The past few weeks, we learned how we are fully known by God, but also fully loved and understood by God. God is not only omniscient, all-knowing, He is also omnipresent; everywhere all of the time. Yet, we are invited to go beyond God’s general presence and to seek personal encounters with Him.
It only seemed right this week to transition right along from God being omniscient and omnipresent to the attribute of being omnipotent; all-powerful. This is one of the more misunderstood attributes of God.
Power is only revealed and understood when its limits are put to the test and able to be proven. Power refers to one’s potential strength.
For example. You can go out and spend a few million dollars to pick up a Devel Sixteen, which boasts a 5,000 horsepower engine with 3,760 pound-feet of torque. It’s one of the most powerful commercially available cars right now. However, if you just casually drive it around like any other car, that power is never going to be fully realized.
Christians have access to the raw power of God, yet most of us are content to be Sunday morning drivers and never step out in faith to encounter that power move in and through our lives!
We don’t realize how strong we truly are until we walk through circumstances that we previously would have thought would have broken us. It isn’t until we are taken to our limits that we do not realize how powerful or strong we truly are. In fact, this is only a partial truth. We’ll take a look at the rest of this truth later in the message.
God is omnipotent; all powerful. There are no limits to His power. His power is limitless. All power and all authority is His. God reigns sovereign over all and answers to absolutely no one for His actions. They are always right and always good as God is entirely righteous and true.
After God finally responds to Job and essentially asks, “Who are you?”, Job responds to the Lord and says:
Job 42:2-6 (NCV)
2 “I know that you can do all things
and that no plan of yours can be ruined.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that made my purpose unclear by saying things that are not true?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand;
I talked of things too wonderful for me to know.
4 You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak.
I will ask you questions,
and you must answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you before,
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 So now I hate myself;
I will change my heart and life.
God even says to the prophet Jeremiah:
I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
God’s power, being boundless, can never reach limits to be fully known and understood. However, His power is revealed to us in several different ways.
God’s power is revealed through:
God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.
Going back to God’s response to Job, the Lord reminds him of His power revealed through details of the natural world. For time’s sake, we won’t go through all of the chapters, but just the first few verses:
1 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone –
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
There are far too many examples to detail out, but we also have the massive quail migration that God brought in response to Israel’s whining, the parting of the Red Sea and Jordan River, the withering of the fig tree as Jesus cursed it, the miraculous catch of fish when Jesus told Peter to cast their nets on the right side of the boat after catching nothing all night twice, Jesus walking on water and calming the storm with just a word. God’s power is revealed through His creation and also through His authority over it.
God’s power is revealed through:
It’s hard to ignore God’s power when reading through the ten Egyptian plagues that served as both judgment against Egypt for the Pharoah’s treatment of the Israelites and as signs to prove that the Lord is the One, True, Living God. In fact, the Lord told Pharoah through Moses:
Exodus 9:15-16 (NLT)
15 By now I could have lifted my hand and struck you and your people with a plague to wipe you off the face of the earth. 16 But I have spared you for a purpose – to show you my power and to spread my fame throughout the earth.
Then, when God’s people chose to band together and rebel against the leadership of Moses and Aaron, we saw God’s power revealed in judgement against God’s own people. All at one time, the earth swallowed Korah’s household and the Lord’s fire consumed 250 men who were offering incense at that time and 14,700 people died of a plague before Aaron made atonement for their sin.
Without a doubt, God’s blessing does not rest on division or rebellion among His people.
Another display of God’s power through judgment were the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah as He poured out burning sulfur destroying every living thing. At Lot’s request, He spared the town of Zoar which was also going to be included in this destruction.
We can’t overlook the greatest judgment ever poured out that exceeds even the judgments awaiting this world during the tribulation period. The judgment for all of sin poured out on the only one who never deserved it; Jesus. The power of God was displayed not only through the death of Jesus, but also His resurrection proving power and authority over sin, ever work of the devil, and even over death, itself.
God’s power revealed through His judgment was not only an Old Covenant manifestation. The Lord did not spare Ananias and Sapphira for lying about the amount that they profited from the sale of their property. They both fell dead as they worked together to conspire against the Lord in their lies.
In fact, there is plenty of evidence to indicate that now that the new covenant has been made, that the judgment of God is more severe than under the old. For example:
20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Speaking of which…
God’s power is revealed through:
This is the most personal and applicable revelation of God’s power. This is what separates the gospel of Jesus Christ from any other world religion or system of belief. The gospel of Jesus Christ is backed up by God’s own power through miracles that serve as signs and wonders!
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 4:20
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
Let’s be honest, anyone at all can read the text of the Bible and memorize it and quote it and teach it and preach it. Absolutely no relationship with Christ or faith is required to do these things. It is receiving the gospel message and living out our faith in it that unleashes the transforming power of God in and through our lives!
It’s not the words of scripture alone that are needed, but an accompaniment of demonstrations of God’s power that will truly draw people to Christ and encourage selfless faith in Him. People can argue with the word of God and debate it, but what really challenges people is a demonstration of God’s power through miracles. That is hard to deny!
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.
That is why there is no need to hide our past or allow shame or condemnation keep us quiet about our weaknesses. They simply put the power of God on display for all to see that who we are is not a result of our own initiative or wisdom, but a work of the power of God through the Holy Spirit within us.
Miracles that display God’s power. That may be the very purpose behind sickness or disease or lack or need or any other impossible thing that we might be struggling with.
It’s not that God caused them, but He permitted them. Just like the devil had to get God’s permission to go after Job and how he asked God to sift Peter like wheat. God permitted them for a purpose and that purpose just might be so that His power over them might be demonstrated for all to see!
John 9:1-3 (NCV)
1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. 2 His followers asked him, “Teacher, whose sin caused this man to be born blind – his own sin or his parents’ sin?”
3 Jesus answered, “It is not this man’s sin or his parents’ sin that made him blind. This man was born blind so that God’s power could be shown in him.
Power to destroy the work of the devil! But the devil never hangs out in the temple or synagogues or churches where God’s people are, right? Well…
31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.
33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”
35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.
36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
Power over every work of the enemy, even to cast out demons.
11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
The power of God is revealed in an undeniable way through miracles. There is miracle working power in the name of Jesus! Power to bring revival!
13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
The scriptures are full of miracles that reveal the awesome power of God! The demonstration of God’s power through miracles draws people to Him in surrender of self! Miracles motivate us to enter boldly into the fiery Presence of God and allow it to burn away our old selves and anything that opposes Him!
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has been a miracle worker from creation all through the Old and New Covenants and is still performing miracles through His people today! Miracles are not about us or evidence of our spiritual condition, miracles are wonders and signs that point to Jesus and are all about who He is. In fact, here is another account also recorded about a non-believer performing miracles in Jesus’ name!
38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us.
God has not changed and His power is still available to us through the Holy Spirit within us. If the Heavenly Father honored His word and the name of His Son, Jesus, when it was invoked through non-believers, how much more should we, His children, expect Him to do the same for us and through us?
Let’s dare to hope again and to let faith arise again in His word and in His power. Let’s step outside of ourselves and our limits in faith and expectation to encounter the limitless and boundless miracle-working power of God in that place! Let’s stop being Sunday morning drivers and start putting the pedal to the floor outside of these doors! There is power, power, wonder working power in the name of Jesus!