AGCC Sun. a.m. 7/22/2001
#3 (Proverbs Series - "7 Things God Hates")
TEXT: Prov. 6:16-17; Psa. 37:8; Eph. 4:26-27; Matt. 5:21-24
INTRO: Anger has a way of moving us to do things we would never consider doing normally, which usually causes our life to get worse rather than better!
ILLUS:It seems that this college student needed a small two-hour course to fill out his schedule. The only one that fit was in Wildlife Zoology. He had some reservations as he heard the course was tough and the teacher a bit different. But, it seemed like the only choice so he signed up.
After one week and one chapter the professor had a test for the class. He passed it out and it was a sheet of paper divided into squares and in each square was a carefully drawn picture of some bird legs. Not bodies, not feet--just different birds' legs. The test simply asked them to identify the birds from the pictures of their legs.
Well, he was absolutely floored. He didn't have a clue. The student sat and stared at the test and got madder and madder. Finally, reaching the boiling point, he stomped up to the front of the classroom and threw the test on the teacher's desk and exclaimed, "This is the worst test I have ever seen and this is the dumbest course I have ever taken." The teacher looked up at him and said, "Young man, you just flunked the test." Then the teacher picked up the paper, saw that the student hadn't even put his name on the paper, and said, "By the way, young man, what's your name?" At this the student bent over, pulled up his pants, revealed his legs and said, "You identify me." -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 299.
Most of the time the results are not humorous however, they are tragic. Among the 7 things Solomon says God hates is "anger" or as he puts it in Prov. 6:17c "hands that shed innocent blood." Anger usually moves us toward sin and thus brokenness with God and each other, hence God hates it so.
The Bible and history record the broken lives that result from anger. It destroys not only those it is directed against, but those who are obsessed with it.
PROP. SENT: The Scriptures teach us that we must guard our hearts and minds against anger, failure to control or deal with anger results in a plethora of sins.
I. DEVIL'S DESIGN Prov. 6:17c; Psa. 37:8; Eph. 4:26-27
A. Serious Action Prov. 6:17c; Psa. 37:8
1. David in Psalm 37:8 makes clear the connection between anger and evil, anger leads to evil.
a. "Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret--it leads only to evil."
b. His son Solomon in Prov. 6:17c connects it to the shedding of innocent blood.
c. Anger must not be avoided, it must be dealt with or it leads to sin, and the more we ignore it the more it develops!
ILLUS:Whenever you are angry, be assured that it is not only a present evil, but that you have increased a habit. -- Epictetus -- As quoted in Bob Phillips, Phillips' Book of Great Thoughts & Funny Sayings, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1993), p. 18.
2. Anger connects us with the Devil, it is the force that drives Satan to rebel against God and all that God has made good.
a. When we allow anger to fester in us we become the breeding ground for sinful desires.
ILLUS:When anger was in Cain's heart, murder was not far off. -- Philip Henry (1631-1696) - Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 406.
b. How many Christians have invited disaster into their hearts and lives because they failed to control or confess their tempers!
c. We cannot afford anger ... too much damage results when we fail to deal with it.
3. Listed as one of the 7 things God hates demonstrates just how powerful this emotion can be, God hates the way anger destroys.
B. Stopping Anger Eph. 7:26-27
1. The world kind of winks at anger ...
ILLUS:Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight. -- Phyllis Diller -- As quoted in Bob Phillips, Phillips' Book of Great Thoughts & Funny Sayings, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1993), p. 18.
2. Our culture jokes about anger, excuses it, even at times applauds it.
a. Many people ignore the problem they have with anger, like alcoholics that deny they have a problem many angry people do the same thing!
ILLUS:There are many queer ideas about cross bearing. I recall a man once saying to me, "I have a fierce temper, but I suppose that is my cross!" "My friend," I said to him (lovingly, I hope!), "That is not your cross, but it is your sin!" -- Alan Redpath in Victorious Christian Faith. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 8.
b. Too often today we fail to call it sin, but that is what it leads to.
c. The truth about anger is that it often yields terrible sins in our life when left untreated or unconfessed.
3. The Biblical approach to dealing with anger: (Eph. 4:26-27)
a. Acknowledge it! "In your anger ... "
b. Control it " ... do not sin ..."
c. Deal with it immediately " ... Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, ..."
d. Take it seriously! " ... and do not give the devil a foothold."
4. Often, dealing with anger when it first comes on the scene offers the best way of keeping it from moving to deeper levels and causing more damage.
a. It is better to deal with anger when it starts.
ILLUS:Fighting rush-hour traffic from suburban Maryland to Washington D.C., can cause its share of near misses and irritating moments. One morning, a young lady darted her compact car from a side street into the stream of traffic immediately in front of a driver just a few car lengths ahead of me, forcing him to brake sharply. He avoided hitting her by inches and was obviously furious. Within seconds, traffic stopped at a red light, and I watched him pull up behind the offender, leap from his car, and stride angrily toward hers. Clearly, he intended to give her a royal bowling out.
Seeing him coming, the very attractive young lady jumped from her car and ran to meet him--a big smile on her face! Before he could say one word or know what was happening, she had thrown her arms around him, hugged him tightly, and planted a passionate kiss on his lips! Then she was back in her car and driving away, leaving her antagonist standing in the middle of the street still speechless and looking somewhat confused and embarrassed--but no longer angry! -- B.R. Holt, Caldwell, ID. Christian Reader, "Lite Fare."
b. While perhaps not the best approach, she had the right idea, defuse the anger immediately to prevent further damage.
5. It is much better to defuse anger before it plants itself in our soul where it can create massive heart damage!
II. DANGEROUS DYNAMICS! Matt. 5:21-24
A. Sudden Anger 5:21-22a
1. Paul had stated in Eph. 4:27 that anger left unchecked can give the devil a foothold in our lives ... and Jesus states the same thing in Matt. 5:21-24.
2. Jesus connects "anger" and "murder" together!
a. But surely all anger doesn't necessarily lead to murder ... true, but all murders comes from anger!
b. Anger is a process of losing control of self, and it is the catalyst for sins, thus it is important that we learn to deal with it effectively.
3. In most cases those whose spiritual life is shallow will likely to be stung by anger.
ILLUS:The emptier the pot, the quicker it boils. Watch your temper. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990).
4. One of the best guards against sinful anger is a deep walk with God.
a. Anger as an emotion will happen, but when it crops up in someone who is Spirit filled they are not as likely to boil over too quickly.
b. It is not the emotion of anger itself that is the sin, it is what we do with it.
c. The Bible says in Psa 4:4 "In your anger do not sin; ..."
5. Jesus here is talking about "SUDDEN ANGER" ... the kind that flares up in a moment, the kind that results in saying to a brother "RACA" which is loosely translated, "You idiot!"
a. This kind of anger is not premeditated, it is sudden and expressed in a moment.
b. Most of us would dismiss this as "everyone experiences this, it is normal" ... but even this kind of anger needs accountability:
(1. Jesus said the one who says, "RACA" was answerable to the Sanhedrin.
(2. This meant that even this level of anger was to be dealt with among brethren ... we are to hold one another accountable for even these sudden displays of anger.
(3. The reason being -- such displays if not dealt with will lead to the second more serious form of anger which Jesus describes next, the kind that makes one damned to Hell fire!
c. Such bursts of anger can be quite damaging ... and left alone will likely cause foolish things to happen and escalate the anger from just spontaneous to an angry heart.
ILLUS:The Arizona Republic (4/25/95) reported that when Steve Tran of Westminster, California, closed the door on 25 activated bug bombs, he thought he had seen the last of the cockroaches that shared his apartment. When the spray reached the pilot light of the stove, it ignited, blasting his screen door across the street, breaking all his windows, and setting his furniture ablaze.
"I really wanted to kill all of them," he said. "I thought if I used a lot more, it would last longer." According to the label, just two canisters of the fumigant would have solved Tran's roach problem.
The blast caused over $10,000 damage to his apartment building. And the cockroaches? Tran reported, "By Sunday, I saw them walking around."
As Proverbs 29:11 says, only "a fool gives full vent to his anger." -- Leadership, Vol. 17, no. 2.
6. Jesus wants the "sudden" form of anger to be subject to judgment to prevent the development of deep anger, there is nothing wrong with answering to the Sanhedrin here, it simply meant as a way to be accountable for outbursts of anger so they don't develop further.
a. How are you accountable for outbursts of anger?
b. Can you handle being corrected for your anger issues?
c. How can we develop this kind of accountability today?
B. Smoldering Anger 5:22b
1. "You fool" is a different level of anger, much deeper than "You idiot."
a. At this level murder is in the heart, that is the context of Jesus' remarks here.
b. This is anger that has been left to develop and fester in the soul of an individual.
c. This is anger that has not been dealt with.
2. Such a level of anger destroys, both the one who has it and the one it is directed at.
3. It is anger that seeks to destroy, aimed at taking away good.
ILLUS:In his autobiography, Number 1, Billy Martin told about hunting in Texas with Mickey Mantle. Mickey had a friend who would let them hunt on his ranch. When they reached the ranch, Mickey told Billy to wait in the car while he checked in with his friend. Mantle's friend quickly gave them permission to hunt, but he asked Mickey a favor. He had a pet mule in the barn who was going blind, and he didn't have the heart to put him out of his misery. He asked Mickey to shoot the mule for him.
When Mickey came back to the car, he pretended to be angry. He scowled and slammed the door. Billy asked him what was wrong, and Mickey said his friend wouldn't let them hunt. "I'm so mad at that guy," Mantle said, "I'm going out to his barn and shoot one of his mules!" Mantle drove like a maniac to the barn. Martin protested, "We can't do that!" But Mickey was adamant. "Just watch me," he shouted.
When they got to the barn, Mantle jumped out of the car with his rifle, ran inside, and shot the mule. As he was leaving, though, he heard two shots, and he ran back to the car. He saw that Martin had taken out his rifle, too. "What are you doing, Martin?" he yelled. Martin yelled back, face red with anger, "We'll show that son of a gun! I just killed two of his cows!" Anger can be dangerously contagious. As Proverbs puts it, "Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man ... or you may learn his ways" (Prov. 22:24-25). -- Scott Bowerman, Bishopville, South Carolina. Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 1.
a. Anger can be quite foolish!
b. This second kind of anger brings the punishment of hell fire to the one who allows it into their soul, for it leads to many sins.
4. Jesus warns against this level of anger, it means more than just accountability to others, it means being reserved for hell fire!
a. It is purely destructive at this level.
b. No doubt there are early warning signs of this developing, and repentance and accountability are the only way to prevent this from developing full steam.
C. Spiritual Accountability 5:23-24
1. Jesus makes it quite clear in this passage that God doesn't accept worship from hot heads that don't deal with their anger problems!
a. We cannot love God and hate our brother (just read I John!)
b. We cannot be out of sorts with one another and be ok with God.
ILLUS:A believer at war with his brother cannot be at peace with his Father. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990).
2. There is a deep and vital connection between our relationship to one another and our spiritual health!
a. Unresolved anger creates a barrier between us and God as well as with each other.
b. God wants us right with one another when we come to Him.
c. It is so important that Jesus even states that if you KNOW of anyone who is angry with you to go to them … even if you aren't the one angry!
d. God desires His children to be right with one another.
3. No matter how well we worship, if we come to God while being at odds with someone else our worship is unacceptable, it does us no good.
a. This is a powerful dynamic missed by so many people.
b. God is absolutely concerned about correct relationships.
c. He died to save us all ... so we cannot afford to be at odds with one another, it is a mockery of His gift of salvation for all.
4. The correct procedure outlined here is to leave the gift at the altar ... it is still a gift to God, but go and reconcile to the brother or sister and then come back and offer the gift, now it is fitting to give and worship.
5. Clearly God hates anger, it disqualifies us for worship and giving and yields so many other types of sins.
a. We are to deal with those issues of anger in our heart before they grow into serious problems.
b. We are to love God and the family of God.
CONCLUSION: God hates anger because it is so destructive spiritually, both to the one who is angry and the victim of anger. Anger is often the bedrock of many sins. Anger is an effective tool of Satan, we must guard our hearts from anger's release in sinful ways. We must learn to "be angry and sin not." Ungodly anger destroys, God's love is the cure.