Consuming Alcohol Deceives The Drinker
The consumption of alcohol is a rampant problem in our world. In fact, drinking alcoholic drinks has become a “way of life” for many cultures where some of the youngest among us are brought up drinking alcohol. In our society, teenagers are encouraged by their peers to drink alcohol, as well as consume other drugs. In connection with the dangers associated with alcohol, including addiction, there are any other dangers. The dangers include destroying the body, the failure of marriages, losing a job, loss of money, and the break-down of the family environment. Underneath all of this is the very real danger of self-deceit. When drinking alcohol, people deceive themselves into thinking that the alcohol is harmless to themselves and others, and any harm they are feeling is the result of other things.
The other day, a friend and I were talking about the dangers and the deceit associated with alcohol. During our conversation, I was reminded of Solomon’s words, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler: and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Prov. 20:1). In addition to this, Proverbs 23:29-35 explains the results of drinking alcohol in great detail. People who justify drinking alcohol are deceiving themselves! With all the harm alcohol can do to a person, perhaps deception is the worst harm it brings! Solomon says it best when he writes that those who drink alcohol say, “I must have another drink” when they come off of their drunken stupor (Prov. 23:35). So long as one has deceived himself by denying the true reason for his troubles, he will continue to drink and ruin his physical health, his family, his life, and worst of all, he will jeopardize his soul!
We know one jeopardizes his soul in the drinking of alcohol when we read passages like I Peter 4:3-4. There, the apostle Peter wrote, “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” The context of I Peter 4 contrasts the people’s old way of life with the new way of life in Christ (see also: II Cor. 5:17). In so doing, Peter equates all degrees of alcohol consumption (excess of wine, revellings, banquetings) with “lasciviousness, lusts … abominable idolatries … excess of riot”! We know that lasciviousness, and those other sins mentioned are not “harmless pleasure,” or ways to “relax.” Why then would we place the consumption of alcohol into such a category? Truly, we have deceived ourselves when we treat the drinking of alcohol as “nothing”. Alcohol will maim and destroy lives. In addition to these passages, let us add I Corinthians 6:10 and Galatians 5:21 to our study. Yes, the consumption of alcohol will jeopardize our souls. Stay away from it (Prov. 23:31)!
What Is God’s Definition Of A Family?
Why ask the above question? First of all, because the home and family are Bible subjects! God established the home in Genesis two and continued to speak of the necessity of the family all the way through the Bible. Secondly, we ask this question because society continues to try to “redefine” what a family is. Third, it is a necessary to ask this question because if we do not teach our children the truth about the home and family, no one else will do it!
Friends, let us realize that there is a definite, concrete answer to the question in our title. The problem with many today is that they have allowed the wrong ones in our society to answer the question, “What is a family?” If we are going to get the correct answer to this question, doesn’t it make sense that we ask the Author of the family what constitutes a family? It makes sense to me, too! What is God’s definition of a family?
God’s definition of a family is revealed in Genesis two. After seeing that man was alone, He said, “I will make an help meet for him…” (Gen. 2:18). In making this helper, God created a woman for the man (Gen. 2:21-22). In seeing her, the man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:23-24). Please take note that at this early point in the history of man, we have already learned about a man marrying a woman. We also have here mentioned for the first time “father” and “mother.” In the first century, Jesus spoke about this event as He taught the Pharisees and others the truth in Matthew 19:4-6.
Yes, there is a Bible answer to the question, “What is a family?” A family constitutes a man married to a woman, who within this relationship may legitimately bring forth and raise children (Heb. 13:4; Eph. 6:4; Titus 2:4; etc.).
Having said this, it is clear that what folks in our country have termed “the nuclear family” (husband, wife, children) is not a product of western society. It is not the product of “1950’s America”. It is not the product of the “Puritans”, or any other group of people. Rather, this is what God designed from the beginning!
Some who have tried to define a family absent of God’s definition, have said that a family is any group of people who love one another. While loving people is a wonderful thing, is this what constitutes a family? What is their relationship to one another? How are they connected? Just because two men (or three or four) decide to live in the same house, this does not make them a family any more than if the same number of women decided to do that. A group of strangers living under the same roof does not constitute a family! In addition to this, homosexual relationships do not fit God’s definition of marriage and family (Rom. 1:26-27).
Therefore, let us respect God’s definition of the family. God’s ways are higher than man’s (Isa. 55:8-9), and He knows what is best. Are we willing to accept what God has said and live by it?
Three Sins That Condemned Daniel
Daniel, the prophet of God, was an outstanding character of the Old Testament. Most of his life was spent in captivity: first under Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, then under Darius the Mede, and Cyrus, king of Persia (Dan. 1, 6, 10). In spite of his being away from family and loved ones, he knew about God and worshiped Him faithfully. His faithfulness so impressed God that God said Daniel was one of only three men who “should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness” while the rest of the land would be laid waste by God because of the people’s sin (Ezek. 14:12-20).
Yet, on one occasion, Daniel was condemned. Daniel was condemned to die, not by God, but by men, because he prayed to God after a decree had been made that no one could pray to anyone or any “thing” except to the king. Daniel’s condemnation came because three sins were committed. Not his sins, but because certain others committed sin. If we are not careful, we may also be guilty of these same sins. Let us study Daniel chapter 6, and see what three sins condemned Daniel to death.
The first sin to condemn Daniel was envy. Daniel had risen to a position of leadership, not unlike Joseph in Egypt. During the reign of Darius, Daniel was placed over several governors. These men didn’t like this, and in their envy, they devised a way to trap Daniel (Dan. 6:1-4). In Daniel they found “no error or fault.” Therefore, they decided, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God” (Dan. 6:5). The only thing they could find “wrong” with him was his loyalty to God, and that he would put God above all else. (Wouldn’t this be a good problem for all of us to have?)
The second sin that condemned Daniel was lying. Based on their decision to trap Daniel by forcing him to choose between the laws of the land and the laws of God; they met with the king, saying: “All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions” (Dan. 6:7). This was a lie, for “all” were not “agreed”! Daniel would not support this legislation. They had conspired and lied against Daniel, the very one who was over them (Dan. 6:2-3).
The third sin condemning Daniel was pride. Friend, think about it. Why then did this edict pass (Dan. 6:9)? It is because of the King’s pride! He could have refused the legislation, but he, like Nebuchadnezzar, was proud and wanted to be worshiped. Why else would one sign such a decree? In the end, though, he was humbled when he realized what his signature and seal had done to Daniel (Dan. 6:14-15, 18-19). The sins of these men condemned Daniel to the lion’s den. Why? Because when Daniel “knew that the document was signed, he ... gave thanks before His God, as he had done previously” (Dan. 6:10). He did not alter his prayers, nor hide in the corner from anyone.
The sad thing is that these sins are still with us today, and it is possible for us to be guilty of envy, lying, and pride if we are not careful. (In fact, these sins nailed Christ to the cross!) We know the outcome of Daniel and of his accusers (Dan. 6:23-24). What about us? Are we the kind of people that have such conviction and dedication that, no matter what, we will be faithful to God? Remember, Daniel didn’t know he would be rescued when he made his stand! In like manner, we don’t know the end of things when we stand for the Lord. However, we know Who holds the future! If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Another Strike At The Fabric Of Society
In June of 2013, Americans were met with the news that The Supreme Court of the United States had “legislated” from the bench again. Their 5-4 ruling was that section three of the Defense of Marriage Act was “unconstitutional”. Put simply, section three did not allow “same-sex” couples to receive the same government benefits that heterosexual married people receive. In effect, this ruling opened a door for the federal government’s eventual recognition of “same-sex” marriages in June of 2015. Such a ruling seems “par for the course” since in the past several years our civil leaders seem to do their best to rule in ways that are opposed to the Bible. Further, this nation is not unique in the world concerning such actions! I say this not as a virtue, but in shame. This nation that was once known for upholding Biblical principles is steadily moving away from these principles.
Before someone says, “We have separation of church and state in this country, so we ought not mix politics and religion”; let us be reminded that such a statement is never found in our Constitution nor Declaration of Independence. The U.S. Constitution forbids Congress from establishing a “state religion” as England and other countries have. Our Constitution, however, does not forbid civil leaders, or anyone else, from expressing religious convictions publicly or privately!
With this in mind, let the leaders of our country and its citizens be reminded that God has condemned homosexuality from Genesis through Revelation. How can folks who claim to believe in God and the Bible say otherwise? God showed His condemnation of homosexual acts when He destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim (Gen. 19). Homosexual sins were consistently condemned throughout the Old Law. In the New Testament, we see the same thing (Matt. 19:4-6; Rom. 1:26-27; I Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; etc.). Thus, when a country has legislators (or jurists acting like legislators) who treat homosexual sins as a “right”, then something is WRONG! Further, rest assured, God will not allow such actions to go unpunished. (See: Dan. 4-5)
Remember the words of the Lord: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). Yet, in the current political climate, instead of leaders bowing their heads and asking God for forgiveness, we have a civil government who encourages homosexual behavior (and other sinful acts) by bowing to those who practice it! (Rom. 1:32)
Is homosexuality the only sin that has been “legalized”? No! Drinking alcohol, abortions (murder of unborn children), prostitution, fornication, adultery, divorce for any cause, and numerous other sins have been “legalized” in the last century. The sin of homosexuality is simply the “latest” sin being justified by civil leaders.
What can Christians do in a situation where our leaders rule in opposition to God? 1) Pray to God for help (Jas. 5:16; I Pet. 5:7). Pray also for our civil leaders that they will see the error of their ways and repent (I Tim. 2:1-2). 2) Teach our children what is right. Homosexuality, like all other sins, is learned behavior (Jas. 1:14-15). It isn’t “genetic”, as some claim, for God says repent of it! (I Cor. 6:9-11) Let us teach our children God’s laws for marriage (Matt. 19:4-6; I Cor. 7:2; Heb. 13:4). Let us show them God’s ways of living while they are at home (Eph. 6:4; Prov. 22:6). 3) Speak up when we can. This country still has freedom of speech for the time being. Let us use our freedom to speak up for God’s way, regardless of the sin being “legalized” (II Tim. 4:2, 2:2; II Pet. 1:12-15; etc.)! Express your disagreement with the elected officials as well. Let them know that there is a “voter block” who cares for God’s ways of ruling. Who knows but the people you speak to can be convinced and converted to the Lord’s ways on this subject and other subjects before it is too late (Est. 4:14).
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: I Corinthians 4:6
And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you “be puffed up for one against another.” Respect for others can develop into something sinful if we are not careful. In I Corinthians, as well as Romans 12:3, Paul warns against thinking of men above what is Scripturally allowed. In the case of the Corinthians, they placed undue importance upon who baptized them (I Cor. 1:11-17, 3:3-7). Paul said they were acting like babes in Christ rather than the mature Christians that they needed to be. While we may think highly of certain brethren, or family members, and the like, we must never think of them as sinless, without flaws, or somehow above what God has described in Scripture. Our association with them does not make us better than others. Who is Paul? Who is Apollos? What about any other apostle or evangelist? Even now, we may think of a “favorite” preacher, or a “favorite” Christian we respect highly. Regardless of past achievements, they were, and are, simply ministers or servants, acting so as to carry God’s word to the lost (I Cor. 3:5-8; I Pet. 4:11). No one in such a position deserves undue credit or praise. They are not equal to God. Their word is not “law.” While we may respect people who make various sacrifices in the Lord’s work, including those who brought us to the Lord, let us never place men in a position of importance that they do not deserve.
– Jarrod Jacobs