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Self-Examination: Is Your Christianity Performance-Based Or A Relationship With God?

Here is the 10 question self-examination test. Here we go.

1. Are you living your life as a duty rather than a privilege?

2. Do you feel a sense of accomplishment or earning God’s favor after doing something right?

3. Do you compare yourself to how other Christians are doing?

4. Outside of your designated time of prayer, do you go through the rest of the day without talking to the Lord?

5. Do you feel God loves you less when you backslide as a Christian?

6. Is it hard for you to say “no” when people expect you to do something?

7. Are you doing the right things with the wrong motivation?

8. Faithfulness is important to you, but do you fret or worry when you don’t see immediate results?

9. Do you sometimes question if praising God is a productive use of your time when you have others things to do?

10. Is knowing about God and the facts of the Bible more important to you than knowing God?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, than you have a performance-based mentality of your Christian life. You are not alone. If most people were honest, they would make the same conclusion about themselves. Dear reader, let me encourage you to reevaluate your thinking back to New Testament Christianity. You know what it is, enjoying the wonderful relationship with God.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Poem: The Christmas Story

Before God created the human race,

He planned to show his mercy and grace.

Sin resulted from mankind’s fall,

And God would offer salvation for all.

In Bethlehem, a virgin named Mary

Was chosen by God, the Savior to carry.

Emanuel, God with us, was born

Whom heavenly angels praised and adored.

At Calvary, up on a hillside,

Jesus suffered, bled and died.

Soon, was taken from off the cross,

And many thought it was their loss.

Hallelujah, Christ arose and gained

Sitting on the throne, He reigns.

The Christmas story is full of joy,

As long as we don’t forget God’s Son.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Satanic Misconceptions

Introduction: In 1984, Ronald Reagan jokingly said to his radio technicans on a sound check, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you that today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” When this sound check got leaked out, it put the Soviet Far East Army on high alert. Oops, that misconception made Russia react the wrong way! What about Satan? Do you have misconceptions about Satan that is hindering the way you are living?

One: Satan Doesn’t Exist

According to a Barna poll in 2009, nearly 60% of professing Christians in America agreed with the statement that Satan: “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.”

One time, I saw a teenager with a shirt that said, “Satan is not ugly who has two horns and a pitchfork. He is a beautiful angel.” When I saw that shirt, I thought to myself, “How tragic that he rejects one misconception to believe another misconception about the devil.”

Satan is not a made-up fiction character or a representation of evil, he is a real being.

Two: Satan Is Winning The War

It appears that evil is taking the upper-advantage. Understand though, that he is winning a lot of battles, but he lost the war.

John 12:31 says, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”

Jesus was talking about the cross in this surrounding passage. The devil thought he was winning when Jesus suffered, bled and died. He actually lost that day. It was verified at his resurrection.

Rev. 20:10 says, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

The devil doesn’t live in hell. Right now he is the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air. His sentencing day is coming. Good riddance when he is gone.

Three: Satan Isn’t Personally After Me

Look at the Scriptures and you’ll find that Satan personally attacked Eve, David, Job, Peter, Paul just to name a few. We might conclude that he’s only after influential and important Christians. I’ve got news for you, he’s personally interesting in taking your soul to hell. If you have never trusted Christ as your Savior, I plead with you to get saved today.
If you’re a Christian, he can’t get that, but he can ruin your testimony.

Paul is writing to the entire church in Ephesus. He says in Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”

This word place means “a foothold or opportunity, a chance to operate.” We can prevent the devil from working in our life, but we need to stop giving him the opprtunity to do so.

The devil can’t be everywhere. There is no need. He’s a general in charge of a bunch of demons and other people who can do his work for him. In essence, he can indirectly attack you without you being aware of it.

Four: Satan Is Okay To Like

We are told to like everybody and we should. It’s foolish thinking when it is applied to the devil. There is nothing to like about him. If you love God, you will hate the devil. The problem is when you don’t love Jesus the way you should, the devil becomes your buddy.

Five: Satan Is Responsible For Everything We Consider To Be Bad

The devil gets too much credit for things he never does:

“My T.V., car, church microphone, etc. is not working. It’s possessed.”

“He knows everything I think about.” Solomon says to God in 1 Kings 8:39 says, “thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men.” No doubt Satan can determine some of your thoughts based upon your actions, but he is not a mind-reader.

“The devil sometimes controls my thoughts.” Acts 5:1-3 says, “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart (Satan’s doing) to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou (his responsibility) conceived this thing in thine heart?” If Satan could plant those thoughts in our minds against our will, then we couldn’t be found guilty of thinking them.

“He is the cause of every temptation.” The Bible does say that Satan offers us temptations, but we are pretty good at providing our own temptations.

“Bad circumstances are of the devil.” Blaming every unpleasant situation on Satan ascribes near-sovereignty to him. Those who do this will undoubtedly end up labeling many of God’s actions as demonic.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Peace In The Middle East

Peace in the Middle East. That would be a joke if there really was? You could hear a comedian say something like this:

A Middle Eastern president was finally able to leave his palace. And what an emotional scene — on the way out high-fiving all those suicide bombers.

Hamas says they will no longer recognize Israel. We’ll of course they don’t recognize Israel, people keep blowing it up!

Does the Bible say there will be peace? Yes, one day in the future when Jesus establishes his kingdom.

Why should I be concerned about this issue? Because it has to do with the future of our country.

How does this relate to me personally? We’ll let’s find out by talking about three reasons why there is no peace in the Middle East.

One: Islam’s Dominance

After Islam’s founder, the prophet Muhammad died in 632, a disagreement arose over who should succeed him as leader of Islam. Two main factions arose, creating a rift that remains almost 14 centuries later.

The Shiites (she-ya) believe that Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali, was his rightful successor, and that Ali’s descendants are the true leaders of Islam. They are predominantly found in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and Azerbaijan.

The Sunnis (soo-ne) believe that Muhammad’s most pious companions were his rightful successors, and that the leaders of Islam may be chosen by consensus. Today, Sunnis make up the majority of Muslims today.

These two branches of Muslims are fighting against each other all the time, and everyone else who does not submit to Allah.

What are we doing to pray for them? Let us pray that God would send missionaries to convert them or they will come after us.

What are we doing with the Muslims around us? Talk to them about Jesus.

Two: Israel Is Hated

Jesus predicted the overthrow of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. This was fulfilled by the Romans led by General Titus.

Mt. 24:1-2 says, “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Luke 21:24 says, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

For all these centuries, the Jews have been hated by many people. We call this anti-Semitism. Some of these famous people have been Muhammad and Adolph Hitler. Their belief that Jews should be exterminated comes from their dealings with the Jews or influence from others.

After six million Jews had died during WWII, the United States Army began to liberate the concentration camps. General Dwight Eisenhower ordered: “So that we have the maximum documentation-make films, tape testimonies-because the day will come when some fool is going to stand up and say that none of this ever happened.”

Today we have many Muslims and others keeping the Holocaust from being taught to our children. They’re saying that’s it’s all a lie. It’s being taken out of school textbooks. Incredible but true.
Parents, would you teach your children that the holocaust was a reality?

We are encouraged to pray for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem. Ps. 122:6 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Do you want to prosper in your Christian life, then pray for God’s chosen people.

On May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation. This in itself is a miracle. For 1900 years, this was a barren wasteland, Hebrew was a dead language, and shekels (currency) was not in circulation.

Isaiah 11:11 says, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people.” Verse 12 says, “And he (Jesus) shall set up an ensign (banner) for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

The Jews came back to their homeland the first time after the Babylonian captivity ended. So allow me to explain this reference to the second time. After the rapture and the seven year tribulation period, Jesus will bring back all the Jews to their land in his millennial reign. Right now we are seeing Jews returning to Israel, but it’s ultimate fulfillment won’t be until Jesus Christ has returned and established his kingdom on earth.

Three: Influence Of America

America’s fate goes back to an old promise. 4,000 years ago, God called Abraham out of the Ur of the Chaldees and said in Gen. 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

God says I will bless those who bless Israel and I will curse those who curse Israel. If America turns against or abandons Israel and the Jews, God warns that he will bring judgment upon us.

Joel 3:1-2 says, “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted (divided) my land.”

America is Israel’s greatest ally, but tragically, the United States is trying to divide the land of Israel.

This process was formalized under President George W. Bush who officially called for the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state, which would divide the land of Israel. “I was the first American President to call for a Palestinian state, and building support for the two-state solution has been one of the highest priorities of my Presidency,” said President Bush.

President Obama and his administration have continued the Bush policy and pushed hard for Israeli leaders to divide the land. “It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own,” President Obama told hundreds of Israeli students in a speech in Jerusalem. “Palestinians have a right to be free people in their own land.”

If you recall in the Bible, there was a group of people that lived in Nineveh. Remember the first time God sent Jonah to declare judgment and the people repented, fasted, prayed and got right with God. That spared the people from judgment. But about 100 years later, the people fell back into major sin and Nahum the prophet warned them but they failed to listen. The city of Nineveh was destroyed.

Is America at a Jonah moment, or a Nahum moment?

2 Chron. 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Will we personally seek revival or watch our nation go in decline and then collapse. Without a revival, we are on the road to implosion.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Near Death Experience

Introduction: From the inside flap of a book called Life After Life, somebody who had a near-death experience wrote this: “I had a floating sensation … and I looked back and I could see myself on the bed below.” “I went through this dark black vacuum at super speed.” “From the moment the light spoke to me, I felt really good — secure and loved.” “I heard a voice telling me what I had to do — go back — and I felt no fear.” “It opened up a whole new world for me — I kept thinking, ‘There’s so much I’ve got to find out.'”

Near-death experience is when someone is declared clinically dead or close to death and see visions of light, warmth sensations, angels, heaven or anything that may have to do with the after-life.

According to a Gallup poll, approximately eight million Americans claim to have had a near-death experience.The term “near death experience” (NDE) was coined in 1975 in the book Life After Life by Raymond Moody, MD. Maybe you or someone you know says they have had a near-death experience? What does the Bible have to say?

1. Did Stephen Have A Near-Death Experience?

The answer is no, but let me tell you why.

Acts 7:54-61 says,

“When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

Stephen was the first martyr of the church and he sees Jesus standing up cheering him on. He was close to dying but not yet.

I don’t have any problems with someone saying they saw Jesus or the angels when they were passing away just as long as it doesn’t contradict Scripture.

Embraced By The Light by Betty Eadie was a huge bestseller book that came out in the 90’s. She said she died, saw God and came back to earth. There’s only one problem. She doesn’t believe Jesus is God and doesn’t believe he would judge anyone. That’s wrong. All judgment has been given to Jesus. She also writes: “Why are we here?” Our souls chose to come to the earth at certain times to be united with families that we had been soul mates with earlier in the spiritual realm, she explains. Perhaps her most intriguing insight regards the fall of humankind. “Eve did not sin because she was tempted but because she so desperately wanted to become the mother of mankind.”

2. Did Paul Have A Near-Death Experience?

Acts 14:19 says, “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.” I’m not sure whether Paul died here or not. The point is in 2 Cor. 12:1-4, he talks about being in the third heaven. He says that it is unlawful for anyone to speak about seeing the afterlife and then come back and talk about it.

When do I believe a person actually dies? That’s a tough question. Medically, sometimes doctors look to see if a person is brain dead. The Bible says that life is in our breath. We don’t know exactly when the spirit passes over onto the other side.
To comfort people who have loved ones who were Christians, I tell them that their spirit is with the Lord.

Some people who say they had a near-death experience really weren’t dead, they were still alive.

They usually describe it in one of two ways:

They died and are looking down at their body and see what is going on when the doctor told them they are medically dead.

They’re led through a long tunnel and there is light at the end of it. Then they have a feeling of confidence and freedom and they don’t want to come back because they see someone who comes through the light and then come back to life.

Now there are some logical explanations for people who were still alive who say they have had a near-death experience.

Have you ever been sleep deprived? Did you ever think you saw something but you didn’t?
Have you ever experienced vertigo? Is the room spinning? No. My senses are lying to me.

I don’t care what you experience because you’re senses will lie to you. So a lot of what people have experienced did happen to them by their senses.

3. Demons Can Look Like Angels Of Light

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” -2 Cor. 11:14

Satan would love to create near-death experiences for unbelievers. He wants unbelievers to not fear death and not need Christ as Savior.

Near-death experiences have entered into evangelical bookshops. For example, there is a book called Heaven Is For Real. It’s about a four year old boy who during surgery said that he died and entered heaven. He said that when he awoke, he talked about his miscarried sister and great-grandfather who no one had talked about with him. He knew details of what the doctors were doing to him and how his dad who is a Methodist pastor was praying for him.

Question: How do people know stuff like this? The answer is that demons are real and can carry knowledge from one person to another.

There are documented cases of babies born speaking profanity.

In India, I know of a missionary who has a video of witch doctors stabbing themselves with knives and there is no harm done.

Demons are real and can appear to be angels of light.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Gabriel, Michael, Seraphims, And Cherubims

Did you know that there are two angels specifically named in Scripture? Have you ever wondered about the other groups of angels or different beings? What do they have to do with me and what can I learn from them?

One: Gabriel

Gabriel means “the mighty one” or “hero of God.”

Gabriel appears four times in the Bible and each time he delivers good news. Wouldn’t you like to have a job like that?

To Daniel (Dan. 8:16; 9:21).

To Zacharias (Luke 1:13-20). Because Zacharias had little faith, Gabriel took away his ability to talk until John the Baptist was born.

To Mary (Luke 1:26-38). A virgin would give birth to the Son of God? It would take a special messenger to do it. That’s what the word angel means. Are you the faithful messenger you need to be? In your witnessing, rebuking, giving counsel or encouragement?

Two: Michael

Michael means “who is like unto the Lord.”

He is the defender of Israel. Dan. 12:1 says, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”

Michael is the arch (chief) angel. He is the highest angel. Jude 9 says, “Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, the Lord rebuke thee.”

He leads the angelic armies of heaven against Satan. Rev. 12:7-8 says, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.”

The voice of the archangel will be heard at the rapture. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”

Three: Seraphims

These are different angelic beings. They have six wings and are found in one passage, Isa. 6:1-8.

The word seraphim mean, “burning one.” They were so close to the throne of God that they burned in his presence. Wouldn’t it be great to get heartburn by getting close to God? You can. Lk. 24:32 says, “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” Preaching from the pulpit should be red-hot on fire. Your own personal study of the Bible should be so exciting that tums can’t help your heartburn.

Four: Cherubims

This is a different group of the angelic beings. They have four-wings. Ps. 99:1 says, “The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.” The word cherubim means “to be diligent.” They are the guardians of the holiness of God.

They protected the Garden of Eden after man was expelled, they covered the mercy seat and were woven in the very curtains. Why are cherubims found all over the Temple? Because it was to remind the priests to come with a reverent attitude for they were watching them as they entered into the presence of the Lord. Let me ask you: How do you enter church? Without being prayed up, negative, feeling defeated and beat up by the world.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Do We Have Guardian Angels

Throughout history, the belief in guardian angels can be found in many pagan cultures and religions.

For example, listen to this traditional Catholic prayer to one’s guardian angel:

“Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day/night be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule and guide. Amen.”

According to many Muslims, each person has two guardian angels, one on each side.

Do we have guardian angels? What does the Bible have to say about this?

1. Angels Are Assigned To Certain Countries

Daniel 10:12-13; 20-21 says, “Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.”

“Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.”

Daniel’s prayer request wasn’t answered yet. The reason was that the prayer request was intercepted by a demon. An angel came and told Daniel that a spiritual warfare was going on between angels and demons of certain countries.

2. Angels Are Assigned To Children

Matthew 18:10 says, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

The word despise means “thinking down upon someone or not caring for them.” This verse is teaching that whenever physical, emotional or spiritual harm is done to a child, that the angel will report that to God the Father. E.g., Child abuse, child neglect, making fun of their appearance, thinking bus kids are worthless.

The Greek word for little ones doesn’t refer to a teenager, but to little children. Little children haven’t reached the time of accountability, meaning they’re not responsible for their sins. If a little child dies, he is going to heaven. This truth should comfort you who have lost a baby or a little child.

These guardian angels have direct contact with God and may help ward off physical or satanic attack from someone.

3. Angels Are Assigned To Christians

Acts 12:7-15 says, “And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.”

Some theologians don’t believe an angel is assigned to a person but they believe that all of God’s angels protect you. Whatever you believe, it doesn’t change the fact that God protects his people with his angels.

4. Angels Carry Believers To Heaven

Luke 16:22 says, “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried.”

Notice that it’s not one angel, but angels plural.

Why do angels carry a believer to heaven? I don’t know the exact reason why, but I would like to offer some suggestions:

It’s a long way from earth to heaven to accompany you up there. Angels have wings and we don’t.

The devil is called “the prince of the power of the air.” It maybe that since you are going into the devil’s territory as you are going up that they are there to protect you.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

What Angels Do For Us

Do angels flutter around heaven doing as they please or are they under direct command from God?

Ps. 103:20 answers that question. It says, “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.”

Just like angels, you and I should be doing the will of God by obeying the Lord? They are perfect, loyal and faithful.

Ps. 148:1-2 says, “Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.”

There is no end to the praise they give to Almighty God for that is his will. “Now you say, that’s great, Pastor, but do angels do anything for me?” Well indeed they do.

Hebrews 1:13 says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”

I want you to notice three observations from this verse:

One: All the angels do God’s work, but they cannot be seen for they are spirits.

Two: Angels are our personal assistants. The word minister means “to serve.” They are here to serve our needs throughout our life.

Three: Angels help believers. Are you an heir of salvation? Have you put your trust and faith on Jesus Christ as your Savior to forgive you of your sins? If not, you will go to hell. Occasionally the Bible reveals that angels interceded with unbelievers (E.g., Balaam, but that was to help Israel. Cornelius, but that was to get him saved). So you see, angels work on behalf of believers.

I want us to look at what angels do for us. As we look at these six things, keep in mind that these are things we should already be doing for others.

1. Guide Us

Remember when the angels directed Lot and his family out of Sodom? Gen. 19:15 says, “And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.”

2. Encourage Us

Judges 6:12 says, “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.” Gideon had zero confidence that he could do what God was calling him to do. Oh if we were like these angels who motivated and encouraged others on? I know of a pastor who left a successful ministry positon to take a church in Connecticut that was struggling and was about to close their doors? A lot of people told him, “God is with you, but remember that New England is cold to the gospel, just like the weather.” They told him about their sad experience of failure. By the time he got there, he was a little bummed. He refused to let that distract him and focused on doing what was right.

3. Deliver Us

Ps. 34:7 says, “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”

Acts 12:7 says, “And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.”

John Paton, a missionary to the New Hebrides Islands, was once surrounded by natives intending on killing him and his family. In the mission headquarter, Paton and his wife prayed all night that God would deliver them. When daylight came, they were amazed to see that the attackers had left. A year later, the chief of the tribe got saved. Paton, remembering what had happened, asked the chief why he and his men didn’t kill them that night. The chief responded, “Who were all those men you had with you there?” Paton said, “There were no men there; just my wife and I.” The chief argued that they had seen many men standing guard-hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They seemed to circle the mission station so that the natives were afraid to attack. Only then did Paton and the chief realize that God had sent his angels to protect him.

4. Protect Us

Ps. 91:11-12 says, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” .

5. Enlighten Us

Matthew 2:19-20 says, “But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.”

6. Empower Us

Luke 22:43 says, “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.”

This word strength means, “to empower someone.” Jesus was physically, emotionally and mentally recharged so that he was ready to face the cross.

Do you feel trapped, isolated, alone in a desperate situation and you’re counting on your friends to help you? Have no fear, supernatural assistance is provided by the Holy Spirit’s power and angels to help keep you going forward.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

What Are Angels Like?

Introduction: Angels are found throughout both the Old and New Testament. They are very active in Genesis such as in the Garden of Eden, to Hagar, to Abraham, to Lot and Jacob, the angel of Lord in the Exodus, Joshua, in the Judges, during the times of Elijah and Elisha, to Isaiah and Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah. In the New Testament during the lifetime of Jesus, we see angels connected with him in almost every major event and in the apostle Paul and John’s life.

The question is “What are angels like?” There are five characteristics of angels I want to talk to you about.

1. Immortal

Angels are created beings.

Ps. 148:1-5 says, “Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.”

Nehemiah 9:6 says, “Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.”

Angels were present very early in creation.

Job 38:4-7 says, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

Ps. 104:4-5 says, “Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.”

Believers, like angels will last throughout eternity

Lk. 20:36 says, “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”

You and I will get to fellowship with the angels and praise and worship Jesus alongside them.

2. Innumerable

The last part of Hebrews 12:22 says, “An innumerable company of angels.” That doesn’t mean they’re an infinite amount of angels, it means you can’t count how many there are.

How many angels are there? Rev. 5:11 gives us a hint. 10,000 times 10,000 equals 100 million angels. And there are thousands more. So are there enough angels to minister to my needs? Yes.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “I do not know how to explain it; I cannot tell how it is; but I believe angels have a great deal to do with the business of this world.” Angels are like busy bees for there are so many of them.

3. Invisible

Because they are spirits, angels are invisible. We are not aware of the number of intervention of angels.
Arab-Israeli War of 1967. Israel verses Egypt, Jordan, Syria. The Arab nations had almost twice as many soldiers. Yet during those six days, both Israeli and Arab foot soldiers and airpilots reported sightings of angels. Could this have been the mighty host sent to protect God’s people? Absolutely.

As to their appearance, notice what Matthew 28:2-3 says. “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.”

Acts 1:10 says, “And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel.” So angels are bright with a long white garment. They’re beauty surpasses anything known to man. But wait, have you forgotten that you will have a new glorified body.

4. Incredible

Peter Marshall was a chaplain of the United States Senate back in the 1940’s. In the book A Man Called Peter, his wife Catherine recounts an incident that happened when his husband was walking back home from work one night. He took a shortcut, knowing this path was near a limestone quarry (kwore). Suddenly an urgent voice called out, “Peter!.” He stopped. Yes who is it? What do you want?” For a second he listened, but there was no response, only the sound of the wind. He took a few more steps and then he heard it again, “Peter!” He stopped and soon investigated the ground. One more step and he would have plummeted to his death.

God has his angels where he wants them and how he uses them because he is organized.

Col. 1:16 says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”

Our God is a God of order and organization. Every angel has his own job to do. Just like the military, they have different rankings.

Sometimes angels are called an army or host.
Rev. 19:19 says, “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.”

Angels are very strong.

Ps. 103:20 says, “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” Did you know the tomb that covered our Lord’s grave probably weighed about 4,000 pounds? An angel rolled it away.

An angel shut the mouths of the lions.

Dan. 6:22 says, “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me.”

Angels move swiftly and are not bound by gravity.

Dan. 9:21 says, “Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly (quickly), touched me about the time of the evening oblation.”

Angels know more than we do, but they don’t know everything. Mk. 13:32 says, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”

5. Inquiring

They watch us

1 Cor. 4:9 says, “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” Angels are watching you and are personally involved in your life.

They wonder about us

Angels have emotions. Luke 15:10 says, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Don’t you want to make the angels joyful, then lead someone to Jesus.

1 Peter 1:12 says, “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” The angels can inquire all they want to about salvation, but they will never comprehend it. They can’t understand what it was like to be lost and then get saved.

Hymn “Holy, Holy Is What The Angels Sing”
There is singing up in Heaven such as we have never known, where the angels sing the praises of the Lamb upon the throne, their sweet harps are ever tuneful, and their voices always clear, O that we might be more like them while we serve the Master here!
Refrain: Holy, holy, is what the angels sing, and I expect to help them make the courts of Heaven ring; but when I sing redemption’s story, they will fold their wings, for angels never felt the joys that our salvation brings.
But I hear another anthem, blending voices clear and strong, unto Him who hath redeemed us and hath bought us, is the song; we have come through tribulation to this land so fair and bright, in the fountain freely flowing He hath made our garments white.
Refrain: Then the angels stand and listen, for they cannot join the song, like the sound of many waters, by that happy, blood washed throng, for they sing about great trials, battles fought and vict’ries won, and they praise their great Redeemer, who hath said to them, Well done.
Refrain: So, although I’m not an angel, yet I know that over there I will join a blessèd chorus that the angels cannot share; I will sing about my Savior, who upon dark Calvary freely pardoned my transgressions, died to set a sinner free.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Angel Obsession

I’m beginning a series on my blog about the topic of angels. These messages have been a blessing to the people I’m privileged to pastor and I hope they will be for you as well.

My first message is entitled Angel Obsession.

Introduction: I received the following email from somebody. It’s funny to read, yet heartbreaking to think that this middle-aged woman believes what she wrote.

“I just thought I would share the news that my friend that I was watching out for had passed away early this morning very peacefully. Around 10:30 pm the night before I had gotten very tired and she was showing signs that told me she could go soon or perhaps in a day but the nurse urged me to go home and sleep. Before I left I took her hand and touched her face. l got close to her ear and gently said, “You can go play with the angels now…I will miss you but I will someday see you again…I got the call at 2 in the morning. My journey with her is over and I miss her so much. The evening before, she was snoring for quite a while. I told the nurse that for every snore we heard probably equals a person that she had helped in some way. There were a few hours of snoring.”

Hebrews 13:2 says, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” There are four introductory thoughts I learn from this verse before I actually get into my outline.

One: Be hospitable toward others. Open up your home. Remember when Abraham did that in Gen.18 for three men. He provided them shade, food and water and then he realized later that they were angels.

Two: Angels do exist today. Someone may say, “Well I believe in angels but I don’t think they do anything in today’s age.” Well let me ask you, is there demonic activity? Yes. Then why not angels?

Three: It may be possible you have seen an angel, but never realized it. The word unaware means, “you didn’t know you saw an angel.”

Four: Our society is obsessed with angels. People are going crazy over them. Could this be you or do you ignore their reality in today’s age? As Christians, we shouldn’t get so obsessed over angels. We need to judge everything according to the word of God. Allow me to give you four principles about what God has to say about angels.

1. Angels Must Never Replace God

Ex. 20:4 says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above.” Now there is nothing wrong to make a picture of an angel, but it’s wrong to wear a necklace in hope that it will give you good luck. The word graven means “vain or empty.” It’s pointless to become so obsessed about wanting to see an angel that it removes our thoughts of Jesus return.

2. Angels Should Never Be Reshaped In Our Own Ideas

What we know about the angels should come from the Bible, not what we think they are.

For example:

Angels always appear in the Bible in the masculine. There are historical accounts that show angels as females.
They are never birds or animals as in folklore.

Angels are created beings. They are not progressed humans. Humans do not evolve into angels.

They do not age or try to earn their wings like Clarence in It’s A Wonderful Life.

3. Angels Must Never Receive Worship

“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels.” -Col. 2:18

It is wrong to pray to an angel.

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God.” -Rev. 19:10

“And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” -Rev. 22:8-9

4. Angels Must Be Recognized For Who They Really Are

They are servants of God. What about you? Are you serving the Lord through this local church or are you wanting to be served? Get the right mentality so that way their won’t be any power struggles or contentions in your life.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Uncategorized