St. Michael & All Angels – Pr. Anderson sermon
Revelation 12:7-12 “Rejoice, for Your Accuser is Defeated”
September 24, 2023 | Christ Lutheran Church
In Nomine Iesu
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Heavenly Father, we thank and praise You for the wonders of Your creation. That as You created the earth and the creatures that dwell on it, You also created the angels to serve You in the spiritual realm. We thank You that as we are intrigued by the spiritual realm we can’t see the dangers that are around us everyday. We admit that there have been times in our lives where because of our doing, You send Your holy angels to protect us from evil. We ask that you continue to keep us safe here in this life, guiding us with your protecting hand, commanding your angels to lift us up lest we fall. We ask this in Jesus’ name, who saves us from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Amen.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (Rom. 1:7, etc.)
The sermon text for today is taken from the 12th chapter of the book of Revelation. We read selected verses in Jesus’ name:
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And 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.
These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by Your truth, Your Word is truth. Amen. (Joh. 17:17)
In Christ Jesus, who sends His angels to guard and protect you from the evil one, who conquered the dragon and brings you salvation, dear fellow redeemed:
The stage is set. War was brewing. Like any Hollywood film you can almost picture it. One film that comes to mind with our text is The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This is for good reason as most know of the Christian writer C. S. Lewis. In the book and movie, you have the lines drawn between Aslan the Lion and his forces of good, getting ready to fight against the White Witch and her forces of evil. At the commands of the generals, the armies run head long into each other in a fight to the death! The fighting is fierce and in the movie, like any good movie, it almost looks as though the forces of good are going to lose against the forces of evil. The one watching the movie might be wondering who is going to win? Well the reason that it looks like the good guys will lose is because their main leader was killed the night before, he took the place of one of the other characters who had been accused of being a traitor. No one wants to be accused of being a traitor, especially in war. The war in our text is happening because Satan wants to accuse you. He wants to stand before God and point out to Him all of the sins that you have done. Unlike the movie, your real accuser is no match for the forces of God. Your accuser is defeated!
There is no disagreeing with the text that Satan is defeated. “And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.” This attempt to overthrow God was many years in the making. Satan had rebelled sometime after the creation of the world as everything was created perfect. He wanted something along the lines of having control. He did not trust God’s leadership. Satan rebelled, taking many good angels with him. After this first rebellion, God gave Satan a promise, that he would be defeated. This promise is recorded again, in the verses before our text. To summarize, a woman is about to give birth. “She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne…” (Revelation 12:5). St. John records all of Jesus’ life in a simple sentence. Jesus becomes God in the flesh to take away the sins of the world and after His work; He ascends to his place at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. As Jesus lives out His perfect life, the devil throws everything he has at Jesus hoping that he will be able to destroy Him.
Jesus is not alone as He is attacked by the devil and His forces. Jesus is not only taken care of and has His full trust in God the Father, but the angels are also helping Him. They tended to Him after His temptations and in the garden of Gethsemane. Now we see what happens when the whole army is together. Led by Michael the angels of God fought against Satan. “And 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.” Satan looked to usurp Christ. He attempts to deceive the whole world that he is in charge.
As Satan attempts to deceive the world, we see how he is successful at times. Just as he persuaded good angels to follow him in his rebellion, Genesis records how he seduced Adam and Eve to sin. He told them what it would be like to be like God. They would have knowledge, knowing good and evil. The fruit was pleasing to the eye. Every detail brings Adam and Eve farther away from God toward the devil. With his enticement, Satan had a new job. He could stand in front of God and accuse mankind of the sins that we have committed. That is what his name means and you know it every time that you sin. Even the smallest of sins that you might commit and you can hear the devil in your ear telling you that you do not deserve God’s love. You will never be good enough for Him. Why bother with trying to do good if you can only do evil?
All of the evil things that we do, that we want to do, we know it comes from the father of lies. Our desires mimic what Satan wants. We want all the power, like Satan wants all the power. If it’s not the power that we want, then maybe he accuses us by pointing out all of our worries and anxieties, causing us to change who we trust. Satan wants us to relate to him because he doesn’t want to suffer alone. John records what God thinks about the accuser and where the accuser should stand. “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.'”
The accuser tried to stand before God, telling Him that His creation has failed and deserves punishment in hell. God could have agreed with him. Adam and Eve had failed to listen to Him and because of the devil so they all could have been sentenced to hell. God however did the opposite. He showed mercy and love. He took the accuser and had His angels throw him out. The accuser has no standing in heaven, and we see how great and powerful God’s angels are! Where do the angels receive their power? “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them!” Satan has no standing in the heavenly courts as Christ is the one who belongs there as king. As Christ destroys the power of the devil, the holy angels take him and his servants and they throw them all out of heaven!
Satan thought that he could get away with accusing mankind of their sins. He thought that he could put them on the hook. Yet mankind’s sins do not distract the lamb from His mission. Jesus stayed on the path toward the cross, and it was hard. He could have quit because He didn’t need to die for Himself. He did not let the accuser usurp Him. The accuser was put out. The accuser was defeated by the blood of the lamb.
Satan wanted to sit in heaven and tell God everything that you have done wrong. Could you imagine having the devil tell God all of your sins, all of your secrets? He still tries to do it. You are aware of it when your sins bug your conscience. When you know you have done something wrong, but you aren’t ready to confess to it yet. The problem that the devil has is God’s mercy on you. A gift handed to you. Your sins have been washed by the blood of the lamb and the God sends His angels to protect you in all of your ways. As the angels protect you from the evil forces in the spiritual realm, in Christ’s death and resurrection you are certain that Satan can’t harm you forever.
As our text says, we can rejoice with the heavens because the accuser has been thrown out and defeated. We can’t forget where the devil is now. “But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Just because the war is over as God and the angels put the devil out of heaven doesn’t mean that the devil is not hunting. He will do all that he can to trick us with his false accusations. He also will throw out his false accusations against the world. We can bring the world the message of comfort. Scripture teaches that God’s angels are around those who love Him, providing and protecting them. More importantly the devils accusations fall flat when they are drowned by Christ’s blood, shed for you on the cross.
The world is full of dangers. Thankfully in God’s grace, there is a lot that we don’t see. We don’t see God’s holy angels fighting against the evil that dwells in the spiritual realm. Hollywood will try to depict this fight in the most action packed way possible. They can be great story tellers, but they miss an important part. God was in no way close to losing this fight. The devil could not stand against Him. God’s holy angels put him out of heaven. We are thankful that they watch over us at all times. More importantly we look toward where the angels get their power. They get their power from the blood of the lamb. The blood of the lamb cleanses our sins. The blood of the lamb silences the accuser! The devil has no standing, his accusations are false. His time here on earth will be short! And when the end of the world comes, and the devil is thrown into that lake of fire, we will rejoice in the presence of God and the angels, with the lamb at the center. Amen.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.
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