God's Angels by Our Side
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - July 7, 2013
*Chuck Swindoll shared a great testimony that he heard from one of his mentors. It was about a missionary home on furlough. He was traveling by car from church to church. And one rainy evening he faced a long, lonely, all-night journey. So, he asked the Lord to help him stay awake and make it safely to the next place he would minister.
*Just a few minutes later he came upon a man on the side of the road, thumbing a ride. Although the missionary rarely picked up hitchhikers, he felt sorry for the man out in the rain and offered him a lift.
*As the two of them began to visit, the missionary was thrilled to discover that the stranger was a believer. And that they had many mutual friends in the Lord's work. Time quickly passed as they laughed and shared stories.
*The fellowship was so good that the missionary hated to see dawn come, and hear his new friend say, "Well, here's where I get off." Before saying goodbye, the missionary invited him to have a cup of coffee at a roadside cafe.
*Then, as they parted, they promised to pray for each other. But a couple of minutes down the road, the missionary realized that he had failed to get the man's address and phone number. So he quickly went back to the café, but there was no sign of the man.
*When he asked the cook if he'd seen which way the other fella had gone. He was shocked to hear him respond: "What other fella? You came in here alone. I wondered why you ordered two cups of coffee."
*The missionary glanced at the table where the two had sat and noticed that the other cup was still full to the brim. Then he remembered that the hitchhiker had been standing in the pouring rain. But when he got in the car, he wasn't wet! (1)
*Have you ever seen or heard from an angel? Some of us are sure we have. And some of us here today might not even believe in angels. But what does the Bible say? Here God gives us 3 great truths about His angels:
1. First: God wants us to know that His angels are a matter of fact.
*Angels are just as real as you and me. And this passage of Scripture is not primarily about angels. It's mainly about Jesus Christ. But the Word of God does speak about angels here, as well as many other places. And when it does, it always speaks of them in a totally matter-of-fact way.
*Hebrews 1:5&6 begins with a question about God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ:
5. For to which of the angels did He (i.e. God the Father) ever say: "You are My Son, today I have begotten You? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son?''
6. But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him.''
*Angels are just as real as we are. But I suppose there have always been people who did not believe in angels. We see some of these unbelievers in Acts 23:6-8. There, Paul appeared before the council in Jerusalem, and God's Word says:
6. But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, "Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!''
7. And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.
8. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.
*Those unbelieving Sadducees had also shown up back in Mark's Gospel. And there Jesus schooled them with these words:
24. . . "Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?
25. For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
26. But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?
27. He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.'' (Mark 12:24-27)
*Those Sadducees were greatly mistaken about the resurrection. And they were greatly mistaken about God's angels. We don't want to make the same mistake as the Sadducees! And as we go through the Bible, we see that the word "angel" appears 286 times. Angels are as real as we are.
-If angels aren't real, then Luke 1 isn't true, because there the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias to tell him about the upcoming birth of his son, John the Baptist.
-If angels aren't real, then Luke 1 is also untrue, because there the Bible also tells us that Gabriel appeared to tell Jesus' mother Mary about the coming Savior.
-If angels aren't real, then Matthew 1&2 aren't true, because God's Word tells us there that an angel spoke to Joseph in his dreams.
-If angels aren't real, then Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Paul and even Jesus are all dishonest. And the Bible is untrue.
*But God's Word IS true. And angels are just as real as we are.
*Many people have been blessed as God pulled back the curtain and let them see angels at work in their lives. Some of you have met Dr. Michael O'Neal who works up at St. Francis Hospital. Michael graduated from Claiborne Christian School in 1996, the same year as our Becky.
*That spring I sat with Michael's dad at one of Becky's softball games. There Pastor O'Neal told me about the terrible accident his son had the year before. Young Michael shot himself in the foot while he was cleaning a deer rifle. The bottom of his foot was virtually blown away.
*It happened on a Saturday. Of course the family was devastated. The doctor them that if he could save what was left of the foot, Michael would limp for the rest of his life. And he would never be able to play sports again.
*At some point, Pastor O'Neal went to take a shower, and he fell in the shower. His wife thought he was having a heart attack. But, in fact, he was hearing from an angel of the Lord.
*Pastor O'Neal did not see the angel. But he clearly heard the angel speak. And the angel said, "I am an angel of the Most High God. And I have been sent to give you the message that your son is going to be fine. He is going to be completely healed. And I want you to give this message to your son and to the church tomorrow."
*A few days later, Pastor O'Neal was meeting with the orthopedic doctor. And he told the doctor about the angel's message. The doctor drew close and said, "You may know a lot about theology, but I know a lot about medicine. And it's not going to happen."
*Now you know that I believe in using doctors. They are a gift from the Lord for our health. And I take my blood pressure medicine every day. But God knows infinitely more than the best doctor. And that young man was completely healed. He didn't have a bit of a limp, and he was able to play sports. In fact, Michael wound up being faster than he was before the accident.
*There are thousands more testimonies just like that. And even if you never get to see God's angels at work in an obvious way, you can totally depend on the Bible. And it tells us that angels are just as real as we are.
-God wants us to know that His angels are a matter of fact.
2. He also wants us to know that His angels have a ministry.
*God's angels have important work to do in His Kingdom. Verses 13&14 here help us see this truth. And again the truth comes in a question about God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ:
13. But to which of the angels has He (i.e. God the Father) ever said: "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool''?
14. Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
*When it says that angels are sent forth to "minister" in vs. 14, that word "minister" is the same original word where we get our word, "deacon." So angels are sent to serve. They are sent by God to serve for God. And that service includes helping God's people, like us.
*It is both mind-boggling, and comforting to know that God has specific angels assigned to help us. We know this is true because of something Jesus said in Matthew 8:10-11. There the Lord was talking about little children, and Jesus said:
10. "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
11. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost."
*"THEIR angels see the face of My Father who is in heaven." God had specific angels assigned to help them. And He has specific angels assigned to help you!
*Listen to another story that reminds us of this truth. Douglas Vincent passed on this NPR report from April, 1988. A series of tornadoes had ripped through the south. And the next day the NPR program "All Things Considered" reported on a church called "The Church of the Open Door."
*The church had been destroyed the day before. Terrified children had been in a choir rehearsal at the time. When the pastor saw the storm coming, he quickly gathered all the children in the church's main hallway. There they huddled together as the winds ripped the church apart. Trying to calm the children's fears, the pastor led them in singing, "Jesus loves the little children." Some of the children were hurt. But miraculously no one was killed.
*The most gripping part of the news story was the report of a little girl who said, "While we were singing, I saw angels holding up the hallway. But the winds were so strong that the angels shouted, 'We need help!' And some more angels came to help." (2)
*God gave that little girl a glimpse of His heavenly help from angels. But even when we don't get to see it, and we usually don't, God's Word assures us that His angels are on the scene to help us.
-God wants us to know that His angels have a ministry.
3. He also wants us to know that His angels have a Master.
*The angels have a King, and His name is Jesus Christ. As strong and powerful as the angels are, they cannot begin to compare to Jesus. He is far, far above all of the angels.
*In fact, the main reason that the writer mentions angels in Hebrews 1 is to show us that Jesus is greater than the angels. Jesus is Lord of all! And He is certainly Lord over all the angels. Hebrews 1 makes this point not once or twice, but five different times. Please listen to the first 4 examples:
 Verses 3&4 talk about Jesus and say:
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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
4. having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
 Next, vs. 5 says:
5. For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, today I have begotten You''? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son''?
 Then verse 6 says:
6. But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him.''
 Verses 7-9 say:
7. And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.''
8. But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.
9. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.''
*Jesus is Lord of all! And even though the angels can do great and wonderful things, there are many things that only God can do.
*Only Jesus could die on the cross for our sins. -- As Hebrews 2:9 says, "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." Jesus died on the cross for us! No angel could have done that.
*And no angel can do the work in our lives that Jesus can do. Only Jesus Christ can save our souls, "for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.'' (Acts 4:12)
*And Jesus Christ can wash away all of our sins. "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
*Jesus Christ can make us brand new on the inside. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
*Jesus Christ can make us part of the family of God! He can even give us a heart like His. In 1 John 3:1-2, the Apostle wrote these joy-filled words to followers of Christ:
1. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
2. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
*Church: As strong and as powerful as the angels are, they cannot begin to compare to Jesus. Our crucified and risen Savior is Lord of all! He is far, far above all of the angels.
*God's Word makes this point one more time in Hebrews 1. In verses 10-13, God the Father says this to God the Son, Jesus Christ:
10. . . "You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands;
11. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment;
12. Like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.''
*Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He died on the cross for our sins. He rose again from the dead then Jesus ascended into Heaven, and these verses remind us that the story's not over yet.
*Jesus is coming again! And it turns out that the angels help proclaim this great truth. Acts 1:10&11 is a good example. There the Apostles watched the Lord return to Heaven. And the Word of God says:
10. . . while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,
11. who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.''
*Angels help proclaim the great that Jesus is coming again.
*Let me give you another example closer to home. Many of you know that Bro. Bill Robertson's daughter was killed in a car wreck about 20 years ago. Ten years later, my mentor, Herman Savoie was the Interim Pastor where Bro. Bill had served back when their daughter was killed.
*One Sunday during that interim, Bro. Savioe's wife heard a testimony about Bro. Bill on local TV. The testimony was about a dream Bro. Bill had sometime after their daughter died. In the dream, Bill was visiting with his daughter in heaven. And at some point she told him that she had to go. The reason why was because Jesus was coming back soon, and there were some things that she had to do to help get ready.
*Not long after that, a stranger came up to Bro. Bill at church and said, "I have something to tell you. That dream you had about your daughter is true."
*Since Bro. Savoie was then serving at Calvary, he asked Associate Pastor Sam Wheat about it. And Sam said, "Yes, that was true. Some of the men on the other side of the church had seen this man talking to Bill. They thought that maybe the stranger had a problem they could help with. So they followed the man out the door. But when they got outside, the man was gone."
*Was he one of God's angels? -- There's no reason to doubt it.
-God's angels are a matter of fact.
-And God's angels have important ministries, both in His Word and in His world today.
-But all of the angels have a Master, and His name is Jesus Christ!
*Jesus died on the cross for our sins. But He is alive and well. And He is coming again! Put your trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
-He will forgive your sins.
-He will save your soul.
-He will give His everlasting life to you.
-He will give you a home in Heaven.
*And as long as you are in this world, He will have His angels on call to give you the help you need. What a Savior!
*Let's go to God in prayer.
(1) "A Surprising Answer to Prayer" - Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. - Thomas Nelson Publishers - http://www.insight.org/library/insight-for-today/think-it-over-25.html
(2) Adapted from SermonCentral illustration contributed by Douglas Vincent