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Celebrate Jesus: Beheld by Angels

John 20:12

1 Tim. 3:16 

And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Beheld by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

John 20:12"and she beheld two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying."

Angels are God's messengers their job is to talk. Yet in our text today, two angels were speechless. Why?

They were not announcing His conception, they were sitting beholding His great & mighty works.

They were not announcing His birth, they were sitting beholding His great & mighty works.

They were not ministering to His needs, they were sitting beholding His great & mighty works.

Why?

Angels are big business right now. Toy manufacturer's are cashing in on angel mania. You can purchase Ty's Halo the Angel Bear Beanie Baby or Russ Berrie & Co.'s Prayer Bear with Angel Wings or Mattel's "My Size Angel Barbie Doll (African American)" for your children to play with. 

Its not just kids that are crazy about angels; they are finding their way into print too. This week I searched on Amazon.com's web site and discovered 2,588 books available with "angel" in the title.

CBS's hit T.V. series "Touched by an Angel" starring Roma Downey and Della Reese draws millions of viewers each week. Why this fascination with angels? Does everyone have a guardian angel? What are they, and what do they do?

When I was still in high school I read Billy Graham's book, "Angels God's Secret Agents." Ever since that time, I've thought of angels in those terms. "God's secret agents."

This morning, let's study a few scriptures to help us separate Biblical fact from Hollywood fiction. Here's what we know for sure. We know that:

Angels are agents of God's Providence

Matthew 18:10 teaches that angels watch over our children "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven." Angelic beings that are in the very presence of God watch over our children.

I'm grateful that angels watch over our children, but I'm also glad that they protect adults. Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the King of Aram's army at Dothan. The servant cried out to Elisha in great distress. Elisha wasn't concerned at all he claimed that the two of them had the army right where they wanted them. Elisha knew something his servant didn't. Listen as I read Elisha's prayer:

"O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17)

After Jesus' temptation, the angels came and ministered to His needs "Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him." (Matthew 4:11)

The Psalmist wrote, "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them." (Psalms 34:7)

Yes, Angels are agents of God's providence, but there is more. They are also:

Agents of God's Peace

Angels calm the anxious Do you remember who comforted the women who came to anoint Jesus' body? "And the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. [6] "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying." Matthew 28:5-6 NASB

The Apostle Paul also had an encouraging encounter with an angel. He tells about it in Acts 27:23-25 "For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, [24] saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.' [25] "Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God, that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. 

Beyond their appearances to the women at the Empty Tomb and the Apostle Paul, you'll remember that God sent angels to announce the conception of Jesus to Joseph. "But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 1:20) And it was the Angels that brought some pretty good news to a group of shepherds. "And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; [11] for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11)

Have you noticed in each of these four passages of scripture the Angels begin by saying "Don't be afraid?" That may be because the angels startled the people, but it might also be that, by their very nature, angels bring God's peace to God's people.

Yes, angels are agents of God's providence and His peace, but they are also:

Agents of Praise

Sometimes, angels praise God with their voice. John, the beloved Apostle gives a glimpse into heaven when he recorded a heavenly vision he had while on the Isle of Patmos. "And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, [12] saying with a loud voice, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.' [13] And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, 'To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.'" (Revelations 5:11-13)

Other times, angels praise God with their ears. Angelic beings are spending eternity praising God but did you know they are also audience to praise? Luke 15:10 is a familiar text, but one that is often misunderstood. It says, "In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." We often paraphrase this verse by saying "the angels rejoice when a sinner repents," but notice what the verse says. It says "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God . . ." It is God Himself doing the rejoicing.

But still other times angels praise God with their eyes. Our series text says that Jesus was "beheld by angels." Our sermon text, John 20:12 says, "and she beheld two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying." They were not praising Jesus with their voices or their ears, they were speechless. 

Some events are so awe inspiring that even the Angels are filled with awe. It is a part of the "mystery of godliness." Jesus was "beheld by Angels." 

A moment in time they couldn't rush through to go some place else. A moment of "Holy Awe."

When you Worship God, are you left with that sense of "Holy Awe?" 

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