Mark Buntain was a missionary in India. He built an orphanage, church and needed hospital in Calcutta. But tragedy struck the region. Torrents of rain came down, forcing the government to evacuate much of the city. Mark reluctantly boarded the evacuation plane.
Questions whirled through his mind, "Will this flood wipe out all of his work for the poor?" He felt dejected. He did the only thing he knew to do--which was to pray. A man sat next to him in the plane, and began to encourage Mark. He told him that everything was going to be all right. He even outlined several steps that Mark could implement that would make his ministry even more effective. After talking with this man, Mark was greatly encouraged.
The stewardess came by and asked Mark what he would like to drink. Mark gave his order and then turned to see what the man would order, but to his amazement, the man was gone. He vanished! Mark searched all over the small plane looking for the man, but he was not in there. Mark realized he had been visited by an angel.
There are so many different ideas people have about angels, but the only authoritative guide we have in understanding angels is the Bible, God's Word. Some think that angels are little, chubby babies flying around holding a little toy disguised as a bow and arrow. But the Bible describes angels as great, big warriors that are here to guide, protect and deliver us. Some also think that angels are people who have died. But the Bible makes a clear distinction between saints and angels. Angels are a different class of beings than humans.
What are angels? Hebrews chapter 1 verse 14 tells us: "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" Three important facts about angels are mentioned in this verse. Number one, angels are spirits, therefore they are not usually seen. Just because you don't see an angel does not mean one is not there. The second fact reveals that the duty of angels is to minister and serve humans. Humans do not serve angels, angels serve humans. And the third truth about angels is that their ministry is limited primarily to those who are or will be saved. They are not required to serve the unsaved; though, because of God's mercy to all, they do help nearly everyone. Only heaven will tell how often angels have helped us.
ANGELS UNDER THE NEW COVENANT
Hebrews 8:6 says that we have a better covenant based on better promises than people had under the Old Covenant. This is true concerning the ministry of angels.
Under the Old Covenant, the saints did not have authority over the angels, therefore they had to wait on them for help. Today, angels wait on us because now we can use the name of Jesus, which is a greater name than angels, to dispatch angels to do their work. Prior to the cross, the scriptures taught that Jesus was "made a little lower than the angels." But the scriptures teach that now he is "crowned with glory and honor" so that angels submit to Him and His name (see Hebrews 2:9, 1 Peter 3:22 and Philippians 2:10).
1 Corinthians 6:3 says that we will judge angels. The judge is always greater than those who are judged. The scriptures inform us that believers have authority to dispatch angels to minister on their behalf.
Have you been dispatching your angels? Or have they been sitting idle waiting for you to put them to work?
LOOSING YOUR ANGELS
In Matthew 18:18, Jesus gave the Church the keys of the kingdom of heaven. He said, "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Most of us have heard this scripture used to "bind" the devil and demons. And the Bible does tell us that we can "bind the strong man", and that a mighty angel will "bind the devil for a thousand years". The word "bind" is a term to describe our power to "tie up" Satan.
However, Jesus also said that we have the power to "loose". And what do we loose? Certainly, not Satan. Then who? Angels of course. A voice said, "Loose the four angels which are bound...And the four angels were loosed" (Revelation 9:14-15 KJV). You can readily see that angels are meant to be loosed. And who has the power to loose angels? Jesus said that we do. We have the keys of the kingdom!
You might ask the question, "How do we loose angels?"
I think it would help us to answer this question by going to Psalm 103 and reading verse 20. It says, "Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the VOICE of his word." (KJV)
Notice that angels hearken--listen and act upon--the VOICE of God's Word. We know that the Bible is God's Word. But angels don't hearken just to God's Word, but they hearken to the voice of His Word. Try this profound experiment: Take your Bible and place it next to your ear. Stop! Listen! What do you hear? NOTHING! Why? Because the Bible does not have a voice unless we give it a voice.
In other words, angels act on God's Word that we speak out of our mouths. They listen to us speaking God's Word. And when we speak God's Word, angels rush to perform it in our lives.
Can you see how we have hindered angels in performing their duties for us? We bind angels when we speak contrary to God's Word, and say things such as "Nothing ever works out for me." "If I didn't have bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all." "I'm so clumsy." "I live by Murphy's Law." "I can't seem to get out of debt."
ANGELS LISTEN TO OUR WORDS
Jesus said, "Whoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8, KJV). Jesus declares to the angels what we declare. When we confessed that Jesus was our Lord, Jesus confessed to the angels that He was our Lord. Angels are aware of what we confess here on earth. Jesus echo's our words to the angels, and depending on what we say, they bring to pass our words.
There's an interesting story in the Bible which illustrates this truth. You know the story. Jesus was tempted by the devil for forty days, and while being tempted Jesus did only one thing: He spoke the Word of God. He kept saying, "It is written...It is written...It is written." After Jesus kept quoting God's Word, the Bible says, "Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him" (Matthew 4:11). Do you suppose the reason why the angels came to Jesus was because He kept speaking God's Word? I think so! Angels hearken unto the voice of God's Word. Jesus gave voice to the Word, and angels came to minister to Him. Angels will do the same for you if you will do what Jesus did--and that is speak God's Word!
MAKE GOD YOUR DWELLING
One of the believers favorite Psalm says, "If you make the Most High your dwelling--even the Lord, who is my refuge--then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone" (91:9-12).
God promises complete protection for the person who makes the Most High his dwelling. The secret to tapping into the power of this Psalm is to make the Most High your dwelling. That is the key. God promises protection, so long as you make the Most High your dwelling.
So how do you make God your dwelling? The answer is at the beginning of this Psalm. It says, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I WILL SAY OF THE LORD, `He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" You make the Most High your dwelling the same way that David did--by SAYING OF THE LORD that He is your dwelling! Your confession that He is your refuge and fortress is what makes God become your refuge and fortress.
And what does God do when you confess that He is your refuge and fortress? He commands His angels to guard you in all your ways so that no harm befalls you nor any disaster overtake you. Angels work for you because you confess who God is to you and what He will do for you.
This is what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did before they were thrown into the fiery furnace. They boldly declared, "The God we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O King!" They stood their ground in faith. And what was the outcome? God sent an angel to keep them from burning. The angel heard God's Word coming from the lips of these courageous saints--and he harkened unto their words.
There is one final scripture that I want to show you that will prove that angels are greatly affected by our words. It is Psalm 34:7: "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them." The angel of the Lord delivers those who fear God, not who fear tragedy.
And what does it mean to fear God? Verse 11 and 12 begins by telling us, "Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days." Angels definitely are involved in prolonging our lives and making our days good. But what is the fear of the Lord? The next verse says that if you want many good days, then "keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies."
The fear of the Lord is manifested in restraining the tongue. If you fear God, then you will speak the truth. And what is truth? Jesus said, "Thy word is truth!" God's Word is the highest form of truth in the universe.
By speaking God's Word, you are keeping your tongue from evil and from speaking lies. And when you do, the angel of the Lord will encamp around you to deliver you in times of trouble. This angel will do this because you show the fear of the Lord by speaking His Word!
Tom Brown is the founder and pastor of Word of Life Church in El Paso, Texas. He and his wife, Sonia, host a weekly television program, The Bondage Broker, available online.
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