PROVERBS SERMON – Self Control in an Addicted World

I preached the next sermon in our series on proverbs this morning. The message can be downloaded on the Jubilee Church London website or listened to right here in this embedded player thanks to odeo

UPDATE:  Tope Koleoso has more recently preached on alcohol, and speaks about his experiences having grown up in tetotal African Christianity.


Prov 23, Jer 2:13, Prov 14:27, 1 Cor 6:9-20, Eph 5:15-18, John 7:37
This chapter is about discipline – children mentioned in there but we can only discipline our kids to the extent that we are disciplined ourselves.

We see here that far from the modern advice to let it all hang out and pursue our rights for pleasure the writer is telling us to be careful of our appetites – and to tame them – to discipline them. He uses drink as an illustration of this –

The Evils of drink

The writer of proverbs asks us to consider what one must pay for excessive drinking -
Woes, pain, confusion, bruises, desperation – “give me one more drink”!

22% of UK men and 9% of women drink over the recommended amounts and are at risk of alcoholism and alcohol related sickness
Deaths due to Alcohol in the UK doubled in the last few years –
4,144 in 1991 to 8,380 in 2004 plus road deaths

What are you drinking?
Its not just drink….

  • -88,800 deaths due to smoking in 2004
  • In Great Britain in 2005, 72 per cent of current smokers aged 16 and over reported that they wanted to give up smoking, with health reasons being the most common reason given for wanting to stop.
  • Almost 1 in 5 teens have taken drugs in the last year – significantly more than smoke, and just a little less than drink
  • Drugs
  • Porn
  • Spending money

BUT ALSO seeking after anything other than God for ultimate fulfilment and pleasure:-

“for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Je 2:13).

  • What is it that I believe I cannot be happy without?
  • What is it that I crave?
  • What is it that I believe I must have?
  • What is it that I spend most of my spare time thinking about?
  • What is it that I most worry about losing?
  • What is it that I seek my happiness in the most? (or to use older language delight in?)
  • What do I love more than God?

(Taken from John Piper) I added one more

  • What is the one thing I am thinking of right now that he cant possibly mean

What keeps us drinking?
-Sense of need – the wine/cigarette/whatever is my friend- HAS A CONVERSATION WITH US – some friend! Give it a chance and it will steal all your money, take all your time, break up your marriage, cause others to look at you with contempt, make you stink, give you diseases, kill you and condemn your soul to hell!
“Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” John Owen
-Pleasure
-denial
-helplessness

How to STOP drinking
-recognise the extent of the problem
-Turn to Jesus – AA “higher power … helpless…”
Prov 14:27 “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death”
1 Cor 6:9-20
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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 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.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. … Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

CAN YOU GLORIFY GOD WHILST WATCHING PORN WHILST DRINKING TO EXCESS WHILST SMOKING?

WRATH IS COMING – TURN TO GOD TO HIDE FROM HIS WRATH IN HIS SON

Then, having believed in Jesus, then what?
-just DO IT or rather DON’T DO IT!
- practical steps – flee, etc.. you CAN stop as you aren’t doing it right now!
God COMMANDS US to repent!

Legalism vs fleeing from sin – the decision needs wisdom for the alcoholic it is obvious….even for some who have not been alcoholics…

2 christian approaches to drink that are acceptable depending on the individual, their personal beliefs and situation – abstinence and moderation. Asked Tope and Stuart, both happy as our elders for people to hold either position – just NOT to be drunk or addicted!

Personally at different points of my own life I have lived by both approaches and I hold my current position on this issue very lightly – I would change in an instant if I felt it appropriate.

Someones story I found “I haven’t touched alcohol since January 1st, 1996. I don’t plan on touching it ever again. Several different reasons affect this decision. First, with Christ in my life, I have no need to fill the emptiness with drinking like I used to. Second, I do not want to give in to temptation and have that demon control my life again. Even though I have faith in Christ, I am aware that the flesh can be weak. I also am concerned that taking up drinking again could fall into the category of testing God. Third, I have friends who drink, many times to excess. I want to show them that life with Christ is the only dependency I need. I know and am the first to address that the Bible does not tell us to have a zero-tolerance for alcohol. Everything in moderation. That’s why I don’t tell anyone that they can’t drink. For some people who I recognize as having a problem I will suggest they explore why they drink so much. This is my question: Can someone who is an alcoholic but has not had a drink since before baptism ever reach a point in life where he or she can have a glass of wine with dinner and treat it as if drinking a soda, glass of tea or water?”

MY REPLY TO THAT QUESTION – “I am sure that there are some recovered alcoholics who learn to be able to drink in moderation, I just haven’t met any yet. Every successful dry ex-drinker I have met abstains totally.”

Same principle for all addictions. If you are not addicted but know you are seeking your joy in something good, a temporary fast can be of help….

NT puts it this way….

Eph 5:15-18 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

1, Be wise/careful
2. Do not get drunk – instead be disciplined (opposite of debauchery)
3. BE FILLED (or be being filled!)
4. IT’S A COMMUNITY THING – NOT AN INDIVIDUAL THING….

BUT more then that need to FILL self with something else….-DRINK from another fountain – fear of the lord is a fountain of life….

All sins are attempts to fill a void – if you are full of Jesus far from a void you will have a fountain inside welling up to bless others!
don’t get drunk get filled

“..when the soul is exercised to communion with Christ, and to walking with him, he drinks new wine, and cannot desire the old things of the world, for he says “The new is better.” He tastes every day how gracious the Lord is; and therefore longs not after the sweetness of forbidden things, — which indeed have none. He that makes it his business to eat daily of the tree of life will have no appetite unto other fruit” John Owen. Temptation (144).

“Would you want to watch a football game where all the players were no better than you? Or watch a movie where the actors could act no better than you and were no better looking than you? Or go to a museum to see pictures by painters who could paint no better than you?” Why are we willing to be exposed in all these places as utterly inferior? How can we get so much joy out of watching people magnify their superiority over us? The biblical answer is that we were made by God to get our deepest joys not from being superior ourselves but from enjoying God’s superiority. All these other experiences are parables. God’s superiority is absolute in every way, which means our joy in it may be greater than we could ever imagine.” PIPER

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,  ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ “ (Jn 7:37).

When you have a river flowing from inside of you, self control becomes easy!

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock is a medical doctor, a writer, and a member of Jubilee Church, London since 1995, where he serves as part of the leadership team alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus. Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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