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Sermon #2252 — Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: What do you
know about angels?
Text: Genesis 32:1-2
Subject: The Angels of God
Date: Tuesday Evening — November 17, 2015
Readings: David Burge and Cody Henson
Last week, after she returned from the Millsite Baptist Church Bible Conference in Cottageville, WV, where Bro. Mike Walker is pastor, our friend, Yvonne Reddig, wrote to me and said…
“I don’t know if this is a proper interpretation of Hebrews 1:14, but I heard angels speak this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Cottageville conference. Truly they were ministering spirits in the service of our Great Redeemer. I was blessed beyond measure and think I was dropped right into a spiritual honey pot! I long to return there to worship God with the dear saints there as often as he permits.”
When I read Yvonne’s note, I thought, “That’s exactly the attitude we ought to have every time we come to the House of God, the attitude we ought to have regarding the worship of our God and those men he sends to preach the Gospel of Christ to us.”
The whole religious world is caught up in superstition, sentimentality, and idolatry.
· Papists venerate angels, pray to them, and worship them.
· Many wear idolatrous little “angel” pins and pendants, as good luck charms, to keep them from evil.
· Multitudes foolishly imagine that when babies and little children die, they become angels.
In the light of Yvonne’s comments and in light of the influence spiritual ignorance upon so many, I’ve been working on this message for the past week. The title of my message is — What do you know about angels? Let’s begin in 32:1-2.
While you are turning to Genesis 32, let me say something. I want you to hear it and hear it well. — In this day of demonic charismatic tomfoolery, it must be said. — Before the completion of Holy Scripture, before the entire canon of this Sacred Volume was finished, God spoke to people both by angels and dreams, and by prophets and apostles. He confirmed the word spoken in such a miraculous manner by miracles, signs, and wonders. But those days are over.
Since that which is perfect has come, now that which was in part has been put aside.
· We now have the complete Revelation of God in Holy Scripture.
· There is no need for, nor can there be, any inspired prophets or apostles, with a new word from God.
· Because we have no new word from God, we do not now live in the age of miracles, signs, tongues, and wonders, those things needed in the church’s infancy to confirm the apostles as the messengers of the Messiah.
· For the same reasons, the Lord no longer sends angels, in visible or audible manifestations to direct us in his will and ways. — We have God’s Word for that purpose.
Any time you hear someone say, “I have seen an angel;” or “I have a word of knowledge from God;” or, “I can perform miracles,” or, “I speak in tongues,” if you have a chaw of tobacco in your mouth, that would be a good time to spit and button your wallet pocket.
However, that does not mean that the ministry of God’s angels has ceased. Not at all! The angels of God are just as active today as ever. The word “angel,” means “messenger.”
· An angel is a messenger from God, one created and sent of God.
· Without question, there is a specific order of heavenly beings called “angels.”
· The fallen angels described in Revelation 12 (Revelation 12:4), are commonly referred to as “devils” or “demons” (James 2:19). Those fallen angels are messengers of Satan, bent upon the destruction of our souls.
· Whereas the angels of God are described as “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14
Look at Genesis 32:1-2, see how Jacob described them.
Proposition: The angels of God are God’s messengers of mercy to his elect.
(Genesis 32:1-2) And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. (2) And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
Children of God, you have far more friends than you know. As you make your pilgrimage through this world, as you seek to serve your God, as you walk through the midst of your enemies in this world of darkness, if only you could hear, you would hear the rush of angels’ wings, “God’s hosts,” at your side and round about you. If only you had eyes to see, you would see “the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire round about” those who are God’s.
Christ our LorD
1st — Let me begin this message by talking to you about the most important, the most glorious, the pre-eminent Angel mentioned in the Book of God (Malachi 3:1). — Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior is the Angel of the Covenant.
(Malachi 3:1) Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
In Isaiah 63:9, our Savior is called “the Angel of his presence.” He is that One who constantly watches over and protects us in this world.
“In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.”
The Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, is called “the Messenger (Angel) of the covenant” (Malachi 3:1). — Commonly, in the Old Testament, when we read of “the Angel of the Lord” appearing to men, as he did to Abraham, Monoah and his wife, and others, the one appearing was the Son of God himself. Those pre-incarnate manifestations of Christ were preludes to the coming of our great Savior to accomplish the redemption of his people. He who stood before Joshua as a man of war is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Captain of our salvation.
To say that Christ is “the Angel of the Lord” does not, in any way contradict the fact of his eternal Deity. He is both Jehovah and Jehovah’s Messenger.
· In his eternal Deity, our Savior is God himself, over all and blessed forever.
· In his mediatorial capacity, as our Surety and Substitute, he is “the Angel of the Lord.”
As the Angel of the Lord, “the Messenger of the covenant,” the Son of God came to fulfil all the stipulations of the covenant of grace for his elect (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-13), thereby securing our “eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).
Having fulfilled all the requirements of the covenant as our Substitute, our Savior now sits upon the throne of universal monarchy, ruling all things according to the purpose of the Triune God, as our God-man Mediator, to give eternal life to his people (John 17:2; Revelation 10:1-6).
“As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” (John 17:2)
(Revelation 10:1-6) “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: (2) And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, (3) And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. (4) And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. (5) And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, (6) And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer.”
He, and he alone, is able to fulfil the book of God’s decrees (Revelation 5:7).
(Revelation 5:1-7) “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. (2) And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? (3) And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. (4) And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. (5) And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (6) And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. (7) And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.”
He who rules the universe is God in human flesh, our Savior and Redeemer, “the Angel of the covenant.” — Rejoice! It is he, the Angel of the Lord, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who…
· Conquered Satan and bound him (Revelation 20:1-3).
· Rebukes the devil and stands by our side when Satan raises Moses up (Jude 9).
· Makes intercession for us at the throne of God (Zechariah 3:1-5).
(Zechariah 3:1-5) “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. (2) And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? (3) Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. (4) And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (5) And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ is pre-eminently the Angel of the Lord.
· He is the Angel who came with a great chain of omnipotent power and bound Satan (Revelation 20:1-3).
· He is the Angel by whom all the earth shall be judged at last (Revelation 20:11-15).
· He is the Angel who sits upon the throne and will, at last, bring all the universe to its divinely ordained completion — “It is done!” (Revelation 21:6).
2nd — Now, turn to Revelation 1, and let me talk to you briefly about some human angels. — Faithful pastors are the angels of God his churches (Revelation 1:20).
“The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”
Here in Revelation 1:20, and in chapters two and three, the pastors of local churches are called “angels,” because faithful men, gifted, called, and sent of God to perform the work of the ministry are God’s messengers to his people. Not all pastors are designated “angels;” but all who are truly God’s messengers to the souls of men are the angels of God to his churches, and are to be esteemed as such. — Why? Because God has ordained the salvation of his elect by the hearing of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17; 10:17; 1 Corinthians 1:21-24; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23-25).
(Romans 1:16-17) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
(Romans 10:17) “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
(1 Corinthians 1:21-24) “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (22) For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: (23) But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (24) But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
(James 1:18) “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
(1 Peter 1:23-25) “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. (24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: (25) But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
Let no one despise or lightly esteem the ministry of the Word. Gospel preachers are essential to both the salvation of chosen, redeemed sinners and the edification of his church (Ephesians 4:11-16).
(Ephesians 4:11-16) “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
I have often heard people say, “I follow the Lord. I don’t follow any man.” Certainly, there is a sense in which that is right. Every man is responsible for his own soul. Each one must search the Scriptures, and make certain that the preachers he hears are true to the Word of God. God’s servants are not inspired, infallible instructors to be blindly followed, or priests to whom you trust your soul. Yet, if you would follow Christ, you must hear, heed, obey, and follow those men who are the angels of God to your soul (Hebrews 13:7, 17).
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of [their] conversation.” (Hebrews 13:7)
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)
These faithful men are portrayed as “beasts (living creatures)” before the throne of God (Revelation 4:6-11). By the gifts and grace of God the Holy Spirit, they are…
· bold as lions,
· strong as oxen,
· compassionate as men,
· and soar to heaven like eagles, seeking a word from God for the souls of men.
Like the seraphs described in Isaiah 6, they are humble before God and his people, conscious of their unworthiness, but swift to do the will and work of God to which they are called. With their eyes always fixed on the blood of the Lamb, they ever set forth the glorious holiness of God.
By the unction of God’s Spirit, when God speaks by his servants to the hearts of chosen sinners, they expose the sins of men and bring the gospel like live coals from off the altar, and proclaim to all who believe, — “Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is purged!”
Gospel preachers, the angels of God to the souls of men, lead sinners in the worship of God, giving “glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever.” Blessed are those people to whom God has sent a faithful man, as an angel of God, to minister to their souls.
3rd — Now, turn to Hebrews 1:14. Here we are told that there is a special order of heavenly, spirit beings called “the angels of God,” who were specifically created to be ministering spirits to God’s elect.
(Hebrews 1:1-14) “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (4) Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (5) For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? (6) And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. (7) And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. (8) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. (9) Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (10) And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: (11) They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; (12) And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. (13) But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? (14) Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
These heavenly, ministering spirits, were created and sent forth by our heavenly Father to minister to (serve the needs of) those who shall be the heirs of salvation.
God almighty has an elect people scattered through all the human race, through all parts of the earth and all the ages of time who must and shall be saved.
· For every chosen, redeemed sinner there is an appointed time of love when he must be called by grace (Ezekiel 16:6-8).
· It is the work of the heavenly angels to preserve and protect chosen sinners until the time of their calling.
· They are instruments of God in prevenient grace, whereby the elect are kept, provided for, and secretly directed, through all the days of their rebellion, until they are brought at last to the feet of the Savior.
But the angels’ ministry to God’s elect is not over, once the chosen are called. Religious superstitions regarding each person having a guardian angel are as foreign to the Scriptures as the idea that babies who die in infancy become angels. God’s elect do not have a guardian angel. — All God’s angels are our guardians (Psalm 91:9-11).
(Psalm 91:1-16) “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (2) I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (3) Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. (4) He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (5) Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; (6) Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. (7) A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. (8) Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. (9) Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; (10) There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. (11) For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (12) They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (13) Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (14) Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. (15) He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. (16) With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”
None of us will ever know, this side of eternity, what wonders the angels of God have done to protect and care for us during the time of our sojourn on this earth. But when our pilgrimage here is over, the angels of God carry each of God’s Lazaruses away to glory (Luke 16:22).
The angels of God are highly intelligent spirits, excellent in wisdom and power. These spirit beings were created by our God to serve his chosen. They are the secret servants of Emmanuel’s kingdom, ministering to all who shall be heirs of God’s salvation. Could we see how they watch over us, how they guard us from countless evils, did we but know how safely they keep us in the midst of countless foes, we would like the prophet’s servant see the mountains around us full of horses and chariots of fire (2 Kings 6:17).
· A single angel destroyed seventy thousand at God’s command (2 Samuel 24:15).
· A solitary angel slaughtered a hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians who came against Israel (2 Kings 19:35).
· How safe God’s elect must be, who are protected by the angels of God, kept by the power of God, and secure in the hands of our omnipotent Savior!
Only in eternity will the heirs of salvation begin to discover what we owe to the perpetual ministry of these ministering spirits! Well may the heirs of salvation rejoice with such heavenly protectors surrounding them and ministering to them with unceasing joy!
· It was an angel who first announced the purpose of Christ’s coming (Matthew 1:21).
· It was a chorus of angels who first sang the praise of the incarnate God.
· It was an angel who first announced the resurrection of Christ our Redeemer.
· It was an angel who sent men to fetch Peter to Cornelius that he might show him the words whereby he must be saved.
· The angels of God kept us all the days our rebellion.
· The angels of God watch over us every hour.
· The angels of God meet with us in the assembly of the saints.
· The angels of God always behold our Father’s face in heaven (Matthew 18:10).
· The angels of God will carry us home.
· There is a far more intimate relationship between the saints of God and the angels of God than any of us yet know (Hebrews 12:22-24).
(Hebrews 12:22-24) “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (23) To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (24) And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
Application: Let us ever give thanks to our great God for the angels, the messengers of mercy, he has sent and continually sends to us, to minister to and protect us.
· The Angel of the Covenant — Christ, Our Faithful Savior.
· The Angels of the Churches — Faithful Pastors.
· The Heavenly Hosts — Ministering Spirits.
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14)
One question, and I am done. — Who are these who shall be the heirs of God’s salvation?
· God’s Elect.
· All the Redeemed.
· All Who are Called.
· All Who Believe on the Son of God.
May God be pleased now to grant you life and faith in Christ and make you an heir of salvation in him, for Christ’s sake.