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St. Michael and All Angels

September 29, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Revelation 12:7–12:12

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Revelation 12:7-12
Date: September 29th, 2019; St. Michael and All Angels
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • In the Western church, the festival of St. Michael and All Angels has been celebrated since the 12th century.  This year it happens to fall on a Sunday, so we observe it today for this reason.  
  • This provides us the opportunity to learn more about angels and it gives us the chance to thank God for them.
  • Angels are often misunderstood – they have been portrayed in so many different ways in movies, TV shows, art, greeting cards – and this has led to a lot of confusion.
  • Some believe that we all have a personal guardian angel who is assigned to us – they believe our guardian angel looks after us and protects us.  
  • Some believe that when we die we turn into angels – we get our wings and fly up to heaven to live in the clouds.  
  • But, in order to learn the truth about angels we need to turn to the source of truth -  God’s Holy Word.  The Bible reveals to us who angels are and what they do.
  • The Bible reveals to us that Angels are spirits - they are beings who do not have a physical body.  Jesus said, “a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” (Luke 24:39). 
  • When angels do appear in human form in the Bible, it is only momentarily for those who need to see them. 
  • In Greek, the word “angel” means “messenger”.  Angels are God’s messengers.  
  • Probably the best example of this is when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced to her that she was going to give birth to the Son of the Most High - the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ.  
  • The Bible does not tell us exactly how many angels exist, but it does indicate that they are a large number.  
  • In Daniel chapter 10 we are told that there are “ten thousand times ten thousand angels.”  In Luke chapter 2 we hear of a “great company of the heavenly host.”  
  • There are both good and evil angels - and there appears to be certain ranks or orders among them.  
  • Scripture speaks of “cherubim”, “seraphim”, and “archangels”.  
  • Among the evil angels, Satan is described as the “prince of the devils” – indicating that he holds the highest rank among them.
  • At some point after God created the angels, some of them chose to rebel against him.
  • It seems that this was a result of their pride – their desire to be like God.  
  • This is the temptation that Satan used on Adam and Eve, and it is the same one he continues to use on us today.
  • In 1 Peter chapter 5 we are warned that the devil is our great enemy, who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”. 
  • In Ephesians chapter 6 we are made aware of the fact that we are all engaged in spiritual warfare with the devil and his evil angels, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” 
  • We are at war.  We are at war with evil forces who desire to separate us from God - now and for eternity.  
  • These evil forces wage battle against us as they attempt to lure us away from God through temptation to sin.  
  • They seek to create doubt in us with the devil’s tricky question, “Did God really say?”
  • Did God really say that is a sin?  Did God really say you are forgiven?  Did God really say that sin and death are only temporary?
  • The devil seeks to drive us away from God with his accusations.  Satan, the accuser, continually lays out before us all of our sins and failures.  
  • He continues to remind us of our shame and the punishment we deserve.  The accuser battles hard to drive you to despair.
  • We are at war.  We are at war with evil forces who desire to separate us from God - now and for eternity.  
  • But God has not left to fight this battle alone.
  • Again, there are good angels who are the Lord’s servants in the world and in the Church.  
  • In the letter to the Hebrews we learn that angels are ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation.  
  • In other words, angels are ministering spirits sent out to serve you.
  • How do they serve?  
  • God sends angels to serve and to protect Christian believers in their work and their callings in life.  We read in Psalm 91, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”
  • God sends angels to attend to the dying.  We read in Luke chapter 16, “[Lazarus] died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.” 
  • God sends angels to care for children.  Jesus said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones.  For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). 
  • God sends his angels among us to serve us, to protect us, to minister to us, to sustain us in the faith, to stand with us as we engage in spiritual warfare.  
  • This is what the Bible reveals to us about who angels are and about what they do.
  • But there is one thing that we must always keep in mind about angels.
  • All of the work that angels do for God, all of the work that angels do for us, is connected to the work of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world.  All of it. 
  • In our reading from Revelation we heard of a great battle in heaven.  A battle between Michael and his angels - against Satan and his angels.  
  • A battle between good and evil, light and darkness, life and death.
  • Evil, darkness, and death are defeated.  
  • Evil was conquered and there was no longer any place for the devil and his angels in heaven, “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”   
  • The Battle is finished.  The victory is won.  
  • St. Michael and his angels were not victorious because of their own strength and might, but as our text from Revelation clearly tells us, “…they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb.”
  • It is through Jesus’ blood that the victory has been won.
  • Jesus shed his blood on the cross so that we are forgiven and cleansed from all of our sin and guilt.
  • In Christ, we are now completely holy and righteous.  In Christ, Satan no longer has any accusations to level against us.  He is defeated.
  • Sure, the devil and his evil angels can prowl around desperately trying to separate us from God, but the victory is won.  It is over.
  • We do not sit back watching the battle between good and evil in suspense, afraid and wondering about the outcome.  The battle is done.  
  • Good, light, and life has won.
  • In Christ, you are victorious over your sin.  In Christ you are victorious over your death.
  • This victory was given to you personally in your baptism.
  • You have assurance of your victory as you hear God’s Word of forgiveness spoken to you in Holy Absolution and as you receive Christ’s true body and true blood in Holy Communion.
  • God has provided you his Word and sacraments, he has provided you these means, to assure you that the victory won in heaven by the blood of the Lamb is yours.
  • So with this God given assurance and faith, with Christ,  St. Michael and All Angels at our side, we can boldly sing with Dr. Martin Luther, “God’s Word forever shall abide, No thanks to foes, who fear it; For God Himself fights by our side With weapons of the spirit.  Were they to take our house, Goods, honor, child, or spouse, Though life be wrenched away, They cannot win the day.  The Kingdom’s ours forever!”  Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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