Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
(Romans 13:13 NKJV)
Let us imagine for one moment a scene. Someone has invited you to a party celebrating the victory of the Werder Bremen football team. It will take place at the Park Hotel and it will include a full-course meal with a variety of good food. There will be all kinds of drinks served, and it will last all night. Best of all, it will be free. What if everyone was invited, and you were invited to eat and drink everything in the entire room. How would you respond to this offer?
Some of you, I know what you are thinking: Free food – great! Some are thinking? Is there going to be alcohol? Some will ask who will be there?
Suppose I tell you that other people from Bremen will be there and that everyone will be eating and drinking. They will indulge themselves in eating, drinking, partying, singing, and live music all night. It will be a wild party.
Now remember it is free, but there will be alcohol, possibly some drugs, and perhaps some people going into some other rooms and having sex in the various beds. I mean it is a hotel after all. They will be some games, and perhaps people may start to shout to one another. Do you want to go? Oh, it will be fun, no harm will be done. You will enjoy yourself.
What is the difference in this scene? A nice party has turned in to a wild party. A group of people have let themselves get out of control. This is the idea behind the world “revelry.” You remember this word from Romans 13:13. It is the first pair of activities that we are to restrain in our lives.
Here in 1 Peter see the affect of what happens when you decide to follow God’s instruction about responsible love with others. Here, our lives were filled with “doing the will of the Gentiles”, as opposed to the “will of God.” What is that life of doing the will of the Gentiles?
1 Peter 4:3 defines it in this way:
For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
(1 Peter 4:3 NKJV)
This pretty much sums up the life of people in the world. Revelry is also known as:
Revellings–KJV, Carousing–NASB, Orgies–NIV, Revelries–NKJV, Wild parties–NLT
Here are some definitions for the word that is used in Romans 13:13 and 1 Peter 4:3:
excessive, and boisterous acts of intemperance and lustful indulgence
feasting and noisy merriment
the original word includes rioting and wild actions associated with drunkenness
This word graphically describes a life of uncontrolled license, indulgence, and pleasure; taking part in wild parties or in drinking parties; lying around indulging in feeding the lusts of the flesh.
In the Greek writings it was a a procession of people at night, who were half-drunk after supper. They would parade in the streets with torches and music in honor of Bacchus or some other deity. They usually led themselves into riots. This practice perhaps had its origins in the nightly worship of the Moabite god Chemosh as seen in the Old Testament.
because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David.
(1 Kings 11:33 NKJV)
Revelry (carousing, and orgies) is unrestrained behavior that comes from engaging and indulging in wild parties and everything that is associated with these parties to the point where I allow myself to get out of control.
It is the Carnival parade where drink has lowered inhibitions.
How do I know it is wrong?
1.I know it is wrong because God teaches that it is wrong. You can look at the list of actions in various places:
Galatians 5:21-22 show a list of actions that tell me that I am not living in the Holy Spirit.
Luke 21:34 shows me that Jesus says this behavior is wrong.
Here, 1 Peter 4 shows me:
2.I know it is wrong because from the reaction from the people who do these things prove that this is wrong for me to do.
Let me explain what I mean. Your non-Christian friends will encourage you to indulge yourself. They will encourage you to live it up. They will say: “Go ahead and drink, live it up, and party like it is no tomorrow.” You know it is wrong because God teaches that people who do these things will not enter the kingdom of Heaven.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV)
But you can see it is wrong because of the way the world will react to you. They will respect you. But they will think it is strange that you don’t join them.
In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.
(1 Peter 4:4 NKJV)
When I was 22, I was attending a local community college in Texas City. I hung out with some friends, some were just associates and classmates during the free time that I had. They knew I was a Christian, but they teased me about the fact that I was not too loose. Of course they invited me to an “End-of-Semester” party. It was held at some local bar. Some encouraged me to drink even though I told them I don’t drink.
(I will talk more about the issue of alcohol and its affects on us next week. There is a reason why carousing and drinking are connected in the same verses.)
So I went to the party. There were about 10 people there from the college. (Names here have been changed intentionally). The one who invited me, his name was Patrick. He was about 25 years older than me, and he joked too much. He admitted to being on Prozac, and some of the adventures that he had made me glad that I had not joined him. He had a pony-tail on the back of his gray hair and I thought he really was a hippie.
In any case, there were other people who came. A young man in his mid-thirties named Jarrod, a couple of women also in their mid-thirties, and a very young female college student named Carol.
Well, we stayed from about 7pm until 9:30pm. The drinking progressed, and then Jarrod and Carol came together. Now I knew that Jarrod was married. So I knew that this was not a good combination. Jarrod had brought this young lady, who in fact was under 21. This meant that she was not allowed to drink alcohol. Needless to say, Jarrod did serve her alcohol. Carol stepped out a couple of times and threw up in the back of someone’s truck. She was not enjoying the evening.
The evening would had gone without event except for the argument that these two started to have. She was obviously drunk, and in her drunkenness, she called Jarrod’s wife using the pay phone. Jarrod’s wife in turn called the police.
I don’t know what happened next. Carol went back outside, and the next thing I know, Carol is lying out on the parking lot in front of the bar, dead-drunk and half-dead – literally.
I obviously had a thought of helping with the CPR (she had stopped breathing), when my friend Patrick turned to me and said these words:
Jim, you’ve had enough. It’s time you go home.” Of course I objected. I wanted to truly help. But Patrick knew better. He knew I didn’t belong. He said that the cops were coming and that it would be best if I left. He would talk to me the next week.
Why do I tell you this? Because when you say you are a Christian, and you really show it, there will be people whom you become friends with, whom you know, whom you hang out with – these people will know you are different.
Some will be like Patrick who will tell you it is time to leave. But many times, others will be asking you to join, and wondering why you don’t join.
So if we are not to engage in “revelry”, and let ourselves get out of control in that way, what are we to do?
ENJOY THE CARNIVAL OF LOVE
When you become a Christian, you don’t need these wild parties anymore. Before, you always looked for love and community. You searched and you didn’t know what you wanted. But now in Christ, you have this love and community and you can share it with others.
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
(1 Peter 4:8 NKJV)
These wild parties have a community that works only on the superficial level. This is why they did not satisfy your longings that you had.
Friendship is more than how much you drink, how funny you are, and how cool you think you need to be or how cool they think you need to be. Instead, you take time to share with others and to value the other person.
When you enjoy the carnival of love, you don’t get dressed up and hide in masks (like some will do this week). Instead, you learn to take off the masks that you normally wear to protect yourself and you start to learn how to really relate with other people.
You don’t spend time with others and have the expectation that you need to get something out of others – whether that something you want to get is sex, money, or a meal. Instead, you simply learn to enjoy the time together.
When you enjoy the carnival of love, you sit across the table and enjoy the company of other Christians. You don’t spend time counting their faults, and beating them up because of what they did wrong. You spend time with them and enjoy them for who they are.
I enjoy you because of you. You enjoy me because of me. We don’t worry about what others think. We don’t try to do things to impress one another.
We enjoy the carnival of love – by simply enjoying time with others in Christ – where we know we will be loved. Just like this church did yesterday at the Kohl and Pinkel party, and the week before with the couples at the “Oldies Party.” You enjoy the time together without letting yourself, or other people get you out of control.
You go home satisfied because you know that you have been loved.
There are no hang-overs, no head-aches, no embarrassing revelations, and no empty experiences. There is just a fulfilling experience that comes from knowing that God loves you, others love you, and you can safely take time to get to know others in a deeper, more fulfilling fashion. You come away from the carnival satisfied – satisfied in Christ.