I was listening to a sermon by Pastor Robby who preachers at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. You can watch his previous recorded sermons at www.brainerdbaptist.org. The title of Pastor Robby’s sermon “When Is It Wise For A Christian To Drink Alcohol?” You’re probably guessing it is only wise to drink socially at weddings, graduations, and other celebration events because Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding. Or, you’re guessing that it is never wise for a Christian to drink.
If you’re thinking the latter then you are right, but Pastor Robby’s conclusion was not the stereotypical judgment that if you are a Christian who drinks then you’re sinning. In fact, the message was not whether it is a sin to drink or not because we already know that there is no Biblical law against drinking. The important word in the title of the sermon is wise. We know that it is not a sin to drink alcohol but is it wise? Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful;” therefore, we are free to do anything that is not a sin but all things that are not sinful do not mean they are helpful towards our Christian walk and/or the Christian walk of others.
Science has proven that wine is helpful for the heart. Many people drink a glass of wine with their dinner, drink a beer while watching a football game, or have champagne as a toast to a wedding or other celebration. Alcohol also has a social status meaning such as in movies we see a father taking his son to the bar to share his first beer with him as a rite of passage of the son becoming a man. When teens turn 21 their first idea of a birthday celebration is to drink alcohol as a meaning of finally being grown up.
Do we really need to drink a beer as a symbol of transferring into manhood, or drink alcohol as a symbol that we’re finally adults? None of these activities are sins, but they are temptation to sin. How many people can say that when they turned 21 they had one or two beers, or sipped a glass of wine at the dinner table? If so then they probably never had an interest in alcohol and only drank because of the peer pressure from their friends, or they already had experience in drinking before of legal age.
I remember when I turned 21 I was a junior in college. I didn’t want to go out and drink because of my Christianity I did not want to follow the norm of drinking parties on a 21st birthday, but my friends bought me alcohol without my approval. They brought girls back to the room. And, I gave into the temptation to drink and have a good time. Since then I have had battles between socially drinking and binge drinking to have fun. Every time I told myself I would socially drink by having no more than two beers or a little bit of alcohol with a mixer I mostly ended up having more than two beers or binge drinking.
Sometimes I would drink just to get a buzz. I never enjoyed being completely drunk because hangovers and vomiting was not appealing to me. But, in Pastor Robby’s sermon he said that even drinking for a buzz is drunkenness.
Some people argue that they are completely in control of their alcohol consumption. They don’t binge drink and they do not drink for a buzz. But, because your intentions are not to drink for a buzz does not mean it won’t happen. No one is in complete control of how their body reactions to alcohol. You don’t know your limit unless you have drunk to your limit, which is what? Drunkenness no matter if that was not your intentions.
Just the other day I told myself that I would drink responsibly with my bottle of Hennessey and mixer of Coke. I had not intentions of getting drunk, I just wanted to watch Netflix, eat popcorn, and have an alcoholic beverage. I poured a small amount of Hennessey in my cup and deluded it with more than half a cup full of Coke. I had pizza with my drink too, and even drinking responsibly with food did not stop my body from receiving a buzz from the alcohol. The buzz felt good so I poured myself another cup. Eventually, that buzz turned into drunkenness, but according to Pastor Robby having a buzz is even drunkenness. I was drunk even though it was not my intentions.
Some people argue that if drinking is not a sin and if they control their limit then why should they abstain from drinking at all? The point is that nothing good comes from drinking alcohol. Of course, not all things are bad from alcohol, but because something isn’t considered bad don’t mean it is beneficial. Yes, there are celebrations and toasts made with alcohol but alcohol is not what produces the happiness in celebrations. Yes, Jesus turned water into wine to make the people happy, but happiness as not absent with the absence of wine. Pleasure is absent from the absence of wine. Alcohol cannot produce happiness it can only produce pleasure.
If you watch a football game with some beers it is not the beers that cause you to be happy. It is your team is winning that causes your happiness, alcohol only adds pleasure in the moment. If your team loses then you probably would no longer have a taste for beer, or you would drink more beer to momentarily rid your sorrow of your team losing, but I hope you’re not that desperate over a sport.
If your argument is that if you drink responsibly and socially then what is the big deal about abstaining from drinking? If drinking is no big deal then what is the big deal about abstaining from it completely for the glory of God? You may be able to drink responsibly but you may not know if the person next to you is struggling with alcohol or had a past struggle with it. Drinking may not harm yourself but it can hurt someone else, so abstaining from it is the only 100% sure way of knowing that you are not tempting someone else to fall into an addiction or return to an addiction.
Today is the “turn up” culture, “turn up” means to binge drink and party wildly. We hear “turn up” in almost every hip hop, pop, and RnB song. It is stitched on t-shirts and advertised all over the internet. Drinking today is a strong temptation for drunkenness especially amongst young adults. If drinking responsibly is no big deal to you then abstaining from drinking should be easy for you. Abstaining from alcohol is one more temptation that you will not have to fight against and you’re preventing temptation from others.