Archives For bible

What does the Bible say about drinking? That is a question about which I wonder, do people really want the answer? Like many issues, Christians tend to pick out passages that “prove” their position, instead of allowing Scripture to dictate what their position should be. Let’s take an honest look at the Bible and see what God has to say about the issue of alcohol.

What Does the Bible Say About Drinking?

First, I think we should define what “drinking” we are talking about. Obviously, God is in favor of us “drinking” liquids. Without drinking something, we’d die. The issue here is, what does the Bible say about drinking alcohol? I say this, not to be sarcastic, but to introduce the first point.

1. Not all wine in the Old Testament is “wine.”

We must understand an important point. Just because someone is said to have been drinking “wine” does not mean they were necessarily drinking alcohol. Did you know that many of the Hebrew words translated, “wine,” do not necessarily imply an alcoholic beverage? We even read in passages such as Isaiah 65:8, “the new wine is found in the cluster.”

Obviously, today we would not say “wine” is found in a cluster of grapes. We would say “juice” is found in a cluster of grapes. In Hebrew, however, their words for “wine” were more generic, applying both to intoxicating and non-intoxicating beverages made from grapes. If you are interested in further study on the words used in the Old Testament for “wine,” consider these articles: “Drinking in the Old Testament” and, “What About Social Drinking and the Old Testament” by Wayne Jackson.

So, while there are many references to wine in the Old Testament, not all of the references are to alcohol. The only way to tell whether or not an intoxicating beverage is being referenced, is by the use of context clues. Do not make the mistake of assuming a drink is alcohol just because the word “wine” is used!

2. Not all wine in the New Testament is “wine.”

In Greek, it seems even harder to tell whether or not the “wine” in question is fermented or unfermented. Again, just as with the Hebrew language, the Greek word for “wine” (oinos) is a generic term that can refer to any beverage made from grapes. Context must tell us whether the beverage contains alcohol or not.

In fact, many point to Jesus turning water into wine as “proof” that the Christian is free to indulge in the drinking of alcohol today. They quote the master of the feast, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now” (John 2:10). And explain his statement to mean that everyone at a party is usually so drunk by the end, they cannot distinguish whether the wine is good or not.

If this explanation were true, it would imply that everyone at the wedding feast in Cana was drunk, and that Jesus was providing more alcohol to already intoxicated people. In fact, He would have provided between 120-130 gallons of intoxicating wine to people who were already drunk! How contradictory that would be to New Testament teaching, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery” (Ephesians 5:18)!

Doesn’t it make more sense to understand that the “wine” of the wedding feast was not like the wine people drink today; but was more along the lines of grape juice. Furthermore, wouldn’t it make more sense to understand the master of the feast to be saying that once the people had been drinking so much juice, their sense of taste was so dulled, they could no longer distinguish good drink from poor? To understand this account any other way, is to make Jesus out to be one who contributes to the drunkenness, and thereby sin, of others!

3. Drunkenness is Condemned

We are told that drunkenness is a “work of darkness” (Romans 13:13-14) and drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:10; Galatians 5:21). What is always interesting to me, is how some Christians view the term, “drunk.” They admit it is a sin to be “drunk,” but believe moderate drinking to be acceptable. I wonder, who gets to define what it means to be, “drunk”? Does the government decide that for God? Is a blood alcohol level of .08, God’s definition of drunkenness? Are you acceptable to God when your blood alcohol level is .07, but sinning when it passes .08?

Let’s all be honest here, shall we? Drunkenness happens in degrees. There is not a line, before which there is absolutely no impairment, and after which you are suddenly “drunk.” Drunkenness comes as a result of accumulating alcohol in your body. As soon you start accumulating alcohol in your body, you begin the process of getting drunk!

4. Sobriety is Commanded

The Christian is not just commanded to, “not be drunk.” The Christian is commanded to be “sober.” And the word “nepho,” translated “sober” (1 Peter 5:8) literally means, “to abstain from wine,” according to Strong’s Dictionary of Greek Words. As soon as one begins to drink alcohol, he can no longer claim that his mind is sober. A Christian cannot fight the spiritual battle he needs to fight and resist the attacks of the evil one unless his mind is sober! Ten times in the New Testament, Christians are commanded to be sober:

  • We are told to think of ourselves with, “sober judgment” (Romans 1:23).
  • We are told to be “children of the day” by keeping awake and sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6).
  • We are told to be sober, dressed in the armor of God (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
  • Elders are told to be sober-minded (1 Timothy 3:2).
  • The wives of deacons are told to be sober-minded (1 Timothy 3:11).
  • Evangelists are told to be sober-minded (2 Timothy 4:5).
  • Older men are told to be sober-minded and self-controlled (Titus 2:2).
  • Christians are told to have their minds “prepared for action” and be sober-minded (1 Peter 1:13).
  • Christians are told, for the sake of our prayers, to be sober-minded and self-controlled (1 Peter 4:7).
  • Christians are told to be sober-minded and watchful because of the devil, who like a lion, is looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

How is it possible to drink, even moderately, and still be “sober” as God commands us to be? Can a Christian honestly say he is having a beer or a glass of wine to better glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31)? Understanding God’s will concerning sobriety and His warnings against drunkenness, is there no better alternative for a beverage than alcohol? Just some things to think about.

I love you and God loves you,

Wes McAdams

 

 

 

Take a Stroll

Wes  —  October 17, 2011

This morning (for the first time in a very long time) I was out walking in my neighborhood. I was making good time and was starting to work up a sweat. About three-fourths of the way through my walk I realized something was missing.

Take a Stroll and Enjoy God's Creation

I wasn’t really there. I had my iPod on, my earbuds in, and I was focused on getting done with my two miles. I wasn’t enjoying the stars that were still in the sky, the crickets and birds that were chirping, or the cool morning breeze.

At that point I decided to stop walking and simply take a stroll. I love that word, “stroll.” It implies that you’re not as focused on the destination as much as you are enjoying the journey. Or to borrow a phrase from one of my son’s favorite movies, your not focused on making great time, but having a great time.

How often do you stroll? You don’t have to get up at 5:00 a.m. to take a stroll. You can take a stroll when you’re walking into your office building, when you’re taking your dog for a walk, or when you’re walking to the mailbox.

When we stroll we notice things that we don’t notice when we “walk.” And I wonder, how can we truly be thankful to God for things we never stop to enjoy. If someone gave you a brand new car and you never drove it, could you really be thankful?

God created everything in nature for your enjoyment and His glory! He wants you to enjoy His creation and give Him thanks, honor, and praise!

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). Take a stroll today and enjoy His “handiwork”!

I love you and God loves you!

Wes

Several times this week I have been asked, “Will those who have never heard about Jesus go to hell?” Certainly neither you nor I are in charge of who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. However, I believe we can look at the Word and determine the answer to this very chilling question.

Tribal Man

In order to determine the answer to this question we must realize several truths:

1) All have sinned (Romans 3:23). Whether a man has heard about Jesus or not, he has committed sin. There are people in the world who are kind, sincere, and even religious. However, there is not a single person walking the face of the earth who is “good” (Mark 10:18). Every person living has sinned and is need of the good news of Christ Jesus.

2) It is only “in Christ Jesus” that redemption is possible (Romans 3:24). If salvation were possible outside of Christ, He died for nothing (Galatians 2:21). Why would Jesus command His followers to spread the good news of salvation to ALL mankind (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16) if there were people who did not need to hear it? Everyone needs Christ and the spiritual blessings that come from being “in” Him (Ephesians 1:3).

3) Faith is necessary to be pleasing to God (Hebrews 11:6). If one must hear the word of Christ in order to have faith (Romans 10:17) and he must have faith in order to be pleasing to God, then he cannot be pleasing to God unless he has heard the word of Christ. Undoubtedly there are many kind and wonderful people throughout the world, some of whom may have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, no amount of kindness can earn them a place in the kingdom of God, for it is only “by grace through faith” that man can be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9).

4) People can find the truth if they will search for it (Acts 17:27). Paul told those in Athens that God has “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope thatthey might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27).

It would be comforting to think that those living in remote places, who have never heard the gospel, were not responsible for obeying it. It would be nice to think that evangelism was not that important because God will have mercy on them who have never heard the gospel. However, Paul says that Christ will return “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

There may have been a time when God “winked” at ignorance “but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30, KJV). Our job, to take the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15) is of the utmost importance because it is only him who “believes and is baptized” who will be saved (Mark 16:16).

Let us take our responsibilities seriously and go and teach the lost!

Why is Baptism Important?

Wes  —  September 19, 2011

Baptism is the act of being immersed in water. It may seem a silly thing for God to ask people to do, and many reject it as being unimportant. However, it is not just important–it is essential if you hope to receive the grace of God. Here are three reasons that baptism is important.

The Importance of Being Baptized

1. Baptism is an appeal to God for a good conscience. Peter said, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). When a person is plunged down into the waters of baptism, what he or she is really doing is appealing to God to be cleansed from sins. Since sin has cut us off from God (Isaiah 59:2), we must have a way to call out to Him. God gave us that way when He gave us baptism, “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). It is God, through the blood of His Son, who washes away sins and the act of being baptized calls on His name and appeals to Him for a clean conscience.

2. Baptism is the moment at which a person is clothed with Christ. Paul wrote, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27 NIV). The only thing which will matter, on the Day of Judgement, is whether or not you are in Christ, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Baptism is the moment at which a repentant person gets into Christ.

3. Baptism is the moment at which a person is united with Christ. There is nothing magical in the water. It is not the water which gives men eternal life or washes away their sins, it is Jesus Christ! But the phenomenal event of salvation happens when man is united with Christ and His blood, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk innewness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:3-5). When a person goes down into the watery grave of baptism by faith, he finds the saving blood of Christ.

Let me make one thing clear: man does not save himself by being baptized; he is saved by the grace of God when he responds in faith to God’s invitation of salvation. To read more about this subject I encourage you to check out my book, The Treasure Chest of Grace.

I love you and God loves you! Have a wonderful day!

90 Day Challenge

Wes  —  September 14, 2011

Starting tomorrow (September 15, 2011) I am going to challenge myself to go through the entire Bible in 90 days. I read a couple of very challenging posts by J. Randal Matheny (who is planning to read through the Old Testament in the next 90 days) that inspired me to do this!

Read through the Bible in 90 Days

Here is the 90 day Bible reading plan I will be using. I plan to read the first Old Testament reading when I get up in the morning. Then I will read the second reading sometime during the day when I have the opportunity. The New Testament portion I will listen to on audio while I am driving to and from work.

Now that you know my plan, I want to encourage you to do two things:

1. Consider taking this 90 day challenge yourself. Consider going through the entire Bible, the Old Testament, or even just the New Testament in the next 90 days. What do you have to lose? What significant thing did you accomplish in the last 90 days? Was it as significant as going through every Word in the Bible? You can do it! Just make your mind up and do it!

2. I want you to hold me accountable. It will be such an encouragement, and I will be a lot less likely to quit, if I know you will hold me accountable. Why not do it with me and then we can hold each other accountable?

I will keep you up to date periodically on how the reading is going throughout the 90 days. Who knows, I may get so excited that I’ll finish in less than 90 days!

I love you and God loves you! Have a wonderful day!

You Reap What You Sow

Wes  —  September 3, 2011

Sowing and ReapingIt may seem common sense to say “you reap what you sow,” but it is amazing how many of us still don’t get it! We understand that when you plant corn, you can’t expect watermelons to grow. But we don’t seem to understand that what our lives produce is usually a direct reflection on what we planted. Paul wrote this, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

Here are a few examples of sowing and reaping:

1. If you sow seeds of rage and anger, you will reap a harvest of war! If you have ever thought that your house felt like a war zone, then stop to see who is planting seeds of anger (it may very well be you).

James 1:19-20 (ESV) “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
2. On the other hand, if you sow seeds of tenderness and forgiveness, you’re likely to reap a harvest of peace!
Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV) Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
3. Sow seeds of ignorance, and you will reap a harvest of sin. You cannot be lazy about learning without sinfulness being the result!
Hosea 4:1-2, 6 (ESV) “Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel, for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed…My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”
4. But when you sow seeds of training and learning, you will reap a harvest of wisdom and righteousness.
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
5. Sow seeds of laziness and waste and you will reap a harvest of poverty. Certainly, not all poor people are poor because of laziness and wastefulness, but if a person is lazy and wasteful long enough–they WILL end up in poverty!
Proverbs 28:19 (ESV) “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.”
6. But if you sow seeds of hard work and sacrifice, you are a lot more likely to reap a harvest of plenty! Obviously not everyone who works hard and sacrifices has plenty, but it is nearly guaranteed that you will NOT have plenty if you don’t work hard and sacrifice!
Proverbs 14:23 (ESV) “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”
Those are just a few examples to think about. When you don’t like what your life is producing start looking at what your planting!

Instruments in Worship

Wes  —  August 30, 2011

Instrumental Music in WorshipI realize many people are passionate in their defense of mechanical instruments in worship to God. It is interesting though, how few have stopped to even question whether or not this practice comes from God or from man. If one simply studies the New Testament, I believe you will find that the use of mechanical instruments has no place in making music to God.

Put simply, the reason I don’t use instruments in worship is the same reason I expect a pizza I purchase to be topped with only the toppings I order. When I call up and order my favorite pizza from Papa John’s Pizza (a Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza), I expect to receive a pizza with Canadian bacon and pineapple. I will not be pleased if I receive less than this and I will not be pleased if I receive more than this. I will not accept a pizza with Canadian bacon, pineapple, and pepperoni. Pepperoni might be a fine topping, but if I have not asked for it, I do not want it.

This concept is so simple! When a person asks for something specific, then their silence concerning all other alternatives is prohibitive! Put simply, when I ask for a specific type of pizza I have automatically eliminated all the other possibilities concerning the type of pizza I wish to receive. There are a thousand alternatives to any given set of instructions, and it would be ridiculous for someone to have to exhaust a list of what he doesn’t want. All a person has to do is be specific about what he does want.

If however, I simply wanted a pizza and did not care what kind of pizza I received I could be generic in my order. I could simply say,Pizza “Bring me a pizza.” I could not complain then about the toppings which were on it because I did not specify want kind of pizza I wanted. This is a generic command.

The question then, as it concerns music in worship, is: was God specific or generic about music? Some are quick to say, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” (Psalm 100:1)! And they are right. That is a generic command. However, that is a generic command to the Jews under the Old Covenant. If you want to please God under the New Covenant, you better look to the New Testament. It doesn’t matter what kind of pizza I ordered yesterday. If I order a new pizza today, it is that pizza order that I wish to have followed.

When we read in the New Testament about music to God this is what we read:

Ephesians 5:19 (ESV) “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart”

Colossians 3:16 (ESV) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Hebrews 13:15 (ESV) “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”

The reason it is not right for Christians to use an instrument in worship is because God specifically instructed us on how to make music to Him; those instructions did not include the instrument.

Being radically Christian is about following God’s instructions, not man’s. Therefore give God what he’s asked for and be radically Christian!

Top 5 Reasons to Love Mondays

Wes  —  August 29, 2011

Monday MorningMost people, including Christians, gripe and complain when Monday morning rolls around! Well I think it is time Christian people knock it off! One of the best ways to show the world you’re different, is to be positive! “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14-15). With that in mind, here are five reasons to love Monday mornings:

1. Monday is a day the Lord has made as well! I have heard so many people quote Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” on a Sunday morning, as if it exclusively applied to the Lord’s day. Well I have news for us, Monday is a day the Lord has made too!

2. Mondays are full of opportunities to serve and glorify God! There are going to be countless opportunities to serve God during any given day, don’t miss them because of negativity (Ephesians 5:16).

3. Mondays are another opportunity for you to get right with God. Are you really sure there is nothing in your life which needs to be changed? Are you sure there are not sins from which you need to repent? Are you positive you couldn’t improve your relationship with Him? Be thankful God has allowed you another Monday to get a little closer to Him!

4. Mondays are an opportunity for you to teach someone about the Gospel. God is being patient right now, giving lost souls more opportunity to come to Him (2 Peter 3:9). Mondays are a great day for evangelism, if you’ll only see the opportunity!

5. Mondays are full of blessings! Just take a moment to realize how blessed you are and how much better off you have it than what you deserve! How can you use your Monday for complaining and rejoicing at the same time?

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4)

If we want to be followers of Christ, then we ought to respect His plan for the institution of marriage. Let us not laugh or turn a blind eye when marriage is degraded and defiled. Let us all zealously fight for the preservation of our own marriages, the marriages of our friends and families, and the marriages of future generations!

Continue Reading...

enjoy your dayHere is a list of four sayings that if used appropriately will help you have a better and more enjoyable day:

1. “I Am So Blessed” – Use this saying any time you’re tempted to feel sorry for yourself. Use it to help you remember you have so much more than you deserve. God has been gracious with you and has given you so very much! Just remember to tell yourself constantly, “I am so blessed.”

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
2. “Lord Willing” – We live our lives with great expectations about uncertain things! Having these kinds of expectations is a recipe for great disappointment. If you want to have a great day, say about everything in the future, “Lord willing.” Just remember that you are not the Sovereign Lord of the Universe–He is! And some things are in His hands and not yours!
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that'” (James 4:13-14).
3. “Its Not About Me!” – This life is not about you! Your day is not about you! It is not about how much fun you have. It is not about whether or not you feel happy, fulfilled, excited–this day is about God! The more you remember that every moment is about glorifying Him and it is not about you, the happier you will be!
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
4. “No!” – Most of the trouble in our lives is caused by sin. And sin is avoidable (1 Corinthians 10:13). All you have to do is say “no!” Imagine how much better your life would be if you said “no” to worry, gluttony, laziness, gossip, deceit, covetousness, bitterness, etc. Just say “NO!” to sin!
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12).
I hope you have a wonderful day!
In Him,
Wes