The deadly sin we're considering today is anger.
Anger. Previously, we learned about two of the deadly sins, pride and envy. Next week, we'll look at the wonderful sin of sloth. Don't you love that word sloth?
It tells you. We're going to deal with sloth, then we're going to deal with gluttony and greed and lust. But today, we're dealing with anger. Now, some sins such as envy and lust can be hidden from others, but this is a sin you can't really hide. If you're angry, those around you probably know that you're angry. The smallest slight feel or imagined may prompt rage, may prompt anger, even fury. We see it in family disputes all the time, at work, on the roads, road rage. We see it certainly in politics, and we see it on social media, which is full of vitriol and anger. And can I say, before we get into this, that we the people of God should not be going on social media and demonstrating our anger.
By all means, use it for the spread of the gospel, but so much of it is unhelpful and is vitriolic, and we as the people of God should be marked by grace and not anger. I find over the years that many, many men are angry, some repeatedly abuse their wives, even assaulting their wives, and that anger, if it isn't physically expressed, is often expressed with vicious words and even curses. We see anger all around us.
I just saw this morning that in Indonesia, 125 people were killed after a soccer match where the home team lost, and fans flooded on to the pitch, and the police responded, and I'm sure there's a tremendous amount of anger. We see it in sport, we see it by players, we see it by coaches, we see it by spectators. I remember when our son Christopher was either a junior or senior at high school, he was doing the shot putt, something I for obvious reasons stayed well away from, but he did it. And I remember going and he was practicing with another boy in his year, and this boy's father was standing beside me, and we watched as our sons, who were much bigger than we were and stronger, took a shot putt and see how far they could throw this thing. And for some reason, this man watching his son got really annoyed and felt his son should be throwing a shot putt further than he was. Now this was a practice, and I remember the man turned on his son, and with terrible language, terrible language berated his son in front of my son, and his son obviously.
After it as I was walking to the car with Christopher, I said to him, did you hear that? I said, I feel terrible for that boy being exposed to such anger from his father. And Christopher said to me, Dad, he has zero respect for his dad.
Zero respect for his dad. I thought, how sad, here's a seventeen and eighteen year old boy, and I could almost guarantee that that boy himself will grow up very, very angry. And if he's married, that anger I'm sure is going to be expressed in all kinds of unhelpful ways. This is a very powerful emotion. All of us know something about it to a greater or lesser extent, and it is devastating. Let me tell you, it's devastating in your life.
It's devastating in relationships and homes, society, and it is all around us. It's a pervasive sin, this deadly sin of anger. The burning fuse of anger ignites the explosive, and then boom, anger.
Shouting, cursing, punching walls, even punching people, pushing. At other times, the anger is suppressed. It's perhaps partially hidden, but it can come out in all kinds of sinful ways, with bitterness, sarcasm, insults, gossip, sullenness, self-pity, or passive-aggressive behaviour, anger. First time anger appears in the Bible is in Genesis 4, when the Lord had regard for Abel's offering. And Cain, when he heard this, was very angry. The Bible says, so Cain was very angry and his face fall. In fact, Cain was so angry that he couldn't deal with his anger, and here in this relationship between two brothers, Cain is so angry that he kills his brother, murders his brother.
Many murders today still take place in the home. We have an epidemic, don't we, of anger, of violence in our society. It is growing, sadly, and we see young men killing people in schools, malls, theatres, and churches, so that as we gather today, isn't it absolutely ridiculous that as we gather today, we have to take security measures because we recognise there are angry people out there, and perhaps even in our congregation. I have to ask you, I'm speaking to all of us, any danger signs of anger in your life are there? You're getting very irritable recently, snapping at people, shouting, cursing, scowling, slamming doors, ignoring people. You're an angry person, aren't you?
Perhaps bullying, not listening to any criticisms, getting very annoyed when anyone admonishes you, focused on the faults of others. You're one of these individuals that you spend most of your day watching the news, and you're getting so angry over the politics of the day. This seems to be growing, doesn't it? We have more and more angry people, including people who are following Jesus Christ, they're getting angry over what's happening, and that anger is causing problems in their homes and in their relationships. Yes, we're all concerned with what's going on in our society. There's a way to deal with it. It's called prayer. It's taking the weapons of spiritual warfare, but some of us are so angry that we are taking it out on those around us, and perhaps you need to spend less time watching the news and more times reading your Bible and in prayer.
You're lying awake at night mulling over real or imagined hurts. Don't ignore the danger signs. Check your anger quickly, or as we will see, and as we probably know, anger can quickly get out of control. Yes, anger is a deadly sin. When you stand with me, you want to read the Word of God together. It's from Ephesians 4, verses 25 through 32. Let's read this, and as we read it, ask that the Spirit of God will convict you because this message is for you. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such is good for building up as fits the occasion that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Amen.
Pleased to see you. What a wonderful passage of Scripture. If you've got your Bible, as I know many of you have, open it to that passage.
We want to look at it in a little more detail. Ephesians 4, verses 25 through 32. Now notice verse 26, be angry and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger. Not all anger is sin.
Now anger is a natural human emotion. And verse 26 is best seen not as a command to be angry, but rather an injunction not to sin when you are angry. Then IV translates it, in your anger, do not sin. So anger in and of itself is not sinful. There are clearly situations which do make us angry.
We see our Lord Jesus, the perfect man, angry, as he goes into the temple and clears it of the money changers. His righteous indignation was against those who violated the Word of God, who used the name of God for their own selfish purposes and exploiting others, and he was angry. So sometimes our anger is justifiable.
Wouldn't you be angry if you left this morning and went in the parking lot and saw a man with a stick beating a two year old? There would be something wrong with us if we weren't angry. But we must differentiate between sinful anger and righteous indignation. Because anger is such a strong, powerful emotion, it can very quickly and very easily get out of hand. And it's possible to say, well, we're righteously indignant when all we are is just bad-tempered. Sinful anger is selfish and it's deadly. So the warning is, be very, very careful when you are angry. Angry is an emotion which has to be managed, which has to be brought under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Now I'm aware that some psychologists encourage people to mend their rage, but that kind of anger may just breed more anger. If you're in Ephesians 4, turn back in your Bible a couple of pages to Galatians chapter 5. In Galatians 5, Paul describes the works of the flesh. And he says in verse 20, here are some of them, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions. Anger is present when there's a division, when there's jealousies, when there's rivalries, fits of anger, outbursts of anger.
That's a work of the flesh that does not come from the Spirit of God. Now that's not to say we ignore our anger or bury our anger. Anger can act like a toxin, profoundly impacting us inwardly, and denied or repressed, suppressed, that fuse may continue to burn. But when you're provoked to anger, when you experience that emotion, when you can feel that anger coming, be very, very careful. The warning light is on. Be careful. Take a deep breath.
Ask God for help. Turn over to James 1 where James gives us very helpful instruction regarding dealing with our anger in this practical epistle, James chapter 1. You someday who's got a short fuse, you probably pride yourself that you're the kind of individual who speaks your mind. Well, listen to James. James 1 verse 19, notice my beloved brothers, let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
You hear it? You're quick to anger, but you're to be slow to anger. Why is that? For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. When you're angry, God is not honored.
That is an expression of your fleshly lusts and is not evidence of the Spirit of God. In our anger, there's a lot of the flesh and very little of God. When you're angry, commit the situation to the Lord that's causing your anger. The Spirit of God, if we're a follower of Christ, we're indwelled by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God doesn't produce anger. He doesn't produce outbursts of fury.
He produces what? Peace and harmony. Proverbs 15 verse 1, a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. And some of your anger in your home is stirring up anger in your children. Here's this man berating his son because he's not performing in a sport the way the Father would like. Something very, very common, sadly, that's going to breed resentment in the son.
The son didn't respond, but I'm sure internally there was great frustration. And in many cases, when there is anger, it produces a harsh return. Harsh words stir up anger. Be careful how you speak, particularly to your children, men particularly to your wives, particularly to your brothers and sisters in Christ.
And sometimes, it is best when someone is angry simply refuse to respond. Remember when Jesus was unjustly criticized? What did He do?
He was silent. When He was reviled? Reviled not in return. When He was threatened, He opened not His mouth. You ever had someone just venting at you by anger?
Yes, it is true. In certain cases a soft answer turns away wrath, but in other cases, it's best not to return. When I was a young attorney, we were taught when we had unreasonable clients who were phoning us, who had drunk a little too much scotch, and were unhappy, and were taking a phone call, that if they started ranting and swearing, we would say something like, you know, referring to the person's name. Once you've regained your equilibrium, we'll continue this conversation. But if you continue to speak like this, I'm going to put down the telephone. These were unreasonable clients. These were people who could not control the themselves. There's no point in answering someone like that who's out of control.
The best thing usually is to terminate the conversation. Anger. Can you reflect over the last month any experience of anger in your life? Yes, you. Don't think of others. Think of yourself. Any situations where you've been angry over the last month?
Just think of them. What were you angry about? See, what we're angry about reveals a lot about us, doesn't it? Here's a man angry that his son isn't going to be the Olympic shot putter or whatever he was angry about. People are angry at work. People are angry at sport. See, what we're angry about reveals a lot about us, doesn't it? Our politics, our personal opinions, the fact that we didn't get our way. What were you ticked off about?
Tells a lot about you, doesn't it? Is your anger being appropriate? Yes, there is an appropriate time to anger.
We've discussed that. But is your anger appropriate? Did it honour God? Let me ask you, is your anger hurting innocent people such as your children, your home, your husband, your wife, colleagues at work, friends?
Is it affecting other people? One of the reasons I feel so strongly about this subject, hope I'm not getting angry about it, but one of the reasons I feel so strongly about it, over the years I've seen tremendous devastation, yes, in Christian homes over anger. And as I said in looking up this week, it's not saying that women are not angry, they have their own deceitfulness and sinfulness.
It's not that they are less sinful than men, but men are certainly more prone to anger in my experience, more prone to shouting, to bullying, to pushing, to physical anger. Have you sinned in your anger? Have you allowed your emotions to take over?
Have you? Turn with me back to Proverbs. First of all, Proverbs 14, Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Psalms, Proverbs in your Bibles. Proverbs first of all, chapter 14, verse 29. Here are three good verses for you to write down.
This is a new Bible I got in August, but I've already underlined these verses in my Bible. Proverbs 14, verse 29, whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. If you know a little bit about Proverbs, there's the wise person and then there's the fool.
They are contrasted. The wise person is slow to anger. That's James' expression in James 1, isn't it? You're slow to anger, you're wise. You've got a hasty temper, you're foolish.
You exalt folly. Turn to chapter 15. We're already seeing chapter 15, verse 1, a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Verse 18, a hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. An angry person is often a troublemaker, that individual. This stirs up strife. He's never happy unless he's in the middle of a battle, and he prides himself that he is the kind of individual who speaks his mind, but he's really foolish. He's hot-tempered, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
Chapter 29, Proverbs 29. Again, similar point, Proverbs 29.22, a man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. Your anger causes much transgression. Your anger, my anger, causes a lot of damage. You damage people tremendously.
They may never say it. They may listen to your anger, whether it's at work or in your relationships in your home, but your anger is causing much transgression, much damage. So when we're angry, we're usually talking rather than listening. When you're angry, a good thing is to stop. Slow to anger, quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. Excellent advice, isn't it? Now back to Ephesians chapter 4, our main text, Ephesians 4, verse 26, be angry and do not let the sun go down on your anger. What's Paul saying? Resolve your anger quickly, yes?
Don't stay angry. Do you really expect life always to go your way? I was driving here this morning. Is it reasonable to expect that I'm going to have every green light? I mean, I'm a pastor.
I'm coming to preach the Bible. I mean, I should get every green light, shouldn't I? Why should I stop? And some guy in front of me switched lanes didn't indicate. His driving is terrible.
What should I do? Shout at them. Is it reasonable for you to expect there's going to be no traffic delays in Charlotte at rush hour? It's only babies who expect life to go smoothly and comfortably and conveniently. Life is full of irritations, of setbacks, of disappointments. Life has people letting us down, just as you let people down.
People around you are sinful, just as you are. Learn to deal with it. Don't be immature.
Stop the outbursts of anger. It's immature. It's childish. It's inappropriate. It's a poor example for you when you're driving your car and you've got your wife and your children in it, for you to be shouting, even swearing and cursing because of what some other driver does.
Stuff it. When we don't quickly resolve our anger, resentment and bitterness quickly spring up. Brooding on your anger and repeatedly going over it in your mind about the wrong cause to you builds even more anger.
That's the problem. This is bad for us. Paul is saying, no, resolve it quickly. Don't let the sun go down on your wrath which is a metaphorical way of saying, yes, in certain cases you are going to be angry but when that happens, make very careful that you don't sin in your anger because it's such a powerful emotion and deal with it quickly. Allowed to fester than anger is like poison in the home, isn't it? There's joylessness in the home. There's a sadness in the home. There's a bad atmosphere in the home. What's caused it? Anger.
And it continues day after day after day after day. Your anger causes hurt and frustration in others. It's bad for your health.
Any doctor will tell you that. It's bad for your health. It's bad for the health of others.
Most of all, it's against God. You're not a perfect individual. You really expect those around you to be perfect. You expect to live and work with perfect people.
Really? You expect that? You say some of the people around me in my home at work and even at Calvary are very irritating.
Yes, I know that. There's a lot of irritating people here just like you and me. You think these people are irritating to work with?
You think they're difficult? We've got to work with you. And people have to work and live with me. Part of it is called maturity. You say, well, I'm a very sensitive person. As if the rest of us are not sensitive.
You know, when people say that, I often think it's just the revealing of their own pride, their own immaturity, their desire to be treated differently from everyone else. Being so-called, quote, sensitive is no excuse for your anger. Proverbs 29 verse 11, a man's discretion makes him slow to anger and it is his glory to overlook a transgression. Peter says in 1 Peter 4, love covers a multitude of sins. Yes, you live and work and serve with difficult irritating people. It's called sin.
Love covers a multitude of sins. You're working with that difficult person. Do you have to bring to their attention every little problem? Overlook the slight. It is his glory to overlook a transgression.
Resolve your anger quickly, maturely. Don't make a big issue out of a minor issue. Don't make a mountain out of a molehill. Love is patient. Love is kind. Now look at verse 27. I think it's fascinating how Paul writes this. And give no opportunity to the devil.
Now this is very significant. The devil wants you angry. The devil wanted Cain angry, so angry that he killed his brother. So when you're angry, the devil is quite happy.
He loves rage, arguments, dissension, shouting, cursing, lies, deceit. Paul says here now, be angry and don't sin. Don't let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity for the devil.
When there is unresolved anger, when there's anger in the home, to me it's like opening the front door of your home and inviting the devil. Come in devil. We're an angry home. You're going to be very welcome here.
Come in. We're vulnerable. When we're angry, we do the devil's work. We cause disunity. We cause strife. We cause slander. We cause accusation.
The devil is the great slanderer, the father of lies, the accuser of the brothers, the deceiver. Anger. Think of the problems in the homes and relationships and churches and the workplace when anger is not handled in a biblical way. Anger destroys the unity of the body and grieves the Holy Spirit. Look at verses 29 to 30 again, let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths.
How about that? Particularly the men. Men. Any corrupting talk come out of your mouths. We as a society have gone down, hasn't it? People use the so-called F-bomb as if it was just nothing. As a boy, we hardly heard that word.
Now it's heard all of the time, and people don't think anything about it. It's corrupting. No vulgarities in your speech. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to elevate our speech. Don't speak like the unbeliever.
Don't use their terminology. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such is good for building up as fits the occasion. Build up one another that it may give grace to those who hear, and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
What a difference! You can use your words to devastate people. Words of corruption, of accusation, of vile, blasphemous slander, all through your speech.
Paul says, no, no. That grieves the Holy Spirit. If you're a follower of Jesus Christ, we're in dwell with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit produces peace. Paul says at the end of verse 29, that it may give grace to those who hear. There are people, when you speak with them, they are speaking words of grace, words of truth, words of comfort, words of healing, words of unity and harmony and peace. That should happen, men, in your home as you lead your family. That should happen in our relationships. How many people are destroyed? How many people are damaged in all kinds of ways through corrupting speech?
Don't do that. Build up one another. The world wants to curse and shout and slander.
We, the people of God, are to be characterized by peace. You say, well, I can't help it, John. That's just who I am.
Please. You're not a robot. You're not a machine. When you don't get what you want, when difficult situations present themselves, ask God for His wisdom and strength. Self-control is part of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. There, Paul describes the works of the flesh, which includes anger and shouting and wrath, but part of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control.
James is going to tell us that that tells you a lot about the person as to how they speak. If you've got control of your speech, don't grieve the Holy Spirit. Be Spirit-controlled.
Yes, you can. Under the lordship of Christ, you can control your speech. Sometimes people can even pretend to be angry or use their anger to intimidate or to get what they want. Isn't it true we rarely express our anger to someone we respect or are afraid of? You may feel you're treated badly at work, but you control your anger at work, but when you go home, what do you do? You kick the cat. You shout at your kids. You take it out of your wife because you're so frustrated, and instead of an appropriate way, dealing with your anger at work, dealing with the situation, you bottle it up and you dump it on those who don't deserve it. Anger is a deadly sin.
What's the solution? Rather than being angry, look at verse 31, let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you. I'm asking you to do that today.
I'm asking you to put it away from you along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God and Christ forgave you. How would your children describe you? How would your husband or your wife describe you as regards anger? How would your co-workers describe you?
You say you're a follower of Jesus Christ. Those who know you, how would they describe you? Would they describe you as a person of anger, or would they describe you as somebody who is gentle, kind, and forgiving? Be gentle, and kind, and forgiving. Isn't that wonderful? It's wonderful to live and work with kind people. It's wonderful to work with people who are forgiving, isn't it? Are you kind? Are you gentle with others starting within your own home?
Yes, I believe in discipline, but it's to be loving and kind and gentle. What about this anger, verse 31? It is to be put away from you. Paul in this passage is telling us to put off certain things and put on certain things. Look back to verse 22, put off your old self. Verse 24, put on the new self. Verse 25, put away falsehood. And now here, put away this wrath and anger and clamor and slander. Paul is using this metaphor of clothes. You've got these old, dirty, filthy clothes.
Problem is you're quite comfortable with them. They're to be put away. Now you're a follower of Jesus Christ, you're to put on other qualities, the anger, the envy, the pride, all these deadly sins. They're going to be put away, and now you have to be put on something else. You can be clothed with what? Kindness, truth, love, tenderness, forgiveness.
Isn't that wonderful? You can choose to hold on to your anger or put it away. Colossians 3 verse 8, but now, says Paul, you must put them all away, say imagery.
Anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Again, the mouth has to be under the control of the Spirit of God. Now Paul, in Galatians 3, as we saw last week dealing with envy, he tells us that the Christian is united with Jesus Christ. Yes, we are sinful, but the power and the dominion of sin in the Christian has been broken. That's Romans 6. Yes, there is still indwelling sin.
I still have the flesh. I still have the potential to be angry, but the power of that in my life has been broken by my Lord Jesus Christ. I have died to sin. I am united with Christ.
Seek the things which are above. Why are you going back to that old lifestyle? Yes, before you came to Christ, you behaved like that.
Why are you going back to it? You need to put it off decisively, kill the sin or it will kill you, and now put on what? Put on my Lord Jesus Christ. And to receive His forgiveness. Have you received the forgiveness of God?
Notice what Paul says at the end of 32, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. Your anger is dealt with at the cross of Christ. Do you realize that God is angry because of our sin?
He's angry with the wicked every day. That our sin is such that God, says Paul in Romans 1, 8, that the wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness of man. We're under the very wrath of God, the anger of God because of our sin.
Where is the only place of safety? Not doing behavior modification, no, but by claiming the forgiveness which our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. The only protection from the judgment of God, the wrath of God, the anger of God is found at the cross.
Our Lord Jesus Christ made propitiation. He bore the wrath of God on Himself in the tree, so that I who receive Christ, that that power is now broken. Because my Lord Jesus Christ not only has died for my sin, He's risen and He is alive. And on the cross, He bore my anger. He bore my sin. Have you come to the cross?
Think of it. All of that sin gone. To receive the forgiveness of sin. In Him, says Paul, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us. We come to the cross and receive His forgiveness. And now, as I have received His forgiveness, I am to forgive others. As He has been kind to me, I am to be kind to others. As He has been tender with me, I am to be tender with others.
Filled with His Spirit. Some of you have been carrying anger and bitterness for many years. I understand that some of you come from terrible homes. Some of you were abused, exploited as children. Others of you have had an unfaithful spouse who has walked out on you. Others have had a close friend who has betrayed you. Some of you have been defrauded a lot of money in a business enterprise.
Some of you have struggled with a debilitating health condition. Some of you have been let down badly by people and you are very angry. You feel you have been hurt so badly that you have almost a right to be angry.
You know that anger, that wrong that was perpetrated on you which was terrible, doesn't justify your burst of anger. You are not to seek revenge. You are to stop. You are to stop. If you don't put away that anger, as Scripture is telling you, that bitterness, that resentment, when this happens, it grows and grows and grows and it will dominate your relationships.
People will get tired hearing your story of your hurt. What are you to do with it? You are to lay it down. Lay it down at the cross, that burden of anger, that burden of bitterness. Some of you have held it far too long and I am asking you, based on this Scripture, to put it away, to put it down at the cross and receive God's forgiveness.
It is time to deal decisively with that sin in your life. Think of the difference. Think of the difference in your home. Think of the difference in your relationships.
Instead of that anger and that rage and that bitterness and that sense you have been wronged and that desire for revenge and that desire to pay back and you see yourself as this terrible victim. Instead of that, as you lay it down at the cross, you are going to be an individual who displays tenderness, who displays God's grace, who displays God's love. What difference that will make in your office.
What difference that will make in your home. Think of the difference in your relationships. I am asking you to end your anger, to come to the cross. Yes, you need to repent of the sin.
Remember last week I said of the envy, you've got to say, you've got to acknowledge that sin. I am the sinner. I am an angry man, you need to say.
I am an angry woman, an angry young man. Name the sin and if you have never yet been saved, I ask you to come to Christ. Yes, with all your anger, all your bitterness, all of your hate, to repent of it, to turn from it and see the love of God, that God so loved you that He gave His only Son. That if you believe in Him, you will not perish, but you'll have everlasting life.
Why don't you trust the Savior? And if you are a follower of Christ, do you mean carrying that anger that's impacted your home? You can't remove the damage it's caused but with God's forgiveness and with His power, you can change through the Spirit how you act now and in the future. God's will for your life is for that anger to go, to be put off, and to put on kindness and tenderness and love. I'm not talking about weakness. I'm not talking about turning you into some kind of spiritual wimp.
No one wants that kind of individual. We want strong men, strong women, strong young men, and strong young women, but those who are characterized by love and grace. And we're going to close by saying a beautiful hymn. It's an old hymn, one of my favorites. Burdens are lifted at Calvary. You've got a burden?
Yes, you have. You've got a burden of anger, a burden of bitterness. I want you to come and lay that down at the cross.
Will you do that? It's time today, men, I'm particularly addressing you, but also all the women, it's time to stop it. It's time to claim the forgiveness of God. It's time to ask the Spirit of God as you submit to His Lordship to say, this will end, and I'm going to be a man who's characterized by love and grace. And Lord, forgive me. I repent of my anger. I lay it down, that burden that I've been carrying. I lay it down at the cross. Help me now to live for You.
Will you do that? Let me ask you to pray with me. And in your own heart, you know the response it needs. Perhaps you need to confess that anger, perhaps to one of your own children, to your spouse, to a friend, but above all, to lay it down at the cross, because burdens are lifted at Calvary. Our Father, as we read Your Word, we are convicted. We know that all sins are deadly because the wages of sin are death, but Your gift in Jesus Christ is forgiveness, redemption, and salvation. And some here have never come to Christ.
Draw them to the Savior, I pray. Many here are followers of Christ, but have struggled with this, and I pray, Father, that all of us will obey this Scripture, and that we will put it away, and we'll put on this kindness, this grace, this forgiveness. We thank You for the cross of Christ, Father, by ourselves we could never control these passions. By ourselves, these sins would damn us for all of eternity, but we thank You that You have come not to judge us, but to save us. And we thank You for the wonderful cross of Christ. And I pray for each person now, may we lay that down, down at the cross, we pray in Christ's name. Amen.
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