The Purposes of Angels -- Part 4
God has used many different messengers to convey His truths to the minds and hearts of people.
God does this in a variety of ways.
God can choose any method He wishes to perform His service in the lives of human beings.
The service of angels to mankind is not based on their love for you and me.
It is based on their love for God, and they respond to the wishes of God in their ministry to us.
We are children of God,' and angels will give instant service at God's direction
whenever it is appointed unto them.
Angels serve people in thousands of ways.
Hebrews 1:14 says this: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister
for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
That includes a ministry to the church for those who comprise the true church
are the heirs of salvation.
We remember the experience of Jacob .In a dream, a vision, he saw a ladder
stretching from heaven to earth, and on that ladder angels
are ascending and descending.
The dream, or vision, that Jacob had is as true today as it was in his day,
for the pathway is still open; and in the purpose of Jesus Christ
these heavenly messengers come bearing gifts and succor from the Father
to His distressed children -- the church.
It is the ministry of angels in the church that supplies our need when it seems
that all doors have been closed.
Just as the angels are servants of Christ, they also serve the church.
So, let us look at the purposes of angels.
The first purpose them in our lives and our world is the purpose of praise.
Revelation 5:11 and following, we read:
"And I beheld," John wrote, "and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne
and the beasts and the elders; and the number of them was
ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice,
Worthy is the Lamb ..."
The most prominent truth in this passage mentions the number of angels.
I believe that it means an innumerable host.
They are beyond counting.
In this passage we see that angels are praising God.
They are magnifying in their praise what Jesus did for mankind.
They are standing around the throne crying out, "Worthy is the Lamb."
They were praising what Jesus did as altogether worthy.
Notice, these angels are not said to be singing, but they are praising God.
It may be in song, but it may not be.
These angels are standing around the throne and praising God saying, "Worthy is the Lamb."
They are saying that what He has done is worthy to receive the praise
and the adulation of mankind.
These angels are gathered to extol the virtues of Jesus Christ,
and to state the characteristics that were displayed in His life here on earth
and to praise God for these virtues.
This is a lesson that we ought to learn.
A vital part of our worship, like that of angels who stand in the presence of God,
should be to praise His Name for His faithfulness in doing what He said He would do.
Isaiah had a great vision of God's glory in Isaiah 6.
The angels there are heard repeating one word: "Holy," "Holy! Holy! Holy!" which is the praise
that the angels are giving in the vision of Isaiah,
That word, “holy,” means sanctified, separated, set apart, unique, different.
That is certainly true when it comes to our worship of God, for He is altogether different.
He is different from us, and He is different from any other object of worship
that man might ever devise.
"Holy, Holy, Holy!"
"Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty."
When we sing that hymn and mean it, we are praising God in the same way
that angels praise God.
We state His virtues, His characteristics, and we thank Him for them.
If it were not for God's faithfulness, you and I would be lost forever.
If it were not for God's love, He would never have sent Christ to redeem
and save us from our sins.
When you think of all the different characteristics of God, those are the virtues
that we ought to extol and magnify when we gather together to worship.
We are who we are because He is Who He is.
Another purpose of angels is to protect.
Remember the cherubim in the book of Genesis.
They are angelic beings.
We find these angels in the book of Genesis.
They are seen as guards protecting the Garden of Eden after man had been driven out.
It was the mercy of God that placed the cherubim in that position of protection.
Within the Garden of Eden there was not only the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
from which Adam and Eve ate, there was also the tree of life in the center of the Garden.
If Adam and Eve, after having eaten of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,
had returned to the Garden after their banishment and had stolen fruit from the tree of life,
it would surely have resulted in an awesome disaster.
It man had eaten from that tree he would have live forever in his bodily estate,
and therefore he would have prolonged his miserable existence on earth
in sin, sickness, pain, and endless death and sorrow.
There is a distinction that needs to be made here.
Immortality was not lost when man sinned.
Man did not lose the image of God, which is the spark of eternity that God gives
to every human being.
Genesis 3:22 has to do with the body, and not the soul.
Gen 3:22-23 says, “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us,
to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life,
and eat, and live for ever:
Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden,
to till the ground from whence he was taken.”
Because of man's sin, he lost the privileges of continued bodily existence.
So the angels of God, the cherubim, were placed as guards to keep man from returning
to the Garden of Eden, that paradise of God, and eating of the tree of life which would mean
that the earthly body would have continued to exist indefinitely.
In Daniel, we also see this protective ministry of angels.
After Daniel, had been cast into the lion's den, he was uniquely protected.
In Daniel 6:22 we read: "My God hath sent his angel, and to shut the lions' mouths."
That was the protective ministry of angels.
When man has no other recourse, when he is in a predicament because of his belief in God
and his witness for God, God provides unique protection for him.
We see this also in Acts 12:15, where the apostle Peter was uniquely protected by an angel.
He was awakened from a deep sleep, his shackles were loosed, and he was led out of prison.
Can you imagine Simon Peter sleeping on the night before he was to be killed?
He was in prison as a part of the persecution of Christians being carried out by Herod Agrippa,
the grandson of Herod the Great.
This wicked, sadistic ruler had already put James to death, and was now beginning
a systematic persecution of Christians in Jerusalem.
Simon Peter was taken prisoner and placed in prison.
He was told that they were going to kill him.
Rather than fretting, wringing his hands, and bemoaning his fate, he went to sleep
when they left him alone in that cell.
He was sleeping so soundly that the angel had to jab him in the side to wake him up.
The protective ministry of angels in the lives of believers is very clear -- very evident.
Just as angels ministered to our Savior, so they also minister to all who belong to Him.
We know that there are hostile, evil forces in the world.
According to the Bible, "the world lieth in the wicked one."
The devil is called the "prince of the powers of this world."
The devil hates Jesus Christ.
The devil is a murderer and a liar, and tries every way possible
to thwart the purposes of God.
Though Christ has established His ultimate power, and though He has once and for all
broken Satan's hold, nevertheless the Devil attacks any who name that Name,
which is above every name.
He hates Christ, and he hates all who are followers of Christ.
If Satan could, he would take the life of every child of God on earth.
The reason that he is not effective in his effort is because of the ministry
and protective care of God's angels.
The true church is the object of the hatred of the Devil.
And, the angels of God are ministering to God's children in the midst
of all of the attacks of Satan.
Also, we have learned in God's word that the purpose of angels is to punish.
Look at the incident in Acts 12:21-23:
“And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne,
and made an oration unto them.
And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory:
and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.”
Herod Agrippa, a pompous, vainglorious individual, received the adulation of the people.
They exclaimed, when they heard him speak, that his voice was the voice of a god
and not the voice of man.
Immediately an angel of God smote him, because he gave not God the glory,
and he was eaten by worms and gave up the ghost.
So, what happened to him?
God's angel punished him!
In Matthew 13:38-42, there is another illustration.
The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom;
but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world;
and the reapers are the angels.
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire;
so shall it be in the end of this world.
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;
And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Jesus said the end of the world will be like a harvest, and the reapers
of that harvest will be angels.
Jesus said it!
He said He would "send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things
that offend, and them which do iniquity;
And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailling and gnashing of teeth."
The angels of God are going to do this.
Jesus said that they would be responsible for this.
They will separate tares from the wheat, the goats from the sheep,
and they will cast them into everlasting punishment.
The angels will be agents of God in judgment, bringing about the punishment of the unsaved.
We must remember that this punishment will not come because of sins, plural,
but the punishment of the unsaved will come as a result of sin, singular.
The sin for which a person will go to an everlasting hell is the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ.
A person does not go to hell because he is a murderer; there are murderers in heaven.
David, the King, was one who had murdered, and I'm sure that there will be
innumerable others in heaven.
This is certainly not to advocate murder, but sins, plural, does not cause a person to go to hell.
One sin sends a person to everlasting destruction, and one act will bring a person
into external life and joy in a home prepared for them in heaven.
Rejecting Jesus sends a person to hell, and accepting Jesus assures a person of heaven.
The only way of escape from punishment for the unsaved is to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The only way we can escape punishment for sin, singular, is to repent of that sin
that we have committed, the sin of trying to do it ourselves, the sin of standing on our own,
the sin of doing it our way, instead of repenting and turning to Jesus Christ
to receive the salvation that He has provided for us.
The most vital question any person will ever face is, "What would you do with Jesus?"
Every individual must answer that question for themselves.
No one can answer that question for you.
You must answer it yourself."What will you do with Jesus?"
You may do one of two things for there is no other alternative.
You either accept Him or reject Him.
Jesus Himself said, "He that is not with me is against me,
and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad."
You are the one who makes the determination as to who side you are on.
If you will accept Jesus, if you will trust Him, if you will confess him before men,
you can make that commitment this very moment, and we will rejoice with you
and even the angels in heaven will rejoice over that one sinner who repents.