Why I Will Teach My Children Not to Drink

Recently our local paper featured a pro-position editorial about the measure to enhance the availability of alcohol in Clarendon.  One of the comments that really struck me was the comment that “the Bible does shed a positive light on the issue”.  If a carefully examination of the Holy Scriptures were made into this subject there is no way you could come to that conclusion.

In light of that comment, I offer the following sermon I heard preached on this subject long ago.  Please read and consider this, not only for the upcoming vote, but as a matter of practice in your own home. – Will Thompson.

By Kevin Ellis

Richmond Hills Church of Christ, Augusta, Georgia

June 12, 1983

 

Introduction

 A year ago a woman from Houston wrote an angry letter to the Gospel Advocate.  She says “Speak where the Bibl e speaks, it is a sin to be drunk but not to drink.  Yes, it is wise not to drink too much but not a sin to drink.”

 I suspect many of you agree with her.  I suspect you favor “moderation” in drinking, not “abstinence”.

 Others of us drink no intoxicants at all, and recommend this as the best choice.  Let’s take a different approach to this subject, and let’s be fair with what the Bible does, and doesn’t say.  We have covered these scripture before.  The scriptures are still there and the problem with alcohol still exists.

I want to organize my lesson under this title: “Why I’ll Teach My Children Not to Drink”.  This subject is one we can approach on mutual ground.  Even our civil laws forbid the sale of intoxicants to minors.  We all respect the right of parents to set rules for their own households.  And, we all realize that children eventually become adults, and then must make their own decisions.

 One premise is basic: The Bible absolutely forbids drunkenness!

 Here, then, are the reasons I will teach my children not to drink.

 I.        I want to be very sure my children go to Heaven.

Therefore, I will teach them not to drink.

I Corinthians 6:9-11, “9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Since drunkards are specified among the unrighteous who will not inherit the kingdom of God, I do not want my children to take chances with intoxicants.

Galatians 5:19-21, 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

I don’t want my children to have anything to do with intoxicants because I don’t want them involved in any degree with the deeds of the flesh which can keep them out of Heaven.

If it where my goal to send my children to the most prestigious university in the country, I would require discipline in the classroom studies.  Even if my child could get by in life without knowing some of the details of some particular class, I would insist that he learn every detail.  That is, I would require this discipline if that university were my goal.  But, my goal for my children is Heaven.  And they can’t go there with drunkenness.  So I will teach them not to drink at all.  Heaven is that important!

 II.      I want my children to know fully a better life in Christ.

Therefore, I will teach them not to drink.

Luke 21:34, “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;

It is a sad life indeed that responds to the worries of life with drunkenness and dissipation, and I want something better for my children.  As they grow up in my home, I want them to handle stress without intoxicants.

Romans 13:13-14, 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

I want my children to know how drastically different Christianity is from worldliness, so I will teach them not to drink while in my house.  I will teach them not to make provisions for fleshly lust for intoxicants.

1 Peter 4:3-4, 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;

I want my children to live different—and better—than their friends who are worldly, so I will teach them not to drink with those friends.  I will teach them not to drink intoxicants at all.

You may understand such an absolute prohibition better if you compare a similar vice.  There was a time when people thought it a shame for a young woman to lose her virginity, but it was normal for a young man to discreetly lose his virginity.  Modern thinking rejects this double standard, but chooses the libertine standard for both sexes.  Christian thinking rejects promiscuity for men and women.  That is why we teach our young people not to experiment with intimate relations.  We want them to know the beauty the book of Hebrews describe, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled….” (13:4).

We want our youth to know a better than worldly way of life as regards to the dangers of intoxicants as well.  The better life in Christ is completely divorced from drunkenness.  That’s the reason I teach my children not to drink.

III.    I want my children to prefer spiritual joys over physical pleasures.

Therefore, I will teach them not to drink.

 Ephesians 5:18-21, 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;21and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Those who pleasure their lives with intoxicants to drunkenness live in a way that leaves no place for greater spiritual joys:

  1. The Spirit vs. “spirits”.
  2. Music from the heart.
  3. Giving thanks.
  4. Being subject to one another.

These give a gift that is moral!

I believe the bewitching qualities of intoxicants might obscure a young person’s perception of these greater joys.  So, I will teach against drinking.

 IV.    I want my children to grow to be leaders in the Church.

Therefore, I will teach them not to drink.

 1 Timothy 3:2-3, An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.

1 Timothy 3:8, 8 Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,

Titus 1:6-7, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,

Titus 2:3, 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,

All kinds of leaders in the Lord’s church are required to be models of sobriety when it comes to intoxicating drinks.

If my children are allowed to use intoxicants, as children in non-Christian home are, I doubt they will see the need to be different from fellow adults in their use of alcohol.

 If my children are to grow up to be leading members of the church of Christ, they must grow up to be above reproach and above even the accusation of abusing alcohol.  So I will teach them not to drink while they are in my home.

V.      I want my children to have the best influence they can have.

Therefore, I will teach them not to drink.

1 Corinthians 5:11, But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

Since there is no place in the fellowship of the church for drunkards, I will teach my children to leave the stuff alone that could intoxicate them.

Romans 14:21, It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.

I am convinced that drinking intoxicants in today’s society can make brothers or sisters in Christ stumble.  I do not drink for this very reason, and I will teach my children the same lesson about influence for Christ.

 There is a single principle behind these two lessons from Paul.  The two lessons are:

  1. The church must ostracize drunkards, and
  2. Christians must not cause other Christians to fall by drinking wine. 

The principle behind these lessons is the same.  Christians must be concerned about influence.  And drinking intoxicants can influence the church (and the world) for bad!

That is one more reason I will teach my children not to drink.

 Conclusion

My children will make up their own minds about drinking when they are grown.  However, when they make that decision, they will remember why their Daddy never allowed drinking in his home.

The Bible is clear in its teaching about drunkenness.  THE BIBLE ABSOLUTELY FORBIDS DRUNKENNESS.

  1. Those who get drunk will not go to Heaven.
  2. Those who get drunk miss the fullness of life in Christ.
  3. Those who get drunk choose a weak substitute for the great spiritual joys the Lord provides.
  4. Those who get drunk cannot be leaders in the church.
  5. Those who get drunk cannot be a good influence for Christ.

A child who does not drink intoxicants the duration of his life in his parents Christian home must have an advantage in resisting drunkenness as an adult.  He will know that he can enjoy an abundant life in Christ without drinking.  He will have an even greater advantage if he never sees his parents take intoxicants.

Consider how much a Christian misses if he gets drunks.  Then tell me why a Christian of any age would chance, and succumb to the temptation to get drunk, you lose the joys of the spirit, you lose your opportunity to lead the church, and you lose your influence for Christ.

Why risk these losses?  Even as an adult?

Let’s conclude by reading Proverbs 23:29-32,

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30 Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine. 31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly; 32 At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper.

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