Is it a sin to drink alcohol?

Each year, the United States spends $250 billion on alcohol. (Yes, billion.) You can have beer at ballgames, bourbon at Walgreens, or a glass of bordello while you get your hair cut. Alcohol is everywhere.

But pull up a map of the dry counties across the country and, not coincidentally, you’ll see a picture of the Bible belt. There’s apparently a group of Christians who say drinking is wrong, and another group who says, “I’ll have another” without blinking. Who’s right?

When we stop and listen to what Jesus says about drinking, he not only answers the “should we” question, but he directs us to something much deeper.

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– Hey everybody, It’s Chris Paavola.
Welcome to What Jesus Says About,
where Jesus speaks for himself
so you can respond for yourself.
Mmm. Delicious.
[upbeat music]
So, some of you are
probably freaking out that
I’m a Christian, I’m sitting at a bar
having a beer right now.
You’re sure that there’s a
verse somewhere that says,
Christians aren’t supposed
to drink or can’t drink,
but that’s just not true.
When you read the Bible,
it criticizes drunkenness
but you could actually say
when it comes to drinking,
it endorses it.
By the way, before we get started here,
I should probably say,
if you or somebody you love
struggles with alcoholism,
I’m sorry.
I don’t mean to make light of that,
it’s just that in response to that
some Christians have over
corrected in my opinion.
And said that if you’re a
Christian you can’t drink
and enjoy a Negro Modelo.
Or if you drink, then
you can’t be a Christian.
But that’s just not true.
And I think that creates
an unnecessary barrier
between people and Jesus.
In fact when you read Scripture,
you see that drinking is
not only tolerated, you can
actually say it’s encouraged.
The prophets would use wine and beer
as an image of prosperity. And
the Passover festival itself
has this idea of we should come together
and have this wine of celebration.
And so, when we talk about
what Jesus says about drinking,
it shouldn’t surprise us that
he’s very much in favor of it.
[upbeat music]
– In the very beginning of his ministry,
the very first miracle he does,
is he turns water into wine.
And this is after like a
three day wedding party,
when they run out of wine and he’s like,
“No, no, guys, I got you.”
At the very end of his
ministry he actually has this
celebration with his
followers and he says,
“Here, take and drink and do
this in remembrance of me.”
But in the very middle of his ministry,
one of the things,
one of my favorite
descriptions of Jesus is,
he’s hanging out with
some of his followers
and there’s some critics
of his, some skeptics
that start criticizing
that Jesus is hanging out
with people who drink.
And Jesus says,
“The Son of Man”,
[This is a way of referring to himself.]
“came eating and drinking, but they say”,
[His critics.]
“Here is a glutton and a drunkard,
“a friend of tax collectors and sinners.”
And here we see that
Jesus is being criticized,
not because he’s drunk but
because he’s hanging out
with those who drink.
And he associates himself
with-clutch my pearls-sinners.
And I love this description of Jesus.
He’s uncompromising in his truth
but he never lets his
truth compromise his love.
And that’s a good thing for me
because I’m one of the sinners
that I think Jesus would hang out with.
And I think that’s a great
compliment for me that
I too, as a follower of Jesus
would be a friend of sinners.
So, what does Jesus say about drinking?
He says whether or not you drink,
make sure you’re friends
with those who do.