Damien and Augie’s Sermon on Angels

Angel with halo

Last Sunday…

Last Sunday Damien came over after church, and he, Augie, and I were chatting at the kitchen table. I cannot remember if I specifically asked what they would like me to preach on, but, regardless, the two boys ended up telling me they’d like one on angels.

And this sermon is a result of that request. 🙂

Because it is a talk for children, it’ll follow our three rules for preaching to kids. Kids, do you remember them? 🙂

  • Use simple words.
  • Keep it short.
  • See #1 and #2.

I’ll do my best with #1…but the way we’ll try to stick with #2 is we’ll limit our sermon to five questions about angels:

  • Are angels real?
  • What are angels?
  • What do angels look like?
  • What do angels do?
  • Should we worship angels?

Does that work for you Damien and Augie? Other kids?

Are Angels Real?

So…let’s start with a fundamental question. Through the ages people have believed in a lot of supernatural creatures that don’t exist like fairies, vampires, and leprechauns. How about angels?

Are angels real?

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

There are lots and lots and lots of stories from people about angels…including them personally seeing angels.

Does that prove they are real?

No.

From where do we decide if something like angels is real or not?

That’s right, the Bible!

Now, I have some slick Bible study software on my Mac call Logos…and I searched for the word “angel” (which would also bring up “angels”) in the English Standard Version, and it said, “295 results in 281 verses.”

We’ll discuss some of those verses today…but can we all agree that if the standard for truth…the Bible…mentions angels hundreds and hundreds of times that yes, angels are real?

‘Cause they are!

Of course, if you aren’t yet convinced we could read all 281 verses together right now. 🙂

I didn’t think you would want to do that :-), so we’ll just go with…

Yes, angels are real.

What Are Angels?

One out of five questions done! Now let’s see if we can answer the second one, “What are angels?”

In the first chapter of what he wrote, the author of Hebrews answers that pretty directly. Discussing of how Christ is more important than anything else, he talks about angels quite a bit, including this:

13 And to which of the angels has he ever said,

“Sit at my right hand

until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:13-14)

Based on that, what are angels?

“Ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation.”

So, angels are ministers like me? 🙂

Yes…and no…but mostly no. First, what does “ministering” mean?

My Mac’s dictionary says of the verb form of “minister”:

(minister to) attend to the needs of (someone): her doctor was busy ministering to the injured.

So, “ministering” is like “helping” or “serving.”

Angels help or serve…both God and us “who are to inherit salvation.”

Notice also that it said “ministering spirits”…which makes it clear that, even though they are created like we are, they aren’t locked into just a physical form. One could be beside you right now without you seeing them!

Before we wrap up the question, “What are angels?,” let’s talk about the word “angel” itself. The Bible wasn’t written in English…so “angel” is the word we have chosen to translate Hebrew and Greek words into. The Lexham Bible Dictionary states:

ANGEL (, angelos). Heavenly messengers in the Bible. The Hebrew and Greek words usually translated as “angel” are probably better translated as “messenger.”1

What is a messenger?

Someone who share messages. Angels are, in great part, messengers. If I wasn’t going to keep this short, I could give plenty of examples of them doing that…perhaps the most timely example as we head into the holiday season being when the angel Gabriel told Mary she was going to be the mother of of Jesus. Take a look at Luke 1:26-38 after church and you can see Mary’s reaction to being told she was going to bear the Son of God.

One final entry from a dictionary, in this case Smith’s Bible Dictionary, before we move to the next question:

ANGELS. By the word “angels” (i.e., “messengers” of God) we ordinarily understand a race of spiritual beings of a nature exalted far above that of man, although infinitely removed from that of God—whose office is “to do him service in heaven, and by his appointment to succor and defend men on earth.”2

Kids, please note how that makes it clear that angels and humans are not the same thing. As much as I love the awesome Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when we die we do not become angels…and then get wings when we finally meet some goal. We won’t become angels…but…and this is cool…we’ll get to hang out with them! 🙂

What are angels? My short answer would be:

Angels are powerful spirits created by God, who help and act as messengers.

What Do Angels Look Like?

Having answered two questions, we are 40% of the way through…ready for the third question?

What do angels look like?

Now, this is a bit of a complicated question for two reasons. First, the word “look” implies physical form…and we’ve already said that angels are spirits and spirits aren’t physical. However, the Bible shows clearly that these spirits can take physical form…so we will be able to answer it.

However, what they look like in physical form is then complicated by the fact that there are a couple other words for angels in the bible, cherubim and seraphim. Here is a description of a sculpture of a cherubim:

And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be (Exodus 25:18-20).

From that it appears that angels have two wings. However, when speaking of seraphim…

6 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew (Isaiah 6:1-2).

How many wings?

Six. So, maybe angels have six wings when in physical form?

And to make it even harder…here’s an apparent description of cherubim from Ezekiel 10:14:

14 And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of the cherub, and the second face was a human face, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.

Four faces?! One of a cherub, one of a human, one of a lion, and one of an eagle?!

Well, before we get too confused…the six wing and four face views of angels may have just been visions to communicate a point versus an actual description of what an angel in physical form looks like.

However, even if they are physically describing angels…it could mean God has given them the ability to take multiple forms.

So, maybe instead of asking, “What do angels look like?” we should query, “What do angels normally look like?’

To answer that, let’s first look at when some women went to Jesus’ tomb, only to find out Jesus wasn’t there…

4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel (Luke 24:4)

Heading to verse 22 and 23:

22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive (Luke 24:22-23).

So, what did angels look like? Like men…albeit in “dazzling apparel.”

By the way, I suspect Matthew is describing one of those same angels when he wrote:

3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow (Matthew 28:3).

Regardless, the angels looked like “two men.”

And, if you look at all the times the Bible mentions direct interactions between angels and humans on this earth, I think you’ll find in the vast majority angels just look like men. As a matter of fact, they look so much like us our previously quoted writer of Hebrews also penned this:

13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Hebrews 13:1-2).

Did you catch that kids?! The Bible tells us that we should be kind to people in part because, for all we know, they might be an angel!

Now that is neat, isn’t it?!

But for us to be “unaware” that they are an angel means that those angels must…

Look like us. No wings…or dazzling clothing…or an appearance like lightning…or even halos like they can be depicted in paintings

Just like us…so…

To wrap up this part…I would simply answer the question, “What do angels look like?” with…

Generally, here on earth, angels look like us.

Oh, by the way, I mentioned how searching for “angel” in the Bible had 295 results in 281 verses…”cherubim” adds 67 results in 57 verses and “seraphim” adds 2 results in 2 verses.

Yes, there are angels and generally, here on earth, they look like us.

What Do Angels Do?

Okay…we are three-fifths through this sermon…but these last two will go pretty quickly. Next question is:

What do angels do?

Well, we mostly answered that in our answer to “What are angels?,” didn’t we?

Angels are powerful spirits created by God, who help and act as messengers.

Angels are helpers and messengers. However, “helpers” can mean a lot of things.

Kids, when you get a job often there will be a job description that says what you’ll do. For instance, if you work here at The Pizza Shop it might list things like:

  • Ring up customers on the register
  • Make pizzas
  • Wash dishes

But often a job description will also have a line like:

  • All other duties as assigned

Which basically means, “Anything else you are asked to do.”

I think the helper part of the angelic job description is basically that. In addition to helper and messenger, the Bible mentions them:

  • Protecting believers (see Psalm 34:7)
  • Gathering us when Jesus returns (see Matthew 24:31)
  • Rolling back the stone on Jesus’ grave when He was resurrected (see Matthew 28:2)
  • Singing at Jesus’ birth (see Luke 2:13-14)
  • Opening prison doors (see Acts 5:17-20)
  • Killing a bad man (see Acts 12:20-23)
  • Killing 185,000 soldiers fighting against God’s chosen nation (Isaiah 37:36—37)

And I could go on…angels really do “all other duties as assigned.” However, let’s wrap up our answer to this question by looking at one more verse since it specifically is talking about children like you:

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven (Matthew 18:10).

I already said that angels protect believers…but that one makes it a lot more personal, doesn’t it? It seems to say that you [mention children name-by-name] each have a guardian angel.

That’s pretty cool too, isn’t it?!

Assuming that is true, it’s going to be really, really neat to meet our guardian angels when we get to heaven!

So…I guess I would answer the question, “What do angels do?” with…

Angels do whatever God asks them to do.

Should We Worship Angels?

Okay, we are in the home stretch of today’s sermon. Ready for the last question?

Should we worship angels?

But before we answer that I want to share an important fact. The devil and demons are angels too…fallen angels. Revelation 12:3—5 seems to indicate one third of the angels turned bad and Hebrews 12:22 speaks of “innumerable angels”…so that means there are a lot of evil angels.

So, everyone should realize not all angels are good and thank God that one of the things He has asked the good angels to do is to protect us. Oh, and 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light”…so what an angel says or does should be judged the same way we judge everything else…using Scripture…before we assume they are on God’s side. Bad people can pretend to be good, so can bad angels. Trust the Bible to help you find fakers.

Now…let’s try to answer, “Should we worship angels?”…and let’s do that by having an angel directly tell us what that answer is:

8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God” (Revelation 22:8-9).

Now…you may think the apostle John was dopey for falling down at the feet of an angel and worshiping him, but I suspect if we saw angels as incredible as they can be versus just as men like we normally do…we’d be blown away too. Think lighting…dazzling apparel…and clothing white as snow…not to mention the miracles they can do! I can understand wanting to worship something so amazing and powerful.

However, when John mistakenly did that, what the angel say?

Don’t do it! Just worship God!

And that is important to remember. The devil wants you to worship anything but God. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

” ‘You shall worship the Lord your God

and him only shall you serve’ ” (Matthew 4:8-10).

Can you believe that?! The devil tried to get Jesus…who is God…to worship him, a created angel!

But Jesus said, “Be gone Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'”

What is the answer to “Should We Worship Angels?”

No, we should not worship angels. We should only worship God.

Wrapping Up

Well, there you go kids! You now know more truth about angels than most people in this world…and that’s because you know where to get your truth.

No, not from me. 🙂

From the Bible!

Let’s quickly review our questions and answers.

Are angels real?

Yes, angels are real.

What are angels?

Angels are powerful spirits created by God, who help and act as messengers.

What do angels look like?

Generally, here on earth, angels look like us.

What do angels do?

Angels do whatever God asks them to do.

Should we worship angels?

No, we should not worship angels. We should only worship God.

Can you remember those five things?

And can you wrap up this sermon with me by saying…

Thank you God for sending angels to help us!

Once again…

Thank you God for sending angels to help us!

Footnotes

1Marlowe, W. C. (2016). Angel. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

2Smith, W. (1986). Angels. In Smith’s Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.


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