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God’s Attributes: The Power of God

07 Apr

ThePowerofGod672x378_lg(These comments come from a variety of sources over several years… obviously much of it comes directly from scripture)

Centuries ago, God promised Abraham and Sarah they would have a son through whose offspring the world would be blessed. But there were problems. Abraham and Sarah were getting on in years, and Sarah was barren. When told she would be the mother of Abraham’s child, the child of promise, Sarah laughed.

In response to her laughter, God spoke these words to Abraham: And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear [a child,] when I am [so] old?’ 14 Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son” (Genesis 18:13-14).

When God rescued the nation Israel from their bondage in Egypt, He led them into the wilderness, where the “menu” was a miraculous provision of manna. But the Israelites began to grumble because they could not enjoy the variety of foods they had eaten in Egypt. In response to their grumbling, God promised to give this great company a diet of meat for an entire month. If the feeding of the 5,000 seems difficult, imagine feeding this huge congregation.

Moses had the same thoughts and expressed his concerns to God: But Moses said, “The people, among whom I am, are 600,000 on foot; yet Thou hast said, ‘I will give them meat in order that they may eat for a whole month.’ 22 Should flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to be sufficient for them? Or should all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to be sufficient for them?” (Numbers 11:21-22).

But God asked another question in response to Moses, a question vitally important to every Christian today: And the LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’S power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not” (Numbers 11:23).

The answer to this question is crucial, and the answer of the Bible is clear and unequivocal:

But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3).

‘‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee’” (Jeremiah 32:17).

26 And looking upon [them] Jesus said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

God’s Power in Creation

The earliest manifestation of God’s power is seen in the creation of the world in which we live: For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20).

Throughout Scripture, the creation of the world is cited as a compelling testimony of the power of God: (For the choir director. A Psalm of David.) 1The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 2 Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. 4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. 6 Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat (Psalms 19:1-6).

The Power of God in the New Testament

Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah included the fact of His power. He was called the “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6). At the time Messiah’s birth was announced to Mary, she was told this miraculous virgin birth would take place by the power of God: And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. 36 And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:34-37).

Our Lord’s power was evident through the many miracles He performed (see Acts 2:32; John 3:2). The people were awe-struck by the evidences of His power: And they were all amazed at the greatness of God (Luke 9:43a).

God is omnipotent whether we believe it or not. But it is vitally important that we do believe He is omnipotent. An individual’s grasp of the power of God will transform his thinking and his actions.

No one who takes the Bible seriously can deny the power of God. God is omnipotent; He is all-powerful. This truth transformed the lives of men in the past, and it can transform our lives today. Allow me to suggest several ways the power of God intersects our lives today.

(1) The first thing we should do, in light of the power of God, is to fear, honor, and serve God and God alone.

Then God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. 7 You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:1-7; see also Joshua 4:23-24; Psalm 115:1-15).

(2) Recognizing the Bible teaches God is infinitely powerful should remove the word “impossible” from our vocabulary.

How often we excuse our sin by appealing to our human inability. “But I’m only human,” we say. So we are. But God has not only saved us by His power, He also works in us to sanctify us by His power: And those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you (Romans 8:8-11).

[I pray that] the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. [These are] in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly [places], 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come (Ephesians 1:18-21).

And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me (Colossians 1:29).

(3) Our weakness is not a barrier to the power of God. Rather, recognizing our weakness is the basis for our turning to God, depending upon His power to work in us. In this way, God receives all the glory.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves (2 Corinthians 4:7).

And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

When we minister in the power of God, we need not trust in our own strength and in human methods. Indeed, we dare not do so. Through the “weakness” of a cross, God brought salvation to men. Through the “foolishness” of the message of the cross, men are saved. Through weak and foolish men, God has chosen to proclaim His gospel. Through weak and unimpressive methods, the gospel is proclaimed, trusting in the power of God to convince and convert sinners. In this way, men must give God the glory, and they must trust in Him and in His power, not in men: For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, 29 that no man should boast before God (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

This is not the way the church operates today. When we preach, we employ the marketing methods of our day, proven to be successful in producing results. We use persuasive techniques which sell soap and breakfast cereals. When we seek to train and develop leaders, we train men to be leaders following the model and methods of our secular culture rather than teaching them to be servants. The church is more often run on the basis of “good business” principles than on biblical principles. And we offer “therapy” in a thinly disguised version of (poor) secular psychology and psychiatry, rather than challenging men and women to think biblically and to obey the Word of God. Is evangelicalism not like the state of the church Paul sadly describes as the church of the last days?

If We Really Believed in the Power of God

We would come to Him in prayer first: If we really believed God is omnipotent, we would come to Him in prayer first, not as a last resort after having tried every other means and failed. We would forsake trusting in the idols of our day and trust in Him. We would humbly acknowledge that all the blessings we have are a gift of His grace and the result of the working of His power. Our prayers would be filled with praise and thanksgiving, seeing God as the Source of every blessing. We would be filled with faith and hope, knowing that no purpose of God can be thwarted (2 Chronicles 20:6) and that every promise God has made will be fulfilled, in His time, and exactly as He has promised.

We would not give so much credit to Satan – If we really understood the power of God, we would not give so much credit to Satan. We would not look at Satan as though he and God were closely matched rivals who have battled for centuries. We would not dare suppose that in the end God will barely defeat this one who is our deadly foe. We would realize that God is the Creator, and Satan is but a creature. We would know that God’s power is infinite, while Satan’s is finite. We would not minimize Satan’s power, but neither would we overstate his power. God is not battling with Satan with the hope of defeating him; Satan is already a defeated foe, whose final demise is certain (John 12:31; 16:11; Luke 10:18). In the meantime, God is using Satan and his rebellion to achieve His purposes (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

We would not believe the lies of the “good-life gospeleers” – If we really understood and believed in the power of God, we would not believe the lies of the “good-life gospeleers,” those hucksters who line their own pockets by assuring donors that God is standing by with all His power, eager to do their bidding. They lay claim on God’s power by “faith,” by claiming certain possessions like money and healing…. It’s the ‘wealth and health’ message. “God doesn’t want us to suffer,” they say, “but to prosper.” If they really believed in God’s power, they would know God’s power can just as well sustain us through suffering and affliction as it can deliver us from suffering and affliction. They refuse to accept that God often works through suffering to sustain and purify the saint and to demonstrate His grace and power to a lost and dying world (again, see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

We would not be so reluctant to obey – If we really believed in the power of God, we would not be so reluctant to obey those commands of God which seem to leave us vulnerable (like, “sell your possessions and give to the poor”) And we would not excuse ourselves from obeying the “impossible” commands like, “love your enemy.” We would live our lives much more dangerously if we really believed God is omnipotent.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2016 in God

 

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