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January 28, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Greg Stiekes continues the series entitled “Our Ancient Foe,” from II Kings 6.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on the platform were continuing a study series entitled our ancient foe, which is a study of Satan. The reality of his presence and how Christians can be victorious against him. Today's message will be preached by seminary professor Dr. Greg Starks. If you have your Bibles with you if you would open them to second Kings chapter 6 we are going to refer to a lot of Scripture this morning but as you can imagine the topic in the Scripture is so multifaceted and we have such a short time. We are going to just move this morning and so if you can keep up with some of the passages I would encourage you to do that over to begin a second Kings chapter 6 where we find that sure him is the king of Israel, the 10 northern tribes and at this particular point relations between Syria. The bordering country to the north and Israel have not been going too well and they are actually at war with Syria and so the king of Syria had come up with this wonderful plan to overtake Joram and destroy Israel.
He was going to send a bunch of his army units on these raids into the land of Israel where he knew Joram was and he was hoping to take the king unawares and so overrun him and destroy him. But every time the Syrians planned a raid, God would reveal their plan to the prophet Elisha and Elisha would in turn tell the king of Israel exactly where the Syrians were going to this are going to strike so the Syrians could never catch Joram off guard and the king of Syria was angry and he called his servants and he said look one of you as a traitor, you're telling the king of Syria where were going to strike one of his captain said no okaying it's the prophet Elisha in the land of Israel. He said you can make a battle plan in your bedroom, and Elisha somehow was good to hear about it and he's and it's all the king is looking Syria said where is Elisha they said to him in Dothan. He said go get him and the Syrians wrote down by night. It says in second Kings chapter 6, verse 14, there with horses and chariots, and a great army and they surrounded the city where Elisha was and Elisha had a servants it says you got up that morning very early the first light of the day, probably doing his normal routine and he sort of looks off in the distance toward the kills and he sees that they are surrounded by the enemy. I imagine you. He drops the firewood and he says in a weak voice master. I think you need to come and see this. And Elisha comes out in the servant says alas master what are we going to do. And Elisha tells his servant in verse 16. Don't be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them because Elisha could see something by the grace of God that his servant could not and so Elisha prayed in verse 17.
Lord I pray the open his eyes and make him see in the Lord opened the eyes of the young man and he saw, and behold, the mountains were full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. Oh what terrifying wonders. We would behold if the Lord did the same thing to us this morning. If you were to open our eyes to look upon the transcendent world. What sites, what sounds, what sensations would meet our senses and sees our emotions.
I was asked specifically to deal with the topic angels and their world, their world, their world is right here. It's a part of God's creation, for in him or by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.
Colossians 116. We cannot access that invisible part of the world with our physical senses. We can only imagine it by faith. But it is just as real as the world that we behold everyday effective CS Lewis is right about this this point, and I suspect he is the world of the unseen spiritual realities. The above things. Colossians 31 are even more real than the visible part we go around it every day and in this world. This invisible part of our world right here among us. There are fascinating created beings moving among us watching us ministering to us even worshiping with us. The Bible mentions them hundreds of times. In fact, the Bible never really presses pause to explain the Angels to us which adds to their mystery angels are just assumed in the Scripture as part of God's created order showing up in the text of Scripture doing amazing things and the people of Babel in the biblical stories, although they were startled by them. As you can imagine, never doubted their existence. In fact, for most of church history. We didn't exit doubt the existence of angels, but since the Enlightenment are skepticism that angels are really here has grown, but angels are as active today as they were in the Scriptures part of her skepticism has to do with how our pop culture portrays angels and think about angels, what comes to mind. Are they cute little baby angels. I mean that's just messed up. Do you know that angels are never babies. They aren't born they don't grow up they don't burn their wings or maybe you imagine beautiful feminine creatures with wings are young children who would never harm anyone or be judgmental angels in our culture are most often depicted by women, but angels are never depicted by women in the Bible. Or maybe you imagine the famous cherubs of Michelangelo or perhaps your conception is more like who grows 19th-century rendition of angels, but none of these images are like the Angels we meet in the text of Scripture. In fact, any real angel who sees how angels are sometimes portrayed today ought to be offended, although step further, much of the way we portray angels in our popular culture actually debases what the Scripture says about angels we know that they play stringed instrument. We do know they blow trumpets very loudly. We don't even know the Angels have wings. Although we know they fly handling all these things because in every page of the Scripture, God opens for us this unseen world revealing to us what is really going on. Which explains or includes angels and we have to trust what God says in his word for our knowledge of angels, so let me post three simple questions this morning that will frame these few moments as we talk about angels. First of all who are the Angels, they are powerful spirit creatures. They can appear as human beings. But the Bible says they are spirits and powerful spirits with their own order of authority, Paul alludes to the angelic hierarchy of order infant in Ephesians 612, when he uses the terms principalities and powers and rulers and we encounter them in the Scriptures.
Angels are far from these cute fluffy creatures playing harps on clouds in Genesis 324 we meet real charity guarding the garden of God with a sword turning every direction were not even sure that share a beam are actually angels, cherubim and seraphim are mentioned in Scripture, but their only spear that they're the only spirit creatures with wings there mentioned this a few times. Isaiah says in Isaiah 6 he saw the Lord, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple and surrounding the Lord, are these wonderful spirit creatures called Sarah fiend with six wings with to their covering their face, not even to look upon the holiness of God with to their covering their feet, and with two they are flying in. Isaiah says the whole temple was filled with smoke and they cried out to one another. The Sarah fiend.
They cried out, holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts, and Isaiah says that the post of the temple shook at the sound of their voice. There's another kind of angel that we meet only in the pages of the Old Testament. Example, when Moses approaches the burning bush in Exodus 32.
He says that the angel of the Lord spoke to him from that Bush may believe that the angel of the Lord is an appearance of the son of God before his incarnation because when the angel of the Lord speaks the Bible says that God is speaking an angel the Lord is the only angel who accepts worship when Moses approaches the Bush you remember the angel says take off your shoes because you're standing on holy ground. This angel is an awesome powerful presence leading God's people defending God's people sometimes executing fierce judgment upon God's people, as well as upon their enemies. This is the angel sent by God to strike down 70,000 men with a plague because David sinned by numbering the people.
This is the angel who in first Kings 19 went into the camp of the mighty Assyrian army who were laying siege to Jerusalem and nobody knew what to do about it in a single night the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 mighty Assyrian warriors, so fearful was it to even be in the angel of the Lord's presence that both Gideon and Judges 6 in Manoa and Judges 13 believed that they were going to die because they had seen the angel of the Lord, but lest we think that the angel of the Lord is this powerful and and other angels are not any angel, any angel could make our knees weak and cause us to tremble or cry out in fear.
We need only to look at the book of Revelation to see this and I'm to begin in Revelation 5. If you want to try to follow along, but again I'm in a be hurrying pretty quickly. But in Revelation chapter 5 for the end of that chapter John beholds angels surrounding the throne of God. How many angels are there. I'm not sure, but here in this passage, he says that they number 10,000×10,000, that's 100 million right there because that's not enough to describe what John is seeing.
He adds, and thousands of thousands crying out worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing their sheer number of sounds us, but their power also astounds us for in Revelation, the angels are God's messengers to big bring judgment upon the earth. In Revelation chapter 9, four of them for of them. Mark you are dispatched by God to kill one third of the earth's population. By today's standards that's 2.5 billion people for angels versus 2.5 billion people, we are not a match for them, seven angels in Revelation 15 and 16 are given the last great plagues upon the earth, and it is the angels who pour out these great balls of wrath of God upon the unrepentant earth in Revelation 10, 123 John sees another mighty angel coming down from heaven and he so big that John says he's close with a cloud, and there's a rainbow around his head and his face is like the sun, his feet and his legs are like pillars of fire and the Landry stance is too small for him. It says he has his right foot upon the sea and his left foot upon the land, and when he speaks.
John says it sounds like a lion roaring and is at the volume of seven thunder in Revelation 12 729. There is a terrible battle raging in heaven, Michael, whom the Scripture calls the art angel. He's the only chief angel in Scripture and his angels. Michael's angels are fighting with Satan that great Dragon and his angels, and the battle rages in the Scripture gives us just a glimpse of what will be going on in the spirit world at that time, a most terrible battle between creatures of sheer power and glory and cunning. The only pure that the ones purely righteous and the other purely evil and just, you know, our side wins that battle and Satan is cast out from heaven on the earth by Michael and his forces and then we turn to Revelation 20 and we find that a single angel. He's not even named a single angel comes down from heaven, holding an immense chain and a key in his hand and that single angel wraps that chain around the devil, that great serpent of old, and drags him down to the abyss and a display of awesome terrible power and judgment.
Do you see why angels have a right to be offended when we make them these fluffy un-offending creatures.
I mean, there's a good reason for the fact that almost every time an angel appears to an individual or group of people. The first word you read in Scripture are. Don't be afraid. It's okay.
We're here for good purposes, and yet angels are remarkably versatile creatures.
They can wage cosmic battles in the heavens, and they can appear to God's children to stop the mouths of lions to deliver in the fiery furnace to bring answer to prayer to announce the salvation of God's people, especially through the birth of unique children to give hope and comfort. Teresa leased the Lord's people from prison to keep people from harm and danger at all. These ministries are ministries that angels have in the holy Scriptures, but quickly I want to add a few more descriptive details. Not only are the angels described a powerful as powerful spirit creatures in the word of God but they are also individually created by God because Jesus himself says that angels do not marry. That means they're not born there all uniquely created in the Bible says that angels are a little higher than humans. Psalm 845 says, what is man that you are mindful of him, for you have made him a little lower than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor.
In other words, regardless of what the evolutionists want us to believe our closest cousins in the created order are not in the animal kingdom, but in the heavenly realm. We are created a little lower than the angels which means that we are light years higher than the apes. Most of us anyway. But that means that we share something with the angels in terms of our service to God. At the end of Revelation. Revelation 22. Nine. John is so overwhelmed with all he has seen in all the angel has shown him and he falls down at the feet of this angel, and begins to worship him. And the angel says stop don't do that. He says I am a servant of God just like you are worship God.
He tells him being created a little lower than the angels, means that we share with the angels the ability and privilege of worshiping our creator together. I must also mention that angels are holy, though some are fallen Jews do six talks about the fact that some angels did not keep their first estate of holiness, and they send in their life.
They left their habitation, and God is reserving them in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. There were angels living in rebellion. We heard about them last Wednesday will never know they will never know the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Because God for righteous and wise purposes will never understand that we will never understand has not extended to them the possibility of redemption. In fact, Peter says in first Peter 112 that the gospel contains things the gospel contains things which angels desire to look into in the ideas, but they can't. They don't understand experientially because they will never experience what we who believe in Christ know so well, the depth of our depravity and the forgiveness for our sins to the blood of Jesus Christ because for those angels who remain holy. They are unfallen creatures with unfallen wills and unfallen minds, and that leads me to a second simple question about angels so what do angels like this do with themselves. Most people think it is floating around, playing harps, but as we seen already. Angels actually seem rather busy. What are they busy doing well first of all, they praise and glorify God. I've Artie refer to this from Revelation chapter 5 were countless numbers of angels are worshiping around the throne. Think about that all of that power. All the energy I millions of them all that power all the energy all of that intelligence.
All of that resourcefulness. All that brilliance.
All of that majesty focused upon one object. The worship of the Lamb of God, angels worship God. They obediently serve God.
Psalm 103 verse 20 says bless the Lord, he has angels that excel in strength to do his commandments, harkening under the voice of the Lord when Jesus was being led away from the garden and Peter decided to be the hero and take up his sword.
The Lord rebuked him.
He said Peter put that thing away. Don't you know that I could pray to the father right this very instance and he would send me 12 legions of angels. That's about 70,000 angels. That would be there on the spot if God commanded angels perfectly proclaim the glory of God. They perfectly obey the voice of God. And that's why think it's so amazing. Something else that angels do they minister to believers. They minister to believers, not Psalm 9111 says for he shall give his angels charge over the to keep the in all thy ways.
They shall bear the up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against the stone. Most of us recognize this passage because Satan tries to use against Jesus and the temptation he quotes this verse to try to trick Jesus into doing something. The angels will save him from but this is a promise by God to his people and we need to redeem it from the lips of the devil and apply. It's where God intends God sends angels to minister to us.
He was 114 tells us the same thing about angels and actually states it as if we should already know are angels not ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. They are sent to God for us.
They rescue from Sodom. They rescue Peter from prison to keep hungry lions away. They keep men from Brent being burned alive. They minister to believers in death. They carry Lazarus to Abraham's bosom. We shouldn't be surprised to discover multiple ways angels actually help us.
We don't even know it till one day when I was going home from Bob's University is a freshman this would've been like in 1989 I was going home at Christmas time and I was I was going to the mountains of North Carolina heading up 70 to try to get to 75 so I get up to Detroit, Michigan and I noticed there was smoke coming out from under the code of the car and so I pulled over and we were taking home a girl that we just met that day just to be nice to her because he needed a ride and my sister was in the backseat. Nothing. My other sister was two and so I open the hood and the engine is on fire while being a good manager of a car.
I decided to check the oil before I left, but being the person that I am, I forgot to put the oil cap back on and so oil was spilling into the engine and it caught on fire by that point I said I think you should probably get out of the car and also they were scrambling out and beef and I turned and there was a man standing there with a gallon of water. He said I was keep one of these and on hand for an emergency, but I had a go security takers have a good day.
Before I knew it he was gone and I was pouring water in the engine and dousing the flames now number one God doesn't need angels to help his servants. Nothing more could of been going going on in that instance except God's providence and knowing that I and absent-minded person needed help that day, but I've always wondered ever since then, whether or not it was actually one of God's angelic servants who rescued us that day, if you have a story like that. By the way Rick get a lot of it would be fascinating to share some of the stories I knew a pastor several years ago. Some of you know him. Also this morning I knew him just a little bit in the Lord took him home not too long ago just a few years ago and the Lord gave wisdom and grace in his life right to the end of his death in one of the church members wrote about the fact that the week his faithful pastor died in the hospital room. His wife was having all these conversations with him in which he was fixated on brightly arrayed men standing in the room when there was nobody there, and he told her weekly in his weak states because his strength was a siding that there were 12 of them. He would count them with his hand and a couple days later he said there were five and he was animated by this in his last hours he was trying to describe this and he said there were colors he had never seen and he said he heard music that he had never heard in his family said that one of his last words was simply and he passed from this world and was guided to the arms of the Savior you say is that true. Did he really see all of that. If you're all that I don't know I wasn't there but from what I know the Bible says about the unseen world the real world.
We shouldn't be surprised, but there should be a longing in us to know fully what right now we only know in parts one final simple question why does this even matter. Why does it matter I mean this is all very amazing and it's it's it's intriguing to us and it returns our minds on that to really think about the possibility but doesn't mean anything to us right now. I think it does in here are three quick thoughts. In closing, first of all, angels demonstrate God's love for us and I think they do this in multiple ways with tears at least two first because God cares enough about us to keep a watch over us with these amazing spirits creatures. I don't know if everybody has an angel, a guardian angel. The Bible is in clear on this, Wayne Prudhomme, who the theologian says he's not sure if angels play man to man. He thinks rather the use of zone defense. In other words, one angel can take care of a lot of different people at one time. Almost all of us may need more and want more than one of them. My wife is set for years that she thinks I have a whole team of angels managing me to get through life. But how precious must we be to our heavenly father that he gives this much care and attention to us. Of course, the supreme expression of God's love for us. Romans 58 is that Christ died for us even though we were yet sinners, but even this is another reason that angels highlight God's love through us because angels never will know what we have experienced by the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Angels remind us how much God loves us angels demonstrate God's love for us.
They exemplify faithful obedience also. They exemplify faithful beans their examples to us to know how we struggle to obey God and be faithful to him. Sometimes because we think our time is so valuable in our gifts are so important that we need to spend our time and our talents doing what seems good to us, not angels. They perfectly follow the will of the father. They have amazing resources. We will never comprehend in this life. What they are and what they have and yet each of them. Each of them exists for one purpose only to worship and serve the King of the universe.
That's an example to us. And finally, I want to end with this thought which I think is transformative for the way we worship the Lord.
Angels worship alongside believers. You know that is true.
In fact, if you want flip over the river quickly in Hebrews chapter 12 starting in verse 22. In this text, God pulls back the curtain and shows us what is really going on. When we worship as the people of God.
It might not be apparent to us. We might see only a sanctuary and acquirers in the baptistery in an organ and a piano upfront. But God says no. There's something much more profound than meets the eye. You are really coming to it says here Mount Zion and out of the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem to an innumerable company of angels to the general assembly of the church of the firstborn as the rest of the congregation which are written in heaven to the God who is the judge of all, to the spirits of the just men made perfect, those are saints of God worshiping the Lord who are already in heaven were worshiping with them to and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant who welcomes us because of the new covenant to come.
We are we are welcome their people along there were at home.
There because of Jesus Christ. You see, when we engage in worship when when you give your heart to the Lord during that time. There is so much more going on than you imagine. We worship with angels, and that is a wonderful note and on because just as we serve our creator together went with angels. We also worship our creator together with angels. Think about how magnificent they are.
Think about their sheer power their stunning brilliance there on earthly intelligence, how glorious it will be one day when we see them. And yet, the writer of Hebrews says when he brings the first begotten son into the world.
He says let all the angels of God worship him and of the angels.
He says to make it his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire there just servants, but under the sun.
He Seth thy throne of God is forever and ever. Angels are amazing spirit creatures inasmuch as we know about them in the word of God.
They are still a mystery to us, but angels are nothing in comparison with the one who bought us with his blood, the one who we worship, and so let us not worship angels, but let Angels remind us of how little we yet know about the world God has given to us and let us join the angels in serving and loving and worshiping the son of God.
Father were grateful that you open the curtain and shown us this wonderful mystery we use in our lives we pray Christ you been listening to Dr. Greg strikes English and tomorrow is we continue the series of our ancient foe on The Daily Platform