Bragging on Jesus

Whiskey On My Breath

Dwayne Douglas preached 03/18/2018 Liberty Baptist, Fargo Oklahoma

Gonna give you a little background on how my message came together for this morning.  I currently live in but I'm not an Oklahoma native. I'm originally from the great state of West Virginia. So that means a lot of my family and friends are back east where I grew up and with the distance I don’t get to see them regularly.  So you can imagine I was pretty excited when my little brother Dana and his family decided to visit and spend last Thanksgiving with us.  We hadn’t  seen each other in over a year and he was bringing the whole family including his wife, my 3 nephews and my niece. We hadn’t all been together since May 2014 so that was even better.  As you can imagine we tried to pack as much catching up in to those few days as we could. 

 

Now you need to understand my brother Dana has the testimony a lot of folks wish they had, there’s a lot of running from grace, stumbles and falls but eventually grace caught up to him and his turned into the godly husband and father that he is today. 

 

We were hanging in the garage one evening during his visit, grilling up some dinner and of course there was some music playing.  He asked if I had heard the song “Whiskey On My Breath” by the duo Love And Theft.  Now, you’re probably thinking what I was thinking….”oh a country drinking song, that’s super original!”  I mean country drinking songs are practically a genre of their own.  So I listened to it that evening and I was like ok, it’s not bad.  But ever since that day that song has continued to stroll in and out my memory. Now I’m a big lyrics guy, for me music isn’t “just about the beat” I think the message is super important.  So I googled the lyrics and I’m gonna read them to you this morning.  


I woke up with a pounding head
With a bottle laying in the bed
There was a little, a little bit left
So I picked it up and I killed the rest

Oh I know I'm going to heaven
But I can't go with me like this
I need to pull myself together
Before then
No I ain't afraid of dying
But what scares me to death
Is meeting Jesus
With whiskey on my breath

I lost her and all my friends
Broke all but one of my Lord's 10
But Jesus died for all my sins
That's how I know I'm getting in

Oh I know I'm going to heaven
But I can't go with me like this
I need to pull myself together
Before then
No I ain't afraid of dying
But what scares me to death
Is meeting Jesus
With whiskey on my breath


So I thought I’d filter the song through the lens of scripture and biblical truth and I'd like to share what I found with you. On a side note, I think we forget that musicians (even Christian) musicians are all subject to the fall and to expect perfection from them is no more realistic than to expect it from the Christian cab driver or plumber.  I’m also not making any commentary on whether the guys in Love and Theft are, or are not, believers. To try and even comment on that from the public persona they project just doesn’t make sense and is not really fair to them.  I do know that from what I have read the song is written from their life experiences.  One member watched his grandfather die from alcoholism and the other member, as well as the duo’s drummer, are recovering alcoholics.  

One thing I try to avoid is shoehorning scripture so it fits into what ever point or points I'm trying to make.  It’s often to easy to pull scripture out of context in order tomake it say what we’d like it to.  I’ve been very careful to try and not do that here.  

So that all being said, let’s take a look at these lyrics and some scripture and see where we end up.  

So the first verse is something all believers probably should be able to relate to.  Maybe we haven’t struggled with alcohol or some type of addiction but as we believers have all had that moment where we realized that our lives weren’t pleasing to God and we were a sinner in need of the grace he offered.  Romans 3:23 is clear that
“all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Paul also makes it clear in Romans 5:8 that even in our fallen sinful state God loved us enough to send Christ to die for us.  Be it while we were falling down drunk, or struggling with lust or porn addiction, or not honoring our parents God loved us enough to fix a relationship that we had broken over and over again.  He did this by becoming one of us, experiencing the same temptations and struggles we do without falling into the sin we do and then dying the death that we deserved.

And then we come to chorus and man, how common is the sentiment that’s expressed in these words:

“Oh I know I'm going to heaven
But I can't go with me like this
I need to pull myself together
Before then”


How often have you heard someone who wasn’t a believer or a even a believer who is struggling say “I’ll get back in church or I’ll accept Christ but I need to clean a few things up first”  All. The. Time. The problem is this type of thinking misses the entire point of what God did in Christ.  If we could do this, then the cross is completely and totally unnecessary.  Let’s take a look at Hebrews 10 starting in verse 19. 

“19 Therefore, brothers,[a] since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”

 

The writer make a direct reference to the old testament temple and the holy of holies that housed the actual presence of God here.  Before Christ sin could only be redeemed once a year by having the high priest enter the holy of holies on the day of atonement (Yom Kippur) and presenting the sacrifice for the peoples sins.  The priest had to be without sin. In fact before he offered a sacrifice for the peoples sin he had to offer a sacrifice for his own in order to ensure he was without any sin. Because in order to enter the presence of perfection he had to be perfect. If he wasn’t he would be struck dead as soon as he entered. 

 

This passage makes it clear that the blood Christ shed allows entry into the very presence of God.  It also makes it clear that it is the only thing that allows us that entry.  There’s no cleaning up before we do, we can only enter by accepting the sacrifice Christ made on the cross.  If we go to God thinking the fact that we’ve stopped or started doing certain things we, just like the priest, are spiritually dead before we ever go in. Folks it’s been said for years but it bears repeating here, there isn’t a single thing you can do to make God love you any less or more than he already does.  Saying you have to quit sinning before you can be saved is looking saying you have to take a bath before you take a shower.

The next verse is interesting because it gets into not only the consequences of our depravity but it also highlights some more misconceptions about how the grace of God works
“I lost her and all my friends.” I’ve kind of hit on it earlier but I wanna state clearly here, sin ultimately brings death, nothing but.  There’s no way to sugarcoat this.  The result of sin has to be death, a holy and perfect God can’t accept anything else.  If he were to even consider accepting anything less he ceases to be holy and perfect. Scripture is full of reminders that the ultimate consequence of our sins is death.   
 

  • Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

  • Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

 

  • James 1:15 “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

 

  • Romans 7:13 “Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.


This line clearly shows a picture of the writer dealing with the consequences that his drinking has brought into his life and that’s the death of relationships.  As i stated earlier the guys in Love And Theft also know that sin can bring about physical death because one member has publicly stated his grandfather literally drank himself to death.

The lyrics go on to say
“Broke all but one of my Lord's 10.”  Again we go back to the misconception that there’s somehow some kind of threshold for sin and that we’ll be ok as long as we don’t cross it.  The problem is scripture is clear that the threshold is perfection and as I pointed out earlier we all fall short. James 2:10 says “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” Which just goes on to reinforce the perfection that a perfect, holy God requires.  Folks if you break one of the 10 commandments you’ve broken them all.  It’s a not a test where you’re going to get into heaven if keep 60 or 70 percent of them.  The only curve God will grade on is you’re covered in the blood of Christ. 


And this next line is where I think the writer really gets it. 

“But Jesus died for all my sins
That's how I know I'm getting in.”
 

So after waking up hung over and finishing up the bottle he finds in his bed. After realizing that he’s his drinking has brought death to relationships and the fear of dying with whiskey on his breath and meeting Jesus that way.  He realizes that that the most important, the only requirement for admission into heaven is that Christ shed holy perfect blood for his sins.  Hebrews 9:22 “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

So you may be sitting there thinking “D, are you telling me that if I go out and get drunk and die and wake up in the presence of God that he’s not immediately gonna send me to hell because I died drunk?”  What I’m telling you is that from what I’ve seen and understand in scripture that’s not how the Grace of god works. 

 

Hebrews 7:26-28 “26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.”

Understand that for those that are redeemed God doesn’t see any sin (past, present, future) on you.  He sees the perfect, atoning blood of Christ.  I had an experience in a Sunday School class I was teaching several years back where one of my students has said “all I know is if I had gone out drinking on New Years Eve and died in a car wreck, I’d be in hell right now.”  I was, for one of the few times in my life, speechless.  My wife, who is one of the wisest, godliest people I know spoke up and said.  “You really need to open scripture and look at the nature of the God you serve.” We know from scripture that God is merciful, that he is not the type of God that is waiting for you to screw up just so he can send you to hell.  

Psalm 103:8 “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”


Isaiah 42:3 “a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.”

Folks the nature of God is one who loved you so much that he chose to die and shed his own blood to atone for your garbage.  He’s also provided a means of redemption that can survive our failings, shortcomings and sin.  

I’m in no way encouraging anyone to meet Jesus with whiskey on their breath, but what I can say is that from what scripture indicates about God it’s pretty clear that if this does happen to you, the whiskey won’t be the deciding factor in how he judges you.

In closing I want to be absolutely 100% clear here.  I am in no way saying that ongoing willing sin, be it alcohol or something else is in anyway acceptable.  As I’ve said earlier and scripture makes clear that will only lead to death and if you’re struggling with that type of sin in your life.  You need to repent, confess and if necessary get some help. Jesus loves you enough that he provided a way into heaven even if you have whiskey on your breath but that shed blood also gives you freedom from from the bondage of any addiction if you accept it.