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January 9, 2020 3:00 am
What is the sense of living in the spirit and walking in the flesh doesn't make sense at all. If you want Christ to begin with.
Don't you want it now if you live in the spirit fabric the United States sample where alcohol was once banned the issue of drinking can be controversial and particularly among Christians. The question remains, then, should Christians drink today on grace to you junk Arthur considers the issues of drinking the Christian life, and whether the two intersect key components to his ongoing series titled living in the spirit you can think of this study is a look at what should and what shouldn't be the controlling influence in your life.
So now with the lesson here is John where studying the book of Ephesians as we've come to the fifth chapter in the 18th verse.
We have stopped for a brief digression because so many people have posed the question regarding the drinking of wine. In verse 18 we read and be not drunk with wine and which is excess but be filled with the spirit. Now we study that in the context but it raised the question we know were not to be drunk. We know the Bible forbids us to be drunken. We know that we are to be filled with the spirit. But the question that arises is this wheat we agree that drunkenness is a sin, but what about drinking wine at all.
What is to be the Christian's position in regard to drinking alcoholic beverages should a Christian drink, or what does the Bible say about the Christian and alcoholic beverages. Now you remember that we try to share with you last time some principles that we have to use as checkpoints in this discussion. The Bible does not say you cannot drink the wine I told you last time if it said that read the verse and go home doesn't say that.
And so we have to get some other principles to determine whether it's right or wrong, and if it is then when it is and when it is in itself should a Christian drink alcoholic beverages is a very important issues with the word of God has something to say on it and there's a wide audience of people out there ought to be listening. Now we told you there would be eight principles or checkpoints that we need to pass through to arrive at an answer.
We went through the first to last time, let me remind you of the first question we ask. This is the same.
In other words, is the wind. Today the same as the wine consumed in Bible time and the reason we need to deal with that issue is because people will invariably say that his Christian people if they drink wine or alcoholic beverages that they drank in Bible times, and so if they did it in Bible times, Old Testament and New Testament times, then it certainly all right to do it today and so the question is, is the drinking of the Bible times the same as today was the product.
The same was the wine the same no wine consumed in Bible times was not the same 9 to 11% alcohol content wine that people drink today. We shared with you that there were three kinds of wine really there was the glucose. The Greek word glucose, which had to do with the new wine, the fresh one. The Old Testament word to Roche and that would be very much like grape juice.
Of course it could ferment very rapidly, and so could cause drunkenness and therefore was mixed with water and thus the lowest dilution would be three parts of water to one part of wine, reducing any alcohol content to a very low negligible alcoholic percentage so that it wouldn't even be classified as an alcoholic drink and you have to sit there and drink and drink and drink until you are bloated to get drunk. Then there was only knots only, knots, and that word simply the word for wine in general and its liquid form we saw that line was always mixed with water in the New Testament the normal wine that had stood for a long time.
In a large container would be then mixed with water as high as 10 to 15 parts to one as low as three parts to one so that it would not present a alcoholic content and cause drunkenness. So you had the fresh wine which was also mixed with water.
You had the fermented wine which was also mixed with water and then you had that wine that we saw was a thick boiled paste. They would take the new wine boiling water evaporating all the water, killing all the bacteria. Consequently, it could not ferment storing it in wineskins and then when they wanted to drink it.
They would squeeze it out would come out like a thick paste honey mix it again with water climbing the Roman historian says as much is 20 parts to one because it was a thick concentrate and drink it at that point and then it would be unfermented so the wind of the Bible was either the unfermented pasty great mixed with water, or it was mixed with water from a liquid base but the straight stuff as we know it today with a 9 to 11% alcohol content would be classified as Shankar in the Old Testament sick care in the new which can be translated strong drink. We showed you that both the historians, the pagans, and the Scripture saw that as a barbarian drink so that straight wind as we know it today with a 9 to 11% alcohol content was not consumed as the norm by the people of the Bible to say nothing of the other liquor today that ranges from 15% to 50% alcohol, which is the content of 100 proof so it was different and we have to make that statement because we don't want to base our drinking today on the Bible. People drinking if it wasn't the same.
The second question we asked the second checkpoint. Not only is it the same but is it necessary would point out that for most people in the Old Testament it was.
It was sort of necessary to drink wine. They had little choice between water milk from a goat or a calendar and the wine may have been some other things that they concocted but basically that was pretty much didn't normally it was pretty necessary to drink wine of some sorts. As I say it was diluted or the normal course of life, unless you want to drink strong drink just to get drunk or as a sedative for some severe illness, but in the Bible day they had a problem with choice, they had rather limited choices.
But today we don't have that problem. So we would say then, secondly, is it necessary, the answer is what no, it's not necessary today to drink one.
It then falls into the category of an option it falls into the category of a preference. It falls into the category of a want.
I've heard some people say well I just like the taste of it and that's that's that's fine. That's a like or a preference or a want, but not a necessity. We are not like some cultures, and by the way, there may be some people in some cultures of the world will listen to this tape and in their particular situation. They are very limited. They just have no choice whatsoever under a certain circumstance at some point in time and that may be a different case, but in our society, and frankly, for the most part clear around the world.
It is not a necessary thing. I would venture to say that every place I've been in every language in every culture and every climate somewhere there is Coca-Cola. In addition, the Coca-Cola, even in Arab countries out in the middle. We were out in the middle of the area of the pyramids and there were guys selling soda pop you had to check out your soda pop to see what was swimming in it, but nonetheless it was soda pop so it isn't really a necessity today we have sophistication in terms of producing drinks and we have refrigeration and things like that the bypass fermentation and so were not in the same category. So first question then is it the same no second question is it necessary know so we come to the fact and that it is a choice. If you choose to drink. It is because you choose to drink. It's a choice.
Some people will say well I have liberty in Christ I'm free all things are lawful. It says in first Corinthians 612 all things are lawful. I'm not bound are not under the law of food is no more sacred. There is no more the clean and the unclean food acts chapter 10 Romans chapter 14, so there's no need for me to fear the drinking. My liberty allows me that prerogative. So it is a choice and I may choose or not to choose, let me ask the third question then is it the best choice is the best choice. There a lot of things that are choice, you know the Bible doesn't say you can't stick leaves in your mouth and light them on fire.
The Bible and say that you want to stick leaves in your mouth and light them on fire blow smoke through your nose. You have the right to do that.
That is not forbidden in the Bible or somebody said of God mentioned to smoking ability with the chimney but that may not be true, but that is not forbidden in the Bible, but that's a choice you make. In some people might tell you that's not the best choice. You have a choice that to drink coffee or not to drink coffee.
Some people think coffee is wonderful. Some people think the caffeine is a negative effect that it might not be the best choice. Although you have the liberty to drink coffee, burn plants in your mouth and also drink one if you choose to use that liberty.
So it's a matter of choice, but is it the best choice and let's deal in that category for a few minutes I want to show you some a progression of biblical truths to help you to see the best choice right. Let's go back to Leviticus chapter 10 and I think you'll find this to be fascinating now in God's basic economy in Israel.
There was a separation among the people there were higher standards for people with greater responsibility to know if you really know that but that's true that can be illustrated a lot of ways.
Take for example the sin offering member that certain people to come. Well, everybody had to come makes an offer, but if it was the sin of the congregation. It would be a bullock was the sin of the high priest it would be a bullock. That was the sin of a ruler, it would be a male goat if it was a sin only of a lay individual. It could be to turtle dollars, it could be young pigeons. It could even be flour.
In other words, it seems as though the higher you go, the higher the requirement for a sacrifice. The higher the theocratic ranked the more costly was the offering. And since the congregation itself was a priestly nation they needed to have an offering that was equivalent of the high priest, the high priest had to give the highest offering a bullock under him. The rulers had to give a goat under them. The people could give doves and things like that because the higher the rank, the more serious the responsibility and the greater the guilt.
You see, that's what it says in James 31 stop being so many teachers for theirs is the greater condemnation. That's the reason the Lord said to whom much is given, what much is required. The higher the theocratic ranked the greater the responsibility and consequently the more severe the sin the sin bears more guilt. The higher the position because the one you sent in a high position, its ramifications are far-reaching art sin in the part of the high priest or the ruler of the king had a tremendous response among the people far-reaching and so is in terms of God's standards. Now God has established standards for his people, but in the Old Testament time.
He called certain people above those standards and he said I'm setting a higher standard for you in the first illustration of that is in Leviticus 10 verse eight and God is giving the requirements for the priesthood here and there.
Most interesting he says to Aaron, who was the high priest.
Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with the wind. You go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest you die. Now that's a pretty strong requirement. No wine or strong drink that you see what's happening whereas the people drank wine which was mixed with water was the or the pace that came out of the wineskin, where the people would drink this and some profligate people who would even drink strong drink, the priests were called to a higher level.
You see, you are not to do this when you enter into the tabernacle of the congregation or you will die, and this shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations that you may put difference between holy and unholy between unclean unclean.
In other words, you are called apart to a separation to a consecration to a higher level of devotion to a higher level of commitment to God. And some commentators say that it has to do only with when they ministered in the tabernacle only when they minister to the Lord and some say it has to do with their whole life long. Well either way. The point is, when they did minister for the Lord when they were called to minister to God. They had to be total of strainers total of strainers, why, lest their judgment or their priestly function should in any measure be clouded by taking in any alcoholic drink. God wanted their minds clean and clear and pure and so they were forbidden to do that is if God is elevating them to another standard, another level above the people. Proverbs 31 last chapter the book in verse four and here you see the same standard. Again, not only for the priest, but for the kings and the princes verse four of Proverbs 31 says it is not for kings only me well. It is not for kings to drink wine nor for princes strong drink, why, lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the justice of any of the afflicted. In other words, not only were the priest called to and abstaining position, but so were the kings and the princes. God did not want their judgment clouded. God did not want their thinking fuzzy or hazy.
God wanted them set apart God. One of them consecrated.
God wanted them apart and different from the people in verse six is if you're going to give strong drink to somebody strong drink should only be given to people ready to perish. In other words anybody else drinking it would was barbaric, a strong drink which would be the straight unmixed wine should be given to somebody who is who is perishing in other words, as a sedative for someone in pain of death.
Now the wine which was the normal wine mixed should be given to those of heavy hearts. Let them drink, and forget their poverty, and remember their misery no more luck let the warms on the joy that comes from the wind be for those who have deep problems or at the strong drink for those who are dying but for kings and for princes and for priest if we can add a Leviticus to that thought. They are to be total of strainers, so there was a level of consecration and the leadership that demanded a higher standard. Also get numbers chapter 6 and I'll show you that not only the kings and the princes in the priests and the high priest, but there were certain people in the congregation of Israel who chose the standard to anybody could choose to step up to the standard. This was the highest in and you remember in numbers chapter 6 verse one the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, speak to the children of Israel and saying to them when either man or woman shall separate themselves to vowel a vowel of a Nazirite to separate themselves under the Lord. Now stop there for a minute anybody in the congregation of Israel could say I want to consecrate my whole life to God. I want to devote my whole life to the Lord.
I want to set myself apart on the God I want to say no to the things of this life, and yes to the things of God. I want to be different. I want to be consecrated so God said, I hereby institute the highest act of consecration and it is called a Nazirite vow, and it comes from the word not as ears and nose, ear means the consecrated one. A Nazirite is a consecrated one so wanted you want to come apart and really commit himself or that's the Nazirite vow the Nazirite would take a vow of separation the universe to set it to separate themselves under the Lord of vowel holiness of valve consecration become a part. What would be the character of it verse three he shall separate himself. Then from wine and strong drink should drink no wine vinegar or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall you drink any liquor of grapes or eat moist grapes or dried and all the days of his separation shall eat nothing made of the vine tree from the Colonel's even to the husk and all the days of the valve is separation. There shall no razor come upon his head, so there was the Nazirite vow you don't cut your hair and you touch no one the highest level of consecration involved abstinence. It was as if they were they were stepping up to another level and identifying with the priests and the kings in the princes and those who were set apart most on the God they could take a Nazirite vow for 30 days 60 days 90 days, or even for life and there were three people in the Bible who were Nazirite for life Samuel Samson and John the Baptist in its most fascinating that not only were they Nazirite for life but in the case of the wife of Manolo, the mother of Sampson, the angel came to her and said urinated a drink wine or strong drink, even as the child you're bearing back in judges chapter 13 and verse four we read the statement regarding the mother of Sampson just so you'll know where it is.
Beware, I pray you drink neither wine nor strong drink and eat, not any unclean thing for low, thou shalt conceive that in verse seven, the last part of verse seven for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death knowing to come to the New Testament, you find it in Luke chapter 1 verse 15 most interesting Zacharias and Elizabeth are told by an angel are going to have a son in verse 13.
He's going to cause him great joy and gladness.
Many people are going to rejoice at his birth. In verse 15 of Luke one says he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink, but he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb that here's the greatest man that ever lived. Jesus said in Matthew 1111 the greatest man that ever lived is John the Baptist the greatest man that ever lived a total of strainer all his life.
You see there's a level there's a higher level than just the common that God is lifted certain people to this level, the greatest man that ever lived. So here for special times whether priests or kings or princes or great judges like Samson or great men of God like Samuel or great men of God as the prophet, John the Baptist. There was an another level of consecration another level of devotion a higher vow that was asked of the common people and by the way, this was not simply common to those leaders. Anybody could do that and there were many Nazirite's in Israel.
I don't think we realize that, but we really don't know how many there were, but that there were many.
For example, in Amos chapter 2 it says in verse 11 that God says, and I raised up of your sons for profits and of your young men for Nazirite's is it not even gone so you children of Israel set the Lord. In other words goddesses I raised up profits and I also raised up Nazirite.
I raised up some set apart someone took a higher vow, some who had a greater standard or a higher standard of life among you in a course. He goes on to say how they had corrupted them. Amos says to the people, but you gave the Nazirite's wine to drink, and you commanded the prophet, saying, prophesy not, they desecrated those Nazirite's those that God set apart and consecrated to himself by total abstinence, the, the people of God had actually desecrated and they gave the wine. Now it seems to me that many of these in Amos to that God established as Nazirite may well been Nazirite for life who were desecrated or really forced or enticed into disobedience by the rest of the people. So God has established this vowel of consecration and there were many people who took it.
God established this high vow and he raised up people to live at this level, priests and kings and rulers and special profits and judges and special men like Samson and others that he lifted to that level and for some strange reason the people felt they needed to pull them down to their level. You know it's a funny thing about people instead of attending to the highest level you want to grab people at the highest level and yank them down to their own. That's what happened in Israel and Jeremiah bless his heart when he saw what was going on with that God used him to speak to that issue and he said to Judy you're disobedient. Judy chapter 35 of Jeremiah he said you're disobedient. Let me give you a contrast chapter 35 of Jeremiah he says you remember the Ricoh bites. The Rica bites the son of Johnny Depp your member the Johnny Depp said of the Rica bites you will drink neither wine or strong drink, you, your sons or daughters, your wives or anybody in your family forever. Another words a whole family took the valve abstinence. The whole family stepped up to the highest level and God says, and when I even put balls of wine in front of the Rica bites, they wouldn't drink. Jeremiah 35 versus 2 to 65 footballs of wine in front of them and they wouldn't drink it and he goes all the way to the chapter then he finally sums up and say look at the temptations they had to drink wine and they never broke their temptation, but you you have been disobedient to me. You have been disobedient to me. There was a group of people who are obedient and they were contrasted with disobedient Israel. And the point of their obedience was there total abstinence they had taken that level and God use them as exemplary as it was evident with me. Well, by implication, a lot of things.
Second Corinthians 617 come out from among them and be what separate and touch not the unclean thing. Second Corinthians 71 cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. We are all called to the highest level will all elevated to make the best choice when you come into the New Testament but undoubtably the standard changes are really don't.
I don't believe it changes. I don't think in the New Testament God Lord is standard listen if a priest was to be clear minded at all times and never give himself the possibility of being tempted. If it was true for a king if it was true for a prince.
It was true for a judge of it was true for a great leader like Samuel was true for a prophet like John the Baptist. Is it any lower a standard for those who rule in the church of Jesus Christ, which he purchased with his own precious blood should be any less what I'm saying is this, there's a high standard in the Bible for those in spiritual responsibility, leadership, and that to me is the best choice north for all priests before all those who were set apart to God is consecrated by the Holy Spirit. If we are all Romans 12 want to present our bodies a living sacrifice.
If we all are to come as a burnt offering offering ourselves in total consecration as an active natural normal worship and it seems to me that all of us could well consider making the best and the highest choice. So we ask is the same no is necessary. No is the best choice. Well, perhaps not. Maybe the best choice is to stand with those who came apart in the Old Testament and the new and in the church today those in the this is grace to you with John MacArthur thanks for tuning in today. John has been grace to use featured speaker since 1969. He's also Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary's current study is titled living in the spirit while John a couple of days ago we mentioned that the seven messages in this series cover only three verses from Ephesians 5 you set on that day that this is basic stuff and yet you covered in great detail with that sort of slow, patient exposition that really characterizes your style that also keeps you honest. So explain why that's the case.
While I understand what you mean by the word honest you. You mean it keeps me anchored to the text right you don't judge a guy I grabbed the universe and then go into all the world and preach the gospel. I've got it right. It basically is an expositor of Scripture.
I am bound by the text itself right now. Obviously you can expand on the text you can elucidate on the text. You can show implications in the text. You can explain the text by other texts of Scripture, the Bible is its own best interpreter but yeah one of the great realities of expository preaching is you are basically tied to the explanation of the text. This is not something that is sort of a good choice. This is a mandate what one other effort will we take in dealing with the word of God, then to take what the text says and explain what it means.
That's the whole point of divine revelation.
So I love the fact that I can go into Ephesians and take chapter 5 and take three verses and still stay anchored to the text and preach for seven hours because as I said the other day. It's not just the depth of what's there. It's the breath of it, how it stretches over a whole realm of spiritual living so if you would like to even get to get more than you would get in this series, let me suggest that you get a copy of the commentary you wrote on Ephesians I've written commentaries on every book in the New Testament. 34 volumes and maybe you've never thought about reading a commentary start with Ephesians you can order the Ephesians commentary you will find everything in Ephesians explained in great detail all the issues that are important in that book all through those incredibly important chapters but it'll even take you deeper and end into more I should say breadth of the Scripture commentating on Scripture, then you would hear even in this series so if you love what you hear. You're a good candidate for reading a commentary. If you haven't done it, give it a try, you'll find that this is the richest way even to do daily devotional reading commentaries, not just for pastors, Sunday school teachers use them Bible study leaders use them. The commentary series on the New Testament, available through grace to you. I suggest you start with Ephesians or another single book and that you'll want more, and friend.
If you read the Bible every day. I would encourage you to get these commentaries that will help you interpret any passage in the New Testament so that when you study, you can know the life-changing meaning of Scripture to get the MacArthur New Testament commentary on the book of Ephesians or any other volume or if you want to get the entire set. Contact us today firstname.lastname@example.org or call our toll-free number 855. As John said these commentaries are great for personal Bible study. There also great for preparing Sunday school lessons are family devotions again. You can order the whole 34 volume set any individual when you call us at 855 or go to our website TTY.and when you get in touch know if today's lesson encouraged. Perhaps you've already thought of some practical ways to apply John series on living in the spirit and we certainly want to hear. If someone you know has come to faith in Christ. After hearing this broadcast. We love stories like that, so email your feedback to letters@TTY.or send your letter to Grace to you.
Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412. You'll also find all of our contact information online TTY.org now for John MacArthur. I'm Phil Johnson inviting you back for Thursdays broadcast. John's lesson connects the Holy Spirit's work with the idea of serving others that messages part of his current study, living in the spirit to be here tomorrow for another half hour unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on