When preaching a sermon, there are natural time limitations that make it difficult to cover everything in a given passage in a complete way. The purpose of this blog series is to more fully address the list of qualifications for Elders (which are also things that all Christians are called to be) in Titus 1:5-9. Some items in the list were covered more extensively in this sermon, so I won't be covering those items here.


Few things stir more strong feelings than the topic of Christians and alcohol.

I addressed this topic briefly in my sermon, where I primarily emphasized that Christians are permitted to partake of alcoholic beverages if they so desire. I approached it from that perspective mainly because of the persistent way that the SBC has handled the issue of alcohol, which has been that any alcohol consumption is sinful. This is not accurate because it is not in line with Scripture. Consider the following:

  • We are told that wine is given to "gladden the heart of man"
    • (Ps 104:15)
  • Throughout the Bible, wine is presented as a blessing
    • (Gen 27:28; Deut 7:13; Jud 9:13; 2 Kg 18:32; Is 55:1; Jer 31:12; Hos 2:8-9; Joel 2:19; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13-14; Zech 9:17)
  • In the feast to come celebrating the work of the Messiah, one of the highlighted items is "well-aged wine"
    • (Is 25:6)
  • Jesus not only turned water into wine - He turned water into good wine.
    • (Jn 2:1-10)
  • Jesus Himself was known to drink alcohol, a fact that His adversaries tried to use to disparage Him
    • (Mt 11:19)

That last one is significant, because it has also been stated that the wine referred to in Scripture wasn't alcoholic. But Jesus was called a drunkard, and the disciples at Pentecost were accused of being "filled with new wine" when they began preaching (Acts 2:13). There's no actual evidence to prove the "two wine theory" that's been presented to provide cover for the argument that the Bible is against drinking, and we should be extremely hesitant to condemn something that God presents as a blessing throughout the pages of Scripture.

All of that being said, the focus of this list is on NOT being a drunkard. The issue that Paul is addressing here has less to do with alcohol, and more to do with being mastered or controlled by anything. A few items later Paul highlights that an Elder must be "self-controlled," and the same characteristic is included in the list of the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. 

Because Christians are called to be set apart from the world, we must not be mastered by anything but Christ. This includes our emotions, our bank accounts, our families, our beverages, and anything else that would cause us to act in ways that run afoul of Christlikeness. This is at the heart of the prohibition against drunkenness, which is a sin and often leads to other sins as our judgement and self-control are hampered.

This does not mean that Christians are required to partake of alcohol in order to truly follow Christ, because some of us are more inclined to fall into addiction and drunkenness and thus be mastered by alcohol. For those who have struggled previously with addiction, or who are more prone to drunkenness, it is wise and good to abstain from alcohol. 

In situations where we are with Christians who struggle with these things, or with Christians whose consciences do not allow them to drink alcohol, we must follow the command of Paul in 1 Corinthians 8 to "take care that this right of yours does not become a stumbling block to the weak." Just as the conscience of one does not bind another, the freedom of one does not free another.

In summation - Christian, you are free to drink alcohol if you so desire. You are also free to abstain if you so desire. You are not free, however, to be mastered by anything other than Christ. You must not be a drunkard.

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