Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 13th - Looking into Angels

Prayer Requests
Dave and Brooke’s Mexico Trip
Next Mexico Missions Trip
Pastor Aaron Preaching
Deeper Conference Results
Taste of Kennesaw Witnessing
Deborah feeling better
Hannah feeling better
Palmer's 7th Grade Science Teacher's Heart Attack
Bethany's Cousin
Ms. Sanders from Awtrey continued healing

Text – 1 Peter 1:12

Last week we talked about the supernatural nature of the Bible, that even though the prophets wrote down the Word of God, they still needed to search it out to find out what it meant. Whose job, after Christ has come, is it to search out the meaning of the Old Testament in order to preach it? Preachers and Apostles.

Who is the greatest Apostle ever to live, keep in mind we’re in Peter’s Epistles? Paul wrote the most letters, John lived the longest, Andrew’s my favorite. But none of these three are the greatest…the greatest Apostle who ever lived and still lives is Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.

The word Apostle just means sent one, albeit when Jesus appointed his Apostles, there was something very special in it, they were given special authority and abilities, but we should do our best to live up to our titles of prophet, one who speaks for God, apostle, one who is sent by God, ambassador, one who represents God, and priest, one who ministers for God. We’re going to talk more about the priesthood of believers in chapter 2.

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you."

The third group that want to look into the ministry and Word of God through his Messiah are who?

1 Peter 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

We’re going to talk about the angels, and look at the gospel from a different perspective than we normally look at it. We usually look at the gospel from two directions, either as a minister of the gospel trying to get people saved, or as a recipient of the gospel who needs the forgiveness of God. There are five major ways to look at the gospel, we could look at it from Satan’s point of view, that it is waging war on his kingdom. Or we could look at it from God’s point of view, that it is his war and ministry and church, and that the ultimate goal is his glory, or we can look at it from the perspective of the angels.

Board Illustration - Circle in the middle with "Gospel" written in it."
Four arrows pointing out:
top - God (Glory)
bottom - Satan (Warfare)
left - Sinner (Condemnation)
right - Saint (Salvation)

One arrow pointing in - Angels

The perspective of the angels is considerably different, because they don’t need forgiveness, their goal is solely to see God glorified.

At first I thought we’d just read every verse that talk about angels, but there are 273 of them, so we’ll look at the definitive verses. First question, are angels created beings?

Psalm 148:2,5 Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created.

And how many angels?

Hebrews 12:22 innumerable angels in festal gathering

There are a lot, the Bible doesn’t say how many. When Christ was going to the cross, he said that he could have twelve legions of angels come to his rescue, a legion at the time was about 6,000 men, so that’s 72,000 angels at least.

There are different kinds of angels too, and ranking.

We usually call good angels, angels, and bad angels, demons. It would be correct though to call them all angels. The Bible differentiates by calling the good ones the “elect” angels, because these were the ones who were not allowed to fall in the rebellion.

1 Timothy 5:21 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.

Seraph – This word literally means the “On Fire Ones”
Cherub – The blessed ones (Satan is the most beautiful Cherub)
Putti – Baby Angels (We have no reason to believe they exist)

Archangel – Head angel, a prince of angels. Michael is an archangel.
Herald Angel – Proclaim the goodness of God. Gabriel is a herald.
Guardian Angel – Protect God’s Saints.

Some angels have six wings, some two, and others seem not to have any.

Isaiah 6:2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

Exodus 25:20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.

Genesis 19:1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth

So what do they do, are they just pretty wingy thingies, or do they have a purpose?

Hebrews 1:13-14 And to which of the angels has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Angels are first and foremost ministers of God for his saints. Besides this though, they also are warriors, guardians, heralds, and they’ll help with the rapture.

I used to wonder what would happen during the rapture if you were inside…would you just go through the ceiling, and what if you were in a reinforced building? It sounds like an angel is going to come get you and carry you skyward.

Matthew 24:31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

They are very powerful warriors, in the Old Testament an angel killed 70,000 in one day and was on his way to destroy Jerusalem.

1 Chronicles 21:15 And God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to destroy it, the LORD saw, and he relented from the calamity. And he said to the angel who was working destruction, "It is enough; now stay your hand." And the angel of the LORD was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.

One of the most beautiful stories about angels as our ministers and guardians is when Elisha and his buddy were about to get slaughtered by the Syrians:

2 Kings 6:15-23 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" He said, "Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see." So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, "Please strike this people with blindness." So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. And Elisha said to them, "This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek." And he led them to Samaria.

As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, "O LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see." So the LORD opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, "My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?" He answered, "You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master." So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.

Elisha is sitting there in Jerusalem, and the Syrians come to destroy them, and they are way outnumbered, or so it looks. But Elisha knows that God has given them a heavenly host to protect them, but instead of waging war, God shows his grace by allowing the Syrians to be taken captive and treated as prisoners of war instead of being killed.

Psalm 91:11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

God is big, and powerful, and in control, and nothing bad will ever happen to you that he didn’t allow and/or have a purpose in using. If and when something bad happens, it is good to step back and ask, “Ok, God told his angels to let this happen, what for?”

So angels are neat, they are powerful, they are beautiful, they are capable, and yet, they are paying attention to the gospel, they long to look into it. Since angels are so impressive, there have been varying people throughout history who have desired to worship them.

The books of Hebrews and Colossians are written against angel worshippers. Many people have thought that Jesus was an angel, or even worse, that angels were higher than him.

Hebrews 1:5-9 For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"? Or again, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"? And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God’s angels worship him." Of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire." But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions."

Angels are created, Jesus Christ is not. But Jesus, in his humility, stepped out of Heaven, left his glory in order to be able to save men.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

A note that I couldn’t figure out where to stick, but I want you to know, is that angels are often compared to the stars, they sing, they’re called flaming fires, Satan is called a morning star, the Star of Bethlehem moved, I’m certain it was a heralding angel…we’ll have to wait ‘till Heaven to figure it out, but there is some link between angels and stars.

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Angels are not low by any means, we see that angels are great, but they are not nearly so great as Christ. Which is more like God, an earthworm or an archangel? Neither, God is so much higher and holier than them that to even try to compare him to something created is impossible. We should not worship angels, but in them we see something incredible. Is God able to do everything without help? Of course, in fact it says in Psalm 148 that he commanded the angels to be created. But he still uses them as his ministers. It is glorious that even though God is able of doing everything, he employs his creation to make his glory manifest.

And the result is that we will have a higher standing in Heaven, because we have the inheritance of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

And so the angels search these things out, they want to know so they can better minister for God, they also want to know so that they can know what to expect. So, if the gospel is worthy of angels to look into, whom have no stake in it, then it must be a hugely glorious thing. We see that saints and sinners have a stake, God and Satan have a stake in the gospel, but the angels, who do not have a stake in the gospel still find it magnificent. I hope that it will encourage you to know more about the gospel and the God whom the gospel has reconciled you to so that you can be a minister of that gospel.

Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

And one last verse to sum it all up.

Hebrews 13:1-2 Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

When I first read this verse, I was actually a little angry. I thought, “So these angels, who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, are taking ministry resources…what’s their problem? Why are they wasting our time?” But then I realized that the glory of God is our goal, not just the salvation of souls or the feeding of hungry, or the giving drink to the thirsty, but we do these things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to the Father through him. This is why the angels are looking into the gospel, not to see what they can get out of it, but to see how it magnifies and glorifies the name of God.

So, as angels sing holy, holy, holy, lets join them as they sing.


Read Revelation 22:8-9 and explain why John was in the wrong when he fell at the feet of an angel to worship him.