Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Mark 1:8; Ephesians 5:18; Acts 13:52; Luke 11:8–10; Acts 5:32; Galatians 5:16–26
Last week was National Drug & Alcohol Facts week in the US. This annual event brings together scientific experts and teens to demolish fallacies about substance abuse and addiction.1 The facts about alcohol alone are quite sobering.
Of all the addictive substances in the US, alcohol is the most common. Over 17 million people (that’s one in every 12) suffer from alcohol abuse. That number doesn’t even include the millions who dabble in binge drinking and are headed toward addiction. Over half of the adults in the US have a family history of problem drinking. More than 7 million children live in a home where at least one parent is either dependent upon or has abused alcohol.2
Consider just a few facts about those who drink and drive. At least 32 percent of fatal car crashes involve a drunk driver or pedestrian. Over 1 million drivers were arrested in 2011 for driving under the influence. The leading cause of death for teens is car crashes and 25 percent of these are alcohol related.
Because alcohol is a depressant, it slows down the functions of the central nervous system. Normal brain functions become delayed and a person’s information-processing skills become are affected. Judgment, comprehension, coordination, reaction time, visual acuity all become impaired.3
This week’s Sabbath school lesson focuses on “The Baptism and Filling of the Holy Spirit.” When you consider the work of Satan, it’s easy to see how being filled with alcohol, in many ways, is the very opposite of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul once wrote, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
Sometimes we think we must perform certain antics to receive the Spirit into our life. We believe we must work up our emotions through the use of outside stimulation in order to “feel” that we have received the Spirit. Yet, when we ask Jesus into our hearts, it is then that the Spirit comes. Jesus said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
Our memory verse explains, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” (John 10:10, NIV). If you’re looking to “have life, and have it to the full” (verse 10), then seek daily for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The power from on high will increase your comprehension and judgment and give you spiritual acuity to discern right from wrong.
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