…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

Rules or Relationship ?

Dear bro Bao 寶弟兄,

I am so happy that you received Jesus into your life a fortnight ago together with your wife! 🙂
Its so good to hear you share that you can feel a difference in your new life with Jesus .  Its also great to hear that your wife notices the difference in you too 🙂

1 Peter 1:8,9 (NIV)
8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Last week, you asked whether a follower of Jesus can drink wine or beer.

I am glad that you have a desire to honor and please  Jesus.  I’ve been thinking how to respond to your question rather than just say yes or no, or else it may end up like a book of rules.  Here’s some thoughts to bear in mind  ….

Matthew 9:9
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him

Like Matthew, we have responded to Jesus invitation to follow Him.
Jesus calls us to follow Him, … not follow a set of rules or rule-book.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Jeus is the way, the truth, the life.
In Jesus, we come to know and experience God our heavenly Father personally.

Jesus said,

John 10:10 (NIV, Message)
 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

So, let no one come and steal the fullness of eternal life that Jesus gives to each of us, through the deception of following a set of rules or rule-book.

Instead, God the Father, invites each of us to have a living and daily relationship with Him through Jesus. Personally, knowing and experiencing God the Father who loves us so much.

 1 John 1:3
And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

From our daily relationship with Him, He teaches us through the Holy Spirit, and  changes us to be more like Jesus.

So when we are faced with whether we can or cannot do something, here’s a verse that is helpful to bear in mind.

Colossians 3:17 (NIV, NLT)
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

in the name of the Lord Jesus … as a representative of the Lord Jesus,
in the character of the Lord Jesus,

and if we find it hard to do … please don’t worry, and please don’t feel condemned … we can confidently ask God to help us to obey Him …  fully assured that Jesus understands our weakness and our struggles, having had experienced all temptation while He was on earth.

Hebrews 4:14-16
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

James 1:5
 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

OK, back to drinking wine and beer.
In a nutshell, drink,  but don’t be drunk or addicted.  (We all have varying thresholds.)
When one has to make decisions and judgments, avoid drinking.
When we come before the Lord, be sober.

*  Jesus first miracle sign – He turned water to very good wine at a wedding, at a celebration (John 2:1-11).  Wine is symbolic of celebration and God’s blessing.
*  At the last supper, Jesus offered wine to symbolize His blood (1 Corinthians 11:23-25)
*  Paul advises Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach and illness (1 TImothy 5:23)
*  Paul and Titus advise people not to indulge in much wine (1 TImothy 3:8), and not to be heavy drinkers or addicted to wine. (Titus 2:3)
*  Alcohol affects our minds, hence our judgment, decision-making, self-control and propriety (Genesis 9:20,21; Proverbs 31:4,5, Hosea 4:11, Proverbs 20:1, Proverbs 23:30-35)
* Be sober in worship & fellowship meetings. (1 Corinthians 11:21,22)
* Be sober & alert in worship, prayer and spiritual warfare. (Ephesians 5:18-20, 1 Peter 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8)
* Unrestrained addiction to wine can be damaging to one’s life.  (Proverbs 23:20,21)  This applies to most things, be it wine, shopping, eating, or computer games, etc.

Ephesians 5:18 (NLT)
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit

1 Cor 6:12 (NLT)
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you.
And even though “I am allowed to do anything,”
I must not become a slave to anything.

I will not let anything control me like a slave. (ERV)

In general, let’s enjoy everything that God has made and provided for us.
Just have self-control to know our personal thresholds, and not be addicted.

Hopefully this helps.  Pls feel free to share your thoughts, happy to discuss further.

May the Lord bless you greatly with His wisdom.   Have a great week !

bro Lim 林弟兄

Dear bro Bao 寶弟兄| Stepping Stones



This entry was posted on May 20, 2014 by in Dear bro Bao 寶弟, Foundations, Stepping Stones and tagged .

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