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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Is Alcohol Use Among Christians The New 'Golden Calf'? by Shane Idleman

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 Is Alcohol Use Among Christians The New 'Golden Calf'? by Shane Idleman

The person who consumes alcohol walks a very fine line between freedom and sin, responsibility and carelessness, liberty and abuse—over-indulgence can even disqualify a person from leadership (cf. 1 Timothy 3). This discussion is not about a glass of wine or beer now and then, it’s about abusing liberty. Damage done to families and individuals through alcohol use demands a closer look. Almost one out of every three traffic deaths involve someone who was driving while intoxicated. (My wife’s brother was killed in 2000 because of a drunk driver.)

Pastor John MacArthur states what many of us feel but seldom discuss, “It is puerile and irresponsible for any pastor to encourage the recreational use of intoxicants—especially in church-sponsored activities. The ravages of alcoholism and drug abuse in our culture are too well known, and no symbol of sin’s bondage is more seductive or more oppressive than booze.” I couldn’t agree more. The trend of young Christian leaders consuming alcohol on a regular basis is alarming. Many will look back and regret the damage that was done to lives, churches, and their own testimony.

Pastor Darrin Patrick, in his book Church Planter, writes, “As I coach and mentor church planters and pastors, I am shocked at the number of them who are either addicted or headed toward addiction to alcohol.” David Wilkerson adds, “Alcohol is now the modern golden calf, and millions of people, young and old, male and female, have been seduced by it.” Many counseling appointments are because of alcohol and drug abuse. Add to that the amount of domestic violence cases and the number of abused children because of alcohol, and we would be remiss to ignore its dangers.

Alcohol abuse, among other addictions, presents a sad commentary on the spiritual condition of the church today. We often flaunt liberty and laugh in the face of God’s grace by posting our favorite beer brands and wines on Facebook, all under the guise of “exercising liberty.” While Romans 14 discusses personal freedoms, it also has strong warnings “not to do anything that will cause others to fall” (vs. 21).

Consider the following:

The Bible never encourages crossing the line. With today’s promotion and acceptance of alcohol, many easily cross the line. A preoccupation with alcohol is just one indicator of alcoholism; a preoccupation with drinking at events or social gatherings is another. Some even bring out their private collection of hard liquor after having a few drinks. This is not liberty; it’s addiction.
We assume that the alcohol content today is the same as in Jesus’ day. In His day, a little water was often placed into the wine and thus decreased the alcohol content (cf. 1 Timothy 5:23)…much like an O’douls today. “Strong drink” were drinks with higher alcohol content that led to drunkenness. Ale beer, for example, often has two or three times more alcohol than normal beer. Those having two ale beers may have the equivalent of six regular beers.
“Jesus ate and drank with sinners.” “But there is no suggestion in Scripture that Jesus purposely assumed the look and lifestyle of a publican in order to gain acceptance…” (John MacArthur). We should fellowship without engaging in the practices of a secular lifestyle. The world will know that we are Christians by our love and by our convictions, not by how well we imitate the world around us. We seldom hear non-Christians say, “I’m turned off by Christians because they seldom compromise.” But we do hear, “Christians who say one thing and do another really turn me off.” Guarding against compromise isn’t just a good idea, it’s absolutely necessary when it comes to preserving our testimony. “Be not among winebibbers…” (Proverbs 23:20).
It has been suggested that Jesus drank often. Not true. We find only purposeful incidents of Jesus having wine over the course of three years, and not very often. Today, many Christians center everything around alcohol—fellowship, events, birthdays, bible studies, etc. When alcohol is the center of attention, it becomes an idol and an addiction. This is why many will be offended by this article.
Jesus was filled with the Spirit…holiness flowed from every area of His life. This cannot be said of those who consume alcohol regularly. What is the fruit of today’s preoccupation with alcohol? Conversations often turn away from God, if they were there to begin with. We begin to compromise our time and interests; we’d rather head to Vegas than a prayer meeting. Jesus said that “wisdom is justified by her children” (cf. Luke 7:35). The harmful fruit that results from a lifestyle focused on alcohol is proof enough.
In Jesus’ day, society was much more isolated. We cannot calculate how many people are affected by today’s social media. A person with 500 “friends” may be encouraging dozens to stumble. It is the selfless motivation of love that keeps us from causing others to stumble (cf. Romans 14).
1 Peter 2:16 reminds us that many use liberty to hide sin: “A cloak for vice,” and Galatians 5:13 says we should not “use our freedom to indulge the flesh.” If these points raise concerns, I encourage honest repentance: “Lord, I’ve been wrong…remove my carnality, crush my pride, draw me closer to You. I repent of my sin and turn completely and unconditionally to you.”

In our freedom, we can become a liability to ourselves, others, and the message of the gospel. Its often not “if” alcohol consumption causes damage but “when.” Why would we willingly walk into the enemy’s camp?​


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2017/1/6 21:21Profile
proudpapa
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 Re: Is Alcohol Use Among Christians The New 'Golden Calf'? by Shane Idleman

"This is why many will be offended by this article"

I do not drink nor do I : "fellowship, events, birthdays, bible studies, etc. When alcohol is the center of attention."

: "much like an O’douls today."

Not according to the Bible.

The Bible clearly tells us that at the wedding at Canna that the men got :

"well drunk"
methuó
Definition: I am intoxicated with wine, am drunk.

The men Where "intoxicated" from the "wine" and still able to drink more wine.

That would not have been the case had the wine been compatible in alcholic content as that of "O’douls"

John 2:10
And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have "well drunk" (methuó), then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

“Be not among winebibbers…” (Proverbs 23:20).
That very Scripture that Shane used, refutes the argument that Wine in that day had an alchol content similar to that of "O’douls"

 2017/1/6 23:14Profile
TMK
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 Re:

I have never been a part of a church gathering or even a gathering of believers outside the church where alcohol was the center of attention. I am not saying it does not happen but it would be exceedingly bizarre to say the least. I certainly would not hesitate to say it would be inappropriate.

I agree with PP that his argument lost some weight when he used the MacArthur argument regarding wine being barely alcoholic in the NT. The argument does not hold water and he did not need to include that idea in order to make the ultimate point he was trying to make, which I happen to agree with.


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Todd

 2017/1/7 0:48Profile
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 Re:

Greg, I do wonder what your motive is to post on these contentious issues so often. Is it to drive more traffic to the site? We already recently had heated discuusions on this subject when you also started that post. All the people so far that have commented were involeved in the previous discussion. I just can't see the benefit of it! If it were someone else on another subject, they would be suspected of having an agenda to convince others of their particular personal conviction.

"The Kingdom of God is not eating or drinking, but righteousness and joy in the Holy Spirit".


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Dave

 2017/1/7 4:45Profile
savannah
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 Re: Is Alcohol Use Among Christians The New 'Golden Calf'? by Shane Idleman




"Is Alcohol Use Among Christians The New 'Golden Calf'?"

No...not at all! Like the other poster, I have never been to a gathering of christians where alcohol is the center of attraction.

The Golden Calf of christians would be more like movies, music, Christmas, and the beach.

Mention those, and the worshippers will gather round to stone you!

Now...watch and see!

 2017/1/7 5:32Profile
sermonindex
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 Re:

Quote:
Greg, I do wonder what your motive is to post on these contentious issues so often.



Brother,

This article does have value as it is a great problem I continually run across over and over again in Churches and in believers who do not attend Church.

We can disagree with points of the article gracefully and hopefully we can all learn something from it.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2017/1/7 8:11Profile
leyoung
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Joined: 2016/11/15
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 Re:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
There has been an increasing tolerance for drinking with some believers I know and love. And now alcohol addiction has crept into my Christian family threatening to destroy not only their witness of Christ,but marriages and children. This is a very real warfare going on. We must stay above reproach in this area. And from what I am seeing I would say it requires a complete turning away from a beverage with alcohol in it.

In Psalm 16:6 we are told "the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage..."

This scripture and many scriptures assure us that with God's boundaries we are safe.

Some I know in the body of Christ decided to step over the boundaries of the Lord's wisdom in the name of tolerance and a false idea of grace and are in the slough of despond.

Please pray for members of my family who let alcohol in through the back door and it is taking over their household.
It is important to warn people about this.
Sister Leslie


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Leslie Young

 2017/1/7 9:34Profile
JFW
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 Re: Savannah

Are you saying/suggesting that going to the "beach" is sinful?
If so, I accept that you hold to this position and humbly ask for you to share your understanding on this-
If that's not what you were saying, could you clarify?

I only ask this because I surf and have (over the past year) taken and been teaching some of my sons -


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Fletcher

 2017/1/7 9:49Profile
TMK
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 Re:

Leslie-

Just a question- and I am sorry to hear about your family member. I am fortunate enough to have a family where that issue has never reared its ugly head, thank the Lord. My question is whether your family member is a Christian and whether they knew drunkenness was a sin before they started drinking.

I ask because if someone knows what they are doing is wrong I am not sure what a warning would do. That being said I am not sure what the remedy is to prevent such a thing. I suspect it is a symptom of general backsliding versus suddenly being seduced by alcohol.


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Todd

 2017/1/7 9:54Profile
savannah
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Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 1417


 Re: going to...




Q. "Are you saying/suggesting that going to the "beach" is sinful?"

No more than "going to the church" is sinful!

The question is, what's there?

I do know that idolatry is sinful as well as nakedness.

If we can go to a place where these are not present, then the going is certainly not sinful.

 2017/1/7 10:09Profile





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