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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Jack Graham » Jack Graham - Angels - Part 3

Jack Graham - Angels - Part 3

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    Jack Graham - Angels - Part 3
TOPICS: Angels

Angels are protecting us, providing for us, prevailing in our behalf in spiritual warfare, fighting our battles, defeating our enemies. Angels often appear in times of distress and times of danger, darkness and even death. One of my favorite angel stories in the Bible happens and described in 2 Kings, chapter 6 when Elisha the prophet and his servant are living in Dothan and the Syrian army comes against them. The servant wakes up and is frightened. He's in a panic because they are facing this army and it looks like certain doom and disaster. And that's when the great prophet Elisha prayed in verses 16 and 17, he said: "Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Then Elisha prayed and said, 'Oh, Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.' So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha".

The Lord of angel armies sent these angel beings to protect his prophet and his servants and the people of Israel. Yes, there is an unseen world all around us. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not real. There are many things that we cannot see that are real. Energy, laws of logic, laws of gravity, black holes in the universe; many unseen things are real. The Scripture says, "As we look not to the things", this is 2 Corinthians 4:18, "not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal"! And that means that the unseen realities, including angels, all around us. And we should set out affections, the Scripture says, not on things of earth, this is Colossians 3: 1 and 2: "But set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth".

We need to elevate our thinking, and that would include angel beings. We need to be aware of the angels who are working in our behalf. Now, have you ever encountered, personally an angel? We can all look back and see miraculous experiences and events in our lives that are unexplainable. Things we can't explain as normal or natural. No human explanation. How a circumstance was changed to our advantage. Or we had that brush with death, or that near accident and something happened and you just sensed, when you look back on it, that you were divinely protected, that somehow God laid His hand on you and covered you. And you may have realized looking back that angels were active in your life.

Dr. Ken Cooper is the well-known physician, the father of aerobics. He and Millie are active members of Prestonwood. We love them very much. He's a well-known, world famous doctor. He got the world exercising and he's a scientist and a physician and a very well respected man, of course, in the medical community. Dr. Cooper a couple of years ago had a very unusual experience that he's going to describe for you today. We went to his office at the Cooper Clinic and we asked him about this experience.

During my formative years I never had experience with angels, I never heard presentations about angels or read any books about angels so I wasn't quite sure they existed. But as I progressed in my reading and my walk with the Lord, I realized they do exist. Over the years I've read lots of stories about people that have had contact with angels. I have no question about the Lord guiding in my life and doing it through angels. My son Todd and I went on an expedition to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro. Went across the border from Kenya into Tanzania but we had a problem. I had been in South Africa and my passport had a stamp from South Africa so they would not let me go from Kenya into Tanzania. And so finally the guide said, "Well, I think you pay them some money, we'll probably get across". We got across and started the mountain climb. I only went to the 14,000 foot level, but then had to come back and leave the group. So I left the group by myself, went back from Tanzania, got to get through Kenya to get back to Nairobi to come back home. But when I got to the border there I realized I was illegally in Tanzania. I was worried! I was by myself; no one knew I was there.

So as I was standing in line to go through Customs, then I thought, "What's going to happen"? All of a sudden right next to me was a beautiful lady all dressed in white and said, "Dr. Cooper, I've been waiting for you". I didn't have any idea who she was. "Let me have your passport". So she took my passport, opened it up, gave to the agent; she said, "Stamp it". So he stamped it, gave it back to me. I turned to thank her and there was no one there. She had disappeared completely. I looked around the room, tried to find her. She was... No one there. And I was back through Customs then, no problem. And I think the Lord kept me from having a serious problem by providing an angel to help me get through Customs that day. I could have been incarcerated there because illegally I was in that country. So, yes, I have no question in my mind from my experiences, from other experiences that angels do exist.

"No question in my mind that angels do exist". No, as a believer in Jesus Christ you should not question the reality of angels protecting us, prevailing for us, guarding us and guiding us through the steps and situations of our lives. I've not seen an angel but I've sensed divine activity in my life many times. I've sensed the protection of God. Even when I was a little boy three years of age, and though that was now nearly sixty-three years ago, I remember what I'm about to tell you like it was yesterday; it's riveted in my brain. When I was just a little boy I liked to eat, my mom would make me those sandwiches but I didn't like to eat the crust. My mom said, "No, you must eat the crust because (what?) the vitamins are in the crust". But I still didn't want to eat the crust; didn't care about the vitamins. So every chance I would get I would peel the crust off.

My mom and I went to school to pick up my brother for lunch. My brother 13 years older than me, was in high school and I was, again, just three years of age, about that high. I'm sitting in the back seat. We pick up my brother. We're on our way and I had my little sandwich. And I decide with the rebellious little three year old heart that I had, to peel off the crust. But now I need to get rid of the evidence. So I looked at my mom, I looked at my brother, I noticed they were talking and weren't looking, so I reached over to roll down the window. (Yes, in those days we rolled the window down and rolled the window up.) But instead of getting hold of the window opener, I got a hold of the door latch, and I opened the door.

Now maybe you've heard, maybe you've experienced that if you have a near death experience everything slows down. Well, I can tell you, for me it was like a movie in slow motion. I remember myself wrestling against that door in the wind, trying to shut the door. And I'm wondering because it seems so long, I'm wondering, "Why isn't my mother stopping the car"? "Why isn't my brother saying something"? I'm sure it was so fast, but to me it seemed so long. And I'm fighting against that door and I was just sucked out the door. The car was going 35-40-45 miles an hour down the highway. I remember tumbling in the air and thinking to myself, "This is it". Now I didn't know exactly what "it" was, but I knew this was going to be bad! And as I'm rolling through the air, and again, it seems like slow motion, I land on my head. My father, my dad would later say, "It's a good thing Jacky landed on his head. He's got rocks in his head anyway".

And I had rocks in my head that day literally because the gravel from the pavement was up in my scalp, and I was bleeding from head to foot. But as I was landing my recall is that it seemed as though something or someone caught me for a soft landing. I should have been killed, but it wasn't my time. God had a plan. God had a call upon my life. And we are in the will of God immortal. "He who does the will of God abides forever," says the Scripture. So God knew that I had a plan. So I just always have wondered, "Did God send an angel that day to soften the landing"? I know God protected me, and I personally believe that angels may have been present to keep me for the Lord's work.

Billy Graham, of course, is a hero. He wrote a book on angels in the eighties. It's still a classic. In the introduction he writes of times when he has needed strength and when we need strength to carry on in life, this is an encouragement. He said, "As an evangelist I've often felt too far spent to minister from the pulpit to men and women who have filled stadiums to hear a message from the Lord". Can you imagine the pressure of preaching to a full stadium of people? "Yet, again and again, my weakness has vanished and my strength has been renewed. I have been filled with God's power not only in my soul, but physically. On many occasions God has become especially real and has sent his unseen angelic visitors to touch my body, to let me be His messenger for heaven, speaking as a dying man to dying men".

Yes, angels strengthen us for times of service and witness for the Lord. I've noticed in my research on angels through history as well as in the Scripture that angels often appear on mission fields and battle fields. One well known story of an angel on a battle field, literally, in the Pacific Ocean was Louie Zamperini. You may have read the story of Unbroken written by Laura Hillenbrand. A major motion picture was made. The story of Louie Zamperini who was shot down along with his crew in the Pacific Ocean. They made themselves a makeshift raft, and for 47 days they floated in the ocean. No food, just a little bit of water. And Louie would testify later that rather than hallucinating, his mind seemed very clear. You would think in that panic situation that perhaps his mind would, it would be insanity, but he said, "I was very, very clear".

One of the survivors, there were three of them, one of survivors was not clear. He perished due to this entire experience. He died aboard that raft and was buried at sea, and the other two remained including Louie. One day while the other gentleman was sleeping, Louie heard music. He said it was the most beautiful song I've ever heard. And I looked up and I saw 21 figures in the heavens, and they were singing like a choir this magnificent, beautiful song. A song that I memorized and would continue to sing even when I was in prison in Japan-After 47 days captured by the Japanese, incarcerated, later released, became a Christian to tell his story. But what a story! Did God send angels? Was he just hallucinating? Or did God send an angel band to sing him to safety? I choose the latter.

There are many stories from militaries and battles and also on the mission field. It seems that the deeper some missionaries get into the advance of the Gospel into some very dangerous places, the more angel spirits show up to protect them. One such story is told by missionary John Paton. John Paton was a missionary along with his family to the New Hebrides Islands. And one evening, late in the evening they were under siege, under attack because natives had come from outside the village and the missionary compound and had surrounded the missionary's house with torches and swords drawn, or weapons of some kind to kill the missionary and his family. The Paton's prayed and prayed. And through the night nothing happened. They awakened to their surprise that these natives had just gone away. Mysteriously somehow they walked away and they didn't burn the missionary or his family.

A year later Paton had led the chieftain of this particular tribe to faith in Christ. John Paton was visiting with this man about his faith and he said, "Oh, by the way, that night you came to a village and to our missionary compound, and you came with stakes and swords and knives and ready to burn our place down, and you left. Why did you leave"? And the chieftain said, "Who were all those giant men you had around the house? There was an army of men that frightened us away, shining like the light. And we went back to our huts". Angels on the mission field.

Angels see us but for the most part, we don't see them! That's important to remember. For the most part angel appearances are rare. We don't see angels. But angels always see us. They operate under cover, somewhat like the Navy Seals. When we go to southern California I enjoy getting on Coronado Island and watch the Seals train there, the Navy Seals. And they are preparing for their missions, and often underwater. You see them bobbing in the ocean, and then you see them running down the shore, because they are preparing for covert missions, very dangerous missions, and their goal is not to be noticed or to be seen on these missions, but to get in and get out and to do the work, and fulfill the mission. Angels are like that. Angels are undercover like those Navy Seals to accomplish the mission of Christ. You may have seen an angel, however, and not realized it.

According to Hebrews chapter 13, verses 1 through 2, "Let brotherly love continue, and do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unware". It's a very unusual scripture. The point of the scripture is that brotherly love should continue, that we should show love and care and compassion and hospitality to the stranger. And then we're motivated in the scripture with the suggestion that when we minister to the least of these, or we help some hurting person that we don't even know, or that we lift up some fallen broken person or serve a stranger that indeed we could be ministering to an angel unaware. Wouldn't it be amazing to get to heaven and discover that that ministry you shared on a mission trip or in a neighborhood or just in the normal traffic pattern of your life, some hospitality, some help that you gave was actually to an angel from above? I see this as sort of like a secret shopper experience.

You know what a secret shopper... have you ever been one? Have you ever been hired to go to a restaurant, you know, to evaluate the food and the service and you're there secretly, covertly. It's a test. We actually had someone come to our church several years ago to check out our hospitality, our visitor arrangements and our children's ministry. Just to go around and kind of see it through the eyes of an outsider and to test us as to how we would doing. It was a secret operation. So in that sense perhaps we can say that angels are testing us and motivating us to let brotherly love continue. I do know this, if you did see angel, if an angel physically manifested himself to us you would be tempted to worship that angel. John was on the Isle of Patmos. The book of Revelation, he saw the angel, he fell down on his face to worship the angel and the angel said, "Don't do that! (Get up! You're gonna get us both in trouble!) Worship God"!

We're not to worship angels; we're not to pray to angels. You don't need to pray to angels, or through angels. "There is one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ"! He died on the cross for our sins! He rose again! And therefore He connects us with God! We don't need angels to connect us with God. That's not their purpose! But while you don't pray, and we don't pray to angels or through angels, we can pray for angels. And we see that in the Scripture. You can pray the promises of God and ask that God would send the angels to protect you. I've done that a time or two on a bumpy flight. Said, "Lord, just put an angel on that wing and put an angel on that wing, and get us safely down". So when we pray, we can pray that the angels will war in our behalf. Like a mighty army, angels are ranked in the Scripture, organized for spiritual warfare.

Now Ephesians 6 tells us that we're in a spiritual battle. We're to "Put on the whole armor of God for we wrestle not against flesh and blood", this is verse 12 of Ephesians 6, "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness". That is, it's a spiritual battle, it's a spiritual warfare. So we are engaging the enemy. And do you know how the battle is fought primarily? Prayer! The warfare is prayer! Oswald Chambers the great devotional writer, said that "Prayer is not preparation for battle; prayer is the battle"! So when we pray we are resisting the enemy. There is a kind of praying that is warfare praying when we are claiming the power of God to defeat the enemy and to share our victory in Christ. So it's very important when you pray that you stay in the battle, that you don't give up and stop praying.

There's a very intriguing story in the Bible in Daniel chapter 10 in which Daniel is very concerned about his nation and he is praying and praying, fasting and praying, he's weakened by this experience. He's depressed about the future of his nation and he is crying out to God for 21 straight days. And then an angel came in Daniel chapter 10 and speaks to him in verse 12 and says: "Then he said to me, 'Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard and I have come because of your words.'" The angel came because of Daniel's prayer. So there you have it. He was praying for spiritual victory and battling for his country and the angel came in response. And said, with a word of explanation, "The prince of the kingdom of Persia", that, no doubt, is a demon spirit, "withstood me 21 days".

Behind the scenes this battle is going on between a demon spirit and this angel being. This kingdom of Persia, this prince and I for 21 days are wrestling, "but Michael, one of the chief princes came to help me". This angel needed a little help with this powerful demon and so Michael, the archangel came and resisted. The point is while Daniel was praying, spiritual beings were warring. You say, "Does that happen today"? Of course, it does. If you are praying, let's say, for a child that is going in the wrong direction, that's a spiritual battle! And you think nothing is happening! "I don't know what's going on! Why isn't my child coming to the Lord? Why isn't he coming back"? There's a spiritual battle going on. There's a wrestling in the spirit world. Don't give up! Never stop praying! Never stop going to war spiritually for your children, for your family! When we pray for our country, we... Do pray for our country in these days! We're seeing the near end of America as we've known it! Unless we have revival and spiritual awakening! And we're praying for that! We're crying out to God and that's spiritual warfare! It's true. It is true so don't quit praying! There's a war being waged.
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