This is the Wednesday night sermon for February 4th, 2009.

Decisions, decisions, decisions part 1
Proverbs 20.

Life is full of decisions. Sometimes we make good, wise decisions, sometimes we make unwise decisions. Whether our decisions are wise or unwise, there will usually be consequences for both.

This evening, we are going to go ahead and just dive in to our study quickly, so as too cover as much as possible.

Our main thought for this sermon is: In Proverbs 20, we have some powerful wise words that can help us in making wise decisions, and also in helping us to avoid the unwise decisions.

Let’s begin.

Do not be led astray by alcohol consumption.

Proverbs 20:1 NLT(se) – Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.

Now let me state before we get started here, I do not drink. I haven’t touched any alcohol since 1985. I have no desire to pick it up.

Let me also state that what I was raised was to not even consume a drop of it. We were taught that it was a sin.

This part can rather be controversial here, but we want to look at the text and see what it says, and also maybe have other passages that can help us as well.

First, we see that it states that wine and alcohol (Hebrew, “barley beer”) produces mockers and leads to brawls. I have found this to be so true. When people begin to consume large amounts of alcohol, they begin mocking others and picking fights with people as well. They begin to believe that they are, “10 foot tall and bullet proof,” as the saying goes.

It is very easy to be led astray through alcohol consumption. So, be careful in your consumption and use wisdom.

Is all drinking of wine and other alcohol beverages wrong in all cases? Well, to answer that question, it would take me several weeks of teaching, that I’m not going to take the time to do at this moment.

Let me state that there are three aspects mentioned in Scripture when it comes to alcohol – Negative aspects, Positive aspects, and warnings/commands concerning those. Let’s look at a few quickly.

Negative aspects.

• Noah got drunk with wine and negative things happened to him.

Genesis 9:20-24 NLT(se) – 20 After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard. 21 One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked. 24 When Noah woke up from his stupor, he learned what Ham, his youngest son, had done. 25 Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham: “May Canaan be cursed! May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives.”

• Wine and strong drink can lead to negative actions.

Proverbs 23:29-31 NLT(se) – 29 Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30 It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks.

• Wine and strong drink can be addicting.

Proverbs 23:31-32 NLT(se) – 31 Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. 32 For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper.

• Wine produces a state of drunkedness that affects both mind and body.

Proverbs 23:33-35 NLT(se) – 33 You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. 34 You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. 35 And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?”

Positive aspects of wine.

• Wine was used as a drink offering to the Lord in the Old Testament.

Exodus 29:38-40 NLT(se) – 38 “These are the sacrifices you are to offer regularly on the altar. Each day, offer two lambs that are a year old, 39 one in the morning and the other in the evening. 40 With one of them, offer two quarts of choice flour mixed with one quart of pure oil of pressed olives; also, offer one quart of wine as a liquid offering.

• Wine was part of the tithe that was offered to God in the Old Testament.

2 Chronicles 31:5 NLT(se) – The people of Israel responded immediately and generously by bringing the first of their crops and grain, new wine, olive oil, honey, and all the produce of their fields. They brought a large quantity—a tithe of all they produced.

Notice here is says that it is new wine that must be brought before the Lord. Some people say that this proves that it is non-alcoholic wine. The problem with this is that there was no such thing until Dr. Welch made pasteurization in the late 1800’s. As soon as you pick the grape off the vine it begins to ferment. Not only that but in the New Testament in Acts 2:13 when all the people heard the Apostles speaking in tongues, they accused them of being drunk on new wine. So there is evidence that you could get drunk on new wine as well as old. New wine did probably have less alcohol in it and it was fresher, and tasted sweeter more than likely.

• Wine represented the blessings of God upon the people of Israel.

Genesis 27:28 NLT(se) – From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine.

Joel 2:19 NLT(se) – The LORD will reply, “Look! I am sending you grain and new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy your needs. You will no longer be an object of mockery among the surrounding nations.

• Wine was used for medicine.

Luke 10:34 NLT(se) – Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.

1 Timothy 5:23 NLT(se) – Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often.

Warnings and Commands

• The priests were not allowed to drink it when ministering before the Lord.

Leviticus 10:9 NLT(se) – You and your descendants must never drink wine or any other alcoholic drink before going into the Tabernacle. If you do, you will die. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation.

• Believers are not to get drunk, but are to be filled with the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 NLT(se) – Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.

• Elders in the church must not be heavy drinkers (given to much wine).

1 Timothy 3:2-3 NLT(se) – 2 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. 3 He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money.

We could go on forever on this subject and study every verse, but let’s end it here. Let me just say that I feel this is a matter of conscience after looking at all the verses I have looked at. Let each one be convinced in their own hearts concerning alcohol consumption, but be obedient to the command of not getting drunk, nor being an excessive drinker…we can all agree on those to biblical commands.

Let’s look at one more, and then we will look at a few others next time.

It is best to avoid quarrelsome fights.

Proverbs 20:3 NLT(se) – Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.

The type of fight here we are to avoid I believe is one of those quarrelsome fights. You know the type that I’m talking about? They are the kind that just goes round and round and nothing ever gets accomplished, nothing ever gets settled, no one is ever going to change their opinions. It is best to avoid those kinds of fights.

And the Scripture is rather clear, those who insists in those fights are fools.

We are going to end it right here, but we will pick up this chapter next week. I wanted to take a little bit of time addressing alcohol consumption, and while I’m sure that I didn’t address it satisfactorily enough or maybe not to some people’s liking, hopefully you have seen enough from the passages we looked into to arrive at a decision of being careful when it comes to it, and not to get drunk or drink excessively.

We will look at more decisions we have to make next time based off of Proverbs 20.