Monday, March 27, 2006




Most of you remember the Seinfeld show, which finished in 1998 but has gone into syndication heaven. In its final episode, Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer are stuck in Lakeland, Massachusetts. Killing time wandering around on the sidewalks in this quaint New England town, they become witnesses of a car jacking. Being New Yorkers and the kind of people they are, they make fun of the guy who is being robbed. Kramer, who has a camcorder in his hands, films the incident as a curiosity. They never lift a hand, never shout out; they are 10 yards away, and couldn't care less. They just stand there and casually watch!

The robber speeds off with the car and the police arrive on the scene. With the excitement over, and the poor victim standing dazed in the street, Jerry turns to his friends and suggest they go get something to eat. They turn to walk off when the officer stops them and says,"Hold it right there."

Jerry: Wha'?

Officer: You're under arrest.

Jerry: Under arrest? What for?

Officer: Article 223 dash 7 of the Lakeland county penal code.

Elaine: What, we didn't do anything.

Officer: That's exactly right. The law requires you to help or assist anyone in danger as long as it's reasonable to do so.

George: I never heard of that.

Officer: It's new, it's called the Good Samaritan Law. Let's go.




A man fell into a pit and couldn't get himself out.

A subjective person came along and said, "I feel for you down there."

An objective person came along and said, "It's logical that someone would fall down there."

A Pharisee said, "Only bad people fall into a pit."

A mathematician calculated how he fell into the pit.

A news reporter wanted an exclusive story on his pit.

A fundamentalist said, "You deserve your pit."

An IRS agent asked if he was paying taxes on the pit.

A self-pitying person said, "You haven't seen anything until you've seen my pit."

A charismatic said, "Just confess that you're not in a pit."

An optimist said, "Things could be worse."

A pessimist said, "Things will get worse."

Jesus, seeing the man, took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit!

In this series of evening messages we are studying the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is…..

Number one, not unlike patience, and not unlike love, they are both rooted and grounded in the character of God. If you hear that the message today is about kindness and goodness and go, "Oh, well, you know, who cares?" I mean, aren't we redeemed to begin to look like God on this earth? God is kind. God is good. These two words are fabric of the quality of God. And if I am to be godly, which we must be, then kindness and goodness must be resident in my existence.
Secondly, both of these words are intensely relational. They are things that flow out to other people. We're really good at being kind to ourselves and good to ourselves. The object of this text is not how kind and good can you be to yourself. It's clear that he is talking about things that impact other lives and impact relationships.

I find it interesting in Matthew 11:30 that Jesus Christ uses the same word when He says, "My yoke is easy." Literally He says, "My yoke is kind." In the gospel of Luke a derivative of this word is used to describe old wine that has become-and I love this word, because some English words sound just like what they are-mellow. Doesn't mellow sound just like what it is? I don't know why it is that life tends to make us crusty, crotchety, tight, rough, hard, when it is the quality of Christ that we move through life being mellow with people. I think when somebody walked away from you, wouldn't it be great if they'd say, "You know, one thing I like about that person is they're so mellow"

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must [forgive]. 14 Above all, [put on]love—the perfect bond of unity.


A man is on his way along the perilous road between Jerusalem and Jericho, a road that drops rapidly from 5000 feet above sea level to 1200 feet below sea level in the course of about 45 miles.

The Samaritans were descendants of a mixed population, occupying the land after the conquest by Assyria in 722 B.C. The enmity between the Jews and the Samaritans was real, long and deadly.

This parable has been allegorical spaghetti up to modern times.

1) Origen's (AD 184-254) four interpretive points:

a) Literal meaning of text. b) Moral.

c) Spiritual. d) Allegorical.

2) His allegorical interpretation of the Good Samaritan:

a) The man going to Jericho = Adam.

b) Jerusalem = Paradise.

c) Jericho = the world.

d) Man's wounds = disobedience or sins.

e) Priest = the Old Testament law.

f) Levite = the Old Testament prophets.

g) Good Samaritan = Christ.

h) Donkey = the body of Christ.

i) Inn = the Church.

j) Two denarii = knowledge of the Father and the Son.

k) Return of the Good Samaritan = second coming of Jesus.

3) This style of interpretation was popular until 1900's.

a) Some add that oil = anointing with the Holy Spirit.

b) The wine = the blood of Christ's death.

A. See the need

First, a lover of others needs to see the need. Jesus told about "a man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead."

This guy was really stupid! He had no business traveling alone along one of the most desolate and dangerous roads in the world. If you were to travel this road today, as I have, you would be awed by the bleakness of the terrain. Virtually no one lives there. There are no towns, petrol stations or typical signs of civilization. Then there were groups of bandits who routinely robbed, beat and murdered travelers. Your best bet was to avoid the road altogether. If you had to travel it you were safest with a large caravan and armed guards. To travel alone was suicidal.

This is a story about someone in need. The issue isn’t how the man got into the mess he was in. He was hurt and needed help.
Too often we blame people for their problems and excuse ourselves from helping them. We say that he was fired because he drank too much. She was raped because she went to a party she never should have been at. They were in a car crash because they foolishly drove during an ice storm. He has AIDS because of his sexual behavior. She flunked out because she didn’t do her homework. People bring their problems on themselves.
All of this may be quite true, but Jesus says nothing about how someone got in trouble and everything about how to help them out of trouble.

Last October in France a 23 year old shepherd named Christian Raymond fell over a ravine but caught the edge of a cliff with his fingers. As he fell his cell phone came out of his pocket and landed on the ledge near his face. Earlier in the day he had called the emergency number, so he pushed redial with his nose. After 20 minutes of hanging by his finger tips the rescue unit came and saved his life.
Should the rescue people have told him to be more careful and that he brought it on himself? Of course not, when a man has a need he must be helped. That’s what Jesus was saying.

B. Skip the excuses

Along that treacherous road came two potential helpers who looked at the half-dead victim and refused to stop and help. It is possible that they had pretty good excuses.
The first was a priest. At that time there was an excess of priests so they served at the
Temple in Jerusalem on a rotation basis. It was a comparatively rare assignment. The priest wanted to get to Jerusalem for the high and holy privilege of serving God and God’s people. However, any priest who touched a dead person was technically disqualified for seven days. He would lose his turn at the temple. So, when faced with the choice of serving in the liturgy or helping a man who might die on him, he chose to go with religious service.
You may see this differently than I see it. I’ve wondered what I would do if I saw a car accident or someone needing help on my way to church services at NBT. Should I stop to help or hurry along and hope someone else will stop? Would the people here understand if I didn’t show up?

The second was a Levite. He was part of the Temple staff but not a priest. We don’t know why he kept going. It may have been a safety issue with him. In those days, like today, there are bandits who set up decoys. Stop to help someone and the rest will jump out and get you. It was too risky for him. He decided not to take a chance.

Obviously Jesus disapproved of the priest and the Levite. There is a lesson here for us that our seemingly valid excuses for not getting involved with the needs of others are rarely legitimate. We should listen to Jesus telling us to skip the excuses.

"A friend is one who walks in when others walk out." Walter Winchell


C. Help the hurting

The Wall Street Journal printed a little article called "How Important Are You?" .... "More than you think. A rooster minus a hen equals no baby chicks. Kellogg minus a farmer equals no corn flakes. If the nail factory closes what good is the hammer factory? Paderewski’s genius wouldn’t have amounted to much if the piano tuner hadn’t shown up. A cracker maker will do better if there’s a cheesemaker. The most skillful surgeon needs the ambulance driver who delivers the patient. Just as Rodgers needed Hammerstien, you need someone and some needs you."

Instead, Jesus introduces the hero who helped the hurting. He could not have shocked them more than with the choice of a Samaritan. Jews and Samaritans hated each other and certainly didn’t help each other. The lawyer would have assumed the Samaritan to be the villain, not the hero.

The Samaritan not only stopped but became involved. He was a good man with good credit and who was willing to use his resources and reputation to help someone who could not help himself. He was prepared in advance with oil and wine (an emergency first aid kit) just in case. He showed no hint of pride, self-preservation or selfishness. He saw a man who needed help and he gave him the help he needed.

We really value personal security and safety. Why do you think we have dead-bolt locks on our homes? Why do you think we have security systems on our automobiles? Why do you think we have safety deposit boxes? And that restricts us from seeing people the way Jesus sees them. We’re concerned about our own safety.

Rodney Starr, a sociologist, wrote a book called Rise of Christianity, which is basically a sociological look at why Christianity rose to take over the Roman empire in the first four centuries. There were devastating plagues in the early centuries – the first millennium. In fact, in 260 AD, there a plague that roared through the Roman Empire killing tens of thousands of people. Rodney Starr quotes an early church leader named Dionysius, and I want you to hear how Christians, our spiritual forefathers, related to this plague. Here’s what Dionysius wrote… he’s talking about the heroic nursing efforts of early Christians and he says:

“Like most of our brothers, Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ. And with them departed this life supremely happy. For they were infected by others with the disease drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbor and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many in nursing and caring for others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead. The best of our brothers lost their lives in this manner.”

Now, Dionysius contrasts the way Christians drew near to the sick and nursed the sick with what non-Christians did. And he writes: “The heathen behaved in the very opposite way. At the very onset of the disease, they pushed the sufferers away and fled from their dearest, throwing them into the road before they were dead, and treated the corpses as dirt, hoping thereby to avert the spread of the contagion of the fatal disease. But do what they might, they found it difficult to escape other Christians. Our middle class value is to protect ourselves. The early Church’s value was to trust God and follow Jesus Christ. Guess who won the day in the early Church?”

And we see somebody who’s hurt on the highway and we think, “I don’t know if I should stop. It might risk my safety.”

Caring people take time to be compassionate.

1) Jesus often felt compassion for people.

2) You care about what happens to them.

3) You want to make their life better.

Caring people get involved.

1) The Samaritan's actions speak loudly:

a) Gave the guy first aid.

b) Bandaged his wounds.

c) Lifted him onto his donkey.

d) Led him to an inn.

e) Made him comfortable.

f) Gave money to the innkeeper.

g) Offered to cover future expenses.

2) Feeling compassion is nice. "Doing" compassion is better.

Caring people are not stingy.10:35 The Samaritan coughed up what was required.

Can you imagine helping an accident victim today, and telling the hospital, "Just put it on my bill"? Maybe we could cover the daily TV charge for the room. Real compassion will usually cost us something concrete. According to God, people are worth it. Jesus - "Go and do the same." The Samaritan set an example for all of us to follow.

Seven simple steps to get this into your life.

A. Identify people who need your care. Make a short list of people you could help.

B. Reach out to people - don't wait for them to come to you. Most people won't share their pain but keep it inside. Draw it out of them.

C. Communicate beyond the superficial level. Go deeper than, "How are you?" Often the reason we don't care for each other is that we don't hear when someone expresses a need. One woman was fed up with the "cliche'" superficial level of communication in her church, so she conducted an experiment. To everyone who asked her, while passing the hallways, "How are you?" she replied, "Lousy!" Some didn't even hear what she said. Others said, "I'm sorry to hear that." But no one asked her why, no one went any deeper.

Ask probing, thoughtful questions, especially about their struggles and their spirituality.

D. Empathize with them. Galatians 6:2 - "Bear one another's burdens." Try to feel what they are going through.

E. Listen without judging. This is especially hard for born-again Christians. "Of course your life is messed up! You broke commandments 2, 4, 7, and 8!"

Listening doesn't mean our convictions go out the windows, just that we give them time to pour out their heart. Good listening requires concentration. Hear what is not said, as well as what is. Body language can speak volumes.

F. Respond with a caring gift. Give them something tangible, even a card that says, "I'm praying for you." Then pray for them!

G. Know the ultimate source of compassion.

1) Compassion is not just what you do. It is who you are.

2) We can care for others, because Jesus first cared for us.

Friday, March 24, 2006


1 Timothy 2:8-15 The Role Of Women in Public Worship

Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument. 9 Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense; not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel, 10 but with good works, as is proper for women who affirm that they worship God. 11 A woman should learn in silence with full submission. 12 I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent. 13 For Adam was created first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. 15 But she will be saved through childbearing, if she continues in faith, love, and holiness, with good sense.

I would like to assure you that I am well aware that any message on this passage in Paul's letter to Timothy is predestined and foreordained to alienate at least half the congregation. Therefore, as I prepared this sermon, I prayed a specific prayer: "Father, lead me into truth about these verses. Help me to listen to You, not my male prejudices. Help me to hear You, not current cultural correctness. Help me to minister truth, not manipulate the text. Amen." Although the role of women in public worship is a “hot topic” and perhaps the subject with the greatest potential for controversy in our local churches as well as in our society, the purpose of this message is to properly exegete the Scriptures, “thus saith the Lord,” without hidden agendas. Furthermore, since every person, male or female, has prior prejudices regarding this text, we must lay some ground rules.

First, we must read the text in light of the whole Scripture. We cannot isolate these verses, nor can we distill them into a simplistic formula, i.e., “Women be quiet, you cannot teach, you cannot speak!” Other passages, such as those found in Galatians 3:27-28 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. and Philippians 4:3 Yes, I also ask you, true partner, to help these women who have contended for the gospel at my side, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers whose names are in the book of life must be included in the final summation.

Second, we must distinguish between passages that teach a principle or set forth New Testament practices and passages that simply describe events or practices common in Paul’s day. For instance, the passage that records the occasion when Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding feast describes an event, not a practice we are to continue. However, other gospel accounts describe events, such as the Last Supper, that were to become New Testament practices continued by the church.

Third, we must read Scripture in light of its historical background, which includes both the cultural climate and the social customs of the day. With these ground rules in mind, let’s take a long look at a woman’s role in public worship.

I. The Culture

In the first seven verses of chapter two, Paul discussed public prayer, including why believers should pray and for whom to pray. He continued in verse 8 [1 Timothy 2:8]. Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.

1. The Description of Public Worship Paul was specifically urging the men of the congregation to pray. This is not a reference to mankind in general because the definite article precedes the word man. Also, the emphasis here was not so much on the hand lifting as it was on the adjective holy. Paul desired that the men of the church approach the worship of God with a holiness that was the result of separated living: “Lord, here I am; look at my heart. I’m here to offer myself to You.” The word for prayer used here denotes prayers offered in the public worship of God, either by an individual or the assembly, but definitely prayer offered in public worship. The next phrase, “in like manner also, that the women.” is important because it does more than join verses eight and nine in a continuing description of public prayer. It moves the focus from exclusively men to include the women. We must remember to think of women and worship in light of three facets of the multi-cultural climate of Paul’s day.

First, in the Jewish segment of society, women were not allowed to speak in synagogues or to read the Torah (the Old Testament scrolls). In fact, the women were segregated from the men and seated in another place altogether. Supposed male superiority was so ingrained in the collective conscience that an ancient traditional prayer of Jewish males was: “Lord, I thank You that I am not a Gentile. I thank You that I am not a bondservant or a slave. I thank You that I am not a woman.”

In distinct contrast to male-dominated Judaism, the Greek culture, which prevailed over the far-flung Roman Empire, allowed women to be major players in public worship. In temples dedicated to a plethora of Greek gods and goddesses, women priestesses took part in worship. Equally was evident, and women worshiped with the men. In Ephesus, for instance, there were over 5,000 temple prostitutes who went into the city at sundown and returned with the proceeds from the practice of their ancient trade. Their prostitution funds filled the coffers of the temple.

Third, coming from both Judaism and paganism, were the new, first generation Christians. Without verbal traditions, centuries old practices, or written history, they had the teachings of Jesus on which to build their religious structure, but no particular instructions regarding the place of women in public worship. The Bible doesn’t actually record it, but I think we can surmise that there was a women’s movement in the first century New Testament church. From passages in the letters to the Ephesians and the Corinthians, I believe we can conclude that women were thinking, “We don’t have to remain silent anymore according to Hebrew customs because we have equality in salvation. Jesus set us free.” In fact, in his letter to the Galatian Christians, Paul wrote: Galatians 3:28 There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

2. The Discussion Of Public Appearance now moved from a description of public worship to a discussion of public appearance: 1 Timothy 2:9-10 Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense; not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel, 10 but with good works, as is proper for women who affirm that they worship God.

Why was it necessary to discuss appropriate dress for public worship? Perhaps the new freedom and equality accompanying the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ blurred the parameters of conventional customs, and there was confusion at the after church coffee. “Do we cover our heads or not? Do we wear shawls or not?”

In any event, Paul felt the need to say, “Here’s how you should dress,” and the emphasis was not on particular items of clothing, but on the principle: dress modestly, avoiding extravagance and ostentatious apparel. The word translated modest is kosmios, from which we get the word world. It suggests orderliness. The word translated propriety means “saneness, soberness, self-control.” In other words, let a woman dress with good sense, understanding that a public worship service is not the place to wear clothing that calls attention to one’s appearance.

3. The Definition of Public Roles In verse 10, Paul emphasized that women’s clothing in public worship should be appropriate for women “professing godliness, with good works,” He begins here to define the place of women in the New Testament church – places of ministry and good works. Throughout the New Testament, we find women commended for their ministry. Paul wrote: Romans 16:1-3 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church in Cenchreae. 2 So you should welcome her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever matter she may require your help. For indeed she has been a benefactor of many—and of me also. 3 Give my greetings to Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus,

The word translated servant is diakoneo, or “deaconess.” My frank opinion is that people, both men and women, set themselves apart for service and become ministering servants because of a call from God on their lives, whether or not they are ordained.

This woman was recognized for her deeply godly service, and functioned, not as a leader in a congregation, but as a servant.

Paul goes on to commend other Christians (some of whom were women) who were active in the service of Christ – Priscilla, Aquila, Epaenetus, Mary, and many others. Paul wrote Philippians 4:3 Yes, I also ask you, true partner, to help these women who have contended for the gospel at my side, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers whose names are in the book of life.

In other words, a woman was to be known in her congregation for her ministry and her good works, not for her clothing and adornment. The role of a woman in public worship is defined as being a servant of the Lord, equal to a man in ministry and service.

But what about in positions of authority? Because I am an expositor of the Word, I must be truthful to the text in light of other Scripture written about this same subject.

1 Timothy 2:11-12 A woman should learn in silence with full submission.
12 I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 since God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says. 35 And if they want to learn something, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church meeting.

What if she’s not married? What if her husband doesn’t know as much as she does? Now, we really have some questions to deal with. The Greek words aner and anthropos are both translated man, but anthropos means mankind in general, whereas aner (translated husband in 1 Corinthians 14:35) means an adult male. In other words, ladies, “go ask the menfolk.” But not just any “menfolk.” A woman, married or unmarried, is to gain spiritual wisdom from a godly man in a place of authority and leadership. In order to get the complete picture, we must look at the verses preceding verses 34-35 of 1 Corinthians 14, which deal with tongues-speaking and prophesying in the congregation. In verse 31, Paul wrote, “For you can all prophesy,” and that included women. But a woman was not to interpret her own prophecy or anyone else’s; she was to remain silent in the area of interpreting prophecy. In other words, when a prophecy was uttered in the congregation, a woman was not to interpret it. If she wanted to know the interpretation of the prophecy, she was to ask the godly men in places of authority, including her own husband, if one of them were such a man. There is a place for women to serve God in the fellowship of the Christian community. I believe this passage teaches that women can be teachers as long as they teach other women, children, or mixed groups under the authority of their husbands. They cannot be the authority, but they can serve God under the authority of their husbands and their church.

II. The Curse

Let’s move now from the cultural climate of New Testament public worship to the foundation for Paul’s instructions – Genesis. 1 Timothy 2:13-14 For Adam was created first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. Because scriptural revelation is progressive, “line upon line, precept upon precept,” the practices for the New Testament as well as contemporary churches are based on principles that are “from the beginning.” To know the place of women in public worship, we must go back to the third chapter of Genesis. Though this is the last decade of the twentieth century, our practices are based on eternal precedents.

1. The Curse Was Universal, Not Cultural A careful examination of Genesis 3:16 and Genesis 4:7 reveals that the word desire is the same Hebrew word in both verses. Genesis 3:16 He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will dominate you.

Genesis 4:7 If you do right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Speaking to Cain about his offering, God warned Cain that his jealousy of his brother, Abel, was like a little lion crouching at the door. If he failed to master it, it would grow up to devour him because the sin desired to dominate him. Cain would either “master” or “be mastered.” The word desire is used in the same way [Genesis 3:16]. This is not referring to sexual desire, but to a desire to dominate or master the husband. Eve’s punishment was far greater than the pain women experience in bearing children. An even greater pain is the pain of unsatisfied desire. The penalty for Eve’s sin included the realization that no matter how much a woman might desire to rule over her husband, God gave the husband the authority to rule over the wife. The sin of disobedience led to “…he shall rule over you.” The curse was universal, not cultural.

2. Truth Is Universal, Not Cultural

Another interesting part of the story is that when God told Adam that he could not eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Eve had not been created. This information was given to Adam alone. Yet, when the serpent asked Eve what her limitations were in the lush, green garden, she said: Genesis 3:3 But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” How did she know that? Adam told her. Yet, even with the knowledge, she was deceived. She believed the serpent’s story, ate the fruit, and gave some to Adam, who ate it without asking any questions. It appears to me that Eve was deceived, but Adam simply rebelled against God’s clear instructions. He knew better.

It also seems to me, and this is supposition, that the lesson we learn here is that women are a little more inclined to be deceived and men are a little more inclined to be deceived and men are a little more inclined to be rebellious. I don’t know if that holds true in every case, but it seems to be a large part of the garden story. The universal truth is that both Adam and Eve sinned in the garden by disobeying God’s clear instructions. The consequence of the sin was spiritual death for all of us, but praise God:

1 Corinthians 15:22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

III. The Cross

It seems to me that the hardest verse of our text to interpret is verse 15: 1 Timothy 2:15 But she will be saved through childbearing, if she continues in faith, love, and holiness, with good sense.

It seems that there are only two or three ways to interpret this verse. First, that childbearing saves women, and this can’t be the correct interpretation since some women never marry and of the others who marry, some are unable to have children. Second, that women find fulfillment in motherhood and family life. While that is certainly true, I believe there is another consideration, the third interpretation, which sends us back to Genesis: Genesis 3:15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

It became the unique function of a woman to give birth to the Saviour, who provided salvation not only for her, but for all mankind. That salvation was obtained by the means of a cruel cross, suffering and death. Yet, that same cross of suffering became the means of redemption through the glorious resurrection of the Lord. Thus, the cross became our avenue of restoration and our symbol of victory.

1. The Cross Reclaims Our Inheritance The salvation provided by the Lord Jesus Christ through His birth, life, death, and resurrection, makes men and women equal inheritors of eternal life. Remember: Galatians 3:28 There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Yes, the cross restores all to the same inheritance, but not to the same function. The Lordship of Christ sets us free, free to be restored to pre-curse status. What was that? Before the fall, Eve did not yet desire to rule over her husband. As Christians, women can conquer the desire to rule over their husbands by willingly submitting to the husband’s authority as the husband willingly submits to the authority of Christ.

2. The Cross Restores Our Uniqueness Men and women in Christ have the same inheritance, eternal life, but not the same function. We are uniquely different. It’s not a matter of rights; it’s a matter of position and purpose. We function differently physically and spiritually.

3. The Cross Reveals Our Victory Because of the cross, we are able to inherit the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ, who sent the Holy Spirit to provide healing, guidance, comfort, instruction, and victory over sin. Henry Blackaby explains that the Holy Spirit of God speaks through the Word of God to reveal the truth of God, and truth is a Person. To know who we are in Christ, we don’t need to look to the mores of our society or to current politically correct role models…we need to see Jesus, who said:

John 5:30 I can do nothing on My own. I judge only as I hear, and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

When a wife observes her husband submitting himself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, as Jesus submitted Himself to the Father’s will and purpose, she is willing to be submissive to him. God instituted lines of authority, and when we rightly commit ourselves to His Lordship as husbands and wives, it all comes together. But many times, wives have become the spiritual leaders of their families by default because the husbands fail to assume the role of leadership. In these cases, we can’t blame the women who are frustrated by their husbands’ failure. One reason for the movement toward women pastors and church leaders is an abdication of spiritual authority on the part of the men. Christian homes need husbands who submit to the Lordship of Christ and wives who will submit to their husbands and to the Lord. We can’t afford to use our culture’s current criteria to determine our roles in the family. The Bible is our guide, not what is socially acceptable. As Christians, we find our places both in our homes and in public worship clearly defined in God’s Word. A woman’s role in public worship is ministry with dignity. She seeks to be known not by her appearance, but by her good works. She respects the authority of her husband and other godly men in places of leadership, and she willingly submits to God-ordained authorities. She acknowledges the Lordship of Christ, the truth of God’s Word, and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. She allows the Holy Spirit to replace her desire to “rule over” with the sweet spirit of submission because she knows who she is in Christ…

Romans 8:17and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

2Tim 2:9-14 Controversial. With the rise of modern feminism, many denominations have eschewed the logical and traditional interpretation of this passage. many "creative interpretations" to avoid its implications.

They argue that this passage must be INTERPRETED CULTURALLY, that it was relevant for that time and that place but holds no authority over us today. We always interpret the Bible culturally. Knowing the culture in which Scripture was written is vital to our understanding. However, the problem that liberal churches and denominations have with this passage is not interpretational, it is theological. Their problem is they have tossed out the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. They have decided to pick and choose what parts of the Bible they will believe.

They argue that PAUL WAS SEXIST and therefore we can discount anything he says about women. What Paul says about the role of women squares with what Jesus said, what Peter said and is consistent with the entirety of Scripture.

Third, they argue that GALATIANS 3:28 SUPERCEDES what Paul teaches in the Pastoral Epistles. Galatians 3:28 teaches one of the most preeminent doctrines of the NT, that God was forming in one body, the church a new humanity. It says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." The ground is level at the foot of the cross. Men are not elevated to a higher rank than women in God's kingdom. God values women as highly as men. Even as God values men and women equally, He has given them different and distinct roles.

Our text is not a difficult passage to understand. For many, it is a difficult passage to accept and obey. That is a characteristic of inspired Scripture. It assaults our pride. If God's design for women came naturally, we wouldn't need this passage. Ladies, the question is not "Do I accept this teaching?" The question is "Will I obey this teaching?"

I. The Christian Woman is to be Beautiful (vv.9-10). I heard that Phyllis Diller (remember her?) once said she spent three hours in a beauty shop - and that was just for the estimate!

A. She is beautified by GODLINESS not GLAMOUR. In Ephesus - the city where Timothy was pastoring - when women stepped out for the evening they would spare no expense to look dazzling. Braids of hair piled high on their heads - braids fastened with tortoise shells - pins and combs made of ivory, silver, and gold - imported pearls woven into their hair. Then, they’d work down. Imagine if they spent that much time on their hair how extravagant the rest of the ensemble was. It was like the Academy Awards every night. The more extravagant - the more expensive - the more captivating - the better. In Ephesus the women spent fortunes on their outward appearance. Sometimes I wonder if women really understand how what they wear effects men and the opinion of men towards them. Women should watch men watching women - listen to the comments men make to men about women. Women should ask themselves if they really want that kind of attention from men. Why do women - especially if they understand how this effects men - why do women sell themselves short - trying to get the attention of men - or influence men - by the clothing - or lack of clothing - they wear? On the other hand, some have taken Paul’s teach so far as to say that women shouldn’t wear make-up or jewelry or fashionable clothing. The more drab and less flattering the better. But even that focuses on the outward. Paul says its not what’s outside that impresses God. Godly womanhood has to do with the heart of a woman being broken and seeking the things of God - inward God inspired beauty. What women wear - how they conduct themselves - should draw attention to God working within their hearts. When a man sees a woman who is dressed provocatively, showing her flesh and her figure, he will be attracted to her but he will not find her attractive. He will lust for her body but he will not love her soul. She will arouse his sinfulness not his godliness. When a Christian man sees a woman like that, he thinks one of four things about her:

She is NAIVE. She has not been taught well. She is ignorant of how to dress herself.

She is NEEDY. She has such low self-esteem the only way she can feel good about herself is to get the attention of men. She wants to be accepted any way she can.

She is ARROGANT. She has a beautiful body and she knows it. She flaunts it because it makes her feel superior. She is a tease.

She is EASY. She markets her body to get what she wants.

B. She is valued for SERVICE not SELF-PROMOTION. Rather that being overly concerned with fashion, a Christian woman is to clothe herself with what "is proper for women professing godliness with good works" (v.10).

II. The Christian Woman is to be Submissive (vv.11-14).

She is to learn QUIETLY.

She is to Act RESPECTFULLY. Women are to be teachers of women. Titus 2:3-4 specifically say that "The older women. [are to] admonish the younger women." Women are to be teachers of children. In 2 Timothy 1:5, the Apostle reminds his young friend of "the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice." It is obvious that his godly mother and grandmother first trained Timothy in the faith.

The first reason is THE ORDER OF CREATION. Paul summarizes Genesis 1-2 when he says, "For Adam was formed first, then Eve." They were not formed at the same time. God formed Adam "of the dust of the ground." Eve was formed from a rib from Adam's side. The Hebrew word for "man" is ish. The Hebrew word for "woman" is isha, "out of man." 1 Corinthians 11:7-9 says of man, ".he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man."

Adam said, "Eve, do you love me?" Eve said, "Honey, there's nobody for me but you." Eve was created to be "a helper comparable to him" (Gen.2:18). From the beginning, God made men and women different with distinct roles.

The second reason is THE ORDER OF THE FALL. Verse 14 says, "And Adam was not deceived but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression." In other words, Eve was "deceived" by Satan and was the first to violate God's command. She was the first to sin. She was "deceived" into thinking that she could become "like God." So she usurped God's authority and Adam's authority and "fell into transgression" or literally "became a transgressor." It is apparent from Genesis 3:6 that Adam was with Eve and allowed her to persuade him to sin too. He was "not deceived" but willingly sinned. How ironic that Eve's sin was violating the authority of God and her husband. Adam's sin was in listening to his wife. Genesis 3:14-16.

III. The Christian Woman is to be Influential (v.15).

This last verse seems a bit puzzling at first glance, "Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control."


1Timothy 3 A Beautiful Life

Did you know that the content of obituary notices has changed considerably over the years. According to a recent survey, at the start of the nineteenth century most obituaries made some mention of the character of the deceased; by the end of that century that was rarely the case. By contrast a person's occupation was seldom an important detail in obituaries at the beginning of the 19th Century, but by the end of the 20th Century that had become the key means by which a person was identified. That shift is all tied up with the substitution of function for character: what I do eclipses what I am: doing something rather than being someone is what counts. There was a famous graffiti that captured the tussle between being and doing in the radical sixties: `To do is to be ... Sartre' it said - then underneath: `To be is to do ... Camus'. Somebody else had added another line: `Do be do be do ... Sinatra'. Which, I guess, in the hippie era was probably meant to say that distinction doesn't really matter. But, in fact, in the Bible's judgment it is a significant distinction. What we do does matter, but it always places greater emphasis on who we are.

It's quite possible that because of the false teaching , Christian leadership had been brought into disrepute. In looking in 1 Timothy 1 and elsewhere - we find that the leadership of the Ephesian church was as corrupt as the society they were living in. The leadership of the Ephesian church is described as men who had rejected their faith. They’d become shipwrecked spiritually. They were teaching all kinds of strange doctrines that mixed human philosophy and different religious beliefs and traditions in with the Gospel. Does that sound familiar? With all these interfaith movements and liberal teachings in and outside the church?

The result was that the church was being led around and around in fruitless discussions over secondary issues. It was lacking in purpose and vision - in Godly direction. People were dying spiritually and hurting each other. The one thing the church wasn’t doing was penetrating Ephesus with the Gospel.

What would you say most damages the church's efforts to make Jesus known to the world around?
I'd say two things. One is wrong living. Which leaves people saying, 'You Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites.' And the other is wrong teaching – when the message coming from us is not the message coming from the Bible. And those things are most damaging of all in church leaders.
And that's why Timothy was sent into this church in

1. A Beautiful Desire

3.1: 1 Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.

So would you turn to 1 Timothy chapter 1. We're in a series on this letter from the apostle Paul to his trouble-shooting assistant Timothy. Look at 1.3:

3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer…

Ie, some of the leaders had gone off the rails - teaching wrongly and living wrongly. And Timothy's got to sort them out. So, look on to 3.14:

14 Although I [Paul] hope to come to you [Timothy] soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

These verses are on how leaders in the church ought to conduct themselves. Ie, how we should conduct ourselves if we're leaders in any way in church - now or in the future. And before we get into chapter 3, I need to explain the two roles Paul mentions.
One is the role of overseer. 3.1: 1 Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.

Now look over to 5.17: 17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

"Bishop" is from episkopos, meaning "overseer." There are two other words that refer to the same office. The more common term is presbuteros, which is commonly translated "elder" and refers to wise, mature men. The third is poimen or "pastor." These three words describe the different functions of the same office.

In 1 Peter 5:1-2, all three terms are brought together in this one passage. Peter writes, "The elders [presbuteros] who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd [poimaino, verb form of poimen meaning to "shepherd" or even "feed"] the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers [episkopos], not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly."

Therefore a "bishop" is the same person as an "elder." His duties include overseeing or leading the church, teaching the church, shepherding the church and praying for the church. As Paul established churches, he appointed elders to lead them. Acts 14:23 says, "So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed." Paul wrote to Titus, "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you" (Titus 1:5).

In the New Testament, the overall leaders of a local church are sometimes called 'overseers', sometimes called 'elders'.

'bishop' and 'elder' refer to the same office. We can appeal to an Anglican like John Stott, who would be without bias on this matter, who gives us four reasons to support this. He says, "In New Testament times it is all but certain that 'episkopos' ('overseer', 'bishop') and 'presbyteros' ('presbyter', 'elder') were two titles for the same office. The evidence is compelling. First, Paul sent for the 'elders' of the Ephesian church, but in addressing them called them 'bishops' (Acts 20: 17&28). Secondly, in the same way Peter appealed to the 'elders' among his readers to serve as 'bishops' of God's flock (I Peter 5:1&2). Thirdly, Paul wrote to the Philippian church 'together with the bishops and deacons' (Phils. 1:1 NIV mg.); he must have omitted to mention the 'elders' - only because they were the 'bishops'. Fourthly, Paul instructed Titus to appoint 'elders,' adding that a 'bishop' [NIV mg.] ... must be blameless' (Tit. 1:5-7) (John Stott, "The Message of Timothy and Titus," IVP, 1996, p.90).

There is a role of preacher for younger men who have not yet attained the age and responsibility of elders.

Where do we find this distinction between being an elder and a preacher? I believe it to be a biblical distinction, part of the development of church government found within the New Testament. In this letter itself one reads, "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching" (I Tim.5:17). There are those whose calling is to rule well, and those also whose vocation is preaching and teaching. It is on that distinction that most churches except the Plymouth Brethren see a special office for a pastor-preacher.

The other role is that of deacon. 3.8: Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect…

The NKJV as well as the KJV uses the word "desires" twice in this verse. However, in the Greek text, there are two different terms. In the first case, the word means "to stretch after." Picture yourself stretching for something on the top shelf. Picture a runner stretching to reach the finish line nanoseconds before his opponent. This is not in reference to an inner motive but an outward stretching of oneself in taking the steps necessary to become an elder. It pictures a man who diligently studies the Scriptures, who carefully examines his conduct and character, who deals harshly with his own sin and who evangelizes and disciples others. This is a man who outwardly does the work of an elder with or without the official designation. The second term translated "desires" as in "desires a good work" means "to set the heart on" or "a passionate compulsion." It refers to an inner desire for good instead of evil. Together, these verbs describe a man who outwardly engages in the work of ministry because of an inner passion for the glory of the Lord and the good of men.

The call to eldership then is an inner passion marked by outward excellence. It is not a desire to take charge. It is not a desire to rule over everyone. It is not a desire to wield authority. It is not a desire for attention and affirmation. It is not a desire for personal glory. It is not a desire given to you by anyone else. It is a calling born deep in the heart of a man of God. A desire for position is automatic disqualification. Such a man does not understand the role or its requirements.

Martyn Lloyd Jones was one of the greatest church overseers and preachers of the 20th century. He started out as a doctor and then began to feel this v1 desire to make preaching the gospel his life's work. But his seniors were urging him up the career ladder. His friends were saying, 'Can't you just preach on the side?' And then one day the Chief of Bart's hospital came into his room, and said that a good friend of his had just died and asked if he could just come in for some company. Lloyd Jones said, 'Yes.' And the Chief sat staring straight ahead for over 2 hours, unable to say anything. And it was one of the last prods Lloyd Jones needed to become a preacher. He wrote in his diary, 'That had a profound effect on me. I saw the vanity of all human greatness. Here was a tragedy, a man without any hope at all.”

And the principle that applies more widely is this. If you have any responsibility for ministering God's word to others (to your children, in a group, one-to-one), take it with the utmost seriousness. It's the greatest work you do.

Do you have a beautiful desire? What are you doing to cultivate that desire? Do you read God’s Word daily? Do you pray fervently for souls? Have you learnt methods of teaching the Word of God? Methods of evangelism?

2. A Beautiful Life

Does character really matter in leadership? Back when then President Bill Clinton was being impeached; poll after poll revealed that the American public astonishingly said, "No, no it doesn't. Not as long as he's doing his job well." Translation – "As long as the economy was going well". Right now what is fracturing the Episcopal church is this very issue. Does character matter when it comes to being a bishop? There's a group that says, "No! Someone's personal sexual lifestyle does not necessarily prohibit them from Christian leadership." Another group says, "Oh, yes! Because behavior, be it sexual or any other kind, always reveals character and character must be the watermark of authentic Christian leadership." Well, what do you think? What does Paul think? We are going to all become a little bit Episcopal here today. Because the word that Paul uses in verse 1 and 2 of our text, that we are going to look at, is the Greek word ' episkopos ' which the New International Version translates as 'overseer'. It can also rightly be translated as 'overseer or pastor or bishop'.

Scottish minister Robert Murray McCheyne was once asked what he thought his people most needed from him – was it his preaching, or his visiting, or what? And he famously replied, 'My peoples' greatest need is my own personal holiness.'
John Chapman once spoke on this passage at a minister's conference. And in his inimitable way he warned of the 4 'G's – the areas in which godly folk could discredit the Lord Jesus.

Verse 2: 'husband of one wife' the area of girls (or more broadly, of sex and relationships).

Verse 3 'not given to drunkenness' the area of 'grog' (from the Olde English);

verse 3 again, 'not a lover of money', the area of 'gold' – watch your motives and keep your hand out of the till. And v6, not 'conceited', the area of 'glory' – as in, who gets it? Me, or the Lord?
the overseer must be `above reproach'. Obviously that doesn't mean faultless or perfect - who could ever match that standard? It just means that no one can point the finger at this person. And they can't point the finger at him for a very good reason: there is nothing to point the finger at. Here is a man who walks through life without having endlessly to look over his shoulder - above reproach.

the area of girls `The husband of but one wife', literally a one-woman man. Which, fortunately, isn't aimed to rule out single overseers: Paul himself was single. But it does stop us in our tracks if we think that a little sexual indiscretion on the side is fine. Harry Trueman, an American President last century, saw this more clearly than some of his successors did. He said, "A man not honourable in his marital relationship is not usually honourable in any other." A Christian leader's private life is bound to affect his public life.

There are other areas of fidelity to be taken into account here:

`temperate' - literally, sober, watchful, self-aware, `self-controlled' - which is an inner quality - matched next by an outer orderliness: `respectable'... here is a man whose life is not a disordered chaos: he doesn't lurch from one extreme to the other. He's level-headed. In Control of the mind!

the area of 'grog'

Sadly, may I say that one of the most terrible things that has come to my attention in the last two years has been to follow the demise of some men once used mightily by God through drink! A couple of years ago I heard of a few ministers who were “social” drinkers. Some of them have now embarrassed themselves, their families and their churches through alcoholism and exhibitionism. Frankly, I really do believe that if you give this a foothold in your life, given our current drinking problems in Australia (the Australian Bureau of Statistics says ¼ drink to a dangerous level each week!) , it can easily dominate your life. If you do drink… do you really need it?

If you do drink, do you think its not a stumbling block to someone who may not be able to handle it like you think you can!

Why walk near the edge of a cliff, is it bravado? “I can do this because I can handle it!” Wow what a man you are! You take other people to a place that destroys them. I choose not to let this be a stumbling block to others lives! I have enough on my conscience already to answer to with the Lord, without adding the wreckage of others families, lives, and children.

‘not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome.' The overseer would be tested in that area, I guess, in debate with false teachers. But he's not to be like a stick of dynamite: if the fuse gets lit then everyone else has to run for cover.

the area of 'gold'

`not a lover of money.' Not that they would be well paid - but this is just as much a temptation for those who aren't well off. It's the false shepherd who's more interested in the fleece than the flock. So there are to be no fingers in the till, no making a sly profit out of Christian work.

the area of 'glory'

`He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil' (v. 6). Now of course, he must be a convert - a real, thoroughgoing Christian. But not a recent convert, which is an easy mistake to make, if you think about it, when we're short of workers. Somebody gets converted and they bounce into church life like a spiritual Tigger. "Quick," everyone says, "what leadership potential there! That's the enthusiasm we need." But not so fast, says Paul. It takes time for a young convert to unlearn the world's pattern of leadership, with its stress on status and privilege. It takes time to learn the Christian leadership pattern: that it is about service, not self-promotion. What a strong warning in the verse as well! That enthusiasm to be up front could, in fact, be devilish. I wonder if some people here need the advice that Shakespeare put in the mouth of Wolsey, "Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition - by that sin fell the angels. How can man then, the image of his Maker, hope to profit by it?"

3. A Beautiful Purpose (v. 7)

`He must also have a good reputation [literally, `beautiful witness'] with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.' Because, as someone put it, one man in a hundred will read the Bible, but ninety-nine can read the Christian's life. And either the Christian leader will be a walking, talking Bible for all to see, very attractive or (and the devil will be rubbing his hands with glee at this point) he will be a disgrace to the cause.

I recently read a quote from Zig Ziglar’s book, See You At The Top - where Zig Ziglar is writing about John Henry Fabre, the great French naturalist, who conducted an unusual experiment with some Processionary Caterpillars. It seems that these caterpillars blindly follow the one in front of them - which is why they’re called “Processionary Caterpillars.” Fabre carefully arranged them in a circle around the rim of a flowerpot, so that the lead caterpillar actually touched the last one, making a complete circle. In the center of the flowerpot he put pine needles - which is food for the Processionary Caterpillar. The caterpillars started around this circular flowerpot. Around and around they went, hour after hour, day after day, night after night. For seven full days and seven full nights they went around the flowerpot. Until finally, they dropped dead of starvation and exhaustion. With and abundance of food less than six inches away. They literally starved to death because they confused activity with accomplishment.

Paul was dealing with character qualities in Christian leadership. He was saying, What you are speaks so loud I can’t hear a word you are saying!”

You, where you are, by your character, by your words, you are a walking talking witness for Christ. As one pastor was asked, “How many of your folk witness for Christ?” He answered: “All of them, some witness for him, some witness against Him!”

We live in a world that is following leaders… but are these leaders leading people to Christ Himself? Or are they starving for life, when the Lord Jesus is so near!

Friday, March 17, 2006


Easter Services

Easter Event Schedule

The following events are part of our Easter Celebration Weekend on April 14-16th.
Good Friday Service 9am with the Choir

Easter Celebration Services - Sunday the 16th @ 10:30am.
Sunday Evening 7pm

Monday, March 13, 2006


The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Patience


You might remember Ron Barker as Ronaldo the Magnificent, the magician. When he first came to Australia from Romania he was not prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in stores. He says, "On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk--you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice--you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to my self, ‘What a country!’"
We make these assumptions about Christian growth,-that people change instantly at salvation to perfection.
Powdered Christian. Just add water andthey become instantly perfect!

We ll one area we discovre our fallness is in the area of patience.

James 1:19 My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.

"Email regret" occurs when you click "send" but wish you hadn't. In an angry impulse you fire off a hot email to your boss or colleague. Now you can't unsend your message. Proverbs provides strategies for controlling your temper, including remembering beforehand the consequences of an angry response.

Proverbs 15:1; 29:8, 11, 22; 30:33 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger. A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. For as churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.

Lots of people have the power to hurt or frustrate me. Only one has the power to make me angry. Me. If it's true that no one else can make me angry, it's even more true that no one else can make me respond aggressively or inappropriately when I feel anger. It often seems that way because my response to feeling anger has become so routine that it seems "automatic." It feels as if the person or event triggered my anger and caused my response. The truth is, my response is learned behavior. I learned it long ago, from people I grew up around, learned it so informally that I was not aware I was learning anything.

This basically means that we are to handle our anger slowly. Remember when God spoke to Moses and he said to him, "The Lord is compassionate and gracious. God is slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness"? He was literally talking about patience here. Our God is slow to anger. Well, you know the fruit of the spirit are all attributes of God. Here we see the attribute of God’s patience—He’s slow to anger. A lot of times people think that anger is wrong. Really it’s not a sin. It is when it’s uncontrolled that it becomes sin. Paul tells us to not let the sun go down on our anger or our wrath. What we’re going to talk about is the root of impatience, which is anger. So we don’t want to just talk about patience today; we want to go right down to the foundation, which is uncontrolled anger.

Now, as I grew up, we were taught that anger was wrong, that it was a sin. If you’ve been angry at least once, raise your hand because we all have faulted a little. Because I grew up being taught that it was a sin, we never talked about anger. What I found a long time ago is that Christians, when they have sinned, they give other labels to it. So in my group growing up we were never got angry, we were righteously indignant, which means we were real ticked. That’s the Greek for righteously indignant (just kidding). But anger itself is not wrong. So because I always try to be very practical and applicable and relevant, let me give you the seven keys to managing your anger. Seven keys to managing your anger:

1. Resolve to manage it.

"It is better to be slow-tempered than famous; it is better to have self-control than to Control an army." Proverbs 16:32 (LB)

The first thing I want you to know today is that anger can be managed. In fact, anger for a right cause, managed directly, is a tremendous attribute. Don’t you get angry about injustice and sin? And aren’t there times when it literally motivates you or compels you to do something about it?

Now, here’s where the problem comes in. When I’ve talked to people who have a real problem with anger, they’ll say, "I just can’t help myself. You don’t understand, I mean, when it happens, it happens, and I’m a volcano. I mean, I blow up." Sure you can manage it. Sure you can help yourself. Sure you can control it. I can prove that you can control anger. Let’s say that you’re really mad at your kids. I don’t know what they’re doing but boy, you’re yelling and screaming. You’re pointing fingers and all that stuff. I mean you’re really giving it to them. You know what I’m saying?

Now, the phone rings. I’ve seen this happen. You are not a happy camper. But you pick up the phone and go, "Hello." Aren’t we sweet? And don’t our kids wish that they were on the other end of that phone line? Sure you can control it. You pick when you’re going to be angry. You better believe you do. That’s why you get angry at your kids behind closed doors. If the neighbor kids came over the same day and did the same thing, you’d say. "Oh, that’s all right. That’s no problem. I know you broke the vase, but it’s just a vase. It’s only been in the family for 230 years."

I read about a pastor who said that a member of his church said, "Well, my anger is bad. It’s not controllable. It’s probably the cross I must bear." Now, the pastor said, "No, it’s not the cross you must bear; it’s the cross your wife has to bear. It’s your sin; it’s her cross."

2. Realize the cost.

Anger is just one letter away from danger.

Proverbs 29:22 "A hot-tempered man starts fights and gets into all kinds of trouble."

You never get to the top when you keep blowing your top. When you lose your Temper, you lose. The Bible is very specific about the damage done by uncontrolled anger.


Proverbs 15:18, "Hot tempers cause arguments."

Proverbs 14:29, "Anger causes mistakes."

Proverbs 14:17, "People with hot tempers do foolish things."

Proverbs 11:29, "The fool who provokes his family to anger and resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left."

Maybe I ought to read that one verse one more time. "The fool who provokes his family to anger and resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left." Resentment is nothing more than stuffed anger. In fact, there are two things that society has a problem with: depression and resentment. Both of them have the root causes of anger.

Zig Ziglar said something very interesting. He was talking about men in the Florida penitentiary. He said that at the Florida penitentiary, they did some psychological, emotional checkups on the inmates, and they found out that 100 percent—NOT 90, NOT 95 --but 100 percent of the men in the penitentiary were angry with their father.

You know, as parents, all of us have gotten angry with our children. And you know what, there’s something about when you get angry at your kids they straighten up a lot quicker. And so that almost reinforces parents to show anger quicker because it kind of gives quicker results. But I guess God’s words says that you may get quick results, but what happens is that it begins to go into resentment in their life and the payback sometimes comes even years later. So realize the cost.

3. Reflect before reacting.

Proverbs 29:11 "A stupid man gives free reign to his anger; a wise man waits and lets it grow cool."

You know, delay is a tremendous tool in helping you control your anger. I’m not talking about delaying for months or weeks. I’m talking about catching yourself and pulling back maybe for a half hour. Letting it kind of simmer a little bit. Just understanding what’s happening to you, your feeling, your reactions.

Anger is the result of………. Hurt, Frustration, Fear

And haven’t we all had those moments when we said something and then five minutes later, we thought, "Boy, I wish I wouldn’t have said that." We’ve all had that haven’t we? I heard a story about a fellow who was so angry at his father and he was telling his friend, "Boy, I’m so angry at Dad that I’m going to write him a letter, express my anger." He did. He wrote a letter, signed it, put it in an envelope, gave it to his friend and said, "Mail this for me." But his friend realized he was just angry at the moment. So instead of mailing it, he put it in his coat pocket and held on to it. The next day his buddy came up to him and said, "Man, I wish I wouldn’t have had you send that letter. I’d give $50 to have it back." Sometimes we’re not fortunate enough to get the letter back. We all know what it’s like to not delay and pay the consequences for it. Thomas Jefferson, in his book Rules for Living, said, "When you’re angry, count to 10 before you speak. And when you’re very angry, count to 100." Haven’t you done that before?

4. Release your anger appropriately.

There are right ways and wrong ways to do this.

Eph. 4:26 "If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin." (GN)

Proverbs 29:11"A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control."

Now, you know what psychology says? Psychology says that on the inside, we’re a bucket full of anger. They say the way to get rid of it is to just spill it. They call it "emotional venting". They say once you empty the bucket of anger you’ll be okay.

Now, I want you to know, that may be what psychology says, but that isn’t the way it really works, because you’re not a bucket full of anger. You and I are a factory. There is a world of difference between a bucket and a factory. When anger is released inappropriately, it just increases the volume of anger that we have on the inside. God’s word and human experience will tell you that if you become aggressive, it usually leads to more aggression. And if you become abusive, it usually leads to more abuse. And if you become angry, it just leads to more anger until it becomes a pattern within your life.

How do you respond to anger? You have four possible options, and two of them DON’T work:

Suppress It You must get control over it. Don't damage people with your emotions.

Express it See if you can find someone totalk it out with. They may be able to give you perspective on the problem.


3. Do confess it. 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

5. Re-pattern your mind.

Romans 12:2 "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

The way you think determines how you feel. The way you feel determines how you act.

Your beliefs control your behavior. So if I’m acting angry, it’s because I’m feeling angry. And if I’m feeling angry, it’s because I’m thinking angry. So I have to go clear back to my thought line and begin to re-pattern the way I think, since my thinking controls my behavior. You see, our mind needs to be reprogrammed, because I can almost guarantee that if you watch any TV show, somewhere in that show, anger will be expressed, and almost always in the wrong way. Somebody will get a gun, shoot somebody. Somebody will smack somebody across the head. Somebody will swear. You’ll see a great deal of anger expressed wrongly, because it’s very common in our society.

If you have a real problem with this, I encourage you to take the verses I’ve mentioned and memorize them. Reprogram your mind.

6. Relate to people that are patient.

Proverbs 22:24-25"Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily Angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared."

Anger is contagious. And it’s a learned behavior. In fact, we learn how to blow up from watching other people blow up. It’s a learned behavior. And the proverb writer says, "Don’t hang around with those kind of people, because if you do, you will find yourself becoming an increasingly angry person."

7. Rely on Christ’s help.

Romans 15:5"May God who gives patience, steadiness, and encouragement, help you to live in Complete harmony with each other—each with the attitude of Christ toward the other."

Patience is waiting without worrying.

Now, here’s what I want you to know. When God develops you and me, He works slow to do a good job. You can’t microwave the fruit of the spirit. It’s a process. It takes time. Remember the story of Moses? Remember how one day he saw how the Jewish people were being persecuted? He struck and killed an Egyptian soldier, and had to flee for his life. And for the next 40 years, you know where Moses was? He was out on the back side of a desert. It was that 40-year, back-side-of-the-desert experience that God developed Moses to be a great leader for the children of Israel.

I promise you that the best attributes in your life are developed through a long, tedious, trying process. And your greatest accomplishments will be made over a long period of time. I look at Moses 40 years on the back side of the desert. I look at Joseph for years in prison. I look in the Word, and I see these great men of God, like David, who spent years as a refugee in caves, even though he was already anointed to be king. In fact, every great character in the Bible went through not the microwave process, but the crock-pot process. God isn’t interested in microwave Christians. He wants to put us in the crock-pot, let us simmer, bring out the best in us.

The best things in life will take a long time. And we’ll never get what we need from God if we pray a prayer like, "Oh, God, give me patience and give it to me now." I’ve prayed that prayer before, haven’t you? You know it’s interesting; I looked up a word this week: "wait." If you’ve got a concordance, go home and look at the word. I’m talking about w-a-i-t. Do you know if you look up the word "wait" in your Bible, you’ll find that it’s in there 106 times? "Wait on the Lord," wrote the psalmist, "and be of good courage and he will strengthen your heart. Those who wait upon the Lord shall inherit the earth." Don’t forget the word to Isaiah, "Yet those who wait upon the Lord, they shall renew their strength It talks about mounting up with wings as eagles.

Tommy Bolt has been described as the angriest golfer in the history of a game that has stimulated the secretion of more bile than any other human activity outside war and denominational meetings. One (possibly apocryphal) story recalls a time he was giving a group lesson on how to hit a ball out of a sand trap. He called his eleven-year-old son over. "Show the people what you've learned from your father to do when your shot lands in the sand," he said. The boy picked up a wedge and threw it as high and as far as he could. The good news is that what can be learned can be unlearned. It is possible for me to manage my anger in a God-honoring way: to "be angry and sin not." Anger is an inescapable fact of life. But the experience of anger is different from the expression of anger. - John Ortberg

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