Anger

Steve Viars June 4, 2017 Number 20
Outline

Luke 24:27 - …beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Philippians 1:6 - For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

3 principles to help us handle our anger well

I. We Often Face the Temptation to Use Our Anger in Sinful Ways

1 Corinthians 10:11 - Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

A. In Moses’ case

1. What was happening historically

2. What was happening sociologically

v. 2 – …they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron…

v. 3 – …they contended with Moses…

v. 3 – …if only we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord…

Numbers 16:31-33 - As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.

3. What was happening theologically

James 1:13 - Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

a. To exercise our faith in God even when it’s hard

Numbers 20:12 - But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me…”

Psalm 119:66 - Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Your commandments.

b. To glorify His holiness even when our emotions our raging in opposite directions

Numbers 20:12 - But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel…”

4. What was happening internally

Numbers 20:6 - Then Moses and Aaron came in from the presence of the assembly to the doorway of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to them…

v. 6 – …they fell on their faces…

v. 9 – So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him…

B. For you and me

James 1:19-20 - This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

II. God Gives Clear Instructions about How to Handle Our Anger

A. For Moses

Numbers 20:8 - Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.

B. For you and me

1. Understand what anger is

Ephesians 4:26-27 - Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.

2. Avoid the two sinful extremes

a. Clamming up

Ephesians 4:31 - Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

b. Blowing up

Numbers 20:10-11 - …and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod…

C. Illustrated perfectly in the life of Christ

Hebrews 4:14-16 - Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

III. Sinful Anger Can Cause You to Miss the Mission

Psalm 106:32-33 - They also provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah, so that it went hard with Moses on their account; because they were rebellious against His Spirit, He spoke rashly with his lips.

Romans 12:19 - Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

Numbers 20:12 - But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

Deuteronomy 32:48-52 - The Lord spoke to Moses that very same day, saying, “Go up to this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho, and look at the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the sons of Israel for a possession. Then die on the mountain where you ascend, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with Me in the midst of the sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel. For you shall see the land at a distance, but you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving the sons of Israel.”

1 Peter 3:15 - …but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence…

- This is a Lamborghini Aventador LP 750…

- nothing against the mini-van that you drove to church this morning…but I have to tell you – you would look really good in this car…

- let’s just close our eyes for a moment and imagine you acquiring one of these this week…

- we’ll start with the husbands and fathers who are here because, well, that’s what I am…

- so guys, picture yourself texting your wife and saying – honey – how about I swing by and pick you up for lunch at Dog and Suds?...

- and that’s kind of unusual for you – but she likes chili dogs – and she kind of likes you…so she agrees…

- and then you swoop in to her office in this baby…can you imagine it?...all her co-workers are looking out the windows and admiring her good taste in selecting such a dashing husband…

- and your hair is blowing in the wind…like that Flabio guy…

- and you probably have colored sunglasses on and a colorful scarf around your neck like they wear in Italy…

- and your wife is patting you on the shoulder as you pull into Dog and Suds…yea, my husband drives a Lamborghini…you would look really good in this car…

- and then you tool around the countryside for a couple of hours and your wife says – honey, we should probably pick up the kids from school…

- and so you buzz over to the school house in your new car…

- your kids would think you were the coolest dad ever…

- I’m not sure exactly where they would sit…but let’s not sweat the small stuff here…

- your kids would love riding in this car…

- in fact, if you’re sitting by your dad right now – feel free to over at him right now and say – dad, you should get one of these…I completely affirm what Pastor Viars is saying right now…

- so here’s my question dads – what’s stopping you from going out early this week and getting yourself a new Lamborghini Aventador LP 750?

- maybe it would be this thought…as the sun is going down so you figure it’s time to head on home and as you turn the corner your wife says – honey, why is there that for sale sign in our front yard?

- and who are those new people carrying their things into our house?...

- see, the base price for this particular car is $443,800…if it’s OK with you, I didn’t take the time to price the additional upgrades…although I think you should air conditioning and a year’s worth of Sirius satellite radio at that price point…

- so the reason most of us won’t be driving one of these into the parking lot at the church house anytime soon is because of what we’d have to give up in order to buy one…like housing and eating and stuff…

- it’s just too expensive…

- whatever joy it brings isn’t worth what you have to sacrifice in order to have it…

- So we would say that about luxury sports cars…but here’s a strange question…

- would we ever say that about the way we use our anger?...

- because this morning we’re going to look at a man in the Bible who expressed his anger in an incredibly sinful way…which is a bit surprising because the Bible also simultaneously says this was the meekest man who ever walked the earth other than the Lord Jesus Christ…

- yet this man blew up in sinful anger…and what he had to sacrifice as a result was incredibly expensive….

- [do you want one more look at the Lamborghini before I advance the power-point?...because did I mention…you would really look good in this car…]

- with that in mind, please open your Bible to Numbers 20…page 116 of the front section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- while you’re turning there – let me explain where we are in our preaching schedule…

- our church’s theme this year is – In Christ Alone – because this is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation…

- in all sorts of ways – we’re trying to emphasize the five solas of reformation – that salvation is by grace lone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to the Scriptures alone, to the glory of God alone…

- so we started the year by doing a verse by verse exposition of the book of Colossians…because the thee of that book is the preeminence of Christ…

- recently we’ve been looking at some of the Messianic Psalms…which are just breathtaking as we’ve considered the ways the Person and work of Christ was prophesied hundreds and hundreds of years before He was born in Bethlehem…

- no wonder after His resurrection from the dead, he would meet with the disciples on the Road to Emmaus who were doubting His validity… Luke 24:27 - …beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

- we base our salvation on Christ alone for all sorts of reasons…including the ways He was spoken about prophetically in many places throughout the Scriptures including the messianic Psalms…

- today we’re beginning a series that will take us through the months of June and July – called “Handling Problems in a Christ-Centered Way”

- see, ultimately living “In Christ Alone” is not just a matter of salvation…but of sanctification…

- in other words – it doesn’t just reconcile us to God when we admit our sin and place or faith and trust in Christ…it also sets us on a lifetime of change and growth…that’s why we have passages like…

- 2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

- Philippians 1:6 - For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

- the goal this summer is to think about some of the key struggles we all face in daily living and ask – how would living “in Christ Alone” impact that?...

- and first up today – is the issue of anger…

- Handling Anger in a Christ Centered Way

- and here’s the point we’re trying to make…it’s possible to use our anger so sinfully that at the moment, it feels as enjoyable as driving a Lamborghini around town…but the message of the Scripture is – such behavior can be incredibly expensive…especially when you think about the aspect of participating in, or accomplishing God’s mission that will have to be forfeited…

- with that in mind – let’s read our passage – read Numbers 20:1-13

- we’re talking this morning about Handling Anger in a Christ Centered Way, and in the time we have remaining, let’s look for 3 principles to help us handle our anger well.

I. We Often Face the Temptation to Use Our Anger in Sinful Ways.

- see, why do we have stories like this in the Bible?...

- here’s one reason -- 1 Corinthians 10:11 - Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

- the Lord wants us to look for ourselves in these stories…and Moses was certainly not the last of God’s people to use his anger sinfully…

- so let’s first think about it from his perspective…

A. In Moses’ case

1. what was happening historically

- verse 1 tells us that Moses and Aaron’s sister Miriam had just died…which in many ways is sad because it’s evidence that God’s command that everyone 18 years of age and older other than Joshua and Caleb would have to die in the wilderness because of their unbelief…

- so Bible students believe that we’re now in the 40th year of the wanderings…they are just about over…

- now you might say – hey, wasn’t there another time when the people complained about not having water and Moses actually struck the rock?...what’s the answer to that?...yes, that happened at the beginning of the wilderness wanderings…we read about that in Exodus chapter 17…now…

2. what was happening sociologically

- Moses was facing yet another full-blown rebellion against his leadership…

- and its amazing how often that happened during their time in the wilderness…

- and are you picturing this in the text?...

- v. 2 – they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron…

- v. 3 – they contended with Moses…

- they have this entire litany of complaints –

- v. 3 – if only we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord…

- which probably refers back to chapter 16 – the sad occasion of Korah’s rebellion…

- do you remember how that ended?...

Numbers 16:31–33 - As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.

- and the principle there by the way is that just because you grump about something – does not mean that the content of your complaint is in any way connected to reality…

- “this thirst is so bad that it would have been better if we had been swallowed up in the earth alive”…really doesn’t make a lot of sense…and they should have recognized that and Moses should have recognized it…

- but you have to picture what it would be like to try to lead this group of people who were forever complaining about something…

- we could also think about all of this from God’s perspective…

3. what was happening theologically

- why had God brought this into the life of his servant who was undoubtedly weary at this point in his leadership assignment?...

- well, we know why it wasn’t…

- James 1:13 - Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

- so if it wasn’t to elicit Moses to sin – then why did God allow him to face this kind of treatment by the people he was called upon to lead?...

- we have indications of that in the passage, don’t we?...

a. to exercise our faith in God even when it’s hard

- Numbers 20:12 - But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me…”

- how do we know that Moses didn’t believe God in this situation?...because he didn’t obey Him…

- Psalm 119:66 - Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Your commandments.

- the way we handle our anger is an indication of the genuineness of our faith…

b. to glorify His holiness even when our emotions our raging in opposite directions

- Numbers 20:12 - But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel…”

- by time we get to this point in the Bible, we also have the book of Leviticus which emphasizes the holiness of God and His desire to call out a people unto Himself who are zealous of good works (as the NT would later affirm)…

- so we should never treat the commands of God in a cavalier fashion even when we’re mad…

- The Lord calls upon us to handle our anger in a way that is holy so that His glory can be put on display…

- believe God in this trial…honor Him as holy…and respond in a way that the focus can be placed on His glory and power…

4. what was happening internally

- the text says that Numbers 20:6 - Then Moses and Aaron came in from the presence of the assembly to the doorway of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to them;

- which was exactly what they should have done – but also raises a rather frightening lesson – it’s not good enough to handle your anger well up to a point…

- v. 6 – they fell on their faces…

- v. 9 - Numbers 20:9 - So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him;

- so far so good, right…I handled it well until he pushed me over the edge…no, that person didn’t push you over the edge…

- but my kids just keeping pushing my buttons…maybe you shouldn’t have so many buttons…

B. For you and me

- one of the ways we can glorifying our Lord as individuals and a church family is handling our anger differently than those who don’t know the Lord…

- if we’re really serious about living “In Christ Alone”…then that includes having and acting on a biblical theology of anger…

- James 1:19–20 - This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

- and I would encourage all of us to evaluate ourselves in this area as we move into the summertime…and also use this as an opportunity to pray for one another…

- here’s a random example – our college students who may be back home during the summertime…it’s wonderful that the Lord has placed us in a college town and we prayed long and hard for the provision of Faith West…

- well, by God’s grace we’ve seen a number of college students come to Christ and others who have taken real steps of growth…but now they’re back home, in many cases trying to earn money to get back to school – in environments where some might try to ridicule or undermine their faith…

- [cf. building pools where we just needed to owner to sell the pool and his staff to secure the building permit…]…cf. the woman who said – “we delayed the process just so we could see if we could make you cuss…”

- [if time develop the idea of praying for our missionaries – how the recent trip to Brazil and talking to missionaries about all the challenges they face on the field of government corruption, and churches back home dropping your support for all sorts of reasons…easy to become angry in the midst of all of that]…

II. God Gives Clear Instructions about How to Handle Our Anger

A. For Moses

- the direction could not have been clearer…

- Numbers 20:8 - Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.   

- now had you been Moses, you might have said – I don’t think that makes any sense…I want to do it the way I did nearly 40 years ago…I have a better plan…

- do you think there is going to be a suggestion box in heaven?

- do you think the Lord is particularly interested in our recommendations about how to improve upon His plan?...

- no, what is the Lord interested in?...our faithful obedience…

- “I know your emotions are raging right now – but please calmly follow my instructions and I will give you the power to obey…”and in the end I will be glorified and you will have the satisfaction of being used in the accomplishment of my plan…”

B. For you and me

1. understand what anger is

- the NT uses the words orgn and thumos when speaking of anger

- it’s a God-given emotion which produces energy which helps us solve problems biblical and solve them today…

- so we would read verses like…Ephesians 4:26–27 - Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.

2. avoid the two sinful extremes

a. clamming up

- internalizing anger…

- which is why we’re commanded not to let the sun go down on our anger…

- because when you do that…your anger will often ferment and turn into bitterness…which is why later in Ephesians 4 we read…Ephesians 4:31 - Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

- driving the Lamborghini of bitterness and gossip and internalized anger may feel really good…but that action of unbelief is terribly expensive because God is not glorified and the opportunity to participate in the accomplishment of His plan is lost…

- the passage before us illustrates the other extreme…

b. blowing up

- Numbers 20:10–11 - and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod…

- do you hear the self-righteousness in all of that?...calling them rebels at the very moment he is about to colossally rebel?...

- and the pride – shall we bring forth water for you…[could develop – always surprised that God allowed the water to come out…]…

- he struck the rock twice with his rod – that instrument that so often had represented God’s power and authority…to use it in such a cavalier fashion…

- the principle is – when you’re using your anger sinfully – either by clamming up or blowing up – you’re wasting the energy God gave you…

- you’re disobeying His commands…

- you’re upstaging His glory…

- and you’re forfeiting the opportunity to be used by Him…

C. Illustrated perfectly in the life of Christ

- Jesus avoided both clamming up and blowing up…

- so when thieves are robbing people in the temple probably by charging exorbitant exchange rates…Jesus makes a scourge of cords and drives them from the temple…

- now, as a caution – Jesus could go right up to the line of sin and never cross it because He was the God-man…you and I might want to stay back from that line quite a ways…

- but on the other hand – at His trial, Jesus kept silent when He had every reason in the world to blow up…

- which ought to give us great hope…Hebrews 4:14–16 - Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

- Can I ask you – how are doing in the way you handle your anger?...

1. It starts by having a personal relationship with Christ…

- if you’ve just started attending…please don’t respond to this study with – yes, I need to clean up the way I handle my anger and then maybe I can earn my way to God…

- the first purpose of a story like this is to help us realize that it’s impossible to handle our anger well because we’re living under the curse of sin…

- so it took another rock that had to be smitten – the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross so that our sin could be forgiven…and that we could receive new life in Him…and we could begin changing in each and every area of practical daily life…even the way we handle our anger…

2. Christian friend – do you see yourself anywhere in this text?...

- is this an area of life where you’re living “In Christ alone”…or is it really living…in you alone…

- and I realize you might say – but driving that Lamborghini is so exhilarating…

- I just love internally my anger and letting it ferment into bitterness…and that throwing another pity party with myself as the guest of honor…

- or gossiping to my small groups of pals instead of really dealing with the problem biblically and with the right people

- friend, how much is that ride costing you?....

- or are you the blower-upper?...

- but I love the feeling of giving that person a piece of my mind…

- or screaming my kids into submission…

- or posting that rant on social media…

- blowing up is like a drug I have to take about once a month…

- but friend – at what expense?...

- what’s that’s doing to your friendships?...

- what’s it doing to your testimony?...

- what’s it doing to your marriage?...

- what’s it doing to your kids?...

- what’s it doing to your neighborhood?...

- what’s it doing to your co-workers?...

- what’s it doing to your health?...

- some rides really just aren’t worth the pricetag…

III. Sinful Anger Can Cause You to Miss the Mission

- it’s interesting to read the Psalmist’s recounting of this event…

- Psalm 106:32–33 - They also provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah, so that it went hard with Moses on their account; because they were rebellious against His Spirit, He spoke rashly with his lips.

- the “Him” in that passage is not Moses – it’s the Lord…

- which is why when you feel like you’re being mistreated – remember that ultimately that’s between the person and the Lord…not the person and you…

- and the Lord is more than capable of taking care of that person and that situation in His way and in His time…

- Romans 12:19 - Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

- can you imagine how much glory the Lord would have received on this day had Moses just spoken to the rock?...the rock whisperer…

- and the people would have been amazed at this fresh and unique display of the power of God…and would have had all sorts of reasons to praise the Lord…

- Moses upstaged all of that…and cheapened it…

- and did you see what happened? – the Psalmist said – “it went hard with Moses on their account…” – that’s an understatement for sure…

- Numbers 20:12 - But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

- please think about what that land meant to the covenant nation of Israel…and all that Moses had endured in order to get the people to the cusp of the promise being fulfilled…and now he won’t be part of the accomplishment of that mission…

- whatever joy, or revenge, or thrill, or satisfaction he received from striking that rock…didn’t even begin to compare to what he had to give up…

- and even at the end of the book of Deuteronomy…we read this tender moment…Deuteronomy 32:48–52 - The Lord spoke to Moses that very same day, saying, “Go up to this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho, and look at the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the sons of Israel for a possession. “Then die on the mountain where you ascend, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with Me in the midst of the sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel. “For you shall see the land at a distance, but you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving the sons of Israel.”

- friend – that sinful explosion of anger turned out to be one very expensive ride…

- and we would all be very wise to be in the habit of asking – before saying that, before doing that, before thinking that – is it really worth the cost?...do I want to forfeit participation in the accomplishment of the mission for something as fleeting as that?...

- now – what’s the other side of that?...

- Peter, after discussing all sorts of practical Christian living said -- 1 Peter 3:15 - but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

- sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts – even in the way you handle your anger…and there will be all sorts of ways to participate in the accomplishment of the mission…

1. Serving in outreach ministries this summer…

- perhaps your first serving opportunity will be working in VBS – we’ll probably disappoint you in some way…some child will be unruly…some parent will be irresponsible…we’ll mess up a detail…can I encourage you in this way…don’t strike the rock…

2. Summer mission trips

- youth group top Albania

- Steve and Newton to Haiti and DR

3. Summer time with family

4. NCC groundbreaking and ministry launch

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video