Angel sermon ideas

Angels are supernatural spirits who serve as God's heavenly choir of praise. Angels also serve as God's agents — particularly as God's messengers on earth. Bible passages throughout the Old and New Testaments mention angels, and our sermons and music can explore the important roles these heavenly beings play.

What does the Bible say about angels?

The Bible passages below can be used in sermons, prayers, or worship planning focused on angels. 

  • Genesis 1:26, God spoke: Let us make humans in our image
  • Job 38:4-7, the heavenly beings shouted for joy when God created the earth
  • Psalm 29:1-2, the psalmist calls on the heavenly beings to esteem God's glory and strength
  • Psalm 91:11-12, God commands the angels to guard and protect those who take refuge in the Lord
  • Psalm 103:20-21, angels—the Lord's mighty ministers who do his will— are called to bless the Lord
  • Isaiah 6:2-3, seraphs in attendance about the Lord praised the Lord together
  • Matthew 1:20-21, an agel appears to Joseph in a dream 
  • Matthew 4:11, when the devil left Jesus, angels came and waited on him 
  • Matthew 28:2, an angel of the Lord rolled the stone of the tomb back and sat on it 
  • Luke 1:26-33, the angel Gabriel fortells Jesus' birth to Mary 
  • Luke 2:10-14, angels bring good news of great joy
  • Luke 15:10, God's angels experience great joy whenever a sinner repents
  • Ephesians 6:12, we struggle against the spiritual forces of evil 
  • Colossians 1:15-16, in Jesus all things in heaven and on earth were created, including invisible things
  • Hebrews 1:14, angels are spirits in service to God

Sermon ideas about angels

Ignoring angels?

Sermons about angels can acknowledge that fact that except for a flutter of their wings in Advent and on Easter Sunday, angels disappear from much of Christian worship for the rest of the year. This may be owed, at least in part, to theologians in the 19th and 20th centuries who, while not quite denying the existence of angels, didn't want to talk about them either. The Swiss theologian Karl Barth cited example after example of liberal European theologians who had no room in their theology for angels.  

Hollywood and angels

Just the opposite happened in Hollywood. Every Christmas season, there are reruns of Frank Capra's 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life, in which an angel named Clarence Odbody saves the life of a suicidal businessman played by Jimmy Stewart. The film is regularly ranked among the top 100 films ever made in America. In 1971, William Peter Blatty published The Exorcist, a book that reintroduced demons into North American culture and triggered a series of four films.  

In 1977, the film Star Wars offered a kindly Alec Guinness giving the benediction "May the Force be with you," and spines that had not known the contour of a church pew for years began to tingle. In the same year, the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind featured angels from outer space, moving and beckoning in an atmosphere of music, light, and wonder. But Hollywood was not done. Since the 1970s there have been a number of films and TV series that present angels, including the popular series Touched by an Angel (1994-2003), prompting people to note that when religion dropped wonder, Hollywood picked it up. 

Supernatural beings

In sermons, songs, and liturgies about angels, we can explore the Bible's treatment of angels as creatures: they are part of "all things in heaven" that Colossians 1 describes — in this case, the invisible things. 

Angels are spirits, but they can appear to humans, as at Jesus' resurrection, and speak to them. They are numinous spirits, evoking human dread to such an extent that when angels show up in the Bible, the first thing they commonly say is "Do not be afraid." 

Heavenly council

Angels can also come up in sermons about Genesis 1. If the "us" in Genesis 1:26 refers to the members of the "heavenly council," as many scholars suggest, then angels were in on the creation of the world. In any case, in Job 38 God reveals that when the cornerstone of the earth was laid, "the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy." Morning stars singing and angels shouting for joy — all the sounds, all the brilliant light, everything is full of jubilation. 

Bad angels

Sermons about angels can also examine the existence of bad angels. There are bad angels to battle against in Ephesians 6, and an apparent revelation in 2 Peter 4 that angels had once been good. Which brings to mind an old tale: Lucifer (Satan) is roaming outer space and runs into the archangel Michael, once his colleague in the old days of heaven. "What do you miss most about heaven?" Michael asks. With a great wistfulness, Lucifer says, "I miss the sound of the trumpets in the morning." Revelation 5 adds singing and harp-playing to music in heaven. No doubt we are to think of music as part of blessing God or praising God that the psalmists love to call for. 

Angels are highly active around Jesus' birth and at his resurrection — surely times for singing and shouting for joy. 

The Screwtape Letters

In C. S. Lewis' novel The Screwtape Letters, the "patient" whom Screwtape and Wormwood (uncle and nephew in the demonic realm) have been trying to corrupt dies before they can succeed. He is ushered into heaven by angels, whom he then recognized, understanding the part each one had played in his life—including times when he thought he had been alone. Sermons about angels can explore the notion of humans being unaware of the angels around us in this life. 

Excerpts about angels

Following are sample excerpts from sermon resources about angels: 

"Even now, in the Divine Liturgy, the angels make room for our priest's ministrations, and for us, as we mystically represent them in singing the Holy, Holy, Holy!" Article about Scripture by Edith M. Humphrey from Ancient Faith 

Worship ideas about angels 

Following are sample excerpts from worship resources about angels: 

"But perhaps most striking is the direction of the angel's gaze. He looks, not at John, but out from the page at the viewer." Artwork by Ian Boxall from The Visula Commentary on Scripture

"We in church have heard the story of Messiah's humble birth. We must take to all the city God's great love and all its worth." Hymn by Christine and Ted Haines from Worship Words

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