From the 10.18.2020 Liturgy of Sovereign King Church
Written by Aaron Sabie
The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 23:29-35 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things And your mind will utter perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast. “They struck me, but I did not become ill; They beat me, but I did not know it. When shall I awake? I will seek another drink.”
This is the Word of the LORD.
Drunkenness is the object of this Lord's day Proverb. Talk to anyone acquainted with the abuse of alcohol, anyone familiar with imbibing in strong drink over the course of their life, and you will hear stories of raucous behavior, fights, sexual immorality, hangovers, lost time, and strained relationships. For all the glamor that many like to portray a night of drunkenness as, rest assured, it leads to nowhere but passed out in a puddle of your own vomit stumbling around in some back alley in Tijuana. While an evening filled with throwing back a few strong drinks with your friends may appear fun and harmless, in the end, God's word reminds us that "at the last it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper."
Drunkenness is a sin. In Ephesians we are told "do not be drunk with wine, which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit". Titus warns the older women to not be addicted to much wine.
Noah stumbled into drunkenness following God's deliverance from the flood. Genesis 9:20, 21 tells us:
Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent.
Drunkenness is a sin which greases the wheels of your conscience and breaks down your guardrails of self control, leading, as the proverb tells us today, to woe, sorrow, contentions, and complaining.
Matthew Henry says this of drunkenness:
Drunkenness is the cause of drowsiness; it stupefies men, and makes them inattentive to business, and then all goes to wreck and ruin: thus men that have lived creditably come to be clothed with rags.
"Be not ruled by sense, but by reason and religion. Covet not that which pleases the eye, in hopes that it will please the taste; but let thy serious thoughts correct the errors of thy senses and convince thee that that which seems delightful is really hurtful, and resolve against it accordingly. Let not the heart walk after the eye, for it is a deceitful guide. Be not too bold with the charms of this or any other sin; look not, lest thou lust, lest thou take the forbidden fruit. Note Those that would be kept from any sin must keep themselves from all the occasions and beginnings of it, and be afraid of coming within the reach of its allurements, lest they be overcome by them.
Drunkenness is a sin in which those prone to it must guard themselves, avoiding the "occasions and beginnings of it". It is a sin which has a visual, alluring aspect to it, as we see from the language in the proverb: "Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup." Drunkenness is a result of allowing the fruit of the vine master you. Wine is a good thing which God has blessed us with, but being led by your appetite for wine rather than the Holy Spirit is a sin we must repent of and avoid.
The principal of recognizing that which causes you to stumble, and avoiding it, is not limited to drunkenness. One which many stumble into that we would be wise to avoid is the sin of lust. A man prone to lust, embellishing in pornography on his phone or laptop, would be wise to enlist assistance in setting up guardrails and boundaries which help in guarding his eyes. Whether it be special software, or throwing the computer in the trash, men and women prone to lust ought to avoid all occasions for it. I have heard brothers in Christ who war against lust say that there are days in which all they can do is keep their eyes averted downward for fear of stumbling into it. Brothers and sisters, if lust, whether it be for strong drink or sexual immorality, is something that has its claws in you: do not go it alone. Enlist the help of some faithful brothers and sisters to help you in this fight. In the multitude of counsellors there is victory. Do not attempt to be a lone ranger Christian tackling the problem of lust all by yourself.
An an aside: just as the red wine sparkling in the cup is an allurement for those prone to drunkenness, young ladies, do not be as the sparkling wine. Do not let your adornment be merely external- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God.
At this time, if you are able, please join me in kneeling as we confess our sins to God who is Holy, Holy, Holy.
We have sinned times without number,
and been guilty of pride and unbelief,
of failure to find thy mind in thy Word,
of neglect to seek thee in our daily lives.
Our transgressions and short-comings
present us with a list of accusations,
But we bless thee that they will not stand against us,
for all have been laid on Christ;
Go on to subdue our corruptions,
and grant us grace to live above them.
Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings
of the mind bring our spirits into subjection,
but do thou rule over us in liberty and power.
We thank thee that many of our prayers
have been refused --
We have asked amiss and do not have,
We have prayed from lusts and been rejected,
We have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness.
Go on with thy patient work,
answering ‘no’ to our wrongful prayers,
and fitting us to accept it.
Purge us from every false desire,
every base aspiration,
everything contrary to thy rule.
We thank thee for thy wisdom and thy love,
for all the acts of discipline to which we are subject,
for sometimes putting us into the furnace
to refine our gold and remove our dross.
No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin.
If thou shouldst give us choice to live
in pleasure and keep our sins,
or to have them burnt away with trial,
give us sanctified affliction.
Deliver us from every evil habit,
every accretion of former sins,
everything that dims the brightness
of thy grace in us,
everything that prevents us taking delight
Then we shall bless thee, God of Jeshurun,
for helping us to be upright.
In Jesus' Name we pray, Amen
Prayer adopted from The Valley of Vision prayer titled "Continual repentance".
Please join me in standing and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. | Titus 2:11-14
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!