sermon delivered July 20, 1996

by Pastor Don Gettys

McDonald Road SDA Church, McDonald, TN

JESUS: OUR CRUISE CONTROL

I got a bright idea the other day. I will fix supper tonight and surprise my wife when she gets home from school. So about 5:30 I started cooking. It is more complicated than it looks. About 15 minutes later I had emptied all the leftovers in the refrigerator and loaded them in the microwave oven. I was at the sink with my hands wet when the phone rang.

Is Mr. Donald Gettys there? Yes I am Don Gettys, may I help you? Then this man started talking fast as if he had given the same speech a thousand times. He had a super duper special on Vinyl Siding for our house. The price was only good that week. And what a coincidence!-- a representative was going to be in my neighborhood the very next day and when would be a convenient time for him to drop by? I finally got to a point where I told him to have a nice day and said good by.

Back at the Microwave there was trouble brewing. I opened it to see how warm things were getting and some of the left overs had splashed all over the inside of the Micro. They shouldn't do that. So I had to wipe off each container and I was in the process of wiping off the inside of the oven with a wet rag when the phone rang again.

This time it was a lady who wanted to speak to the man of the house. At that moment I did not feel much like the man of the house but admitted that indeed I was. She had a credit card for me that had a rate of only 5.9% for the first while. I told her I already had a credit card. She talked some more. I did not want her super gold card. No. NO! Thanks for calling. (was I really thankful?)

Now I am a Christian. I never get angry. At this point I was fed up with telemarketers calling at my supper time. How did they know I was about to eat? Do they have electric sensors in my phone that detect the smell of food cooking? Well I finally got it all on the table and my wife came home on time. We relaxed and sat down and had prayer over the wonderful meal. Just then the phone rang.

I got up and took the phone into the next room and said hello. "Are you Mr. Don Gettys?" Yes. I just want a moment of your time to tell you about a special deal we are having this month on our platinum Visa Card.... At this point I was almost angry. Not quite. About 99.9%. I said, "Could I have your home phone number?" " Well, I guess so." " And I need to know what time you and your family sit down to eat supper so I can call you back at that time." The salesman started to stutter. I said, "I already have two credit cards! Do not call me back. Good by!"

By this time I felt guilty. I had blown it. Later that evening I asked God to forgive me for loosing control.

PSALM 103:8 - "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, SLOW TO ANGER, abounding in love."

(1.)--Uncontrolled ANGER HURTS--- it hurts God!

Have you ever lost control? You lose more than your temper. You lose part of your nobility. You feel as if you have hurt God. You have let Him down. Remember this: When a man's temper gets the best of him, it reveals the worst of him.

(2.)--Uncontrolled Anger hurts us physically---

President Dwight David Eisenhower was playing golf one day, and was called back to the clubhouse so many times that he became exasperated. Calls concerned things he had already taken care of or things that could wait another hour or two. When another call came he became so angry that it triggered a heart attack that about cost him his life.

Anger hurts us. Ulcers, indigestion, body temperature and blood pressure rise, but your self respect falls. Anger is a loaded gun that explodes at the breach and kills its owner.

I CORINTHIANS 13:4 Love is Patient...

13:5---Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, It is not easily angered.....

(3)--Uncontrolled Anger limits my Christlikeness......

I want to be like Jesus. I do not want to ask salesmen when they eat supper. I want to have Christ-like gentleness. Each day I pray that Jesus will help me to be more like Him. Every day I behold Jesus, which helps me become more like Him.

I found a wonderful statement in a book called My Life Today, Page 70---

"The Highest evidence of nobility in a Christian is self control. He who can stand unmoved amid a storm of abuse is one of God's heros."

Some folk are like volcanos. When there is enough heat inside, they explode, blowing their top. What every Christian needs is what my car has: a Cruise Control. I love the cruise control. No violent fluctuations. Steady consistent progress. Jesus is our cruise control! BUT--- Your cruise control can't help you unless you take your foot off the accelerator and allow it to control your speed. Surrender your tongue and your temper to Jesus.

PROVERBS 20:3 Fools are quick to quarrel. If you speak when you are angry you will make the best speech you will ever regret. With Jesus as our cruise control we can do better. Don't get angry at the person who acts in a way that displeases you. Instead, give him the smile he lacks. Spread the sunshine of Jesus limitless love.

PROVERBS 29:11 A fool gives FULL VENT to his anger. But the wise are using their cruise control.

(4)----Uncontrolled Anger limits our Example to others...

One morning I noticed the neighbor man trying to start his car. It would not start. Apparently the battery had just died. All I heard were a few final weak noises and then a clicking sound. He got out and slammed the car door as hard as he could. This big man cursed the automobile loud and long. He was as mad as a mule chewing on bumblebees. He walked back toward his house, but suddenly he whipped around and ran fast back toward the dead car and with a mighty thrust, he kicked in the whole side of the car door.

Out of control! Blazing anger is a sign of weakness. It is not strength to swear. Cursing is power running loose. An adult out of control in speech or action is like a baby screaming when his pacifier is taken away. He hasn't grown up.

Proverbs 16:32--Better is a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city!

God does not say it is wrong to have a temper. The good news is that God can help you control your anger. The next time you are just about to blow your stack, stop. Take a lesson from technology, always count down before Blasting off. In that countdown stop and ask God to take control.

The next time things do not go the way you think they should, or you are not loved enough by someone in your family or someone starts an argument with you, remember to turn on your cruise control. If someone is cursing you loud and long right in your face, do not argue back. It will get worse. Never WRESTLE with a PIG, you will both get all dirty and the PIG LIKES IT!

Samson was a man out of control. He strangled a lion but he could not strangle his own lust. He broke the fetters of his foes, but could not break the cords of his sinful desires. He burned the crops of others, but lost his life when burning with flames of anger kindled by a single woman.

QUIZ-- True or False?? "Anger is sinful!" --- False! Paul says "Be angry but do not sin"-----Ephesians 4:26

Anger is not sin. If so Jesus was sinning when he drove out the money changers. What about God's wrath? Anger is a power, an elemental force. Like all energy it can be used for good or evil. When it is uncontrolled it is destructive. Channeled and directed it has the potential for good.

Christians do not lose their emotions at conversion. Act on your anger. If you get angry do something about it. Get it settled and behind you. Think about aggravated drivers in heavy traffic. Bumper to bumper, horns blowing, tempers flaring. What is it that keeps the chain reaction of angry drivers from erupting into an explosion of fighting and even homicide? It is the phenomena of divergent boiling points. No two of us erupt at the same degree of stimulation.

Like fluid in various radiators each of us has her or his own boiling point. With Jesus in your system, your boiling point is raised considerably. I believe God is saying that as humans we cannot control the fact that we get angry. But we can choose the FORM of expression in what we do about it.

The Apostle Paul says "Be Angry, but do not sin..." In this world of sin, It is no more possible to avoid ever being angry than it is to avoid ever being hungry. Just as I can choose how to react to my hunger by over eating or using good judgement, just so I can choose how I will act on my anger.

Jesus' teaching on this subject is among the most neglected in all the Bible.