Michael Youssef - Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You - Part 4
I think most of us know that anger takes many forms. In fact, anger wears many faces. Anger is an emotion that's interwoven in many aspects of our lives. Anger ranges from a slight irritation to a full blown uncontrollable rage. But I need to hate it to say that all unrighteous anger, listen carefully, all unrighteous anger, you say, "Is there a righteous anger"? Yes, I'm gonna come to that. All unrighteous anger stems from pride and self-righteousness. When we don't get our way, when someone criticize us, whether fairly or unfairly, really in the end doesn't make any difference, or when we get overlooked or feel being undermined, this all stems from prideful anger, self-righteous anger, and it must be nipped in the bud and placed in the wounded side of Jesus. Can I get an amen? How? By openly confessing it and asking for God's strength to repent of it.
Remember I said, he already took all of our sins on his cross, on the cross, on his body. See, the sooner you do this, the better off you are. Because of the seriousness of that issue of anger, I personally believe this is why our Lord Jesus Christ starts with that command. The commandment, "Thou shall not murder". He starts with it because it's a very serious issue. As I said, in the last message, the rabbis made a mess of the Ten Commandments. I mean, they added to them, they are, undermine them, they came up with some more stuff that to the point where there were well over 600 additions to the Ten Commandments. And so the purpose of the coming of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven, is to show us the original intent of God the Father of these Ten Commandments. He wanted to show us the original intent.
God the Son wanted us to know what God the Father meant by each of these commandments. God the Son was letting us know that these are not, listen carefully, these are not mechanical set of rules. Bum, bum, bum bum. No, no, no, no. These are not mere cold and calculated ordinance, but rather they are the reflection of God's character. They're the reflection of God's character. That's how our Lord Jesus Christ was explaining... That is why he and he alone was able to obey all of them, all the time without breaking one. And that is why all of us who know and love Jesus, can only make it to heaven by hanging on his coattail. He's the only one who can get you to heaven. And that is why today he tells us that all premeditated murder, all of them start with anger. He tells us, that the root of wanting destruction of life emanates from selfish anger.
That the very first murder that took place in the Bible, it was anger by Cain and jealousy of his brother Abel, and he killed him. But let me hasten to say, that when God said in Exodus chapter 20, verse 13, "You shall not murder," he was not referring to capital punishment or the act of authority in exercising their authority or it's even war because in war, you're not angry at that person, you are fighting for your country. Why am I saying this? Because later on, the Bible said that when someone sheds the blood of another, the authorities must make that person pay with his own life. Hear me right. In explaining the original intention, the commandments, our Lord Jesus said, all murder stems from selfish anger. But I hasten to say, it is not irredeemable. Like all sins when you bring them to the blood of Jesus Christ and you can fast and you repent, he will forgive you. Can I get an amen?
Now the most important thing, I always remind you of doing this, is to place yourself among those people sitting on that little hill, and you are listening to Jesus. And you are either a Pharisee or a disciple of Pharisees and you're listening to Jesus talking about the Ten Commandments and before he gets to this point, you're patting yourself on the back. Oh, I'm a good boy. I am really good. I have never killed anybody. I'm very good, I'm righteous. That's called self-righteousness. I've never murdered anyone. I kept the law of God. And Jesus said, here's a Youssef translation. Not so fast, not so fast. Let me explain to you the Father's original intent of these commandments. He is saying that because anger is the ghost that is always lurking in the dark, in every murderer's heart, and because God is interested as much in the ghost, as he is concerned about the murder itself, you need to deal with anger. You need to deal with anger.
Three things I want to show you here from these verses, Matthew 5:21 to 26. In verses 21 and 22, he says, that anger destroys. It destroys the person who's angry. Secondly, in verses 23 and 24, he says, anger desecrate your worship. And thirdly, he is saying anger, devastate relationships. First of all, anger turns on the angry person and destroy him or her. Here's what Jesus said. "You have heard it said, you shall not commit murder, but I say to you," now, I don't want you to miss, I know most of you have not missed this, but some of you may have. So I want you to listen carefully. You have heard it said, that's what my Father said, but I say to you, you notice the equality between the Father and the Son. God, the Father and God the Son are equal. They have coexisted before the foundation of the earth. As a matter of fact, the very reason why Jesus was crucified on the cross is because he made himself they said, equal to the Father. And so, "You've heard it said, and I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother shall be guilty".
Now, in the Greek language, there are two words for anger. Two words. One word is "thumos", is the quick anger. Is like lighting a match to a dry straw. Burns quickly and then stops. It's like the anger that kind of blazes up and quickly die down. But there is a second word in the Greek language called "orge", which means the smoldering anger. Some of you know what I'm talking about, I'm seeing elbow flying all over the place. Smoldering anger. This is the type of anger that you cuddle and you keep warm in your bosom. You know what I'm talking about? This type of anger is brooding and brooding and brooding, and every time that person's name comes up, and you go, "Mmm", and you get stomach cramps. It's the type of anger that you would never allow to die down. The word orge is the one that is used here. That's what the Lord is talking about. And he's telling them that murder has deeper roots. It has deeper roots.
Murder originates from a heart, not from a hand. That murder starts with angry thoughts, that murder starts with selfish, prideful motive. And Jesus is saying to these self-righteous Pharisees, he's saying to them, righteousness is not only external, righteousness is not just on the surface, righteousness is not only when people are watching, no. A person guilty of murder, when he or she nurses their anger. When he or she hates with intensity. When he or she start maligning and while murder, the act of physical murder, is judged in the civil courts, the anger is judged in the heavenly courts. Why? Because smoldering anger leads to murder. God takes smoldering anger very, very seriously. Why? Because unless you stop anger in its tracks, it will lead to murder. At least in the heart. Because unless you pull up the anger, like weed by the roots, that's why the Bible talks about the roots of bitterness. It's underground, you can't see it It's not the fruit that you see on the tree, it's underground and unless you pull them by the roots is gonna get worse.
Jesus tells us about two people, two people. One is a Pharisee, religious guy. I mean, he's very religious, kept all the external stuff. And the other one is a sinner, publican. And they both went to the temple to worship. And the Pharisee's almost got a tennis elbow from patting himself on the back. Yeah, you know what I mean? Oh, I thank the Lord, I'm not like this guy and I've done this and look what I've done for you God, I've done this, and I've done this, and I've done the other thing. And Jesus said, the publican pounded on his heart. He said, forgive me a sinner. And Jesus said, it's that repentant sinner who went home justified before God. Not only anger destroys physically, but destroys your personhood.
Verse 22. Being angry with another person saying, "Raca," to him, calling him a fool is very serious in God's eyes. Now, by the way, the word raca is untranslatable. But I can tell you that it represents all forms of verbal abuse. Are you with me? It represents all forms of treating others with contempt. It represents all forms of contempt, whether it be verbally or nonverbally, because I know there are some contempt that are nonverbal. How many of you know that? Verbal and nonverbal abuse is judged a sin in the courts of heaven and the only way to deal with it is to repent of it and place it under the blood of Jesus.
So anger is destructive. Secondly, I want to tell you that anger, desecrate worship. You say, "Michael, how can that be"? Well, thank God I don't make the rules. I just told you what Jesus said. Okay? Jesus said that selfish, brooding and constant nourished anger inside of you, strains your relationship with the Lord. Paul calls this grieving the Holy Spirit. We must always interpret the scripture by the scripture, with the scripture. So I'm gonna hasten to say, that not all anger is sin. If you heard that say, amen. 'Cause I wanna make sure, I already told you I'm gonna come to it, now I'm coming to it now. Not all anger is sin. Not all anger, impairs our relationship with the Lord. For example, righteous anger is not sin. Righteous anger against injustice and rebellion against God's moral laws, is not a sin. Righteous anger against abusers of children, abusers of women or anybody for that matter is not a sin.
Ephesians 4:26, Paul explained this righteous anger by saying, "Be angry, but sin not. Be angry, but sin not". Jesus became angry, when he saw these money grabbing people who are making a mess of his Father's house and he kicked them out of his Father's house. He kicked them out. He's probably, we expect Jesus to do, at least in our culture. Jesus, walk up to these guys said, "Hey fellows, I don't wanna hurt your feelings, but really what you're doing is not good, it's not right". Or, "You know guys, I don't want you to reject me, don't reject me". Now, who wants to be rejected, right? Don't reject me. "I don't wanna offend you, but this is not good". No, in his holy anger, he kicked them out in Youssef words and he said, "Hit the road, Jack, and come back no more, no more". That's righteous anger.
But even with holy anger, it must not cause us to sin or get out of hand. You can certainly be angry at false teachers and heretical teaching. You can certainly withdraw fellowship from false teachers. You can certainly be angry at their misleading of so many people. You can certainly be angry with injustice and with violence. You can certainly be angry with the media's constant use of false narratives. But listen to me, you and I are not free to hate, period. Can I get an amen? You and I are not free to wish anybody ill will. You and I are not at liberty to take matters into our own hands. That will hinder our worship. Listen to me, no one who claims to know Jesus as Savior and Lord nurses hatred toward another person. I know that's not very popular, I know. Listen, I honestly don't care what rationale they use. I don't care what explanation they give. I don't care what excuse they have. Hatred is not of the Lord.
Remember this, the Jews to whom Jesus was speaking, they were all familiar with how to take care of restoring the breach of the relationship with God when they sinned, they were all familiar. They've done it, year after year. They walk through the outer court, into the inner court, up to the rail, the rails and then they hand their sacrifice to the priest. And that sacrifice is their way of saying, we repent of our sin and we want to restore our relationship with God. And here, God the Son is saying, therefore, to them and to us, and to us, we need to settle the breach between us and our brothers and sisters in Christ before we can truly settle the breach between us and God the Father.
Beloved, let me tell you that if you are hearing these words today, some of you may be hearing this for the first time around the world and you have a smoldering hatred in your heart or nursing deep grudge, or maybe you are sitting on your anger, on your smoldering anger and keeping it warm and you are refusing to let go. You will not be able to get rid of that anger with better music or better sermons or better communion or better giving. No. The only way to get rid of that persistent anger is by dealing with it. How? If you wrong someone, you ask for their forgiveness. If someone wronged you, you forgive them. Now, don't shoot the messenger. It's what Jesus said, but having said that, the scripture does not say that you have to agree with that person. You gotta get that right, please. You don't have to agree with the person. Nobody says anything about agreement here.
The scripture does not say that you must be cheek by jowl with everybody. Hello? To my knowledge, the Apostle Paul and Barnabas never went on another missionary journey after they had their disagreement over John Mark. But I am absolutely convinced they were reconciled. As a matter of fact, toward the end of his life, Paul said, bring John Mark for he's helpful to me. Now, they made their peace. They didn't go on missionary journeys together, that's fine. You don't have to agree with everybody, but they've forgiven one another. Please, please, please, do not confuse agreement with the absolute necessity of disposing of your anger.
Listen to what the Psalmist said, in Psalm 66:18. He said, "If I regard wickedness in my heart," where? His heart. If I regard wickedness, that's if I keep it in there, I hold it in there, I nurse it, I never confess it, I never turn my back on it, the Lord is not gonna answer my prayers. It's the Word of God, not me. So, first of all, anger destroys. Secondly, anger, desecrates, and thirdly anger, devastates. Verses 25 and 26. Make peace with your opponent while you are on the way to the court. You have to understand that in ancient times, the plaintiff had the authority to arrest the defendant and the way he does that, he'll take his robe, not rope, robe, and he'll wrap it around the neck of the defendant and then take him to court.
So if he tried to wiggle out of it, he causes himself to choke. And what Jesus is saying is this, the time of reconciliation is the same as the time for salvation and it is now, now. Tomorrow maybe too late. Do it now. Please I plead with you, don't let bitterness and anger and hatred destroy your relationships. Members of one family, listen to me. Members of one family of God, deal with anger and stop it from smoldering or nothing will enhance your worship. Nothing will enhance your worship or mend your relationship with the Lord until you reconcile to one another. Don't let the sun go down on your anger. That means deal with it before evening. If you can't reach the person, purpose in your heart that you will take care of it. If the person is dead, you can still do it and ask somebody else, confess it to somebody that's dear and near to you. Resolve here and now to dig up these roots of bitterness by its roots, get it out. I think you'll be amazed at what the Holy Spirit of God will do in you when you ungreive the Holy Spirit.