Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon Holy Angels Befriend Christians ]

Hebrews 1:1-14

In this study we are looking at Hebrews 1:14 which declares that all angels are, “ministering spirits sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall be heirs of salvation.” The angels are mentioned in this passage to reveal their submissive relationship to Christ. Christ is greater than any or all angels. When Jesus was born God said, “Let all angels worship Him.”. When He returned to heaven, all angels were put under His authority. God never said to an angel, “I will be to you a Father, and you shall be to Me a Son.” Jesus Christ is God's, beloved and only begotten Son. The Son can be worshiped but not angels. As great as angels are, they are not as great as Christ.
First we are informed that under Christ's authority, all holy angels in heaven are dedicated to serving good people on the earth who shall be the heirs of salvation. Who are the people on earth who shall be heirs of salvation? The only people on earth in the Christian age of the world who are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, are those who have become children of God by faith repentance and baptism, in obedience to God's only beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Christians are a people united to Christ by faith; obedience and love. The Holy Spirit bears witness with the spirits of Christians that they are the children of God, and if they are children then heirs, heirs of God the Father and joint-heirs with Christ(Romans 8:16,17). They are now saved from the guilt and power of sin, for there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus who live for the best interests their souls and not for the sinful desires of their bodies(Romans 8:1). They have many infirmities, weaknesses and temptations, but they have received God's mercy and forgiveness, and they are called the beloved people of God( 2 Cor.7:1). These are the people to whom the angels render their benevolent services and who are called the heirs of salvation. Eternal salvation will be the final consumation of God's eternal purposein the redemption of thefl human race. In alluding to that salvation Paul said, “Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed(Romans 13:11).
Since the passage declares that angels minister to the Lord's church, what do we know about the existence and nature of these supernatural beings? It is a most encouraging thought that such powerful beings take their precious time to help the saints on earth. The word angel is an English transliteration of the Greek word aggelos. To transliterate is to spell or write words corresponding to to the characters in another language. The word was a common word in the Greek language, a common word in the Bible and a common word in the English language. It simply means a messenger, an envoy, one who has been sent. Anyone sent by anyone is a messenger. However, angels were messengers
sent to the earth by God. They are heavenly messengers. All others are human messengers. Angels are a class of spiritual and intellectual beings who are sent forth from the heavenly world as messengers of God. When these holy beings were created we do not know. It may have been at the creation of our universe or it might have been millions of ages prior to the creation of the cosmos. The word angel is applied in scripture to an order of supernatural or heaven ly beings whose business it is to act as God's messengers to men and as agents who carry out His will. It is certain that God from the beginning used angels in human form, with human voices in order to communicate with man. They are holy and have no sexual or sensual desires. They have high intelligence, and we humans are made little lower than the angels. However, they do not know the time of the second coming of Christ. The worship of angels is forbidden. Jesus taught the existence, reality and activity of angelic beings. In addition to the testimony of the Bible in general, we have the guarantee of Christ's word for the existence of angels. The apostle Peter emphasized the supremacy of Christ over all angelic beings in I Peter 3:22, “Who is gon the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers made subject unto Him.”
Furthermore, the Old Testament and the New Testament present an abundance of examples, showing just how angels minister to the heirs of salvation. When lost people are converted to Christ by faith, repentance and baptism, and thereby, become heirs of salvation, there is much excitement, happiness and rejoicing among these angelic beings
(Luke 15:10). We are not told why they are so happy at the conversion of every single individual; it may be that they know better than we what we are saved from and what we are saved to. They know more about our inheritance that we do. In some way when a person becomes a Christian the news is carried to heaven, and it makes the angels happy.
In days of old the angels ministered to God's people in providing temporal needs. When Elijah the prophet fled from Jezebel, a woman of infamous character he was led by an angel to Mount Sinai for his protection. An angel touched and awoke hm from sleep and behold, he had built a fire, baked bread and gave him a bottle of water(I Kings 19:4-
7). On special occasions they delivered the heirs of salvation from iminineni danger. Thus an angel shut the lions' mouths and delivered Daniel from a den of lions.(Daniel 6:22). An angel supernaturally opened the prison door, led the apostles out, and told them to go to the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life(Acts 5:18-20). On another occasion Herod Agrippa threw the apostle Peter in Prison, after killing James one of the apostles. While Peter was sleeiping, bound by chains to two
soldiers and angel appeared and a light shined in the prison. The angel touched Peter, his chains fell off, and told him to put his shoes and gsrment and follow him. He led him past all the guards; the iron gate that led to the city opened of its own accord and suddenly the angel disappeared(Acts 19:5-10). The angels were protectors of the Apostles on more than one occasion. On each occasion God said, “Go,” and they went. After cheating his brother Esau, Jacob was forced to live some 20 yeas in north Mesopotamia away from his homeland. On the way back to Israel, he feared Esau and asked God for protection. But he had not straightened out his life with God. God sent an angel to visit him. He feared he was an enemy, and they wrestled furiously all night. Jacob finally realized God was punishing him for all the sins he had committed. He repented that night and was forgiven of all his sins. An angel brought him to his senses(Genesis 32:24-30). As the Church of Christ grew wonderfblly in the first few years after its establishment in Israel, an angel appeared to a gentile of excellent character and said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial to God. You send to Joppa and ask for a man named Peter and he will tell you and your household what you must do to be saved.” He followed the command of the angel; Peter came, and Cornelius was the first Gentile to become a Christian(Acts 10). When Paul was on his way to Rome, his ship was taken in a storm and was in danger of sinking. An angel appeared to him and gave him a message from God. He then said to all on board, “There stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am and whom I serve. He said, ‘Fear not Paul; you must be brought before Caesar. and, lo, God has given you all who sail with you”(Acts 27:21-26) Lazarus, the pious beggar, died and his soul was carried by the angels to a place in the unseen world led “Abraham's bosom”( Luke 16:22). Angels have served as the guardians of the Church of Christ,also the kingdom of God and the Church of God.
Finally, I know the question comes to mind, what are the angels doing in our day and time as guardians of the church and friends of the saints?. Do angels appear to us in dreams, or appear in human form, or wake us up and give us a message from God. There is no evidence that angels make supernatural appearances to God's people as they did in Old Testament times and as they did for many years in the early church. There must be a good reason why we do not see today any of supernatual appearances I have mentioned in this message. I would suggest to you that these miraculous appearances no long take place because the miraculous period of Biblical histry has passed away. We no longer see the miracles of Jesus, the apostles, and other Christians who had miraculous healing power.
The miraculous period of history extended from the flood of Noah to the time Christ walked on the earth, and for the first 60 years of church history. We can correctly say that the miraculous period ended at the close of the first century A.D. The first 60 years of church history was filled with miraculous events of all kinds, performed by the apostles and other Christians who had various miraculus gifs. That was the most unique, most marvelous and most miraculous period of history since the creation of the world. It included the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the establishment of the Christian religion, and its rapid growth all over the then known world. All the miracles recorded in the New Testament were absolutely necessary for the establishment of the Christian religion on this earth. However, God performed so many miracles in the first century and used so many angelic appearances to guard and protect Christians that miracles are no longer necessary. The Bible contains all the miracles the human race needs to produce faith in God, in Christ and in the Christian religion. All that God wants us to know and believe is recorded in the 66 books of the Bible. If the human race will not believe the Bible, additional miracles would not help them. Now this clearly explains why angelic appearances have no longer been seen for the past 2,000 years. There is no need for them. Angels are messengers of God, for God has no more messages for the human race. The last message God had for the human race was given by he angels to he apostle John and is corded in the book of Revelation. All that the human race needs to know about the future
is in he book of Revelatin.
As to the work that angels may be doing providentially for God's people, we should be guided by words of God in Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words written in this law.” Since revelation has ceased with the book of Revelation, there is no way of knowing how God is using the angels to niinister to the heirs of salvation. God may be using them in ways we do not know about. They are still greatly interested in the church. They rejoice greatly whenever one sinner is converted to Christ. They are said in scripture to be ministering spirits sent forth to do service for the sake of them who heirs of salvation. We take that statement by faith and perhaps we will understand it better by and by. The angels have been ministering to God's people in marvelous ways from the days of Abraham to the close of the first century, and they may be ministering to God's people today in ways we know not. e know they love us and have always been willing to minister to the heris of salvation. o on.
We conclude by making the following general observations:
First, there is a world of spirits, who are invisible to men, while we remain in these houses of clay. Secondly, it is probable that the visible world is open, in all it parts, to the angels of God. Thirdly, angels of the highest order feel a deep interest in the affairs of men, and take pleasure in rendering services to all who fear and love God.
Fourthly, we should thank God for their ministry because it is carried on by His appointment, and is managed by His direction. Lastly, while we are thankful for the ministry of angels, we should especially rejoice in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is the, “Author of eternal salvation unto all them who obey Him”(Hebrews 5:9).*

*Several thoughts in this message come from a sermon of Jonathan Edmondson, a 19 century preacher.
—Lonnie Branam

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