Program Air Date - 9-2-01



What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We are happy you have chosen to be with us today and are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.

This morning we again want to begin by mentioning one of our sister congregations which help financially to make this program possible. Today, I would like to introduce you to the Marionville Church of Christ in Marionville, Missouri. We are happy to have these brethren involved in this work of our Lord. We also appreciate their like-desire to do God's will, as we together reach out to this area with the Gospel of Christ.

If you have the opportunity, please take advantage of meeting with these brethren - even this morning. Today, they will assemble together for a Bible study at 9:30 a.m. This is followed by a worship assembly at 10:30. Another opportunity to worship is also offered at 6:00 on Sunday evenings. During the week this family also comes together at 7:00 on Wednesday evenings for a Bible Study. I hope you will be able to visit with this congregation very soon. If you have any questions or need further information about this congregation, please feel free to contact me or their minister brother Jack Norris. Their phone number is 417-463-2164. We again thank this congregation for their continued support!

It's now time to start our praise through song. Won't you join in the first song of the morning, as we together sing, "Savior, Teach Me!"
(SONG # 1)


How often do we take time to realize how gloriously and wondrously God has made us. I really love the way Paul put it in Romans 6:13, when he said, "And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." There you have it we are created by God to be instruments of righteousness.

But why are we to be righteous and what does it really mean. Don't you think this is what Moses had in mind in Genesis 1:26, when he recorded God as saying, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness." We are to be righteous because we are made by God and created in His image! I also believe this is what John was talking about in 1 John 3:7. There he said, "Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous." Again confirming that we are to be righteous, just as God is!

So what then are we talking about when we say we are to be righteous? Well, obviously we know that God is good and does not evil. We also know that God is righteous, which is the opposite of unrighteousness. So when we say we are to be righteous as God, we know that this means we must put away all unrighteousness or sin! In 1 John 5:17, John again says, "all unrighteousness is sin," and then in the next verse he goes on to say, "whoever is born of God does not sin." You see, sin and unrighteousness have no part in the one who is striving to follow and be like God.

Finally, I am reminded of the beautiful verses in Matthew spoken by our Lord, when He described us as, "Lights in this world," or "cities on a hill." As Christians we are truly to be Christ-like, allowing the world to see God in us through all that we do and say. Therefore, when we are imitating God and doing His Will, we illuminate before this world as His faithful Children. Then the world can truly see that we are made in His likeness, created in His image!

We are excited to have a guest speaker with us this morning who has not been on the program before. This fine brother is the minister for the Bellfonte Church of Christ in Harrison, Arkansas. His name is Ray Crawford and he will lead us in our study of the morning.

Today we will again be considering a lesson from our series which is entitled, "Socially Accepted Sins Of Today!" Our specific topic this morning will focus on "Addictions!" So stay with us and in a few minutes brother Crawford will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "More Holiness Give Me."
(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Crawford

I appreciate so very much the opportunity I have today to be with you and talk about something that I believe is very important to us in our Christian living. I'm going to be talking about addictions. I want to divide this lesson up into three very short parts. We want to talk about the addiction of tobacco or nicotine, about drugs or narcotics, and also facts about alcohol and alcoholism. Webster defines addict as being "to give a decent or to give oneself up to." W.E. Vine says it's "having set themselves toward." The scriptures teach us that we are only to be addicted to one thing and that is to the ministry of the saints.

As I look in my Bible and study from the book of Genesis, in the first chapter, God created man and placed him in Eden, an ideal place. God desired that mankind lived in this ideal place, at which time He had given them access to things that they needed that they might live on and worship Him and live and help. And then we find in Luke the 19th chapter and verse 10, the Bible tells us why God sent Jesus into the world, "to seek and save the lost." Sin came between us and God, and Jesus was sent in order that He might once more redeem us back to God. But in John the 10th chapter and verse 10, we find a very important passage as we apply it to our lesson today about addictions. In this passage we find another reason in which Jesus came to this world, "that we might have life, and having life have it more abundantly." God desires that we have an abundant life. As I open my Bible to the book of 2 Timothy, the 3rd chapter beginning with verse 16-17, the scripture says, "All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, or God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God might be perfect or complete thoroughly furnished to every good works." God has given us His word that we might live like God desires us to live. In 2 Peter the 1st chapter, beginning with verse 1 through verse 4, we find that Jesus Christ in addressing us through Peter, he points out that we have something very wonderful and great to look forward to. He says through the knowledge of the word of God, "We can have a divine nature," verse 4, "and in giving us the things that pertain to life and to godliness," according to verse 3. God desires that we have life that is a physical life, and godliness that is a spiritual life. So today we would like to look at some of the things that we have that hampers us in living as God would have us and keeping the relationship with God as we ought.

I want to begin first of all by pointing out the addiction to tobacco or nicotine. It's interesting as I began to study about the things that God has given to us in our bodies and keeping them whole, that I found that man has manufactured many things that will cause us to well destroy this body that God intended for us to have, and intended for us to keep. One of America's best known and most highly regarded positions, Dr. H. T. Hyman has emphatically stated that tobacco not only causes lung cancer but also causes pulmonary trumbosis and many other ailments that are not uncommon to man. Tobacco causes these things. I also find that as I read and study about tobacco that physicians and scientists have authoritatively concluded that cigarette smoking, the use of nicotine, casually related to cancer of the lungs, to the larynx and esophagus, also associated with urinary bladder cancer, the most significant cause of bronchitis in the United States of America, and increases the risk of dying from chronic bronchitis. It is associated with an increased risk of dying from pulmonary emphysema. It's also the cause of higher death rate from coronary disease among mankind, and is associated with peptic ulcers. Now, what is important about this is that these studies and these things have been published since in the early 1950's. Now it's interesting to me that we today have had such a long period where we have not understood what doctors and scientists have discovered years ago. Not that it has not been available to us, but we have closed our eyes to it. Tobacco is a drug. It's very addictive and it causes health problems as we know.

We also want to address the idea of drugs in another area this morning and that is we want to look at the drugs, drugs such as marijuana, drugs such as angel dust and cocaine, LSD, methamphetamines, drugs such as hashish, crack and crank. These things are running rampant in our society today, and all these contribute to the destruction of our bodies. It's interesting too, to know that many of these things we look at are acceptable in our society. Yeah, even promoted by many. It's sad to note some of the statistics that I received record of from some of the health departments and other areas. Statistics that would shock us if we really looked at them very carefully. For example, 1/3 of the children in America use illegal drugs. In fact, it is stated that one out of every 16 high school seniors is smoking an average of 3 1/2 marijuana joints per day. Children who abuse drugs are looser in every way. They're wasting themselves. Their grades suffer because they can't study or pay proper attention to the classroom, and their emotions are shattered, because they lose their ability of determining what is right and wrong. It's a critical period for young people. Drugs like marijuana and alcohol are often referred to as gateways or stepping stones to the stronger drugs that some of our older young people are into today. As a matter of fact, it was rather interesting to read that it seems that children have to make the decision to use drugs or not while they are still in elementary schools, rather than having waited as many have in the past to the high school level.

The use of marijuana and whiskey are considered to be perfectly acceptable in some societies today. Marijuana for example, is an accumulative drug which builds up and causes damage to the being. Drugs such as these should be looked at very carefully. When a person is using drugs and abusing drugs, we should work with them. It is my prayer that hopefully working together as parents, as teachers, as ministers, as counselors, that we can teach our children about these drugs and help arm them so that they might just say "No" as the advertisements say today.

But I'd like to look at the one that is the most devastating with us today, and give the most part of our lesson today to that of alcohol. Alcohol is a drug. There is no question about it. Alcohol is what is commonly called an acceptable drug of mankind. Recently I read some editorials written by some noted people that pointed out that it was strange to them that over the past several years tobacco companies have been sued and money has been given to states and settlements have been made to those who have brought cases against our tobacco companies. Certainly, I am not opposed to tobacco companies having to pay for what they've done. But, this same editorial went on to say that it is strange that legislation itself has never been appointed toward alcohol, and that more damage is done through alcohol than any other part of our social agreement.

Now, we're going to get to what the Bible says about that in just a few moments, about how God has looked at alcohol and other drugs and other things that will deform our bodies and our minds. But first I'd like for us to look at some of the statistics that are available for mankind today. Look at alcohol. Almost 9% of teens between 17 and 12 overdose with alcohol. Arrest of teenagers for drunken driving has tripled since 1960. 60% of people killed in drunken accidents are teens, our young people today. Next to heart attack and cancer, alcohol is the nation's 3rd most serious health problem. Alcohol-related health problems account for 26% of all admissions to state and county mental hospitals. Several years ago when I was in Kansas and was taking courses at Minninger's Foundation, Dr. Carl Menninger said "that alcohol constitutes the country's largest mental health problem and that nothing looms higher over the horizon." He predicted then that it would be even as it is today. Do you realize that in the Vietnam War that lasted 12 years and took some 56,000 American lives, and did you know that in just one recent 5 year period 125,000 Americans were killed in alcohol-related auto accidents? Sad isn't it? But the facts are there for us and we need to look at it. Do you realize that more were killed in alcohol-related accidents than lives were taken in the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War put together? Alcohol kills one person every 24 minutes in traffic accidents. Alcohol is a contributing factor to 80% of all crime. Alcohol accounts for 40% of all problems brought to family courts. Statistics tell us that 3/4 of all divorces are associated in some way with alcohol. It's interesting to note that a superintendent of one of our children's homes said that "90% of the children were there because one of both of the parents had an alcohol problem." Now alcohol is a bad situation.

Let us look at what the Lord says before we go into the statistics that are involved in alcohol-related accidents in the state of Missouri, in the state of Arkansas, in the state of Kansas, and the state of Oklahoma, our 4-state area. I'd like for us to notice first of all, the Lord speaks about this in Proverbs 20, verse 1. Now notice what the Lord says about alcohol. He says, "Wine is a mocker. Strong drink is raging. And whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." The Lord makes this statement for us and we need to note that. Now again, in Proverbs 23 and verse 32, the scripture reads, "And the last it biteth liketh a serpent and stingeth like an adder." The Lord likens alcohol use to getting bit if you please by a serpent and an adder, a deadly poisonous snake or reptile. Then in Habbakuk, the 2nd chapter and verse 15, the Bible says, "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that putteth thy bottle to him that maketh him drunketh also." The Lord tells us in these passages of scripture that He looks not favorable on it. Do you realize that there are 55 verses that directly or indirectly relate to alcohol in the scripture of our Lord?

Now I'd for us to go a little bit closer to home now. I'd like for us to note that in the neighboring state, my home state of Arkansas, that 604 traffic deaths were totaled in 1999 according to the state department. 190 of those were related to traffic fatalities directly alcohol-related. That means that 31.4% of those deaths. In the state of Kansas, our neighboring state, in 537 accidents, 186 given over to alcohol-relation, and that's 34.7%. In the state of Missouri, our own state here at this place, 1094 traffic fatalities. 441 related to alcohol, 40.3%. Then in the state of Oklahoma, 739 with 245 alcohol-related. That's 33.2% of those deaths related there. That means that as one of the advertisements on this channel, a lawyer made a statement just recently. He said that "38% of traffic fatalities were related to alcohol." 37.9% is correct so he was very accurate in that. Do you also know that it is estimated that the cost of alcoholism comes to 184.6 billion dollars? Now that involves many things.

Now let us get to what the Bible says about these things. The Lord says, according to the book of 1 Corinthians the 6th chapter beginning with verse 19 and thereafter, that my "body belongs to God. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit." As I read and study about the priest that offered up sacrifices unto the Old Testament law, that they cannot defile the temple when they went in to offer up their praise and worship to God. Neither should we dilute or pollute our bodies with the things of this world. There are many addictions that we have before us today but I do not that any hurt anymore than those of the idea of tobacco, those and the idea if you please, of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, crack, crank and those, or that of alcohol. Alcohol is a killer. Drugs are killers, as well as tobacco. We need to realize that we're violating God's ordinance about keeping our bodies pure in His sight. We need to turn to the word of God. The Bible says in Romans in the 12th chapter and verse 1, It says, "Now I beseech you brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice." He says, "This is holy and acceptable in the sight of God." This is our spiritual service. We need to offer up our bodies pure before our Almighty God. In the beautiful book of Matthew and the 5th chapter verse 16, the Bible tells us to "let our light so shine before men that they might see our good works and glorify the Father which is in heaven." We cannot glorify God the Father in heaven by presenting our bodies before Him polluted with the addictions of things that take away from God. Remember if you will, we began by pointing out the Lord's desire in John the 10th chapter and verse 10 that "we might have life and having life, have it more abundantly."

We need to turn our lives back to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For those people that are fighting addictions, I want you to know that there is help for you, not only from our society, that is our preachers, and our counselors and our teachers, but also given to us by God Almighty. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians the 10th chapter and verse 13 that "e will not, if we'll turn to Him, allow us to be tempted above that which we are able to bear, but with every temptation (including these temptations of these drugs,)He provides us a way of escape." We need to trust in God. We need to deny ourselves, take up the cross and follow Him. He gives us the strength, and His word is there to provide it for us. And so as we turn our Bibles back to 2 Timothy in the 3rd chapter and verses 16 and 17, we are to "Study the word of God. It will provide us all we need that we might be complete or perfect, that we might be thoroughly furnished to every good work." Our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit, of which we are to follow which God would have us to do. If you need help, get help. Turn to God. God is there. God's strength will help.
(SONG # 3 - "All The Way My Savior Leads Me!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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May we all be more aware of the many things that can become addictions to us in this life, so that we may prepare ourselves to withstand them, and thus striving to be that which is pleasing to God.
(Program closing)