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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Temperance Sunday Bible Study

Alcohol & Drugs

Aim of the lesson:  To explore a Christian attitude towards drinking and drug abuse.
Study passages:  Isaiah 28:1-17; 1 Corinthians 3:16-23

Notes:
  • The standpoint of our Church.  The official view of the Methodist Church is quite clear:
    • “In view of the fact that prevention of alcoholism is both cheaper and more effective than its cure, Conference urges our people to promote by word and example the advantage of an alcohol-free way of life and calls upon our people to remain faithful to the principle of total abstinence.”
Our Church has also expressed deep concern about the problems related to harmful drugs, drug abuse and drug addiction.
  • The Bible and wine.  There are two attitudes to wine expressed in the Bible, one positive and the other negative: it has benefits and it is a curse.  On the one hand, it is a symbol of God’s good gifts to people.  Paul urges Timothy not to abstain completely and to take a little wine for medicinal purposes (1 Timothy 5:23.)  Jesus provided wine for a wedding in Cana (John 2:10.)  He referred to it in His teaching to highlight the life and power of the Gospel (Mark 2:22) and as a symbol of the saving power of His blood (Matthew 26:28.)  On the other hand, the sinfulness and danger of drunkenness excess and abuse are strongly condemned (Isaiah 5:22, Proverbs 23:20-21, Ephesians 5:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:7.)  Wine befuddles the mind (Isaiah 28:7), causes anger (Isaiah 5:11) and brings shame (Genesis 9:21.)  Those who hold office or leadership in the Church are specifically warned against this fault (1 Timothy 3:8, Titus 2:3.)
  • The tragic effects of drink in society.  There are few evils which cause greater harm in society than alcohol.  Relationships, characters, careers, businesses, families and marriages have been destroyed by it.  Drink is a significant factor in road accidents, unfaithfulness in marriage, crime, child abuse and health problems.  In the light of these facts, Christians must consider very carefully what kind of example God wants them to set.  Clearly the Christian must either use wine in moderation or abstain completely.  Because it has such tremendous dangers, our Church urges all Christians to adopt an “alcohol-free way of life” as a matter of principle and example, even if they think they can remain “moderate drinkers”.
  • Our example to weaker believers.  The Christian also has a moral duty to abstain from things which might cause a weaker brother or sister to stumble or fall (Romans 14:21; Mark 9:42-43.)  there is no evidence that the “moderate drinker” has by his or her example ever deterred another person from taking his or her first drink.  In fact, the example of a Christian moderate drinker is far more likely to make them think it is acceptable.
  • Drug abuse is a problem of very serious proportions affecting old and young alike.  Drugs have many good uses, but the abuse of drugs must concern us deeply as Christians.  Four main types of drugs are commonly abused:
    • Stimulants (which make the user “feel good”)
    • Tranquillisers (which have a calming effect)
    • Hallucination-producing drugs (which affect the mind in some way – dagga, LSD, etc.)
    • “Main-line” drugs (cocaine, opium, heroine, morphine, etc.)
The chief reasons why people start taking drugs are:
o   For “kicks” and pleasure
o   To prove oneself with the “in-crowd”
o   To escape from reality and problems in life
The danger of experimenting, even with less harmful drugs is that they can too easily lead on to more serious types, heavier doses, dependency and addiction.  This then results in the destruction of the person and often leads to criminal activity.
  • Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19.)  We must respect and care for our bodies because god made them and owns them.  Avoiding harmful things like alcohol, drugs and smoking is one way of taking care of our bodies for God.  Abstinence can be a sign of our trust in God and our hope for the future.

Questions for discussion:
  1. To what extent is alcoholism and drug abuse a problem in Alberton?
  2. What do you think of our Church’s official stand on drinking?
  3. What kind of response are total abstainers likely to get from those who see no harm in drinking?
  4. As Christians, what can we do about the problem of alcoholism and drug abuse in our communities?
This material has been sourced from
the out of print
Faith and Life Lesson Notes
MCSA

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