ALCOHOL AND DRUGS
This was a Sunday School lesson prepared for August 30, 1992.
It is very interesting to remember that the first miracle Jesus performed was turning the water into wine at a wedding feast. Also Paul told Timothy who apparently had a chronic physical problem to drink a little wine to help him with his ills. Drinking alcohol is not condemned, but excessive drinking is.
The ancient Romans had a saying: “Nothing in Excess”. But their culture was one of the most debased overindulging ones that has existed down through history. Let us look into what the Bible says about the dangers of excessive drinking and the improper use of drugs.
A tragic, twisted rewording of the 23rd Psalm was found in a car beside a dead 23-year-old heroin addict.
"King Heroin is my shepherd, I shall always want. He maketh me to lie down in the gutters. He leadeth me beside the troubled waters. He destroyeth my soul. He leadeth me in the path of wickedness. Yea, I shall walk through the valley of poverty and fear no evil, for thou, Heroin, are with me. Thy needle and capsule comfort me. Thou strippest the table of groceries in the presence of my family. Thou robbest my head of reason. My cup of sorrow runneth over. Surely heroin addiction shall stalk me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the House of the Damned forever."
It is obvious this person is familiar with the 23rd Psalm. One wonders if maybe this person came from a Christian Family.
In 2 Peter 3:9 we are told;
He is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But God gives each individual freedom of will to choose for their selves; “The Power of Choice”. His word gives us warnings.
Proverbs 29:1 A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed-without remedy.
1 Corinthians 3:16 & 17 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's Temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
We are bombarded with Megabuck TV commercials and attractive magazine advertisements.
The advertising industry knows that one picture is worth a thousand words, and that many pictures are worth millions - of dollars that is.
We are told there are three steps leading to participating in an activity, good or bad.
( We see it)
( We want it)
( We buy it)
The advertising segment knows this and spends millions of dollars on this.
Can you think of a show, commercial, or advertisement we see day to day that mentions alcohol?
We hear: You can get ahead professionally and socially by indulging in a few drinks or drugs here and there.
Also: A few drinks will give you relief from you worries and relax you.
One of the concerns with excessive drinking or drugs is that it mask or covers over problems that need to be dealt with. Many times it is only when our crutch is taken away that we can recognize, face head on, and overcome obstacles that hold us down.
Every day we here what the secular world says. Let us look into what the Bible says about alcohol and drugs.
Read Psalm 19:7-11
Isaiah 40:8 says "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.
The scriptures we will be looking at deal with alcohol, but because drugs have the same effect on the brain, we will include them in the same category as we study.
1. ALCOHOL AFFECTS OUR ATTITUES
Read Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
Herschel Hobbs in the teachers writes:
Wine translates from the Hebrew word that means fermented grape juice.
Strong drink or beer comes from the Hebrew words meaning intoxicating liquor made from grain and various other fruits. It would correspond to hard liquors today.
Three dangers to avoid
First, wine is a mocker. Those using it become mockers of life's higher values. Mocking shows scorn or rebellion toward authority.
The word Mocker could also be rendered "scorner." The book of proverbs has much to say about scorners.
(Prov. 3:34; 13:1; 14:6; 15:12; 22:10)
Second, strong drink produces a "brawler", a noisy and quarrelsome person.
A normally tender and loving person, under the influence of alcohol, may become a wild beast, endangering his family.
Third, the body receives its directions from the brain. To impair its function, even to the slightest degree, is not wise and invites trouble.
There is a direct ratio between the amount of alcohol or narcotics used and bodily reflexes, intelligent thought, and the functioning of the entire body.
2. WARNINGS REGARDING ALCOHOL
Read Proverbs (23:19-20) Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep you heart on the right path. Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat,
This goes along with Proverbs 3:7-8
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to you body and nourishment to your bones.
When we were young, we learned of how to deal with life by observing our parents and relatives around us. We learned how to function by observing their actions, good or bad, as examples.
It is so much easier to pick up on what is shown, than what is read or just told to us. If it is important to our parents or our friends around us, it usually becomes important to us. Peer pressure is very powerful.
Drinking parents are more likely to produce drinking children.
Drinking friends are more likely to make alcohol more acceptable.
We can all be told how or what to do to accomplish a certain task. But it is much easier to be shown. Young or old it is important to be around people who seek good and not rebellion.
Hershal Hobbs mentioned some about Pagan Roman feasts. Drunk with alcohol, the participants would eat to the point of being gorged. Instead of eating merely for nourishment, these people would eat and drink to the point that they could hold no more. Places were provided where they could empty their stomachs by vomiting. Then they would go back to more eating and drinking. Not a pretty picture.
3. Effects of Drunkenness
For drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
Remember why Daniel & and his friends wanted just to eat the vegetable soup rather than the food and drink provided by the king.
"Drowsiness" evidently refers to a drunken stupor.
Some homeless people choose to live that way to escape life & responsibilities.
Woe - situations that cause a person to weep - trouble
Strife - produces arguments or conflicts
Complaints -constant complaining. Drinkers blame other for their problems
Bruises - they may have fell or been beaten and no recollection of what happened.
Read Matt 6:22&23
The eye is the lamp of the body. If you eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
Bloodshot eyes - The eyes are naturally bright, but they become dull with drinking.
Mixed wine - mixing different spices to give different flavor.
4. The Dangerous Deception of Alcohol.
Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.
So attractive - beautiful settings - delicious foodsSuccessful looking people - so tempting.
How does a snake bite? A viper was the largest and most poisonous snake in Israel, very deadly; and much feared by the Israelites.
Alcohol is as deadly and a viper. A person’s tolerance gradually increases. We think we can handle it but soon we become out of balance, physically and mentally and calamity sets in.
The excessive drinking of Alcohol causes many Automobile wreaks.
Seroses of the liver
Trembling or shaking
We could go on and on.
If it is legal it must be acceptable!
5. THE RESULTS OF ADDICTION TO ALCOHOL
Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things.
You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging.
Thy hit me, “you will say, "but I'm not hurt! They beat me, but I don't feel it!
When will I wake up so I can find another drink?" KJV
A lot of thoughts pop into our mind good and bad. When we are in our right mind we are in control of our behavior and actions.
When drunk, people lose there ability to control their actions. What otherwise sober would be passed aside, is acted out in a frightening way.
Strange women - immoral women
Looses equilibrium. It is like one sleeping on the ever- moving ocean. The wavering and tossing would be worse lying at the top of the mast.
We see here from a reeling, staggering condition, the picture moves on to a drunken stupor.
Victim has reached unconscious state. The alcohol saturated brain no longer registers or gives off pain signals. The victim feels nothing.
The victim so craves alcohol that he seeks it again even though he may be recovering from a terrible hangover.
What can a person then do in a situation like that?
A person has to realize that they have a problem. and want help. If they never admit that there is a problem they never will seek after help because they don't believe they need it.
Alcoholics Anonymous is perhaps the best-known organization that relates to alcoholics. Their program works and they have a good success rate.
Their program begins with the recognition that one is an alcoholic and ends with the recovering person helping others in need.
That plan parallels the New Testament plan of salvation in that a person recognizes he or she is a sinner and after salvation the saved person witnesses to a lost person.
A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed-without remedy.
1 Corinthians 3:16 & 17
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's Temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?
If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.