How God's Angels Help Us
Genesis 19:1-16; Luke 1:26-33; Luke 2:8-11; Matthew 28:1-6;
Matthew 2:13-14; Acts 10:1-6; Acts 27:18-25
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - July 14, 2013
*As we began to focus on angels last week, we saw first that angels are just as real as we are. This truth is evident both in God's Word and in the testimonies of His people. Angels are a matter of fact.
*And angels have a Master. As big and powerful as the angels are, Jesus Christ is Lord of all!
*The third truth we saw about angels last week is that they have a ministry in the lives of God's people. Hebrews 1:14 puts this truth as a question in the KJV: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Hebrews 1:14 in the New Living Translation says: "But angels are only servants. They are spirits sent from God to care for those who will receive salvation."
*Angels have a ministry in the lives of God's people. Since this is true, let's go deeper this week to see how God's angels help us. We'll focus on several passages of Scripture today, but let's begin by looking at the Old Testament story of Lot in Genesis 19:1-16.
*How do God's angels help His people? This morning we will look at some of the ways.
1. And here in Genesis 19, we see that sometimes angels rescue God's people.
*The Lord God sent two of His angels to rescue Lot and his family from the coming destruction of Sodom.
*The story includes a scene of horrible wickedness in vs. 5-9. There the totally depraved men of Sodom tried to assault these two angels. And by the way, this story reminds us angels can be as ordinary looking as we are. There is no way any man would try to confront an angel revealed in all his glory. But the men of Sodom certainly wanted to attack and abuse these strangers.
*Also by the way, Lot doesn't come-off looking much better in this story. He had selfishly chosen to come to Sodom in the first place. And their wickedness surely rubbed off on him, because in vs. 8, he tried to offer them his own daughters.
*We wouldn't tend to cut Lot any slack, except for the fact that 2 Peter 2:7-8 says that God:
7. . . delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed with the filthy conduct of the wicked
8. (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)
*We can't see it here in Genesis, but God did a work in Lot's heart. His faith was in the Lord. And the Lord rescued him through his angels.
*Does the Lord ever send His angels to rescue people today? Listen to this 1996 testimony from Chris Lutes in "Campus Life" Christian magazine. Chris wrote:
-"Let me be real clear right from the start: I have never seen an angel as far as I know. On the other hand, my friend Tim thinks he just may have had 'a close encounter of the angelic kind.' It was during a ski trip, as Tim drove along an ice-covered road in the Colorado Rockies. And Tim said: "Suddenly my car went into a skid. I hit the brakes, -- no action. The car spun around backwards, kept sliding downhill. And was about to drop off the side of the mountain.
*But my car came to a stop right on the edge of a cliff! It was like somebody had a hold of my back bumper. And there was no way my car stopped just because I was slamming on the brakes. No way. -- Too much ice. It was weird,' he said.
*Tim now believes God was watching out for him in some supernatural way, and said: 'I really think it was an angel.'" Chris ended his report by saying: "I want you to understand that Tim's no flake. He's not one to make up amazing stories just to wow me or anybody else. He's a sane, sensible, ordinary guy who thinks he may have had an angel's arms wrapped around the back bumper of his Oldsmobile." (1)
*Was that an angel? -- It certainly could have been.
*Something like that happened years ago to a West Monroe man named Sidney Biggs. Mr. Biggs was a long-time member of McClendon Baptist Church. He passed away in November of 1998 at the age of 96.
*Mr. Biggs worked at the paper mill, and he was a legendary turkey hunter around town. He had killed more turkeys, than most hunters had probably ever seen. Their house on Thomas Road was where the "Duck Dynasty" parking lot is today. And when you went to their house, those turkey beards were scattered around everywhere.
*One time Mr. Biggs told me about being way out in the woods, when he was a teenager or a young man. Suddenly he came upon a huge rattlesnake. Mr. Biggs held up his arm to show me how thick the snake was.
*He said the rattlesnake was coiled, and started to strike him. But while that snake was in mid-air, it was suddenly pulled to the side, as if an invisible hand grabbed it and pulled it away. Mr. Sidney said that if that snake had bitten him there was no way he could have survived, because he was so far out in the woods and across the river.
*Was that an angel? -- It certainly could have been. Mr. Biggs was convinced that God had miraculously spared his life. And why not? -- Because all things are possible with God! And sometimes He sends His angels to rescue His people. That's what the Lord did for Lot.
 And in this rescue story we see the angels' power.
*We can see just a little of their power starting in vs. 9. There the wicked men of Sodom told Lot to:
9. . . "Stand back!'' Then they said, "This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.'' So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door.
10. But the men (i.e. the angels who looked like men) reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door.
11. And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door.
*Strike a town full of wicked men with blindness, -- No problem what so ever.
-Angels have amazing power to help God's servants
 But we also see their pity.
*This is in vs. 12-14 where those angels disguised as men:
12. . . said to Lot, "Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city take them out of this place!
13. For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.''
14. So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, "Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!'' But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.
*These angels really cared about Lot, his wife and the two daughters still at home. But the angels also cared about any other family and friends that Lot had in Sodom. They genuinely wanted these people to escape from the wrath to come. We see the angels' pity.
 But we also see their persistence.
*In vs. 15&16, this has always been my favorite part of the story:
15. When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.''
16. And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
*These angels didn't give up on Lot. They spoke to him with the greatest urgency. And they even led Lot's family by the hand to take them to safety.
*Why are the angels like that? -- Because our God is like that! And vs.16 tells us that all of this happened, because the Lord had mercy on Lot. And God may never use an angel to rescue us. But He certainly is watching over us. He certainly is taking care of us.
*The Lord was merciful to Lot. And through the cross of Jesus Christ, God was merciful to us all! The greatest rescue is available to everyone who will receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
*Christians, we have been rescued forever because Jesus took the punishment for our sins. But sometimes God sends His angels to rescue His people.
2. Angels also helped to report the good news about Jesus Christ.
*The most important way angels ever helped us was by reporting the good news about Jesus Christ. It's the greatest, most important news the world will ever hear!
 And the Virgin Mary heard the good news from an angel in Luke 1:26-33.
*There the Word of God says:
26. Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27. to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28. And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!''
29. But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
32. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.''
 The shepherds heard the good news from an angel in Luke 2:8-11.
*There God's Word says:
8. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
10. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
 On the first Easter Sunday, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary also heard the good news from and angel.
*Matthew 28:1-6 says:
1. Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
2. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.
3. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.
4. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5. But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
6. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."
*Angels were some of the first links in the long chain of witnesses who brought the Gospel to you and me. They helped report the good news.
3. Angels also help relay God's guidance to His people.
*In Matthew 2, the Wise Men came from the east to worship the miraculous young King Jesus. But young Jesus was in great danger, because King Herod was determined to kill Jesus. And Matthew 2:13-15 says:
13. Now when they (i.e. the Wise Men) had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.''
14. When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,
15. and was there until the death of Herod. . .
*God used an angel to help guide Joseph out of danger. God also used an angel to give crucial guidance to Cornelius in Acts 10:1-6. There the Bible says:
1. There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,
2. a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
3. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!''
4. And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?'' So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
5. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.
6. He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.''
*There was no question about what God wanted Cornelius to do. And Cornelius wisely followed the guidance God sent through His angel. When he did that, everyone in his household was saved!
*We all need guidance in life. And God may never use an angel to guide you. But He will certainly give you the guidance you need. And sometimes angels relay God's guidance to people.
4. Sometimes they also relieve our fears.
*God's angels frequently reassure God's people. They are sent to calm our fears.
-We saw this in Luke 1:30, when the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary and said: "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God."
-We saw this in Luke 2:10, when the angel told the shepherds: "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people."
-We also saw this on the first Easter Sunday in Matthew 28:5&6, when the angel spoke to the women and said:
5. . . "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified."
6. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."
*We see another example over in Acts 27:18-25, where the Apostle Paul was a prisoner for the cause of Jesus Christ. And Paul was being transported for trial in Rome. Then the ship they were on was caught in a terrible storm.
*And God's Word gives this report:
18. . . Because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship.
19. On the third day we threw the ship's tackle overboard with our own hands.
20. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.
21. But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss.
22. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.
23. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,
24. saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.'
25. Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.
*The storm wasn't over yet, but sent an angel to reassure His servants. God wanted to calm their fears.
*Some of you may remember that back in the late 1980s, the Lamb Broadcasting TV studio was on the south side of Monroe. One terrible night, a local Assembly of God pastor named Parker was inside preaching live on-the-air. His young sons waited in their van in the parking lot. I think there were three boys in all.
*They were listening to Christian music. And while the boys waited on their dad, two horribly wicked men, for no apparent reason, walked up to that van and started cutting those boys.
*Keith Berry was on patrol that night, when he heard the desperate call for back up. And many years later, he told me what happened. When Keith drove up, they were doing CPR on one boy on the ground. But nothing was working, because it turned out that he had a wound straight to the heart.
*Keith told them to let him try, and they did, but he too had no success whatsoever. By this time, Bro. Parker had come outside and had started praying out loud. Keith's emotions were exploding with frustration and near panic.
*It was then that he felt a hand on his left shoulder. And he instantly felt calmness sweep through his entire body. When Keith felt the hand on his shoulder, he looked up and saw a lady standing there.
*She said, "I'm a nurse, can I help?" Keith frantically answered: "I can't get his airway opened! I need help!" But the woman pointed to the van, and she said, "Help the boy in the van." Then she looked back down at the boy on the ground and said, "He's in good hands now."
*Keith jumped in the van and saw that this boy had a severe cut on his arm. Keith stopped the bleeding on that cut. Then he heard EMT Tim Zeigler scream, "Somebody help me!" Keith asked, "Where's the nurse?" And Tim replied, "There no nurse here! Get out here!"
*They tried to work on the little boy all the way to the hospital. But he was already gone. Keith said that he had a really peaceful look on his face. Later, he asked a couple of other people if they had seen the nurse. But nobody did.
*Was she an angel? -- There is no reason to doubt it. Keith said he never panicked again after that incident, and he is sure it was a direct result of that experience.
*And as horrible as it was for that little boy to die, we know where he is. And he knew where he was going. Just a few days before he died, he had written a letter that said "I will soon go to meet Jesus." -- And he did.
*God sent one of his angels to help Keith that day. And He may never use an angel to calm our fears. But God will certainly give us the courage we need.
*Angels have incredible abilities and responsibilities. And we should praise God for their work in our world.
*But the greatest work of all is the cross of Jesus Christ.
-Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and He rose again from the dead.
-He is Lord of all the angels. -- And He wants to be your Lord today.
*Turn your life over to the Lord Jesus Christ.
-Trust in the Lord.
-Open your heart to receive Jesus.
-Call on the Lord to save you, as we go to God in prayer.
(1) David Holwick illustration #3990 - Copyright (c) 1996 Christianity Today, Inc. / CAMPUS LIFE Magazine - clapr96mrj6C90196326 - KERUX ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION - ID Number: 4799 - SOURCE: Online Campus Life (America Online) - TITLE: They're Everywhere; Angels That Is. So, Why Haven't I Seen Any? - AUTHOR: Chris Lutes