“Sipping Saints”

(The use of “wine or strong drink” … by professing Christians)

by Roger Hicks

There is much discussion within the Body of Christ, concerning whether or not, the use of alcoholic beverages is appropriate for those who profess to be Christian. Rather than reciting those opinions, we’d do well to look to the Word of God for our answers.

Let’s begin by seeing what God has to say about our bodies, since the use of alcohol affects both, our minds and our bodies. 

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)

The Bible teaches that the body of a Christian is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. That being so, is it conceivable that the Lord would have us do anything that would pollute that Temple, or cause it to be anything other than its best?

We need only look to the Holy Scriptures, in order to ascertain what’s right and what’s wrong (rather than consulting with friends or attempting to “justify our actions” by comparing those actions with the actions of others). It’s been said that on “Judgment Day,” God will not be “grading on the curve.”

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

With that in mind, let’s look at eight scriptures that express what the Lord has to say about “wine and strong drink,” among His people:

”And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, 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:” (Leviticus 10:8-9)

Aaron was a Priest. The Word of God states that “Born-Again Christians” are also “Kings and Priests” unto God. The Bible further reveals that God instituted an eternal statute concerning “wine and strong drink,” among His Priests.

“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried”. (Numbers 6:2-3)

Christians are to be “separated unto God,” as the Word teaches. Jesus would have NEVER done anything that would have caused people to deviate from that. It’s of note that Numbers 6 specifically distinguishes “wine and strong drink” from beverages which are non-alcoholic. It defines that wine as being “vinegar of wine” (in other words, fermented). In contrast, the wine that Jesus created at the wedding feast was not “vinegar of wine,” but rather a heavenly, miraculous wine (unfermented).

“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:16-18)

 Christians are the “Temple of God” and unbelievers are “idols.” An “idol” is a god, different from the “One True God.” An “idol” does what he, or she, wants. On the other hand, Christians are not their own, but are bought with a price.

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Christians are to be different than those who don’t belong to Jesus. Attending church doesn’t make a person a “follower of Christ.” Neither does listening to endless Christian TV shows. Nor does attending weekly Bible Studies. It’s apparent that many who profess to be “Followers of Christ” (Christians) have not come out from among those who live a worldly life. That cannot be pleasing to God!

“And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God”. (Deuteronomy 29:5-6)

The Lord reminded His people that they’d not “drunk wine or strong drink,” thereby acknowledging their obedience to His statutes, and acknowledging that He was their God. And it was because of that obedience, He’d supernaturally provided for them during their forty years in the wilderness.

“And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. (Samson)Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines”. (Judges 13:3-5)

In Judges 13:4,7, and 14, the Lord gave Samson’s mother some very specific instructions of how she was to live, and how Samson was to live, if God was going to be able to use Samson, in the ways that the Lord desired. Those instructions included a prohibition against the use of “wine and strong drink.” When anyone disobeys God’s instructions, it prevents them from being used of the Lord in mighty ways.

”And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.” (Judges 13:13-14)

In yet another passage, we see that Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel, was offended when Eli the Priest accused her of drinking alcoholic beverages. She responded to his accusations by telling him to not count her as a “daughter of the devil.”

”Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial:” (“Daughter of Belial” means “Daughter of the Devil.”)
(1 Samuel 1:13-16)

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1)

Those who drink alcoholic beverages often become silly and do stupid things. The Bible says they’ve been deceived, and are not wise! Their obnoxious actions cause them to loose respect among all who witness their folly. Wine or strong drink (beer, whiskey, or  “after dinner drinks”) often becomes tools of the devil, used to destroy the credibility of those who use such. It totally destroys the “testimony” of a professing Christian.

“But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:13-15)

John (“John the Baptist”) was to be “separated” from birth for the Lord’s work. That separation included a separation from the use of “wine or strong drink”. Time after time, God has warned us in His Word, against the use of alcoholic beverages. That being the case, why would anyone who desired to please the Lord, indulge in those things?

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Ephesians 5:18-20)

Concerning Ephesians 5:18-20, some Christians attempt to use this scripture to justify their drinking. They attempt to distort the Word, claiming that it’s just warning against excessive drinking. But to say that is to “wrongly divide the Word of Truth.”

What this scripture IS SAYING is, that when people drink alcoholic beverages, the result of that is:  “They become loose and do silly and sometimes vulgar things.” It’s saying that the result of drinking alcoholic beverages is that people become drunk because they’ve yielded themselves to “satanic spirits.” The Word encourages us, rather, to be drunk on the Holy Spirit, to the point that we’re overflowing with praise and gratitude to God.

What naturally comes out of our mouths when we’ve been drinking of the Holy Ghost (to the point of overflowing) is praise to God. What naturally comes out of the mouths of those who’ve yielded to the evil of alcohol (to the point of overflowing) is “anything but” praise and thankfulness to God. It’s often crude and vulgar.

The Lord IS encouraging those who love HIM and who follow Jesus, to be so filled with the Holy Spirit, that they speak to themselves. Those conversations will consist of worshipping the Lord is psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. They will be singing and making melody in their heart to the Lord. They’ll be giving thanks to the Heavenly Father. That’s quite a contrast to those who’ve been drinking alcoholic beverages, isn’t it?

The Word of God says that we’re NOT to be influenced by artificial means (alcohol) but to be filled (drunk) on the Spirit of God. When people are drunk they talk to themselves. Those drunk on “wine and strong drink” say and do many ungodly things but those who are drunk on the fullness of the Holy Spirit speak things that express their gratitude to God.

As we can see, God has a lot to say about wine and strong drink. Someone might say, “But these are ministers of God”. Well … the Bible says we (all “Born-Again” Christians) are “Kings and Priests unto God!!!” So that’s no excuse. If it’s wrong for them … then it’s wrong for us.

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5-6)

Our lame excuses do not change the commands of God. Malachi 3:6 says, “Behold, I am God … I change not.” He’s not going to approve the use of alcohol because He has already demonstrated (in many scriptures), His displeasure with “wine and strong drink”. Sometimes I hear people say that Jesus drank wine. As a matter of fact, there is not even one single scripture that states that Jesus drank alcoholic beverages!!! Some state that Jesus made the water into wine at the wedding feast. Remember, the Bible cautions us to carefully study God’s Word, in order to be sure that we “properly” divide His Word.

2 Timothy 2:15 states: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

If God encourages us to “rightly divide” the Word of Truth, then it must be possible to “wrongly divide” the “Word of Truth.” With that in mind, let’s take a close look at what Jesus did. Let’s take a look at what really happened:

“And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew; ) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, 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. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” (John 2:1-11)

We would do well to take into account Jesus’ own words concerning His actions:

“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38)

Upon reading scripture after scripture, in which the Heavenly Father expressed His displeasure with “wine and strong drink,” and then hearing in Jesus’ own words that He came to do “the will of him that sent me,” why would anyone accuse Jesus of performing a miracle that “flew in the face of the will of God?”

It is inconceivable that Jesus would go against the many scriptures that demonstrate God’s disapproval of “wine and strong drink,” especially when He’d repeatedly made it clear that His desire was to do the will of His Heavenly Father! What then … is the truth concerning this section of scripture? Let’s diligently study this scripture. Let’s do what the Word tells us to do: “rightly divide the Word of Truth.”

In Jesus’ time, the custom (at weddings) was that the host would serve alcoholic beverages and get the people drunk. When they’d lost their ability to tell the difference, the host would then substitute the “cheap stuff” for the more expensive wine that the host had initially served. This scripture tells us that the men had well drunk. (They were inebriated.)

Jesus changed water into something that was so very wonderful that even in the drunken state of the wedding guests, they realized that what Jesus had created was something supernatural; something that was better than anything they’d ever tasted. Jesus changed the water into something supernaturally blessed by God … and because of that, there was no longer a need for alcoholic beverages. This beverage was so supernatural that the scriptures call it the first miracle that Jesus did.

Why would God create us to show forth HIS glory (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and then condone drinking of alcoholic beverages (which degrade our ability to think, reason, and function at our peak)? That would make no sense at all.

People who drink have diminished reflexes. That couldn’t be God. Even one drink affect a person’s reasoning, vision, and reflexes. I’ve buried people who were the victim of alcohol ingestion, including one 17 year-old boy. He died after a friend’s wedding rehearsal (which included drinking) and some others in the car were severely injured. I also had an uncle who was killed by an alcohol-impaired motorist. In both cases: “No alcohol … no accident!!!”

People who drink, often “become loose in their morals” when under the influence of alcohol. That couldn’t be of God. Some claim to become “somewhat less inhibited.” Case in point!!!

People who drink often think they’re funny when they tell crude jokes. But the real result is that their actions lower other’s opinion of them (their alcohol-impaired friend). That couldn’t be of God.

If it’s not wrong to drink, why don’t ministers serve alcohol at their ministerial conferences, rather than coffee or ice tea??? Why don’t churches serve whisky or wine in their “coffee bars”? Why not take a bottle of booze to your next church function? Why is alcohol most often served in dimly lighted places? (It’s no coincidence that alcohol is called “spirits,” because it is inspired by “demonic spirits.”)

If it’s not wrong, why is alcohol prohibited in schools?

Why is it not permitted for pilots to drink and fly?

Why do organizations, including “Mothers Against Drunk Drivers” (MADD), donate millions of hours yearly trying to stop this scourge?

Why don’t surgeons take a drink or two, just before they perform a delicate, high-risk surgery?

Why don’t teachers have a bottle of booze sitting on the corner of their desk … rather than their water bottle? And why don’t schools serve wine or beer to their students?

How many homes and marriages have been helped by people drinking? NOT ONE!!!

I don’t think anyone really believes that it’s right to drink. Some people just attempt to justify their own ungodly actions by saying “Everyone does it!” But…it doesn’t make it right…just because “others do it.” We need to remember that when we stand before the Lord on Judgment Day…We’ll be standing there alone and GOD WON”T be “judging on the curve.”

There is no evidence that Jesus ever drank alcoholic beverages, because the Word of God says that those who are dedicated to the Lord (every Christian) are to be Holy and they are not to defile themselves with “wine or strong drink.”

Again, when Jesus made wine of the water, He made something that the people had never tasted. He made a supernaturally blessed beverage (un-fermented). The people commented on what Jesus created (after drinking their own alcoholic wine) … stating that the beverage that Jesus made was much better than the alcoholic stuff.

God would NEVER approve of anything that would cause our bodies to be anything other than its best. It is evident from the scriptures that Christians are to be “set apart” and different from unbelievers. When a Christian drinks alcoholic beverages that action completely destroys their testimony, and they lose their ability to be an effective witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

However, the Good News is that when we repent and change our actions, God is willing to forgive us for our transgressions and to make it as if we’d never sinned.

“If we confess (admit; have a change of heart about; be sorry for, and turn away from) our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

It’s never too late to repent and make things right. “Now“ is the best time to set things right between you and the Lord. And if the use of alcoholic beverages has been a part of your life, then you can begin by “repenting,” and then by asking the Lord to help you walk worthy of His calling. As a “side benefit,” those who have been witnessing your life style will take notice of the changes in your life, and your “testimony of how the Lord has changed you” will now have creditibility.

Be blessed, as you follow the Lord Jesus!

 

© Copyright 2017 Roger Hicks Ministries