Thursday, July 19, 2007

Holy Spirit - Wine

Now that’s a topic that’s likely to spark a debate. A few things to be clear:

- Drunkenness is never appropriate for a believer.
- But total abstinence is not Biblically required of a believer except in three instances.

o If you take the priesthood of believers to a literal extreme that OT priests were not allowed to drink. (Leviticus 10:9) See the last bullet, however.
o You have taken a special vow (such as Nazarite) not to drink.
o Your drinking would cause other believers to stumble. (Romans 14:21)

- The disciples drank wine (At Cana, and in Luke 5:29-33)
- Jesus drank (Luke 7:31-34). Jesus basically said “John the Baptist didn’t drink and you didn’t believe him because you said that was too weird, I do drink and you don’t believe me because of it, you’ll find some reason to turn down God’s message no matter how it comes.”
- Early church elders could drink in moderation (I Timothy 3:8, and I Timothy 5:23 where Paul instructed Timothy to mix a bit of wine in his water because Timothy was prone to illness, and Ephesian water was prone to parasites.)

Throughout Scripture, wine symbolizes a strong, emotional experience of joy. (There are 4 passages that talk about the deceitful “joy” that comes in the course of sinful passions “Their wine is the venom of serpents.” Even in those passages, wine still symbolizes passionate enjoyment. With those exceptions, wine symbolizes not only joy, but joy that comes from God’s blessing.)

The Psalmist says that Joy coming from God is better than joy coming from wine (Ps. 4:7)

Overall, wine is symbolic of God’s blessings and the Joy that comes from being in right relationship with Him. Unless wine is consumed in excess, then it symbolizes foolishness, and indulgence.

Wine was used as a drink offering. The drink offering, the daily burnt offering, and the meal offering, all speak of the Joy of being daily in right relationship with the God. A drink offering was NEVER to be given with a sin offering. The joy that comes in sin offerings is too muted by the price that was paid.

The Holy Spirit is linked with wine in three primary ways.
1. The Holy Spirit is the source of Joy.(Galatians 5:22)
2. When the Apostles were filled and overcome with the Spirit at Pentecost, they were at first accused of being drunk.
3. Ephesians 5:18 says “Do not be drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled by the Holy Spirit.” That command doesn’t even make sense, unless there are some strong similarities between the two.

The Message version puts it this way Ephesians 5:11-20 “It's a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light! So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don't live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. Don't drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.”

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