OceanSide church of Christ
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BIBLE PRINCIPLES THAT CONDEMN THE USE OF INTOXICANTS
Victor M. Eskew
A. The church is not immune from alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
B. General information:
1. Alcohol, tobacco, and drugs are intoxicating substances.
a. Definition: to be affected temporarily with diminished physical and mental control
b. In other words, those who ingest alcohol, tobacco, or drugs are influenced by these things.
c. NOTE: We are not talking about medications prescribed by a doctor, used as prescribed, and monitored by a physician.
1) These are taken for health purposes.
2) Even Paul admonished Timothy to use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine oft infirmities (I Tim. 5:23).
2. Intoxicants fall into four general categories.
2) Relieve stress, decrease anxiety, and bring sleep
2) Relieve malaise and increase alertness
c. Narcotics/Opiates: reduce pain both physical and mental
d. Hallucinogens: alter perception and mood
1) Alcohol: depressant
2) Tobacco: stimulant
3) Caffeine: stimulant
3. Categorizing intoxicating substances
a. Legal and illegal substances
a) Legal: the laws of society do not forbid their use
b) Illegal: the laws of society do forbid their use
2) Many believe that as long as something is legal, it is okay to take.
3) Answer: There is a higher law that prevails over man’s law, that is, the law of God.
a) Man can make all types of laws that conflict with God’s laws. History is full of examples of wickedness, evil, and debauchery being legalized by man: adultery, gambling, homosexual marriages, and abortion.
b) When God’s law and man’s law conflict, God’s law must be followed (See Acts 15:3-9; Acts 5:27-29).
C. When discussing the subject of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, many want to complicate the issue by raising all types of objections. These objections are raised, it seems, in an effort to justify the use of intoxicant.
D. Before meeting these objections, we need to consider some Biblical principles. If these principles were followed, many of the objections would cease to be raised.
A. In Titus 2:1-6, the beloved Paul gives counsel to four groups of people in the church: aged men, aged women, young women, and young men. One trait is urged upon them all.
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be soberminded.
1. Definition: not intoxicated
2. Intoxicants pollute the mind. They alter the mind. They do not allow one to think and reason as he should.
3. God wants the mind of man to be clear. He wants him to be able to think rationally. He wants him to be able to make wholesome decisions in harmony with His will (Isa. 1:18).
4. This one principle alone should rule out all mind-altering substances as far as the Christian is concerned.
5. Anything that takes away one’s soberness should be considered harmful to the Christian (Prov. 4:23). The moment he allows his mind to be altered, Satan has the ability to influence it for evil.
6. Argument: One drink or one beer does not affect my mind.
a. The moment a chemical enters into one’s body, the mind is affected.
b. Billboard: “If you have one drink, you are five times more likely to have an accident.”
c. Radio announcement: “Buss driving is drunk driving.”
d. Some argue that they have a tolerance for alcohol.
1) The terminology proves our point.
2) There was a time when one drink did what is now takes three drinks to do. One drink, therefore, did alter the mind.
3) Their friend, alcohol, is deceiving them (Prov. 20:1).
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
A. Two verses:
1) I Thessalonians 5:22
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
2) I Peter 2:11
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
B. Abstain: to hold oneself off from, to refrain
1. Are intoxicants associated with evil?
2. Are intoxicant fleshly lusts?
3. Yes. Then the Christians should abstain.
C. NOTE: Partaking of something in a limited manner is not abstinence.
1. We understand this in other realms of morality: sexual intercourse, theft, and pornography
2. Abstinence and drinking are opposite actions.
A. Two verses:
1. Jesus exhorts us to be the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13-16).
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
2. Paul exhorted Timothy to be an example of the believers (I Tim. 4:12).
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversa-tion, in charity, in spirit, in purity.
B. It is difficult to be a positive influence when:
1. You are sitting in a bar ordering a beer.
2. An illicit drug is coursing through your veins at a friend’s party.
3. A father is trying to teach his child not to smoke with a cigarette hanging from his lips.
C. How does one teach the lost to be separate from the world while holding to the pleasures of the world? (Ex., Jews, Romans 2:21-24).
Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest not thyself? Thou that preachest that man should not steal, does thou steal? Thou that sayest that a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonorest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
A. Definition: self-control
B. Two verses:
1. II Peter 1:5-7
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
2. I Corinthians 9:25
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
C. Many intoxicants remove self-control from the one who partakes of them.
1. The drug becomes the master.
2. They are controlled by the drug rather than being in control of it.
3. When partaking of drugs and alcohol few can truly be faithful. They are weak at best. Most are not faithful at all.
A. Ephesians 5:15-16
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
B. Is it a wise thing to partake of intoxicants? The answer is a resounding, “No!”
C. Most know who the Bible describes a drunken man:
1) Arrogant (Hab. 2:5)
2) Blood shot eyes (Prov. 23:29)
3) Confused (Prov. 23:23).
4) Forgetful (Prov. 31:6-7)
5) Lack of feeling (Prov. 23:31, 35)
6) Poverty (Prov. 23:20-21)
7) Sickness (Isa. 19:14; 28:7-8; 29:9)
8) Slowing of the thought processes (Prov. 31:4-5; Isa. 28;7; Hosea 4:11)
9) Staggering (Job 12:25; Isa. 28:7-8; 29:9)
10) Stupor (Jer. 25:27; 51:39)
VI. JESUS’ EXAMPLE
A. I John 2:6
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
B. Can anyone really imagine Jesus purchasing and drinking alcohol? Would Jesus shoot an illicit drug into His veins? Would Jesus have to go outside of some-one’s house in order to smoke a cigarette?
C. Jesus was too holy for such things (Heb. 7:26)
For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.
D. Jesus would never lead a person down a path of poverty, destruction, addic-tion, death, and the loss of one’s soul.
A. The use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs is dangerous and can be deadly.
B. Some, however, will still urge moderation.
1. Will moderation keep one out of the operating room?
2. Will moderation keep one from driving under the influence?
3. Will moderation keep one out of jail?
4. Will moderation keep one from being diagnosed with cancer or liver problems?
C. Alcohol, tobacco, and drugs fall into the category of things of the world. Are members of the church to participate in things of the world?
1. Jesus tell us not to be of the world even as He is not of the world (John 17:16).
2. Paul commands us not to be conformed to the world (Rom. 12:2).
3. John wrote: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (I John 2:15).
4. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus teaches us that those who get caught up in the world fail to produce good fruit (Luke 8:14).
D. Let’s show the world that we are not influenced by it. If we are addicted to anything, let it be to the ministry of Jesus Christ (I Cor. 16:15).
A. Cigarette smoking is a difficult subject for the gospel preacher.
1. Many Christians engage in the practice.
2. Elders will hardly deal with the matter.
3. In some parts of the country, Christians own and operate tobacco farms.
B. Reasons why a Christian should not smoke:
1. It is a NASTY habit.
2. It is an EXPENSIVE habit: 2 pk a day = $70.00/week $300/mo.
3. It is a PHYSICALLY HARMFUL habit.
4. It is a MATERIALLY HARMFUL habit: 56% of all residential fires.
5. It is a habit that is HARMFUL TO OTHERS.
6. It is a DEADLY: 1 of every 5 deaths in the U.S.
7. It is not an EXEMPLARY habit. Not one smoker would encourage others to start smoking.
8. It is an ENSLAVING habit: 70% would like to stop, but cannot (Rom. 6:12).
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
9. It is a PROGRESSIVE habit.
10. It is not a CHRIST-LIKE habit.