Sins Of Intemperance

Series: The Way Of Salvation


Sermon By Terry Siverd

Cortland Church of Christ / January 26, 2020


Discipleship requires both CULTIVATION and EXTERMINATION.

We're called to engage in nurturing fruit of the Spirit, but we're also required to nullify (mortify) works of the flesh.

These dual assignments require both concentration & determination and consecration & sanctification.

Cultivation and extermination do not come about by happen-stance.


In Col.3:5-17, Paul speaks about “putting off” (setting aside) and “putting on”.

He appears to borrow from a metaphor that addressed the proper adornment for Christians.

In Rom.13:12, he uses similar terminology connoting a “spiritual warfare”:

Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.


So our garb is not just Sunday dress, but rather a gearing up for daily battle.

In Rom.13:14 Paul urges, put on the Lord Jesus Christ.


If we revisit Col.3:1-4, we can note that Paul's admonition contains a tense of the verb that implies ongoing action.

In other words, this garbing up doesn't occur in one fell swoop, but is continual in nature.

Col.3:1 states, if you have been raised with Christ, KEEP SEEKING the things above...


Last Sunday our sermon drew upon Gal.5:20-21a, as we studied SINS OF HOSTILITY.

These sins are grouped together by Paul using eight different but inter-related words:

enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions and envying.    


This morning we want to return to Gal.5:21b to focus upon SINS OF INTEMPERANCE.


Read again from Gal.5:19-21


We will reference other texts that relate to these sins of intemperance,

but we begin today's study with two words:  drunkenness and carousing.


This same couplet appeared in Rom.13:13 (this morning's Scripture reading): 

Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness,

nor in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.



Intemperance is often associated with alcohol consumption and drug usage.

We all known the grief that can be experienced by the sting of alcoholic beverages.

So many of us have felt the heartache of a friend or family member who has been negatively impacted by alcohol.

Marriages stressed and/or disintegrated … Families torn up and torn apart … Jobs and careers train-wrecked …

Licenses evoked … Hefty fines leveled … Tragedies inflicted and fatalities experienced.


This is one thing I truly respect about our current President.

He abstains from alcohol.  He drinks a ton of pepsi/coke, but he steers clear of alcoholic beverages.

I remember hearing him talk about how he saw alcohol affecting others.


Some of you may reason, I am opposed to drunkenness, but I'm not against an occasional drink.

Some of you may even enjoy drinking “in moderation”.

Based on the explicit word of God, I can't tell you that a drink is sinful.

The Bibles clearly affirms that drunkenness is sinful.

There are numerous citations I could quote, but one text encapsulates many of the admonitions of the others:

Eph.5:18 states, Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.

i.e., don't be filled with “the spirits”, but rather be filled with “the Spirit”.


I am well aware of Paul's exhortation to the young preacher Timothy (1Tim.6:23) - -

No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

In ancient times, wine was mixed with water to help purify and decontaminate the water.

For the most part, we do not have water problems in our country.

Wine has some medicinal values when used either internally or externally.

Prov.31:6 urges, give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter.

In a story told by Jesus, a good Samaritan gave assistance to a man who had been beaten and robbed.

Lk.10:34 notes, he came to him, and bandaged his woulds, pouring oil and wine on them...


If a drink might be sometimes okay, but drunkenness is always sinful, just a little common sense

allows me to tell you quite plainly and emphatically:   those who avoid drinking will never be drunkards.

Why would any clear-thinking Christian we want to toy with fire?

Why would any of us want to tempt fate?

Whether you have a genetic proclivity towards addiction or not, why would you want to flirt with danger?

Instead of creeping close to the edge of potential calamity, why not steer clear of the problem.

I was amazed recently to read of how many people fall off of cliffs while taking selfies.

How many humans behave like moths who fly too close to the flames and meet their demise.



How would you define carousing?  Some translations used the word reveling or riotous living.


In New Testament times many of new Christians were coming out of a Greco-Roman world that was noted

for orgies filled with decadence and debauchery.  Much of this wild display came under the guise of “feasting”.

Listen to Peter's words in 1Pet.4:3-5 - -

For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued

a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.

This latter phrase reminds me of the story found in 1Kgs.18.

This is the account of Elijah contest on Mount Carmel with the wicked prophets of Baal.

The text tells of how the prophets ran amok in a wild dance or sorts, cutting themselves and bleeding.

Vs.29 observes that they “raved” from noon until evening with their boisterous behavior.


With the goal of keeping the church pure, he apostle Paul takes a stern approach to such behavior.

He writes in 1Cor.5:11 - -  I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral

person, or covetous, or an idolater or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler - - not even to eat with such a one.


  This word carousing and reveling makes me think of Frat Parties, the kind of “fun” flaunted in Animal House.

It's the kind of thing that takes center stage on Fat Tuesday or New Year's eve.

Some of us have friends and family who don't need to a special event to party hardy.

They are ready to “paint the town” and/or cut loose at the drop of a hat.


Let me be clear, God is not a party-pooper (1Tim.6:17b/God supplies us with all things to enjoy).

There is nothing wrong with wholesome celebrations and festivities.

Frolicing and rollicking is not sinful unless sinful elements are injected into the events.

At Camp Judson we used to do a rapids hike that allowed the kids to live it up caking each other in mud and slim.

At Camp Blue Rock we had some crazy games that were similar - - with flour and paint and other ingredients.

At Camp Koinonia we are going to have both rapids and a mud pit.

The word temperance (egkrateia) is a word that means moderation or self-restraint.

It is a world that applies not just to alcohol usage and out-of-control parties, but also to various other practices.


Things like loose tongues.

Gossiping is a form of intemperance.

In Rom.1:29 Paul includes gossip in a lengthy list of sins that are very serious.

Likewise for abusive language and unharnessed anger.

In Eph.4:29 Paul warns, let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth...

Gluttony is also a sin that can only be controlled by self-restraint.

And there are others.



Self-control needs to be cultivated while intemperance needs to be exterminated.


I want to close with two passages from Solomon and then one final reference from Paul.


Prov.16:32b / He who rules (governs) his spirit (is better than) he who captures a city.

If you want to be a mighty warrior for God, practice self-control.

Prov.25:28 / like a city that is broken into and without walls, so is a man who has no control over his spirit.


One last passage 2Cor.9:24-27 - -

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize.

Run in such a way that you may win.

And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.

They then do it to receive a perish a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Therefore I run in a such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet

my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

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