DRINK, DRUGS, AND DESTRUCTION
Dr. W. A. Criswell
5-13-87 7:30 p.m.
In our Holy Scriptures we turn to Proverbs, the Book of Proverbs, chapter 23; Proverbs 23, reading verses 29 through 32. This is the background passage for the message tonight on Drink and Drugs and Destruction; a tremendously pertinent message for the day, the tragic day, in which we live. Do you have it? Proverbs 23 beginning at verse 29 through 32. Now in the presence of the Lord, may we stand together. Proverbs 23:29-32 together:
Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes?
They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup, when it moveth itself around aright.
At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Let’s read that verse 32 again: "At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder" [Proverbs 23:32].
There’s no exception to that in human life; whether it be in the circle of the family, whether it be in a young, aspiring student, whether it be in our present day, among the children in elementary schools; there’s no exception to that. At last it biteth like a serpent. It stingeth like an adder. And we’re asking God to give us a marvelous strength that when the invitation is made, that we drink this, or take that, or share in the other, that God in us says: "Never! No, never."
Our message this evening is addressed for the most part to our younger people but involves us all, every member of every family and every segment of our society: Drink, Drugs, and Destruction.
A definition: a drug is anything that affects the mind; and the number one of all drugs is alcohol. The Bible sometimes will address the subject of drugs directly. In the passage that we read just now, we have in Proverbs the strongest interdiction possible in human speech against the use of alcohol. "At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder."
There are other passages in the Bible of a like interdictory condemnatory nature. In Isaiah5:11: "Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!" "Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink" [Isaiah 5:22]. Mostly, however, in the Bible, the Spirit of truth assails and attacks the terrible problem. Last Sunday, you remember, I introduced a message with the polygamous institution that characterized civilization for thousands of years. And you find it in the Bible until plainly, interdicted by the Lord Jesus Christ. But always in the Bible, always, without exception, the polygamous institution is presented with deep sorrow and brokenheartedness.
The same is true with slavery. Throughout the Bible, including the New Testament, we are confronted with the institution of slavery. But the institution was obliterated and finally made strange in the earth because of the spirit of the brotherhood, the worth of the human soul and the human life presented by the Bible.
So it is with the use of liquor. It is the Spirit of the revealed Word of God that turns our hearts away from such waste and devastation of human life. This week, I read a long and detailed account of a woman who became addicted to alcohol, introduced to it by her alcoholic parents and the tragedy that followed her life until finally she found liberation and deliverance from its effects in the Lord Jesus Christ.
What I have said about alcohol, a terrible drug, can also be said of other areas of the drug traffic. In years past, the United States and other western nations have had the highest rate of drug, alcohol addictive abuse. Now, what has been a characteristic weakness and devastating sin of the western world, affects the whole creation of mankind. Here in the United States, vast sums are lost every year in weakened productivity through drinking and illicit drugs. Everything you buy and everything you use, is greatly increased in price because of that loss of efficiency and productivity.
Drug users are four times more likely to be involved in accidents; particularly in the plant. They are six times more likely to be involved in some kind of worker’s compensation. They are four times more likely to be involved in sick benefits. They work at 67% of their potential. And they are far more likely, 100% more likely to steal from the company to support some kind of a drug habit. That includes not just the uneducated losers and dropouts, but it includes every class of society. There is none today exempted from that tragic attack of the use of alcohol and drugs. The social problems related to the use of drugs are multitudinous.
Twenty-five years ago – looking at these children – twenty-five years ago, two percent, two percent of high school students had experimented with illicit drugs. Now, more than seventy percent of our high school students have experimented with those same tragic mind-altering drugs. Ten thousand young people die every year in accidents that are drug/alcohol related. It is a cause, background cause, for youth suicides. Crime in cities such as New York and San Francisco, in those cities, seven out of ten crimes – seven out of ten – will be drug-related.
Here in the United States, the illicit drug traffic amounts to more than 100 million dollars in constant turnover; paying, selling, buying; all of which money is taken from family needs. Our prisons are jammed with drug arrests. Our urban courts are docketed with so many cases they cannot be heard; with the consequence that the drug pusher – if he is caught – knows that he will find an easy way out. He will not be indicted or he will plea bargain or he will receive a very light sentence.
Across the seas, having spoken of our native America, across the seas, Great Britain is deeply affected by the attack of drug-related abuses. In the Soviet Union alcohol is undermining the very economic life of the people. In Southeast Asia, which was at one time the source of practically all of our drugs, Southeast Asia is succumbing to an awesome interdictive cost of the drug traffic. In Thailand fifty percent of all crimes is drug-related.
In Latin American countries, drug traffic corrupts the very life of the nation; nations like Columbia and Bolivia. The drug traffickers can out-pay the government itself. The drug traffic hides behind social programs. Like the Mafia, they will take over the economic and political life of a people. And in their shield, in their smoke-screen, they will clear slums, they will finance social welfare; they will enter politics and corrupt the officials; and they will own financial and manufacturing empires that are legitimate but back of it lies the drug trafficker himself.
The teenager of today faces drugs and alcohol and sex in alluring ways that the world heretofore has never known. The line between right and wrong has been erased. The only thing that is said to the child today is, "Play it safe"; safe sex, or safe drugs, or safe alcohol; moderate. Always just play it safe; not confronting whether it is right or wrong. Since 1940, out-of-wedlock births of white girls, ages fifteen to nineteen, have increased nine hundred percent. More than one-half of all black babies are born to unwed mothers. And you know, without my referring to it, that we now have abortions in America by the millions and the millions.
How did all of this happen to our society? How did the fabric of our national moral being unravel and disintegrate in such a short time, in our lifetime, in our years? It comes about, for one thing, by our refusal to teach ethical behavior based upon the Word of God. When we seek to teach morals apart from God, we flounder and fail. There’s no basis. There’s no foundation for what we say.
For example, according to Gary Bauer, the Under Secretary of Education, quote, "It has become the conventional wisdom within the academic establishment that moral education is illegitimate because it constitutes `indoctrination.’" He continues, "Teachers are given the impression that moral education is unscientific, unprofessional, and oppressive. In other words, that it is religious. They are constantly reminded that if they teach values they are entering into the unconstitutional domain of religion. It is our avowed and stated purpose in America that God and religion and the Bible and prayer and its teachings are to be withdrawn from the public school system. Our public school teachers," he continues, "are no longer sure of what values to teach and how to go about teaching them. Any talk of religion should be absolutely avoided; that instruction in values be based on maintaining a secular society."
This is our modern approach to the young people of our generation. In witness of that, you can’t see that cartoon. It’s one of the most impressive I have ever looked at in these recent days. There is a little boy who is reciting in school and he is standing at the front of the class by his teacher’s desk. And he says, "The Pilgrims came here seeking freedom of – you know what – when they landed they gave thanks – to you know Who – because of them we can worship each Sunday – you know where." Don’t you dare speak of the church, or of the Bible, or of God, or of prayer, or of religion, or of moral values in the publicly tax-supported school.
God is not the problem. God is the solution. If our people could come to that realization, we would have a new nation, a new generation, a new sense of values. And the disintegration of the home, and the promiscuity of modern society, and the hurt that comes from venereal disease, and all of the heartaches that attends the sexual freedom that our modern generation experiences would be unknown. It would be a rebirth for our people and for our nation and particularly, and especially, for our young people.
May I conclude with the simple and humble observation? That’s why I believe in and commit my – the whole energy of my life to the building of our First Baptist Academy. It is built upon the Bible; the teaching of the Word of God; chapel, prayer, the preaching of the Word; the teaching of the truth and presenting every subject in the mind of Christ. It is God that made us. It is God that can remake us. It is God that can save us. And to present all knowledge in the revelation of the genius and character and wisdom of the Almighty is the way to understand the depths and the heights and the breadths of the meaning of life itself. And that’s why, of course, we pour our souls into the teaching ministries of our church; our Sunday school, our training sessions, the gathering of our youngsters in hymns of praise, in the missionary outreach that seeks to save the lost among all the peoples of the world.
This is the commitment of our people, and aside from it there is no hope for our world. It is a sweet privilege to meet here on Wednesday night to speak of the things of the kingdom of our Lord and to ask His blessings upon His spoken word.
True to that calling and assignment, after every service we make an appeal; a somebody you to give himself in faith, in acceptance, in belief, in trust, in the forgiveness of our sins, in the saving of our souls, in the opening of the door to heaven, to give ourselves to the blessed Lord Jesus, or to bring your family into the fellowship of the church, or to answer a call of God in your heart. I’ll be standing right here. And while we sing this hymn of appeal, thus to accept Christ as Savior, or to bring your family into the family of our church, or to answer a call of God in your heart, on the first note of the first stanza, welcome. May angels attend you in the way as you come, while we stand and while we sing.
DRINK, DRUGS, AND DESTRUCTION
Dr. W. A. Criswell
I. A drug is anything that affects the mind
1. The number one of all drugs is alcohol
2. The Bible addresses alcohol directly
3. Like polygamy and slavery, the Bible interdicts about alcohol and the sorrow and problems it creates
II. Universal drug traffic
1. The entire globe is affected
2. Damage to the US
3. Damage to other nations
III. Teen of today doing drugs, alcohol, sex
1. Line between right and wrong erased
2. Out of wedlock births
IV. This all happens when God is left out of teaching ethical behavior
V. God is not the problem, God is the solution