Believe It or Not? Part 5 – Do Angels Exist?: Transcript




MAY 2, 1999


Well, over the last decade we have been bombarded by angels, haven’t we?  Movies have been made featuring them.  Television sitcoms are centered around them.  Shelves sag at bookstores about them.  Think about it.  There is angel jewelry, angel clothing, angel athletic teams, angel food cake and even angel hair pasta.  I think you can say it is hip to talk about these heavenly beings.




MAY 2, 1999


Well, over the last decade we have been bombarded by angels, haven’t we?  Movies have been made featuring them.  Television sitcoms are centered around them.  Shelves sag at bookstores about them.  Think about it.  There is angel jewelry, angel clothing, angel athletic teams, angel food cake and even angel hair pasta.  I think you can say it is hip to talk about these heavenly beings.

Most of us when we think about angels have images of rosy-cheeked cherubs hovering happily over our lives while saving us from various tragedies and calamities.  Hollywood, though, paints a different picture.  Let us show you a brief clip on the side screens from the movie MICHAEL.

Movie Clip

Well, sometimes the media paints angels as creatures who drink, swear and procreate.  Obviously, this is not what the Bible says about angels.  I run into some people, though, who don’t buy this package at all.  Some say, “Ángels, heavenly beings helping out human beings, give me a break.  What a reach.  I don’t buy that.”  Billy Graham in his book ANGELS tells the story of a celebrated urologist, Dr. S. W. Mitchell.  Mitchell was asleep one night after an exhausting day.  He was awakened by a faint knock at his door.  He opened it and saw a poorly dressed little girl who was visibly upset.  The girl said, “Dr. Mitchell, my mother is desperately ill.  Follow me.”  Mitchell, who was puzzled, grabbed a warm coat and followed this young girl through the snowy, wet and cold night to her mother who, indeed, was desperately ill.  Dr. Mitchell arranged for medical care.  While he was doing so, he complimented the little girl’s intelligence and persistence to her mom.  The sick woman looked at Dr. Mitchell in an odd way and said, “Dr. Mitchell, my daughter died a month ago.”  Mitchell couldn’t believe his ears.  She continued, “Just go to the closet and you will find her coat and shoes.”  The physician walked over to the closet, opened the door and touched the coat that was warm and the shoes that were dry.  Mitchell said to himself that there was no way the items could have been worn on that cold and snowy night.

Do angels exist?  Are they a reach?  Consider the account of the family of four who were vacationing near Big Bear Lake in California.  They had made a little campsite and the father had snapped some pictures of the kids.  He had taken his Bible out and read a couple of passages and prayed a brief prayer of protection.  Suddenly, though, some motorcyclists sped into camp, wielding guns and demanding valuables.  While the family was getting ready to hand over their money and other stuff, the guys turned, jumped on their bikes and left the scene as quickly as they had arrived.  A couple of days later when the father had gotten the pictures developed, he realized why the men had left so rapidly.  There hovering over his family, right above the campfire was an angelic looking creature.

Are angels real?  Do they exist?  Are they a reach?

Missionary John Paten tells a thrilling story of the protective-like nature of angels.  He says that one night a bunch of hostile natives were surrounding his mission with the intent to burn it to the ground and kill him and his wife.  Paten said that he and his wife stayed up praying all night and when the sun rose the next morning the natives were gone.  A year later the chief of the tribe converted to Christianity.  Paten asked him why he had not burned the mission down and taken their lives that night.  The chief looked at him, smiled and said that there were hundreds of big guys, dressed in white, wielding swords.  Paten realized that God had dispatched His protective angels to keep them from this horrible, potential disaster.  Do angels exist?  Are they a reach?

The Bible says that those of us who know Christ personally will hang with these creatures throughout eternity in heaven.  I think we ought to know a little bit about them.  I believe that after today’s message, once we understand the role and the power and the strength and the ability of these creatures, it will motivate us to deepen our walk and our fellowship with God.  It will motivate us to know Christ, I believe, in a more intimate way because of what these creatures do and what they are about.

The Bible, though, does not give us some super detailed description of angels.  If you are looking for that, you won’t find it.  I do want to run down a Biblical resume of what angels do.  Angels, we have to understand, are created beings.  They are made, fashioned by God, Himself.  We do not become angels when we die.  Their numbers remain constant.  Angels do not procreate.  I hope you understood all of those things that I just said.  We don’t grow wings one day and flutter around checking out people’s lives.  That doesn’t happen.  Angels were fashioned by God.

Angels have personalities.  They can communicate.  They are creatures of volition.  They even show emotion.  The Bible says when a person does a 180 and bows the knee to Christ, when one man or woman receives Jesus, the angels have a heavenly hoedown.  I like that.  They throw a party.  They are poised for a party.  They are waiting for maybe you or you or you to come to Christ.  Angels are created beings.

Angels are also arranged in a specific order.  There is a flowchart.  Michael is the archangel, the leader.  Gabriel is the head messenger.  The seraphim worship above the throne.  The cherubim worship around the throne.  Angels are created.  Angels are arranged.

Now let’s get personal with this content.  How do we get a true angle on angels?  If we are going to leave this place with an angel on angels, we have to do several things.  First of all, we have to become keenly aware of their presence without obsessing.  A lot of people go gaga over angels, a lot of people obsess over them.  Hebrews 1:14 says this.  “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”  I will never forget what happened awhile back.  I was boarding a plane.  While I was walking down the narrow, claustrophobic aisle, I saw a businessman reading a magazine article about a celebrity.  Then I glanced at the gentleman sitting in the row in front of him and it was the very celebrity that he was reading about.  Yet the businessman was clueless.  He had no idea that the man he was reading about was right in front of him.  I thought that was funny.  I thought this guy would totally freak out if he knew who was sitting in front of him.  Then I wondered how many times I had picked up the Bible and read about angels, but was clueless.  I had no idea that they were all around, that they were sitting right in front of me, hanging out.

Angels are real.  Angels do exist.  Our eyes, ladies and gentlemen, aren’t made to see angels anymore than they are made to see the dimensions of a nuclear field, the makeup of an atom or electricity.  It is not going to happen in this life.  Yet, as we talked about last week, there is a tissue-like veil separating this existence from the next existence.  There is a whole other world out there that we don’t see.  It is sometimes hard for us to grasp because we are so physical, so limited, so finite and the other world is supernatural, eternal.

In Matthew 18:10, Jesus talks about children.  And He concludes with these words.  “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones.  For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”  This gives a pretty strong argument for the fact that God assigns an angel to your life and mine the moment we were born.  I love II Kings 6.  I love the life of Elisha because Elisha was a man of faith.  God allowed Elisha to see things that other human beings often don’t see until they hit the golden streets of heaven.  One day Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the advancing Syrian army.  Elisha was calm, cool and collected, probably sipping a latte or something.  His servant needed to take a chill pill.  The guy was going nuts because he saw the shields and swords of this advancing army shimmering in the morning sunlight.  He questioned what were they to do in this terrible situation.  And here is what Elisha said, “God, open his eyes so he may see the way You see.”  And II Kings 6 says that suddenly the scales fell off of the servant’s eyes and he saw horses and chariots of fire.  He saw all of these angelic beings protecting Elisha and himself from the advancing army.

Are you obsessing over angels or are you aware of their presence?  A lot of people have angelitis.  Oh, this angel and that angel.    The Bible says that we are only to know what scripture records.  We are not to go down this road or that road.  We are to take scripture, understand it, apply it, dissect it, receive it and stop there.  There are things about angels that we cannot comprehend, that we cannot get, that our minds would blow a fuse if we understood.  When angels appeared on the scene in the Bible, they never said, “Whoa, OK, I am an angel, worship me, look at my muscles, look at me….”  They didn’t do that.  Angels were made to give worship, not get worship.  You are not going to find people trying to chase down angels in the Bible.  Yeah, it blew people away when they saw them, but the angels always pointed the people to God.  They have a three-fold purpose, remember; to worship God, to serve as our caretakers and to deliver messages.

My parents did something different for my birthday.  They sent my gift UPS.  They sent me a shirt.  And usually when they buy me things, they are too big or too small.  You know what I am talking about?  Well, when the UPS man delivered the package with the shirt that was too big, I didn’t say, “Mr. UPS, thank you so very much, man.  I just want to bow before you.  You are incredible.  Thank you, UPS.”  I didn’t do that.  I picked my phone up, dialed long distance and said, “Mom, Dad, thank you so very much for this shirt.”  My mother said, “Oh, Ed, does it fit?”  I said, “No, Mom, it is too big.”  “Well I thought it might be a little big when I held it up in the store.”  I said, “Don’t worry, I will take it back.”

When we go gaga over angels, when we try to chase them down and worship them, we are doing the UPS thing.  We are worshipping the deliverer rather than the giver, rather than the source.  Don’t do it.  Don’t fall into the trap.  It will take you away from what God wants you to do and to be.  It will distract you from expressing your gratitude to Him, worshipping Him.  So angels have incredible abilities, but they are instruments of God.  Become aware of their presence without obsessing.

Another thing I will tell you to do.  Understand their high-octane power.  Psalm 91:11-12.  “For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all of your ways…”  Not in some of your ways, but in all of your ways.  “…They will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”  See the word guard?  That is a big time word.

When I was in college, my father was speaking in a national convention along with the Vice President.  He was kind enough to take me backstage and I got to meet this man, to shake his hand.  And I was just astonished at the number of Secret Service agents, men and women, who were around him.  And their whole deal was just to protect this human being.  The Secret Service pales in comparison to the protective agents that you and I have in our lives.  Talk about people, personalities, who are otherworldly, you have got to say that when you talk about angels.

Some may say, what about what happened at Columbine High School?  Did the angels miss blocks and tackles?  What was the deal there?  Well, you have to understand something.  We live in a fallen world, a sin stained world.  Satan used to be the head angel.  He was called Lucifer, the Star of the Morning.  The scripture says that one day Lucifer began to read his press clippings and he tried to do a cosmic coup-d’etet to usurp God from His throne.  He convinced a third of the heavenly beings to get in on this deal.  It didn’t work.  He was kicked out of heaven and Lucifer fell to earth, along with a third of the angelic host.  Now Satan and his demons are wrecking havoc on the purposes and plans of God.  Don’t ever think that Satan is not strong.  He is diabolical and brilliant, the liar and the father of lies.  Jesus exposed him in John 10 when He said that the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy.  That sounds a lot like the tragedy in Colorado, doesn’t it?

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were oppressed by demonic forces.  You can phschobobble about their lives, you can talk about this and that but the bottom line is, they were controlled by the evil one.  He comes to steal, kill and destroy from your marriage, from your children, from your time, from your life.  Many of those students knew Christ personally and right now they are in heaven.  What if we could bring them all back, those believers, and parade them across stage.  Do you think any of them would say that they wanted to spend some more time on this insane planet?  No, they wouldn’t.  They would want us to realize how incredible it is up in heaven.

We don’t always understand God.  We sometimes think that God owes us an explanation.  God doesn’t.  God is God.  God cannot always be understood.  The Bible says that His ways are higher than our ways.  Yet, God can always be trusted.  He really, really can.  But we have to go back to the fact that angels have high-octane power.  It is a miracle that only 13 died instead of 513.

I really believe that when we get to heaven we will have a bunch of times when we will say, “Oh, wow, oh, wow, oh, wow.”  I think that we will just “oh, wow” ourselves for a long, long time.  “Oh, wow, I didn’t realize, Lord, that You dispatched angels to keep me from that accident.”  “Oh, wow, Lord, I didn’t realize that you had angels around me to keep the flame from going down.”  “Oh, wow, Lord, I didn’t realize that you kept this temptation, this weakness from being disclosed to the evil one.  Oh, wow.”

Six years ago we took a men’s retreat to Port O’Connor, TX.  How many of you have ever been to Port O’Connor, TX before?  It is a beautiful spot, great fishing.  That’s it?  Man, you are missing a treat.  I have never been to Disney World, but there is no way Disney World can touch Port O’Connor, TX.  Anyway, a bunch of us were packed into a van.  We were driving through the tiny streets of Port O’Connor, speed limit 20 mph.  There were sand dunes about 8 feet high on either side of the road.  We were talking and having a good time.  Now, there were a lot of key leaders of the Fellowship Church in this van.  We stopped at a stop sign and hesitated just for a second before we started cruising.  And, friends, a pickup truck going at least 70 mph came out of nowhere right for our van.  The guy driving the van, Roy Durett, miraculously kind of moved the wheel a little bit, the truck just clipped the front of the van and spun it around and kept on going.  Those guys were later apprehended and it was discovered that they were on dope and had long criminal records.  We all got out of the van and had a prayer.  One of the guys gave me a line I will never forget.  “Just think, Ed, almost a goner in Port O’Connor.”  You could tell, we had some spiritual giants on that trip.

If we would have been a nanosecond earlier, I would not have been here, and the majority of our leadership team would not be here.  And I sincerely believe that God dispatched angels to protect us.  So I think that we are going to have a lot of those “oh, wow” moments occurring once we see and understand the whole realm and ramifications of this life and the protectiveness of angels.

There is something else, though, that we need to do.  I think we have to acknowledge angel’s surveillance ability.  We think that we have plenty of high tech surveillance contraptions these days.  Well, that is good, but these mechanisms that we have today are archaic compared to what is going on now.  Talk about your words and your attitudes and your actions; talk about them being on display.  Here is what the Bible says.  I Corinthians 4:9.  “We have been made a spectacle…”  I mean 24-7.  This word spectacle means arena.  Sports were big during Biblical times and the Apostle Paul was saying that when sports occur in a big arena, everybody is watching.  But he is saying also that we have been made a spectacle to angels as well as to men.  How many of you have seen the movie City Of Angels?  I love this part of the movie.  Check the side screens.

This movie is obviously not Biblically accurate but I thought the scene of the surveillance capability of angels was pretty powerful stuff.   They are watching.

If our lives are a spectacle, if they are in an arena, if the heavenly hosts are checking out our conversations, our thoughts, our attitudes, our actions, that should give us great motivation, shouldn’t it, to walk and talk and live our lives on the level that the Lord wants them lived on.  How would you treat your wife, your husband, if you knew the angels were right there hanging on your every word?  How would you act tomorrow morning in the business transaction if you knew the beings were right there beside you?  How about the places you go, the books your read, the movies you see, the videos you rent, the web sites you access?  This should give me, give you, a great motivation to live a life of purity and holiness.  I am not talking about some legalistic thing.  We should live this life because our lives and everything we do and say should be an act of worship to God.  As I have said before, worship does not just take place for an hour and a half on a weekend, or during our First Wednesday when we sing, “I love you Lord.”  That is part of worship.  But worship has to transcend every venue of your life and mine.  We can’t compartmentalize the deal.  It should be in everything we do.

Well, the Bible even gets more specific talking about their surveillance capabilities.  Hebrews 13:2 says that sometimes we have entertained angels without even knowing it.  That should motivate me to practice extravagant hospitality.  The Bible says in I Peter 4 that we are commanded to be hospitable people.  We are to welcome people into our apartments, into our condos, into our homes.  We are to receive them with open arms.  Why?  Because people matter to God.  Why?  Because we could be introducing and talking to an angel.  It should also motivate me to become a man of prayer.  Don’t you think so?  Think about it.  My prayers and my yearnings to God can motivate and move angels only on God’s behalf, to move and protect His purposes and His plans for our lives.  That is thrilling stuff.

So it has been my prayer all week that this talk on angels would really do a work, would really cause us to have a great degree of confidence in our God who is concerned about us enough to have these heavenly beings around.  Angels.  Do they exist?  Are they a reach?  You be the judge.