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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Mike Novotny » Mike Novotny - Even if I'm Angry?

Mike Novotny - Even if I'm Angry?

Mike Novotny - Even if I'm Angry?
TOPICS: ME on Team Jesus?, Anger

Here in this world, among us, and in our families, even in our church, anger can happen at the wrong time, at the wrong extent, and be directed towards the wrong people. Anger could do real damage in your life and in mine. I see two real reasons why that happens. If you're taking notes, I'd love for you to write this down. Here's the first problem with human anger. The first problem is that humans, sinful humans tend to get angry quickly. The Bible says that, "God is a merciful God who is very, very slow to get angry". He gives you one chance, and then two chances, and then fifty chances, and then 172 chances before he really, really gets mad and brings his judgements. But with people like us, woo, it doesn't take 171 chances, sometimes it happens like that.

Alright, moms, dads, this ever happen? Kids are in the back of the van, you're going out for ice cream. It's a good day, it's a family road trip, you're on vacation, whatever. And then someone, one of the kids, crosses that invisible line that's drawn in the backseat. And instead of saying, "Dear brother..." Boom! Like, woah, Just like that there's yelling and there's fighting. And then once there's yelling and fighting... Maybe dad's at the wheel and he starts yelling, and he's starts turning the car around, you know, all these big threats. It's like, "Woah, where did that come from"? It escalates so, so quickly. Does it not? Anger happens just like that. Happens when you're on your phone, right?

Good day, you're healthy, you're safe, you're blessed, you're saved, and you're scrolling. And just that one thing, that one text, that one message, that one decision, that one thing from the boss, the one email and boom. Just like that you get annoyed, you get angry, you get aggressive. Your day, it literally flips upside in half a second. Two brothers are playing video games in the basement, suppose to be exchanging the controller every other, but one holds on a second too long. Their voices echo up the stairway. You're married or you're dating someone, you're having a date, literally someone else is cooking food for you. You live a first world life where you can pay other people to do that. But then, you know, she says that one thing, or he says that one thing in just that one tone, and it doesn't sit right. And just like that our romantic date ceases to be so romantic.

Now, the problem with human beings is that unlike God we tend to get angry very quickly. And the second problem is what makes the first problem such a problem. Write this down. Anger also blows up blessings. Like, God can give you so many good things, but if you get angry, no one thinks about the good things anymore, they just think about the anger. Right? You could be having a family meal, and the food is good, and everyone's safe, and there's money in the bank, and you have the hope of eternal life. But if just one person at the table explodes in anger, well no one thinks about that delicious food, or the savings, or the full-time job, or the health, or the forgiveness, or the salvation.

Anger just blows that all up. Like, you could literally be on vacation, right? And something annoys you, I mean, my goodness, some people slave away all day long. They'll never get the chance to do that in this world, but you have so much money. You've been born into a culture that has so many resources that your job is literally paying you while you're not working. And yet if you get angry while you're driving, if you get angry at the airport, if you get angry at the hotel, no one thinks about the blessings of a first world life, just... And it's all gone. "Anger," the Bible says, "Does not produce the righteous life that God desires". God doesn't want people to get hurt, screamed at, abused because of anger. And so, God says in the starkest of terms, "Get rid of it. Go to war against it. It's moral filth. It's evil. It's prevalent, but it's not good. It's not what I want," God said, "So rid yourselves of human anger".

So, here's the big question for today. How are you going to deal with anger? You know, if you're that person that gets annoyed when something doesn't go your way, if you're the one whose voice tends to get the loudest the quickest, what are you going to do with that? And maybe even more importantly, what is God going to do with you? And before you blow up these blessings that he gave so that people could give him praise, what is God going to do with someone who claims to be a follower of Jesus? Who claims to be a Christian, but has serious issues with patience or anger? Here's an interesting answer. Did you know that Jesus handpicked two guys who had serious issues with anger? Did you know that in Jesus' circle of three of his closest friends, two of them should have been enrolled in anger management classes? Not just some ordinary dude that Jesus met once in Jerusalem.

Like, when Jesus was rolling for three years in life, two of his three closest friends had such issues with anger that Jesus actually gave them a nickname, have you heard it? He called them, "The Sons of Thunder". That sound like a sweet wrestling tag team to me? "The Sons of Thunder". Pastor Tim, the Lead Pastor at our church, he said, "You know what happens when it thunders? People jump, pets hide". And when angry people bring the thunder, people jump too. And they run, and they hide. So, what would Jesus do with these two brothers, James and John, who he called, "The Sons of Thunder"? How would he address their anger so that their behavior wouldn't blow up the blessings that he came to Earth to bring?

Well today, we're going to find some of the answers to those questions. It's a little beautiful, amazing, surprising story in Luke 9. We're going to see how Jesus dealt with James' and John's anger. And how he can help you and me with our anger too. So, if you want to look at the screen or follow along at home on your Bible, we're in Luke 9 starting with verse 51. Where we find these words, "As the time approached for him to be taken up to Heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him". So, it's actually a key verse in the gospel of Luke. Jesus has been teaching, preaching, doing miracles. But now, he's like, fixing his GPS location on your salvation. "I'm going to Jerusalem, and there's nothing, and there's no one who's going to stop me from getting to that cross so I can die for you and reconnect you with God".

He's pretty amazing that way. But on the way as Jesus is journeying... This happens in Luke 9-19. Jesus wants to teach and to preach to as many people as possible. And so, instead of just like, wondering into a town and talking to one or two, he actually sends messengers ahead, who are like his PR, hype people. They're supposed to gather a crowd, fill the stadium so Jesus can step on stage, preach the kingdom of God. And then do it again, and again and again until he makes it to the cross. Pretty amazing, huh? Except it says here in verse 52 that, "Jesus sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village". Oh, some of you are not first century Jews. Pretend that you were for a second. "Jesus went into a Samaritan village". My goodness.

Okay, if you're new to the Bible, you need to know what this means. Let me take a two-minute tangent. Ready? You with me? About 1,000 years before this happened, things in Samaria went very, very, very badly. There's kind of like this civil war that you can read about in the Bible, where Israel split into two parts. Jerusalem was the capital in the South, Samaria was the capital in the North. And from the very start Samaria was bad. They broke the first commandment. They set up golden calves that people should worship. Instead of going to Jerusalem to worship the true God, they came up with their own Gods to worship. And for 200 straight years, they didn't change. God sent prophets like Elijah and Elisha. He waited, and he waited, and he waited. And he reached out, and he reached out, and he reached out. King after king after king, after king.

And Samaria worshipped Baal, and Asherah, and false gods. Until after 200 years, what did God do? Boom! God got mad. He allowed the Assyrian empire to invade the people of Samaria to take them into exile as captive. And when they did that, the Assyrians brought some of their own people and things got even worse. By the time we get to the days of Jesus, the average Jew was so disgusted with the beliefs and the behaviors of the Samaritans, they wanted nothing to do with them. They wouldn't talk to a Samaritan. You wouldn't step foot in a Samaritan village. They were wicked. It was like if you had a friend who like, had a little bit of Christianity, but then believed in reincarnation, and witchcraft, and was like sacrificing animals in her backyard, that was like a Samaritan, all mixed together.

And so, the Jews said, "Uh-huh, No, you're jacked up. If I'm traveling from Galilee down to Jerusalem, I'm literally going to go around you so I don't have to come anywhere near the homes of these heretics," that's what Jews thought. Except a certain Jew named, Jesus. Jesus sent his messengers into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him. He didn't agree with them. He thought it was backwards and sinful and wrong, but he wanted to give them a chance to hear the truth, repent of their sins and be saved. And the Samaritans said, "Nope". Next verse, verse 53, "But the people there," in the Samaritan village. "Did not welcome Jesus, because he was heading for Jerusalem". "Aw, another Jew on his way to Jerusalem. Trying to tell us that you have to go to Jerusalem and Samaria's not good enough. That our religion is wrong, and your religion is right. We want nothing to do with that, hard no".

They closed the door, slammed them in the face of the disciples, locked them. "We don't want anything to do with Jesus". And I really wish I had an extra 15 minutes to preach a sermon about that. When Jesus comes to you and you won't receive him because he confronts what you believe and how you behave... Whoo, that's a message for another day. For now, you need to know this. When the Sons of Thunder heard the Samaritan reaction, they were thunderously angry. "You Samaritans, for 1000 years you've been bowing down to demon Gods, sacrificing babies, taking Yahweh's name in vain". And now God is literally here and he's giving you a chance and you say, "No"? If God would make you walk 1000 miles to give you a chance to be forgiven, you'd be lucky. This God came down from Heaven and he's coming to your village. He's not even making you go to him.

"He is so merciful, so patient, but you are so sinful, so satanically influenced, so deluded, so demonically possessed that you would not welcome the very Son of God who has compassion and mercy on you wicked sinners". And they were so angry at the lack of hospitality, at the stubborn, hard hearts of the Samaritans that they want to bring the thunder. Verse 54, "When the disciples, James and John saw this," the Samaritan rejection, "They asked, 'Lord, do you want us to call down fire from Heaven to destroy them"? If you want some AP Bible, you should know that in the Old Testament there was a prophet in Samaria who actually called down fire from Heaven. It's when a foreign king tried to murder him.

So, James and John highjacked that Old Testament story where the prophet's life was in danger. And even though they're not all in danger, they want to do the same thing. "Let's torch 'em. Let's get these Samaritans back". But did you notice that little word in there? "They asked, 'Lord, do you want us to call fire down"? It wasn't like James and John looked at Jesus, saw him stamping his feet angry and like, "Yeah! We should be angry too". Well, no. Jesus was disappointed, but he wasn't furious. They made it about them. They felt rejected. They felt insulted. They were enraged. They... And that's actually a really good application for us. Write this down if you would. Most anger is ego.

Alright, James' and John's anger wasn't an imitation of Jesus' justice and righteousness, it was just ego. And I wish I could tell you differently, but that's what your anger is too. Some of you here today have spent way too long blaming your rage on other people. And in the process you've never really repented. You've pointed fingers, you've blamed others. You've been so concerned about your reputation you haven't gotten help, and you haven't truly repented. Today, is the day when God is saying, "If you're the one who raises their voice, who gets in a mood, who gets annoyed quickly, if you're the one who's blowing up and hurting people with awkwardness, anger or abuse today is your day to get rid of that moral filth". You're hurting people.

I spent so much of my week trying to help innocent victims of people's explosive anger. And some people are so proud that if anyone crosses them or calls them out, people get hurt, spouses get hurt, kids get hurt. And we say we love them, but if we love them then get help before you hurt them. And so, today, some of you have two choices, you can either hold on to your reputation or you can actually repent. You can try to fix it behind closed doors by just trying harder and the people you love will hurt. Or you can bring it into the light. You can tell me, you can ask for prayer, you can find a class, you can memorize a passage. You can actually repent and produce the fruit of repentance so that you can be blessed. What are you going to do?

I know what God wants you to do, repent. Before anyone else gets hurt. Before you ruin the blessings he wants to give to you, repent. Because Jesus will help you. Look at the last verses of our text for today. What does Jesus do with James and John? Verse 55, "But Jesus turned to the brothers and he rebuked them. And then he and his disciples went to another village". You see the truth and the grace in that passage? He rebukes them. "No, James, no. No, you cannot call down fire on the Samaritans. No, John, we're not going to torch them and leave them as a scorched mark on the map of Israel. We're not going to do that". He rebukes them. He calls them out. And then, this is my favorite part, it says, "Then he," Jesus, read this with me, "And his disciples," "And his disciples".

You would think Jesus would say, "James, John, go back to fishing. You're going to... I'm going to die on the cross and you're going to want to like, torch the Roman soldiers before they do it. I'm on a mission and it's not to blow people up, it's to save them". You'd expect him to do that, but he doesn't. Then, Jesus and his disciples, in other words, he calls them out, but he doesn't kick them out. He's patient not just with the stubborn Samaritans, but even with his angry friends, James and John. They get angry, but Jesus chooses mercy. And that's the answer for you and for me too. Write this down. "Are you angry?' Jesus says, 'Then think of mercy".

Like when you're annoyed, when you're bothered, when work isn't going like you wanted, when something in a relationship is bothering you, just think of the length of the wick of your Father in Heaven. Just think of how patient and pa... the fact that you are here right now and not a scorched mark on the map, is proof of his patience. How many times have you and I sinned? But God is so slow to anger. He loved us with such great compassion and love that, "Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem". And he would not let anyone, not even his crazy friends, stop him from dying for you. And when all the injustice in the world was happening, Jesus Christ did not bring the thunder down on the Roman governor. He was quiet and he took it so that you and I could be taken into the family of God. I love how one artist depicted it.

My favorite Christian artist says that, "God's anger is like this fireball that should consume us because of all of our sin. But Jesus is so, so full of mercy that he stands between us and what we deserve". He doesn't explode in anger. "He might have to call me out, but he does it with compassion, and he does it with love". The next time someone gets under your skin, just start with you and God, "I'm that guy. And Father, you have had mercy on that guy". If you're angry, think about his mercy. That's what worked for James and John. So, some of you know the story, Jesus makes it all the way to the cross. He dies there for our impatience and for our anger. He rises from the grave on the third day and then he returns back to Heaven. But before he does, he gives his friends this mission. He says, "I want you to preach this good news in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria".

Alright, Jesus says, "John, you're going back". And do you know what John does? He does it. Look at this verse in Acts 8, it says, "Peter and John," Two of the three of the inner circle, "Returned to Jerusalem preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages". How do you go from so angry, "Can we call down fire from Heaven"? To showing so much mercy?

You spend a lot of time with Jesus. You get as close as Peter and John did to the cross of Jesus and you think deeply about the forgiveness and patience and mercy of God. And slowly but surely, the Holy Spirit does something in your heart. And it gives you the humility to ask for help. And it makes you care so little about your reputation that you'll ask the pastor, and your friends, and the church, and the counselor for the help that you need. And he'll inspire you to memorize these passages that help you with patience and anger. Slowly but surely, he produces gentleness, self-control and love. So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if you are often angry, think of God's mercy. His mercy is the answer to our angry. Let's pray:

Father in Heaven, we live in an age of rage. It actually makes you more popular on a podcast if you scream and call names. And it temporarily feels better when we get things off our chest and let people know how we feel, but that doesn't help. It's not helping us as a culture. It's not making life better. It is very, very short-term pleasure and it leaves us with long-term pain. So, God, I'm praying now for your grace. Jesus, I'm so grateful for you. If I was you, I would've gone back to Heaven on day one. You stayed on Earth until the mission was complete and my sins and our sins were completely paid for. And so, we thank you today for your unfailing love and for your mercy. And I'm asking right now specifically for some people in this room, to be humble enough to ask for help. God, image management will kill us. So help us just not to care what people think. Help some people when this prayer's over to check a box and write a prayer request on the back of their communication card, to step into the light for the first time believing that you are merciful, and our church will be merciful too. God, I think of how often verbal abuse, physical abuse happens in our world. I think of what that looks like and what that does to us. And so, God, I know what's at stake with this prayer. And so, we are praying to you boldly in the name of Jesus, help us, help us, but break the stubbornness of our hearts. You changed the Samaritans from slamming their doors, to receiving the gospel within a year. And so, you can do the same thing today. God, may this be the most honest, transparent, humble place in this church. Those who are watching on TV and online, in our life group, God, fill us with such transparency that we would confess the actual sins. And then our brothers and sisters in Christ could respond with the mercy of Jesus. God's that's what we need, so help us. We know you want to because that's how you taught us to pray. We ask all these things in Jesus' name. And God's people say, "Amen".

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