************ Sermon on Belgic Confession Article 1f ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on March 31, 2019
Belgic Confession Article 1f
Job 38; 42:1-6
"God is Almighty"
We all believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that there is a God. What is this God like? What kind of God do we believe in?
God appeared to Abram one day and said, "I am El-Shaddai" (Gen 17:1). El-Shaddai, and other words, are translated as "almighty" 345 times -- and, they are never used for anyone but God.
"El-Shaddai." "Almighty." The theological term is "omnipotent." God is omnipotent. He is able to do anything, anything He wants to do. Last time we looked at the infinity of God -- meaning God cannot be measured or weighed; meaning God is immense. God's power, like God Himself, is infinite -- it cannot be measured or weighed; it is immense.
A lot of churches and Christians forget or neglect, or deny this about God. Therefore they have no sense of awe about God or about being in His presence. They have no awareness of how mighty and awesome He really is.
Scripture tells us that the omnipotence of God is revealed especially in four areas: creation, miracles, redemption, and glorification.
I God's Omnipotence in Creation
A In our Scripture reading this evening God tells Job about His might, His omnipotence. He reminds Job that it is He Who made the heavens and the earth. He laid the earth's foundation and marked off its dimensions. He has given the sea its place; since then the ocean has never dared move out of its banks. He gives orders to the morning light and the abode of darkness. He reserves snow and hail and ice and frost. He has ordered the stars.
When we read from Job 38 our attention is immediately drawn back to the Genesis account of creation:
(Gen 1:1-3) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (2) Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (3) And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light."And God said." This formula is repeated 9 times. God said, God spoke, and heaven and earth and everything in them sprang into being. No one else can speak and create; only God can do this because only God is omnipotent.
Imagine if I stood in front of a block of wood and commanded the sculpture of a sea lion to appear. Or, imagine if I stood in front of an empty canvas and commanded a beautiful seascape or mountain scene to appear.I can't do this and neither can you. We humans cannot speak things into existence. But God can. He is almighty. He is omnipotent.
Not only does God create by the breath of His mouth, He also creates "out of nothing." No man can make something come out of nothing. But God can. Why? Because He is almighty. He is omnipotent.
Think, too, of the vastness of the creation God has made. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. Yet, the light from the nearest star takes 4.5 years to get to us. Scientists tells us that the farthest galaxies and stars are over 15 billion light-years away. Job knows none of this but he still realizes God is almighty. He is omnipotent.
B We can't look at creation without also looking at providence. God cares for all that He has made. In this, too, we see His might and omnipotence. The psalmist speaks to this:
(Ps 104:10-14) He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. (11) They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. (12) The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. (13) He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work. (14) He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate-- bringing forth food from the earth ...Speaking of water/rain/snow, it is God Who makes this year's super-bloom -- no human artist can paint the hills and desert the way God does.
By His almighty and ever present power God cares for and upholds heaven and earth and all creatures. We sing that His eye is on the sparrow as well as on you and me. God is almighty. He is omnipotent.
II God's Omnipotence in Miracles
A We also see the omnipotence and tremendous power of God in miracles. Let me just mention two of them.
The first one I want to mention is Jesus rasing Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. What did Jesus do? He stood at the entrance to the tomb and called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" (John 11:43).
Faith healers lay their hands upon the heads of the sick and cry "Heal!" But I have never seen one of them go to a cemetery and begin shouting for rotting corpses to burst from their graves.
Jesus did not touch Lazarus. There was no laying on of hands, no mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Jesus did not administer CPR. The only preparation for the miracle was the rolling away of the stone. Then Jesus yelled to Lazarus. Instantly the putrid, rotting flesh of Lazarus was reformed and renewed. Air filled his lungs. His heart began to beat. The veins in his temples throbbed. He was alive. He walked out of the grave.
Jesus yelled, "Lazarus, come out!" Jesus had to say "Lazarus" or else every body in that cemetery would have been coming out. That is power. Our God is omnipotent. He is almighty.
B The second miracle I want to mention is Israel's demand for meat while in the wilderness. They were sick and tired of manna. They had manna for breakfast, manna for lunch, manner for dinner. God said they would get meat -- more meat than they ever dreamed of. When Moses was told to say this he stumbled in unbelief. How could God possibly provide this much meat? Moses asked,
(Num 11:22) Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?Moses doubted the omnipotence and might of God.
(Num 11:23) The LORD answered Moses, "Is the Lord's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you."What happened? Scripture tells us the amazing miracle that God brought about:
(Num 11:31) Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them down all around the camp to about three feet above the ground, as far as a day's walk in any direction.Here was a miracle far greater than anything similar Jesus did. Jesus fed 5,000 for lunch one day; the Father fed more than 600,000 for an entire month. After a miracle like this, can there be any doubt? Our God is almighty. He is omnipotent. He is in control of His creation.
III God's Omnipotence in Redemption
A The same power God displayed in the Creation and in His miracles is also exhibited in redemption. The God Who set the heavens in motion and provides for the needs of His people also delivered His people from their bondage in Egypt.
Throughout the Exodus it is the power and might of God that is displayed. We think of the ten terrible plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the manna and water and quails -- all of this displayed the power of God. The power of Moses faltered; more than once the people turned aside and fell away. But God's power endured.
B The same kind of power is evident in the life of Sarah. If you remember, God made a series of wonderful covenant promises to Abraham about a nation, name, blessing, land, numerous offspring, kings, and an everlasting covenant. All those wonderful covenant promises were dependent upon Abraham becoming a father. If Abraham had no child, there would be no nation, no name, no blessing, no land, no numerous offspring, no kings, and no everlasting covenant.
There was one problem: Sarah was barren and she was old. Yet, the Lord came to Abraham and said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son" (Gen 18:10). When Sarah heard this she had to laugh (Gen 18:12). The Lord has a response for Abraham and Sarah: "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Gen 18:14).
Our God is omnipotent. He is almighty. The barren womb of an old lady doesn't stop Him from accomplishing His redemptive purposes. Scripture tells us,
(Gen 21:1-2) Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. (2) Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.
C If we were to glance forward some 2000 years from Abraham we would see God making a promise of a Son to another couple in similar circumstances. The couple is Joseph and Mary. Mary and Joseph were not united in marriage. Yet, God announced to Mary, "You will be with child and give birth to a son." Mary's response: "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" (Lk 1:31,34). Mary knew it was humanly impossible for a virgin to conceive and give birth to a son. The Lord has a response for Joseph and Mary:
(Luke 1:35) "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God ... (37) For nothing is impossible with God."
Our God is omnipotent. He is almighty. He is more than able to make a virgin conceive and bear a child in order to accomplish His redemptive purposes.
D We also see the almighty power of God at the cross and the grave. Who but God ordered all the events so Jesus was crucified during Passover week? Who but God brought darkness down upon the earth at midday? Who but God tore the temple curtain from top to bottom at the moment Jesus died? Who but God sent an earthquake when Jesus arose from the grave? God is almighty. God is omnipotent.
God uses His power to save His people. God uses His power so sacrifice is made for sin and we are made forever right with Him. God uses His power so that the death of Christ is sufficient to save the whole world; Jesus is all we need.
IV God's Omnipotence in Glorification
The omnipotent power of God is also seen at the end of times. The vision of John on the Island of Patmos reveals the future use of God's power:
(Rev 21:1-3) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (2) I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
Our God is almighty. He is omnipotent. God is able to do what He says He will do. He has the power to raise our bodies from the dust. He has the power to wipe our tears away forever. He has the power to cleanse us from all sin. His promises are not idle wishes. They are commitments.
When you or I make a commitment for the future there is always an "if" attached: if I am able. I may be dead in three years. I may be physically incapacitated. I may be hindered in some other way. But there is no "if" with God's future promises. He will do what He has promised. Don't forget, He is almighty. He is omnipotent.
The sound doctrine of the Confession says "we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths" that there is a God Who is almighty. In other words, this is something we must both confess and live out.
Job does this. He listens to God talk of His power and might. He listens, he thinks about it, and finally he says,
(Job 42:2) "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted."
The prophet Jeremiah is the same way. He also thinks about God's might and comes to a similar conclusion:
(Jer 32:17) "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you."
I also think of Mary. She hears the angel's words: "For nothing is impossible with God." She hears, she believes, and she submits:
(Lk 1:38) "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."You know what Mary is saying?
Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!It is hard to be like Mary. It is hard to submit to our almighty, omnipotent God. Too often we want to follow our own ways and not God's.
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.
Do you like Job and Jeremiah and Mary submit to our awesome God? Do you submit to our God Who shows His omnipotence in creation, miracles, redemption, and glorification?
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