Don Tarbet

          In the Lord’s first recorded sermon, He set forth a principle of knowing whether something is “good” or “evil” by the kinds of “fruit” it bears. He stated, “Ye shall know them by their fruits…. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:16, 20). True, the application Jesus made had to do with false prophets or false teachers. However, the principle is the same, whether a false teacher is teaching error on how to be saved, or how to live a life of soberness and godliness. Our Professor says it is not a sin to drink alcohol if it is limited to one or two drinks at a time. Writers on the subject of alcohol drinking state: “A drink is one 12 oz. Can or bottle of beer, one 5 oz. Glass of wine, or one 1.5 ounce shot of an 80 proof or less liquor.” The Professor says one can drink twice this amount in any chosen form. If one can do it one day, why not every day, and that without sin?? In 7 days, he will have consumed 14 cans of beer, or 70 ounces of wine, or 21 ounces of whiskey, as long as it is not done on the same day, for such would be an “abuse” of something approved of God, in the eyes of the Professor. It was the statement by Dr. Earl Edwards in the 2017 Freed-Hardeman lectures that triggered our discussion, when he said, “I would not tell a Christian who decides to…drink small amounts of alcohol, maybe in his own home, that he has sinned.” His defense of that position has been reviewed in this series of articles.
          This writing will be a study of the “fruits” of any drinking of alcohol, which is indeed an “abuse” of a poisonous product, for any good use of it is hard to find. We shall look at some of the headlines of the fruits of alcohol drinking. In the November 23, 2018 of USA TODAY, shocking information is given. The rest of this paragraph will contain quotations from this issue. “Alcohol kills more people each year than overdoses—through cancer, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis [sic] and suicide, among other ways… Deaths among women rose 85 percent…. Deaths among men rose 29 percent…. Beyond having their stomachs pumped, older, often lifelong, drinkers, frequently have multiple complications from their drinking …. They might have been hemorrhages or internal bleeding, because booze prevents their blood from clotting properly… About 88,000 people die each year from alcohol…. It is poison, and we’re treating it like it’s something other than that because there’s big corporate money behind it…. A lot of people are getting rich on something that is toxic to us…. One in five individuals who die from opioid overdoses have alcohol in their system at the time of their death…. Drinking can lead to cancers all along the digestive tract, from the mouth to the colon. About 15 percent of U. S. breast cancer cases are caused by alcohol…. People who drink throughout their lifetime develop a tolerance for alcohol, but as they are, they lose muscle and gain fat and become less tolerant. That leads to increased injuries and illnesses…. Once he got a taste for alcohol, it really did him in fast…. I would sit up all night with him, so he wouldn’t choke on this [sic] vomit…. I wasn’t able to see that my drinking was a problem until it was almost too late…. she suffered triple organ failure six years ago and was in a coma for 10 days….”
          Here are a few quotations from other sources, that are readily available through research on alcohol drinking through the Internet. “Excessive alcohol consumption according to the CDC, is responsible for 88,000 deaths per year, and costs the U. S. more than $200 billion.” “And what it means is that 1 in 3 adults drinks excessively.” In a writing on MODERATE DRINKING, Allison Aubrey stated that heavy drinkers drink more than 4 drinks a day or 14 per week, while women drink more than 3 drinks daily, or 7 per week or heavy drinkers. Alcohol affects every organ in the body.
          Alcohol Related Deaths: An estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol related causes, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Studies show that 86.4% of Americans drink alcohol in some form and to some degree. It is said that 6.7% received treatment in 2018 for alcohol disorders, and that 7.75% of ALL drinkers have to have treatment, but an equal or larger amount need treatment but never get it. This means that if 100 people take their first drink, 8 will become dependent on alcohol. In almost daily newscasts and newspaper headlines, tragic deaths on the highways of our land are reported due to intoxication. In the nation of India alone, some 6,000 deaths are recorded every day due to alcohol intoxication.
          There were 2,626,418 reported deaths in the U. S. for 2018, and divide that by 88,000, means that 30% of them died from alcohol. It can be illustrated this way. If 100 young people walk through a room of poisonous snakes, that 90 of them will be bitten, And 30 of those bitten will die from snakebites. How do like those odds? Who would want or permit a son or daughter to walk through such a room? Yet, some people try to teach their children to drink responsibly, and if they choose to drink, just don’t abuse alcohol by drinking “too much.” Some may not want their children to drink, but their own example tells them it is all right to do so. Many writers, while fear being labeled extremists, recommend that all should drink sensibly, or moderately. Such is not a safe course, however. It is a dangerous course, because few people ever begin drinking with the idea of becoming a drunk or an alcoholic. A great number of folks who begin drinking did not plan on becoming alcoholics, and find that it is most difficult to stop, and most of them do not. The only truly safe course regarding the use of alcohol is total abstinence. Do you know of even one person who drinks “moderately” who has never been absolutely and clearly intoxicated at least once?? At least in such an instance, drunkenness has taken place, and sin has occurred. We believe that it has taken place through so-called “moderate” drinking, for the effects of alcohol have already taken place, which is intoxication.
           Abstinence is taught in the Bible. Solomon says one who drinks strong drink is a fool (Prov. 20:1). He also said not to “look” at it with any desire (Prov. 23:29-35). Paul wrote, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:14). “Be not drunk with wine” (Eph. 5:18). John wrote, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17). Peter wrote, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11). “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries, Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Pet. 4:3-4). Finally, Paul wrote, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21-22). Clearly, all the evidence of the consequence of alcohol clearly show it’s fruit to be sinful. Let us not be deceived by it, and lose our lives here and our souls in the world to come.

          Why do people drink? In the first place, probably to just experiment and be part of the crowd, and trying to be “sociable”. In the second place, to get a buzz (same as getting drunk). In the third place, because of addiction, as they have been drinking so long they are addicted to alcohol. There is a law in the state of Texas put out by the Highway Department, which says Buzz Driving Is Drunk Driving. Those who continually or even drink occasionally, enjoy the “buzz.” Every time they are exhilarated or “buzzed” they have become intoxicated to some degree, and have violated the will of God. Those one or two drinks, even consumed in private, are not done by Christians.

* Updated on 4-4-2019 (last paragraph added)

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