That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:6)
Did Jesus make and drink fermented wine?
Unfortunately this is one of those subjects that has been misunderstood by the church at large. For it seems that there are those who try to make scripture read in such a way as to say that drinking any alcoholic beverage is wrong. They even declare that the wine that Jesus made was only grape juice. And of course, this is not scriptural. I do believe that these same people are sincere in their faith and mean well, for wine and other alcoholic beverages have caused many problems. However, to twist scripture to make it read as it was not attended to, can only cause confusion in the church. For we must rely on the Holy Spirit to teach us all things pertaining to God's truth.
Now that being said, we must realize that getting drunk is a sin. And if itʼs abused to the point of one being a drunkard (one who continually gets intoxicated), it can harm a persons relationship with God and even keep him (or her) from entering the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). However, that does not mean that you throw the baby out with the bathwater. We should not demonize something just because there are those that abuse it. Anything can be abused. And whatever you do abuse, you can be sure that you're committing a sin. And the reason should be clear. If what you do causes you to be unfruitful and even harmful, then you are being counterproductive. Jesus said if any branch in me does not bear fruit then it is removed. Also, He goes on to say that the will of the Father is that you bear much fruit (John 15).
So, we can see from what was just mentioned that whatever causes you to be unfruitful causes you to sin. This would include excessive drinking, wrongful sexual activity, watching ungodly movies, or anything else thatʼs counter productive. You may already know that there are warnings in the bible concerning sexual misconduct. Now does that mean we are to refrain from it all together? I firmly believe that sexual misbehavior has caused much harm upon this earth. It has been used to violate woman, young children, men, as well as animals, and is the cause of many deceases as well. But again, should we throw it out and encourage everyone to become celibate? Of course not. So why would we do that with wine or any other alcoholic drinks?
So in conclusion, enjoying a glass of wine or a bottle of beer is not a sin as long as you refrain from getting drunk. Jesus Himself admits to drinking fermented wine as well as the gospel of John declaring that He made it at the wedding in Cana of Galilee (Matthew 11:19, John 2:1-11). Now I have to admit, drinking is not for everyone. There are those who may feel the need to refrain from alcohol for whatever reason. But thatʼs their choice, and their choice should not be pushed on others who have the liberty to do so. Nor should anyone put the pressure on an individual to make them drink when they feel uncomfortable about it.
Now letʼs consider some scripture on this matter:
Are all the gifts of the Spirit available today?
There are those who say that the “gifts of the Spirit” ceased when the Bible (the Canon of Scriptures) was completed. Again, this is not true and amounts to bad scripture twisting at best. For they say that the passage which says: “when that which is perfect is come” is referring to the completion of the bible. So, is our bibles we have today perfect? No they’re not. For even the ones that are closely alike may still vary in some degree from each other in major areas (see major differences between the KJV & the NIV bible) and (Why the KJV Bible). Now don’t get me wrong, for the bibles that we have are still accurate in presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, there are a few areas in all our translations that have been corrupted. But this being said, by examining the evidence we have before us, we can come up with a fairly true and accurate bible.
So, why do some say that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased? Well, I do believe that those who hold to this view are trying to come up with an excuse for the churchʼs lacking in faith to exercise these gifts. So then, “when that which is perfect has come” is simply referring to a time in the future when God restore all things to himself. “For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:9). So, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2) We know when Jesus comes, “he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31) Then those gifts which served us here on earth will be done away with. For they only helped in serving the church and aided in the proclamation of the Gospel while on earth.
Letʼs now look at the Gifts of the Spirit
And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28) Just a casual reading of Godʼs word will clearly show that these gifts are necessary for the church of today. Not only that, but they are also to validate what weʼre proclaiming. Jesus said: “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; “but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believed that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” (John 10:37-38) Also, in John 14:11 He says the same thing: “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. And again in John 14:11-12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (Mark 16:19-20)
Now, we can see from what was stated above that miracles are not just to heal and deliver people from bondage, but also to validate what we are preaching. If Jesus felt it necessary to validate what He was doing with miracles, how much more do we. Those who say they ceased and are no longer necessary are denying scripture itself. Also, why would Paul write with much detail about the gifts of the Spirit if he knew they would soon be done away with? Iʼm convinced that Paul had no clue that his writings would someday be bound in a book along with many other writings of Godʼs saints. For there is no direct mention of it in the Old Testament as well as the New.
And last of all, let us remember what James wrote to us: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” (James 5:14-18)
Are You Treating a Church like a Burger King?
“Hold the pickles hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us, all we ask is that you let us have it your way.” Some of you may remember that little jingle from a Burger King commercial a while back. Simply put, Burger King is saying choose how you want your burger to be made. And though this may sound good for a burger restaurant, it's not really that good for a church. For there is only One who is to have His way in the church, and that's God Himself. But so many times we still bring this mentality into church, nit picking and complaining about the music, the temperature, the ones who are preaching and so on and so forth, expecting things to be done our way. But if we would just come to church walking in the Spirit and seeking God's will, we would find ourselves in a state of worship, and in prayer, wanting to hear from God instead of having everybody else hear from us. Wouldn’t it be so nice if the church would just get back to the basics? It’s all about being in love with God, being filled with His Holy Spirit, and totally loving Jesus Christ, “who for the joy that was set before Him” died on the cross for our sins (because all have sinned) and rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father (God) and He will come again for His Church (His bride, praise God). So, let’s die to ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Him. Because a church is not a Burger King.
Why take pleasure in the legs of a man?
He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. (147:10-11 This is so true. So why do we as humans think that the Most High God who created us is impressed with our athletic abilities or worldly feats that we do. Come on people he made us, he already knows what we can and can’t do. So when it comes to the Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13) we should not come to the false conclusion that this can be applied to our athletic abilities as well. Because let’s face it, there are many people who are opposed to God’s truth who have been successful in one degree or another. But when it came to the opposition one receive for sharing the Gospel, only through the strength that God gives can one endure and have true victory, even when facing persecution.
But what about Bethany Hamilton (who starred in the movie Soul Surfer), who unfortunately had her arm bit off by a shark. Many people may think that this whole thing is about God giving her strength to be a successful surfer despite the odds of only having one arm. But I believe it’s even deeper than that. For I see it as a lesson for us all not to put any of life's vain pursuits before God’s call to serve. What I mean is this. From what I can see from the movie, Bethany made a commitment to serve on a mission outreach. However, she broke her commitment and instead backed down so that she could put her surfing carrier first (even after being confronted by her mom on this issue). And most of us all know what happen next, a shark bit her arm off while suffering which almost ended her life.
Now I'm not trying to sound all judgmental on her because I do believe that she loves God and that she is loved by him as well. But I do see that God allowed this for her good as well as us all. For according to the movie she did have a change of heart. For despite all her efforts to get back into surfing, she got frustrated and at one point gave up surfing. However, it seems that after she took a mission trip to help those who were affected by the tsunami, she was able to put things back into proper perspective. And it was only after this that she truly became successful at surfing despite her having only one arm. Thank God that he is a God of second chances.
Now, I say all this according to my perspective of the movie. It would be nice to hear from Bethany, or at least find some information from the web that could shed more light on her perspective. Anyway that being said, life is not about our vain pursuits but it's all about loving God with our whole heart and then to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Well one may say, "God would never do such a thing," but let's not forget that God does allows things to happen to open up the eyes of his people. Such was the case with Ananias and his wife Sapphira who dropped dead at Peter’s feet after lying about a piece of property they sold. For they kept back part of the proceeds for themselves and then made people think that they gave all of it to the poor (Acts chapter 5). Unfortunately, even after Peter gave them a chance to tell the truth, they stuck to their lie and dropped dead at his feet. God help us all to come clean and to take heed when he is warning us.
Is it in God we Trust (or in the revolutionary revolt)?
“Oh say can you see, by the dawns early light.” Pretty much most of those who live in the United States would know the words to this song; a song which sparks national pride in the hearts of many red-blooded Americans. But has anybody really considered what took place during this war; who was fighting who and why? For if individuals would just strip off their patriotic blinders of pride for a moment, they would see a bloody war that should have never taken place. Yes, I mean it.
Now please don't get me wrong, I'm not some anti-American, but I'm just using this bloody war as an example which can be applied for all nationalities and their countries. So please just think about what I’m saying for a moment. Weren't the early colonist British citizens who went to war against fellow British citizens, and this mainly over the issue of taxation (yes, even King George himself was a Christian - see info below)? And has anybody considered how many on both sides were confessing Christians who were killing fellow Christians? So, the main question we should be asking ourselves is, was this really pleasing to God in the first place. And, do you really have the audacity to think that God was giving these early colonists two thumbs up during the Revolutionary war? Of course not. For if we would read and consider what God’s has to say, we would find out that this was all in disobedience to his word.
God's Word says:
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
The Preacher says:
FYI - Did not God tell us to obey the governing authorities, as well as to pay taxes to whom it is do? And what about those who were involved in the “Boston Tea Party” who destroyed the revenue of those who labored to bring the tea over in ships. Please don't be so blind to God’s truth that you would hold those men up as heroes who should have been imprisoned instead for wasting the goods of others? And not only that, but they had the audacity to dress up like Native Americans so that they could shift the blame on them instead.
Oklahoma church leader Albert Soto similarly claims:
The Colonists’ act of rebellion flies in the face of [Romans 13:1,2]. Did they overlook this verse? No, these were not men ignorant of Scripture. In fact, they used Scripture to support their cause in the most devious of ways. The deception that prevailed during this period of history was immense. God and Scripture was the vehicle of mobilization that unified the cause, gave it credence, and allowed the Deist leaders at the top to move the masses toward rebellion. Scripture was the Forefathers’ most useful tool of propaganda (Please note that this was done by twisting God's word - The Preachers comment)
Man’s System, not God’s
The United States national governmental system, as well as the rest of the worlds, was doomed the second it was conceived in the minds of its founding leaders. For we must remember that man has rejected God’s governing system and embraced a worldly system instead. For we can see this to be true in that Israel asked Samuel to give them a King as the other nations (1 Kingdoms 8:4-5). For by so doing, they rejected God’s form of rule which was by him speaking and leading Israel by his chosen prophets, and instead wanted to depend upon a man-made government that’s based on the weakness and fallibility of man himself. So, we can see even in the best of any individual’s interests, all the nations governments are based on a flawed system that is ruled by the dictates of men, instead of the truth of God; this goes for America, as well as for the rest of the world.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that these men and women who set out to make America a Godly nation were all wrong in all their efforts. For I can see the fruits of their labor here in America. But unless we totally surrender it all to God and do it his way, all values will just erode away, as we can see happening around the world today. So that being said, I truly do believe that the founding leaders here in America were all acting out of the flesh when it came to their revolting against the British government that was over the colonist of that time. For if they were fully walking after the Spirit, they would have honored the King (King George) instead of going to war against their own country and their own people. For Christ called us Christian to pursue peace, and not war; especially not over something as trifling as taxes.
Why Government Can’t Save You, By John MacArthur:
Over the past several centuries, people have mistakenly linked democracy and political freedom to Christianity. That’s why many contemporary evangelicals believe the American Revolution was completely justified, both politically and scripturally. They follow the argumentation of the Declaration of Independence, which declares that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are divinely endowed rights. Therefore, those believers say such rights are part of a Christian worldview, worth attaining and defending at all costs, including military insurrection at times. But such a position is contrary to the clear teachings and commands of Romans 13:1-7. So, the United States was actually born out of a violation of New Testament principles, and any blessings that God has bestowed on America have come in spite of that disobedience by the Founding Fathers. .... But the ideal human government can ultimately do nothing to advance God’s kingdom, and the worst, most despotic worldly government in the end cannot halt the power of the Holy Spirit or the spread of God’s word. https://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/45-97/The-Christians-Responsibility-to-Government-Part-1
Daryl Cornett of Mid-America Theological Seminary maintains that the American Revolution occurred because . . .
Deistic and Unitarian tendencies in regards to religion. . .. were of such strength that even orthodox Christians were swept up into rebellion against their governing authorities. . .. Those Christians who supported physical resistance against the tyranny of Britain generally turned to Enlightenment rhetoric for validation, propped up by poor exegesis and application of the Bible.
Who Owns Christian Music?
Why my fellow Christian musicians, do we collect royalties and claim ownership for music and songs for which we're not the true authors of? What I am saying is we are not the originators of Christian songs, but it is God Himself who is the true Author and Owner of them all. For it is He who put the new songs on our hearts as David says: He put a new song in my mouth, A hymn to our God; many will see and be afraid, and shall hope in the Lord. (Psalm 39:4 Sept.). God has freely given us these songs to share with others for the sake of praising and worshipping Him as well as to declare how good and awesome He is. So, tell me what right do we have to demand a price (royalty) for them when it is God who gave them to us free of charge? Yes, it is true that Jesus said “the workman is worthy of his meat,” but He also said “freely ye have received, freely give” (see notes). Though this may seem like a contradiction, in reality it's not because within God's word there's no such thing.
So, let's go ahead and consider what this means. The disciples that Jesus sent out to do the work of preaching, healing, raising the dead and casting out devils did not receive wages for the power that was bestowed upon them or for the message in itself, but for the work that was associated with delivering it. In the same way, a pastor of a congregation does not receive wages for the sermon in itself that he preaches, but for his faithfulness in being a good steward of the gift that God has bestowed on him. Yes, he may have spent a lot of time preparing it and putting it all together, in which He should be rewarded for, but we must remember that it is God who inspired it and put it on his heart in the first place.
So, the same is true with Christian music. God bestows it upon our hearts freely and we as faithful vessels deliver it to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, we should be getting wages for the work involved in the performance and delivery of the song and not for the song in itself. For as said before, we are not the true owners of it, but God is. Once that song reaches another church body, now it’s them who is doing the work in preparing and delivering it to church. So, now they should be receiving their wages, not for the song itself, but for being faithful stewards in their work delivering it.
Could you imagine the negative impact it would have on the Apostle Paul's ministry if he demanded royalties for every time someone would read his letters in a church or made copies of it? I don’t see, “© Copyright by: Apostle Paul's Apostolic Ministries. Any Duplication or Use without Prior Permission from the Copyright Owner is prohibited by Law,” at the end of any of his letters. And let’s thank our God that Paul never ended his letters this way because if he did, there may have been a big portion of the New Testament missing. This is the same and true with the psalms or, for that matter, anywhere in the scriptures. We don't see any reference to a copyright notice or any royalties demanded at the end of any of the songs or anywhere else in the scriptures (except for that which is of the bible publishers themselves which is an evil as well).
So why should we demanding money from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and place such a burden on the church? Let us remember that “covetousness” is a sin. Therefore, pertaining to religious things, we as Christians should not following after the pattern of this world with all its burdensome and greedy copyrights and patents laws, but rather obey God in His Word and be a people that gives.
The "Den of thieves"
As I said before. God is the author and owner of all Christian music and we are only His recipients and mouthpieces to bring praise and worship to His church. Let us remember what Jesus Himself said to those who were selling things in the temple: It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Matthew 21:13) He said this to those who were making money off of the people by selling things that were to be used for religious service, thus making His church a house of merchandise. This can be applied to music as well. For if you're making money off the songs itself in which God is the originator, you're taking money for something that does not belong to you, and that’s stealing. For He also said: Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. (John 2:16) We should be demonstrating that our time of gathering should be for worship and praise and not a means for financial gain.
In closing I would like to say that I do love all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are penning and singing these songs for the sake of the church and the world. I myself love to sing, worship God, as well as listen to the music of my fellow Christian. But please let us not mirror how the world operates or does things but let us live our lives as true children of the Light. For Jesus is calling us to come out of the world and be separate. And my prayer is for that.
What are those Filthy Rags?
We as people are inherently evil. The only way we can do any good is by totally yielding ourselves to God. When the crowed asked Jesus: “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” He said: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. (John 6:29 KJV). So, we can see from Jesus statement, that all we must (or can) do is believe in Him. And by doing this, we receive God’s Holy Spirit which molds us and shapes us into all that He wants us to be. Anything we try to do on our own is like filthy rags to God (the word filthy in the Hebrew is the menstrual period - Isaiah 64:5-8 Sept.). I think you get the picture.
What's so wonderful about the Cross?
I would like to draw your attention to what the writer of Hebrews has to say concerning our Savior Jesus and the cross in which He bore for our sins. For he says: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2) Please noticed that it says that “He endured the cross, (1)despising the shame.” Now, what does it mean to “endure” something? Doesn't it mean to put up with something that may be unpleasant or hard to bear? Secondly, what does it mean to despise something? Doesn't it mean to hate or loath that thing.” So we can see by this passage in Hebrews that Jesus Himself, because of His great love toward us endured the agony, the shame and the mockery that was associated with the cross. The Bible says that he despised it.
So what should our attitude be in view of the cross? Shouldn't we be totally humbled and be at reverential awe because of what took place on it? So I ask you fellow Christians, why would we want to or even think about singing how much we love the cross. Or just as bad, why would we sing how wonderful, mighty, and awesome it is? People, this is blaspheme. Why are we highly esteeming something Jesus Himself endured and even despised? We should not be exulting and adoring the cross, but only He who endured it for our sake. For let’s not forget what took place in the garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal.
For Jesus Himself being in agony, sweat as it were great drops of blood (2)praying that the Father would, if possible, remove the cup that He was about to drink. And we know that the cross was a part of that which He endured for us. Well you might say, did not Paul say (3)"God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ?" And I would have to say yes he did. However, if we read it in its full context we would see that it's not giving us a license to glorify the cross itself. For it's only showing us the outcome of it because of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. So it’s all about Jesus and not the cross in itself.
Something to consider
What if Jesus came to earth in our lifetime or even a few generations ago to give his life a ransom for our sins? What kind of death would he die? Wouldn't it be through a hanging, or an electric chair or even a firing squad? Would you then be singing "Oh the wonderful noose, Oh the wonderful noose" or “Oh the wonderful electric chair” or even the bullet? People then as well as today would call you sick and morbid. How much more would the early church call you sick or morbid if you were there singing, "Oh the wonderful cross" during that time when they new how gruesome the cross was. So I would have to say, rip those songs out of every hymnal and destroy every recording that proclaims these morbid songs. God help us all.
Last of all I would like to say, let us remember the (4)cry of misery that Jesus gave to the Father while hanging there on the cross. For He was forsaken so that you and I can be forgiven and be brought into a right relationship with Father. Amen