The Lord protects His children through His servants

Theme: /
Thema:
The Lord protects His children through His servants
Text: /
Tekst:
Genesis 28: 12-15
Textpart(s) to read: /
Tekstgedeelte(n)
Genesis 27: 41 - 28: 22
John 1: 35-52
Matthew 18: 1-11
By: /
Door:
Rev. H. Drost (minister reformed church -liberated- at Houten)
Ds. H. Drost (predikant gereformeerde kerk vrijgem. Houten)
Translation:

Original translation: Rev. H. Drost
Editor: Mrs Renee Mulder (FRCA - Mount Nasura, W-Australia)
Original Dutch version:
Gen28v12 - De Here beschermt Zijn kinderen door Zijn knechten

Delivered at: /
Gehouden te:

Groningen-West
Originally delivered in Dutch at Haren, Assen, Kantens

Extra: Summary

Suggestions for the Order of Worship / Aanwijzingen voor de Liturgie

  1. Votum & blessing
  2. Hymn 16: 1 (Morning service); Ps. 99: 1, 2 (Afternoon service)
  3. Law / Confession of Faith
  4. Hymn 16: 2 (Morning service); Hymn 3: 1-3 (Afternoon service)
  5. Prayer
  6. Reading: Genesis 27: 41 - 28: 22; John 1: 35-52; Matthew 18: 1-11
  7. Ps. 91: 3-4
  8. Text: Genesis 28: 12-15
  9. Sermon
  10. Hymn 5: 3-4
  11. Prayer
  12. Collection
  13. Ps. 146: 3
  14. Benediction

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ,

'Let's beat up that pastor...' a few men said to each other when a minister in their neighbourhood was very involved in evangelisation and actively opposed to socialism. They knew when he would be going home by himself after a meeting. They hid somewhere down the road in order to beat him up when he would pass by... 'Here he comes', whispered one, 'let's go beat him up.'
'No, look', the other said' 'he's not alone, there are three of them. We're outnumbered!' And they left the minister alone. When this pastor (*rev. Lucas Lindeboom of Zaandam, The Netherlands) heard about it later, he said, 'but I was walking by myself'... What had happened?
[ * optional to mention name ]

In the history of the church of Christ it has happened before that angels protected the children of God. Angels are God's servants that are sent to watch over His children.

'Wait a minute', you may say, 'but isn't it true that that you can't actually see angels?' Well, normally you can't. But angels can show themselves. The Bible tells us that God's invisible servants can take on a human form so that people can see them. For example, think about what happened in the important moments in the life of Jesus. An angel told Mary that He would be born - she saw him. Angels said that He had risen from the dead - the women that were at his grave were put on the right track. At the ascension of Jesus Christ angels assured the people that He would come back soon - they made the astonished disciples happy. And then comes Pentecost: the pouring out of the Holy Spirit came. And then it's no longer angels but people who proclaim the great acts of God in all languages.

Yes, now that the people have received the Holy Spirit, they know about God's deeds. The angels can retreat.
But does that mean they have disappeared from the scene altogether? No. They are there to protect us on all our ways. They are God's servants who realise God's care for His children. And when God finds it necessary for them to take shape in order to protect or encourage God's children, then who dares claim that this is impossible?

Even though we cannot see them, the angels are there - to protect us. So the Bible tells us, and that is what I'm preaching you.

The Lord protects His children through His servants

We see that in the lives of

  1. Jacob, God's chosen one
  2. Jesus, God's son and
  3. The little ones, God's church

The Lord protects His children through His servants. We see this in the life of

1. Jacob, God's chosen one

The history of Jacob and Esau teaches us about God's election and God's rejection. Before the little boys had either done anything good or bad, the Lord had already told their mother that He had chosen the one and not the other. God's plan, His choice, is what's important.

How do you know that God has chosen you? Do you notice it because you feel strong all the time? Do you notice it because everything you do works out? No, when God chooses someone, His Spirit teaches you that everything is God's work. He makes you feel small. In the school of the Holy Spirit we are taught how to become humble.

We can also see that in the life of Jacob, God's chosen one. He thought he could receive his old grandfather Abraham's blessing - this land - by cruelly deceiving his own blind father. But the LORD shows him that he hasn't actually attained anything. He has to flee from his brother Esau's anger. He has to flee the country. The sole purpose of his trickery had been to inherit this land. Now he has to leave it. And when he has covered about 80 km of the 800 he has to go, it becomes dark. This will be the last night in this land. What has he got left? Nothing. A rock is his pillow. This is what he has achieved: nothing. God makes him feel very small.

That night in Bethel something happens, which the Lord Jesus later describes as 'I tell you that their angels in heaven - the angels of the little ones - always see the face of my Father in heaven.' (Matthew 18: 10)

Jacob dreams: 'and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth' (vs. 12). When you read this, it is as if the stairway was built from earth to heaven, as a way up. But that is not what is meant here. It is about God coming down from heaven. Actually it says that a stairway of stone was built down towards the earth. It is the way down.

To picture what Jacob sees, think of a ship that picks up refugees from the sea. People are lying in the water. A big ship comes near. How do you get aboard? A rope ladder is thrown over the railing: that's how you get there. When Jacob sees the stairway come down from heaven in his dream, he looks to see how far the ladder reaches: '...its top reached to heaven' (vs 12). There is a connection between heaven and earth.

The text tells us that this rescue-ladder reaches from heaven to earth: it starts in heaven. But when it talks about the angels it says that they start at the bottom of those stairs: '...and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.' They start where Jacob lies powerless, and they bring the message upstairs: 'he can't take it anymore'. And from upstairs they then come down with God's orders. They have to take care of him until the LORD has given this man the whole nation, yes, until he has received the whole blessing of Abraham.

God will make true what he has promised: 'Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave
you until I have done what I have spoken to you.'
And how will God protect him on his wanderings outside the Promised Land? Jacob is given a guided escort: God's angels.

Why does God promise all this to this man Jacob? Not because he was any better than his twin brother was, but because God wants to pave the way through this scoundrel, this deceiver, to the coming of the Lord Jesus, the great Son of Abraham in whom God wants to bless the whole world. This blessing means we will have peace with God and also receive protection from Him - His host of angels surrounds us. The second part of this sermon will deal with this.

The theme is: The Lord protects His children through His servants. We see this also in the life of

2. Jesus, God's Son

God chooses Jacob because of Christ. In John chapter 1 we read about a man who spontaneously professes his faith in Jesus when Jesus shows He knows everything about him. Jesus is not just any person. 'Rabbi', Nathanael says, 'You are the Son of God, You are the King of Israël' (vs. 49)

Jesus reacts to this by saying that Nathanael will see even 'greater things' (vs. 50). Not only does Jesus know everything, He can also do all things. Jesus will perform miracles to show who He is. It is important that Jesus adds: 'Most assuredly, I say to you...' - this is addressed to Nathanael, but it concerns all the disciples - 'HEREAFTER you shall see heaven open...'. From now on He will commence His work and perform miracles. It will start NOW.

And when the disciples observe his miracles - people healed, rising from the dead - they can see 'heaven open' and (says Jesus) 'the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man'. Referring to the event in Bethel the Lord Jesus says that there will always be contact between Him and heaven. The disciples will see how God will help Him.

Jesus speaks here as a human being. He does not call himself the Son of God but 'the Son of man.' He became one of us. Would He be able to help us then? Yes He would, because especially for Him heaven has opened and legions of angels are ready to serve him. Because of this special support from heaven we can be assured that Jesus, a person like us, will do what we humans cannot do: make everything right with God through his suffering and death.

But do you think that was easy? Who thinks that Jesus didn't find it difficult?
Think about that night when Jesus almost stumbled.
God's wrath was on Him in Gethsemane. It was unbearable. He crawled along the ground. But, we're told by Luke, an angel appeared from heaven to give Him strength. (Luke 22: 43). This is an example of how there is continuous interaction between Him and heaven, heaven and Him. And this is the miracle that confronts us: God, filled with wrath, still sends an angel because God Himself wants to make peace with man. Everything turned out well.

Christ, who crawled along the ground supported by an angel, now, after His sufferings, is the Messiah whose throne is in heaven. On earth, angels were His support, now they are his army. Hosts of heavenly soldiers stand at the to obey Him: they are the heavenly hosts. Jesus is the Lord of hosts now. He is Lord of the heavenly armies.

From heaven above the Lord Jesus now keeps in touch with us, his church. Angels are ascending and descending. He looks after us by means of his angels.

Now we have reached the final part of the sermon. The Lord protects His children through His servants. We can see that in the lives of 1. Jacob, God's chosen one, 2. Jesus, God's Son, and in the lives of

3. The little ones, God's church

How can you notice that God has chosen you? When God chooses someone, His Spirit teaches this person that it is all God's work, He humbles you. Do you realise that the Canons of Dort mentions 'childlike reverence' as the root of humility, in connection with the assurance of faith? (Canons of Dort, chapter V, 12)

And Jesus said: 'For I say to you that in heaven their (!!!) angels always see the face of my Father Who is in heaven.' (Matthew 18: 10) The angels of 'these little ones': God gives us, His children, an escort: their angels. And those angels go to the Father all the time to hear what they can do for God's children on earth.

Isn't that great news? Isn't that something to think about more often? You are not alone: there are angels around us. That is the lesson from God's Word. Think of Elisha's servant. He saw a huge army that marched out to kill his master, the prophet. He shook with fear. Who wouldn't? But then Elisa says: 'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' Elisha then asks the LORD to open the boy's eyes to the full reality. The 'full reality' is more than I can see with my own naked eye. There is more between heaven and earth than the natural eye can see.

The LORD opens the eyes of Elisha's servant and look: 'the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire.' There is a heavenly army. And they surround us like armed guards.

Do you believe that? Do you believe there is heavy traffic between heaven and us? Do you believe that angels are descending and ascending all the time?

God's road patrol accompanies us. When there is a threat from the side of evil angels, God's angels surround me. When there are concerns in my life, they bring my worries to the Father above. And when my time on earth is over, they will come and take me home. I will go home to my Father when I die.

How will I get there? When it is time, my Father will give a sign to His servants and, full of love, He will say, : " bring him, or bring her, home". Then I will be carried to my Father. Angels will carry us into heaven.

And now that I know this, I'm no longer so afraid of death. Angels bring home God's children. In death, they carry us to God, they will bring us nearer my God, to Thee.

And when I'm home with my Father, I will thank Him who cared for me on the way and brought me home. I will thank him for His guardian-angels, yes, I will sing:

"Glory to the King of angels,
Glory to the Church's King."

Amen.

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