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Summary: A sermon designed to warn of the sins of Alcohol and Gambling as it applies to the current problem in Tennessee.

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VOTING FOR VICES

Matthew 5:13-16

INTRODUCTION: In 1995 Clay Shiver, a 6’2", 280 lb center for the Florida State Seminoles, was regarded as one of the nation’s best college football players. In fact one magazine wanted to name him to their preseason All-American Football Team. This would be a boon for his career. It would all but assure him a position in the upcoming NFL Draft and help him demand a multimillion dollar contract to play professional football. The problem was that the magazine that wanted to bestow this honor on him was Playboy. So, Shiver sat down with his team chaplain and prayerfully prepared a response. When he was informed that Playboy had indeed selected him to their All-American Team, Clay Shiver simply said, "No thanks." He flatly refused to accept the award. Later in an interview with Christian Reader magazine, Clay said that he turn it down because he did not want to bring any shame upon his family and he did not want to give anyone an excuse to purchase that magazine. He went on to quote Luke 12:48 which says, "To whom much is given, of him much is required." And he finished by saying, "I don’t want to let anyone down and number one on that list is God." Clay Shiver knew that he had to consider the influence he has as a Christian and a star athlete as well as the responsibility that comes along with it. In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus pleads with his followers to consider the depth and the magnitude of their influence in the world. READ TEXT Later on, the apostle Paul expounds upon this in Philippians 2:15 by saying that Christians should shine like stars in the universe while living in the midst of a crooked and perverse society. Now, I’ve said all this in order to say that we need to be mindful of our influence in our local society and the weighty responsibility it brings. And let me tell you folks our influence, and our responsibility, as Christians must affect every aspect of our lives; no matter what it is. One area that has come increasingly under fire is the Christians place in government. Yet, the Bible tells us over and over again that the government exists by the grace of God to care for His people, that His people must pray for their government, and that as His people we must render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and by so doing bring Him honor and glory. That includes the decisions we make at the polls. On November 5, we will be asked to make some decisions concern a number of important things, two of which we as Christians must not fail to make the right, Godly, Christian decision.

I. LIQUOR BY THE DRINK

A. It amazes me when people see the word wine in the Bible how they immediately equate it with the right to drink alcoholic beverages. Yes they did drink wine in the 1st century, but it was greatly different from what we call wine today.

1. Wine, as they called it back then, was a form of fermented grape juice, but it was always highly watered down. In fact so much so that it was rarely more than 1 to 2% alcoholic in content.

2. God’s people did not partake of intoxicating drink if they intended to remain faithful to God and retain their reputation within their society. Anything more than ceremonial wine, the highly watered down kind, was considered sinful and unclean.

3. Therefore, it is a huge theological jump to go from diluted, ceremonial wine to Vodka and Jack Daniels. In fact you cannot make such a jump in reasoning and have any validity at all. It is just flat wrong to assume that because they drank watered down, aged grape juice that we can go out and consume highly intoxicating alcoholic beverages.

B. In fact strong drink was always considered an abomination and a sin with the people of God and God Himself.

1. Isaiah 28:7,8 – How it looks to God when His people drink

2. I Samuel 1:13-16 – How it looked to God’s people to be accused of such

3. Romans 13:13

4. I Corinthians 6:10 – those who will not inherit God’s Kingdom; Galatians 5:21 – acts of sinful flesh, will not inherit God’s Kingdom

5. Isaiah 5:22,23 – It removes ones mind from God & causes one to exalt sin, wickedness and evil

6. Leviticus 10:1-3, 8-10 – Were Nadab and Abihu drinking?

C. Did you know that alcohol accounts for over 40% of the traffic fatalities nationwide, that some 513,000 people are injured every year in traffic accidents because of alcohol (that’s almost 1 a minute every day). In fact, within the State of Tennessee alone, traffic fatalities have been on the increase for the past 7 years to the point that in 2001 we had a 43% fatality rate. Alcohol also contributes to social violence more often than any other substance and cost more taxpayer dollars than any other violent crime. Doesn’t common sense tell you that we have enough problems here in McMinnville with Methamphetamine manufacturing and abuse to add more fuel to the fire of our social collapse in the form of alcohol by the drink. To do so, and know better is maybe even more sinful than partaking of it.

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