Tag Archives: Satan

Saint Michael and All Angels

649Spiritual Warfare

We are in a battle on this earth. The battle has been ongoing for a long time but it did not begin here. The battle began in heaven:

And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.   (Revelation 12:7-9)

We are in an epic battle and we must understand who our real enemy is. The Apostle Paul writes:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.   (Ephesians 6:12)

We are fighting the forces of evil. Evil is real. We cannot defeat it by our own strength. Fortunately, we are not in this battle alone. God is with us. His holy angels are on our side. The archangel Michael and his angels are still fighting for us. Today, we honor Michael and all the holy angels.

Yet, it is important for us to understand that we do not worship angles but the One true God who has made us all. Again, the Apostle Paul writes:

Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking,   (Colossians 2:18)

Angle are not to be worshipped. They are to be honored. Let us show our appreciation for the warring angels through our prayers. The psalmist wrote:

The Lord has set his throne in heaven,
and his kingship has dominion over all.

Bless the Lord, you angels of his,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
and hearken to the voice of his word.

Bless the Lord, all you his hosts,
you ministers of his who do his will.   (Psalm 103:19-21)

We can give thanks to God for our guardian angels, but we should not pray to them, or to anyone else, but God alone.

The holy angels are fighting against evil and we must also fight evil. We have two primary weapons to do so. In Revelation we read:

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,

“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Messiah,

for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down,
who accuses them day and night before our God.

But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,

for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.   (Revelation 12:10-12)

We have the blood of Jesus which covers our sins. This gives us access to the throne of God. By faith in the blood of Jesus we appropriate the righteousness of God in Christ. Thus we have authority over the devil. That is important to understand because prayer is our primary weapon against evil. We can bind evil with our prayers because we have authority over evil by the blood of the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ

Our faith must be complimented by our testimony, however, if our prayer is to be effective. If we claim the blood of Jesus then we must boldly tell others. Our prayers are also made powerful by the word of our testimony. Let us be bold as the Archangel Michael and not shrink back from the face of evil in this world. Amen.

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Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 17A

Track 1: I Am Who I Am

Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28

We are familiar of the story where God called out to Moses from a burning bush that did not consume itself. What a spectacle this must have been for Moses. The ensuing conversation is all the more incredible. God tells Moses that he wants him to go back to Egypt for the purpose of liberating the Hebrews from captivity. Moses responds:

“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” God said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’“ God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’:

This is my name forever,
and this my title for all generations.   (Exodus 3:11-15)

In the past, the Hebrew people referred to God as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now God is telling his chosen people through Moses his title which had never been given before. This signals a new relationship between God and humankind. It signals a new era of intimacy in which God may be approached personally.

But who is this God? He is Yahweh, the great I AM. He is the creator and the source for all life. God is absolute reality. He is utterly independent. He depends on nothing to bring him into being or support him or counsel him or make him what he is.He is sovereign. He is Alpha and Omega, he beginning and the end. It is hard to actually translate his name. Many scholars believe that the most proper meaning may be “He Brings into Existence Whatever Exists.”

God tells Moses that Yahweh is his name forever. Every generation should from this moment on should call him this name.

The psalmist writes:

Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;
make known his deeds among the peoples.

Sing to him, sing praises to him,
and speak of all his marvelous works.

Glory in his holy Name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Search for the Lord and his strength;
continually seek his face.   (Psalm 105:1-4)

Yet the children of Israel did not call upon his Name. They did not seek his face. the name Yahweh came to be regarded by Jews as too sacred to be spoken, The temptation for all of us is to become so pious that we dismiss the opportunity for intimacy with God.

Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, God with us. He is calling out to us. He came that we might have a relationship with God. God wants intimacy with us. He paid a great price that we may have that intimacy with him. Why do we turn aside?

Jesus paid a price. We must also pay a price:

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?   (Matthew 16:24-28)

The great I AM is the only reality. Are we ready to find our true life in him?

 

 

Track 2: Smarter than God

Jeremiah 15:15-21
Psalm 26:1-8
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28

When Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was, Peter proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Yet when Jesus went on to explain that the Messiah would be crucified, Peter would have none of it. Peter rebuked Jesus:

“God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.”   (Matthew 16:21)

Before we are too hard on Peter we bust ask ourselves: Have we ever questioned God’s purposes? The Prophet Jeremiah did so. He was a great prophet of God. Nonetheless, he found that his ministry was costing him more than he bargained for. Thus he complained to God:

Why is my pain unceasing,
    my wound incurable,
    refusing to be healed?
Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook,
    like waters that fail.

Therefore thus says the Lord:
If you turn back, I will take you back,
    and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
    you shall serve as my mouth.
It is they who will turn to you,
    not you who will turn to them.
And I will make you to this people
    a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
    but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you
    to save you and deliver you,
says the Lord.   (Jeremiah 15:18-20)

We remember that Job of the Old Testament was enduring great suffering. He held his peace for a long time. Finally, however, he grew fed up and wanted to know why God was allowing such terrible things to happen to him.

When things seem to go badly for us we are tempted to question God’s fairness and purpose. His answer may not be what we are looking for, at least this seemed to be true for Job, Jeremiah, and Peter.

God answered Job this way:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.   (Job 38:4)

God answered Jeremiah this way:

If you turn back, I will take you back,
and you shall stand before me.

If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
you shall serve as my mouth.

It is they who will turn to you,
not you who will turn to them.   (Jeremiah 15:19)

Jesus answered Peter this way:

“Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”   (Matthew 16:22-23)

What do these great men of God seem to have in common? What was motivating them to question the authority and understanding of God? Perhaps they thought they could explain things to God so that he could understand what was going on. Does that sound like any of our prayers?

From the Gospel appointed for today we read:

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?   (Matthew 16:24-26)

We cannot understand the thinking of God by our own thinking. We cannot understand the purposes of God by our own purposes. The Apostle Paul wrote:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit[e] set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit[g] is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.   (Romans 8:5-8)
God wants to give us a new worldview – his worldview. No doubt we will have to give up our right to be right. No doubt we will have to given up any thinking that we are smarter than God. Every time that we do we are given new understanding and revelation that brings joy to our heart. We move closer to an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and all loving God.

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The Transfiguration

10trans1-e1298272085244Changed into His Likeness


There was a moment when Jesus manifested His glory on the earth. We long for that moment to happen again. In today’s Gospel we read:

About eight days after Jesus had foretold his death and resurrection, Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. (Luke 9:28-29)

God called Moses to come up His holy mountain:

Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. (Exodus 24:15-18)

Something happens on the mount of God. His presence and His glory are there. God’s glory is like a “devouring fire.” It changes the participant. When Moses returned to the people his face shown with the glory of God.

Peter was on the mount of transfiguration. This was not just a metaphorical experience. It was an actual event. We have his testimony in his own words:

We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (2 Peter 1″16-17)

God calls us up to His holy mount for a purpose – His purpose! There are those who are merely looking for spiritual thrills. False churches and false revivals have been birthed by misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the Holy. Many have been led astray by lying spirits and false angels because they were seeking signs and wonders rather than the Lord Jesus Christ, not realizing that Satan himself can disguise himself as an angel of light. The Apostle Paul reminds us:

Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you.Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.   (Colossians 2:18-19)

Is God calling us to come to His mount of transfiguration? Are we ready? We are not to seek spiritual experiences per se. Rather, let us seek Jesus and His glory.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Cor. 3:17-18)

We are transformed by whom or what we worship. Let our worship be the Lord Jesus Christ and Him only. He is the culmination of all the Law and the Prophets. Let us focus on Him and listen to His words. Let us look into His face and be transformed from glory to glory.

Very soon Jesus will be calling His Bride. We must wait with expectation with our oil lamps full. We want to be full of the Holy Spirit and emptied from the pleasures and distractions of this world. The ultimate transfiguration for us will be when we receive a glorified body in heaven.

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