Do you really know Jesus?
1) The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus' mother was there. 2) Jesus also was invited, with his disciples, to the marriage. 3) When the wine ran out, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no wine."
4) Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come."
5) His mother said to the servants, "Whatever he says to you, do it." 6) Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Jews' way of purifying, containing two or three metretes apiece. 7) Jesus said to them, "Fill the water pots with water." So they filled them up to the brim. 8) He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the ruler of the feast." So they took it. 9) When the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and didn't know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom 10) and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!" 11) This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.John 2:1-11 (WEB)
Some teach that Jesus did not create wine, but grape juice. I believe this is an error because 1) the feast ruler thought Jesus’ wine was better and should have been served first, most likely because inferior wine was typically served after the taste buds were numbed by the alcohol and 2) Jesus himself drank wine. What therefore should be a Christian view of fermented beverages?
After the flood "Noah began to be a farmer, and planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and got drunk. He was uncovered within his tent" (Genesis 9:20-21 WEB). Noah, though spared from the flood, was a sinner saved by grace like us and here we see Noah’s sin of drunkenness.
“Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High. He blessed him, and said, 'Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth' " (Genesis 14:18-19 WEB). Melchizedek, a gentile priest of God, served wine to Abraham.
“30) Lot went up out of Zoar, and lived in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he was afraid to live in Zoar. He lived in a cave with his two daughters. 31) The firstborn said to the younger, 'Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in to us in the way of all the earth. 32) Come, let's make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve our father's family line.' 33) They made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father. He didn't know when she lay down, nor when she arose” (Genesis 19:30-33 WEB). Alcohol enabled a grievous sin.
“21) Isaac said to Jacob, 'Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.' 22) Jacob went near to Isaac his father. He felt him, and said, 'The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.' 23) He didn't recognize him, because his hands were hairy, like his brother, Esau's hands. So he blessed him. 24) He said, 'Are you really my son Esau?' He said, 'I am.' 25) He said, 'Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless you.' He brought it near to him, and he ate. He brought him wine, and he drank” (Genesis 27:21-25 WEB). Jacob served Isaac, his father, wine.
“You shall trade the money for whatever your soul desires, for cattle, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatever your soul asks of you; and you shall eat there before Yahweh your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household” (Deuteronomy 14:26 WEB). God encouraged Israel to buy their hearts desire, including wine and strong drink.
“1) So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. 2) The king said again to Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, 'What is your petition, queen Esther? It shall be granted you. What is your request? Even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.' 3) Then Esther the queen answered, 'If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request' " (Esther 7:1-3 WEB). Queen Esther served wine to King Xerxes and Haman.
“I searched in my heart how to cheer my flesh with wine....” (Ecclesiastes 2:3a WEB). Solomon drank wine.
"The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man, and a drunkard; a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' " (Luke 7:34 WEB). Jesus drank wine with sinners and was accused of being a drunkard.
“Be no longer a drinker of water only, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities” (1 Timothy 5:23 WEB). Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to drink a little wine because it is good for the body and his illnesses.
“Yahweh spoke to Aaron, saying, ‘Drink no wine nor strong drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the Tent of Meeting, that you don't die: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations:’ ” (Leviticus 10:8-9 WEB). Israelite priests could not drink wine.
“Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them: When either man or woman shall make a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to Yahweh, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of fermented drink, neither shall he drink any juice of grapes, nor eat fresh grapes or dried. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is made of the grapevine, from the seeds even to the skins.......This is the law of the Nazirite: when the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall be brought to the door of the Tent of Meeting......after that the Nazirite may drink wine” (Numbers 6:1-20 WEB). A Nazirite vow could be taken which included abstaining from alcohol, but only for the duration of the vow.
“There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and didn't bear. The angel of Yahweh appeared to the woman, and said to her, See now, you are barren, and don't bear; but you shall conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore please beware and drink no wine nor strong drink, and don't eat any unclean thing: for, behold, you shall conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head; for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb: and he shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:2-4 WEB). Samson had a special calling from God to be a Nazirite and abstain from alcohol.
“An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Don't be afraid, Zacharias, because your request has been heard, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb” (Luke 1:11-15 WEB). John the Baptist also abstained from alcohol.
“He causes the grass to grow for the livestock, and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food out of the earth: wine that makes glad the heart of man, oil to make his face to shine, and bread that strengthens man's heart” (Psalm 104:14-15 WEB). David sings that God makes wine for man’s happiness.
“In this mountain, Yahweh of Armies will make all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of choice wines, of fat things full of marrow, of well refined choice wines. He will destroy in this mountain the surface of the covering that covers all peoples, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He has swallowed up death forever! The Lord Yahweh will wipe away tears from off all faces. He will take the reproach of his people away from off all the earth, for Yahweh has spoken it” (Isaiah 25:6-8 WEB). Isaiah speaks of the day when God’s blessing on all peoples will be celebrated with choice wines.
“Wine is a mocker, and beer is a brawler. Whoever is led astray by them is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1 WEB).
“He who loves pleasure shall be a poor man. He who loves wine and oil shall not be rich” (Proverbs 21:17).
“Don't be among ones drinking too much wine, or those who gorge themselves on meat: for the drunkard and the glutton shall become poor; and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:20-21 WEB).
“Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who stay long at the wine; those who go to seek out mixed wine. Don't look at the 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” (Proverbs 23:29-32 WEB)
“It is not for kings, Lemuel; it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes to say, 'Where is strong drink?' lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the justice due to anyone who is afflicted. Give strong drink to him who is ready to perish; and wine to the bitter in soul: Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” (Proverbs 31:4-7 WEB).
Proverbs has absolutely nothing good to say about alcohol.
“Woe to those who rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; who stay late into the night, until wine inflames them! The harp, lyre, tambourine, and flute, with wine, are at their feasts; but they don't regard the work of Yahweh, neither have they considered the operation of his hands” (Isaiah 5:11-12 WEB). Isaiah warns those who love wine, but do not regard God.
“If a man walking in a spirit of falsehood lies: ‘I will prophesy to you of wine and of strong drink;’ he would be the prophet of this people” (Micah 2:11 WEB) Micah speaks hard words to a rebellious people.
“So then each one of us will give account of himself to God. Therefore let's not judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother's way, or an occasion for falling. I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself; except that to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if because of food your brother is grieved, you walk no longer in love. Don't destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Then don't let your good be slandered, for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then, let us follow after things which make for peace, and things by which we may build one another up. Don't overthrow God's work for food's sake. All things indeed are clean, however it is evil for that man who creates a stumbling block by eating. It is good to not eat meat, drink wine, nor do anything by which your brother stumbles, is offended, or is made weak. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who doesn't judge himself in that which he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it isn't of faith; and whatever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:12-23 WEB). Paul reminds us that our brother’s conscience is more important that flaunting our liberty.
“But as it is, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who is called a brother who is a sexual sinner, or covetous, or an idolater, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Don't even eat with such a person.” (1 Corinthians 5:11 WEB). Do not associate with drunkards.
“Therefore don't be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Don't be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, ...” (Ephesians 5:17-18 WEB). Drunkenness is a sin.
“Deacons, in the same way, must be reverent, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for money” (1 Timothy 3:8 WEB). “And that older women likewise be reverent in behavior, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good” (Titus 2:3 WEB). Deacons and women may drink, therefore anyone, but not much.
To Drink Or Not To Drink Is....
These Scriptures show 1) wine is good a gift from God, 2) abuse of wine and drunkenness is a sin and will destroy your life, 3) saints have sinned in the use of alcohol, 4) saints have properly used alcohol, and 5) saints have abstained from alcohol.
So in summary, 1) Christians may follow the example of Jesus and drink fermented beverages or John the Baptist and not drink, 2) drunkenness is a sin, 3) do not associate with anyone naming Christ who gets drunk, and 4) do not offend a weaker brother’s conscience by drinking in their presence.
But much more importantly, however, to drink or not to drink is... NOT the question. Jesus’ said “To what then will I liken the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children who sit in the marketplace, and call one to another, saying, 'We piped to you, and you didn't dance. We mourned, and you didn't weep.' For John the Baptizer came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man, and a drunkard; a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Wisdom is justified by all her children" (Luke 7:31-35 WEB).
Tea Totallers, perhaps you side with John the Baptist? Drinkers, perhaps you side with Jesus? However, alcohol policies aside, John and Jesus were united in preaching “repent and believe the good news!” and both of them were rejected for their message, John decapitated, Jesus crucified. In plain words, your alcohol policy reveals nothing about your reception of the truth. Have you repented and believed the good news? That is the question!
Friend, without repentance and belief in the good news you are already drinking a terrible wine, “One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, ‘Come here. I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality, and those who dwell in the earth were made drunken with the wine of her sexual immorality’ " (Revelation 17:1-2 WEB). Your idolatry is equal to the drunken intoxication of adultery against God.
And apart from repentance and belief in the good news you are about to drink an even more terrible wine, “Another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead, or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. They have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:9-12 WEB).
Worship of anything but Christ will inflame God’s wrath against you.