Sunday, August 1, 2010

God Tempted Me

God Tempted Me
August 2, 2010
James 1:13 "When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;"

The most famous miracle Jesus ever performed was his very first one. Jesus was attending a wedding reception with His disciples when the host ran out of drink for his guests. The host had plenty of water, but had run out of wine to serve. Jesus was asked by his mother, Mary, to do something. Soon, Jesus had performed His first documented miracle and turned 120 gallons of water into 120 gallons of fermented alcoholic grape beverage (wine). This is the modern day equivalent of over 600 bottles of wine. While you may debate whether it was alcoholic drink, if it were not, why then would one of the wedding guests say, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now," if it was simply grape juice? No, it was alcoholic drink.

This miracle sets up a great opportunity for sin. While most every Christian would not debate that being an alcoholic is a sin, many argue that sipping one glass of wine is worthy of judgment. Why would God set the wedding guests up to sin through Jesus' first miracle? Why would God provide the vehicle to sin if it actually was a sin to drink one glass of alcohol? God didn't. God does not tempt man to sin; therefore Jesus did not provide that temptation to sin by giving the guests alcoholic beverages. Jesus knew what people would do with the wine. He knew they would drink it. Jesus intended for the wine to be consumed. If it was a sin to drink one glass of wine, then Jesus would not have turned the water into wine. While this opens up a debate for many Christians who vow not to drink alcoholic beverages, it is not a sin. The sin associated with alcohol is the uncontrolled use of the alcohol, drunkenness. Being drunk is a sin, but drinking a glass of wine is not.

Drunkenness is an issue of self-control. Another example of a self-control sin is gluttony, spoken harshly about in the Bible. No one would suggest eating food is a sin, but we've all indulged too much on more than one occasion. This is the same sin associated with alcohol, only alcohol is a substance that causes one to lose ALL self control after more than a few sips. Much is the same with heroin. We would all argue that using heroin is sinful, but morphine is an important by-product of heroin, used in many critical medications. All has been created by God; it is man that uses it poorly.

This still does not mean you should consume alcohol every day and in any way. Since alcohol, in many cultures, presents a negative stigma of sin, it is wise to avoid it in many situations and circumstances. Some people's faith suggests that alcohol is still a sin because of what mankind has done with it. Therefore, in their presence, you should not drink wine, as it could cause them to stumble. "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved." This was a directive written by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians.

You do have the freedom to consume alcohol. Paul tells you this before he warns you to stay away from it in many situations. He said, "Everything is permissible—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." Your job, then, in consuming alcohol is to drink responsibly. Drinking responsibly in the Christian sense is void of the argument of drunkenness (since that IS a sin). Drinking responsibly means ensuring you are not drinking in an act of rebellion, not breaking any laws, not losing self control, and not consuming in front of others who would be offended by it. For this reason, many have chosen to avoid it altogether. It is far easier to not sin if you don't engage in any activities that could lead you to sin. I will not tell you it is a sin to drink one glass of wine. I will tell you that it can lead to a great amount of sinning if you aren't one who has a large amount of self-control. If you've never overeaten in your life, then you probably aren't at much risk for sinning while drinking a glass of wine. But for the rest of us (basically EVERYONE), who lose self control at large meals, we should tread very cautiously.

1. How can you view alcohol as a creation of God?
2. How can you ensure you maintain self-control no matter what you are doing?
3. How can you ensure you aren't offending other Christians by your actions?

Don't take my word for it; study it for yourself: Pr 23:2, Pr 25:28, John 2:1-22, Rom 13:13, Gal 5:22-24, 1 Cor 10:18-33, 1 Tim 3:2, 2 Tim 3:3, Titus 2:2

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