Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Is It OK for a Christian to Drink Alcohol?

Addressing the controversial subject, "Alcohol", Perry Noble continues his series; "You Asked for It". "Alcohol, in the South, is highly controversial." Before he goes there, he wants us each to establish our position on the subject. He gives 3 choices; 1) It's wrong for Christians to drink. 2) It's okay for Christians as long as they don't get drunk. 3) Unsure. Perry also asks the audience to "own our faith". He doesn't want us believing something just because Perry said it. In Romans 14:5, it says, "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."

After this, Perry talks about how he, personally, has an "open hand" and a "closed hand" in his beliefs. His point in saying this is that there are some things that he is firm about in his position because the Bible clearly states the issues as fact. In this "closed" hand are issues like Christ as the only way to heaven, the Virgin birth and sex before marriage. In the "open" hand, or the hand where there are no clear delineations in the Bible are issues like alcohol and speaking in tongues. Perry respects the opinions of others and he states his belief in these areas as being positions that he has developed as a Christian.

Perry's personal struggle with alcohol started when he first drank at 15 and then continued at parties to be "cool". One night, he went to a friend's house and drank up a whole bottle of Bacardi with wine coolers and woke up to one of the worst mornings he ever remembers. Perry's position, here, is that Christians have freedom in Christ to drink, but they sin when they cross the line and get drunk.

Perry talks about why some Christians preach against drinking:

I) There is a misunderstanding about the Bible's reference to wine. Sometimes, people question whether or not "wine" in the Bible is the same wine we know today. We know in Genesis 9 that Noah knew how to make grapes into wine. He drank its ferment! Some people say the wine of that time was watered down wine. But John 2:1 talks about how Jesus' first miracle; turning water into wine. As you read further here, you see that the wine of Jesus was better than what the servants had been serving!

In 1 Timothy, Paul gives instructions to leaders, saying they should "not indulge in too much wine." He knew it could impair judgement. Titus 2:3, it says that the older women are not to be given too much wine. In Psalms 104, it talks about how wine "makes glad the heart of man". In Ecclesiastes, it says, "drink they wine with a merry heart, for God now accepteth thy works." The toughest thing for some Christians to accept is that Jesus drank wine. But He probably didn't get drunk. The accusing manner of the religious leaders actually proves that wine was as strong in that time as it is today.

II) Alcohol controls people and destroys lives. If we have to have it and it is controlling us, we are depending on it and not Jesus. Here, it becomes and idol. Can we walk away from it? In this context, Martin Luther said once that we can't eliminate sin by eliminating the objects, otherwise we would have to eliminate women! A fire in the fireplace is warm and cozy. Outside of the fireplace it is dangerous. This is like sex inside and outside of marriage. It is also like alcohol in modesty and in abuse. It IS ALSO applicable to obesity and gluttony, or eating past modesty. Proverbs 23:2 addresses gluttony.

III) It is a stumbling block. Perry's question here, is "what is the real stumbling block?" In Romans 14:21, it talks about how drinking can cause some people to stumble. This is certainly true for people who drink around alcoholics or who drink around people that are under age. We should definitely be aware of who we are drinking around. BUT, what is the bigger stumbling block; a man who walks into a restaurant, has a beer, and tips the waitress well or the man who goes into a restaurant, talks about spiritual things and leaves a weak tip?

What are the sins associated with alcohol?

1) Getting drunk IS a sin. Ephesians 5:18 talks about not getting drunk. Drunk men get violent and highly emotional. Perry actually ran into a drunk at a bar who was highly emotional and was telling Perry he went to his church and said he loved Perry. It's funny to hear him talk about this. In Proverbs 23, it talks about the life of a drunk. This is not the life Christ desired us to live.

2) It is a sin to drink under age and to defy authority. It's a sin when the rules of a home are not honored. Honor thy father and mother. It doesn't matter if opinions are opposed. It is a sin to buy alcohol for under age kids, even if it is in our own homes, because it trains children to break the law under conditions where it is okay. Perry covers a good stretch here of irresponsible parents as it relates to alcohol. Perry said he almost got in trouble because he was going to beat up a guy who bought alcohol for a group of underage teenagers. "But don't be afraid of me and what I will bring, be afraid of Jesus." Jesus is very protective of the children as it is said in Matthew 18:6.

At the end of his sermon, Perry says that he has this relatively positive position on alcohol, but he, personally, doesn't drink because it is not right for him. In Colossians 2, it tells us that we aren't to judge anyone and that, if we take the context away from Jesus, we sin. This is a great message and one which I will use as a reference in the future. Very good!

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