Believe in Angels
Pastor Terry Inman
I was opening the slide presentation for today's message, when a window with an error message showed up on my mac. “Verify Believe in Angels”
Well Angels are for real and they do more than sing celestial carols. Most Americans believe they’re a year-round presence. Nearly 8 in 10 believe these spiritual beings exist for our good. Over half believe in guardian angels and many claim to have been literally--“Touched by and Angel”.
As my granddaughter Mercy was topping our tree with our angel ornament. I was reminded of something Jesus said, “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Matt. 18.10 NIV)
Some of our fascination with angels may be misguided mysticism, but it certainly indicates spiritual hunger. A desire to encounter the supernatural can lead even sincere believers to an over emphasis or even heresy.
How much attention should we give angels and what are their assignments? The closest thing to a biblical job description is a couple references found in the New Testament book written to the Hebrews.
“He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire. Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:7,14 NIV)
The first Christmas celebration opened with plenty of angels singing and serving. Our most popular post Christmas pastime is returning things. The bible says the shepherds, “returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.” (Luke 2:20 NIV)
They weren’t returning gifts they were returning praise. They heard angels; they saw angels and they saw the newborn king. The Christmas story is full of common people like the shepherds seeing and hearing from angels. These angelic agents communicate heaven’s messages, express divine adoration, and carry out supernatural intervention.
Gabriel, one of the highest-ranking angels, appeared to Zechariah the father of John the Baptist. John was the forerunner of the Messiah. Zechariah had been praying for a son, but at his age he was a little doubtful. The angel left this priest speechless until the birth. He was temporarily muted because of his unbelief. (Luke 1:11-19 NIV) When angles have something to say, it’s worth listening too!
Gabriel, God’s personal envoy, also startled a teenager with news that God’s son would miraculously arrive in her womb. This was all pretty unbelievable for Mary. She reminded the angel of her virginity.
The messenger kindly explained that God’s Holy Spirit was coming upon her and the Most High would overshadow her.
The word “overshadow” literally means a brilliant cover of God’s glory enveloped her. Gabriel also reassured her, that her older infertile cousin Elizabeth was now six months into her miracle pregnancy. This angel’s message was not cryptic it was emphatic! He flatly said, “Nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:26-37 NIV)
So why believe in Angles? They have a way of showing up to help deliver on impossibilities. If you’re hearing or seeing angels don’t get overly anxious or impressed just look for God’s purposes and possibilities.
Mathew’s story of the nativity focuses on the royal linage of Jesus. Joseph was a small business owner whose ancestry could be traced to King David. Joseph had a very strange and wonderful dream.
An angel informed him that his bride-to-be was already expecting a very extraordinary child. How would you like to dream that the Son of God would be calling you daddy and mommy?
Joseph was told not to cancel the wedding against all respectable Jewish customs. He was also given the baby’s name and destiny. The angel said, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (Matt 1:19-25 NIV)
What do you do when you’re dream includes angel talk? First make sure it is one of God’s messengers. Then do just what he says, especially when it can be confirmed with scripture. Matthew confirms that it all happened just at it had been predicted by the prophets hundreds of years earlier.
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"-- which means, "God with us." Matthew adds, “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” (Matt 1:22-25 NIV)
It is clear that angels are heavens couriers. They do much more than make proclamations they also provide divine protection. “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways”
(Ps 91:11 NIV) This is where we get the expression guardian angel.
God employs angelic hosts to secure his purposes in heaven and on earth!
Joseph had two subsequent angelic dreams. Each time he was given very detailed directives for Jesus’ safety.
He was told to take refuge in Egypt to protect Jesus from infanticide. He was then redirected in a dream to Nazareth. It was all confirmed by prophecy. Mathew writes, “And so it was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." (Matt 2:13 NIV)
Here angelic dreams and ancient prophecies work together to protect God’s sovereign purposes. Angels were assigned to assist in Jesus vulnerable infancy. They are also involved in securing our destiny.
The bible says, “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” (Ps 34:7 NIV) “Encamps” is a word used for setting up a tent or shelter. It actually describes the slanting rays of and evening sunset. This awesome angelic protection is provided for the committed, not the casually curious.
God is interested in much more than cherubs riding on our hood ornaments. I believe most angelic intervention is to safeguard His purposes. He gives us supernatural support in the fulfillment or our divine destiny. God sent an angel to stop the Lions from having Daniel for lunch. Peter and Paul were rescued from prison--they still had work to do.
We are not routinely protected from everything. Satan tried to tempt Jesus into misusing angelic protection. He led Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple and taunted Him with passage from Psalms 91.
"If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written:
"'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" (Matt 4:5-7 NIV) Mathew says that after this wildness test, angels ministered to (served) Jesus.
Lets be clear. Angels are not our servants; they are God’s servants! He sends them to minister to us as he chooses. We are never told we can command them to do anything. We don’t worship or pray to angels we pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We can ask him to send angelic protection to fulfill his will. But don’t bother to ask if you’re not doing his will! Mary and Joseph did every thing they were told at great sacrifice to themselves. God’s plans were announced and His purposes were protected by angelic intervention.
This leads us to the story of the angels and the shepherds. They may have been selected for an angelic visitation simply for their proximity to the manger. Luke says they were living in the fields, tending sheep nearby. They, like the newborn King, were cave dwellers. It wouldn’t be that unusual for them to visit an infant in an animal shelter.
What was unusual was how they got their invitation to the maternity room. First one, then a whole host of angles did what angels commonly do. They showed up to broadcast some incredible news.
The glory of the Lord shone around them, and they shouted, “Good news of great joy…for all the people.” They publicized where and when this event was taking place. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” They described the incident with vivid detail even editorializing on the meaning. “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Then if one angelic appearance wasn’t enough, a whole envoy of celestial worshippers confirmed the announcement with outdoor praise concert.
“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2 10-12 NIV)
Angelic adoration also has a biblical precedent. “Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.” (Psalm 103:19-21 NIV)
Notice this is not just a chorus of winged carolers; they are called heavenly hosts, and mighty ones. The word “hosts” describes a mass army. “Mighty ones” are a conquering force. These, “mighty ones” shout their praises to God and declare His peace on earth, and His favor on men.
It’s probable that at the very moment God was entering our world, as an infant in a poor young woman’s arms. Heaven’s armies were defeating a horde of demons bent on resisting His plan to redeem all mankind.
These worshipping warriors wait attentively around the throne of God to carry out his orders at a moments notice. In the book of Revelation, John gets an awesome glimpse of these heavenly troops.
“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (Rev 5:11-12 NIV)
When we hear or see angels, it is simply because God is sending help from heaven to carry out his purposes and plans. They make God’s proclamations, they sing Gods praises, and they enforce God’s protection.
The Apostle John was so overwhelmed by the visitation of an angel that he fell down in worship. But the angel of the Lord gave very good advice, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!"
(Rev 22:9 NIV)
If you hear or see of an angel, worship God! Jesus’ return is getting closer than ever! Believe in Angels because they help us who receive God’s salvation.
There are two things I invite you to do today to respond to God’s offer of salvation through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Simply Belief and Receive.
The bible says, “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believein your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10.9 NIV) Believe and here’s what you receive…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3.16)