We have an enemy. An enemy who wants to destroy us. This is serious business and there is no time to play. So I have a very urgent plea for every Christian, especially for every member of our local church: Shut the Door!
Why this plea? Well, it comes from Ephesians 4. Paul commands, “And give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph. 4:27). The word translated “opportunity” refers to a foothold, or an open door. Peter tells us that our “adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter. 5:8). And my plea, my earnest appeal to you is to not open the door to our great enemy whose desire is the utter devastation of you…and your church. When you open the door to the devil you need to understand that he is bent on your absolute destruction. So SHUT THE DOOR!
How is the door opened for the devil? You’ll notice from the context of Ephesians 4, an opportunity or foothold or open door is given to the roaring lion by SINFUL ANGER. Listen carefully to the words of Psalm 37:8-9.
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
You notice that not only does sinful anger/wrath tend toward evil, but the verse indicates that the one who is given to sinful anger will be “cut off”.
We tend to emphasize the possibility of “righteous anger”. And indeed that is the possibility, but the text seems to emphasize outbursts of anger or wrath as being sinful and detrimental. You’ll notice that later in verse 31 Paul forbids all “wrath, and anger and clamor” for the new man.
The anger that is spoken of in this passage is the anger that is associated with the “old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires” (4:22). So, ANY anger or wrathful outburst that is associated with your old self opens the door to Satan and when he comes in he is going to destroy you. And not only that, he is going to destroy your local church.
So, my plea is to please SHUT THE DOOR! When you find anger raised in your heart…the kind that you well know is a character of the old man, stop it! Cut it off! Because if you don’t utter devastation awaits.
How do you know if the anger raised in your heart is a characteristic of the old man? You know. Often there is little doubt. When you can feel the heat rising within you because of a perceived slight or wrong against you, more than likely it’s sinful anger. When the first response is a sinful response, like pulling away from fellowship or thinking ill of/toward the person or circumstance, it’s likely to be sinful anger.
How do you stop it? And that is the SCRIPTURAL call…stop it! That’s what Psalm 37 says…refrain from it or forsake it. It requires repentance. Repentance is a gift from the Holy Spirit, so don’t quench and thus grieve the Holy Spirit. Want to know now to avoid that? Come to Calvary on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. and we’ll learn how together!