Should a Christian Drink Alcohol?
INTRODUCTION: In Proverbs 20:1 we read, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” In both of these words “wine” and “strong drink” intoxication is indicated. I want to show you in this message what the Bible says in regards to drinking alcohol. I am a preacher, and for that I make no apology.
I do not make this case against beer, wine and liquor because I am a social scientist; I am not.
I do not try to tell you that I speak simply on the basis of my heritage; I do not.
I do not make this case against alcohol and drinking because I am going to emphasize some Baptist policy; I am not.
What I am about to tell you, I tell you because of the authority of God Almighty who sits in the heavens. It is for that reason and for that reason only, that I am making this appeal to you. I want you to know there is a message from God in answer to the question, “Should a Christian drink alcohol?”
We believe that the Bible very clearly sheds the light of Heaven on both the use and abuse of alcohol. In other words, the case against both drinking and drunkenness is so obvious as to be unmistakable.
So in this message let me say it right up-front that we will make our case on the very forthright truths of a number of Bible texts.
FIRST: Let’s look at the WORDS for WINE in the Bible. Perhaps you are thinking when I study the Bible it seems there are passages that allow drinking and those that do not allow drinking.
In the Hebrew Old Testament the common word for “wine” is “YAYIN” used 141 times. In the Greek New Testament the common word for “wine” is “OINOS.” Between these words in the English Bible they are used some 250 times. In both cases these words could be used for the juice of the grape, or grape jam or grape jelly. The words do not specify whether the wine was fermented or unfermented.
Ok, Pastor, “How can I tell which is grape juice or wine?” Either common sense or the context of the verse will tell you.
Now there are three other words used for WINE.
In the Greek New Testament it is the word “GLEUKOS” from which we get the word “glucose” meaning “new wine” as found in Acts 2;13. This is fermented fresh wine which could cause drunkenness.
In the Hebrew Old Testament the word “TIROSH” as found in Hosea 4:11 is still translated “new wine.” However, just like “gleukos,” “tirosh” could also create drunkenness.
The last word from the Hebrew Old Testament is “SHAKAR” translated by our English words as “strong drink.” It appears that always in the context this refers to ALCOHOL.
Now perhaps you ask these questions. “What about the wine at the Lord’s Supper?” In the Lord’s supper the Lord does not make reference to wine, but to the cup as seen in Matthew 26:27; Mark 14:23, I Corinthians 11:25-28.
“What about Jesus changing the water into wine, in John 2:10?” Three things: One: The wine was fresh, not fermented. Two: It was good wine. The Greek words for “good” are “not spoiled.” Three: It would be foolish in the light of other scriptures to assume Jesus was a bartender.
“What about Paul telling Timothy in I Timothy 5:23 to take a little wine for his stomach?” Allow me to remind you that fresh grape juice is high in Vitamin C. Again in the context of scripture, this wine would be grape juice, not fermented alcohol.
SECOND: Let’s see how God describes the CHARACTER of a DRUNKARD. Please turn in your Bible to Proverbs 23:19-35.
Number 1: In verse 20 we read, "Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh." We are not to spend time with the drinking crowd. That means if they are having a party, we are not going. We will make no close association with the drinking crowd.
Number 2: In verse 21 we read, "For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags" It costs a lot of money to drink. The appetite is greater than the pocketbook.
Their families do not eat well, and their kids do not have what they need, because they have foolishly squandered their money. The investment in alcohol brings them to poverty.
They will eventually find they can't make a decent living.
They used to do well, but no longer. The drunkard shall come to poverty, the Bible tells us, and we see it happen so often.
Isn't gluttony just as bad? The Bible tells us in this same passage that gluttony is a sin. So get up from the table, go for a three-mile walk every day, and stop eating everything in sight.
Number 3: In verse 29 we read, "Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes?" Here we have six curses that come upon those who indulge in ALCOHOL.
The Bible uses the term "woe." No one has greater woes than the person who has been duped and enslaved by alcohol. The unhappiness and the misery rise higher and higher with each passing day. When alcohol is a part of your life, life is a miserable existence.
"Who hath sorrow?" The person who has gone into drunkenness is soon to know the sorrows of sin.
“Who hath contentions?" The drunk argues without provocation. Nothing can be done without debate. Every molehill is a mountain. The hearth of home is heated with havoc. Yelling and screaming are the norms of alcohol-induced contention.
"Who hath babbling?" When a person gets hooked on booze, even when talking straight, s/he is talking crooked. S/He figures out ways to lie, s/he invents ways to cheat, s/he conjures up ways to do things s/he is not supposed to do, and s/he becomes an absolute babbler. You can't depend upon a single word s/he says.
"Who hath wounds without cause?" S/He gets into all kinds of skirmishes, embattlements, difficulties; and there is no cause for it. The spouse is wounded, the children are wounded, others around her/him are wounded, people at the job are wounded, and it is all without cause.
"Who hath redness of eyes?" The whole body becomes afflicted. The body depreciates or breaks-down when alcohol is introduced into it over and over again. Health problems are multiplied and magnified.
Number 4: In verses 30-35 we read, “They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” Here we have the characteristics of those who have gotten themselves into trouble with ALCOHOL.
They tarry long, verse 31, “They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.” It absorbs them. One of the biggest lies that Satan has ever invented is what they call the "Happy Hour." That is the hour when people sit and sip and soak and stupefy.
Their gaze is in the cup, verse 32, “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.” The drinker has one thing in mind. It is eight o'clock in the morning, and even though they are at work, they are already thinking about when they will get off and head to their watering hole before going home.
They are without good sense, verse 32, “At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” They are as delirious as though they had been bitten by a snake. Mark it down! One little drink may seem harmless at the first, but it will at the last bite you and bring you to delirium just as much as if you were bitten by a poisonous snake.
They become unclean, verse 33a, “Thine eyes shall behold strange women…” and thine heart shall utter perverse things.” Their eyes look to find some unknown woman, some woman who is not theirs; and their heart then sways.
How many times have you heard the story? Because of enticement with alcohol, it was so easy to step over the line. When the mind is swimming in alcohol, the choice to become immoral is soon in coming. Virtue is quickly given away.
Their mouths get loose and ugly, verse 33b, “… and thine heart shall utter perverse things.” How many times have you seen someone under the influence of booze become crude and verbally abusive?
When they come home, they meet their mates with ugly talk and verbal abuse. They get loud! They throw their weight around. They call their loved ones derogatory names.
The loose lip, the sharp tongue, and the ugly mouth are routine in their alcohol- induced stupor.
They lose their sense of danger, verse 34, “Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.” S/He loses all sense of danger. S/He says, "I will go out and sleep on the sea.” Or s/he wants to go and lie upon the top of the mast. Like an idiot, s/he is likely to fall off and be killed.
They become insensitive and uncaring, verse 35, “They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not…” when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” The person who is under the influence of alcohol would allow you to walk up and hit them on the side of the head, and the response would be, "Ah, that is no problem. Hit me again." S/He has no sensitivity to pain or to other abnormal things that are happening to her/him. Fantasy and delusion become commonplace.
They become obsessed with the thirst for it, verse 35b, "…when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again." When a person really gets in trouble with alcohol consumption, s/he winds up being so totally out of it; s/he doesn't know the most basic things. Memory blurs. S/He forgets reason and sanity. S/He wakes up and says, "Where have I been? What have I been doing? What has happened? How many hours have passed?" In spite of it all, s/he starts the process all over again.
We are talking about an overwhelming compulsion – a passion which cannot be checked. They have become addicted. They can't function without the sauce; they have to drink it. Alcohol has its hooks into them; its fangs are upon them.
THIRD: Let’s focus on the CONSEQUENCES of DRUNKENNESS.
Number 1: Solomon says in Ecclesiastics 2:3, "I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine." Do you remember the steps to Solomon's downfall? One of them was booze. He says, "I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine.”
Then in verse 11, after giving himself to wine, he said, "I surveyed all of the works of my hand. I looked on the efforts that I had labored to do. I looked around, and I saw the things of all of the days of my life, and the observation brought me to this conclusion: everything was vain. It was simply a vexation of spirit, and there was nothing profitable; no reason for living at all."
Number 2: In Isaiah 56:12 we read, "Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant." Strong drink never tells you in advance its impact upon your livelihood. It lies to you through its teeth. It will not tell you the truth. It will say tomorrow is going to be even better; but that is not the way it is.
NUMBER 3: In Habakkuk 2:15 we read, "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!" Woe to the fellow who pours a drink and offers it to somebody else. If you provide alcohol ("thy bottle") for others, you are inviting the judgment of God ("Woe unto him").
When alcohol flows, virtue is given away much more quickly. When the mind and body are "under the influence," the likelihood of aggressive immoral behavior is greater. In a phrase, alcohol is a perpetrator of immorality. A little drink poses a lot of risk. Refuse the drink, and you'll have fewer regrets with which to live!
Number 4: In Habakkuk 2:16 we read, "Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and 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." Booze brings shame and dishonor. Honor is sacrificed. Reputation is ruined. Sexual impropriety runs amuck. It is a day of infamy when a person turns to drink.
Number 5: In Proverbs 31:4-6 we read, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: (5) Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. (6) Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.” The Bible warns those who are in positions of public office that they should not be drinkers of alcohol. So that whenever they are called upon in whatever position they hold, their judgment will not be distorted.
Number 6: In Isaiah 28:1, 3, 7 we read, “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! (3) The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:…” Religious leaders should not drink. I have as little respect as I could possibly have for anybody who professes to be a clergyman or a man of God and who drinks alcohol. The teaching of the Word of God is so basic in regard to this. No preacher should drink alcohol in any amount for any reason at any time!
A person who professes to be a preacher, a pastor or a clergyman (whatever he wants to call himself) but indulges in the worldly practice of drinking intoxicants, does not deserve to be trusted or followed.
Number 7: In Isaiah 28: 7-8 we read “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 vision, they stumble in judgment. (8) For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.” Religious leaders should not drink alcohol! It causes people to do wrong. Consider just two such Bible illustrations.
Wine caused Noah to do wrong: In Genesis 9:21, 24 we read, “And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. (24) And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.”
Wine caused Lot to do wrong: In Genesis 19:32-36 we read, “Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. (33) And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. (34) And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yester night with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our Father. (35) And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. (36) Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.”
FOURTH: ABSTINENCE from Alcohol is ILLUSTRATED in the Scriptures.
In Jeremiah 35:5-6, 8 we read, “And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine. (6) But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever: (8) Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters;…”
In Daniel 1:8 we read, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
In Luke 1:15 speaking of John the Baptist we read, “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.”
Abstinence is neither new, or a novel idea. It was done so even in Bible times.
Is the drinking of Alcohol a sin? Absolutely, YES! Absolutely, YES! I believe it is a sin. Read all the other passages which have been given to you in this message. They contain the detailed wisdom of God.
“But Pastor, what about a social drink?” Here are several examples. What do you think?
It's Christmastime. You're at an office party. Everybody is drinking a little. Should you indulge just a bit for the sake of being a part of the company party? No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
You are at a wedding or a wake where booze is available and free. Should you take a sip or two just to be sociable? No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
You receive a bottle as a gift from your boss or whomever. It is only one bottle, should you drink it? No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
You are at a baseball game or a football game. Everybody in the crowd is drinking. Should you have a beer or two? No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
You are at an event where a toast is being made to honor a
dignitary. Should you fill your glass and join the toast? No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
You are out with friends. You've never tasted wine, beer or any other alcohol. They entice you. They tease you. They taunt you. Should you try it "just once?” No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
You've heard of the sevenfold amen? Well, when it comes to alcohol you should be prepared with the sevenfold "no, man, no!” Not now, not today, not tomorrow, not ever! Not a little, not a lot, not any amount!
The scriptural teaching given in this message is straight forward. Let’s make up our minds to heed the warnings of God. I believe I have adequately demonstrated the position of Scripture, so let me draw a few conclusions from Scripture.
In Luke 21:34 Jesus said, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”
In Romans 13:13 we read, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”
In Galatians 5:19-21 we read, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) 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.”
In Ephesians 5:18 we read, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;…”
We feel it is important that we speak up and wave the flag of warning. May the Lord help all of us to stay true, stand tall and keep our distance from all things alcoholic!
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon "Should a Christian Drink Alcohol?" then right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, let me know. Please send an e-mail to, pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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