Angels on Demand

Pastor Jon Enter

Worship Theme: Angels on Demand

First Lesson & Sermon Text: Psalm 91:9-12 (NIV)
Gospel : Matthew 8:5-13 (NIV)

  • CW 278: Holy God, We Praise Your Name
  • Change My Heart, Oh God
  • In Christ Alone
  • CW 440: On Eagles' Wings

Message Notes & Growth Group Questions

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Message: Angels on Demand

Pastor Jon Enter

It was just past midnight on December 24, 1983, and Joan Anderson was waiting nervously for her son to arrive home from college. A record-breaking storm slammed the Midwest and her son was driving through it with some friends from college. She wrote about this terrifying night in her book Where Angels Walk. During a time before cell phones, Joan knew her son should’ve arrived hours earlier but could not contact him. She paced and prayed, “God, send someone to help them!”

They needed that prayer and that help. After dropping off a fellow college student, they drove down an access road to the highway, when they noticed the car’s engine was losing power, lurched erratically and slowed down to ten miles per hour. “Do not...” the radio announcer urgently warned, “do not venture outside tonight. There’s a record windchill of eighty degrees below zero. Exposed skin will freeze in less than a minute.” The car surged suddenly and crawled to a frozen stop.

All they could see in every direction was black darkness. They couldn’t run for help; they’d freeze to death. The icy wind and sub zero temperatures sliced through the car’s thin insulation turning it into a freezer. As the hours slipped by, Tim prayed even more.

It grew increasingly impossible to stay awake, which is a death sentence in a frozen car in a blizzard. Then, as if they had already slipped into a dream, they saw hazard lights flashing immediately behind their car. But it was impossible. They hadn’t seen a car approach them. Where did it come from? They wondered if they had they already died.

But no. Miraculously, someone was knocking on the driver’s side window. “Need to be pulled?” In disbelief they heard the muffled shout over the wind. But it was true. Their rescuer was driving a tow truck.

“Yes! Thanks!” The driver went to work hooking up their vehicle. With no repair shop open that late, they asked to be taken back to their friend’s house where they could spend the night. They stopped at a payphone to let him know they were returning back to his house for the night.

The driver maneuvered carefully around the cul-de-sac and pulled up in front of their friend’s house. The two teens, still with numb feet from the cold, raced to the warm house. They stepped inside and immediately asked to borrow some money to pay the tow truck driver.

Their buddy looked out the window and said, “I don’t see a tow truck.” Parked along the curb was only a car. There was no sound of the release of the chains, no door slam, no chug of an engine pulling away. No bill arrived in the mail, no receipt of service was signed. Stunned, the teenagers ran back down the driveway. There were no taillights disappearing into the night. After retelling their story, Joan Anderson asked in her book, “Was it an angel that rescued our son and his friend that Christmas Eve? Our family knows it was.” What do you think? Was it an angel from God?

There’s one part of the story I left out. As they stood at the end of the driveway, they looked down and saw the tire tracks of their car but none in front of it where the tow truck would’ve been. And there were only the sight of car tracks leading into the cul-de-sac; there were no tire tracks leaving.

Now what do you think? Was it an angel from God?

The Bible reveals that angels can disguise themselves to walk among us without us knowing (Heb. 13:2; Gen. 18). It can happen. It does happen. It happened through the Bible with the nearly 300 references to angels. And it happens in your life without you realizing their presence or hearing their wings. But their ministering presence is realized in the unexplained ways you were protected in your life. You have no idea how that car didn’t hit you. Or an accident happened but the injury should’ve been much more severe. Angels are commanded by God to do His will of protecting, even prospering us. And so the psalmist shouts, “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11)

We see the angels at work throughout the Bible. An army of angels delivered Elisha and the inhabitants of Dothan from the Syrian army (2 Kings 6). Angels met with Jacob before he was confronted by his brother, Esau, who had wanted to kill him (Genesis 32). An angel shut the mouths of the hungry lions saving Daniel’s life (Daniel 6). God sent angels to rescue Lot and his family before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18). An angel warned Joseph during the night to flee with Mary and infant Jesus to Egypt to avoid the sword of King Herod and an angel appeared later telling them when it was safe to return (Matthew 2). They are sent by God to protect us.

These hosts of heaven stand at attention ready to do God’s will at any moment in any way during any hour of any day from any command of God.

God’s angels are always on call. We have angels on demand. They don’t get vacation days. They don’t get sick days. They don’t get time off for holidays. They never age. They don’t get married or have children so they don’t have a family to watch over…they watch over us, instead. They are always ready and always available to carry out God’s commands. These angels are sent from God to help us, to serve us and to protect us. “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14)

Angels are ministering spirits sent from God above to serve us. Many believers either don’t know this truth or they don’t understand it. When we don’t know or don’t remember that God has guardian angels continually watching over us, we can feel alone. We know God loves us but we worry about how busy God is so we can sometimes think—falsely think—He might be too busy to notice our need. After all, God is in charge of watching over the over 7 billion people living on earth. It’s easy to feel overlooked.

But you aren’t! God knows you, loves you and cares for you individually; He knows the exact number of hairs on your head! (Luke 12:7) He is in your heart guiding your life. And God has individual guardian angels assigned to you to personally do His will of protecting you. You are never alone!

It is a righteous prayer to ask God to send His angels to help you in need. Abraham prayed to and trusted that the Lord would send an angel ahead of his servant to bless his journey to find a wife for Abraham’s son. (Genesis 24:7) When was the last time you prayed specifically for God to send His angels? But when you pray, you must be certain to direct those prayers to God alone. Prayer is worship; prayer says, “You are in control of my life and I need Your help.” Prayer to anyone other than God is false worship and is sin. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and mankind, the Man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) We are to pray to God alone and through God alone!

God is the Commanding Officer of His army of angels. Just as a soldier follows the precise orders of his commanding officer so also do the angels only follow God’s commands. Praying to angels is not only sinful but it doesn’t work; they won’t listen to you! If a convoy of army trucks was driving in front of church and I flagged them down and said, “Hey, would you pull any weeds you see around the church property? Could you also paint the upstairs hallways of the school and scrub the toilets while you’re at it?” Would they listen to me? No, way! I don’t have any power over them. But if their commanding officer said, “You know what, men, we have some time. Hop to! Get to work on what he said!” Then, and only then, would those soldiers fulfill my request; it only happens when their commanding officer directs them. The same is true of angels. They protect us and prosper us but only according to the direction of God; they listen to God alone coming to us when we are in need.

God even used angels to strengthen Jesus. After Christ fasted for forty days and forty nights, He was weakened to the point of death. During that time, the devil came and tempted Jesus in three specific ways in an attempt to get Christ to sin. Jesus resisted the devil in the same way we do: by using God’s Word! After Satan finished tempting Jesus, the Bible tells us, “Then the devil left Him and angels came and attended Him.” (Matthew 4:11).

The night Jesus was betrayed, a few hours before He was willingly crucified for our salvation, Jesus prayed intensely to His Father in heaven in the Garden of Gethsemane. While Jesus was in anguish, we are told, “An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him.”

Angels are part of the story of our salvation, announcing to the shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem about Christ’s birth and then strengthening Jesus just before His death. But the angels were not part of Jesus’ suffering and death. Jesus could have used the power of the angels to stop everything. “Do you think I cannot call on My Father and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” But Christ didn’t. He abandoned the use of the angels as He was forsaken by His Father in heaven for us upon the cross.

The angels looked on as Christ their Creator breathed His last breath and died upon the cross. But those same angels sang in glorious triumph on Easter Sunday as Christ came back to life destroying the power of death and rescuing you from your sins. Angels announced the glory of His resurrection at the empty tomb (Matthew 28:1-6) and they continually sing His praises to this very day (Revelation 7:11-12) as they follow His commands to protect us.

Have you seen their work? Have you felt their ministering presence?

My sister is convinced she did. She missed her flight home and the gate agent refused to let her on the plane. After a horrible trip and no one to watch her kids if she missed that flight, she crumbled into tears and prayed to God for help. Suddenly, a man in a pilot uniform stood over her, spoke to the gate agent and she was let onto the plane. My sister turned to thank him and he was gone.

My parents and brother were in a horrific head-on car accident in 1996. My brother had just unbuckled to lie down to sleep when suddenly car lights appeared. My brother felt himself being pushed to the floor behind my dad’s car seat. If not, he would’ve gone through the car windshield and not survived. My parents were horribly injured and should’ve died. My parents said it was as if they could feel the angels’ wings surrounding them.

My daughters have seen angels. Violet when she only old enough to say, “Hi!” and “Ba-bye!” was eating in her high chair barely staying awake. Suddenly, she perked up and followed something moving around the room saying with a big smile “Hi!” and waving. After awhile, she suddenly looked around the room confused and said, “Ba-bye!” Our daughter, Eden, did the same thing a couple of times when she was two. Eden called them babies. She giggled and laughed and followed them around the room, even playing peek-a-boo while saying to mommy, “Silly babies!”

Finally, when Lydia was two and half we were driving when all of a sudden Lydia asked from the backseat, “Daddy, who is the little man sitting on your shoulder?” Debbi and I looked at each other in wonder. And then I asked, “Honey, is he smiling or does he look upset?” “He’s happy, daddy!” She replied. Talk about feeling protected by God and loved by God!

Were those angels at work helping and protecting my family and showing themselves to my daughters? We are convinced they were angels just as Joan Anderson is convinced angels were sent by God to protect her son. God sends His angels to protect us, prosper us and serve us. Remember, the Bible says that angels can disguise themselves and walk among us. How many angels have you seen and not noticed? How often have you been protected by them and not been aware of their presence? Thank the Lord for the protection of the angels who are sent by Him to bless and keep us safe! Amen.