Sunday, June 25, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon Drugs and Dope ]


Twenty five years ago, The cost of weeding the garden of drug abuse in this country cost taxpayers more than $10 billion. We can only imagine what it costs in the first decades of the 21st century. This includes emergency hospital visits, loss of earnings, criminal justice system costs, property loss, and government programs to combat this destructive habit. I want to think with you on the subject of “Drug Abuse.” Drug addiction in America has reached alarming proportions. Should the habitual use of drugs be considered a legitimate recreational activity? What does the Bible say about the subject? Does the pleasure received from drugs fall into the realm of Christian recreation?
At the outset let us define our subject and bring into the focus the kind of drugs to be discussed. The Harrison Act of 1914 defined five narcotics: opium and three of its derivatives-morphine, heroin, and codeine. The fourth one is cocaine, which comes from the coca plant. In 1937, marijuana was added to the list and it is to these and such like drugs that we give our attention. This discussion does not pertain to such substances as tea, coffee, aspirin, coca cola, and vitamins. These, like other substances, have dangerous effects if abused. But these substances do not belong in the same category with marijuana, heroin, opium, LSD, and cocaine. Our concern is with drugs containing illicit chemicals which are habitually taken into the body without prescription from a medical doctor. One of the dangerous drugs available on the street is called “angel dust”. It contains the chemical Phencyclidine and has been found increasingly in street drugs since it first apeared in 1967. It is available from a pharmaceutical company under the name of Sernyl. Its street names are Hog, Peace Pill, and Angel Dust. Its chief legitimate use is as an animal tranquilizer. It can produce frightening experiences for the user when combined with marijuana and other hallucinating type drugs. On this frightening subject I now proceed to offer a few general remarks.
The first thing to remember about these drugs is that they are extremely dangerous. Parents who worry about the abuse of drugs now have another worry. Street drugs are dirty and are not what they are purported to be. Samples taken of street marijuana show come of it to contain strychnine, horse manure, alfalfa, opium, and LSD. Often there is no marijuana at all. A recent article on heroin deaths indicated that instead of overdose being the cause of death, it was frequently due to some other substance that had been used to cut the heroin, that had clogged the veins of the user or poisoned him. There is no control on street drugs. This is a greater danger the drug abuser faces. These facts were presented in the Newsletter of the Narcotics Information Resource Center at Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys, Califonia. Furthermore these dangerous drugs are harmful to the body and mind. Six medical doctors at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University published a letter in the New York Times, May 31, 1973 and said,”Marijuana contains toxic substances which are only soluble in fat and stored in body tissues, including the brain for weeks and months, like DDT.” They continued, “Marijuana smoke induces cancer in tissue cultures of the human lung. Some of these drugs cause hallucinations which is a two—bit word meaning you see something that is not there. In medicine this is called a psychomimetic effect. You are mimicking a crazy person. Some drugs cause one to have a feeling of omnipotence. This is a belief that you can control your physical environment and is dangerous because you really cannot. One young man who was high on drugs jumped from a fifty story
uilding believing he could fly to the ground. And of course he did, like a rock. His drug buddies gathered around the body on the pavement. A policeman came up and said, “You saw he was going to jump. Why did you not stop him?” They said, “Man, we thought he could make it.” Drugs robbed them of all judgment. And when you do not have the judgment to know what you can do and what you cannot do with your physical environment, you̓re in trouble. One of the dangerous effects of drugs on young people is a high feeling. They feel like they are one with the world and that everybody loves them and nobody hates them. This is a desire to cling to that time in your youth when everybody did love you and nobody did hate you. It is also a lack of desire to do that old hard thing called work and growing up. We must accept the fact that there are no fairy godmothers. No one is going to touch you with a wand and change you into what you want to be. It can̓t be done. Dr. Hayakawa of San Francisco State has stated that the average 18 year old has seen 15,000 hours of television and what have they learned from it? They think they have learned the instant solution to all the problems of life. If you are sick, you take a pill. If you are unpopular, you buy a car. If you want a date, you buy a deodorant. If you want to feel high, you take marijuana or stronger drugs. You turn it on and sit back and wait for something beautiful to happen. but beautiful things do not happen that way. Beautiful things only happen when you yourself are involved in the production of them.
Some kids used drugs because they think it has mind expanding potential. That is hogwash. There is no drug in the world that can expand your mind. Medicine has never devised any pill or shot which can improve your mind. You are born with about 34 billion brain cells, and that is all you will ever haye, according to a doctor's statement. Brain cells do not multiply and divide like other cells in your body. If you do not use them they die. If you abuse them chemically, they die and do not come back. It is as easy as that. A young man parked his car on the campus and put a sign under the windshield wiper with said, “If you want a great mind expanding trip, the library is open from 8 in the morning until 11 at night.” I am sorry kids, but that is the only way you can expand your mind. There is no fairy godmother. Drugs do not make you perform better; they simply make you less ashamed of performing poorly. The so called mind drugs are no substitute for what is not really there. A question most of us would like answered is, “What is the most dangerous drug in the world?” The answer is, “The one that makes you feel the best.” This is true because if you use it as an escape mechanism, which is all it is, you will do it over and over again. Perhaps some unpleasantness comes up in your life. It may be a quarrel at home, an unhappiness with a girlfriend or boyfriend, or a tragedy in your life. Some use drugs as a way out and escape into the realm of never, never land. The drug user will never learn how to solve his problems, and if parents do not learn how to solve their problems they will never be able to teach their children how to solve theirs. The Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs offer the following tips to parents in teaching children respect for drugs. Teach your children that the stresses of daily life can be solved without drugs. Talk frankly with your children. Listen to what your youngsters have to say. Know what your children are doing, who their friends are and where they go. Keep track of the drugs in your medicine chest. After a speech at a Parent Teacher̓s Association, one mother said to the doctor, “Doctor, do you know that fingernail polish remover is psychedelic?” He said, “Yes, did you know that Cinnamon, nutmeg, hair spray, glue and half a dozen other things in your house are?” Shc said, “I am going to get them all out of the house.” The doctor said, “Mother, prepare your kids for the road, not the road for your kids. Because you cannot go down the road with them. The time to start preparing your children for the road is the day they are born. You cannot wait until they are fifteen and then decide to do it. After they become a problem it is often too late. I hear a lot of psychological nonsense about kids looking for themselves. If you know of anybody looking for themselve, recommend the nearest mirror. And looking beck at you in that mirror is the vehicle that takes you through life. Some of you talk about finding yourself as though it were some moment in life when a light strikes you, and there you are. You find yourself every day you live, no matter how long that may be. The vehicle “you” will not run on pot, pills, end garbage. It will only run on true religion, high octane idealism, desire, and ambition. Drugs are not the answer. Drug abuse is not only dangcrous and harmful but morally evil. People have been known to beg, lie, steal, end even kill to feed their drug habit. Young women are often driven to prostitution to support the drug habit. These mind enslaving drugs sttip a human being of all self—dignity and self control. The harmfulness of drug abuse to the mind and body is an indisputable fact.
Furhermore, he use of dangerous drugs is condemned in the Bible. Some may object to this statement because the use of drugs per se is not specifically mentioned as a sin. It is true that the statement is not found in the Bible, “Thou shalt not smoke marijuana.” It does not specifically say that it is a sin to use heroin. However, it should be kept in mind that the Bible does not mention specifically every kind of sin that would be committed during human history. That would require a book of such size as to render study unfeasible. The Bible does not mention the sins of suicide and abortion by name, but that does not mean that God approves of them. The laws in the Bible which regulate human conduct are of two kinds. They are general laws and specific laws. The ten commandments are examples of specific law. They say, “You shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery, you shalt not steal, you shalt not take the Lord̓s name in vain, etc. On the other hand there are many general laws or principles in the Bible which cover many different forms of conduct. For example Romans 12:9 says, “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” The Bible says in I Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” This general command forbids us to indulge in all things known to be evil and also in things of doubtful morality. The use of dope to enslave and befuddle the mind is condemned in the Bible on grounds that it is evil. Anything that is evil is condemned as sin in the Bible. A number of evil forms of conduct are listed in Galatians 5:19—21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” In this passage the Bible mentions by name 17 different kind~ of sinful human conduct. Moreover, all other forms of human conduct which are wrong and sinful are mentioned in the words, “And such like”. Although not mentioned by name, any conduct which resembles any of the 17 vices mentioned are wrong and condemned by God. Now does the habitual use of dangerous drugs resemble any of the vices just mentioned? The answer is yes. There is a definite resemblance between drunkeness and drug abuse. Both cloud the judgment, addle the mind, and cause deterioration in the reasoning powers. The Bible teaches that drunkards cannot go to heaven and it likewise teaches by necessary inference that drug addicts cannot go to heaven.
Now for some good news. Drug abuse is not an unpardonable sin, and it is not an incurable habit. You can clean up and overcome this habit as many others have done. What has been done can be done. It will not be easy but it can be done because you are
a creature made in the image of God. You are worth something to God because you are his property and he loves you. God is wiling to overlook what you are because he knows what you can become. Your potential is unlimited but nobody can do it for you. You must do it yourself with God's help. First of all you must admit to yourself that you need help and accept full responsibility for your conduct. You have been living beneath yourself and you need to come to yourself. The Bible says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The world in this passage which God so loved was composed of people who had done every conceivable wrong. Those are the people he loved. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” However, God is a moral and just being and because of this fact he will punish wrongdoing and injustice. His love for the human race was so great that instead of giving them deserved punishment, he sent Christ to die on the cross as punishment for the sins of the whole world. Jesus paid it all, and that included your debt. If you can believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he died for the human race and afterwards was raised from the dead, a special opportunity is yours. If you choose to do so, you can become a Christian and enjoy all the favors and blessings which go along with becoming a son of God. When you become a Christian, you receive the forgiveness of all past sins, and God receives you as though you had never done anything wrong. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
What will your answer be? Will you accept the challenge to take a new look at yourself, at the loyalties you have inherited and the new ones pulling at you? You are not alone, but you alone can make the decision. Would you unite with others who have committed themselves to follow Christ? Will you repent and turn from the emptiness and sense of futility that stem from separation from God? Will you turn to the life of fulness and hope that comes from reconciliation with God and your fellow man? Will you face the future in loneliness and despair or as a part of a community of Christians who genuinely love each other and help each other? You can repent of your mistakes, confess your faith in Christ end be baptized for the forgiveness of sins just as all first century Christians did in the long ago. No on has been in your shoes before. You cannot take take the word of somebody else for it when it comes to your spiritual life. No one can believe for you, worship for you, or love others for you. That you have to learn for yourself, with the help of Christ and the support of other seekers and other Christians.

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