26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
For the sake of God’s glory in the church, for the sake of the unity of the body, for our own holiness and good, Paul here commands that we watch our anger.
I. In your anger do not sin (26a) [A prohibition against sinful anger]
26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN;
A. This is not a command to be angry (don’t separate first and second part of the sentence).
B. This is not a blanket condemnation of and prohibition against all anger.
1. There are times when anger is right and appropriate
2. Jesus displayed anger: Mark 3:5; John 2:15-17; Revelation 6:16
3. God displays anger. 1 Kings 11:9; 2 Kings 17:18; Psalm 2:5; 7:11; Hebrews 12:29
C. It is, however, a strong command against sinful anger, which undermines the unity of the body and robs God of glory.
Application: (Don’t allow your anger to be an occasion of sin, and thus divide the body)
II. Put a terminus on your anger (26b) [A command to contain and limit anger]
26 . . . do not let the sun go down on your anger,
A. Don’t nurse anger, don’t allow it to go on, – righteous or not. Don’t let the embers smoulder.
B. "Never go to bed angry"–"is a good rule, and is seldom more applicable than to a married couple." (Phillips and Stott)
Application: (Don’t cherish anger, and thus divide the body, or your family or your marriage)
III. Don’t give the Devil, the accuser, an occasion to entrap you in sinful anger (27) [A command and warning about anger and spiritual warfare]
27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
A. Anger is hard to handle responsibly, so the Evil One lurks, ready to exploit us and provoke us.
B. The Devil wants to use our sinful, prideful, selfish anger to breach the fellowship of the body.
C. He also wants to use it to destroy our own souls and rob God of glory in the church.
Quotation: "Of the 7 deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back--in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you" (Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking Transformed by Thorns, p. 117).
Application: (Don’t give the Devil an advantage or opportunity by your anger)
Application: (The need of God’s saving and sanctifying grace)
Quotation: "We feel every day how incurable is the disease of long-continued hatred, or at least, how difficult it is to cure it." (John Calvin)
The battle against anger shows us how much we need grace!
Sunday, May 07, 2006