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Jack Graham - Angels - Part 2

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    Jack Graham - Angels - Part 2
TOPICS: Angels

I guess I should say, "Hi, y'all", since I'm from Texas and I started to wear my boots, but I wore California-cool instead, alright? And, of course, we love Greg and Cathe and this entire team here. Deb and I just consider your pastor and Cathe to be among our closest and dearest friends. And to be able to partner with you, this church and I just commend you for your heart for God and your heart to see people know Jesus. It's an incredible thing. I was invited a couple of years ago actually to write this book on angels. I had done a previous book called Unseen, and entered a chapter about the angels. And pretty much figured that that's what I had to say about angels. But the publisher came to me and said, "We believe there's interest in angels today, and we'd like for you to write a major book on angels".

And I thought about it and prayed about it, and I actually got out my faithful legal pad and pen, I'm not so much a computer guy, I don't type well-I should have listened in high school when they were teaching it. But anyway so get out my legal pad and I'm writing reference after reference after reference regarding angels from Genesis to Revelation! It's like every time you turn a page, it's like the brush of angel wings! Because angels keep showing up again and again and again and again, from Genesis when the angels are present at Eden, when God executed judgment upon fallen man, and throughout the book of Genesis starting with Abraham and on to Jacob and again the angels are appearing and they are engaged. When God sent the death angel into Egypt. And often we see in the Bible and in the future we'll see angels executing the righteous judgment of God! And throughout you see Jacob and then Abraham, Angels were present.

Did you realize when you read it, that angels were present when God delivered to Moses the Ten Commandments? Read it! It's right there! And then moving to the prophets from Elijah to Elisha to Isaiah and on and on throughout the Old Testament these angel appearances, these exciting, epic stories about the angels interacting and the invisible world that intersects the visible world. And then when Jesus comes to earth, there are massive angel appearances, announcing His birth to Mary to tell the name of Jesus to the mother of our Lord, and then to Joseph in a dream to explain a little bit to Joseph what was happening. And then, of course, outside, on the outskirts of Bethlehem when Jesus was born and the angels came and announced His birth, saying, "Glory to God in the highest". The Scripture says they were saying it. We say were they singing it? I think they had to be singing it, right? It's Christmas! It's the birth of Christ! And they're shouting "Glory to God in the highest"! The heavens are exploding!

And then throughout the ministry of Jesus, later on when Joseph is warned in a dream to take the Christ-child to Egypt to protect Him, out of the way of Herod, the angel was the one who guarded and guided in that situation. When Jesus was tempted of Satan in the wilderness, in the desert for forty days, after the struggle, when Jesus exercised His authority in the Word of God over Satan, an angel came and ministered to Jesus. Did you know that? Yeah, it's right there! And then when Jesus began to teach and minister, He encountered demonic spirits, but also He talked about the angels. That's one of the things that occurred to me in preparing and writing of this book, and certainly what I want to talk to you about today. There's typically a lot of talk about the devil who is a fallen angel, Lucifer, and then the demonic spirits who are many, and demonic activity is real. We're seeing with ISIS and the violence and the lawlessness in America and around, we're seeing demonic powers and supernatural battles that are being fought beyond the human level. We're seeing something superhuman, beyond the normal, natural realm in the violence.

And we know demon spirits are active in the world. Satan is real. He's prowling like a roaring lion. But it occurred to me that while there's a lot of talk about the devil and demons, and rightly so; to be forewarned it to be forearmed. And yet there's much more talk about angels in the Bible than demons! In fact the Scripture says when Satan-Lucifer fell out of heaven and led the revolt against God, he said, "I will exalt myself above the throne of God," And Satan's cast out of heaven, and he became the devil. That's how the devil became the devil, when he rebelled against God. And with him he took one-third of the heavenly host, joining the revolution or the revolt. One third of the angelic beings fell and these became demon spirits. But if I add that up, my math is not that great, but if one-third, that means we've got two-thirds left. We've got them two to one, folks! With the angels! And therefore, we have this divine protection.

And you see it as Jesus talks about it often. In fact there's more mentioned as I said of angels than demons! There's more mention of the word angels in the New Testament than the word love, agape love. And even the word sin! More talk, more scripture regarding angels. So it's not a fringe subject. You know when I was asked to talk about this and write about this, I thought: mmmm, is that a fringe subject? Is that kind of out there? I mean because people say angels? Really? And, of course, there's a lot of myths about angels that we get from movies and media and we'll address some of that as we go here today, and I certainly talk about it in the book. But when Jesus ministered, even at the end, he said, "You know, I could call ten thousand angels", He could have to deliver Him, and there were angels with drawn swords around the cross, standing by.

Do angels weep? They certainly have emotion. Were the angels weeping as Christ is dying? The God of reconciliation and salvation is dying; the angels are ready to come and deliver the Lord Jesus. And yet He bled and He died alone. The angels watched. And we are saved because Jesus did not call those angels. He stayed on the cross, He died on the cross, but the angel came when Jesus came out of the grave! It took only one angel to roll away the stone! That's how powerful angels are! This one mighty angel rolled away the stone! Maybe he sat on the stone when he said, "He's not here; He is alive! He is risen"! And angels, yeah! Angels! And it was an angel that accompanied Jesus when He ascended into heaven before the eyes of the disciples, from the Mount of Olives. And the angel announced, "This same Jesus is taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way you've seen Him go".

How did He go? Visibly, victoriously He went into heaven and He's coming again visibly, victoriously, with the voice, with the shout of the Archangel, and the trumpet of God! He's coming again with His holy angels! I'm pointing out to you that angels, I mean the Bible's just chock full of them! And not only in the Bible. Then you get to the ministry of the book of Acts of the Apostles. Angels show up at Peter and John, and then the Apostle Paul. And they're so often showing up in Acts when they're facing such fearsome opposition and persecution; they show up with a message like this: Don't be afraid. "Fear not," In fact that's what the angel said when Jesus was born. "Fear not", to those shepherds.

And in a day of such fear-and there's a lot to be concerned about; we live in a dangerous world. "In the Last Days perilous times will come", says the Scripture, so we shouldn't be surprised. And we're seeing increased demonic activity in the world! But you would expect with increased demonic activity in the world that you will see increased angel activity in the world, angelic activity. And certainly I believe that! When you read the Revelation, the angels appear again and again and again. And in the Great Tribulation they're a part of the judgment of God upon the earth. They're certainly surrounding the throne of God, worshipping the Lamb of God forever and ever and ever. "To Him the glory, to Him who is worthy". This is the song of angels; this is the story of angels. And so I'm just very fired up about the subject.

And I want you to take your Bibles and turn to Psalm 91. There are so many angel passages but this is the one that says it so well regarding the ministry of angels to believers. Psalm 91, verses 11 and 12: "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands (they hands of angels) they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone". Now, did you know this is the only verse in the Bible the devil quotes? And he quoted it to Jesus when he was tempting Jesus to usurp the authority of God and the plan of God's salvation and to jump off the Temple Mount, and the angels would bear Him up. And the devil actually quoted this verse and he took it out of context, of course. But it is a verse that is given to believers. The book of Hebrews tells us regarding the angel spirits in Hebrews chapter 1, that the angels are given to those who inherit salvation.

In other words, to those of us who are saved. This isn't a blanket promise of provision to everyone. No, the angels may intersect in history and in the destiny of nations and of nature itself, yet this is a personal promise to believers, and therefore, for believers only. It is a promise to us that God is present and not only is God present by His Spirit, but He has added in the presence of angels to provide for us and minister to us and even through us. And so the question is: "Okay, Pastor Jack, you're talking about all these angel appearances in the Bible. Where are they today"? The very word angel, angelos, means messenger. I mean I am an angelos today. You're looking at Angel Jack. I am a human messenger. But these are superhuman messengers. They are super hero messengers!

And one of clear roles of angels and responsibilities of angels in the Bible is to show up at the right time with a message. Either a great announcement or a direction or guidance to men and women who need a word from God, to point people, they never bring a message though apart from the Word of God! Never ever! They obey God perfectly. They don't deliver their own message, but the message of God's Word! This is what the angels do. But let me tell you that we can do something that angels cannot do? Do you know what it is? That is to witness of our faith. In the book of Acts, when Peter and John are put in prison for preaching Jesus and witnessing, they were told by the authorities, "Don't you ever speak this name Jesus again"! That's when Peter and John said, "We can't help but speak what we've seen and heard".

We can't stop. You might as well tell the sun to stop shining as to tell these men to stop talking about Jesus. They knew Jesus is alive, and been changed. But they're put in jail for doing it, and maybe the end is come. Already the Christian faith is in embryonic stage, and yet it's being challenged and persecuted already. And so God sends an angel to get Peter and John out of jail. Remember this? In Acts chapter 5. The angel shows up in the night to get them out of jail. And when the angel shows up he came with a message, and that message was this, "Go, stand, and speak all the words of this life"! In other words, I'm going to get you out of here, but when you get out of here, don't go hide! You go back to the very place that got you in trouble, the public place where you were preaching Jesus. Go back there, stand, which means boldly stand in the presence of everyone and you tell people about Jesus, "all the words of this life", Jesus' life.

Isn't that what people are looking for? People are looking for life! What is life about? What's the meaning of life? We have the message of life! The angel said, "Go, stand, speak all the words of this life"! In other words, "Go tell people about Jesus" Now here's the point. The angel was the messenger but Peter and John are the witnesses. Angels can deliver messages by God's hand and grace, but God has called us to do what angels cannot do. And you know what that is? Tell somebody! (I think Greg Laurie said that.) Tell somebody about Jesus! Go and stand and speak all the words of this life! And so when I read about the angels I'm moved and I'm motivated to go talk about Jesus because that's what they're doing, and that's what they remind us that we are witnesses of Christ.

Same thing happened to Philip. Philip was a deacon in the church. He wasn't a preacher per se. He was a man in the church, serving Christ. He was in a place called Samaria. They were having a great revival movement in Samaria, and yet the Spirit of God prompted him, and an angel came along and said, "Follow me". And Philip was taken to the desert, strange thing. Leave the place where God's moving and go to the desert? Well, the angel led him to the desert and dropped him off in the desert. And that's when Philip looked up and that Ethiopian, that powerful leader from Egypt was or Ethiopia, rather, was on his way from Jerusalem. And he had an opportunity to join the man in his chariot and tell him about Jesus, and lead that man to Jesus. And as a result the Gospel spread from there around the world.

Again, point, the angel could get him to where he was supposed to be, but then Philip needed to be obedient, talk about Jesus. I wonder how many times angels are opening doors for us to talk about Jesus? Angels are moving us in places with people to engage them in a conversation about their faith in Jesus Christ. And Angels must wonder why we're so reticent? To have been redeemed, I mean if God let them go, the angels would write it in the sky! The angels would show up! But the angels have not experienced what we have experienced. We've experienced the forgiveness of sin. We have a testimony the angels do not share. It is the testimony of salvation and forgiveness and what Christ can do for a human being is transformed by His cross and His resurrection! The power, the present of Jesus. We get to talk about Jesus in the Gospel! Angels are messengers, and, therefore, so are we messengers of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Angels are soldiers. It's sort of like the the Navy Seals. They get at and get out without notice to get the job done. They don't like to be noticed. Angel appearances are rare. I talk about some legitimate, I believe, angel appearances in the Bible. Of course, in the Bible, but also in our own era, our own time. Do angels still show up today? Of course, they do! Now, I've never seen an angel with my own eyes, that I'm aware of. But the book of Hebrews talks about entertaining angels unaware. I wonder how many times we have engaged with angels and didn't realize it. When we look back upon our lives, when we get to eternity, we look back on our lives we're going to be astounded as to how many times angels protected us. That near accident or that dangerous situation. We don't know how we got out. We don't know how we're still alive, but somehow God protected us. Did He send angels? Probably. I say this to comfort you and to challenge you.

I have a wonderful friend in our church in Dallas. His name is Tait Cruise. He and his wife Joy, faithful members of our church. He's a very successful businessman in our city. I'm trying to say this is not a guy who is prone to any kind of tall tales or weird stories. 2009 their young son was diagnosed, his name is Connor, diagnosed with a very serious cancer. And in the midst of that journey which ended up taking Connor to heaven, Tait Cruise had an encounter with an angel that he believes is real. I brought his story to you just to make the point. Would you watch the screen? Video: It was literally within the 24 hours of our first stay and Joy did the handoff, and Connor had been diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma. We were told he had three months to live. And it was getting late and I was watching Connor. Joy'd just left. And the hospital kind of calms down in the afternoon, and I went out to get something to drink and I come in and Connor had been awake.

And when I came in I saw that he was dozing off and the shades were kind of shut, kind of took me by surprised. And I walked in, and the door was here, and I walked in and when I closed the door there was a maid there, mopping. And I said, "Oh, hi". She said, "Hi". And she said, "How you doing"? And I said, "Oh, we're okay. He's been diagnosed with..." "I know". She interrupts me. And she says, "He's going to be okay". And I go, "Well, he has cancer". Talking kind of down to her. "He has cancer and they've told me he's going to die". And she says, "I know". I looked at her and she goes, "He's good". I said, "Okay. Thanks". And I go in and she left. Well about a week later I run into her again. I go, "You"! And she says, "Hi"! And I go, "Hi". And she goes, "How are you doing"? And I go, "It's inoperable"! "I know. He's going to die. He's good".

And I stood there and it kind of brought... it made me emotional. I was like, "Oh, he's not good. He's..." She said, "He's good". I finally said, "No, he's not! He has stage 4 neuroblastoma. It's through his entire body". And I'm going through all of this. And she goes, "Stop". She says, "You have a light. You need to shine the light and you have a job". I'm like... I finally said, "Who are you"? And she goes, "You need to do that". And I go, "I don't know what you're talking about"! And I say, "Hold on". And I say, "I want you to stay there. I want you to meet my wife". Joy was getting something. And I went out and... now she's gone. I mean I ran through the entire floor, never saw her again. '07 we go to New York, Boston, Chicago. '08 Connor does great. And at this point I figured I'd never see her again cause Connor's really doing well.

And then the second tumor hit, and then we're told he has few months to live. And we're in there, it's pouring rain and the room is full of 10 to 12 people, and everyone's cheering him up. And they're packing his stuff, and they're sending us home to die. They're sending him home to die. I mean we already had the meeting. "Your son's going to die in the next week. You need to get hospice care". So it was bittersweet. Never thought I'd be back at Children's. Connor has all this candy on his bed. He said, "You forgot the Mike and Ikes". And I said, "I'll be right back". He said, "I want Mike and Ikes before I leave. I want the Mike and Ike". I'm like, "Okay, you get Mike and Ikes". And he goes, "I want an orange phantom". I go, "Okay"...

So I run down the hall. I mean, I don't know, a hundred yards, through two doors. As I'm coming back, the hallway is empty on the tenth floor again. I'm like, "That's strange. There was a lot of people here". And in the commotion that had been happening in our room, nurses, and everybody packing his stuff, getting him ready to come home. My brother-in-law I thought would be there, and five or six others. As I come in the room is empty, the shades are drawn, the door is open, very tight. And I walked in, and the candy's not on his bed; it's on the table. I put the drink down and the Mike and Ikes, and I shut the door, and there she was.

And I immediately went, "You"! She goes, "How are you doing"? Same thing. I'm like "How am I doing? He's gonna die"! And she says, "He's great". I'm, "He's great! He's dying"! Just like that she says, "He's great. He's fine". I like, "Who are you"! And I get real close, "Who are you"? Just like this. And she said, "I'm here to tell you something". I'm like, "Who are you"! She's, "You're running"! And I'm like, "Running? What"? And she gets in my face and she says, "You are running like Jonah and you need to stop. You have a job to do". I'm like, "You're talking about me while my..." She goes, "I'm here for you"! I say, "You stay right there. You stay right there! I'm going to have someone else see you. You don't move". I went out, "Come here. Come here"! I went out 5 feet, turned 3 feet, I said, "Come here". This nurse, I said, "We need you to see Connor. I need you to see Connor right now".

I come back in and she's gone! And I'm sobbing and I mean literally tears are falling on my face cause it just hit me: my son's gonna die, this woman I never thought I'd see again, I see her on the first interaction of his entrance and on his exit. And then it all hit me, this is an angel. You'll never convince Tait Cruise that an angel did not minister to him and challenge him to go and be a light to the world as his son was dying. It's real, folks. And God has promised that when our time comes to go to heaven, that angels will come to bear us up in the presence of God.

We often see angels in times of deepest crisis, and even death and sorrow. My own grandfather as he was dying, not hallucinating, but dying, was speaking of the angels who were surrounding him. I believe it. That God has created the angels as worshipers, as witnesses, as warriors. And the message that I want us to hear today is the message that angel being gave to Tait, and that is don't run from God; run to Him. You're a light. Let your light shine in this dark world and may God give us grace, and strength to do it. Amen?
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