Summary: The people of Bible times drank wine and Jesus’ 1st miracle was turning water into wine... so why does the church have such a problem with alcohol?
OPEN: August 16, 1992 in The Reporter News (an Abilene, TX newspaper) featured an article about a cowboy. This cowboy was a horse breaker on a ranch near, Breckenridge. He was driving his pickup and was stopped by the Highway Patrol. The cowboy refused to take a breath analyzer test. He explained, “The last time I took one of those tests, I flunked and I am a lot drunker now than I was then.”
APPLY: I don’t have too many jokes in my files about funny drunks, because I don’t believe there’s anything funny about people being drunk.
I didn’t grow up that way, however.
When I was a boy, drunks were portrayed on TV as being funny people.
Remember the “Andy Griffith Show” where Andy and Barney were the police force in a town called Mayberry? Who was the drunk on that show? (Almost everybody responded “Otis”). He was portrayed as a harmless fluff-ball of a man who couldn’t keep away from the bottle – and he WAS funny.
Then there was Foster Brooke, a man who made his living as a comic by playing a drunk onstage. And he was funny.
Then there was Dean Martin (tho’ he reportedly never was really a drinker). He portrayed himself a heavy drinker, always carrying a cigarette in one hand and a martini glass in the other. He was not only funny as a drinker, but he was handsome, suave, self-assured, well-liked, and all the women were in love with him. And he could sing. He had a voice that could have melted butter.
He was someone I wanted to be like. I really wanted to grow up to be like this man.
If I had followed Dean Martin’s example (at least the example he portrayed on stage) I could easily have become heavily involved in alcohol. However, there were a couple of influences that kept me away from the bottle:
1st – I had a Godly set of parents who wouldn’t think of having beer or whiskey in the house
2nd – The only time I tried an alcoholic beverage… I couldn’t stand the taste of the stuff.
Then, as I grew older I learned that the church had often been opposed to alcohol. Not just drinking that rendered a person drunk… they even opposed the “recreational” use of the this drink.
But the question this morning is: WHY?
Why would any Christian be opposed to the use of alcohol?
I mean, after all, the people of Bible times drank wine. In fact, John chapter 2 tells of the first miracle Jesus ever performed… he made wine for a wedding feast that had run out.
So, why would any church oppose the use of alcohol for recreational purposes?
I. Well, 1st there’s the damage that drinking has done to so many lives
Alcohol is a drug… and it IS addictive. Alcohol has destroyed too many lives to count.
Every year in America over 200,000 die from alcohol related deaths
· auto accidents (55,000)
· homicides and suicides (15,000)
· accidental deaths (20,000)
· Not to mention the vast number who die each year from medical conditions brought on because of constant drinking.
About 350 die daily from alcohol-related problems while about 15 to 30 die daily from health effects of illegal drug use.
Alcohol is involved in 50% of spousal abuse - 50% of rapes - 32% of child abuse cases
In addition, alcohol is responsible for a vast number of diseases and ailments. According to Dr. Antonio Novello, Former U. S. Surgeon General:
“Alcohol affects immune, endocrine, and reproductive functions. Various cancers associated with drinking include cancers of the lip, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, tongue, lung, pancreas, and liver.
Other diseases include chronic gastritis, hepatitis, hypertension, and coronary heart disease . . . More of our current college students will die of cirrhosis of the liver than will get doctorates in Business Management, and Communications combined.”
Like I said, alcohol is a drug. And it’s the only drug in America that is NOT ONLY legal but universally advertised at sporting events, in popular magazines and roadside signs. According to Dr. Jean Killbourne, an international lecturer on alcohol advertising:
“Ads from the alcohol industry link drinking with happiness, wealth, prestige, sophistication, success, maturity, athletic ability, virility, creativity and sexual satisfaction.
The irony is that these are the very things that chronic alcohol abuse destroys.”
II. The danger of alcohol is the basis for much of that the Bible says about it.
The Bible declares “Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks” (Isaiah 5:22)
Why would God be so opposed to this type of lifestyle? Well turn with me to Proverbs 23:29-35
“Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.