THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 4-29-07
LESSON TITLE: "WALKING IN THE SPIRIT: OUTBURST OF WRATH AND SELFISH AMBITIONS"
Consider this great work that is before a follower of God - Jesus said, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Will we accept this challenge to be laborers?
What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We are happy you have chosen to be with us today and are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
It's now time to start our praise through song. Our first hymn of the day focuses our attentions on all that God has done for us. Furthermore it teaches us about the preparations He has made that we might obey His saving truth! So, won't you join in this morning as we together sing, "All Things Are Ready!"
(SONG # 1)
One of the greatest works of a child of God is to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ to the lost of this world. In fact, the Bible is full of commands and examples which teach us this very doctrine.
You might remember in Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Again in Mark 16:15-16, we read, "And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.'" In both of these texts Jesus clearly instructs His followers concerning their duty to carry the gospel to the whole world. He even specifies in these verses, to every nation and to every creature.
One of the greatest examples we have in the New Testament concerning our work is found in Luke chapter 8. There we read the parable of the sower! In this parable we are told that there was a sower, the seed, and different kinds of soils. As the story goes on we are told what these things stand for beginning in verse 11. There we read and can understand that the sower is the follower of God, the seed is the Word of God, and the soil are those of this world who need the word. I hope you are beginning to see the importance of our work for Jesus Christ. As Christians we are the workers that take His Word to those of this world who will hear. Then it is up to the soil, or the hearer, as to whether they will respond and follow God or not. Are you sowing the seed of the Kingdom for your God?
Finally, let me return to a statement found back in Matthew 28. As we read, there Jesus promised, "and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the age!" Wow, what a promise, what a blessing! Our God has promised to help and be with us every step of the way. Praise God for this wondrous truth!
Today we will again be considering a lesson from our series which is entitled, "Walking In The Spirit!" Our specific topic this morning will focus on that fact that we are not to engage in "Outburst Of Wrath and Selfish Ambitions!" So stay with us and in a few minutes I will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "All To Jesus I Surrender."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
We're glad you've continued with us as we now go back to Galatians chapter 5 and consider once again that which it really means to "walk in the spirit." We've been focusing first of all just as Paul did on those things that are not proper, those things as he actually mentions here are evident and really not a part of walking in the spirit. So he talked about a lot of things that are sins are those things contrary to the Will of God, that which is unrighteous.
So today, we want to go to verse 20. We want to consider there together to other ideas. First of all, the concept there that is mentioned "outburst of wrath," and secondly then, "selfish ambitions." When we think about outbursts of wrath, we often think about anger because anger is something that is certainly throughout the world. Something that is mentioned throughout scriptures is the concept of anger. And so in one place, we might read here not to have wrath or not to have anger. While on the other hand, we'll read scriptures that talk about anger and the reality that there were times when individuals became angry and did not sin.
If you'll turn over with me to Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 26, there is a really interesting verse there where Paul actually makes this statement to the church there at Ephesus. He says, "Be angry." Now how interesting. One hand, don't be angry. Don't go to wrath. But on the next, he mentions to be angry and then he actually says, "Be angry and do not sin. Don't let the sin" as he continues there, "go down on your wrath." There we have anger and wrath again. Why? "We don't want to," in the next verse, "give place to Satan." And we begin to think about anger and wrath and we begin to think that there must be a scriptural and proper anger and wrath that is acceptable while there also is an anger or a wrath that is unacceptable.
Now we understand this because again of the points that are made here as well as examples such as Matthew 21. You might recall there around verse 12 where Jesus went to the temple and as prophesied, He found them changing money and exchanging goods and wares inside the temple. What does Jesus do? It says, "He became angry and He drove them out with a whip." Well, you again see anger, and you see anger to the point of really a wrath unto action. So is it right? Is it wrong?
We might also look at another verse there in Romans. In Romans chapter 1, certainly again Paul, the same author who is now said (that) we shouldn't be anger and we should be, but he goes now again in Romans chapter 1 and verse 18 to talk about anger from this standpoint. He says here that, "God's wrath is revealed from heaven against ungodliness and unrighteousness." Now again, we find God being angry, God having wrath and then we also find that it says, "Do not be angry and do not let yourself to come to wrath."
So what is it that we must understand? What is the point? What do these examples show us? Well, I think there are two points I'd like to bring out and the first being is that sometimes anger is justified. Now why is that? Because of that which being done is wrong or contrary to the Will of God. For instance, let's say that someone commits a sin before us. Shouldn't that make us angry that someone knows the Will of God but yet they choose to break His covenant? Well certainly, that would make us angry. It would make us to want to tell them something and to let them know that what they've done is wrong. Sometimes anger is justified because it is based in fact and it is reaction to reality and therefore the anger or the wrath that has been engaged in is something that is proper for what it then results of is that which is wrong, sinful and contrary to God.
Now the second part besides a justifiable anger is the idea of understanding that anger also can be something to us that truly is seen when we are those who really are not in control. Now that's the other idea. It may be justified, but do we have control of it? When does anger become wrong? When we lose control. You see, even if we've got a justified anger, we're upset about something that is wrong and evil and sinful and then we turn around and we lose control and allow that anger to get out of control and we begin to sin and do things we shouldn't. Well, then we find anger that is wrong.
The same would be true with wrath. As we talk about the concept of God having wrath. Wrath against what? Notice there in that text. "All ungodliness, all unrighteousness, everything that man has done specifically against His Will." Well, why wouldn't God be angry? Why wouldn't He demonstrate wrath against that type of an individual? For then it is righteous based on facts, based on that which is justified and based on control. Not that God gets angry, loses control and does things that He shouldn't do, as we often do, but that He looks at the facts, He sees what has happened. It is justifies that He be angry or that He has wrath, and then He controls it and acts accordingly as He should, as God, and certainly we should learn the same thing.
Now in our text, what does it talk about? There again in Galatians, it talked about this concept of a wrath, but a wrath in verse 20 "that is an outburst." You see, it proves the very point, an uncontrolled wrath, an outburst of wrath, that I have wrath, but not just wrath. I've allowed it to get out of control and so somebody says something to me and instead of maybe being upset or angry because it's something they should not have said something to me and instead of being upset or angry because it is something they should not have said or it was wrong, it was sinful, and I burst out in a wrathful way and I say back things that I shouldn't. An outburst of wrath, an uncontrolled wrath. I hope that helps us to understand that the sin we're talking about here is not just specifically an anger or a wrath, but an uncontrolled, an unbridled, an anger or a wrath that is sinful in and of itself for it has lost it's control. In other words, you and I have lost our control.
The second idea we look at in our time allowed this morning is not just the outburst of wrath, but selfish ambitions. Is it wrong to be ambitious? To be ambitious simply is the idea of being eager or having a strong desire to achieve. Wouldn't God want that of His children? Yes. He wants us to have an eagerness about our faith and our love for Him and to get out there and do whatever it takes to accomplish our love in Him. How do we do that? Keeping His commands. And so that ambition is something we not only need. We must have it to be pleasing to God. We've got to have a desire to fulfill His commands and to reach out and accomplish the proclamation of the gospel for instance as we talked about earlier.
But now I want you to notice what's placed with ambition, selfish ambition. Well, let's look at the concept of being selfish for a moment. Certainly the idea of being selfish is wrong. But what about loving ourselves? Is there anything wrong with caring for ourselves and loving ourselves as we might also say, having a concern that we are right. Doesn't the Bible tell us to take care of ourselves, to treat our wives as we would treat our own bodies, to love our wives as we would love our own bodies? (Ephesians 5) Certainly it does. So there is nothing wrong with loving ourselves and caring for ourselves and doing that which we need to present ourselves as those of God.
But notice when it becomes selfish. What's the idea of selfishness? It's a self-consumed idea, self-absorbed, self-centered. I am thinking and focused more on myself than anything else. In other words, God is taking a backseat. The world is taking a backseat. My family takes a backseat, my friends, everyone, so that I might focus on what do I want, what do I need, what do I want to think, what do I want to do. Well, that is selfishness. That's the idea of thinking about self over all else. Well now, put it together. Selfish ambition. It's those eager desires, those things we want to achieve but not for God, not that my family might have more or not that I might help those who have needs or be a greater worker in the church, but my selfish ambitions are about me. An ambition and eagerness to achieve for myself and what I can get and what I can have and what I, I, I , I, I will be able to enjoy in this life. You see, that's what is being condemned here. Not that we might love self or care about ourself, not that we might be ambitious, but that we might be overly ambitous, centered and focused on ourselves rather than as we know the greatest commandment, Matthew 22, to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." The second greatest likened to it, we "love our neighbors as ourselves." Notice the first two greatest commandments are not about self. They're about others. So that's what God is trying to tell us here in those things that we should not engage in.
A few other passages we might briefly look at at the concept of selfish ambition because I think it helps us to tie in here the idea of how it applies in scripture. For instance, Romans chapter 16. You might notice there in verse 18, it actually talks about those who have maybe dealt with those who are divisive and I want you to notice the results there in verse 18. It says, "For those who are such, do not serve the Lord Jesus Christ," but notice, "their own bellies and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." What do people here do who become self-absorbed, self-centered, self-ambitious? They are serving self, their own desires, their own lusts, their own wants of the flesh. You can't be a selfish person and serve God. You can't be a selfishly ambitious person and be considered a child of God for once we have done this as we have learned here we have transgressed in and of itself the character that God requires of us.
The same idea in Philippians chapter 3 and verse 17 is presented and again we read here Paul talking to the church about how they should mark or note those who are in error, those who are not walking according to the things of God. Verse 18 says why. "They are enemies of the cross." But now I want you to hear verse 19. "Those who are enemies of the cross are such for their end is destruction and their God is their own belly." In other words again, their self. They're more interested in themselves than in doing anything for anyone or even for God. Self ambition. A selfish ambition, all about me, more focused on me.
It makes me think about what is said there in 2 Timothy chapter 3. You might recall there as he says, "In these days, in these times, there will be those who come who says are lovers of self." That's what it says in 2 Timothy chapter 3 and verses 1-2. But then in verse 4, it says, "Also those who love self and love pleasures do so rather than loving God." What does that tell us? It tells us we cannot have selfish ambitions and love self and who we are and what we're about or we cannot love God. What does that mean? It means we cannot serve both masters. We can't follow the both. We cannot say we love God on one hand, but we're more concerned about what we want, what we have, who we are and what we are going to acquire, for God must be first. That's how we love God. That's how we show Him that we care for him. That's how we again do those things that bring glory and honor to His name.
So in the two ideas that we've looked at then this morning, the concept then of an outburst of wrath, an uncontrolled wrath in a certain situation or as we've also considered together now the idea as well of a selfish ambition. Let us understand that both of these, verse 21 there of Galatians 5, fall into those things that are practiced by those who will not inherit the kingdom of God for they are not according to the walk of the Spirit, the working of the Spirit. So therefore if they are not according to God, then the result is we are not in His kingdom. Now I know we want to be in His kingdom. So what that should encourage us to do is to make sure that we are not selfishly ambitious, to make sure that we control our wrath, that we control our anger so that when we do show our love, the reality is 2 Timothy 3 that we do love God and not that we love self rather than God but that we love God rather than self and rather than pleasures of this world. Now if we can do that, certainly God will be pleased. Certainly we will walk in the Spirit and as we will look at in the near future, we will exemplify those things according to the Spirit that are of God and characteristic of God and therefore the promise eternal life.
I know you want to go to heaven. So have you done those things God has commanded that you might do so? Have you confessed His name? Have you repented and turned from sin? Have you been buried with your Lord and Savior in baptism? You've got to do those things for Him to add you to the church to be a child of God. And if you have, then walk in the Spirit. And if you walk in the Spirit, the promise is yours as it is mine. We'll have a mansion in heaven and live eternally on high with our God.
(SONG # 3 - "Angry Words!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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May we strive not to be caught up in self or to loose control of our ability to act as we should. Rather in all things may we strive to glorify God and help others to see Him in us!