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The Mystery Of The Angels

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller
The Truth Network Radio
December 18, 2022 1:00 am

The Mystery Of The Angels

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller

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December 18, 2022 1:00 am

Angels serve God in heaven and on earth, doing His bidding. When they gathered over Bethlehem the night Jesus was born, they heralded the greatest message that has ever been sent. In this message, we see three ways angels are models for our attitudes and worship today. Will we heed their words?  

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Six miles south of Jerusalem lies a small town, the little town of Bethlehem. There, Jesus was born to Mary and placed in a cattle feeding trough. Gently rolling hills surround Bethlehem, and over those fields on a night long ago, a myriad of angels appeared to announce the Savior's birth. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer. Today we continue a four-part Christmas series that probes the wonderful event that put Bethlehem on the map over 2,000 years ago. After some inspiring music of the Advent season, Erwin Lutzer will come to speak on The Mystery of the Angels. Pastor Lutzer comes now to open today's service. We're so glad that you have joined us for our worship service this morning, and we hope that your heart is open to the goodness of God.

And of course, at Christmas time, we always do think about others, don't we? And we want to reach beyond our walls, beyond our homes, and share the love of Christ with the most marvelous story that has ever happened on planet Earth. And we here at The Moody Church believe that story. And that story in scripture is always connected with angels. In a moment, we are going to be singing together, angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o'er all the earth, ye who sang creation's story, now proclaim Messiah's birth. And there is no message that the angels ever brought as beautiful, as meaningful, and as transforming as they brought to the shepherds. I'm going to pray, and then we shall stand to sing angels from the realms of glory. And we'll also have the candle, the Advent candle.

Remember, Advent means coming, and we look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ, even as we look backward to the time when he came at Bethlehem. Let's bow together in prayer, and in this moment of silence, I invite you to put from you all the thoughts that you have brought with you concerning the things of this world, and to pray and to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. Father, accept our worship through Jesus our Lord, we pray.

Amen. The angels' story, now proclaim Messiah's birth. Love and worship, love and worship, worship Christ the newborn King.

Shepherds in the field are hiding, watching for their thoughts by the moon. God with blessings from exciting, Father, accept the infant crying. Love and worship, love and worship, worship Christ the newborn King. Love and worship, love and worship, worship Christ the newborn King. Love and worship, love and worship, worship Christ the newborn King. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end. On the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it, with justice and with righteousness, from this time forth and forevermore, the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. But you, O Bethlehem, Aphritha, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient days. And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth, and he shall be their peace.

And on this Sunday in Advent we light the candle of peace. Holy, holy, holy, holy is heaven and earth strong. Awesome, holy, little, knowing, Christ the great, great Lord of all. Swift the ringing, angels singing, how us weeping, time is ringing, Christ the great, great Lord of all. Christ the great, great Lord of all. Christ the sleeping, shepherds gaming, little to the morning blue, summer glory and a story, tidings of the gospel true. Christ rejoicing, free from sorrow, praises voicing, bring the power, Christ the big one for you.

Christ the big one for you. Angels, we have heard our hearts decreasing in all the praise, Let the mountains ring in the wild, let all man's joy swing. Gloria, in excelsis Deo. Gloria, in excelsis Deo. Shepherds, what is truly, by your highest stage, Lord?

Say what may the time feel, which inspire your every soul. Gloria, in excelsis Deo. Gloria, in excelsis Deo.

Come to Bethlehem, see, in whose earth he is seen, thou art for a heavenly, Christ the Lord of glory. Gloria, in excelsis Deo. In excelsis Deo. Sing with me from age to age, Jesus, Lord of man and earth, when angels come gathering, with us sing our spirit heard. In excelsis Deo. In excelsis Deo.

Thank you. We have come travelling so far, following a star to Bethlehem. At last we have found God's Son, such a tiny one we worship Him. Some call us wise because we see, but from our hearts we now believe. We believe this is the Christ, the hope of heaven sent to earth. We believe He ruled on high, but came in lowly human birth. And we believe this King will reign, and though the world will know His name, and those who bound He will receive. We believe, yes, we believe. Now we offer the gifts we bring, merely token things from a servant's heart, but what He will give to man we now understand, only in God.

Upon the wisdom we profess, there is no greater truth than this. We believe this is the Christ, the hope of heaven sent to earth. We believe He ruled on high, but came in lowly human birth. And we believe this King will reign, and though the world will know His name, and those who bound He will receive. We believe, we believe. We believe this is the Christ, the hope of heaven sent to earth.

We believe He ruled on high, but came in lowly human birth. And we believe this King will reign, and though the world will know His name, and those who bound He will receive. We believe, we believe. We believe. We believe. Yes, here at The Moody Church we believe. We believe in the divinity of Jesus, we believe that He was virgin born, and we believe in angels.

They actually do exist. We take the Christmas story as it is written, because we believe it all. And of course, on days like this, as we celebrate Christmas, we often sing, and we sing songs such as, Hark, the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King. We speak about angels, because the Bible speaks about angels. And yet today we live in a day and age when there is an angel craze.

I think it began maybe 20 or 30 years ago. People began to buy not just images of angels, but they began to pray to angels. You go in a bookstore today, and you can find books such as An Angel and the Archangel and Grand Masters. I saw a book one day that says, find the angel within you.

Well, my dear friend, keep looking, because he's not there, I can assure you. There's no angel within you or within me. And all of this talk about angels today in society actually is loaded with cultural theology, even shows such as Touched by an Angel, filled with a cultural view of God and a cultural view of angels. For example, one of the things that is believed is that all angels are good. Well, the Bible teaches that not all angels are good. There were some angels that were the elect angels, preserved by God from falling. But then there were those who were the evil angels.

If we interpret Revelation correctly, one third of the heavenly host, they fell. And the Bible talks about the devil and his angels. The word angel means messenger. And so we speak about the devil's angels as well. And both of these kinds of angels are in the atmosphere.

Both are probably with us this morning, almost certainly. And when you begin to go into spirituality via angels, you never know what kind of an angel you're going to connect with. And the evil angels, the Bible says, come as angels of light, even though they are angels of darkness. Something else that is believed today is that these angels exist. And of course, it is believed that all angels are good and that they exist to assist anyone, no matter who he or she is, no matter what they believe. But the Bible says that God's angels, the good angels, are sent to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. You say, is there such a thing as a guardian angel? The closest Jesus taught that was found in Matthew chapter 18, where Jesus makes the statement regarding children. He says their angels behold the face of my father who is in heaven.

That does a number of things. That text, first of all, it shows that when infants die, I have no doubt that they go to heaven because they are next to the father and their angels behold the father's face. But it implies that maybe we are given an angel. Maybe we do have an angel, but as the old commercial used to say it, remember that angels that guard you when you drive officially retire at 65. So keep that in mind. Another belief is that angels are more accessible than God.

I have this quotation from Time magazine. For those who choke too easily on God, his rules and his judgments, angels are a handy companion full of fluff, non-judgmental, available to everyone just like aspirin. And so you have today people who are into angels and the Bible warns against an over veneration of angels. It does that in the Book of Colossians because people are always tempted to somehow think that angels are more friendly than God. And I can contact an angel.

Don't do it. We know that they exist. We know that they help us. We don't see them. But don't begin to connect with them nor worship them.

That would be horrid. The Bible says this regarding angels. It says God commanded and they were created.

I don't know about you, but I love texts like that from the Psalms. God commanded and they were created. God says, I want myriads and myriads of angels. And he spoke the word and there they were created out of nothing long before the creation of the world took place because they were on hand when the world was created. And so God created angels for the same reason that he created us for his own good pleasure.

And because he thought it best. They are intelligent beings. They have a will.

That's why some of them rebelled. They have the ability to know things and much that they know is taught of them by God. And much that they know, they learn by observation because they don't know everything.

They're in the learning business also, as we shall see. And yet they are created by God. And by the way, that's why a fortune teller who may have a divining spirit. An evil spirit, to be sure, may know more than you do about your future. But not infallibly, not infallibly, because the devil knows what's happening. He can better predict what's going to happen.

But guess what? The devil is not able to know the future with accuracy. The future is in God's hands alone. Well, Luke chapter 2. Luke chapter 2, this is actually the third in a series of messages entitled The Mystery of Bethlehem.

First of all, the mystery of the baby. Last time it was the mystery of the manger. And today we come to the mystery of angels. And we shall have a brief biblical study regarding angels. You know that the book of Luke opens not just with the angels of Bethlehem, but an angel comes to the man Zachariah and then the angel Gabriel comes to Mary in chapter 1 of the book of Luke. Interestingly, Gabriel occurs four times in the Bible. For example, he's in the book of Daniel.

He's there too. Now he shows up 500 years later. And one of the things we notice about him is that he has not aged. And that's something and he's been around for 500 years, probably have been around for 5000 years or more and 100 million years from now. He won't look any older than he did when he appeared to Mary. And guess what?

You won't either. You're getting a brand new body if you know Christ and you are not going to ever age. Don't you look forward to that day. Isn't that isn't that wonderful? Do I have a witness out there today? Now these angels come and you'll notice that they go where they are sent. Chapter two, verse eight.

And in the same region, there were shepherds out in the field keeping watch over their flock by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were filled with fear. And the angels said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you. You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. Before we look at these angels, let me say that they went where they were sent. Wherever God sent them, it says regarding Gabriel and the Lord sent the angel Gabriel to marry. And now we know that the Lord sent these angels to the shepherds. You see, where they went was not their choice.

That was God's choice. They were simply obedient to what God had told them to do. And the angels didn't mind going to the lowly shepherds. OK, so they are outcasts.

But that's OK. That's not the issue for the angels. The angels have one desire, one unbelievably pure desire. And that is, are we serving God acceptably?

Is God pleased? Well, the next message is going to be the mystery of the shepherds. But let me say that perhaps these shepherds were chosen because they were taking care of temple sheep. Taking care of temple sheep meant that those sheep that they had would someday be slaughtered as a sacrifice. And Jesus was the good shepherd. So God says there's some shepherds there.

Go to them. And that's where the angels go. They went where they were sent. Secondly, they gave the message they were given. Again, we have to look at it from the standpoint of angels.

Remember, they were there. They saw Jesus in all of his glory. You know, before Jesus came to this earth and Bethlehem, he existed. In fact, he existed from eternity past, but he existed without a human body.

He existed as God. And no doubt the angels understood the Trinity much better than we do. But they knew something of the glory and the majesty of Christ in ways that you and I can perhaps talk about.

But we simply don't understand. The angels understood that. Therefore, they knew how far he had come.

They knew that this humiliation in Bethlehem was mind-boggling because they knew who Jesus really was. And now the angel comes, and we don't know that this is the angel Gabriel. It says an angel of the Lord, not the angel, but an angel of the Lord, maybe Gabriel. He comes and he gives the good news. The glory of God that left the temple during the days of Ezekiel was returning to the area.

The glory of the Lord shone around them, the Bible says. And so in the midst of this, the angel gives instruction and says, Go find the baby. And this is how you're going to identify him.

Go to Bethlehem, the city of David. You will find him wrapped in cloths. Last time I explained the swaddling clothes, the strips of cloth. And he will be lying in a manger. Now, a baby born in Bethlehem was not unusual.

A baby wrapped in these strips of cloth would not be unusual, but surely to find a baby in a manger would be very unusual. And that's the way the shepherds would know that they had found the right baby. They give them this news that Christ the Savior has been born. The angels have very good theology. They understand who Jesus is. And then suddenly the Bible says there was with the angel, I'm in verse 13 now, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.

They are giving a message that shall be to all people available to all people. The invitation is to all people, but peace will be upon those with whom God is well pleased. Peace will be upon those who accept this Jesus. These who have their peace with God established through him.

I need to be candid today. Not everyone is better off because Jesus came. In fact, it was Simeon who said that this child is set for the rise and the fall of many in Israel and a sign to be opposed. And Jesus himself said that if you fall upon this stone, you'll be broken in humility and you'll see your sinfulness.

But if this stone falls on you, it will crush you to powder. Jesus said everybody has to deal with Jesus. You say, well, what about people with from other religions? They need to deal with Jesus, too. If not in this life, they will deal with him in the life to come, because he is the dividing line between those who have redemption and those who don't. And no other teacher has the qualifications of Jesus. There's nobody else out there like Jesus to be a savior from our sins.

He stands alone. And so the angels, they are the ones who are saying peace on earth. And you say, well, you know, where's the peace on earth? Well, first of all, let me say that there's peace in our hearts.

Those of us who have trusted Christ as savior. But there isn't going to be peace on earth until he returns again a second time. And that will bring the peace.

But remember this. Jesus is, for the most part, rejected in many nations of the world. Jesus is marginalized in our own culture and in other cultures as well. And so, as I say, not everybody is better off because Jesus came. But for those who believe, they've received the redemption that only God can give. Well, here are angels. They go where they're sent. They deliver the message that has been given to them. And then we find that they return again into heaven.

Mission accomplished. Could I say briefly that there is no sorrow on earth that is unrecognized in heaven. And there is no joy on earth that is unrecognized in heaven.

Heaven and earth come together. Heaven might not be as far away as we sometimes think it is. And these angels, these angels, go back to God. Entirely different realm.

The realm may be close by, but because it's so different, you and I can't enter into it except by death. And so here are the angels returning to say we've delivered the message. I think that angels are a model for us.

I really do. That may seem unusual, but let me give you some ways in which the angels of the Bible, the good angels, model for us what we should be. First of all, I think they model worship and obedience.

Worship and obedience. You know, the angels, just imagine this for a moment. Imagine this, the angels, the good angels, totally free of sin. No jealousy, no self-will, no one-upmanship. No concern about what other angels are thinking about them.

Totally, completely delivered from all that. And what do they do when they are free from sin? They worship God and are obedient. In Isaiah chapter 6, you remember when Isaiah saw God in the temple. He said above the throne were the seraphim, that's one category of angels. And he says each had six wings, with two he covered his face. That showed that he recognized the holiness of God. With two wings he covered his feet, which showed his humility.

And with two wings he flew. Obedience, we're here to serve you, but we're here to worship you and we know who you are, Lord God of hosts. My friend today, the freer you and I become of sin, the more we die to self and to what others think, the more we die to self-will and having our own way, the better worshippers we will be. And I think that the angels model the kind of worship that you and I should have.

Imagine the free focused worship of those who love God. And someday we're going to be like them in that regard, that we will be free of sin as well. You know, Joni Eareckson Tada, who is a quadriplegic, and she has blessed many of us. I think she's been in that wheelchair for something like 40 years. And I remember being in a meeting in which she was speaking and she said, the thing that she looks forward to in heaven is not being able to throw her wheelchair aside and run to Jesus.

You and I might think that after 40 years of the pain that she's endured, that would be her greatest desire, but she said no. The greatest desire is to be totally, completely free of all sin, free of all jealousy, free of all lust, free of all self-will, and to be able to worship God with that kind of freedom. That's the way the good angels worship Him, and someday you and I will worship Him that way. But they model the complete devotion that you and I should have to Jesus. What is it, God, that you want?

Whatever it is that you want, we are here to be obedient and to worship you with that kind of purity. I think there's another way in which the angels are a model for us, not only in their worship, but also in their interests, in their interests. Now, the angels were there when the worlds were created. You've heard me say before that it's possible that God just lined them all up, because it says the morning stars, who are referred to as angels, they shouted for joy at creation. Maybe God just lined them up and said, watch this, and then He spoke the world, and suddenly billions of stars appeared, and a moon appeared, and a sun, and an earth, and they, well, what do angels say?

I don't know. Wow, something like that. So they were there. They were there when man fell. They saw what happened there in the garden. That man took the serpent's route, and that we identified ourselves with the devil. They saw that, that that fallen angel, Satan, was allowed to be in the garden, so that your grandfather and grandmother, mine as well, sinned by taking the devil's route.

They were there. They were pained by the decision, because you see, they remember some of their colleagues, and they remember how those colleagues fell, the one-third of the angels that fell from heaven. Lucifer, son of the morning, said, I will be like the most high. Apparently, the devil was like a choir master. He was giving praise to God, and making sure that all the praise was going to God, and then suddenly he kept some of it for himself.

And it was that pride that made him rebel against God, and become thoroughly and totally evil. So, the angels have seen all that, and then they knew that there were promises of redemption. And this is what the Bible says in 1 Peter.

This is in your Bible, too. It says in 1 Peter, chapter 1, verse 12, when it's speaking of the time, when the promises are going to be fulfilled, and the coming of the Messiah, and so forth, it says, these things the prophets were trying to understand, and these things the angels desire to look into. The angels are fascinated by our redemption. Absolutely fascinated.

Let me tell you why I think they're so fascinated by it. Because the angels understand things that you and I don't. We know the words, but they experience what we're talking about. The angels understood that God is a God of many attributes. And one of his attributes is love, and love would like to redeem people. Love would like to take them out of their sin, redeem them, reconcile them to God, and give them hope, and forgiveness, and eternal life. Love would like to do that, but holiness says, you can't.

You can't. Because there is justice, and there is holiness, and God can't mingle with sinners, as if the sin didn't happen. So there you have, in God, dissidence, tension.

The question was, how is that going to be resolved? How is God's love going to make, be made free, so that he can redeem humanity? How would that freedom come about until his holiness was appeased, and until justice was settled? And that's what the coming of Jesus was all about. The story of Christmas isn't just a baby in a manger.

The story of Christmas is a baby in a manger who ended up being a man on a cross. That's what it is all about, reconciling the world unto himself. And so the angels, they looked into this, and they said, how is God going to do it? That's why the Bible says that when God created, it says that the heavens are the work of his fingers, but when it came to salvation, it says God bared his mighty arm. I mean, this was much more breathtaking than creation could have ever have been. So the angels understood that, and the Bible says they desire to look into it. Now, just think about this for a moment. They are fascinated with our salvation.

I love this. They're fascinated with our salvation even though they knew that in a previous world, those who were their colleagues, namely the demons that fell, they cannot be redeemed. They cannot, Satan cannot be redeemed. Humans can, but Satan can't, even though essentially we are born into the same camp. And the reason for this is the Bible makes it very clear in the book of Hebrews that you have to be like the one you're going to redeem, and Jesus became one of us.

It says he took upon himself the seed of Abraham. He did not take upon himself the nature of angels. You see, when Jesus died on the cross, and he came to save his people from sins, it was people he came to save, and no price for sin was included for the demonic spirits, for the evil spirit world. So they are incapable of redemption. Now, we know that they never asked to be redeemed, but even if they did, sorry, no sacrifice for your sin, no redemption for you.

Now, think of this. The angels who received no personal benefit from the doctrine of salvation, of our salvation, they are fascinated with a whole matter of our salvation. I'm sure they were absolutely fascinated to think that a baby would be born in Bethlehem, and this baby would be the redeemer of mankind.

Can't you imagine their enthusiasm watching everything that is going on on earth? And they do watch us, you know, especially when we worship together. That's what the Bible teaches. You know, Paul says in Corinthians, he said the reason that women should be properly covered, he says, in a church service, is he said they should do it for the angels. You remember that verse?

That's in your Bible too, by the way, not making that up. Because you see, they've seen insubordination, they've seen rebellion, they've seen disorder, and so the angels have a great deal of interest in what we are doing and what's going on on earth, even though they have no benefit coming to them as a result of our salvation, and yet they are thrilled with it. And I believe that when Jesus was there in the garden, you remember he says, could I have not called ten legions of angels to come and deliver me? I think there were angels all around just waiting for the signal to deliver Jesus. But they were not called because Jesus knew he had to go through Gethsemane and the cross for us, and there was no way out.

But boy, were those angels ready. So you see, I think that they model worship. Imagine being so free from jealousy, Jonathan Edwards said, just think of this for a moment, that in heaven, you and I are going to be like the angels, free of sin, free of jealousy. And as a result of that, we will see the exaltation of others and we will rejoice in the exaltation of others as if that exaltation were our own.

Imagine being that free to worship and to serve God. So first of all, I think they model worship. I think they model also their interest in salvation. In fact, the Bible says that throughout all of eternity, they are going to be on display as God's many-faceted wisdom, the wisdom of God, and the angels love to see it.

There's another reason, and that is I think they are our example in attitude. You know, in the 15th chapter of Luke, and you don't have to turn to it, Jesus was saying this. He says he was being criticized for finding sinners. And when you're looking for sinners, you have to go in some unlikely places. You have to go beyond the church walls. And Jesus was with prostitutes and Pharisees, yes, but they were the self-righteous ones. He was dealing with people, publicans and all kinds of nasty people.

So he was being criticized for it. And Jesus said, you know, he said, if there is a woman with ten coins and she loses one, doesn't she go throughout and light a candle and search the whole house? And once she has found it, she causes all of her friends to come over and to have a party and says, rejoice with me because this coin that I lost has been found. I had an experience like that two weeks ago today. Two weeks ago this morning, I woke up and could not find my wallet anywhere. And yet I had to come to church. Don't tell anybody. Don't tell anybody. Desperate.

You know, I have to come to church, drive a car. Oh, where was it? Now, when you lose something like a wallet, I can tell you this from personal experience, you look in a hundred places where it could never possibly be.

Don't you? I mean, you just start looking in the most bizarre places. And I decided to keep looking in places where I absolutely knew it could not be, but I had exhausted all the others. And in opening a bag, which I knew for sure the wallet could not be in it, I found it. And I just, I looked up to heaven and I said, thank you, Lord. I've never seen my wallet with so much joy on my face as I did when I found like that.

Even if it was empty, I was still glad I found it. Now, that's what Jesus said. And then he said this, even so, he says, there is joy in heaven and the angels rejoice over one sinner that repents.

Wow. I believe that throughout the world today, there'll be tens of thousands of people, I hope so, who will believe on Christ and repent. And every single one of them is going to cause a cosmic celebration. And I'm hoping and praying that some of those people who cause the cosmic experience in heaven are here today, because you're not here today by accident. You may have been brought by a friend.

You may attend regularly. Whatever it is, God has brought you to this moment, to this hour, to this part in the sermon to speak to you and to tell you that you need to repent. Turn from your sins, turn to Christ. And if you do, Jesus said the angels rejoice over one sinner that repents. You can cause rejoicing in heaven today if you repent. Now, to those of you who don't know Christ as Savior, a couple of things.

First, let me say candidly that some of you are satisfied with yourself. You've talked yourself into the idea that you're good enough for God. I hope that God divests you of that illusion, because it is an illusion. But there are others of you who have come and you know that you need a Savior. And the way you know it is through the sense of conviction of sin, the knowledge that you can't get to God on your own and you aren't good enough unless God does it.

And I'm speaking to you because, I tell you why, because I know that God is speaking to you. What you need to do is to admit your sinfulness and then look to Jesus Christ, the baby becoming a Savior, now raised in heaven, but who died to reconcile and to bring about a resolution of the two attributes of God that were in tension. On the one hand, God wants to redeem you, but he couldn't until justice was satisfied.

Justice is now satisfied, so now he is free to redeem you. That is the good news of the gospel. And you say, Lord Jesus, be my Savior. Martin Luther said that all of salvation is dependent upon the pronouns to be able to say Jesus is a Savior. Luther said even the devil can say that. But what the devil cannot say is Jesus is my Savior. Make him your Savior today.

You may be watching on the internet, you may be listening by radio or other means. Receive Christ and the angels in heaven rejoice. Now catch this. The angels in heaven rejoice over a sinner that repents, even though they know that all who repent are going to be exalted above them forever. Of course we're going to be above the angels. And the reason is because Jesus is our brother. And when the title deed to the universe is read, why indeed your name is going to be there and mine if you're a repentant person and you've received Christ as Savior because we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. You see, angels were created individually. They have no aunts and uncles and cousins and so forth.

They are created individually. We have connection and we have a brother who is our Savior. And because of that, we're going to be exalted above them. No angel will ever be an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ. No angel will ever sit on the throne of the universe to rule. And yet Jesus said he overcomes to him. I shall grant to sit with me on my throne even as I overcame and sat with my father on his throne.

Mind boggling. The angels know we'll never be like those human beings that have been redeemed, but we rejoice in their salvation totally free of all jealousy, totally free of all one-upmanship, totally free. And I say that they are our model as far as their attitude is concerned. When Paul Gibson was leaving Cambridge as principal there of Cambridge, there was a painting commissioned for him. And when the painting was unveiled, Paul Gibson, paying a wonderful tribute to the artist, said, in time to come, people who look at this painting are not going to say who is the person painted, but they are going to be asking who was that painter. Throughout all of eternity the question will not be who are the redeemed. The question is going to be who is the redeemer to take them from the pit and to lift them to the palace from the mud to the marble. What a redeemer. What a redeemer. And the angels rejoice every time someone repents and takes advantage of the redemption. Would you receive Christ today?

And of course we know that the angels, they had a message. Go to Bethlehem, adore him. And that's what we do here at The Moody Church.

Every service we adore him. Would you join me as we pray? Our Father, today we thank you so much for angels, the good angels. Thank you, Father, for their model of obedience and worship, their model of being interested in salvation. And then, Father, their attitude of total selflessness, rejoicing in the fact that we have been converted. We look forward to being with them someday to join our voices to give you praise and adoration.

Help us to be like them and ultimately like Christ. For those who've never trusted Christ as Savior, where you are seated, wherever you're listening to this, say, Jesus, I repent. I'm a sinner. I know I can't save myself. I receive your salvation right now.

Receive it. And the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner that repents. Thank you, Jesus.

Amen. On today's Moody Church Hour, Pastor Lutzer spoke on the mystery of the angels, the third of four messages on the mystery of Bethlehem. The angels gave their message not to kings or to the rich, but to poor shepherds who tended their flocks on nearby hills. Next week, don't miss the mystery of the shepherds.

The mystery of Bethlehem will enrich your Christmas season. We'd like to place this four-part series in your hands on CD as our way of saying thanks for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church Hour. We so appreciate the many whose help all during the year keeps The Moody Church Hour on the air. Just call us at 1-800-215-5001.

Ask about the mystery of Bethlehem when you call 1-800-215-5001. Or you can write to us at Moody Church Media, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Online, go to moodyoffer.com. That's moodyoffer.com. Join us next time for another Moody Church Hour with Pastor Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church.
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