Thought Provoking Questions: Lesson 7


I. Introduction

A. Our topic today involves drinking and gambling. In some ways those topics are very different, but in one way they have much in common. Both have a very negative effect on our society.

B. The following two newspaper stories appeared recently in the Houston Chronicle.

1. One was an article entitled “Newest lottery dreams cost $50”

a) It involved a new lottery game that costs $50 to play and offers prizes in excess of $100 million.

b) The part that caught my eye was the last paragraph: “William Scott, 64, a custodian in Austin who works two jobs and said he often spends $120 a day on lottery games, is eager to try his luck on the $50 game.”

2. The second article was entitled “Father charged in collision that killed twins.”

a) Oscar Castro, age 29, drove his truck into a parked tractor-trailer killing instantly his two seven year old twin boys. The article said that Castro was intoxicated.

C. As we study what the Bible has to say about these topics, let’s keep in mind the evil that they inflict upon our own society.

D. These are important issues. They affect people’s lives every day, and the church must not sit on the sideline with regard to them. It is important that we know where we stand, and it is important that the world know where we stand.

II. Social Drinking

A. What is not the issue? Let’s look at some things we can all agree on.

1. No one disputes that some people of Jesus’ day and earlier drank intoxicating wine.

2. No one disputes that it was a common practice.

3. No one disputes that countless people got drunk on those intoxicating drinks.

4. No one disputes that those intoxicating drinks were called wine.

B. What is in dispute? Let’s look at some things that many deny but that I think we will see are nevertheless correct.

1. Intoxicating wine was not the only type of wine available for drinking in those days.

2. Intoxicating wine was not the only type of wine that people drank in those days. In fact, it was common in those days for people to drink non-intoxicating wine.

3. The word “wine” is used in the Bible as a generic term that can, depending on the context, include intoxicating wine, non-intoxicating wine, or both.

C. What type of wine was used by the ancients?

1. They certainly had naturally fermented wine, which is about 11% alcohol by volume.

a) What is fermentation?

(1) FERMENTATION is any chemical process that breaks down complex molecules into simpler ones and also releases gas. Fermentation is part of this cycle of decay.

(2) PRIMARY FERMENTATION is the alcoholic fermentation of wine, where yeast converts grape sugar into roughly equal parts of ethanol and carbon dioxide and producing heat. An enzyme (zymase) in the yeast actually breaks down the sugar. No matter how high the sugar level, natural fermentation will stop when the alcohol concentration is too high, at 16.5% under the most ideal conditions, or most often before it reaches this level.

b) Many sources correctly point out that, although the ancients had “strong drink” with a higher percentage of alcohol by volume, most of the intoxicating wine of Jesus’ day was far less potent than the wine produced and served today, and that the ancients often added drugs to their drinks to increase their potency.

(1) The intoxicating wines of the first century did not contain the potency of our modern beverages. The wines of the first century contained a very low percentage of alcoholic content, generally about 2 or 3% (our modern beer is 5%). Even these slight intoxicants were often mixed with 2-3 parts water to cut their potency by up to 75%. Our modern wines contain anywhere from 12 - 25% alcoholic content by volume.

(2) Thus, whatever we conclude about the use of intoxicating beverages in the Bible , it will do little to approve the use of wine today unless we also conclude that the use of such fortified wine is also approved.

2. They also knew how to keep alcohol from becoming alcoholic.

a) The widespread notion that alcoholic wine virtually made itself and people had no alternative but to drink it is simply not true. The ancients drank at least some non-intoxicating wine.

b) Plutarch: “Wine is rendered feeble in strength when it is frequently filtered. The strength or spirit being thus excluded, the wine neither inflames the brain nor infests the mind and the passions, and is much more pleasant to drink.”

c) Sir William Ramsay: “The use of the filter, it was believed, diminished the strength of the liquor. For this reason, it was employed by the dissipated in order that they might be able to swallow a greater quantity without becoming intoxicated.”

D. The widespread testimony of ancient authors concerning “boiled wines” helps explain the mixing of water with wine.

1. The boiling of wines caused them to thicken since it reduced water content. The boiling would also ensure that if there was any alcoholic content it would be removed since alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water. And again, the sugar concentration is now increased by volume so the wine is sweeter (and thereby less prone to ferment since fermentation is hindered by a high sugar content).

2. The alcoholic content of such wine was so low that after mixing it with drink to become drinkable vast quantities had to be consumed if someone were trying to become inebriated. That explains why the sin of drunkenness in the Bible is often linked with gluttony or satiety.

E. What is the issue?

1. All agree that drunkenness is wrong. The issue is whether moderate consumption of alcohol (whatever that means) is also wrong.

a) What is “social drinking”? Not drinking much or not drinking alone? And by not drinking much what do we mean? Drinking to a point just short of drunkenness?

2. The question for us then is whether the Bible ever speaks approvingly of intoxicating beverages?

3. Because if it does not (or at least if we are not absolutely certain that it does!), then I think the general prohibitions against wine and drunkenness and the admonitions for sobriety and watchfulness would require a Christian to abstain from alcoholic beverages.

4. In any event, the burden of proof is on the one who wants to drink alcohol because there is no moral dilemma involved in abstention. Those who want to consume moderate amounts of alcohol should be required to establish that such an exception is supported by the Scriptures.

F. Before we begin, let’s consider for a moment at a high level the argument that drinking alcohol in moderation or so-called “social drinking” is approved by God.

1. How is drinking in moderation so as to avoid drunkenness any different from eating in moderation so as to avoid gluttony? The abuse of a product does not mean that the use of that product is wrong. Right? Not necessarily; it depends on the product.

2. The moderation argument assumes that God approves the use of alcoholic beverages. That is, the moderation argument simply assumes away the key issue before us here today!

a) A Christian can’t moderately fornicate or moderately steal. If we conclude that drinking alcoholic beverages is not approved by God, then the moderation argument becomes irrelevant.

3. The moderation argument also ignores the fact that alcohol begins to affect man’s judgment with the very first drink. It is detectable in the brain within a half minute of being swallowed.

a) It has always been amazing that the liquor industry sells a product that is known to attack the powers of judgment and yet it then complains when its patrons don’t exercise proper judgment! The drinker is in the worst possible position to make the decision whether it is safe to drive.

b) Drinking alcohol is very different from eating food, whether those activities are done “in moderation” or are abused. We all must eat to survive. Such is not true of alcohol.

G. There are 14 different words used in the Bible to denote “wine.”

1. For an overview of each word and the places where they are used, please see the excellent book by Jim McGuiggan entitled “The Bible, the Saint, and the Liquor Industry.”

2. One word used for wine is the Hebrew word “yayin.” (pronounced yah-yin)

a) In Psalm 104:15, God is praised for giving men yayin.

(1) Psalm 104:15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

b) In Proverbs 20:1, yayin is explicitly condemned.

(1) Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

3. How do we explain the seeming discrepancy?

a) Theory #1: Yayin in moderation is a blessing but in excess is a curse.

b) Theory #2: Yayin when non-intoxicating is a blessing, but when intoxicating is a curse.

c) With either theory something about the word must be discerned from the context -- either the quantity of the wine or the quality of the wine.

4. But does the Bible ever use yayin to refer to non-intoxicating wine? Yes.

a) Jeremiah 48:33 “and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses”

b) Isaiah 16:10 “the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses” (literally “tread wine in winepress”)

c) Jeremiah 40:10 “but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits”

5. Which theory is correct? I think the following passages favor Theory #2:

a) Would Wisdom in Proverbs 9:4-5 call the simple to drink intoxicating wine (in any amount!) when she knows what it does to people?

(1) Proverbs 9:4-5 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, 5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.

b) Why would Jeremiah in Lamentations 2:12 say that little children cried to their mother for bread and yayin if yayin always meant intoxicating wine?

(1) Lamentations 2:12 They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine?

c) Would the Holy Spirit through King Solomon in Song of Solomon 5:1 encourage his readers to drink intoxicating wine “abundantly”?

(1) Song of Solomon 5:1 I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

6. In my opinion, the yayin that is a blessing is the unintoxicating wine that is a gift from God, and the yayin that is a curse is the intoxicating wine that is a product of decay and the work of man.

H. Common Argument #1: Fresh grape juice is not wine. The word “wine” always implies fermentation.

1. False! Aristotle speaks of “sweet wine” as being “wine in name but not effect.” Other ancient writers speak of hanging and gathering wine.

2. In Genesis 40:11 we read “and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup.” Josephus’ version of the events in Genesis 40:11 reads as follows: “when he had strained the wine, he gave it to the king to drink.”

3. In Isaiah 65:8 we read that “new wine is found in the cluster.”

4. Historians tell us that grape juice was chiefly known in antiquity as the casual drink of the peasantry.

5. Today we use the word “wine” to apply to alcoholic wine, but that has not always been the case even for us.

a) As late as 1955, the Funk & Wagnell’s dictionary defined “wine” in “loose language” to be the juice of the grape whether fermented or not.

b) Webster’s dictionary in 1896 defined “wine” as the “expressed juice of grapes, especially when fermented.”

c) Webster’s dictionary in 1828 defined “must” as “new wine -- wine pressed from the grape but not fermented.”

d) The problem is that people have taken the usual meaning of the word “wine” and have made it the only definition of the word. That may be the only definition today, but unless that was true in Jesus’ day (and it was not), the argument carries no weight.

I. Common Argument #2: Some argue that fresh grapes were available for only a short period each year and any wine consumed at other times (such as at the Passover) must have been intoxicating.

1. This argument is also false, even though it is presented as fact in numerous well-known Bible dictionaries.

2. Travelers today to Persia and Turkey report that good grapes are to be had nearly throughout the year using the same methods of preservation that were available to the ancients. They are kept by hanging them in clusters from the ceiling of a well-closed room. One writer tells of grapes having been sent from Persia to India wrapped in cotton and sold throughout the year.

3. A related misconception is that it was easier to preserve fermented wine than unfermented wine. In fact, fermented wine was subject to become acidic and moldy. It could easily turn into vinegar.

J. Common Argument #3: Some argue that the ancients were unable to prevent grape juice from fermenting.

1. This argument is also false. Fermentation can be prevented by the exclusion of air or by the reduction of temperature, and both were practiced in ancient times.

2. Grape juice was placed in air-tight jars sealed with olive oil and placed in cool pools to keep it fresh and unfermented.

3. Fermentation can also be prevented by the fumes of sulfur dioxide, and several ancient authors describe the use of this method.

K. Question #1: Did Jesus create intoxicating wine when he turned water into wine as described in John 2:1-11?

1. John 2:1-11 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

2. We cannot teach that Jesus both drank and made for human social consumption intoxicating wine and at the same time teach that a Christian has no right to socially drink.

a) We may be able to argue that the wine of Jesus’ day was very different from the fortified wine of our day, but that argument has problems as we will see.

b) We may be able to suggest that a Christian should forgo that right for other reasons, but we cannot teach that he has no such right if in fact Jesus created, consumed, and distributed intoxicating wine.

3. So this event in John 2 then becomes a central issue with regard to social drinking, which is not surprising because it is the event that is always cited against one who refrains from alcohol for so-called religious reasons.

4. The popular notion that Jesus was a drinker has influenced the drinking habits of many Bible believers throughout the world, perhaps more than anything else that the Bible has to say on the subject.

5. We know from John 2 that Jesus produced at that wedding between 120 and 160 gallons of high-quality wine, and he did so for people who had already had much to drink. The question for us is whether this high-quality wine was alcoholic.

6. Many argue that it was alcoholic.

a) If so, what was the level of the intoxicant?

(1) Is there some level of intoxication (the natural limit, for example) that is permissible, and if so what is that limit and how do we know?

(2) Why should we assume that the wine Jesus made was at or below the natural limit? Could not Jesus have made any type of wine he wanted to make?

b) Did Jesus partake of the alcohol? Certainly if he made it for others we cannot conclude it would have been wrong to drink it himself.

(1) If the “good wine” in John 2 was “good” because it was alcoholic, then shouldn’t we conclude it packed quite a punch?

c) What would you say if a Christian opened a liquor store next to our property here? What if he sold alcohol to the people we were trying to reach with the gospel? What if he offered that alcohol to the young adults in our congregation and recommended it for their use? What if he offered to provide a free supply for weddings?

(1) If a Christian has a right to drink alcohol, then what is to prevent him from selling it?

(2) If we really believe that Jesus not only drank but supplied for others to drink large quantities of alcohol at a wedding, then what is wrong with what I just described?

(3) And yet if we think the situation I just described is wrong, then how can we believe that Jesus did in effect the same thing by supplying intoxicating wine to a large number of people at a wedding feast.

d) Burton Coffman has written that it is a perversion of the scripture to assert that Jesus turned water into grape juice at that wedding. Is he correct?

(1) Burton Coffman on John 2: “This is not to say, however, that the wine Jesus made was supercharged with alcohol like some of the burning liquors that are marketed today under the wine label. That we emphatically deny; but to go further than this and read wine as grape juice seems to this writer to be a perversion of the word of God.” (page 64)

(2) McGuiggan calls Coffman’s statement a “clear manifestation of ignorance” -- and I agree.

(3) Burton Coffman was a classic example of a drive-by commentator! He would just drive by a verse, open the window, and shoot.

(4) Also, how does Coffman know the alcohol content of the wine? On what basis does he “emphatically deny” that it was “supercharged”?

e) Some who so argue provide reasoning to support their view, but many offer nothing more than ridicule for the opposite view. That is, they mockingly say “Well, you don’t think he made Kool-Aid, do you?” No, I don’t. I believe he made unfermented grape juice, and let me explain why.

7. The belief that Christ created alcoholic wine rests on five assumptions.

a) First, it is assumed that the Greek word oinos used in John 2 for “wine” always means fermented wine.

b) Second, it is assumed that since the same Greek word is used both for the wine that Jesus made and the wine that ran out, both must have been the same type of wine, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

c) Third, it is assumed that the Jews did not know how to prevent the fermentation of grape juice and since John 2:13 indicates that the wedding was just before the Spring Passover, six months after the grape harvest, the wine must have become fermented.

d) Fourth, it is assumed that the description by the master of the banquet that the wine created by Jesus was “the good wine” means it must have been alcoholic wine.

e) Fifth, it is assumed that the expression “well drunk” in John 2:10 indicates that the guests were intoxicated.

8. Each of these assumptions is flawed.

a) The first assumption that the Greek word for wine always meant fermented wine is false.

(1) There are numerous examples from both pagan and Christian authors that show the Greek word “oinos” can apply to either fermented or unfermented wine.

(2) In fact, that same Greek word is used in the Septuagint at least 33 times to translate the Hebrew word for grape juice (tirosh).

(3) The Greek word “oinos” was a generic term that included both fermented and unfermented wine.

b) The second assumption that the first wine and the latter wine must be the same type is also false.

(1) Whether “oinos” is fermented or unfermented must be determined by the context.

(2) When the words are used this close together, one might expect them to have the same meaning unless there is some indication that they were different.

(3) In John 2, there is precisely such an indication. The wine created by Jesus is called “the good wine,” which tells us that the two wines were different in some way.

c) The third assumption that the Jews did not know how to prevent fermentation is false.

(1) We have already shown that the ancients were able to prevent grape juice from fermenting, and so the wine served first could easily have been non-intoxicating.

(2) This assumption proves nothing with regard to the wine created by Jesus. He, of course, could have created any type of wine.

d) The fourth assumption that good wine must have been intoxicating wine is also false.

(1) This assumption is based on current tastes under which the goodness of a wine is proportional to the strength of the wine and its power to intoxicate.

(2) In ancient times, the best wines were those whose alcoholic potency had been removed by boiling or filtration.

(3) Pliny (pronounced Plenny) expressly states that good wine was one that was destitute of spirit. Horace and Plutarch make similar statements that good wine is wine that is innocent or harmless.

(4) Thus, the phrase “good wine” in the first century should cause us to assume it was milder rather than stronger than what had come before.

(5) It is also worth noting that the Greek word used for “good” here is not agathos (meaning good) but kalos (meaning morally excellent or befitting).

e) The fifth assumption that the Greek word for “well drunk” means intoxicated is also false.

(1) The assumption is that since the Greek word “methusthosin” (“well drunk”) indicates drunkeness and since this condition is usually caused, according to the banquet master, by the “good wine,” then the good wine must be intoxicating.

(2) The problem with this assumption is that the Greek word used here can simply mean “to drink freely” without any implication of intoxication.

9. Circumstantial Evidence: Although we may not be able to tell from the events in John 2 whether that wine was intoxicating, perhaps we can tell from other verses in the Bible that describe the nature of Christ and the attitude of God toward drunkenness.

a) God’s attitude toward those who give their neighbors intoxicating drink is clear:

(1) Habakkuk 2:15 “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!”

b) Isaiah 28:7 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.

c) John 2:11 tells us that the object of this miracle was to manifest Jesus’ glory.

(1) Do we really believe that Jesus manifested his glory by providing 150 gallons of intoxicating wine to guests at a wedding who had already had their fill of drink?

(2) And what type of wine would we have expected Jesus to create to manifest his glory? Fresh, new wine or decayed, intoxicating wine?

(3) R. A. Torrey: “There is not a hint that the wine He made was intoxicating. It was fresh-made wine. New-made wine is never intoxicating. It is not intoxicating until some time after the process of fermentation has set in. Fermentation is a process of decay. There is not a hint that our Lord produced alcohol, which is a product of decay and death. He produced a living wine uncontaminated by fermentation.”

(4) William Pettingill: “I am satisfied that there was little resemblance in [the wine made by Christ] to the thing described in the Scripture of God as biting like a serpent and stinging like an adder (Proverbs 23:29-32). Doubtless rather it was like the heavenly fruit of the vine that He will drink new with His own in His Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29). No wonder the governor of the wedding feast at Cana pronounced it the best wine kept until the last. Never before had he tasted such wine, and never did he taste it again.”

(5) Leon C. Field: “Christ was not Mohammed, holding out to men the allurement of sensual paradise.” He calls us to a life of abstinence and self-denial rather than to a life of luxury and self-indulgence.

10. Conclusion: In my opinion, Jesus did not create intoxicating wine for the guests at that wedding.

a) Why was the wine so good? Because Jesus made it! Because the only drink they usually had that time of year was syrupy goop reconstituted with water, and Jesus made fresh grape juice better than anything they had ever had at any time of the year.

b) Although it is just an opinion, I think the weight of evidence is on my side. In any event, I certainly refuse to be apologetic or sheepish in expressing that opinion.

L. Question #2: What about Acts 2:13 where the apostles were accused of being drunk on new wine? Doesn’t that prove that new wine can be intoxicating wine?

1. No, it doesn’t. Think about that accusation for a moment. Why didn’t they just accuse the apostles of being drunk? Why did they also suggest what they might be drunk on? And then, having done so, why not just say they were drunk on wine? Why suggest they were drunk on new wine?

2. The most logical answer is that the question was intended to mock the apostles -- and the apostles were known to drink only new wine, which was non-intoxicating. They were mockingly being accused of having become drunk on their grape juice! Isn’t that exactly what the text says?

a) Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

3. This verse establishes that the apostles abstained from alcohol and that their abstinence was well-known! And if that was true of the apostles, what must have been true of their Master?

4. And does this mocking insult make any sense at all if Jesus was known to have supplied gallons of intoxicating wine at a wedding?

M. Question #3: What about 1 Timothy 5:23 where Timothy is told to use a little wine for his stomach’s sake?

1. 1 Timothy 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

2. First, once again we do not know whether this wine was intoxicating or not. There is some evidence that the ancients added grape juice to their water for medicinal purposes.

3. Second, the instruction to use wine for medicinal purposes can provide no justification for using any type of wine for recreational purposes.

4. Third, it is possible that the “little wine” Paul had in mind was intoxicating, but it was intended to purify the polluted water that Timothy had been drinking and that was causing his stomach troubles.

5. And fourth, a point that is often overlooked is that Paul’s instruction assumes that Timothy normally abstained from whatever type of wine Paul is now telling him to drink. What this passage teaches is that, at least for Timothy, abstinence was the rule.

N. Question #4: What about 1 Timothy 3:8 where deacons are told not to be given to much wine?

1. 1 Timothy 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre.

2. Does that imply deacons can be given to a little wine? If so, then why does it not also imply that non-deacons can be given to much wine? Just how far should we run with that negative implication?

a) It is amazing how people can read a prohibition and find license.

b) In Ecclesiastes 7:17, Solomon said “Be not over much wicked.” Did he mean they could be a little wicked?

c) It is possible for language to condemn an excess of something without approving the thing itself.

d) Peter, for example, in 1 Peter 4:4 spoke about an “excess of riot.” Did he imply that a little riot is okay?

e) Barnes: “It is not affirmed that it would be proper for the deacon, any more than the bishop, to indulge in the use of wine in small quantities, but it is affirmed that a man who is much given to the use of wine ought not, on any consideration, to be a deacon.”

f) Further, deacon’s wives in 1 Timothy 3:11 are charged to be “sober” (nepho), which signifies “to be free from the influence of intoxicants” (Vine Expository Dictionary)

g) “So if the deacon can be given to a little wine then that means several things. The deacon can be given to a little of that which the Scripture declares is a “mocker” and “raging”. The deacon can be given to a little of that which perverts judgment. The deacon can be given to a little of that which the Scripture instructs us not to look upon. The deacon can be given to a little of that which takes away the heart. The deacon can be given to a little of upon which woe is pronounced. I, for one, cannot believe those things. I am not prepared to argue that a little is OK, simply because God says he is not to be given to much wine. If this was all that was said about the matter I might be able to entertain the thought, but this is not all that is written on the matter.”

3. It is possible that the use of “wine” here may be an example of the figure of speech known as synecdoche, a form of which is when a specific object is made to stand for a general truth.

a) For example, “bread” (Matthew 6:11) stands for food of any sort. It is mentioned specifically, however, because it was commonly eaten at meals.

b) Accordingly, moderation in “wine” may simply stand for the principle of self-control at large.

c) It is interesting how certain terms appear to balance one another. The bishop must be “temperate” (1 Timothy 3:2), and “... deacons in like manner ... not given to much wine” (3:8).

4. Again, the wine in view here may not have been intoxicating.

a) In that case, Paul is telling them to show temperance in an approved activity. In effect, he is telling them not to be liquid gluttons.

b) Ancient writers tell us of drinking contests where volume rather than intoxication was the aim.

c) A popular vice of that time was to drink a lot of unfermented wine. They used various methods to promote thirst. These drinkers might continue drinking all night at their feasts. Excessive drinking, even of non-alcoholic drinks corresponded to gluttony -- the excessive use of food. Paul may simply be guarding the deacons against a vice of the day.

d) Perhaps it was assumed that they would never partake of intoxicating wine, and Paul was telling them not to partake too much of the other kind.

e) One reason may have been that to an outsider it was difficult to know what was being consumed. I, for example, would never drink grape juice at an event where wine was being served because everyone there (who didn’t know me well) would likely assume I was drinking wine.

O. Question #5: What about Matthew 9:17 where Jesus said that new wineskins were needed for new wine?

1. Matthew 9:17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

2. First, this passage shows that Coffman’s comments were reckless because on anyone’s view, what is put in the wineskins must be unfermented wine or else the story loses its whole point.

3. But why was the wine put in the wineskins?

a) Theory #1: New wine needed a new wineskin so that when it fermented the skin would not break.

b) Theory #2: New wine needed a new wineskin so that the dregs of ferment in the old wineskin would not cause the new wine to ferment. That is, the new wineskin prevented it from fermenting.

4. Which theory is correct? Physics favors the second theory.

a) The expansion power of carbonic gas is incredible -- it has been known to break the metal hoops on barrels.

b) A gallon of grape juice produces 50 gallons of carbon dioxide when converted into ethyl alcohol.

c) No wineskin -- new or old -- could keep from bursting under such conditions.

d) Job 32:19 Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.

P. Question #6: What about the Last Supper? Did that involve intoxicating wine?

1. We are often told that the wine at the last supper must have been intoxicating because that was the only type of wine available at that time of year. We have dealt with that misconception already.

2. But there are other reasons why I believe the wine at the Last Supper was not intoxicating.

a) The Talmud says that each person must drink 4 cups of wine at Passover. That would be about 3 pints. Do we really believe that each of the apostles drank 3 pints of intoxicating wine at the Last Supper?

b) And if so, then why a short time later did Jesus refuse the Roman drink from the cross?

c) Leaven was forbidden at the Passover. It would seem strange for participants to know that they had to remove all that was fermented but still consume 3 pints of fermented wine!

d) Leaven is a symbol of corruption, and yet the wine at the Last Supper denoted Christ’s blood.

(1) Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

(2) Acts 13:37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

(3) 1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

e) The other element at the Last Supper was without leaven. Why would we suppose that was not true of the wine as well?

Q. 10 Reasons Not to Drink: What if the Bible does approve intoxicating beverages? Would there still be any reasons why we should nevertheless abstain today?

1. One could argue that we cannot say that the sinless Christ and his word approve of moderate social drinking and yet say we are opposed to it on moral grounds. But on the other hand, wine today is more potent than it was in those days, and its effect on our society today has similarly become more potent.

2. Reason #1: I think we would all agree that abstinence is the safe course of action. No one will ever become a drunk if they never take that first drink.

a) Why play close to the edge with something as dangerous as alcohol? Should we live on a slippery slope? Do we want others to join us there?

b) One in fifteen who drink will become an alcoholic. The best way to avoid being that one is to never take that first drink.

3. Reason #2: Alcohol has a negative effect on our society. Why support the liquor industry?

a) Harry Emerson Fosdick: “The liquor traffic is for everything we are against, and against everything we are for. At the heart of the Christian conscience of this country there is a conviction -- make up your mind to it -- that the liquor traffic and the Christian gospel stand for two diverse and contradictory conceptions of personal and social life.”

b) Do we want to approve and support and industry that promotes and sells the raw material with which a fellow human “digs his grave and builds his hell”?

4. Reason #3: It is hard enough to be holy while sober. Why make it even more difficult?

a) Henrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

b) 1Pet. 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

5. Reason #4: Abstaining from alcohol is a good way to be seen as different in a sin-soaked and booze-soaked world. It presents an opportunity to teach.

a) 2Cor. 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

6. Reason #5: We are commanded to be sober and watchful.

a) Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.

b) 1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

7. Reason #6: We don’t want our children to drink (or use other drugs for that matter).

a) Matthew 18:6-7 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

8. Reason #7: It will take away a powerful weapon from Satan’s arsenal.

a) 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

9. Reason #8: Alcohol is a mocker.

a) Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

b) “The longer we see beer as the friend of crystal rivers and untouched landscapes, the more believable will become its lie. The industry wants to recycle beer cans, but will they recycle the broken marriages they caused? Will they recycle the dead and maimed in auto accidents they caused? Will they restore the promising career that they ruined? Will they restore the modesty and self-respect they stole?”

c) Oh, but it’s just one bottle of beer, we hear! We miss the whole power of the liquor business when we focus on just one bottle of beer. It is much more than just that.

10. Reason #9: Alcohol enslaves.

a) 1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

11. Reason #10: Alcohol ruins families.

a) It ruins families through automobile accidents, broken homes, and ruined lives and careers.

R. In my opinion, not only does the Bible not approve intoxicating wine, but it disapproves of its use in any amount.

III. Gambling

A. History of gambling

1. Evidence of gambling has been found in ancient Britain, Greece, Rome, Egypt, and American Mayan cultures. Six sided dice have been around since long before the birth of Christ.

2. Gambling has been legal in Nevada since 1931. In 1950, Las Vegas’ population was the same as that of Rosenberg, Texas today (about 25,000). Today the population is 2 million and growing. There are 151,000 hotel rooms in Vegas, more than in any other city in the country. (Houston with twice as many people has only 59,000 hotel rooms.)

3. Gambling has been legal in Atlantic City since 1976. Since a favorable Supreme Court decision in 1987, many Indian tribes have built casinos on tribal lands. There are now gambling casinos in 32 states.

4. In 2006, 460 commercial casinos collected more than $32 billion from gamblers.

5. Nevada brought in $12.6 billion in gambling revenues in 2006. (Interestingly, Mormonism is the predominant religion in Nevada.)

a) What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? It is certainly true that what is bet in Vegas stays in Vegas!

b) Do you know that if you win money in Vegas (no matter the amount) it will be given to you in cash? Why? Because when they give you cash they know they have a much better chance of getting it back.

6. Four out of five Americans believe that gambling is an acceptable activity for themselves and for others.

7. All told, Americans are now spending nearly $90 billion a year on LEGAL gambling.

B. But the Bible does not explicitly say “Thou shalt not gamble.” Doesn’t that mean it must be okay?

1. First, this argument really proves nothing since many sins are not mentioned by name in the Bible but rather are condemned by more general language.

2. As for why gambling is not mentioned by name, we do not know, but that alone does not establish that it is approved or that it is disapproved.

3. Some loose translations mention gambling by name in Proverbs 13:11.

a) (KJV) Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

b) (TLB) “Wealth from gambling quickly disappears.”

4. Gambling also brings to mind the casting of lots at the foot of the cross.

a) But lots were also cast in Acts 1 to determine Judas’ replacement. However, in that case, nothing was being bet.

b) Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; But the whole disposing thereof is of Jehovah.

c) Proverbs 18:18 The lot causeth contentions to cease, And parteth between the mighty.

C. What is gambling?

1. Before we paste a scarlet G on someone, we need to make sure we understand what that “G” means. What is gambling? What is not gambling?

a) Those questions are not easy to answer, and I believe we will find there is no bright line division between the two, although some activities are very clearly gambling and others are very clearly not gambling under almost anyone’s definition.

2. Chapter 47 of the Texas Penal Code defines gambling. (Nothing in these notes should be taken as legal advice. If you have any questions about whether any activity constitutes gambling under Texas law you should consult an attorney.)

a) A “bet” means an agreement to win or lose something of value solely or partially by chance.

b) “Gambling” is to make a bet on the partial or final result of a game or contest.

c) There is an exclusion if the act occurs in a private place, if no person receives any economic benefit other than personal winnings, and if risks are the same for all participants.

(1) But of course, saying that it is legal does not mean that it is approved by God. After all, it is legal to get drunk.

d) There are also federal laws regarding gambling, and especially Internet gambling.

e) For those types of gambling that are illegal, that is another reason why a Christian should not do it, in addition to the other reasons we will consider.

f) In a moment, we will briefly consider the impact of legalized gambling on our society.

3. The following factors have been used to define what is and what is not gambling:

a) Gambling involves the determination of the ownership of property by some appeal, either partial or total, to chance.

b) Typically the outcome of the wager is evident within a short period of time.

c) Some games are governed solely by chance while others are a combination of skill and chance. Others (such as sport events) are primarily determined by skill so that a person with greater knowledge of the participants has an advantage over others.

d) Gambling is a zero-sum game. It merely takes money from a loser and gives it to a winner.

(1) This is very different from “playing” the stock market in which it is possible for everyone to gain money or for everyone to lose money. A share of common stock is ownership of property.

(2) But options and future contracts are zero-sum games if we exclude costs. For every person who gains on a contract, there is a counter-party who loses. These sorts of investments are very close to that line between what is and what is not gambling.

e) Gambling involves trying to get something for nothing, without rendering service, or exchanging goods for the value received.

f) Gambling involves risking the loss of what you have in your effort to obtain something for nothing.

g) While gambling can be anonymous (as with Internet gambling or the lottery), gambling can also be among friends (as in a poker game at someone’s home).

(1) I think we would all agree that the former is much more pernicious than the latter.

(2) With anonymous gambling, I do not know the economic situation of the people who are betting.

(3) But with the lottery, at least, that economic situation is likely very bleak. As we will see in a moment, the poor are much more likely to buy a lottery ticket than those who are not poor.

(4) Why is that important? Because $20 to us has a very different value than it does to someone who must use that $20 to feed their family for a week or else go hungry.

(5) When we buy a lottery ticket it is like we are betting our 2 mites against the widow’s 2 mites in Mark 12.

D. Examples: Gambling or Not? Is there a bright line?

1. Some have argued that farming is gambling and that insurance is gambling.

a) But farmers do not seek something for nothing and they do not prosper at the expense of another.

b) Insurance does not involve created artificial risks, and the insurer is selling a service to the insured. Neither is getting something for nothing.

c) Is there a distinction between gambling with friends and gambling with strangers?

2. An entry fee is not gambling if the fee is paid unconditionally for the privilege of participating in the contest, and if the prize is for an amount certain that is guaranteed to be won by one of the contestants (but not by the entity offering the prize).

E. What about legalized gambling?

1. Legalized gambling stimulates illegal gambling and encourages related types of crime.

2. Legalized gambling produces a substantial increase in the number of compulsive gamblers.

a) The number of compulsive gamblers will increase between 100 and 550% when gambling is brought into an area.

b) It is estimated that close to 10 million Americans now have a gambling habit that is out of control.

3. Legalized gambling rarely results in a net increase of resources to the state.

a) For every dollar that comes in, three dollars generally go out to fight the increase in crime and to fund the social services needed to make up for the lost wages.

4. Legalized gambling hurts the poor, who are three to seven times more likely to bet on the lottery than the rich. A lottery is a regressive tax that soaks the poor of money they can ill afford to lose.

a) One study estimated that the lottery was equivalent to a 60% to 90% tax on lower income groups.

b) In Maryland, the poorest one third buy half the lottery tickets.

c) A lottery winner takes food off the table of 1000’s of poor people. That is where the money comes from.

5. The state may tell you that the money goes to education, but even if that were true it would not justify this state sponsored evil.

a) Rom. 3:8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

b) And what does the lottery really do for our children when it takes food off the table of our poorest residents? Whatever you do, don’t fall for the lie that the politicians care about our children when those politicians set up a state lottery!

F. What is wrong with gambling? Here are 15 reasons why you should not gamble.

1. Reason #1: Gambling has a negative effect on our society. It has evil fruit.

a) Gambling is linked with alcohol and prostitution.

b) Crime rates in casino communities are 84% higher than the national average.

c) It has been estimated that 40% of all white-collar crime is committed by compulsive gamblers.

d) Domestic violence and child abuse increase dramatically when gambling comes to an area.

e) Teens are three times more likely than adults to become addicted to gambling once exposed, and at least 1 in 10 teens engages in illegal activity at some point to finance their gambling.

f) There are 8 times as many gambling addicts among college students as among adults in general.

g) Matthew 7:17-18 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

2. Reason #2: Gambling is wasteful. It encourages reckless investment of God-given resources. We are, in effect, gambling with someone else’s money!

a) Some might say, “I have the right to do what I want with my own money.” And that would be correct if it were your own money, but it is not. If you are Christ’s, then so must your money also belong to Christ.

b) Christians are stewards.

(1) 1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

(2) 1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

(3) Luke 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

(4) Luke 16:1-2 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. 2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.

c) “To risk money haphazardly in gambling is to completely disregard the Biblical truth that our possessions are a trust for which we must someday give full account to God.”

d) Is gambling wasteful? Consider the example of Nick the Greek, who once won as much as $50 million in a single night. By his own account, he went from rags to riches and back again 73 times in his life. During his life time he won and lost more than $500 million. He died broke on Christmas day in 1966.

3. Reason #3: Gambling is foolish, and some types much more so than others.

a) The chance of winning the jackpot in the California lottery is 1 in 14 million.

(1) To put these odds in perspective, if you buy 50 Lotto tickets a week, you will win the jackpot about once every 5000 years. If you drive 10 miles to buy your ticket, you are three times more likely to die in a car crash on your way than to win the lottery. Suppose you’re in a stadium filled with 70,000 people and that there are 200 such stadiums. Select one person at random from those stadiums. You’re odds of being selected equal your odds of winning the lottery.

(2) Your chances of winning the lottery are about the same whether or not you buy a ticket!

(3) That is for odds of 1 in 14 million. The odds of winning the Texas lottery are 1 in 26 million. The odds of winning the US Powerball are 1 in 80 million. The odds of winning the 11 state Mega-Millions is 1 in 135 million!

(4) To understand the odds of 1 in 135 million, consider a stack of typing paper that is 8.5 miles high -- and choose one sheet of paper from that stack.

b) “But someone has to win,” you often hear.

(1) First, that is not true. Very often there is no winner at all, and that alone should tell you something about the odds.

(2) Second, the probability that someone will win is not the probability that should interest you. What you need to know is the probability that YOU will win.

c) But what if despite all these odds you win the lottery. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

(1) Perhaps, but personally I would have trouble living with the guilt of knowing that my winnings came from poor people all over the state of Texas and that I was taking food from their children’s tables and clothes off their children’s backs.

(2) Jeremiah 22:13 Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work.

4. Reason #4: Gambling is addictive.

a) 1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

b) Dostoyevsky: “Feeling as though I was delirious with fever, I moved the whole pile of money to the red -- and suddenly came to my senses! Fear laid its icy hands upon me and my arms and legs began to shake. With horror I saw and for an instant fully realized what it would mean to me to lose now! My whole life depended on that stake!”

c) Compulsive gamblers are subjectively certain they will win (they just know!) and they have an unbounded faith in their own cleverness.

d) The compulsive gambler lives in a fantasy world where only others lose.

e) Psychologists tells us that the compulsive gambler is getting back at his parents for their work ethic. Your parents may have told you that honest work brings success, but gambling seems to prove the opposite -- that one can get rich with no work at all. They may have said that nothing should be left to chance, but I will show them that everything can be left to chance.

5. Reason #5: Gambling is worldly.

a) “If you say that you are a Christian when you are a dice-player, you say you are what you are not, because you are a partner with the world.”

b) 1 John 2:15-16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

c) Gambling encourages a reckless approach to life.

(1) The “easy come, easy go” philosophy contradicts Christian stewardship and brotherly love.

6. Reason #6: Gambling is the opposite of giving. Its primary motive is to get.

a) Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

7. Reason #7: Gambling brings unjust gain.

a) Proverbs 28:6-8 Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich. 7 Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father. 8 He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.

b) Ezekiel 22:12-13 In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD. 13 Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee.

c) But is gambling is stealing?

(1) Gambling has been called theft by permission. My initial impression is to say that that characterization is a bit of a stretch.

(2) It is true, however, that theft and gambling have some things in common: The gains of the winners are paid at the expense of the losers. In winning, one receives the wages that another person has earned without giving them anything in exchange.

(3) But of course with gambling each side is a willing participant, which is very different from theft.

(4) But with anonymous gambling we do not know who is presumably giving their consent. And in fact, those who suffer the most from the lottery are children who are unable to give any consent. So maybe gambling isn’t so different from theft after all!

8. Reason #8: Gambling exploits the poor.

a) States know that much of the money spent on lottery tickets comes from welfare checks.

b) In many states, the very check cashing establishments that cash welfare checks also sell lottery tickets.

c) James 5:1-4 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

9. Reason #9: Gambling is covetous.

a) 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

b) Ephesians 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.

10. Reason #10: Gambling is idolatrous.

a) Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

b) Ephesians 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

c) We are under God’s providential care. When a person gambles, the focus is altogether different.

d) Gamblers put their faith in luck. They worship in man-made temples dedicated to the secular faith in luck.

11. Reason #11: Gambling encourages “get rich quick” thinking. It displays a wrong attitude about work. It discourages honest labor. It encourages laziness.

a) Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

b) Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

c) Proverbs 28:19-20, 22 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough. A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. … He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.

d) Proverbs 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

e) Proverbs 21:25-26 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour. 26 He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.

f) Proverbs 23:4-5 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. 5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

g) Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

h) 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

12. Reason #12: Gambling displays a wrong attitude about money. It encourages greed, materialism, and discontent.

a) Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

b) Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

c) 1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. (Is there any verse in the Bible that is more directly counter to what we find in Las Vegas – a city devoted to immorality and discontent?

d) Psalm 62:10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

13. Reason #13: Gambling displays a wrong attitude about the universe.

a) The Romans worshipped a false goddess named Fortuna. She was the goddess of fortune and chance. The Romans paid her great reverence holding festivals in her honor and even erecting temples for her.

b) One of those temples was called Felicitas, which means “good fortune” or “good luck.” Her name or the name of her temple was invoked to wish someone well who was gambling.

c) Isaiah 65:11 But ye that forsake Jehovah, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for Fortune, and that fill up mingled wine unto Destiny. (ASV)

14. Reason #14: Gambling destroys the home.

a) 1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.

15. Reason #15: Gambling violates the Golden Rule.

a) Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

b) Matthew 22:37-39 And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

c) Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.

d) Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

e) But doesn’t any competition violate the Golden Rule? If we play a game and I want to win (and hence you to lose) am I violating the Golden Rule?

(1) Clearly not. A friendly competition has its own rewards regardless of who wins, and those rewards would be lost at once if one of the participants decided to throw the game for the sake of the other.

(2) But when money is injected into such a game it infects that friendly competition, and soon the love of the game is replaced by a love of money.

f) Love restricts us from a predominant self interest to the exclusion of the needs of others.

g) Gambling encourages a callousness toward the interest and well-being of others.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)