TEXTS: LUKE 10:17-20/REV. 12:7-12/DAN. 10:10-14; 12:1-3
SATAN AND HIS ANGELS ARE THROWN DOWN!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come and from the seven spirits who are before His throne (that is the Holy Spirit)… and from Jesus Christ…the firstborn of the dead (Rev 1:4-5). Dear children of our Father in heaven:


By God’s design you and I cannot thoughtfully pray the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer without being reminded of God’s holy angels. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Contemplate the phrase on earth as it is in heaven. The words “on earth” teach us that our heavenly Father’s concerns are earth-wide. They go beyond our circle of family and friends - our limited line of sight. The one who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son cares for the whole wide earth. He teaches us so to pray. Thy will be done on earth – that is on all the earth – in China – in Europe – in the Middle East - in Africa – in South America – in our homeland – in our homes – in our dorm rooms - in our lives – in this house of worship.


The feast of St. Michael and all angels points also to the next words of this petition - as it is in heaven. Jesus teaches you to include these words in daily prayer. He thereby teaches you each day that there is more to life than this transitory earth. As wide as this earth is, it is decaying and dying. As firm as this earth seems at times - it is so very shakable. Sinkholes, tsunamis, earthquakes, deterioration, despair and death all testify to that.  


Every day God wants you to pray with the knowledge that the heavens and the earth will pass away. He also wants you to pray knowing that there is a splendid, secure, superior realm (although presently invisible to you) that will not pass away. He also wants you to reflect on the angels and all that dwell in that realm. God’s holy angels serve God and they also serve you, God’s children!  Their worship of Christ joins with yours – even now!

ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS – SEPTEMER 29, 2013
TEXTS: LUKE 10:17-20/REV. 12:7-12/DAN. 10:10-14; 12:1-3
SATAN AND HIS ANGELS ARE THROWN DOWN!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come and from the seven spirits who are before His throne (that is the Holy Spirit)… and from Jesus Christ…the firstborn of the dead (Rev 1:4-5). Dear children of our Father in heaven:


By God’s design you and I cannot thoughtfully pray the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer without being reminded of God’s holy angels. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Contemplate the phrase on earth as it is in heaven. The words “on earth” teach us that our heavenly Father’s concerns are earth-wide. They go beyond our circle of family and friends - our limited line of sight. The one who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son cares for the whole wide earth. He teaches us so to pray. Thy will be done on earth – that is on all the earth – in China – in Europe – in the Middle East - in Africa – in South America – in our homeland – in our homes – in our dorm rooms - in our lives – in this house of worship.


The feast of St. Michael and all angels points also to the next words of this petition - as it is in heaven. Jesus teaches you to include these words in daily prayer. He thereby teaches you each day that there is more to life than this transitory earth. As wide as this earth is, it is decaying and dying. As firm as this earth seems at times - it is so very shakable. Sinkholes, tsunamis, earthquakes, deterioration, despair and death all testify to that.  


Every day God wants you to pray with the knowledge that the heavens and the earth will pass away. He also wants you to pray knowing that there is a splendid, secure, superior realm (although presently invisible to you) that will not pass away. He also wants you to reflect on the angels and all that dwell in that realm. God’s holy angels serve God and they also serve you, God’s children!  Their worship of Christ joins with yours – even now!

Pondering God’s holy angels is not to pull you away from the duties of your daily vocation. It is to aid your bedrock certainty that there is so much more to life than you now see. By God’s design thoughtfully praying the third petition calls to mind God’s holy angels. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.


In heaven, God’s Name and God’s kingdom and God’s will are treated with the reverence they deserve. In heaven there is perfect obedience to God and perfect love for God and perfect worship of God. You are not acting out of touch with reality when you pray as it is in heaven.  Rather, your life at college, at work, at home is out of touch with reality when you forget the eternal, invisible, realm in which God’s holy angels serve Him and serve you.


Dear friends, so often we get worried and worn out because we fight the wrong battle as the main battle. There are battles aplenty that we can see and feel – emotional battles, political battles, budget battles, scholastic battles, health battles, self-discipline battles. But underneath it all is the ultimate battle – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the rulers…the authorities…the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12). That’s what’s behind our culture of coveting and consuming - of demanding and deceit – of pornography and political corruption of idolatry. There is an ancient and ever-present enemy of the human race – Satan!  The war is deadly serious. The war is for the possession of your body and soul and for that of every living human being - for eternity. Today the church year calls our attention to the full theatre of that warfare and the work of God’s holy angels in it. 


Much is made of imagined angels in our time. From fluffy toys to decorative pillows to little figurines to greeting cards to television shows - contemporary angels are largely pictured as meek and mild - eager to help us mortals out of the tight spots of life. Some are pictured as round-faced little cherubs – flitting about – sprinkling good cheer and niceness. While angels are almost always pictured with wings, more often than not in Scripture there is no mention of wings. It is not wrong to picture them with wings as our bulletin does as long as we know that wings don’t make an angel and it would be scriptural to most often picture them without. While angels are neither given nor taken in marriage (male or female) when God sends them for the world to perceive in human form it is always a masculine form.


Dear Christians, God did not wait to get your permission to create His holy angels. Their very name helps us begin to understand them – for it means “messenger.”  The angels are there all the time – excelling in strength and serving God. But their realm of visible presence is outside your current limits of time and space. In Scripture there can be seen a definite wildness to them!  They are anything but tame!  St. Michael as we heard from Revelation is a warrior angel waging holy war with Satan and his hosts.
    
The weapons that God’s holy warrior angels use are words – God’s words. Satan and his legions speak false words. God’s messengers speak true words!  The battle is on!  Everyday words speed all around - piercing hearts - molding minds - affecting lives for eternity (yours and mine included). Satan deceives with words. He launches word after word to mislead and misinform. He is a master of words and the father of lies!  He seeks to devour you with seductive words - whether sweet or soothing or scholastic or spiritual. His favorite disguise is as an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14). From the most educated, most elite, most respected, and seemingly most reasonable voices on earth he offers one alternative after another to supplant the Son of God and His words. He lifts up one secular Messiah after another (including yourself and your own limited understanding) to sweep away hearts and minds from the Gospel of Jesus Christ – and O yes – to invent a god so small we would push aside God’s holy angels as if we were the whole cheese and as if they didn’t exist.

God’s angels, God’s messengers on the other hand proclaim the Word made flesh and His doctrine. Amid all the claptrap and spiritual baloney about angels, find your rest in the words you know the angels of God have spoken on this earth!  You repeat some of them every week in the Divine Service. When God revealed Himself to Isaiah (6:1-7) the angels called out what we will soon sing - “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of Sabaoth” (that is holy is the Lord God of angel armies of heavenly hosts). As Isaiah was commissioned to be God’s prophet the action of the angels centered on his sins being taken away through gifts from God’s altar. At the birth of Christ the angels praised God with the words we just sang, Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace good will toward men. Their words and their actions were to proclaim the birth of the Savior from sin. 


The last book of the Bible is filled with the activity of God’s holy angels – markedly different than today’s pretend angels. The angels of Revelation swing sickles for the wine press of the wrath of God (Rev. 14:19). The angels of Revelation continually cry out with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 5:11). In the life of the Church as recorded in the book of Acts, their work is the same. When angels release Jesus’ hand-picked apostles from jail in Jerusalem, it is to continue to preach the whole message of the life that comes in Christ (Acts 5:19). That message centered on repentance and baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38)!  The angels’ activity in Acts continues when an angel appears to Phillip to direct him to preach the Gospel to the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26). That man’s baptism immediately followed!  When Cornelius is directed by an angel to send for Peter, it is in order to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ from him (Acts 10:22). It was Pentecost all over again – this time in Caesarea for Gentiles - as Peter preached Christ to Cornelius and those with him. Then they were baptized!  Beloved - this side of heaven - you will never fully understand the joy of the God’s holy angels over your baptism.


You see, in Scripture, God’s untamed warrior angels are at work for the Gospel - to help earthly messengers proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ – so that God’s grace is poured out. The weapons of God’s angels are words - words from the Word made flesh (Gal. 1:8; I Peter 1:12; Rev. 14:6). That is how Satan is cast out!   


That is what the seventy-two rejoiced in as they returned to Jesus. “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”  He had sent them before His face to preach that the kingdom of God came in Him (Luke 10:9). He had made the astonishing declaration to them that, “The one who hears you, hears me” (10:16). Satan now falls from heaven because Jesus has come from heaven to defeat him. Like lighting that flashes for a moment and is gone – so also the devil is vanquished by the victory of the cross that crushes Him. Satan has no permission – no position – no power - to stand in God’s holy presence and accuse you – God’s holy one!  During his short time – until Christ’s second coming – the devil assails the whole human race on earth – especially Christ’s church. But he cannot change God’s love for you in Christ or God’s will for your eternal pleasure. He is conquered by the blood of the Lamb!  This blood Christ baptized you into – that is into His death!  This blood Christ serves you in His cup – the New Testament in His blood – shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.


The prophet Daniel spoke of a time of trouble such as never has been since there was a nation – a time when God’s people will be delivered – everyone whose name is written in the book of life. He is speaking of the Last Day – Judgment Day – when those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake – some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Are you confident in yourself and the record you have earned to stand before God on that day?  Good heavens no!  You know your sin as I know mine – at least what we can discern (Psalm 19:12). You feel its shame. If God kept a record of sins no one could stand?  (Psalm 130:3-4)  But there is forgiveness with Him – that He may be feared!


It is forgiveness purchased on a day of trouble such as never has been since there was trouble in this world – a day when God delivered us from the accusing power of the devil. That day began in the evening. In the darkness of a garden the Lamb of God agonized in bloody sweat. Twelve legions of angels stood at the ready (Matthew 26:53). As God willed, however, Jesus did not summon them. The Word made flesh would face the trouble of this day of judgment alone. Later, God’s angels would release the apostles from prison to preach Christ and send Philip to preach Christ to the Ethiopian and move Cornelius to call Peter to come and preach Christ to him.


But on the day of trouble and judgment on our sin – they simply stand aside as God’s name is hallowed – as God’s kingdom comes – as God’s will is done on earth as it is heaven!  The Son of God submits fully to God’s will for our redemption. On the earth – in the flesh – God reconciles us sinners to Himself!  The Lamb of God whose blood cleanses us from all sin – is sacrificed – once for all!  The father of lies - is silenced with astounding grace and steadfast love – from the Father of love. Rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them!  Rejoice – you who are yet on earth – that your names are written in heaven.


Silent and out of sight on Good Friday – God’s holy angels are soon visible and pointing to Christ once again!  “He is not here – He is risen!” they proclaim at His open and empty tomb. They are the first to trumpet the Easter air we are now given to breathe. Just forty days later – at His mighty ascension – they announce His return on the Last Day – the day Daniel foretells!  In the short time until then, they still serve God and His church – unseen – unnoticed – and unchanged. Their work is still the same – to serve the proclamation of Christ crucified and risen and ascended and serving us with His grace! 


It is the ascended Christ – with all the authority of God’s right hand that comes now to serve you. He lives to intercede for you before the Father in keeping with God’s will. Satan has no place there – in God’s presence - for the great dragon was thrown down – and his angels with him. Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come – also to you!  You are perfectly right to pray in the Son through the Spirit everyday this week – Father in heaven - Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.


In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
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