Megachurch Pastor Greg Laurie said Sunday that angels are “actively involved” in each Christian’s life as he preached a special message on angels and demons. But he couldn’t say for sure if each believer has a “guardian angel” but believes they might.
Laurie, the senior pastor of the multi-site Harvest Christian Fellowship based in Riverside, California, who for decades has hosted stadium crusade events attended by thousands, assured during his Jan. 30 sermon that while humans live in the natural world, angels coexist in the supernatural world — or the “invisible world" — which is “just as real” as the natural world.
“Here is a question that pops up every now and again: do we have guardian angels? Here is my definitive answer: maybe,” the evangelist said in the middle of his sermon. “I would even add that I think there’s a good chance that we do.”
Laurie declared that Jesus “made an interesting statement in Matthew 18:10” while speaking of children.
“He said, ‘Make sure you don’t look down on these little ones for I tell you, their angels in Heaven always see the face of my Father in Heaven,’” he recited. “Interesting he said, ‘their angles in Heaven.’”
“So maybe we don’t all have guardian angels,” he continued. “Maybe only children have guardian angels [or] a special angel assigned to [them]. … But maybe adults have them as well.”
He referred to a passage in Acts 12 after Peter was released from prison and went to a home where believers were gathered for prayer. But the believers did not believe initially that Peter was at the door, and they said, “maybe it’s his angel.”
“Does that mean that Peter had a personal guardian angel? I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “But even if we don’t have personal angels, you can be sure that we do have angels assigned to us that are involved in our lives.”
Earlier in the sermon, Laurie said that he wanted the congregation to know that angels are “actively involved in your life” and they have “special work that they do in the life of the Christian.”
“Thousands and thousands and thousands of angels are in Heaven, working on earth, serving the Lord,” Laurie said. “Most of these angels are holy; some of them are fallen. You find them in the Old and the New Testament.”
The Bible, Laurie said, has about 300 references to angels but warned that there are “so many misconceptions” that people tend to have.
“The angels primarily work undercover. It is not the job or the nature of an angel to draw attention to themselves,” he said. “They are just doing God’s work. You might describe them as God’s secret agents. Another way to put it, they are sort of like Navy SEALs. ... Their job is to get the job done.”
There are times when Angels have stopped Christians from doing the “wrong” things and times when angels have protected Christians from harmful situations, Laurie said.
“There are times when an angel has prompted you [and] spoken directly to you,” the 69-year-old said. “I wonder how many times we’ve been headed for destruction, and God changed our course by directing an angel to stop us from where we were going.”
Later in the sermon, Laurie said believers often hold preconceived notions about angels that don't align with what the Bible says.
“I know we often think of an angel as feminine, like ‘she’s as pretty as an angel.’... In reality, when angels do appear visibly, they appear as men,” Laurie said, referring to how angels appear in the Bible.
The pastor said some often say that when someone dies, they become an angel. He referred to the saying: “Well, God just needed another angel in Heaven.’”
“We don’t become angels. … That’s wrong. … Angels are angels. They’re created beings. They are spoken of in Scripture,” Laurie detailed.
“We find them worshiping the Lord, and we also see God using angels to dispatch judgment and justice on the earth,” he said, pointing the audience to Hebrews 1:14. “‘Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?’”
Although angels exist to do the work of God, Laurie said the devil and his demons (fallen angels) also exist to oppose the work of God.
Laurie defined demons as “angels that rebelled against God, following Satan.”
“When there was this angelic rebellion, two-thirds of the angels stayed on God’s side, but one-third of the angels went on the devil’s side, Lucifer’s side,” he said. “Don’t underestimate the power of demons.”
Laurie said the Bible speaks about people “being demon-possessed” and having “supernatural strength.”
“When police officers are answering a call for some kind of danger, the first thing they usually do is call for backup,” he said. “You’re in a spiritual battle. And you need to call for backup. You need the Lord’s strength in your life.”
Laurie said people will often ask the question: “Why did God create the devil?”
“God did not create the devil as we know him,” Laurie answered. “Satan, also known as Lucifer, was once a very high-ranking angel.”
“Lucifer was obsessed with himself,” he added. “He did not want to worship God. He wanted to be worshiped himself. And so, he was brought down because of his pride.”
Laurie stated that although Satan lost his once exalted position, he still has access to the “presence of God.” However, the angels and God outnumber Satan and his demons.
“The bad news is: thousands of angels are now serving the devil with demon powers. But the good news is: thousands of more angels are serving God, protecting us, guiding us and doing all the things that they do for us,” Laurie preached.
“Don’t make deals with the devil. … [The devil] has a well-organized network of demon powers doing his bidding," Laurie said. "It appears that the purpose of demons are twofold: to hinder the purposes of God and to extend the power of Satan … [and] to stop God and His people from doing what the Lord wants us to do and then to extend the reign and power influence of Satan."
The preacher explained that Jesus summed up Satan’s agenda in John 10:10, which says, "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.”
Laurie stressed that Satan is not more powerful than God because Satan does not have the same abilities.
“God is omnipotent, meaning He’s all-powerful. Satan is powerful, but he has limitations to his power. God is omniscient, which means He knows everything. Satan knows a lot, but not nearly enough as God,” Laurie said. “God is omnipresent, which means He can be everywhere at the same time. Satan can only be in one place at one time.”
The devil opposes God and accuses and condemns believers by sending them thoughts, he stated.
“You see: [the devil] sends the thought and then condemns us for having that thought,” Laurie said. “Listen, it’s not a sin to be tempted. It’s only a sin when I invite temptation in for tea. It’s been said: ‘You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair.’”
“The problem is not in the bait; it’s in the bite,” he relayed. “It’s not a sin if the bait is dangled in front of you; it’s only a sin if you bite it.”
Christians should confess their sins and rid their lives of grudges, anger, and resentment to overcome Satan, the pastor advised.
He said that when Christians don't confess their sins, the devil will obtain a foothold in their lives.
“You will never overcome the devil if there’s unconfessed sin in your heart. … When sin remains unconfessed, there is a wall between us and God. Again, if we’ll confess our sin, [1 John 1:9]: ‘He’s faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,’” Laurie maintained.
Confessing to sin doesn’t mean Christians need to confess to every sin they have committed, he stated, adding that it is an acknowledgment that “I’ve sinned, Lord.”
“And in this case, you are agreeing with God,” he continued.
Two other ways that believers can overcome the enemy, Laurie said, is through “the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony,” which means they must read and preach the Gospel.
“Listen, in the spiritual battle, the way we move forward, the way we gain ground, the way we take enemy territory is by preaching the Gospel,” he said, quoting Ephesians 6.
“When we’re in spiritual battle gaining ground by preaching the Gospel, the devil will not be able to stop us,” he added. “‘Because greater is He that is in us, Jesus says, then he who is in the world.’”