The Fruit on the Tree

October 23, 1999

10/24/99
Saved as c:\dutton\sermons\angels\Angel #05 and on Zip #1
P.M. Services – Touched by an Angel (Part 5) – “The Fruit on the Tree”

Introduction:
1. Well, this is the last of our series entitled “Touched by an Angel”
- I hope the series has been helpful to you
- Most of all I trust that Jesus Christ has been exalted and glorified and that the series has helped us to accomplish our purpose!
2. The purpose of our study of angels (as it is with any study): To learn ways we can more effectively glorify God by being more like His Son, Jesus Christ!
3. Before we begin, let’s do a quick review – DO THIS BY ASKING QUESTIONS [INPUT]
Q:  What are angels and what does the word mean?
- spirit beings created by God
- messengers
Q:  What was the nature of angels in the beginning (at creation)
*  all of which were originally good
Q:   What do angels do?
- Hebrews 1:14 calls them “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.”
A. Continually praising and glorifying God.
B.  Announce and forewarn
C.  Guide and instruct
*  Now that we have the completed Scriptures there is no need for this.—we have been given “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3)
D.  Minister to believers.
E.  Assist in judgment.
Q:  What is one activity that the good angels are constantly involved in?
- Worship
Q:  What influence does their worship have on other created beings?
Q:  We have freedom in our worship to what two things in response to our worship?
- express JOY & THANKFULNESS!
Q:  What was the cause of Satan’s rebellion against God?
- The cause of the rebellion – PRIDE
Q:  What two passages give us the most lengthy and detailed version of Satan’s fall?
• Ezek. 28 points more toward Satan’s original state (condition) leading up to his fall
• Isaiah 14 seems to focus on Satan’s inward rebellion that caused the fall
Q:  What was the major result of Satan’s fall?
Q:  What is the Current condition and Future Status of Satan and his fellow fallen angels?
- some were bound into hell – 2 Peter 2
- some are allowed certain “freedoms”
Q:  In relationship to unsaved men/women and to the Christians, what is Satan doing and how much power does he have?
4. I want to complete our study tonight and then leave some time for Questions at the end
5. Two weeks ago we talked about “What Angels Do Best” – the theme of that study was WORSHIP
- We have something to learn from how the angels worship
6. But there is another good lesson we can learn from angels – i.e. the joy of OBEYING God
- The angels in their obedient service to God, their Creator, are as intense as the flames of a fire and as quick as the wind.  Angels are just as good at the WORK God gives them as they are at WORSHIP God requires of them!
  I.  What is the result of all the worship that the angels do? (in other words, what is the fruit of their worship, what is the result of “always beholding the face of the Father”?
- that could be summarize with one key word:  OBEDIENCE!
- let’s look at four characteristics of their work for God and then think about what we can learn from the angels that will help us to be more effective servants for Jesus Christ
A.  Angels are dependable – God can count on them!
- There is no sloppy workman ship or laziness or neglect on their part – they will do exactly what they are assigned to do!
• Psalm 103:20 Bless the LORD, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, OBEYING the voice of His word!
”Angels get so absorbed in their work that even their appearance is governed by their assignment.  Depending on the task God gives them in serving us, they may remain invisible to our eyes, or appear in ordinary human form, or take on some more glorious aspect.  Their form – what they are—depends on their function—what they do.  As J.M. Wilson says, “In general, they are simply regarded as embodiments of their mission.” -- Jeremiah
- Let’s go back to Hebrews 1:14 – we can draw truth and implications about angelic work from every phrase
a) The angels are sent forth (they’re on assignments)
b) They’re sent forth to minister (that means service, and service means work)
c) All angels are sent forth (i.e. they all have to do God’s bidding – no unions to mandate a day off!)
d) They go only to those who will inherit salvation (their labor benefits us!)
• Psalm 34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.
Point:  Angels are dependable in their obedience! – they get the job done
- Secondly,
A. Angels will do a wide variety of tasks and they don’t have to be told twice!
- Angels get different instructions for different people in different circumstances
- For example:
1) The angels appearing to Daniel told him to “seal up” the vision and prophetic words he’d been given (Daniel 8:26)
- Because “it concerns the distant future.”
2) In Revelation, the angle speaking with John specifically told him, “Do NOT seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because time is near (Rev. 22:10)
- Point:  Not doubt that angels have to be careful to follow their instructions exactly
- Thirdly
C.  Angels are trustworthy messengers!
- In the 20th century – you can “take what they say to the bank”
For example:
1) Luke 2 – the shepherds went to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus, and they found everything “just as they had been told” (Luke 2:20)
Q:  Who had given the shepherds such an accurate picture of what to expect?  -- it was an angel
Note:  Our angel on the roof for the Living Nativity not only has to be trustworthy, but a ‘real man! – he can freeze his “wings” off up there!
2) The angel tells John in Revelation, “These are the true words of God” (19:9) and “These words are trustworthy and true” (22:6)
3) In Revelation 7:3-4, angels put a seal” on the foreheads of the servants of our god,” and this seal marks believers as belonging to the Lord
- This is in contrast to the “mark of the beast” worn by those who belong to the devil (13:16-17)
- while we wont’ be are part of that event [we’ll be in heaven], the believers of that day will rejoice in the truth that the angels will be accurate and thorough in this service
 Wouldn’t you hate to be a believer whom the angels inadvertently forgot to seal that day?
 Or what if they used the wrong seat (mislabeled! – opps!)
Point:  Whatever God instructs them to say, they do it – they can be trusted!
-Finally,
D.  Angels are faithful because God is faithful!
- The angels are faithful at work because they see the faithfulness of god in His work!
ILL:  Ethan – the Ezrahite!
- He is likely the same Ethan appointed by Solomon’s father, David, as one of the leaders among the temple musicians (1 Chron. 15:19)
- Part of his job in the celebration at the house of the Lord was to “sound the bronze cymbals”
- He’s also the author of Psalm 89
- Ethan says that God’s “faithfulness too” is praised “in the assembly of the holy one.”
- Right after this statement, he adds:
• Psalm 89:8 O LORD God of hosts, who is like Thee, O mighty LORD? Thy faithfulness also surrounds Thee.
- Ethan knew that the angels are faithful to do the work of God because God is FAITHFUL!
Q:  What can we learn from all this?


II.  What are the implications/lessons for us to learn from this whole study?


A.  We should learn from the obedience of the angels (good ones, of course)
1. We should be DEPENDABLE in our obedience
- If they are dependable without redemption, how much more should we be dependable since we have been “washed in the blood of the Lamb”
- We understand that “where sin abounded, grace abounded more”
- “Dependability” = fulfilling what I have consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice!
- Q:  Can God count on you to do the job He’s asked you to do?
• Parenting implications – Eph. 6:4 “bring them up in the teaching & discipline of the Lord”
• Marriage implications – Eph. 5:25 “Husbands love your wives”; Eph. 5:23 “wives submit yourselves to your husbands”, reverence them (5:33)
• Children implications:  Eph. 6:1-2
• Giving implications:  “Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is”
• Other implications . . .
>  (KJV) Proverbs 25:19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
2. We should serve NO MATTER WHAT JOB we are asked to perform!
- it’s so easy to be all front yard, but no back porch – to want to be up front, but not behind the scenes
ILL:  Asking a person to clean the bathrooms – “I don’t do bathrooms” – then you forfeit the right to serve in any position!
ILL:  As a lead counselor at the Wilds, we had to do the trash run on Friday – that was a NO GLORY job – on purpose! – tell about Wig and me when the bag broke!
Point:  Servants aren’t selective – “I’ll do that job, but not that one because ___________”
-  Jesus was not that way at all – neither should we be selective!
• Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
3. We should be TRUSTWORTHY in our lives
- In our speech, commitments, and our life for God
- We shouldn’t be “double-tongued” (say one thing and then do another)
- When we tell someone something, it ought to be the truth -- Especially regarding salvation!
4. We should be FAITHFUL because we recognize God’s faithfulness.
-  Quote the words to “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”
Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not:
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand has provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto me.
 Q:  Are you being faithful to God?
 Q:  In what ways have you not been faithful and God’s been trying to point that out to you today? 
Note: There’s hope – where there is confession and repentance – there is forgiveness and cleansing and restoration!
• Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
• 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
B.  Some other lessons to learn from this series
1.  It’s a comfort to know we have powerful, unseen helpers.
cf. 2 Kings 6:17
2.  We ought to follow their example of praise and worship of God.
- But we ought to do so more.  We have been redeemed!
• Rev 14:1 And I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. 3 And they *sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.
3. It ought to sober us because some of them fell and we ought to “take heed lest (we) fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).
- we should be alert and watchful because our adversary, the devil, walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour!
4.  We ought to thank God for the privilege no angel has:  Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ!
• 2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Conclusion:
Q & A!


Note:  See Angels #6 for additional material and comments (not to be printed on the web)


 Additional material next time I do this series:
 Note: Split up the session on “Hell’s Angels” – too much info for one message!
I.  Who are these angels doing God’s work?
B.  Most angels are unnamed.
- There are a few notable exceptions:
1.  Michael — The archangel, commander of the angelic army.
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.
2.  Gabriel — the chief messenger angel
Dan 8:15-17  16 And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, "Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision." 17 So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end."
-  Gabriel also appeared to Zechariah and Elizabeth, and Mary
3.  Lucifer/Satan (multiple “names” and/or titles)
- We studied the origin and fall of Satan last week
- cf. Isa. 14; Eze. 28
B.  Angels have various general names/descriptions
1.  Sons of God (Elohim)
• Job 1:6 “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among “them.
2.  Holy ones
• Psa. 89:5 And the heavens will praise Thy wonders, O LORD; Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.

3.  Watchers
• Dan. 4:13 'I was looking in the visions in my mind as I lay on my bed, and behold, an angelic watcher, a holy one, descended from heaven.
4.  Council
• Psa 89:7 A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him?
5.  The assembly
• Psa 89:5 And the heavens will praise Thy wonders, O LORD; Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
6.  Host or hosts
• Luke 2:13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
-  “Lord of hosts” which means simply Lord of armies
7.  Spirits
• Heb. 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
8.  Principalities, powers, thrones, dominions, and authorities
• Col. 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him.


II.  Who was the angel of the Lord?


- 69 times the Scripture refers to this angel, also called the angel of God.
- At times the Scripture seems to indicate this angel is the Lord Himself, at other times one of His messengers.  Which is it?
- Three main views exist about this angel (Erickson):
A.  An angel with a special commission
- Those who hold to this position point to the passages where the Lord and the angel of the Lord are distinguished.
• Gen 16:11: “The angel of the LORD said to her further, "Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.”
B.  A theophany (appearance of God in human form)
- Far more biblical scholars hold to this view than to the view that this is merely an angel with a special commission.
- Several Scriptures indicate this angel was much more than a mere angel:
• Gen 31:11 "Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob,' and I said, 'Here I am.' 12 "And he said, 'Lift up, now, your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 'I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.' "
• Exo 3:2-6 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.  3 So Moses said, "I must turn aside now, and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up." 4 When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." 5 Then He said, "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." 6 He said also, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
cf. The three men coming to see Abraham in Gen. 18.  One of them was the LORD.
- Some scholars have reconciled the distinction from the Lord and the identification as the Lord in this way.  They believe that the angel of the Lord was really...
C.  A Christophany (a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ)
- The rationale for this view is as follows:
1) The angel of the Lord is distinct from the Lord Himself as seen in Gen. 16:11 (Hagar). 
2) Yet the angel of the Lord elsewhere is clearly God Himself. 
3) Therefore, what you have is Person Who is God Who is distinct from God.  This can only be explained, so the view goes, by equating the angel of the Lord with the Logos, the pre-incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.
“He [the angel of the Lord] introduced Himself as the Deity, and yet as distinct from God” (G.B. Funderburk, “Angel”, in ZPEB, vol. 1, p. 162).
- Others explain the apparent problem this way: 
“Where there are apparent distinctions between God and the angel of the Lord, God is referring to himself in third-person fashion” (Erickson, p. 443).
- Whichever it is (and I’m not sure, though I lean toward the Christophany) . . . :
Point:   Isn’t it wonderful that we have a God who was interested enough in His creation to appear as a man and communicate His will in a way that man could understand.
- God didn’t have to appear to Hagar or Jacob or Moses, BUT HE DID because He is intimately involved in the affairs of men and HE CARES. 
- He cared about poor Hagar and Ishmael who were thrown into the wilderness by an irate Sarah.
- He cared enough to communicate and He’s still the same God. 
- He still cares.  He cared enough to send His Son to die for us on the cross to redeem us and give us life.
• Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.