Is Alcohol A Blessing or A Curse to Society? - Part 2

SERMON NOTES:

If you remember, last month in Decatur I introduced the topic of alcohol with a passage that included the word “woe” when speaking about alcohol. Isaiah 5:22 said: “Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink.”

Tonight, I want to start with another similar passage – Habakkuk 2:15. It warns: “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!”

The day after preaching on this very subject one month ago, I opened my Yahoo account. There was a story near the top of Yahoo News that grabbed me.

It reported how a 29-year-old woman was tragically found dead in the bathroom of an Airbnb during a hen weekend (which I believe in the US is a bachelorette party), an inquest had found.

Handing down a conclusion of an alcohol-related death, coroner (or medical examiner) Anita Bhardwaj said: “It’s more likely than not the alcohol consumed has rendered Kay unconscious.”

The coroner explained: “Kay … vomited and inhaled gastric acid into her upper airway, resulting in her death.”

The coroner concluded: “It’s something that a lot of people do, going out drinking, it’s not something that is unusual and she was clearly very unfortunate as to the results of what happened. I think this just demonstrates how dangerous alcohol can be.”

Stories like this can be found in the local papers of any area on a weekly basis, but many more death like this never even make the papers. Many young people are taken in the prime of their life because they failed to recognize the dangers of drinking alcohol.

Data from a Global Burden of Disease report in 2016 concluded: Alcohol was the leading risk factor for disease and premature death in men and women between the ages of 15 and 49 worldwide, accounting for nearly one in 10 deaths. For all ages, alcohol was associated with 2.8 million deaths that year.

Senior study author of this finding, Emmanuela Gak-i-dou, a professor at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, reports: “The most surprising finding was that even small amounts of alcohol use contribute to health loss globally … We’re used to hearing that a drink or two a day is fine. But the evidence is the evidence.”

University of Cambridge epi-demi-ologist Steven Bell co-authored a separate study that found that even one drink a day could shorten life expectancy; long-term reduction in alcohol use added one to two years to life expectancy at age 40.

An article Bobby-jo gave me a few days ago from The American Cancer Society states: “Alcohol consumption is the third major modifiable cancer risk factor after tobacco use and excess body weight.”

An international team of researchers, led by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in France, studied the role of alcohol in global cancer rates. They found that almost 750,000 cases last year were linked to alcohol consumption, accounting for around four per cent of all diagnoses.

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, told The Telegraph that alcohol increases the risk of bowel, breast, larynx, liver, mouth and oe-soph-agus cancers and said: “There’s no ‘safe’ level of drinking but, whatever your drinking habits, cutting down can reduce your risk of cancer.”

Jesus and wine

Well Jesus changed the water into wine!!!

The most popular justification for drunkenness I have heard from the unsaved is: Jesus changed the water into wine. I have lost count of the number of times that I have heard that argument from the drunken.

Sadly, as the Church has started to embrace alcohol on a significant scale over this past 20 years, Christians have started to use the exact same argument to suit their liberal carnal lifestyle.

When Christians are using the exact same argument as the world to justify questionable and destructive behavior you know the Church has arrived at a low place.

The Scottish preacher Horatius Bonner said: “I looked for the Church and I found it in the world, and I looked for the world and I found it in the Church. A worldly Church will never win the world.”

So, is it right to use Jesus changing the water into wine as justification for drinking alcohol?

The first thing we need to establish is: the word for wine in the Bible is a generic term; sometimes it means grape juice; sometimes it refers to alcohol. Whilst we have two words for the liquid that comes from grapes in modern society – grape juice for non-fermented juice and wine for fermented juice – Scripture (and ancient Eastern culture) had only one word – wine. As in every subject, meaning can be determined by context.

This is similar to the use of the word “cider.” It can either mean an alcoholic beverage or just plain apple juice.

We should not overlook the fact, the wine that Christ created was new wine – fresh wine. There is no evidence that it was fermented.

According to the winemonthclub.com (an authority on wine making), fermentation takes anywhere from ten days to a month or more.

Can I remind you: new wine is the opposite to mature or fermented wine?

There is a clear distinction between wine that is intoxicating and wine that is non-alcoholic – a mere fruit juice. Grapes that are freshly harvested produce a non-alcoholic drink. This was a popular drink in Bible times.

Wine that goes through an elaborate and scrupulous process of fermentation is alcoholic wine.

In alcoholic winemaking, the temperature and speed of fermentation are important considerations as well as the levels of oxygen present in the must at the start of the fermentation.

Dr. Bruce Lackey explains: “The making of alcoholic beverages is not a strictly natural process. Years ago I took for granted that if you took the juice of a grape and let it alone, not refrigerating it, it would automatically, in time, turn into alcoholic wine. There are several reasons why this is not true. It takes more than time to make wine. Sometimes people try to defend its use by saying that it must be good because God made it. But, the fact is, God did not make it. Man has learned how to make alcoholic liquors through processes that he has invented. Wine-makers know that one must have the correct amount of water, sugar, and temperature to make wine. Keeping grape juice in a refrigerator would prevent if from fermenting, because the temperature is not right. Likewise, hot, tropical temperature would prevent fermentation.”

He continues: “In ancient days, before we had refrigeration and vacuum-sealing ability, people learned to preserve the juice of the grape without turning it into alcoholic wine. Many people boiled it down into thick syrup. By doing so, they could preserve it for long periods of time. When they got ready to drink it, they would simply add the water to the consistency desired, in much the same way that we take frozen concentrates and add water. In Bible days, contrary to what many believe, it was not necessary for everyone to drink alcoholic wine as a table beverage.”

We can normally tell by reading the context of a given passage in Scripture whether we are looking at a non-fermented or fermented wine.

Wine that is fresh is an energizing fruit juice. It is good for you and Scripture encourages its consumption. When Timothy was sick from drinking water Paul encouraged him to drink wine. He said in 1 Timothy 5:23: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”

This verse is fundamentally health advice, and sound advice at that, before the onset of advanced sanitation. Grape juice was safe and advantageous drink to drink. Paul was encouraging his son in the Lord to be wise with what he consumed in light of his often (or frequent) sickness.

The sipping saints use John 2:9-10 to support their argument. That is where the ruler of the feast said “Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.”

Albert Barnes explains: “the word translated ‘well drunk’ cannot be shown to mean intoxication; but [rather]… when they had drunk as much as they judged proper or as they desired … It is clear that neither our Saviour, nor the sacred writer, nor the speaker here expresses any approval of intemperance, nor is there the least evidence that anything of the kind occurred here.”

Barnes continues: “No man should adduce this instance in favor of drinking wine unless he can prove that the wine made in the waterpots of Cana was just like the wine which he proposes to drink … it is a matter of obvious and simple justice that we should find out exactly what the example was before we plead it.”

Barnes adds: “The good wine – This shows that this had all the qualities of real wine. We should not be deceived by the phrase ‘good wine’ … Pliny, Plutarch, and Horace describe wine as ‘good’, or mention that as ‘the best wine’, which was harmless or ‘innocent’ … The most useful wine … was that which had little strength; and the most wholesome wine … was that which had not been adulterated by ‘the addition of anything to the … juice’. Pliny expressly says that a good wine was one that was destitute of spirit …. It should not be assumed, therefore, that the ‘good wine’ was ‘stronger’ than the other: it is rather to be presumed that it was milder.”

Barnes then concludes: “The wine referred to here was doubtless such as was commonly drunk in Palestine. That was the pure juice of the grape. It was not brandied wine, nor drugged wine, nor wine compounded of various substances, such as we drink in this land. The common wine drunk in Palestine was that which was the simple juice of the grape. we use the word ‘wine’ now to denote the kind of liquid which passes under that name in this country – always containing a considerable portion of alcohol not only the alcohol produced by fermentation, but alcohol ‘added’ to keep it or make it stronger. But we have no right to take that sense of the word, and go with it to the interpretation of the Scriptures. We should endeavor to place ourselves in the exact circumstances of those times, ascertain precisely what idea the word would convey to those who used it then, and apply that sense to the word in the interpretation of the Bible; and there is not the slightest evidence that the word so used would have conveyed any idea but that of the pure juice of the grape, nor the slightest circumstance mentioned in this account that would not be fully met by such a supposition.”

The problem we have today with many modern-day sipping saints is: they have no clue about ancient Jewish culture, historic facts, Bible teaching or even the original language. They just force a meaning upon the sacred text that suits their carnal lifestyle.

The Hebrew Professor that assisted us in our guided tour of Israel back 20 years ago informed us that DUI and alcoholism never became a major problem for Israeli society until the Russian Jews came in in large numbers many years ago with their passion for alcohol. That is because of alcohol was not a significant cultural issue.

If these people at this wedding were indeed drunk, why would Jesus add to the drunkenness by giving them more alcohol? It doesn’t make sense! That would make him an accessory to sin – something that He never was or would be.

Basically: how would Jesus have gotten glory from making drunk people drunker?

Even the ungodly know alcohol effects people differently. While some people can handle a few drinks and it makes them giddy, there are many that cannot handle any amount of alcohol. In any given group of people, there are always various potential alcoholics. Why would Jesus randomly make alcohol for a whole wedding party that includes the weak and susceptible as well as the strong? Why would He do this for the young and old alike? That would be totally irresponsible.

Our main passage Habakkuk 2:15 presents a solemn warns: “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!”

Please notice, God admonishes us not to provide others with alcohol. That alone tells us that Jesus did not change the water into alcohol.

Once again, as my father taught me as a child: when you see that word “woe” in Scripture, you need to know that God is not happy with something.

It would be rare in our day to find a congregation that does not contain a sizeable amount of congregants that have previously struggled with alcohol. It would therefore be insane for a pastor to condone, support or promote the consumption of alcohol.

Why does the consumption of only 2 drinks qualify a human being to be thrown into jail if they drive a vehicle?

That is because it impairs your judgment.

The National Transportation Safety Board have recently acknowledged that the consumption of 2 drinks impairs driving. On Tuesday May 14th, 2013 they recommended that all 50 states adopt a blood-alcohol content cutoff of 0.05 compared to the 0.08 standard on the books today and used by law enforcement and the courts to prosecute drunk driving.

Currently, more than 100 countries on six continents have reduced their Blood Alcohol Level limits to 0.05 or lower.

A restaurant trade association, the American Beverage Institute, stated that the average woman reaches 0.05 percent Blood Alcohol Level after consuming one drink. The group said it based that conclusion on a chart it said was used by auto safety regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said: “Most Americans think that we’ve solved the problem of impaired driving, but in fact, it’s still a national epidemic.”

Every day, one person dies every 45 minutes in the United States in drunk-driving crashes.

When our nation has to create rigid laws to prevent you doing something or going somewhere you know that it is harmful. Our liberal messed-up society today recognizes something that many Christians don’t – alcohol is dangerous and destructive. Society recognizes that alcohol is highly addictive. That is why it protects its young nationals from its very influence. You are not allowed to consume it until the age of 21 years of age in our nation. I wonder why?

Depressant

Alcohol is a depressant, which means it interferes with your central nervous system. It is an undisputed fact that alcohol impairs judgment. It slows down your response time, dulls your understanding and causes you to lose your coordination.

It alters your ability to think normally, function normally, and speak normally.

Why would a Christian want to embrace such a scourge?

Why would a Christian want to take a depressant?
Why would a Christian want to give a depressant to others?

Alcohol actually blocks some of the messages trying to get to the brain. This alters a person’s perceptions, emotions, movement, vision, and hearing.

That is why their sight is blurred, their speech is slurred, and they lose their sense of balance.

Alcohol appeals to the natural man. It does not appeal to the spiritual man. Alcohol impairs your natural bodily functions, your stability and your judgment making.

When you drink alcohol, you lean upon the natural understanding. That is where many wrong decisions are made. Amen?

The opposite to depression is the joy of the Lord. Nehemiah 8:10: “the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Christians do not need alcohol to make them feel happy. Amen? Christians don’t need drink, drugs or any other artificial assistance to feel good. They have the Holy Ghost.

It has been said in olden days that “Joy is the natural outcome of the Christian’s obedience to the revealed will of God.”

Christians rely on the Holy Ghost to lift them when they are feeling down.

2 Timothy 1:7 says: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

A Christian should always have a sound mind. They should not have their mind impaired by any drug.

Is alcohol a depressant?
Yes?
Should a Christian be depressed?
No!

Does alcohol destroy your brain cells?
Yes?
Should a Christian want to destroy their brain cells?
No!

The University of Oxford conducted an observational study researching the relationship between self-reported alcohol intake of some 25,000 people in the UK, and their brain scans. The researchers noted that drinking had an effect on the brain’s gray matter regions in the brain that make up “important bits where information is processed.” According to lead author Anya Topi-wala, a senior clinical researcher: “The more people drank, the less the volume of their gray matter.”

This is a medical fact.

Alcohol kills

• Three people are killed and 80 people are injured in alcohol-related incidents every hour!
• Three quarters of a million people are injured because of alcohol each year in America.
• 83% of all fire fatalities are alcohol-related.
• 68% of all drowning deaths are alcohol-related.
• Up to 80% of all suicides are alcohol-related.
• 40% of all fatal industrial accidents are alcohol-related.
• 86% of all murders are alcohol-related.
• 65% of all child abuse is alcohol-related.
• The leading cause of mental retardation is alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
• There are over 18 million alcoholics in America
• 50 percent of the people on welfare are due to alcohol
• 22 percent of home accidents are due to alcohol
• 77 percent of falls are due to alcohol
• 36 percent of pedestrian accidents are due to alcohol
• 40 percent of all assaults are due to alcohol
• 35 percent of all rapes are due to alcohol
• 30 percent of other sex crimes are due to alcohol

Yet some Christian and compromised preachers say: “there’s no harm in drinking alcohol.” They are liars! They are not telling you the full truth! It is destructive!

Some argue alcohol brings jobs to America.

According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, federal excise tax collections for alcoholic beverages totaled approximately $8.9 billion in 2005. But that is nothing compared to the cost to society. In fact, that amounts to about 4.8 percent of the $185 billion in alcohol-related costs experience by the American public (this includes the medical field, emergency services and government agencies). This cost represents roughly $683 for every man, woman and child living in the United States.

Family

Alcohol is one of the main causes of the break-down of the family.

• Domestic violence
• Divorce
• Unfaithfulness
• Child abuse / neglect

This is therefore a problem that is affecting our society detrimentally.

The last general census in the UK recorded that the average household spends 10% of its disposable income on alcohol. In the general British household, 27% of men and 13% of women are drinking heavily.

Alcohol consumption among women has risen considerably in the last 10 years, with the accessibility of drink in supermarkets and because women lead more stressful lives combining work and looking after children.

The census also reveals that underage drinking is on the increase. The cost to Americans of underage drinking totals nearly $61.9 billion, equivalent to more than $200 for every man, woman, and child in the United States.

85% of all the children in foster homes are there thanks to alcohol! We will never know how many countless thousands of women and children beaten black and blue thanks to alcohol.

One lady in our church that suffered in an alcoholic house for years said she wanted to put a warning sign outside her house: Alcohol hurts people, places & things.

Is alcohol a blessing or a curse to our society? You decide! I know where I stand!

You have to be a blind not to see that this is a scourge on society.

What does the Bible say about evil?

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

That word “abstain” means to refrain from.
The word “appearance” means form or fashion, shape or sight.

The amplified Bible says:

“test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast. Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be.”