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Thoughts on Wine and Beer

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Thoughts on Wine and Beer

Proverbs 20:1

Objective:

To demonstrate that the Bible is both cautious and celebratory when it comes to the subject of wine and strong drink and that temperance must be exercised wherever you stand on the subject.

Introduction

            Our text for this evening is Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink (beer NIV) a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.” Our discussion for this evening is entitled, “[T]houghts on Wine and Beer,” as titled and duly assigned to me by the head of our adult education leader, Elder Jerry Rasmus. Here’s to you, Jerry!

            This topic is one of the more controversial subjects in American Christianity. Do you agree or disagree? Briefly, why do you think that is so?

            Here are a couple of quotes from Christian writers from different time periods, “[w]hen the wine is in the wit is out” (Matthew Henry). “More are drowned in the wine-cup than in the ocean” (a German quote from the Pulpit Commentary series). “alcohol has no more place in the human body than sank had in the gas tank of an automobile” (quote from former baseball coach and manager Connie Mack as found in Warren Wiersbe’s “Be Commited” series).

            Our text for this evening has a definite tone regarding the subject. Solomon calls wine a mocker and strong drink a brawler. We see a personification of both words, we see a mocker and a brawler before us, and primarily it is because the person participating in these acts is someone who is intoxicated or drunk. As such, they are described as not wise; they are foolish. (read article about John Daly)

            I think that it goes without saying that Christians, across the board believe that drunkenness is wrong, it is sin. Where the rub comes, however, is whether or not a Christian is permitted to partake of wine or strong drink at all. If we were to look at our text this evening as a stand alone verse it would be pretty simple to conclude that wine and strong drink are bad. The Bible, however, is full of texts on both sides of the subject. This is the reason for my statement that, “the Bible is both cautious and celebratory when it comes to wine.”

 

(TRANSITION)

For the next few minutes let’s take a cursory look at this subject.

We will broach the topic by first of all looking at Wine and the Bible.

 

I. Wine and the Bible

            A. Wine in the Old Testament

                        1. Noah and the vine

                                    a. He planted a vineyard (Gen. 9:20)

                                    b. He got drunk (Gen. 9:21)

                        2. Priests and the vine

                                    a. They were not permitted to drink during the sacrifices (Lev. 10:8)

                                    b. They were permitted to drink other times (inferred?)

                                    c. Some religious leaders were forbidden to drink

                                                - Nazarites (Num. 6:3)

                        3. Hebrews and the vine

                                    a. Isaiah used the vine as a source of caution (Is. 5:11;22)

                                    b. Moses used the vine as a source of celebration (Deut. 14:26)

                                    c. David used the vine as a source of celebration (Ps. 104: 14,15)

                        4. Overall thoughts from the Old Testament

                                    a. Drunkenness is prohibited

                                    b. Wine drinking is permitted

                                    c. Wine drinking is permitted with caution

                        5. Your comments and questions

           

            B. Wine in the New Testament

                        1. Jesus and the vine

                                    a. He turned water into wine (Jn. 2:1ff)

                                    b. He was accused of being a wine drinker and a glutton (Mt. 11:19)

                                    c. He used it in the Passover (Mt. 26:29)

                                                - Note: the Greek word for wine is not used here, but most                                                                   commentators agree that it was wine spoken of in the context.

                        2. Paul and the vine

                                    a. He recognized its benefits (I Tim. 5:23)

                                    b. He recognized its detriments (I Tim. 3:3,8)

                        3. Christians and the vine

                                    a. We are permitted to drink (I Tim. 5:23a)

                                    b. We are called to drink with caution (Eph. 5:18)

                                    c. We are called to think of others if we drink (Rom. 14:21; I Cor. 10:23ff)

                        4. Overall thoughts from the New Testament

                                    a. Drunkenness is prohibited

                                    b. Wine drinking is permitted

                                    c. Wine drinking is permitted with caution

                        5. Your comments and questions

           

            C. Wine in American Christianity

                        1. The Puritans and the vine

                                    - According to the Tyndale Dicitionary of Christianity the American                                           Puritans drank wine and rum was part of the economic fabric. However, I                                             did not find a source for that in my library. Does anyone have a read on                                           that statement?

                        2. The fundamentalists and the vine

                                    -Abstaining is the general position

                        3. The Reformed and the vine

                                    - Wine drinking is permitted

                                    - In some of my past experiences drinking was expected

                        4. Overall thoughts from American Christianity

                                    - What would you say is the general tone of drinking in American                                                           Evangelicalism today?

                        5. Your comments and questions

 

(TRANSITION)

Secondly let us consider “wine and temperance”

 

 

II. Wine and temperance

            A. Temperance in the Scriptures

            B. Temperance in America

            C. Temperance and C.S. Lewis (Read from Mere Christianity (pgs. 78-79)

(TRANSITION)

Our last consideration will be “wine and you”

 

III. Wine and you

            A. Your decision to partake in the vine or not to partake in the vine must be rooted in the           Word of God. That is to say you must be convinced in your own mind of these things

            (Rom. 14:5).

            B. Your attitude must be one of grace regardless of where you come down on the issue.

                        1. Those who choose not to drink must not look askance on those who do.

                        2. Likewise, those who drink must not look askance on those who do not.

            C. God wants you to have a clear conscience (I Cor. 10:31).

IV. Wine and two anecdotes

            A. One Christian friend of mine is dead because of alcohol (tell story)

            B. Another Christian friend of mine is divorced because of alcohol (tell story). 

Conclusion

            It is absolutely clear that the Bible forbids drunkenness. It is also clear that the Bible permits drinking of alcohol. Indeed, the Bible is both cautious and celebratory when it comes to the subject of wine and strong drink and that temperance must be exercised wherever you stand on the subject.

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink (beer NIV) a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.”

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