Summary: What are the long term ramifications of the recreational, pleasure use of alcohol as a beverage. What will that first drink mean for you in your future and the future of others?

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Today is the last Sunday of 2012. How has the year flown past so quickly?

If you can remember way back to November we started taking a look at the Covenant of Christian Conduct which a person agrees to honor when they join the Church of The Nazarene and become members.

Initially we took a look at how we covenant to avoid engaging in entertainment which is detrimental to living a holy life and degrades the spiritual authority of God in your life.

Then we took a look at the devastation caused in our society and in individual families and lives by addition to gambling. Therefore we covenant to refrain from gambling in all of its forms in order to cut off the chance of addiction and the devastation it causes it individuals, families, companies and the nation as a whole and to present a pure witness to the world, a world which is watching carefully to see if we walk the talk or if we just talk the talk of holiness.

After that I was planning on working through the rest of the Covenant of Christian Conduct but was afraid that it would seem as if it was just a list of “we don’t do this because we’re Nazarene’s” sort of a thing.

Instead, what we’re really looking for in this sermon series is the answer to this question; Do we follow make a promise to live within the Covenant of Christian Conduct because of a desire to obey a legalistic code of conduct or are we making this covenant because it is a natural behavior for those who love God with all of their hearts and who love others as they love themselves?

For comparison let’s take another look at a form of legalism.

Jim Peterson in his book Living Proof gives us a clear example of legalism.

A young man once asked, “What must I forsake (to be saved)?”

This is the answer he was given:

"Colored clothes for one thing. Get rid of everything in your wardrobe that is not white. Stop sleeping on a soft pillow. Sell your musical instruments and don't eat any more white bread. You cannot, if you are sincere about obeying Christ, take warm baths or shave your beard. To shave is to lie against Him who created us, to attempt to improve on His work."

On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln said this - “When any church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole qualification for membership, the Savior's condensed statement of the substance of both law and Gospel, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and thy neighbor as thyself’ that church will I join with all my heart and all my soul.”

So, which is it that we see in the Covenant of Christian Conduct? Do we see a list of man-made rules with no basis in the Holy Scriptures or do we see the natural outflow of a life sold out to Christ and His work in the world?

As a Scriptural basis for this part of the Covenant of Christian Conduct we will be using Proverbs 22:3 (NASB)

“The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naive go on, and are punished for it.”

Or, as it is stated in the NIV,

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