Last Wednesday, when we looked at the first part of this chapter, I pointed out that I don’t hold the Day of Pentecost with the same reverence that most of our Protestant neighbors do.
Acts 2 was not the day that the church of Christ originated.
Neither was the baptism of the Holy Spirit which we see in the first verses was the way that the disciples became a part of the Lord’s church.
I know that we haven’t dealt with that subject lately, but we will before we come to the end of this chapter.
No, the Day of Pentecost was not all that many people want it to be.
But I don’t want to leave you with the impression that it was just another day either.
It was a fantastic day, perhaps with only two or three days in the history of man that came close to it.
It was the beginning of the fulfillment of one of the prophecies of Joel.
Pentecost was not just another day, howbeit it was not what most religious people claim it to be.
I want to go back and pick up a little scriptural nugget which most expositors just gloss over.
In my library I have a 23 volume set called “The Biblical Illustrator.”
It contains many thousands of sermon outlines and anecdotes from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21.
Often there are several dozen thoughts any given passage of scripture,
And many times they are just what I need to whet my imagination.
In fact I read about 20 pages of very small print in preparation for this morning’s message.
The non-drunkenness of the disciples is a non-issue to the editors of the “Biblical Illustrator,”
And when a large crowd gathered, and Peter arose to speak, the first thing that he said was:
“These are not drunken, as ye suppose.”
“This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.”
Let’s spend just a few minutes on the idea that these disciples were not drunken.
Many of you didn’t grow up in homes with drunken parents – for which you should praise the Lord.
But I assure you that you have been tremendously blessed.
So let me give you a brief, non-professional synopsis of what I have seen and know about drunkenness.
For example, people’s speech changes under the corrupting power of alcohol.
And they are less able to make other decisions wisely, like following directions & turning properly.
A huge portion of fatal car accidents involve people who are legally drunk.
And drinking plays a roll in most violent crime.
If alcohol was eliminated in the United States the quality of life here would immediately improve.
And crime would take a nose-dive.
There would be less need for taxes for police and prisons, and the welfare rolls would drop.
The health of the nation would improve, and the need for health care would fall.
This world would be infinitely better off without alcohol.
In other words, alcohol reduces peoples’ inhibitions and temporarily changes the way they behave.
So why did some of the people of Jerusalem think that these 120 Christians were drunk?
With the Holy Spirit filling them and empowering them, their outward personalities were changed.
Whereas some of them had been cool, aloof and even mean-spirited people, they were warm, and excited about sharing the gospel with perfect strangers.
Whereas they had been spending weeks in hiding, now they were walking through the streets of Jerusalem without fear, freely witnessing of the resurrection of Christ and of the grace of God.
For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.”
I would not want to be charged with being drunk.
It would bother me to be charged with any kind of intoxication.
I don’t take cold medications with alcohol in them, because I don’t want my speech any more blurred and confused than it already is.
It’s a shame to be charged with drunkenness, and Peter was right to deny the charge and to explain what was really happening.
But what was it that he said to defend the church?
He said that it was 9:00 in the morning – the third hour of the day.
Generally speaking, morning drunks are relatively rare.
Mornings are when drunks are retching their insides out.
Mornings are when the drunks from the previous night’s revellings are released from jail, assuming that there haven’t been other charges laid against them.
No, these disciples of Christ were not drunk; it was barely breakfast time.
All very true.
But think about some of the things that Peter DID NOT say.
Why didn’t he say, “These disciples aren’t drunk, because they are tea-total’ers”?
Why didn’t he say, “These aren’t drunk, because the grace of God has made new men of them”?
Why didn’t he say, “These men aren’t drunk, because since meeting Christ as their Lord and Saviour three years ago, they haven’t let a drop of wine pass over their lips”?
Could it be that he didn’t say these things, because they weren’t true?
I remember one evening about ten years ago: one of the members of the church came to me after a service.
I can’t remember what provoked it, but he came to me with an apology in his voice.
You might be thinking that he came to confess to me that he had been drinking, but that wasn’t the case.
He softly told me, “Pastor, I have been thinking about this for some time and searching the scriptures, but I have to confess that I find it hard to prove from the Bible that Christians must avoid all forms of alcohol”.
I don’t know if he was expecting a fight or a rebuke or just a cold shoulder,
I think it’s extremely tough to prohibit alcohol from the scriptures.
“Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities,”
The Greek word “oinos” is translated only two ways in the Bible: “wine” and “winepress.”
And in many of the scriptures where it is used, it is clearly talking about fermented or alcoholic wine.
In I Timothy 3 where the qualifications of a good pastor are outlined, the Bible says, “not given to wine.”
And of the deacon, that passage says, “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre.”
Why doesn’t Paul say “abstaining from wine,” instead of saying “not given to much wine.”
And if he was talking about unfermented grape juice, there would be no point in bringing up the subject at all.
There shouldn’t be any problem or difficulty with drinking either a little grape juice or a lot of grape juice.
But on the other hand, the Bible clearly and unmistakably condemns drunkenness.
So if you think that I am saying that we should all stop at the store,
And buy a bottle of Mogan David on our way home from church tonight, then you will be misquoting me.
I am a total tea-total’er,
By the grace of God I will refuse alcohol until the day that the Lord takes me home.
I grew up in the home of an alcoholic.
There were many, many times before I even started high school when I have been drunk on a variety of things from beer, to wine and even hard liquor.
My father encouraged it, so that I would be accustomed to alcohol when I left home.
If so, it’s because I am not particularly proud of that part of my past.
I am not boasting about it now.
The girl who never sips wine with her dinner will never embarrass herself with intoxication.
The man who never learns the taste of bourbon will never spend a night in the drunk tank at the county lock-up.
I hate it for what it potentially can do our children, grandchildren, our church and mission.
The Bible is more than clear on the evils and dangers of alcohol.
Proverbs 21:17 – “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine shall not be rich.”
Proverbs 23:29-32 – “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Habakkuk 2:15 – “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
Oh, how low the sinner sinks in order to justify his wickedness.
This scripture condemns both the act of drunkenness and the reason behind it.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
And that being true, that man cannot be sure that he is truly a child of God.
Kids, I implore you, NEVER experiment, NEVER taste, NEVER even smell a drop of any kind of alcohol.
It not only immediately destroys your testimony as a child of God.
But it could very easily eventually destroy your life.
And I do not have confidence that any drinker can claim to be a citizen of the kingdom of God.
The Lord had removed some of the inhibitions which kept them indoors for a while.
The Lord had filled their hearts with the Lord’s love and their mouths with the gospel of Christ.
They were grinning from ear to ear as if they were filled with new wine.
They were bouncing off walls as if they were totally inebriated.
But it wasn’t alcohol which caused it, but the presence of the Holy Spirit of God.
They were filled with the joy of the Lord, and this was their strength.
And ideally this is the way that you and I should be.
Turn to Ephesians 5:15-20:
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
But at the same time, doesn’t this scripture condemn drunkenness?
And this brings us right back to Acts 2
They are not in sin, rather they are thrilled and animated by the presence of the Lord.