St. Michael and All Angels
September 27. 2015
In the Name of Jesus! AMEN!
Beloved in the Lord,
A. Rejoicing in the Kingdom of God
In the beginning God saw all that He had made, all that His Word had brought forth, and it was good, very good, perfect. There was no sin, no sorrow, no suffering, no sickness, no death, no dirge, no devil. Adam and Eve were complete and they were completely happy in God. Michael and Lucifer stood side by side beneath the majesty of their creator. Gabriel and all the heavenly hosts bowed before the glassy sea. The Cherubim and Seraphim echoed the glory of the Triune God with thundering praises before the throne, the magnitude of their Sanctus shook the doorposts. Heaven and Earth were at peace. Heaven and Earth were full of joy.
All was good, very good, perfect . . . until Lucifer and 1/3 of the angels rebelled. There was war in Heaven, war that spilled over onto the earth. Satan could not defeat God but . . . he easily defeats Adam. With Adam’s fall comes our fall. Adam’s sin is our sin. The Devil’s work then, continues in our midst today. Sin, sorrow, suffering, sickness all haunting us with the advent of death, dirge, and the devil. In one second, with one bite of the wrong fruit from the wrong tree, one instance of the wrong faith in the wrong words, humanity and all creation fell. All that was created very good was now not good at all.
But the disciples in our text return to Jesus with Joy. Why? The Word that brought creation in to being was preaching creation’s restoration. The disciples are joyful because in the Name of Jesus they have power of devils and demons. Like mighty angels themselves, the disciples rebuked hell’s forces. They wrestled, not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of this world, against powers and principalities, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly realms. With Christ’s Word and in His Name these “sent ones” beat back Satan! Like St. Michael warring against Lucifer in heaven, wielding his mighty sword against demonic forces unseen by man, these 70 (or 72) wield the sword of the Spirit against Hell’s legions. They preach the Word of God! They proclaim the Advent of the King. They announce the restoration of all that was once very good. Therefore, they rejoice, they sing, they dance, they lift up their heads in praise of the Savior of the World! “Lord, even the demons obey us in Your Name.!”
B. The Work of the Devil
Beloved, too many of us take far too lightly our eternal enemy. And therefore we consider far too lightly our eternal hope. The work of the Devil is all around us. His scorpions poison hearts and souls with venomous lies. His serpents are ready to strike at a moment’s opportunity. It is only by God’s grace, and the work of His Angels that you and I are not struck down, hung from the rafters, and severed from Christ. For Satan our adversary wants every one of you dead and in hell. His bow is drawn back and his arrows remain pointed at you. His quiver is full of deadly delusions, deceptions, and poisonous falsehoods. These are his greatest weapons and with these weapons Satan accuses our conscience in order to bring about despair and hopelessness. False doctrine, as it once did so long ago in the garden, deludes people into misunderstanding God’s heart and the world around us. “Did God really say . . .” shifts our attention, ever so subtly, from the sure Word of God to another word, spoken by another voice. Doctors, politicians, teachers and judges, love gurus, radio celebrities, movie stars and popular authors, winning athletes and TV comics, friends or neighbors, Dr. Phil or Dr. Laura – all these, though masquerading as angels, often are scorpions and serpents with a different word and different voice. Believing these words, when these words are not in accord with God’s Word, will kill your soul, steal your joy, rob your certainty, and cast you further and further into doubt, despair, and hopelessness.
And look at our world, look at your life. How many these days would rather mold their lives around the advice of these soothsayers? And how many despair when their marriage still falters, when their health still dwindles, when their lives are still a mess because they haven’t listened to God’s word and set His Word as the fount of their lives? The wrong preacher, with the wrong word, in the wrong voice can only offer the wrong fruit and direct you the wrong way.
C. In One Second Satan fell beneath the Cross
Jesus says, “I saw Satan falling from heaven like lightning” There was war in heaven. Michael and his angels against Lucifier and his legions. But they could not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the dragon, the serpent of Old, the Devil who is called Satan was cast out – exercised from the heavenly realms. He was cast down from heaven to the earth, because on the earth, heaven’s eternal Son took up the cross. In one second Satan fell beneath the cross. In one second the powers of hell were vanquished. In one second the Word spoken from the Tree toppled the Devil’s principalities. In one second Life embraced death, that death might be destroyed by life. In once second a few drops of blood recreated the whole world. In one second Satan fell and Humanity was redeemed. In one second our accuser was silenced and we were justified. In one second the slanderer of our forefathers was crushed under the blood of the lamb as the pierced foot of Jesus trampled upon the cobra, the serpent and his scorpions. All that would bring about our destruction; sin, sorrows, suffering, sickness, death, dirge and devil were put to flight, cast down, thrown beneath the passion of the cross!
The cross is where God’s Son wrestles with hell in your place. This cross is the victory! The cross is the triumph! The cross is the glory! Demons shudder at its sight. Angels viel their faces in reverence. Saints bow their head as it passes by. For the cross is the devil’s undoing! The cross is the dragon’s demise! The cross is hell’s destruction. The cross is our restoration. The cross is humanity’s redemptions. The cross is the making good what was bound in sin and death.
B’. The Preaching of the Word – Angels in Action (I have given you authority)
Thus it is the preaching of the cross of Christ which chases away the demonic powers. Jesus says, “I have given you authority to trample upon serpents and scorpions and on all the power of the enemy.” The preaching of the cross is the preaching of the victory of Christ over sin, death, and devil to the world. This message is the source and strength of your faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The greatest Word of God is the Word of forgiveness of your sins on account of the cross of Christ. The devil brought sin into the world and through sin came death not just to Adam but to all. If death is to be destroyed, then sin must be dealt with. If sorrow is to be chased away then sin must be forgiven. If sickness is to be turned to health then sin’s effects must be healed with mercy. If life is to be resurrected then the dirge must be silenced with a better word, a good word, a gospel word – the Word of the Cross of Christ, the Word of the Resurrection of Christ! This Word is life! This Word is Grace! This Word is good and makes good those who believe it.
This is the Word of restoration to and for the world, to and for you. It is a sure Word. It is a certain Word. It is a right Word, from a righteous Son, with a righteous voice whose righteousness floods the earth flowing from the right Tree, the tree of life!
A’. Rejoice: Blood Red Names in the BOOK
Therefore, beloved there is cause for great Joy in heaven and on earth. The Devil has been cast down, his work undone. Angels bellow their Te Deum. Saints echo with Alleluia. And we the people of God, the church militant rejoice! Not because illness are healed. Not because the blind can see or the deaf can hear. Not because the demons submit to us in His Name, but because our names are written in the book of Life, written not with ink but with blood, the blood of the Lamb. You, the baptized of God, have your names written in heavens book. Your sins are forgiven. Your death is destroyed. The Devil is rendered powerless and there is joy through all the earth! Christ is Risen! Christ has conquered! Christ is coming! AMEN! Come Lord Jesus, make our joy complete.
The peace of God which surpasses all human understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!