Calvary Road Baptist Church

ďTHE MINISTRY OF GOOD ANGELS TO BELIEVERSĒ

 

 

We live in a world that is so secularized that even many professing Christians seem embarrassed by any references to the supernatural, to Godís providence, and even to angelic beings.

What are angels? Angels are persons who were each created directly by God, whereas the only human beings created directly by God were Adam and Eve, with the rest of us coming to be by means of natural reproduction. Unlike mankind, which bears Godís image, there is no indication that God created the angels in His image or in any way after His likeness, per se. So, while people are Godís image-bearers, angels are not declared to be bearers of Godís image. Also unlike mankind, angels are entirely spirit beings. That is, they are incorporeal. Another way of stating it would be to say that while angels are personal beings like we are, each of them being intelligent and capable of thought, each of them having the capacity who understand and appreciate right and wrong, and each of them having a will that enables them to make decisions, they do not possess physical bodies as we do. Not to say that they cannot display themselves in certain situations as appearing to have human bodies, such as when two angels rescued Lot and his family from the city of Sodom, in Genesis chapter 19, but rather that they are not limited as we are in bodies of flesh that are subject to the natural laws and that experience aging, fatigue, and death. Angels are spirits.

Exactly when angels were created, we do not know. Certainly before Adam and Eve were created, for it seems certain that the rebellion in heaven when Lucifer led one-third of the host of angels in heaven to rebel against God occurred before Adam and Eve were created, otherwise Satan could not have used the serpent in the Garden of Eden to tempt Eve. Thus, there are now two distinct types of angels, those that remain good from their creation, and those who rebelled against God and are now irretrievably wicked and doomed to the lake of fire.[1] This evening we will focus our attention on Godís holy angels, that heavenly host that remained loyal to God against the Devil and those who sided with him in the great heavenly revolt. To be sure, there are good angels whose service to God is exclusively related to the praise of His great glory, such as the seraphim, those burning ones in Isaiah chapter 6, who thunder forth to each other that God is holy, holy, holy.

I would like to draw your attention, however, to those good angels who are ready to do all offices of love to the people of God. I refer to those good angels whose service to God is fulfilled by their ministry to men. Please turn to Hebrews 1.14. Showing the superiority of Jesus Christ over the angelic host, notice what the writer to the Hebrews reveals to his readers about the ministry of angels in connection to believers, and those who will someday be believers: ďAre they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?Ē

Some of the early Church Fathers, those notable men of God who lived in the first few centuries after the apostolic era, were the opinion that every believer has his guardian angel. Though it is not something that can be either proven or disproven, it is an opinion I hold. Whether each of Godís elect has his own guardian angel or not, it is beneficial for us to know that Godís love for us is so great, His watchcare over us is so close, that the whole hierarchy of Godís holy angels is employed for the good of the saints.

Three observations of the service done to us by angels according to Godís Word:

 

First, WE OBSERVE THAT THE GOOD ANGELS DO SERVICE TO US IN LIFE

 

An angel comforted the Virgin Mary, in Luke 1.28: ďAnd the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.Ē Though these are not the only words the angel spoke to Mary, we can see from this statement what his mission from the throne room of heaven to Mary was about. His mission to her was both informational and comforting. He points out in this verse that Mary was highly favored by God, that the Lord was in a special sense with her, and that she was truly blessed among women. Of course, there is much more information to be conveyed, such as her virgin conception, the name of her son and who He is, as well as information about her aged cousin , Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.

The angel also stopped the mouths of the lions, that they could not hurt Daniel, in Daniel 6.22. Listen to aged Danielís answer to Darius, who wondered if he was still alive after spending the night in the den of hungry lions: ďMy God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lionsí mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.Ē

Though these are rather dramatic examples of angelís ministries to and for Godís people, indications are that angels are still working on our behalf even when the results are not so obvious or spectacular. Psalm 91.11 reads, ďFor he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.Ē

Though we cannot prove it to you as in a court of law by using the rules of evidence, a number of us here this evening are eager to assert that the angels are the saintsí lifeguards. Reminding ourselves of what the writer to the Hebrews wrote, ďAre they not all ministering spirits?Ē we find ourselves agreeing with Puritan pastor, Thomas Watson, who wrote that ďThe highest angels take care of the lowest saints.Ē[2]

 

Next, WE OBSERVE THAT THE GOOD ANGELS DO SERVICE TO US AT DEATH

 

Many an unbelieving physician can attest to the inexplicable occurring at the bedside of the dying Christian. Why so? It is because as angels have ministered to the saints during their lives, so they minister to saints as they pass from this life to the next. It is really very easy to understand, once you grant that as God comforts by His Holy Spirit, so does He comfort by His angels.

When our Lord Jesus Christ was in His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was ministered to by one of His angels. Luke 22.43 informs us, ďAnd there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.Ē As He was ministered to by an angel when He was facing death, so too are believers who are in the agony of death ministered to by holy angels. Consider the case of poor Lazarus. Listen to the words of the Savior concerning the angelís ministry to Lazarus at the time of his death, in Luke 16.22: ďAnd it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abrahamís bosom.Ē Since Jesus has risen from the dead, fulfilled His office as our Great High Priest, and has led captivity captive in taking those who, in Lazarusí day were taken to Abrahamís bosom, the angels now escort the dead in Christ into Christís presence in heaven.

Not so, for those who die without Christ, however. Luke 16.22 continues into verse 23 with these words: ď. . . the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments.Ē Godís holy angels minister to Christians in life and at the time of death.

 

Finally, WE OBSERVE THAT THE GOOD ANGELS DO SERVE FOR US ON JUDGMENT DAY

 

Turn to Matthew 13.24 and read the Parable of the Tares with me:

 

24     Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25     But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26     But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27     So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

28     He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29     But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30     Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

31     Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:

32     Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

33     Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

34     All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

35     That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

36     Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

37     He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38     The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

39     The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

40     As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

41     The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42     And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43     Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

 

Though we could get bogged down in the details of this parable, notice two things from verse 39: The harvest is the end of the world, placing this at the time of Christís second coming. Notice, also, that the reapers are the angels.

What will Godís holy angels do when Jesus comes in power and great glory? According to verses 41 and 42, the Lord Jesus Christ will send forth His angels to gather up everyone who is lost, everyone who is unsaved, and everyone who offends and does iniquity, to then cast the unsaved into a furnace of fire.

Keep in mind that this judgment is not the Great White Throne judgment that takes place at the end of Christís millennial reign and as eternity begins. This is the judgment of the Gentile nations that takes place just prior to Christ establishing His millennial kingdom.

How, then, does this task assigned to the angels benefit we who are Christians? While the damned are wailing and gnashing their teeth in the furnace of fire, verse 42, verse 43 is where Jesus says, ďThen shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.Ē In other words, the angels will remove the lost for the benefit of the believers.

 

There is an awful lot going on that lost people are unaware of. There is a great deal going on that Christians would be completely unaware of, were it not for the clear declarations of Godís Word. Our five senses are wonderful for living in this world, but they are woefully inadequate for dealing with matters related to eternity and existence outside this physical dimension of time-space-matter. For that, we must choose to live by faith, which is the key to dealing with reality beyond perception.

Created for an existence outside the boundaries of our universe, but fully capable of functioning within it, are creatures known as angels, meaning messengers in Greek. They have no physical bodies because God created them for eternity. The good angels, the holy angels, those who serve God and also serve God by ministering to those of us who are or shall someday be heirs of God, bless us presently, will bless us at our deaths, and will bless us when Jesus judges the nations at His second coming by decisively and efficiently removing and disposing of every unsaved man and woman on earth.

There is one area of ministry, however, that angels would love to involve themselves in, but God forbids them. Turn to First Peter 1.12, and look to the last phrase of that verse for our clue: ď. . . which things the angels desire to look into.Ē You see, the angels desire to look into matters pertaining to the gospel and bringing the lost to Christ, but they are forbidden.

Oh, they can preserve the lives of foolish lost people who are Godís elect but who are not yet saved. There were several automobile accidents I was involved in that I had no logical reason for surviving. I strongly suspect angelic involvement in keeping those cars from going over cliffs or flipping over. Others here could tell similar stories. However, since oneís response to the gospel message is Godís way of revealing the identities of His elect, only truly stupid people intentionally place themselves in harmís way when they are lost.

Back to the angels. Angels are not allowed to evangelize. They are not permitted to testify of the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ and Godís great grace to sinners, because they are not sinners and because Godís gospel is a gospel of grace through faith brought to men by other men. So you see, angels could tell you exactly what Jesus did, and why. Each of Godís angels could give an eyewitness testimony of the suffering of Jesus, the death of Jesus, the burial of Jesus, and the triumphant resurrection of Jesus that led to His ascension and exaltation in heaven.

However, that is not Godís plan. That is not the way Jesus commanded that the gospel be spread. He commissioned churches like ours to preach the gospel, to baptize converts, and to train our disciples. Fallible, sometimes foolish, typically flawed, men, and women are tasked and authorized with bringing you to Christ. Why so? Why not angels? I might suggest that angels are too smart, too powerful, too consistent, and too capable for the job. You see, if the angels carried the message that Jesus saves, the temptation would be to trust the angels and not the Savior. However, with a preacher like me, and with Christians like us, it would be very unlikely that you would consider placing your faith anywhere but in the person of Jesus Christ.

The ministry of good angels to believers is real, is substantial, but is limited. For your conversion to Jesus Christ, for your response to the gospel message, you must rely on the message preached by mere men.



[1] Matthew 25.41

[2] Thomas Watson, All Things For Good, (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1986), page 21.



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org