How Not to Walk, Part 23 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #269)
A series of homilies on Ephesians.
A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.
TEXT: Ephesians 4:30-31:
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
A.W. Tozer said, “One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “If you want a new personality, I’ll tell you this: the only way to get it is to have a prayer life. You can’t pray and be unclean; you can’t pray and hold a grudge; you can’t pray and have bitterness. We blame the devil so much, but many of us sabotage our own prayer lives.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “After his salvation, Peter Cartwright was given an “exhorter’s license” by the Methodist Church, recognizing the fact that he was already traveling and preaching to small groups. The next year, the presiding Methodist elder gave him permission to form a circuit of churches in a new region of Kentucky. Cartwright protested, claiming that he was uneducated and an immature Christian. But at length, Cartwright accepted the challenge and told God that he would go preach in a house, and if one soul were converted, it was evidence that he was called to evangelism. That evening the greatest professing infidel in the area was present to hear him preach. Cartwright read for his text, “Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah, is everlasting strength”. The infidel was soundly converted, joined the church, and became a leader in the church meeting in that house.”
The third sin that Paul says a Christian should stay away from because it grieves the Holy Spirit is anger. A few verses earlier, he talked about not letting the sun go down on our wrath. The reason why is because when we keep putting off dealing with issues that cause us to become angry, we set in motion an eventual blow-up that will leave devastation, and sometimes death, in its wake. A lady once came to Billy Sunday and tried to rationalize her angry outbursts. She said, “There’s nothing wrong with losing my temper. I blow up, and then it’s all over. “So does a shotgun,” Sunday replied, “and look at the damage it leaves behind!”
The Greek word for anger is “orge.” It differs from wrath in that wrath is often short-lived — it flares up and then dies down. Anger is long-lasting. William Barclay writes that the Greeks “described orge as anger which has become habitual. It is anger which has become inveterate — having a particular habit, activity, or interest that is long-established and unlikely to change. It is slow-burning anger which refuses to be pacified and nurses its wrath to keep it warm.”
While the same word is used to describe God’s long-running anger against sin and evil, Christians are called to “put away” anger. Anger ought not to be a habit of life for us. To use God’s question to Jonah, “Doest thou well to be angry?” Jonah wanted to control things. He hated the heathen Ninevites and wanted to see them punished by God. He got bitter and upset when they repented and God spared them.
Often, that is what our anger amounts to. We want to have our own way. And when things do not go our way, we get angry — at God or at other people. God is saying to us, ‘What do you have to be angry about? I’m in control. Even if someone wrongs you or does something to offend you, remember that I am in control. Nothing happens without My knowledge.’ If we learn to submit to the Holy Spirit and remember that God is in charge of every situation, we can let go of our anger and trust God to work out all of our circumstances according to His will.
Robert Wayne Atkins wrote:
While it’s not a sin to become angry or mad,
to remain that way is exceedingly bad.
The best way to deal with anger is to forgive and forget.
Force yourself to calm down before the sun has set.