Acts 23 Lesson

Anger!

ANGER

Angry crowds led to the crucifixion of Jesus, the fatal stoning of Stephen, and now in Acts 23, angry crowds are also seeking to kill the Apostle Paul.  What were the crowds so angry about that they demanded bloodshed and the killing of innocent people? 

The preaching of the Gospel of Christ! 

It is important for us to understand the power that anger has over us, and how Satan uses it to his advantage.

BIBLE VERSES ABOUT ANGER

The Bible has a lot to say about anger.  For today’s lesson, we will focus on three scriptures that provide insight into how God wants us to manage anger.

  1. “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” - Ephesians 4:26,
  2. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” - Proverbs 15:1,
  3. “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.” - James 1:19.

Outbursts of anger are listed as one of fifteen works of the flesh that we are to avoid in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  The others being: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities (animosity), strife, jealousy, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, and carousing.  (Galatians 5:19-21)    

Paul warns us that, “Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  Notice how Paul uses the word, “practice,” implying that we can make a conscious choice to not practice these things. 

EPHESIANS 4:26

“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

There are two parts to this scripture:

  1. “Be angry, and yet do not sin,”
  2. “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

The first part of the scripture tells us that we can be angry without sinning.  The works of the flesh do not say that anger is a sin, they say that “outbursts of anger” are a sin.  When we become angry, we need to recognize it and get in control of our emotions before they escalate to the point of sin. 

One of the best ways to do this is to walk away from the situation that is making us angry.  Jesus often left crowds to go to an isolated place to pray.  Once we have distanced ourselves from the source of our anger, we need to replace the negative thoughts in our head with something positive.  With a little effort, we can find “the bright side,” or something positive about almost any situation. 

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote the following:

  • “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:8.

Once again, Paul uses the word “practice.”  The definition of the word practice is:

“The actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.” (Source: Google dictionary)

We want to make sure that we do not feed our anger, and we certainly do not want to let it carry over to the next day.  By isolation, positive thinking, and prayer, we can manage our anger before it grows into an outburst of anger. 

PROVERBS 15:1

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Our words are powerful!  They can lift others up, and they can tare them down.  The above scripture tells us they can stir up anger, and if we are not careful, they can cause others to sin and do things they might not otherwise do.  Or as the Book of Proverbs puts it:

  • “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” - Proverbs 18:1.

There is a practical technique that we can apply called, “Stop, challenge, and choose.”

Before we have an outburst of anger, we need to pause long enough to calm down.  Then we need to challenge ourselves to understand how the scriptures tell us we should respond to the situation.  And finally, we need to choose a response that will glorify God, not add fuel to the fire.

In everything we do, we should challenge ourselves to act with the Fruit of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5:

  • “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23.

This brings us to our final “practice” that we can choose to do to eliminate sinful outbursts of anger.

JAMES 1:19

“Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.”

When we recognize that we are becoming angry, it is better to bite our tongues than it is to say something we will regret later. 

Consider the following scripture from the Book of Proverbs:

  • “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.” – Proverbs 17:28.

CONCLUSION

God created us.  He understands that there are things that will happen that make us angry.  If we practice biblical principles, we can keep our anger under control before it turns into sin.

As Christians, we are to put into practice the following anger management techniques:

  1. Not letting our anger carry over into the next day,
  2. Choosing gentle words that align with the Fruit of the Spirit, not inflammatory words that are works of the flesh,
  3. Remain silent until we gain our composure,
  4. “Stop, challenge, and choose” a Godly response to the situation, rather than a worldly one.

We will end today’s lesson with the following scripture:

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” - Ephesians 4:29.

Comments

Michael

I was blessed to spend a little time in California at Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula.

I was blown away with the beauty of the ocean. It gets big surf out there, the sun dances off the waves, and beautiful cypress trees line the coast.

Our God is an amazing artist!!

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