The Omnipotent God


This is lesson 4 in the series "The Attributes of God."
 

The Omnipotent God

Think of the greatest demonstration of God’s power.

Creation of the universe?

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the crushing of Satan?

The final destruction and recreation of the universe?

Job 26:14, “Behold, these are the fringes of His ways.”

Omnipotent

·         Having all power

·         Having infinite power

·         Having all authority

·         God is not as powerful as He needs to be; He is as powerful as anyone can ever be

The first name for God used in the Bible is in Genesis 1:1 and is Elohim. It is used over 2,570 times in the OT and it comes from a Hebrew word meaning “strength” or “power.”

Names of God relating to His omnipotence:

·         Almighty

·         Lord of Hosts

·         Lord God Almighty

·         Consuming Fire

·         Arm of the Lord

·         Creator

 

The third person of the Trinity is the Holy Spirit. Spirit is not the term used because a spirit is wispy and invisible. But, rather, spirit denotes power. It is in contrast to the flesh which is weak and vulnerable. See how spirit is contrasted to the weakness of flesh in this verse.

Isaiah 31:3, “Now the Egyptians are men and not God,
         And their horses are flesh and not spirit”

Yet as great as God’s power is it is fully controlled by all that He is. It is governed by His love, mercy, and patience.

Job 36:5, "Behold, God is mighty but does not despise any.”

Picture this scenario

All of the armies from every nation on the Earth gather together and surround the one object of their hatred: a small city with unarmed people. The numbers of these armies are so great that they are like the sand on the shore: they cannot be counted. Their one goal is total victory and annihilation. Their rage is so great that there exists no room for compromise, no room for mercy. They are united together and lead by the greatest force of evil in all of history: Satan.

Revelation 20:7-9

“7When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,

 8and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.

 9And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and…”

What happened next?

Did God gather His army of angels…

Did God creat earthquakes and tidal waves and hurled great hailstones…

“…fire came down from heaven and devoured them.”

That was it quite plain and simple. All of the armies of every nation gathered against God. I’m sure that they numbered in the millions and in one quick action God destroyed them all. It was like brushing off a gnat.

God does not sit in the Heavens and do whatever He pleases merely to amuse Himself. Whatever He does He does to His glory.

When the Israelites were trapped at the Red Sea and the Egyptians were coming to destroy them the Bible says in Psalm 106:8, “Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name,
         That He might make His power known.”

Why did God want to make His power known?

·         So that we might worship and glorify Him.

·         So that we might know the power that is available to us.

·         So that we might look to Him in trust and obedience.

Verse 13, “They quickly forgot His works;
         They did not wait for His counsel”

We think that it is difficult to worship that which we cannot see, but then we ignore what we do see.

God’s works are plenteous but our eyes are dim and our memories are short.

How much more able are we able to recall the little good that we do and then forget the much greater good that God does?

Great Evacuation

 

An evacuation is when people are moved from a dangerous place to one that is safer. The largest ancient evacuation was in 480 BC when 100,000 people left Athens because of the approaching Persian army. More recent evacuations involved 3.75 million people in British cities starting in September 1939 due to World War II, 14 million Chinese in July 1998 because of flooding, and 2.5 million residents fleeing the Houston area from Hurricane Rita. All of these efforts required a huge amount of planning and resources. These people moved because they desired life over death.

However, there is one evacuation that has involved hundreds of millions of people and has been ongoing throughout our entire human history. Its planning was before the foundation of the world and it required the greatest sacrifice from one person to bring others to safety.

Before we are born-again we are prisoners in a place of darkness burdened with a yoke of sin. An eternal Hell awaits us. We could never be in greater danger. But Jesus Christ died so that we could be evacuated from this domain of misery to a place of supreme joy and abundance. The very instant that we are saved we are moved from darkness to light, from judgment to forgiveness, from oppression to true freedom, and from present and eternal danger to safety. Never has there been an evacuation as great.

Colossians 1:13, “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son”

There is nothing that we can do to slice off even the tiniest sliver of punishment from one of our sins let alone to remove all of the punishment of every single one of them.

Yet this is what God did. He transformed a child of wrath burdened with sin and depravity into a child of God able to stand unashamed before the magnificent presence of God.

Sin is conquered

 

When dealing with recurring sin in our lives the primary focus should not be on the frequency or magnitude of that sin. When we view that sin against our own abilities and motivations it is easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. But when we compare that sin against the power of God then we are more than conquerors. God promises in Romans 5:20, “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”

The issue is not what resources we can summon up to fight that sin but, rather, the infinitely greater power of God available to us.

Doubt is crushed by the burden of sin; faith sees the victory at the cross and clings to it.

2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

How do we obtain this power?

·         Prayer

·         Transforming our minds (Romans 12:2) from defeatism and justification to victory and righteousness

·         Stepping out of the boat to do what is right

 

God glories in doing the impossible in our lives because then it is obvious that it was Him and not us.

Jeremiah 32:17, “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You”

Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,

 21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

Our salvation is protected by the power of God

 

1 Peter 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

That word “protected” has the same meaning as guarded. To guard something has two meanings: 1) You guard someone from escaping. So in this case, we cannot, even if we wanted to, escape from our eternal salvation. 2) You guard someone from harm and danger. What is the danger here?—of something or someone else taking away our salvation.

Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The same power that created from nothing 300 sextillion stars in the universe is what is also guaranteeing that you will make it into Heaven. Can there be any doubt?

Our ultimate response to God’s power

 

Psalm 21:13, “Be exalted, O LORD, in Your strength;
         We will sing and praise Your power.”

What does God’s omnipotence mean to us?

We can trust God in tough circumstances

 

There has always been great discussion about why good people have terrible things happen to them. The two attributes that come into play in this discussion is that God is all loving and He is all powerful. It is generally accepted that God is love and wants to see us happy. Therefore it does not seem to make sense that He would want to see us suffer. So if He is all powerful then why does He not do something about it? Why does He not prevent these crises from occurring to begin with? If He truly loves us and is all powerful but tragedies still happen then something must be wrong so the thinking goes.

One theory about this is that God wants us to always be happy, but He is frustrated in His attempts to accomplish this because certain circumstances are too big for God. He can try His best but sometimes that is not enough. This is rubbish. God created the Universe with a word; He can change any circumstance in any way that He wants. So then why does He not do so? If God loves us enough to want to give us an abundant life overflowing with joy and if He is omnipotent then why do we oftentimes seem to stubble from one crisis to another? There are two important considerations.

The first is that God has allowed sin and rebellion to often override His choices and desires. This is what is known as free-will. Genesis 19:17-22 is right before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. God wanted Lot to escape into the mountains but Lot preferred going to a town instead, so God let him. Of course, Lot then got into trouble so he should have listened to God in the first place.

God will allow us to do what we truly want to do. If we want to be bitter then God will let us. If we want to be self-centered then God will let us be the center of our own universe. If we want to be ungracious and allow petty disagreements to ruin friendships then God will let that happen.

Just as there are laws of physics and chemistry and biology so also are there spiritual laws. If you throw a baseball straight up into the air, no matter how hard you may wish for it to keep going, it will stubbornly reach its peak and then come back down. In the same way there are spiritual laws that cannot be broken without dire consequences. We can read a number of these spiritual laws in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 10:12, “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.” Proverbs 11:17, “The merciful man does himself good, But the cruel man does himself harm.” Proverbs 12:28, “He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.”

Sometimes bad things happen to us because, even though we may be genuinely sincere in wanting to do good we still sin and that sin carries with it bad consequences. If God prevented us from experiencing bad things no matter what we do then the result would be a lot of happy but evil people.

Also, because our lives intertwine with so many other people’s lives their sins will affect us also.

Secondly, we are usually more interested in our own happiness than in God. We tend to ignore God when things are going well because we have what we want—our happiness. But we are down on our knees when trouble hits because we do not have what we want—namely, our happiness. Only God can deeply fill our emptiness and only as we become more and more like the character of God will we experience the true fruit of the Holy Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Trials bring us to the point where we draw closer to God. So if God prevented us from experiencing bad things the result would be a lot of happy but shallow people.

There are also a number of other reasons as to why trials are not eliminated by God. As we experience hurt and then comfort we are able to comfort those who are currently experiencing the same hurt. Trials allow us to feel God’s grace in a fuller and richer way. And because coming out of trials redeemed rather than rescued is usually a far better thing.

God is all powerful but He knows that oftentimes it is better for us to experience terrible things then to always be quickly and easily rescued from them. That bad things can happen to good people does not at all mean that God is not omnipotent.

God can accomplish great things in our lives

 

God can transform us. There is no sin so terrible that God cannot forgive. There is no habit so deeply engrained that God cannot give us triumph over it. There is no pain so wrenching that God cannot heal completely. God has the power to transform a child of wrath, oppressed with sin and depravity into a child of God able to stand unashamed before His magnificent presence.

God’s omnipotence means that numerous people who are enslaved to sins such as alcohol or drugs are able to quit and never return.

God’s omnipotence means that people who were terribly hurt by someone are able to forgive and move on with their lives.

God’s omnipotence means that people who are depressed or have terrible self-worth are able to walk in confidence and victory.

Because God is omnipotent we can echo Paul from Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

“The basic difference between physical and spiritual power is that men use physical power but spiritual power uses men.’ Justin Nixon (Congregationalist)

We can trust in His promises

 

When God says in Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” we can believe that because we know that God is able.

When God says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” we are confident because God is all-powerful.

When David says in Psalm 18:2, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” we can stand firm on that because we know that God is omnipotent.

God’s promises are not “hope fors,” they are just what they are called—promises.

The future will be exactly as He says in the Bible

 

There will be a new heavens and a new earth. Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire. We will go to Heaven if we are saved. We will be healed of all of our aliments, freed from all of our sorrows, and delivered from all of life’s anguish. We will walk on streets of gold. And we will see our Savior Jesus Christ face to face. These are not pipe dreams or fairy tales. They will happen one day for each of us if we have been born-again. God’s omnipotence will make sure that it happens.

Summary

 

Since prisons were costly to maintain in ancient times they were usually cramped, filthy and ridden with disease and starvation. They were places of terrible misery and passersby could hear the groans of great suffering. The end of most of these prisoners was usually death, disfigurement, or slavery.

Our sins also make us prisoners but our prison consists of bitterness, anger, greed, selfishness, and many other spiritual diseases. These sins can destroy our relationships, jobs, and joy. We, too, groan. But God in His mercy did not turn away. Psalm 102:19-20 says that God looked down from Heaven “To hear the groaning of the prisoner, to set free those who were doomed to death.” He “led captives” from prison and brought us into His family, the church. But the church is not simply released prisoners, but with people who are much more than that. He elevated us to teachers, pastors, and evangelists. He gave us gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and mercy. To each one of us was given a special gift (1 Peter 4:10) so that every member might fit into the church in a God selected way so that we might build each other up.

The church does not recruit heroes and turn them into leaders. It frees prisoners of sin and equips us to be vital parts in the living and dynamic body of Christ.

Find your place in the church and serve to the building up of others.

Discussion Questions

 

1)      In addition to the ones discussed above, what are some other assurances that God’s omnipotence means to us?

2)      If God is so powerful then why does He appear so helpless during some of history’s greatest tragedies such as the Holocaust, World Wars, and a number of genocides?

3)      What does it mean to make God our foundation? That sounds good, but how do we do that? How do we in a practical way build upon God’s foundation and not on sand?

4)      Why is it important to learn more about God’s attributes? Isn’t it enough just to know that God loves us?

5)      If God can do anything that He wants to then why can we read in the Bible about people doing the opposite of what God wants them to do? Why does not He just force them to do what He wants?

6)      If God can do anything then why did He have to become a man and die for our sins? Why could He not just decide to forgive anyone that He wants to without having to have gone through all of that in the Gospels?

7)      Does not God and Satan do constant battle with God winning sometimes and Satan winning other times?

8)      Why do we not see more of God’s miraculous power today?

Situation

 

Kathy had a rough childhood. She was raised solely by her mother who was verbally abusive. There was always just barely enough food available and oftentimes in the winter the heat was turned off because of non-payment. At an early age Kathy would get drunk a lot to help her cope with this misery. When she was 20 years old Kathy got saved and threw herself wholeheartedly into knowing and serving God. But overcoming her dependence on alcohol has proven to be difficult and she often relapses. What counsel might you give to Kathy to help her out particularly regarding God’s omnipotence?

 


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Copyright Bob La Forge 2011        email: bob@disciplescorner.com