Sermon:The Power of Angels
Pittsburgh New Church
September 8, 2019
Rev. Calvin Odhner
Text: (Psalm 91:11), (Matthew 18:10), (Matthew 1:20), (Matthew 4:11), (Luke 22:43)
Arcana: HH 228
The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, neither shall they say, Lo here, or Lo there; for behold the kingdom of God ye have within you.
(Luke 17:20, 21)
Good morning and welcome to the Pittsburgh New Church! Has anybody here ever met an angel? Well, maybe you have! I’m not talking about the young man who comes home from a date and says, ”she’s an angel.”
Angels are people just like you and me but somewhere on their journey on earth they made a decision to shun evil and do good! They made a choice to follow the Lord! Has anyone here made that choice? Ok..good! Then we may have here a whole room full of angels!!!! Let’s see what the Word says about angels…
Last week we talked about the power of the Lord in our life! That we need to get to know Him! Approach him. Ask Him to take care of us and to help us in our life. We need to make Him our King, our loving Heavenly Father. We were given multiple examples in parables: how the Lord is in the boat “asleep” and the disciples feel as though they are about to drown in the storm, but when they "wake up” the Lord, that is; acknowledge Him and bring Him into the battles in their life, there is a “great calm.”
We are to build our house on a rock rather than the sand so when a storm comes we can withstand the hells. All these describing how we cannot take on the hells by ourselves. Multiple comparisons are given such as: we are “a mosquito against an elephant” when we try and take on the hells! It’s challenging to believe that we are actually in the habit of turning away from the Lord and harming ourselves isn’t it? Yet the truth is, because of our heredity, we are constantly working against our angels and Divine Providence, which provides angels to hold us back from the hells every moment! We are told hell “strives every moment to rush in upon (us) and destroy (us) forever.” (AC 987.3) This is fascinating isn’t it?! Because we don’t actually feel it! We are protected by angels from feeling it! This concept is so important though, that it is described hundreds of ways in the Heavenly Doctrines…
…the Lord leads man by his divine providence in freedom always, and the freedom seems to man to be utterly his own. To lead a man freely in opposition to himself is like raising a heavy and resisting weight from the ground by means of screws through the power of which weight and resistance are not felt.
here’s another one
…. it is as though someone is unknowingly with an enemy who means to kill him and a friend leads him away quietly and only afterwards tells him the enemy’s intention.
Anyone can see from reason that lusts with their pleasures block and close the door to the Lord and cannot be cast out by the Lord as long as the man himself keeps the door shut and presses and pushes from outside to keep it from being opened. It is plain from the Lord’s words in Revelation that a man must himself open the door: Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me
(Rev. 3:20) (DP 33.2)
Despite our heredity we are all created to be angels in heaven! Everything is in place inside you for your entry into an eternal and beautiful home, “For man was created that he might come into heaven and become an angel;” (HH 57) The heavens are full of angels that were people just like you and me! Somewhere along the way they made a decision to stop doing evil. We do this by shunning those things of our heredity which we all know and sometimes love. We know what they are but it’s good to keep fresh in our mind what angels know.
Every love has its enjoyments; the love of evil with those in lusts also has, such as the love of committing adultery, of taking revenge, of defrauding, of stealing, of acting cruelly, indeed, in the worst men, of blaspheming the holy things of the church and of inveighing against God. The fountainhead of those enjoyments is the love of ruling from self-love. They come of lusts which obsess the interiors of the mind, from these flow into the body, and excite uncleannesses there which titillate the fibers.
So these are the parts in us we are to watch out for in our daily thinking; watch for the “love of committing adultery, taking revenge, defrauding, blaspheming, depriving others of their possessions.” We are told to counteract these loves we are to actively, with intention, seek the Lord basically on our knees, in humility and look to Him for truth and good we can incorporate in our life. We read “To look to God in life means simply to think that a given evil is a sin against God, and for that reason not to commit it.” This noble action, seemingly on our part, is what creates conjunction with the Lord. When our evils have, as it were, been put away we are an angel in the making! We read
The pure in heart shall see God (Matt. 5:8);
He who has my commandments and does them . . . with him will I make an abode
(John 14:21, 23).
There is a beautiful gift we get for doing our spiritual work which all angels develop, wisdom! Who doesn’t want tons of wisdom!
A man has the love of wisdom when he is averse to the diabolical crew, that is, to the lusts of evil and falsity. (DP 35)
So the constant objective of Divine Providence and every angel is to unite what is good to what is true and what is true to what is good within us. This is how we are united to the Lord. In this way angels are created right here on earth!
So great is the power of angels in the spiritual world that if I should make known all that I have witnessed in regard to it, it would exceed belief. Any obstruction there that ought to be removed because it is contrary to Divine order the angels cast down or overthrow merely by an effort of will and by a look. Thus I have seen mountains that were occupied by the evil cast down and overthrown, and sometimes shaken from end to end as in an earthquake; also rocks cleft asunder to their bottoms, and the evil who were upon them swallowed up. I have seen also hundreds of thousands of evil spirits dispersed by angels and cast down into hell. Numbers are of no avail against them, neither are devices, cunning, or combinations of these, for the angels see through them all and disperse them in a moment. (HH 229)
All the power the angels carry is from the Lord in their will and understanding—this is where our spiritual life lives! And it is from the power of some of these angels who are near us that we have the power to use our will and the power to understand things.
All the power that is worth having is the power not to do what is evil. When we use that power, the Lord will give us power to do what is good. He gives us His power through His angels. This week your job is to consider becoming an angel! That’s right, I’m talking to you! What would it take for you to make a decision today to become an angel? It would change everything wouldn’t it! "I’d like to gossip,” but angels don’t do that or ”I’d like to stonewall you and divorce you,”.but angels don’t do that!
This week, decide to become an angel and then you will understand the Lord’s words when he says…
“ He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”
Amen. Let us pray