Preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle in Los Angeles, CA, on January 11, 2002.

"THE ANGER OF GOD"

Ephesians 4.26-27

INTRODUCTION:

1. Turn in your Bible to Ephesians 4.26-27. Thatís page 1253 in your Scofield Reference Bible. When you find that passage, please stand for the reading of Godís Word:

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

2. The Lord Jesus Christ became angry when He saw the moneychangers in the Temple. So, He turned over their tables and drove them out. This occurred twice during His earthly ministry. Yet we know that the Lord Jesus Christ is the sinless Son of the living God. So, anger or wrath is not necessarily sinful.

3. Itís hard to put a price on the damage done by a Christianís bad temper, a Christianís anger, a Christianís wrath, but itís high indeed. Hurt feelings, damaged testimony, lost witnessing opportunities, wrecked credibility.

4. The child of God may have supposedly good "reasons" for his foul moods. He just woke up. He doesnít feel good. Blame the boss. Blame your kids. Blame the weather. Blame the car. Blame me.

5. Weíll all agree that Christians are not perfect. And this passage was written because believers can damage their own lives and the lives of others with their sour dispositions and nasty temperaments. But this evening we will use this passage as a gateway to a consideration of Godís anger.

6. Time and time and time again we read in Scripture that Godís anger was stirred and His wrath was kindled. We read that He moved with wrath. And yet God is holy and without sin of any kind. So, anger must not, in and of itself, be wrong or sinful. It must be that anger, coupled with a sinful nature, such as Christians do have and such as God and the Lord Jesus Christ do not have, too often leads to specific acts of sins that are committed in the heat of anger.

7. Iíve dealt with the Christianís anger, now I want to deal with the anger of God. Anger is quite easily understood as rage, wrath, hot displeasure, indignation, and irritation. And God is One Who is angered.  What is God angered with? What is God angry about? My friend, God is angry with your sin.

8. Now, tragically, men are prone to think to themselves when I say that God is angry with their sin, "So what? What do I care if God is angry with my sin?" But there are four observations in connection with Godís anger at your sin which will prove to you why such thinking is dangerous.

1A. First, OBSERVE THE REQUIREMENT OF GOD

Do we all recognize that the Bible begins with these words, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"? You see, God made everything. Therefore, everything is His, belongs to Him, is possessed by Him. And He has the absolute right to dictate the relationship that is to exist between Him, the Creator, and you, His creature. And, in a nutshell, what does God require of you? To be your God. Let me summarize, in this first main point, what God requires of you in three short statements.

1B. First, God requires love from you

1C. In Matthew 22.37-38, the Lord Jesus, answering the question "which is the great commandment?" said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment."

2C. Now, you may say, "I love God." Do you? Second John 6 shows us that love is not a feeling or an emotion, but a response to the will of God, when it says, "And this is love, that we walk after his commandments."

3C. Do you love God with all your heart, mind, and soul? Do you keep His commandments? How about the commandment to attend Church regularly and faithfully? How about the commandment to go to evangelism? How about the commandment to obey the Gospel and get saved the Bible way, by trusting Jesus? If you do not obey God you do not love God.

2B. Second, God requires honor from you

1C. To honor simply means to treat with respect. And you know the difference between honor and love, donít you? A guy may say he loves his wife, but his boss he treats with respect. Itís his boss he honors. Not only does God want your love, which with regard to Him is obedience, but He also wants your honor, which with regard to Him is respect.

2C. "I honor the Lord." Do you? To honor is not to just feel respectful. To honor is to behave respectfully. Listen to Proverbs 3.9: "Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of thine increase." When you give to the Lord (and you do give to the Lord donít you?), you honor Him only when you give to Him first the tithe, the tenth, plus offerings, and then you live on whatís left over. If you live on what you get and then give God what is left over you do not honor Him. But remember, God requires honor.

3B. Then, God Requires glory from you

1C. The reason God requires glory is because He is glorious. Now, glory refers to exalting and praising and giving due credit to some aspect of Godís attributes. Itís picking out some part of Godís description of Himself and bragging on it. But not just any part of God. Glorifying God entails bragging on that part of God that He prefers to be praised about.

2C. Consider Ephesians 1.6: "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." God wants to have His grace glorified. He wants to have His grace praised and bragged on and highlighted. And how is that done? By talking about His grace? By singing about His grace? Somewhat, perhaps. But in John 15.8 the apostles were told that the Father is glorified when we bear fruit, when we bring sinners to Jesus.

3C. Think about this: God wants to be your God. God demands to be your God. Being your God is His requirement of you. And this occurs when you love Him, when you honor Him, and when you glorify Him. And what are those demands, in a practical sense, but obeying Him, giving to Him first, and seeking to bring people to His Son Jesus? If you do not do that you are not giving to God what He requires from you, which is to be your God.

2A. Second, OBSERVE THE REASONABLENESS OF GOD

Is there anything at all wrong with Godís requirement of being your God? Is it irrational for Him to demand love and honor and glory? I submit to you that it is reasonable for God to expect from you, to demand from you, to require of you, obedience, giving, and evangelism. Why?

1B. Because of Who God is

He is terrible in majesty. He is righteous and He is holy. He is omnipotent. He is good and He is gracious. God deserves what He demands because of Who He is.

2B. And because of what God did

My friend, God created the heavens and the earth. God created Adam and He created Eve. He formed you in your motherís womb. What talents and abilities and intellect and skills that you have all come from Him. He deserves what He demands because of what He did.

3B. And because of what God does

1C. What does God do? He makes the sun to shine. He replenishes the atmosphere that you breathe with the oxygen that you need. He gives you the continual beats of your heart. He gives life to your loved ones.

2C. Considering Who He is, and what He has done, and all the things that He does as I speak, is it not reasonable, is it not right, is it not rational, to treat God as your God? To give to Him love and honor and glory?

3A. Third, BUT WHAT HAS BEEN THE RESPONSE OF MAN?

In light of Who and what God really is, His might and His majesty, His immensity and His immutability, His perfections and His power, and in light of what He has done and what He is doing for you, what is your response to His requirements?

1B. Instead of loving Him you have scorned Him

1C. You are to love God with your mind, with your heart, and with your soul. Jesus told us that. And love is not an emotional thing, but a behavioral thing. God does not want your emotions so much as your obedience. But do you obey Him?

2C. He commands you to be pure of mind and body, yet you have thought impure thoughts, and actually committed terrible sins. He has commanded you to speak the truth in love, but you have cursed and murmured and complained under your breath. You claim that you love God, but you have not the time nor the inclination to inconvenience yourself enough to attend Church on a regular basis and serve God here.

3C. I submit to you that when a person says he loves God, all the while sinning and griping and staying home from Church and rebelling against God in any number of ways, his words sound to God like mocking and ridicule. You do not love God. You have scorned Him.

2B. Instead of honoring Him you have dishonored Him

1C. Now, you can talk about honoring someone all day long. But in the Bible the word "honor" is practical in the extreme, and not at all theoretical. In First Timothy 5 you will find that widows are honored, not by being nice to them only, but by giving them what they need to live on. And in that same chapter you will find that pastors are honored, not by showing deference to them only, but with the salary they receive.

2C. In like manner, I challenge you to disprove my claim that honoring God, while it certainly includes treating Him with reverence and respect, showing deference to Him and all manner of obeisance, is not really honor unless it includes giving to Him the firstfruits of your increase.

3C. How can a man or a woman say he honors God, how can he so fool himself, while holding back from God what belongs to Him? Sir, the tithe is Godís. And so long as you withhold from Him what is His and what He claims to require to be honored, you do not honor God. Instead, you dishonor God. If you have to starve to death while doing it, honor God! He is worthy.

3B. And instead of glorifying God you have trivialized Him

1C. God wants His attribute of grace highlighted and showcased through evangelism and discipleship. He wants the universe to see that He is One Who made provision to save the sinner, Who loves the unlovely, Who cleans the defiled, Who seeks out the errant and the stray.

2C. But instead of magnifying His majestic grace you have trivialized it. And you do this by listening to the Gospel without responding to it at all, by seeking to save yourself through some plan of good works or self-righteousness, or by claiming to already be saved while living an ungodly life of refusing to recognize God as God of your life.

3C. God has a requirement of you. His requirement is most reasonable. But your response to Him is unreasonable. In your wicked sin you have scorned Him instead of lovingly obeying Him, you have cheated Him instead of honoring Him, and you have trivialized Him instead of glorifying Him. All of that is sinful abomination.

4A. THE FINAL OBSERVATION HAS TO DO WITH THE RETALIATION OF GOD

A man can become angry for a variety of real or perceived offenses. Godís anger, however, is kindled only by sin. And because God is holy and because it is His nature to respond to sin, His response to sin becomes retaliation when His holy response to sin is heated to a white hot rage by His anger, otherwise known as His wrath. The retaliation of God against your sin, His wrath, comes in two forms:

1B. First, there is Godís wrath upon sinful man

1C. Notice how Godís wrath is expressed negatively, by what is denied, in First Corinthians 6.9-10: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." You will be denied heaven.

2C. And also in Galatians 5.19-21: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Again, you will be denied heaven.

3C. Now notice how Godís wrath is expressed positively, by what is asserted, in Revelation 20.13-15: "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." You will go to the lake of fire.

4C. And also in Revelation 21.8: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." My friend, there are consequences for not fulfilling Godís requirement. You will go to the lake of fire.

5C. Now look at Romans 3.10-12, 23: "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Because you are a sinner, these requirements that God has set forth, you cannot meet. Therefore, Godís wrath will fall on you.

2B. But what about Godís wrath upon the sinnerís Substitute, Godís Son?

1C. Habakkuk 3.2 reads, "in wrath remember mercy." And God did just that. He sent His Son Jesus to become a man to shed His blood and die for your sins. Sin cried out for punishment, so God punished His Son.

2C. If you trust Jesus, guess what He will do? He will give to God the Father what He requires, but which you cannot give to Him because of your sin. In Christ you can love God, and you can honor God, and you can glorify God. And additionally, in Christ what satisfaction God requires as payment for your sins has already been given.

CONCLUSION:

1. My friend, you are a sinner, and God is angry with you. Because of your sin you will not and you cannot give God what He rightfully and reasonably requires of you. Thatís a dangerous position to be in.

2. The result will be wrath. The result will be Godís anger directed toward you in punishment for all eternity. The result will be Hellfire. But Jesus saves.

3. Jesus, the Savior of sinners, is not angry with you. Trust Him to save you from your sins. By His doing and dying on the cross of Calvary, by His glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, He has done what needs to be done to save the sinner who will but come to Him.

4. So, come to Jesus tonight.

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