No Whining, No Worrying, No Wrath

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Three Simple Suggestions That Might Just Change Your World

And if they change your world, they just might change the world. Last weekend Randy Harris spoke of revival in terms of Christians being more serious about living out the story of Christ. Changes in our attitude and spirit might give us the opportunity and credibility to speak up for Christ in a way that the world would listen.

No Whining –
How would this make church and world a better experience? Our culture whines a lot. Especially in America with our limited perspective and our sensationalist media ...

Virgin America flight 404 departed LAX on time at 7:30 a.m., flew to the New York area where it was scheduled to land at 3:30 p.m. But with a storm raging and JFK closed, the flight circled and was eventually ordered to land at Stewart Airport at about 5:30 p.m. to wait it out. The storm lasted longer than expected so bus transportation was arranged and passengers eventually made it to JFK by about 1 a.m.

David Martin who runs Kontain.com was blogging the ordeal from his seat in first class.

Headlines and news leads featured the word NIGHTMARE frequently. about the HORROR! The NIGHTMARE! The STRANDING! The CRYING BABIES! The FORCED RATIONING!
Martin even noted on Kontain.com that MSNBC coached him to be mad.

Compare to other problems in the news.

We all whine. We commonly greet each other with whining. “How are you?” “Tired, worn out.” I suppose it is more acceptable to be tired than to brag about feeling good. We whine when we are kids and then we graduate to griping. (The pitch and the amount of power that we have is different) Whining and griping gets us off mission. Who wants to follow people with a negative spirit?

The antidote or alternative is gratitude. A virtue for God’s people. How would this change the world?
(I recall a brother who would greet you by saying “I’m blessed.” I paid attention to that.)
Hebrews 12:28 – We are the recipients of the Kingdom, how dare we whine?

No Worrying –
We haven’t given ourselves much confidence when it comes to salvation. Example: People who are dying and worried that they are not good enough. Fear of eternity.
Someone says: “But we shouldn’t be overconfident.” But this isn’t a confidence in our own ability. History and experience and Bible would show that we have no reason to be confident in our own ability. This is a confidence in God and his promises. Confidence comes from surrendering control to God.
That lack of confidence makes us worry. It makes us a church of worriers and gets in the way of the mission. Worry can devolve into fear.

Trust. The antidote is trust and a rich eschatology. When you turn it over to him, why worry? When we turn this over to God but we sit around and worry if we are going to make it to heaven, then that is sinful. Jesus is impatient with people who do not have trust. (See Martha and Mary.)
Someone may say, but if you don’t worry about going to heaven then someone can just live however they want. Not at all. Take away salvation on the basis of merit, and establish that salvation is on basis of trust, then you do not behave a certain way to GAIN salvation, instead trust is a matter of living within the trust we have for God and in God. It's confidence.
If you trust God to save you, then you are going to live in a way that is going to be the substance of your trust. Everyone who hears me and puts these words into practice. Blessings have already been showered.
Matthew 6:27 and John 14 – Worry and Trust

No Wrath –
Our world is an angry world. Just think of how we could make a difference if we were a people who were less angry and wrathful than the rest of the culture.

Wrath and anger come in a variety of styles: Notice the works of the sinful nature – Galatians 5:19-21.
We are often offended by acts on either side of these. But do we understand why acts of anger and wrath have such a warning?

Anger is a “do-nothing” emotion. About the only positive benefit of anger and wrath: determination.
Imagine working on a project and you have a nagging problem. You might get angry enough to put some effort into it. But if you continue to be fueled by anger you will soon have a mess.

Anger has a way of building like a poison and it becomes more toxic. It will in time turn into resentment and passive aggression. Ultimately becoming hate. This is why wrath has a warning ...

burning car Of all the emotions, Anger is the nitrous oxide. Do you understand what I mean? N2O injectors go into the system and give the car extra speed. But it is used cautiously and carefully or it will burn up the engine.
Anger and wrath have to give way to better emotions and attitudes.
Our families, nation, and churches cannot be fueled on anger. Jesus put a limit on anger.

We have better options at the point of anger is the goal follows the mission.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22. The fruit of the spirit show the better options. Self-control allows us to cultivate compassion kindness (makes us active, not just a feeling) ultimately love.

Angry Church - One of the hindrances of mission is a critical spirit in the Lord’s churches. I have decided that there are certain journals and article in our fellowship that I just cannot read anymore. Not because I have a problem with the authors. Not because I have a problem with their conclusions. And it is not because I do not want to hear truth. But I have a problem with their attitude and their critical spirit. They are uncharitable and critical. They do not seek peace. Often they refuse to communicate directly with the individuals that they pillory. [Journals – Emotional Pornography]

It’s in the culture, too. I walked in the house the other day one of the news talk shows was on and people were in their little boxes arguing. Conservative vs liberal And the tone continued to become a drill that bored into my forehead. Why do we tune into these shows and watch overpaid pundits argue, and then punish our children for behaving the same way? Reveling in rantings. Outpouring of wrath.

The poison seeps into our fellowship too often. A wrathful culture spewing its poison. That poison can leak out when we sit down at table with one another. When we come together for worship.
Much of preaching has been filled with such wrath. Anger aimed at people. I pray that I have not done so – I don’t want to. Preaching may be direct, but it doesn’t have to be violent.

A pledge of support comes with this preaching. A word of encouragement that in God’s spirit and with God’s help. You and I can be people who are grateful, fearless, courageous, hopeful, self-controlled, truthful and loving. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t believe that with Jesus’ help we could really be that.

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:25

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 21 March 2010

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