ON TAKING ALCOHOLIC DRINKS: THE CHURCH AND THE GENERAL OVERSEERS CANNOT BE WISER OR HOLIER THAN GOD
I do my best to avoid sharing on controversial issues, but I have since realized that truth is the only thing that can set a person free.
After the first post yesterday I knew that I had to do a teaching on the subject. Like I said, I did very detailed teachings on some controversial issues in my church for about five weeks, and God willing, there are some other topics I have planned to teach next year.
When I said that Jesus took alcohol, it didn’t go down well with some. I’m aware of the verses of the Bible that make people think that taking alcohol is a sin, but what the Bible has always condemned is getting drunk. That’s clear in both the Old and New Testaments.
Alcohol, or strong drink (for emphasis) was an offering to God in the Old Testament. Numbers 15:5-7 says,
“And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering shalt thou prepare with the burnt offering or sacrifice, for one lamb. Or for a ram, thou shalt prepare for a meat offering two tenth deals of flour mingled with the third part of an hin of oil. And for a drink offering thou shalt offer the third part of an hin of wine, for a sweet savour unto the Lord”.
Was it normal wine or strong drink? Numbers 28:7-8 makes it clearer:
“And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the Lord for a drink offering. And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.”
Notice that alcohol, or strong drink, was “for a sweet savour unto the Lord.” How could it then be sinful?
Two people were specifically asked not to take alcohol. Samson’s mother and John the Baptist. The priests were also instructed not to take wine or strong drink when going into the Tabernacle so that they could do their work with a sane mind. Leviticus 10:9-11 says, “Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: and that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.”
There are reasons why it is wrong to get drunk:
1) We lose consciousness and become vulnerable: it makes us neglect our duties and to make errors in judgement (Luke 21:34, Proverbs 31:4-7, Hosea 4:11, Isaiah 28:7)
2) It makes people misbehave and get hurt (Proverbs 23:29-35)
3) Addiction to alcoholic drinks can make a person poor (Proverbs 21:17)
4) Getting drunk is a sign of irresponsibility. As Christians we eat and drink for strength and health, not excessively for pleasure (Ecclesiastes 10:17)
There are holy men who had something to do with alcohol in the Bible:
1) Noah (Genesis 9:20-21)
2) David gave Uriah alcohol (2 Samuel 11:13)
3) Jesus turned water to wine (John 2:1-11). Verse 10 lets us know that it was wine that could make them drunk. The note of the Amplified Bible says (become intoxicated)
4) Jesus was called a winebibber (Luke 7:33-34). A winebibber is a habitual drinker of alcohol.
5) Apostle Paul asked Timothy to drink wine (1 Timothy 5:23). What kind of wine? Remember that the same Apostle Paul asked the Ephesians not to get drunk with wine (Ephesians 5:18).
TAKING ALCOHOLIC DRINKS IN CHURCH
When I started pastoring and buying things for communion, what shocked me was that the communion wine was alcoholic. Not many know that. So it means that people have been taking alcohol in church!
I was also surprised that converts of Apostle Paul were getting drunk in church! 1 Corinthians 11:20-21. “And then I find that you bring your divisions to worship—you come together, and instead of eating the Lord’s Supper, you bring in a lot of food from the outside and make pigs of yourselves. Some are left out, and go home hungry. Others have to be carried out, too drunk to walk.” Can you imagine that? Converts of the apostle himself were getting drunk inside the church!!!
Jesus warned, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:34. Surfeit means an excessive amount of something.
Drunkenness is listed as a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Finally, Jesus made it very clear that a person is not defiled by whatever he eats or drink.
“When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, ‘Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.’ Then Peter answered and said to Him, ‘Explain this parable to us.’ So Jesus said, ‘Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.’” Matthew 15:10-11, 15-20
Pastor Chinaemerem Ibezim
Able Ministers Chapel
November 15, 2017