“An 8-year-old boy, whose younger sister had leukemia, was told that without a blood transfusion, she would die. His parents explained that his blood was probably compatible with hers, and if so, he could be the blood donor. They asked him if they could test his blood.
“Sure he said. So they did, and it was a good match. Then they asked if he would give his sister a pint of blood, that it would be her only chance of living. He said he would have to think about it overnight.
“The next day, he went to his parents and said he would donate the blood. So they took him to the hospital where he was put on a gurney beside his little sister. Both were hooked up to IVs. A nurse withdrew a pint of blood from the boy, which was then put in the girl’s IV.
“The boy lay on his gurney in silence while the blood dripped into his sister, until the doctor came over to see how he was doing. Then the boy opened his eyes and asked, “How soon until I start to die?” [Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott]
“It was a rickety wagon that the man was using. He had been moving goods for many years and was quite good at it. This family needed to be moved across town, so he piled their worldly possessions onto his wagon. The last load made quite a pile, but the wagon appeared to be holding up. All that was left was an empty hat box. He casually tossed it on the wagon, pleased that he would not have to make another run tomorrow. As the hat box landed on top of the load, a groan came from the wagon. A loud snap followed and with a shutter the wagon collapsed.
“It took the man three days to repair the wagon and carry the furniture across in two sensible size loads. But you know he left the hat box behind. After all, the hat box broke his wagon.”
People have a tendency to focus on the last straw; the final matter that preceded a problem. Never mind there were other factors leading to the problem. It was the last straw that broke the camel’s back and it doesn’t seem to matter how insignificant it is to the real problem.
In boxing, a fighter’s best blow is known as a “Sunday punch.” I would like to think that name was derived because people traditionally give their best on Sunday. Recognizing the reason we assemble and The Almighty whom we worship on Sunday, people typically wear their best clothing and are on their best behavior. For the boxer, it is the very best blow he is capable of delivering in a bout. But as Christians, do we any longer look to give a “Sunday Punch?”
The purpose of this chapter is to discuss whether there is a need to study wine in the Bible. Some people believe that Jesus turned water into wine; therefore, all wine is good and there is no need for a study. Others say that they would never participate in wine of any sort, to be better safe than sorry, and so there is no need for study. Others still, even in the Lord’s church, say that they would not participate in wine because they feel it is wrong, but would not condemn anyone for drinking since there is no real evidence for or against it. So is there any real reason for studying wine or is one of the previous arguments sufficient?
Let’s look at some scriptures to determine if the previous mindsets are acceptable. 1 Peter 2:2 talks about new Christians need the milk of the word (a.k.a. the first principles of Christianity). Should we be content with the milk? In 1 Corinthians 3:2 and Hebrew 5:12 we are led to believe that we are to all strive for the solid food of God’s word and not be content with the milk. The previous mindsets come from people content on the understanding that they already have. The previous mindsets have no desire to move forward in God’s word but are content with the milk. Hebrew 5:13 says that if we are content with milk then we are unskilled, and a babe in Christ. Is that what we want to be the rest of our life; an unskilled babe?
Many Christians today are of the third mindset. They know what they believe but are not grounded enough in God’s word or are too afraid to tell anyone what they believe. Others, avoid the topic altogether because it is “scary” and controversial. Is this the mindset that a Christian should have? In Jeremiah 17:8 and Psalms 1:3 it says blessed is a godly person for they will be like a tree planted by the waters. It doesn’t matter what kind of trials come in life or how hard the Bible topics. We should be firm in our beliefs and know our Bibles well enough to stand fast against whatever comes at us. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us that we should always be ready to give a defense of the hope that is within us. How can we give a defense without study?
We have no excuse for not being ready. 2 Timothy 4:2 says that we are to be ready in and out of season to teach and convince. How can we convince people to do right if we ourselves do not study enough to find out the truth about wine in the Bible? If we are striving to grow and partake of the meat of God’s word then we are no longer a child as depicted in Ephesians 4:14. We have no excuse for being swayed by the world to ignore what the Bible says about wine.
It would be a rare circumstance if any church did not have members going through trials. Some here are working through some very difficult situations. Paul and Barnabas taught the early churches in Galatia, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22b). This was stated right after Paul was stoned and left for dead in Lystra (Acts 14:19). I suppose of all the Apostles, Paul understood the nature of trials the best (2 Cor. 11:23-31; 12:7-10). Trials come upon everyone.
It is common to find church buildings used for many worldly (non-spiritual) activities. In our area, church buildings have basketball courts, kitchens, dining rooms, multipurpose rooms, gymnasiums, playgrounds and concert halls. I have even heard of churches including in their buildings athletic centers complete with racket ball courts and swimming pools. A Baptist church in Huston has a McDonalds inside. The Pleasant Valley Baptist church in Liberty, Missouri, has a complete orchestra. I wonder how far these endeavors to “reach the lost” will go?
Is it scriptural for churches to spend the Lord’s money on such amenities? Would the Lord approve of such things?
How many commercials have you heard advertising the secrets to success? If you would just buy their product, participate in their program, invest in their stocks or join their organization you would be rich and successful. Yet, the people who do these things never get ahead. They might see some improvements in their life but they never reach the promise of financial independence.
There is a reason for this phenomenon and it is really quite logical.
Parents, do you remember the first time you ever held your newborn child in your arms? What a feeling! God placed that tiny new life in your trust for some 20 years. Yet, that child really isn’t yours. It’s a loaner that God has given to you to mold and train. That child’s eternal destiny depends upon the things you implant into its mind. The things you teach will be indelibly stamped upon that person for the rest of its life. It is a fearsome responsibility!
The warnings against the consumption of alcohol are found throughout the Bible. A well known passage in Proverbs 23: 31- 32 states “Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper.” The command given here is not to desire any intoxicating drink! It is an admonition to abstain altogether from the use of wine. In order to avoid the harmful affects of alcohol Solomon tells those who wish to be wise (Prov. 20:1) to refrain from looking at it. Looking at it is the first step toward drinking it. This is not merely a prohibition of drunkenness, but an explicit admonition against even one drink of an alcoholic beverage. It is not only the abuse of alcohol that Solomon warns us about, but the use of it that is condemned! Wine itself is a mocker (Prov. 20:1), irrespective of the quantity consumed.
The grace of God that brings salvation teaches us to live soberly! “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:11-14). Christians are a people who deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. The lust for an alcoholic drink is certainly the kind of thing that prevents sobriety. God wants a pure and special people. He doesn’t want the kind of people that are indicative of worldliness; like those who drink alcoholic beverages.
Habakkuk suggests that drinking alcohol reveals a character weakness (Hab. 2:5). Pride seems to be a drinker’s nemesis. A humble person would be willing give up alcohol (Rom. 14:21). Christians would not be insensitive to the conscience of others (1 Cor. 10:31-33). Christians would not cater to their lusts (Rom. 13:13-14). But the pride of a drinker won’t allow that to happen. Hence, we have the need to discuss this topic in detail (Heb. 5:13-14).
In this study we will establish the sinful nature of alcoholic beverages regardless of the quantity a person may consumed. We will prove that the notion of moderation in the consumption of alcohol is not justified in scriptures. We will observe the abstinent conduct with regard to wine of many New Testament characters. Simply put, we will learn that the New Testament does not condone, sanction, permit or in any way allow a person to drink alcoholic beverages.
Have you ever wondered why prayers seemingly go unanswered? Do you wonder if God hears your prayers or even if He gives them a second thought? This lesson will help to give you a better understanding of prayers.