Summary: God is saying that there is love that is good, & that there is love that is not good. In the same way, He also says that there is anger that is acceptable, & anger that is not acceptable. (Powerpoints Available - #200)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #200.)
ILL: In his communion meditations, Hank often mentions church signs & what they say. Well, here is another one that I think is worth mentioning: "Anger is just one letter short of being danger."
A. Anger can be dangerous, can't it? I don't know if you have a bad temper, but I'm convinced that most of us experience times when we lose our tempers, because anger is one of the hardest emotions to control.
Psychologists tell us that anger develops in 5 stages: Irritation, Indignation, Wrath, Fury, & Rage. Now let me explain each of these stages.
1. The first stage is Irritation This is not too bad. Someone irritates us, & we are a little upset, but not enough to take any kind of action.
2. The 2nd stage is Indignation Now we are really irritated by someone or something, & we fume a bit inwardly. We may even tell others how we feel about it.
3. The 3rd stage is Wrath Now we are boiling inside! We think about what we can do to get even or get back at someone, & begin to take action to do it.
4. The 4th stage is Fury Fury is a burning point & we are willing to hurt the other person in any way that we can.
5. The final stage is Rage Now we lose control. We lash out without considering the results either to ourself or to others.
B. Do you realize how bombarded we are today with pictures of rage? Beatings, shootings, chase scenes where people are running each other down, & all kinds of violence are common on our TV screens.
ILL. The old TV program, "The Incredible Hulk," featured a mild-mannered guy who does okay until somebody makes him angry. Then he quickly goes thru all the stages of irritation, indignation, wrath, fury & rage.
When he reaches "rage" his muscles began to bulge he turns green from head to foot his shirt rips off & in the TV program it always turns out for good! Now what is that telling us?
It is suggesting that "rage is all right because it can have good results." And we are constantly being bombarded with that kind of teaching. In fact, some of the most popular "law & order" programs glorify the idea that it is all right for the "good guys" to be mean & violent, too.
C. In the light of all this, let's look at Ephesians 4:26-27 where the Apostle Paul says, "In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."
I don't know if you have really thought about this passage before. But the first time we read it, it often causes us to have a double take, because it says, "In your anger do not sin." So evidently, there is an anger that is not sin, that is acceptable, & perfectly within the will of God.
For example, God tells us to love our neighbor & even to love our enemies. But at the same time He also says, "Do not love the world or anything in the world." (1 John 2:15)
God is saying that there is love that is good, & that there is love that is not good. And in the same way He also says that there is anger that is acceptable, & anger that is not acceptable.
I. ANGER THAT IS ACCEPTABLE
So let's look at some anger that God calls acceptable. In the Bible there are at least 2 types of anger that are always presented as acceptable.
A. It is acceptable to be angry when God's Word & God's Will are being violated.
ILL. Moses went to the top of Mt. Sinai & God gave him the 10 Commandments on tablets of stone. Then Moses came down from the mountain, & discovered that the people of Israel had made a golden calf & were engaged in an orgy as part of their worship of the golden calf.
Do you remember how Moses reacted? He was angry because God's will & God's word were being violated!
ILL. How about Solomon? Solomon had so much. He had 700 wives & possessed more wealth than possibly any man who has ever lived. But do you remember what happened to Solomon?
He allowed his pagan wives to pull him away from God towards idolatry. 1 Kings 11:9 says that the result was that "The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord...."
APPL. The Bible warns us that there is a time when God draws a line, & His judgment will come. In Romans 2:5 the apostle Paul warns those who are in violation of the word & will of God: