Alcohol (Part 2)Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Wednesday, December 17, 2014.
B. The priests in the OT could not drink wine nor strong drink when they went into the tabernacle and entered into the inner court of the temple (Lev 10:9; Eze 44:21). i. As in the previous example, the prohibition of drinking wine for the priests was specific, not general. a. It was only the priests to whom this law was given. b. They were only prohibited from drinking alcohol when they went into the tabernacle and the temple. c. The priests were not banned from drinking alcohol at all times. ii. The reason for this (not drinking alcohol when they went into the tabernacle and temple) was so that their judgment and discernment would not be affected as they put a difference between the holy and unholy, and the clean and unclean, and as they taught the people God's law (Lev 10:10-11). iii. The rule is that, in general, people are allowed to drink alcohol in moderation. iv. An exception to a rule doesn't nullify the rule; it rather establishes it. C. Pastors cannot be given to wine (1Ti 3:3; Tit 1:7). i. Given ppl. - 1. a. Bestowed as a gift. 2. Used predicatively: Inclined, disposed, addicted, prone. ii. Pastors are not prohibited from drinking wine (1Ti 5:23), but rather from being addicted to it (1Ti 3:3). iii. Drinking wine in moderation is lawful for a minister, but he must not be brought under the power of it (1Co 6:12). iv. Why would it be a necessity for a pastor to not be addicted to grape juice? v. The fact that pastors are not to be given to wine demands that drinking alcohol is not a sin, else the verses would say that they can't drink any wine. D. Deacons and aged women cannot be given to much wine (1Ti 3:8; Tit 2:3). i. Deacons and aged women have a little more leeway than do pastors when it comes to drinking wine. ii. Whereas a pastor can't be given to wine, the deacons and aged women can't be given to much wine. iii. The prohibition from being given to much wine is proof that not all wine consumption is sinful, else the command is insufficient to prohibit sin. IV. The Bible DOES condemn the excessive consumption of alcohol which causes drunkenness. 1. The Bible forbids men to be drunk (Eph 5:18). 2. Drunk adj. - 1. a. That has drunk intoxicating liquor to an extent which affects steady self-control; intoxicated, inebriated; overcome by alcoholic liquor. 3. We are not to be drunkards (1Co 6:10). A. Drunkard n. - 1. One addicted to drinking; one who habitually drinks to excess; an inebriate, a sot. B. This is a sin which will cause a person to lose their membership in the local church (1Co 5:11-13 c/w 1Co 6:9-10). 4. Not only must Christians not be drunkards, they must never get drunk (Gal 5:21). A. Drunkenness n. - The state of being drunk; intoxication; the habit of being drunken or addicted to excessive drinking. B. If a Christian gets drunk one time, he is guilty of drunkenness and must be put out of the church if it is commonly known (Gal 5:21 c/w 1Co 5:1,11-13). 5. The Bible repeatedly warns about the danger of drunkenness. A. Wine and strong drink can deceive you if you drink too much (Pro 20:1). B. Excessive alcohol consumption is dangerous to your health and your soul, and it leads to other sins (Pro 23:29-35). C. It is especially important that God's ministers beware of the danger of excessive consumption of alcohol, as it causes drunkenness which will cause them to err in vision and stumble in judgment (Isa 28:7-8). D. Christians should not spend time with drunks (Pro 23:20-21 c/w Pro 13:20 c/w 1Co 15:33). E. It's not funny to watch people who are drunk; that's what fools do (Pro 14:9; Pro 15:21). F. If a Christian has struggled with an addiction to alcohol in the past, he would be wise to steer clear of it so as to not succumb to that temptation again (Rom 13:14). 6. The prohibition of drunkenness itself shows that it is the excessive drinking of alcohol which is forbidden by God, not the drinking alcohol in itself. V. Alcohol use is an area of Christian liberty. 1. It is Pharisees who bind heavy burdens on men which God never commanded them (Mat 23:1-4). A. Their unbiblical traditions, such as forbidding all consumption of alcohol, make the word of God of none effect (Mar 7:9,13). B. The word of God tells a pastor to "use a little wine" (1Ti 5:23), and God's people in general to "drink thy wine with a merry heart" (Ecc 9:7), but our modern-day fundamentalist Pharisees say "thou shalt not drink wine." C. The word of God says that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, drank wine (Luk 7:33-34), but our modern-day fundamentalist Pharisees say "drinking wine is a sin." 2. We have liberty as Christians to eat and drink what we want as long as it is received with thanksgiving (1Ti 4:3-4). A. In the same way that we are permitted to drink wine, but not in excess to the point of drunkenness (Eph 5:18), so we are permitted to eat food, but not in excess to the point gluttony (Deu 21:20; Pro 23:21; Luk 7:33-34). B. To say that we can't drink alcohol because the Bible forbids drunkenness is tantamount to saying that we can't eat food because the Bible forbids gluttony. C. Using our liberty to eat food or drink wine in excess is using our liberty as an occasion to the flesh, which is sinful (Gal 5:13). 3. Though eating meat and drinking alcohol is not sinful in itself, if a person's conscience is not at ease with it and he can't do it in good faith, then it would be a sin for that person to drink alcohol or eat meat (Rom 14:14,20,23). A. If we have a weak brother whose conscience is not comfortable with drinking alcohol in moderation or eating meat, then we must refrain from it when in his presence so as to not offend him and make him stumble (Rom 14:15-19). B. In that case, it is good to not drink wine in front of that brother (Rom 14:21-22). 4. It is the weak believer whose conscience will not allow him to consume things which God allows (Rom 14:1-2 c/w 1Ti 4:4). A. We ought to bear with the weak and not judge them (Rom 14:3). B. As a believer matures, he should get stronger in faith and wisdom, and should guide his heart (Pro 23:19) in these matters of liberty. C. But there is no excuse for a pastor, who should be strong in faith (1Ti 4:12), to have a weak conscience concerning these things. D. A pastor may prefer to not drink wine or eat meat for various reasons, but it should not be because he thinks it's a sin. E. A pastor who forbids others from eating meats and drinking alcoholic drinks which God allows is either a lying hypocrite with a seared conscience (1Ti 4:1-3), or an ignoramus.