Personal Ministry of Angels -- Part 5

In the Old Testament there were times when angels were manifestations of Jehovah God.
Their appearance was recognizable by human beings.
They appeared to be human in some cases, as when Lot entertained angels.
On occasion, the angelic manifestation was in the visible form of a flame
as it was with Moses and the burning bush.

In the New Testament, angels appeared to be personal agents.
Scholars differ as to whether or not there are personal, or guardian, angels.
If we accept the Bible as God's inspired Word, then we must accept the reality
of personal angels.
It is clear and we must have an understanding of it before we can experience
the Christian life in all its fullness.

There are certain incidents in the New Testament where angels of God ministered
to the personal, individual need of one of God's children.
I believe that every child of God has a personal angel.

The writer of Hebrews states that angels are" ministering spirits,"
and have the responsibility of ministering to those of us who have been saved
and have been born into the family of God.

So, we need to learn some things about the personal ministry of angels.

In Matthew 18:10, we are told that angels behold the face of the Father in heaven.
“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you,
That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

When you read the second verse of Matthew 18:2-3, we see that Jesus was answering
the question that had asked regarding who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Verses 2-3 says:
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

So, Jesus put a little child in the midst of the group and said to them
that unless we be converted  -- that is, unless we turn -- repent, and be born again,
and become like a little child, we cannot enter into the kingdom.

We know that Jesus is talking about the chronological age of children;
but as you read the passage, you also come to see that He refers to believers.
Jesus is not just talking about two or three or five-years-old.
He is talking about little children in the kingdom of God in regard to their understanding
and spiritual maturity.

A new Christian may be an adult physically, but at the moment of his conversion
he becomes a baby in Christ.
It is obvious that Jesus was referring to these babes in Christ in what He was saying.
The offenses of the kingdom are not just offenses toward little children.
I don't believe many people would try to offend little children.
Most of us love them.

There are times when you find an older person in a church who gets upset just like a child,
It is easy to offend some little children in spiritual understanding even if that child in Christ
may be 50 or 60 years of age.
If we're not careful, we can easily become offensive in our influence,
and lead such a little one astray.

Remember, Jesus said that it is far better for a millstone to be hanged around the neck
of such a one and he be drowned in the depth of the sea than offend one of these little ones.
The little one may be grown physically, but in spiritual understanding,
they may may still be a child.

So in verse 5, Jesus is not referring just to chronological children, but to the child of the kingdom.
“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
In verse 6, He also refers to the kingdom citizen.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him
that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

In verse 10, in the same context, He refers to little ones who have their angels
in the presence of the Father.
“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you,
That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”
So He is talking about Christians here.

There are some of us who are still little ones in understanding, and Jesus implies
that we have angels who stand in the presence of the Father, and who know our needs.

Psalm 91:11 is a verse that is well known to all of us.
That verse says: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”
It is a verse that the devil used in trying to tempt our Lord.

This Psalm is not considered a messianic Psalm.
This Psalm was not prophetic of the coming of Jesus Christ.
It has reference to all of us.

Certainly, it does refer to Jesus, but not in an exclusive, specific sense.
The Devil said to to Jesus:
"Why don't you climb to the pinnacle of the Temple and jump?
Before you hit the ground the angels will bear you up lest you – your foot against the stone
."
That verse also includes us as believers in Jesus Christ.

Then in Psalm 34:7 we read:
"The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
That's where we see the ministry of our personal angels in deliverance.
This is one of the tasks which God has assigned to your personal angel and mine.

In Daniel 6:22, we read: "My God hath sent his angel, and have shut the lion's mouths."
Daniel understood that his deliverance was of God, and it came through
a personal angelic ministry.
God's angel kept those lions from devouring his flesh.

We also find a deliverance attributed to angels in Acts 12:6 ff.
Simon Peter had a miraculous deliverance from prison.
When he went to knock on the door of the home where Christians were meeting
in prayer for him, one person came to the door and was so excited and so amazed
that she returned to the group without unlocking the door; and cried,
and the group decided that it was Peter's angel.

It was Simon Peter himself.
He was delivered by an angel of God.

I hope that you can see the ministry of your personal angel in deliverance
from these many illustrations from the Word of God.

We must think about our personal angel in time of danger.
Christians in every generation can witness to miraculous escapes from threatening dangers
that are unexplainable in any other way but the providential ministry of God.
The greatest proof of the reality of guarding angels is that we are still alive.
If it were not for the angelic provision for our safety, there are some of us who wouldn't be here.
I know I wouldn't for I remember many close calls that could have caused my death.

Charles Wesley said: "Angels wher'er we go, attend our steps what'er betide,
With watchful care their charge defend, and evil turn aside
."
So, Charles Wesley had a conviction about personal angels.

Then in Acts 27, Paul was on the way to Rome to be tried before Caesar,
and was involved in a shipwreck.
It was an angel of God who brought the message to Paul that there was hope
and deliverance for them.
Paul announced to the 275 others on board that ship that not a one of them would be lost.
He told them that an angel of God had revealed this to him.
His personal angel was ministering to his physical needs and protecting him
in a time of danger.
In Acts 27:23, Paul said, "For there stood by me this night the angel of God."

I believe that many Christians here can witness to the miraculous preservation of life
in a time of danger.
I can look back across my life and see many instances where I was providentially
spared injury and even death.
There have been many occasions where this is happened, but I will mention just one.

When I was a student at seminary, a student friend and I were driving outside the city of Fort Worth
to get a basketball so we could practice a little.
On a four-lane divided highway, an older man with his daughter in his car,
pulled out in front of us crossing two lanes, and continued going slow right in front of us.

We were going 55 miles an hour on a main highway, and this man pulled all the way
across the lane in front of us going maybe 30 miles an hour.
My friend who was driving could not move around him because cars were coming fast
on the lane beside him, so he did all that he could do -- he put on his brakes
and we skidded so that we wouldn’t hit the car of the old man.

By sitting in the passenger's side, I could see a deep embankment
that we would probably go over the side and turn over many times before
we hit the bottom -- of course we were praying.

After sliding for what seemed an eternity, the driver’s side of the car
finally hit about one yard of the end of a guard rail which prevented us from rolling over
and down a steep bank that was probably 100 feet.

The old man never stopped, but one yard of that guard rail stopped the car,
and that saved our lives.
We could have been killed if we had not hit that one yard of that guard rail.
I know that our angel got us through that.

I believe that many people in this congregation could remember similar situations.
You have seen the hand of God in your life in a miraculous way delivering you from danger.
Our very lives, our existence, our presence here are testimonies to God's providential
and supernatural protection.

There is another ministry of our personal angels, and that has to do with death.
A very familiar story from the life of our Lord Jesus is recorded in Luke 16:20
and the following verses.

Some scholars have called this a parable.
Jesus did not say, "I am telling you a parable."
Luke, who wrote this book of his, did not write, "I am relating a parable Jesus told."
On another occasion in Luke 18:1, Luke wrote:
"He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint."
"He spake a parable."

There is no indication that Luke 16:20 and the following is a parable.
In a true parable Jesus never named the names of persons involved.
Think about that.
When Jesus was speaking in parables such as, "A sower went forth to sow."
So, what was the sower’s name?
Jesus didn't use a name.

Jesus said, "A wise man building his house upon a rock," but Jesus did not name the wise man.
When speaking in parables, Jesus did not identify people.

In Luke 16, the persons involved are identified by name and by their position in life.
In this story, the poor man is named Lazarus.
The name, Lazarus, means "God is my help," and that is the point of the story.

This poor man lay daily outside the gate of the wealthy man.
He was dependent upon the wealthy man.
His food consisted of the scraps thrown from the table of the rich man after he had eaten
all he wanted.
The rich man's dog came and licked the sores of the poor man who was outside the gate.

In verse 22, we find the contrast between the death of Lazarus,
whose name means as we have said, "God is my help," and Dives, who was the rich man.

When Lazarus died, he was carried by an angel into Abraham's bosom.
Is that a parable?
Is that just a figment of the imagination of Christ to illustrate a point and prove a particular truth?
I believe it is a story taken from life, representing real people and a real situation.

Lazarus was escorted into the presence of God by the holy angels.
Wow! That is a wonderful comforting truth!
That is God's Word, and I believe it.

We learn in God’s Word that when a child of God dies, in a moment, in the split second
that life leaves his body, and the spirit made in the image of God goes to the Father,
that child of God will be escorted into the presence of almighty God
by his or her personal angel and possibly others, rejoicing in the glorious homecoming
and escorting you into the presence of God with the greatest and highest of joy.

This should give great comfort to ever Christian to know that when death comes,
immediately we will be in the presence of angels and of God.
In 2 Corinthians 5:8, Paul wrote," We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent
from the body, and to be present with the Lord
."
Just that quickly, absent from the body, and present with the Lord.

Angels will escort us into the presence of our Saviour and we will be like Him
and will be with Him and all the saints gone long before.

Never forget what John writes in 1 John 1-2:
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us,
that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not,
because it knew him not.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him;
for we shall see him as he is
."

 

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