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Text: Ephesians 4:26-32
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Topic: How to—or not to—handle your anger.
Big Idea: Once we know what's behind our anger, we can better deal with it and replace it with more godly behavior.
- Everybody's angry about something in today's "Age of Rage."
"In your anger, do not sin."
- Anger alone isn't necessarily a sin; even God gets angry.
- But we need to find out what lies behind our anger before it leads to something else.
- Illustration: Nicodem's car has a warning light when he's low on gas. He gets angry at the light, especially when it lights up at the worst times. But "my problem isn't the little red light. My problem is the empty gas tank."
- Hurt, frustration and/or fear most often lie behind our anger.
"Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry."
- When we go to bed angry, we wake up angrier, because it has settled in.
- Illustration: Your favorite football team loses a game on a lousy call. TV replays confirm the call - again and again. So does your "Sports Illustrated." Your anger lingers on and on.
- If this behavior persists, anger becomes a characteristic attitude in you.
- If anger's turned inward, we sink into depression.
- Illustration: Jonah settled into depression because he was angry with God for not destroying Ninevah. He became a pouting prophet.
"And do not give the devil a foothold."
- Anger opens the door to the devil, and there's no telling what might follow anger.
- Illustration: Cain opened the door to anger, and what followed? He murdered his brother.
- Illustration: Alexander the Great conquered the world, but not himself. In a fit of anger, he killed his dearest friend. Deep remorse and guilt followed. He tried to commit suicide, but his own men stopped him.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths … "
- Illustration: In the movie The Indian in the Cupboard, a twentieth-century boy outfits his eighteenth-century Indian friend Little Bear with a modern army. But because Little Bear's men are not used to twentieth century weapons, some of them are killed by friendly fire.
- We underestimate the destructive capability of angry words.
- A well-controlled mouth can neutralize anger (see also Proverbs 15:1).
"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God … "
- Illustration: You want to become a great tennis player, so you hire a professional. Your game improves until you're ready for competition. Early in the match, a call goes against you, you get angry, and you consequently start forgetting everything you learned.
- Every time we get angry, we turn a deaf ear to the Holy Spirit's counsel.
- We need to replace anger with Christlike qualities.
—"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander … "
—"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other … "
- Knowing Christ brings humility and power to your life.