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Sunday, September 12, 2021

"Angels Long to Look Into These Things" [Matt's Messages]

“Angels Long To Look Into These Things”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
September 12, 2021 :: 1 Peter 1:8-12

If you remember, verses 3 through 12 are one long sentence in the original Greek that Peter wrote to the “elect exiles” scattered throughout Asia Minor.

These very loved and very displaced people received this letter from the pen of the Apostle Peter to give them hope and direction as they experienced fiery trials.

Peter begins with praise because of the living hope, the guaranteed inheritance, that  is perfect and safe and perfectly safe that sustains followers of Jesus Christ no matter what various trials come upon them to test their faith and will result in glory when Jesus Christ returns.


What in the world could make an angel curious?

What would it take to fascinate an angel of God?

That last sentence in verse 12 is just astonishing, isn’t it?

“Even angels long to look into these things.”

The Christian Standard Bible says, they “long to catch a glimpse of these things.”

It interests the angels to no end!

I don’t know about you, but the word “curious” is about one of the last words that I would come up with to describe angels.

Angels are powerful.
Angels are mysterious.
Angels are flames of fire.
Angels are fearsome.
Angels are warriors.

Angels are...curious??!

Most of the time, when an angel shows up in the Bible, they have a message from God. They don’t have questions. They have answers!

But in verse 12, Peter pulls back the curtain a little bit more and reveals one more thing about angels. There are some things in the world that just totally fascinate them. There are some things that angels marvel at. Their jaws drop (if they have them), and their eyes bug out as they study these things.

“Even angels long to look into these things.”

Isn’t that astonishing?

It’s even more astonishing when you come to understand that Peter is saying that what they long to look into is something that you and I as New Testament Christians are currently experiencing!

They are on the outside curiously looking in, and you and I are on the inside.

It’s not that they’re not involved. They are involved, and have been from the beginning.

But they are involved from the outside, so to speak. You and I who belong to Jesus are experiencing these things on the inside.

We have a privileged position.

“Even angels long to look into these things.”

So. What are “these things?”

I think it’s everything from verses 3 through 12.

But it can probably be summed up with a beautiful powerful word that appears at the end of verse 9 and then right again at the start of verse 10.

“Salvation.”

V.9, “You are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

And by soul, it doesn’t just mean the immaterial substance of your spirit. It really means your whole self. The soul is the whole self.

You are receiving the salvation of your souls from sin, and death, and Hell.

That’s what the angels are fascinated by.

They are just captivated and delighted and enthralled and totally interested to study out how God is saving you and me!

Have you ever thought about that? 

Now, don’t get me wrong. They are not impressed by you and me.

Gabriel is not like, “Hey, Michael, you’ve got to see this Matt Mitchell guy. He’s really impressive.” 

No. It’s actually the opposite. “Hey, guys, you have seen what the Triune God is doing with that sinner? Did you see what kind of grace the Lord has on display? Do you see how the Master is bringing about the salvation of his soul? Astonishing!”

Even angels long to look into human salvation.

There is very little hint of angelic salvation in the Bible. Jesus did not die for the fallen angels (though His death will renew them and their world). 

But He did die and rise again to give living hope to humans who would put their faith in Him.

And that intrigues the angels to no end!

Verses 10 through 12 tell us that it wasn’t just the angels who were intrigued.

The Old Testament prophets were also curious. Look at verse 10.

“Concerning this salvation [the salvation of your souls], the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”

Now, there are a lot of words there, but the main point is pretty clear.

The Old Testaments prophets–like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Micah, Daniel–those guys–were prophesying to Israel then but also of things to still to come. And they were really curious to understand how what they were writing was all going to come about.

I mean think about being Isaiah writing Isaiah 53! You know that the Holy Spirit is stirring your heart to write, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. [Isaiah is writing...] Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (vv.3-5).

And you’re Isaiah, and you say to God, “Who is that? Who will that be? And when will that be?” The prophets asked that question over and over again. “When?!”

Peter loves his Old Testament, especially Psalms and Isaiah. And he’s going to quote it again and again as we read his letter.

But he knows that they didn’t know when and how all of their prophecies were going to coalesce and be fulfilled!

They could see, the Spirit was showing them, the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. In shadowy form, they could see the Cross and the Empty Tomb and the Kingdom to come.

But not Who and not When. Verse 12.

“It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”

Did you catch all of the “to you’s” there?

Verse 10, “the grace that was to come to you.”
Verse 12, “they were not serving themselves but you
Verse 12, “told you by those who have preached the gospel to you.”

Peter is saying that the elect exiles reading his letter (and by extension you and I today) have an advantage over both the Old Testament prophets and the angels of God!

Think about that!

Have you ever wished that you lived in the Old Testament and could see the miracles of God with your own eyes? The Red Sea Rescue. The Walls of Jericho come tumbling down. Goliath falling to one small smooth stone. The golden temple being erected. The fire falling on the wet sacrifice on Mt. Carmel. The Hebrew children emerging from the fiery furnace without even smelling of smoke!

Well, they wished that they could be in your shoes on this side of the Cross.

When the mystery has been revealed.

It was all leading up to you! To what God was doing with you!

Have you ever wished that you were an angel?

A powerful spiritual messenger of God. Un-fallen. Sinless. Flaming with purity.

Attending God in His throne room.  Un-suffering. (As far as we know.)

I’ll bet these precious followers of Jesus receiving Peter’s first letter envied the angels when they were experiencing persecution in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.

But Peter says that the angels longed to look into what was happening to them.

What God was up to in their lives. In their human salvation.

I think that’s truly amazing.

You and I have an advantage over the prophets and the angels.

Because the prophets were predicting the grace that has come to us now and the angels watch it play out from the outside when you and I are in!

How does that make you feel?

Why do you think that Peter tells us all of this?

What is he trying to do to us when we read this?

This isn’t just a set of curious facts that Peter happens to throw in for good measure.

He’s trying to do something in our hearts. What do think it might be?

Remember, these people were suffering. They were displaced physically. And they were displaced spiritually. They were not home. They were not in their homeland. They were exiles. Refugees. Sojourners. Foreigners. And they were feeling it.

And they were being made to feel it. They were experiencing some persecution and other various kinds of suffering.

They hurt.

Their lives hurt.

And I think it would be easy to feel sorry for yourself in that situation, right?

Anybody here struggling right now with feeling sorry for yourself?

Not just feeling sad but feeling envious of anybody who has it better than you or me?

Not just feeling lament and grief but jealousy or angry and self-pitying.  

“O poor me. O poor me.”

I fall into that one all of the time, and I know that objectively I am very blessed.

But a little bit of suffering, and I’m throwing myself a major pity party.

Peter will have none of it. Peter was bent on showing these Christians how good they have it. How loved they are. How safe they are. How known and accepted and chosen and blessed.

At least in these ways, we have it better than Isaiah or Daniel or the angel Gabriel!

“Even angels long to look into these things.”

That YOU are living right here, right now.

So what might be the application of this for us today?

Well, starting in the very next verse, Peter lays out some major points of application. We’ll jump into that next week, Lord-willing, in verse 13.

But for now, I think the application is just to keep doing what you’re already doing as a true follower of Christ. It’s the things in verses 8 and 9.

You might have noticed that we have largely skipped over verses 8 and 9 so far today. Let’s go back up and look more closely at them. V.8

“Though you have not seen him, you love him...”

There’s application point number one.

#1. YOU LOVE HIM.

This verse is talking about Jesus. Verse 7 said that one day soon Jesus Christ will be revealed.

But right now, He is hidden from view.

These Christians have never seen Him. Never laid eyes on Him.

Peter has. But he knows that these folks have not.

And yet they love Him!

How about you?

Raise your hand or honk if you have seen Jesus with your own eyes.

I don’t expect to hear even one honk.

Now. Raise your hand or honk if you love Jesus.

Isn’t that amazing?

You love somebody you’ve never seen?!

“Angels long to look into these things.”

Just keep loving Him.

You know it’s right to.

Jesus is the most amazing Person to ever live. To ever die. To ever live again.

He has shown you amazing love. Love Him back.

Cherish Jesus. Love Him more than anything else in the whole wide world.

It’s okay to love other things, but love Jesus more than anything.

Love Him so much that it could be said that you hate everything else in comparison.

Even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts. Love Him.

He loved you especially when in hurt. V.8

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him...”

That’s number two.

#2. YOU BELIEVE IN HIM.

You’re already doing it. Keep doing it. Keep trusting Him.

Peter says that even though you do not see him now, you continue to put your faith in Him. You find Jesus trustworthy.

Does anybody see Jesus right now? With your physical eyes?

No. But do you trust Him?

I know you do.

By the way, you know that you trust Him when you see yourself obeying Him.

Our faith comes out in our works.

Our works do not save us, but they can show us that we are saved.

You trust Him.

You trust Him even when it hurts.

Not only can you not see Him right now, but you can see your troubles.

Keep on trusting Him anyway.

Now, that’s not something that we should do with just anybody, right?

Some people should not be trusted when they are out of sight.

Toddlers and politicians for example.

But you know Jesus. 
And you love Him.
And you trust Him.

You believe in Him even though you do not see Him now.

“Angels long to look into these things.”

That’s God’s work in you!

And one more. V.8 again. “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

#3. YOU REJOICE IN HIM.

You’re already doing it. 

All true Christians do this.

Because of what Jesus has done, because of the sufferings of Christ predicted by the Old Testament prophets long ago, we are receiving the end result of our faith, the biggest thing we’ve been trusting Him for, the salvation of our entire beings.

We ARE receiving it.

Notice how certain that is.

Everything we saw last week about how perfectly safe our salvation is kept in heaven and how we are being kept safe for our salvation “shielded by God’s power.”

We ARE by faith receiving that salvation, and no power in the universe can stop it!

So we cannot help but rejoice!!

We “are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy[!]”

We have no words for it; it so good.

We "are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy[!]"

Of course we are! 

We rejoice in Him.
We rejoice in Jesus.
Even when it hurts.

That’s what it takes to make an angel curious.

“Angels long to look into these things.”

They say, “Wow! Wow! Wow! Would you look at that? How amazing is the work of our Triune God!

They love Jesus. Even though they have never seen Him!
They trust Jesus. Even though they do not see Him now!
They rejoice in Jesus even though they are hurting really really bad.

Would you just look at that? How fascinating!

Just catch a glimpse of what the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are doing right here, right now...in them!”

May God get the glory.


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