No doubt you have had someone say this to you when you tackled them about their winebibbing and beer-swilling, “Well Jesus drank wine didn’t He?”, but it is worse when it comes from the mouth of a believer.
This problem seems to be increasing amongst believers. Gone are the days when Christians simply met for Bible study, prayer and worship. Now you are likely to be invited to the local pub or night club for the after church fellowship. I hear of meetings where wine and beer is served after the prayer meeting. It is not the Holy Spirit they are filled with in such places. It is little wonder that such carnality and ungodliness is in evidence in our churches since so many have stooped to barn dances, line dancing, and other worldly pursuits to attract people in. It appears that the beautiful, saving gospel of Christ has lost its lustre for these spiritual rebels. A.W. Tozer says of such people, “They are facing both ways, enjoying Christ and the world, gleefully telling everyone that Jesus does not require them to give up their fun – Christianity is just the jolliest thing possible.” [The World – Playground or Battleground p8-9].
Drunkenness causes more crime, accidents, divorces, child abuse, sickness, mental illness, and suicides than any other sin plaguing the world today. The drinker will never be totally free unless he submits his life fully to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you claim to drink alcohol but are not a drunkard then please read the following insight by Vance Havner: “The moderatist works both sides of the street. He may sip wine at the Lord’s table on Sunday morning and take his cocktail on Sunday night. He makes sacred things common and dignifies the profane. He slaps God on the back in cheap familiarity with ‘the Big Buddy Upstairs.’ He is the product of this age of world conformity, of peaceful coexistence with sin, that glorifies the great general average. He pulls down the high and builds up the low to one common level. It is the moderate drinker who keeps up the whiskey business. It is the moderate drinker who causes most of the automobile accidents. The all-out drunk is thrown into the back seat while the moderatist sits at the wheel with multiplied horsepower at his hand but with no horse sense in his head. It is the church-office-holding moderate drinker who is a bigger asset to the devil than all the bums in the back alleys. He is the reason why sermons that used to call for total abstinence have been softened to appeals for ‘temperance.’ If they are drinking at all, they are drinking too much!” [A Treasury of Vance Havner, pages 66-67.]
Yes, Jesus did drink wine. Because of water impurities in those days people used wine to quench their thirst, even so, it was always diluted. One of the last things that Jesus said about wine was, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29). So then, let’s be true followers of Jesus and wait to drink this new wine with Him in glory.
Before we look at some Bible references on this subject, let me say, that, those who promote drinking amongst believers rarely care for wine, they want the beer, lager and spirits. Remember, the alcoholic’s joys are brief, but the results are lasting. I’ve heard of churches where from the pastor down through the whole congregation were given over to drinking bouts and pub-crawling. Would you take an ex-alcoholic to such a place? “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” (Romans 14:21).
The Bible, far from condoning the use of wine, actually condemns it. We will prove that total abstinence is what God is calling for amongst believers.
“Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations.” (Leviticus 10:9). The temple of the Lord has been thrown open to every depraved thing today. If you say that we are no longer under Old Testament laws and regulations I will have to agree with you, but, let me ask you, has wine or strong drink somehow lost its power to intoxicate under the New Covenant? I don’t think so! Therefore the reasoning of God on this issue stands for ever.
Solomon informs us that no wise man will indulge in strong drink. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1). Wine offers the drinker pleasure but robs him of his joy, peace, and intelligence. “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? 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. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself upright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” (Proverbs 23:29-32). So-called social drinking by Christians is difficult to justify in the context of such clear warnings.
We are meant to be the temples of the Holy Spirit; “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 of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple are ye.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). The follower of Christ should abstain from all intoxicating drinks, tobacco, and narcotics that defile the body and soul. Those who indulge in such practices are not truly representing the character of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In fact, those who follow after wine and strong drink are placing themselves under a curse. “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continueth until night, till wine inflame them!” (Isaiah 5:11). Such drinking brings spiritual blindness; this being the case, no wonder there is great deception propagated in the church in these last days. “But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in in vision, and stumble in judgement.” (Isaiah 28:7). If you belong to such a church where the pastor, ministers and others do not speak out against alcohol, but actually condone it, then it’s time to find another church that preaches purity. (If you are a member of the Church of England, do you know that £14 million of your offerings have been given to breweries? The Church of England has invested £4.5 million in Greenhalls and £9.5 million in Whitebread – Daily Mail 13/7/99.)
David Wilkerson in his book entitled The Vision has this to say regarding Christians who were once “lovers of God becoming shipwrecked by their obsessive love for pleasure. Lovers of God find no pleasure in drugs, illegitimate sex, alcohol, tobacco, or smut. The devil knows that. Most of these fleshly pleasures offend and repulse the Christian. I see thousands of Christians sitting in theatres exposing themselves to degrading influences they once abhorred. They have not given themselves over to any particular sin, but they have become very comfortable in their addiction to off-colour movies, numerous parties, socials, and wine-tasting.” [Page 57.]
The Bible says that those who put the wine or beer glass in the hands of others are especially condemned by God. “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD’S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.” (Habakkuk 2:15-16).
If you happen to be a drinker and believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will be returning soon (the Rapture) then please take special note of the following text: “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:48-51). If you are a drinker then I warn you, you will miss out on the Rapture and your eternal salvation.
Listen to what Jesus says in Luke 21:34; “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” You may be thinking, and most drinkers will, that my remarks about losing salvation are rather harsh, yet the apostle Paul has this to say; “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [homosexual], nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God … Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 & Galatians 5:19-21). You may say, “I only drink a little, I won’t lose my salvation because of that”, but let me ask you, If you only practice a little witchcraft, homosexuality or adultery, will God wink at your sin? Paul places the social drinker on the same level as demon worshippers and murderers. So if you want to condemn me for my stand, condemn Jesus and Paul first.
Those who promote the use of alcohol abuse the verse found in Ephesians 5:18; “Be not drunk with wine, wherein there is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” There is hardly a drinker alive today that would admit he drinks to excess. If you condone the use of alcohol then you’re being filled with a different spirit. “The first command here could better be translated: ‘Do not begin to be drunk with wine.’ Since even a small amount of an intoxicant has a damaging effect on the brain, this command in effect calls for total abstinence from alcohol. Proverbs 23:31 warns against even looking on the wine, lest it tempt one to drink.” [Henry Morris, The Defender’s Study Bible p1311, published by The Institute for Creation Research.] Another text that is twisted which reads; “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” (1 Timothy 5:23.) Did you notice that the reference to water is never quoted by the promoters of wine drinking? Also, in the light of so much wine drinking amongst the body of Christ there must be an awful lot of people with sickly stomachs and other infirmities! Don’t quote this text to approve the use of alcohol, it is obviously for medicinal purposes that Paul advised Timothy to stop drinking only water. Up until then, Timothy, with his bad stomach, must have been a total abstainer. Henry Morris, commenting on this verse, says, “It is remarkable that so many people who know nothing else in the Bible seem quite familiar with this verse, using it as their favourite Biblical justification for drinking intoxicating beverages. There is a legitimate question as to whether this “wine was fermented wine or Unfermented grape juice (the same Greek word was used for both). Assuming it was fermented wine, Paul was simply prescribing a little of it as a medicine for Timothy’s frequent digestive disorders, apparently aggravated by the contaminated water of the region. Alcohol is a germicide and there are many medicines used today which contain small amounts of alcohol for that reason. Timothy was normally a total abstainer (and many other Scriptures indicate this practice should be followed by all sincere Christians), and Paul had to urge him to take even “a little wine” for his medicinal needs. At most therefore, people can only justifiably refer to this verse as authorising the use of small amounts of bacteria-killing alcohol for medicinal purposes.” [The Defender’s Study Bible p1347.] This is exactly what Paul taught. In Paul’s theology no minister or teacher of the Word of God should use alcohol. “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop [pastor], he desireth a good work. A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine … Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre.” (1 Timothy 3:1-3, 8.)
The amazing thing is that many in today’s church want preachers that do not condemn their vices but actively promote them. When the pastor or Sunday school teacher invites their listeners to a pub or club after the church service you know something is drastically wrong. The Old Testament church wanted prophets that taught them it was okay to drink. “If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.” (Micah 2:12.)
In conclusion let me say forthrightly and without hesitation, if you are a drinker it is time to repent; if you attend a church where alcohol is not condemned, then leave immediately and find a church that teaches the truth.
“It cuts down youth in its vigour, manhood in its strength, old age in its weakness. It produces weakness not strength, sickness not health, death not life. It makes wives widows, children orphans, fathers fiends, and all of them paupers and beggars … It fills the jails, supplies alehouses, and demands asylums. It endangers controversies, fosters quarrels, cherishes riots. It crowds penitentiaries and furnishes victims for scaffolds … it is the sum of all villainies, the father of all crime, the mother of all abomination. It is the devil’s best friend and God’s worst enemy.” [Robert Ingersoll]. Ingersoll was absolutely right! Yet the Bible has warned believers about the deadly effects of alcohol for centuries, but it seems that many have turned a deaf ear to God’s Word. All true Christians should listen to the Holy Spirit’s promise in Psalm 1: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:12-14.) In other words, “Stop making excuses for your sin but live the way a true believer in Christ should.”