus 2:2-5): Children are great imitators!
Matthew 18:5-6 (NASB) 5 "And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.