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ADD TO YOUR LEARNING - The Philippine Teaching Ministry

ARTICLES

THE POWER OF GOD
Skip Gross - Tallahassee, Florida July 2004

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God." -Matthew 22:29

"I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory." -Psalm 63:2

"I will teach you about the power of God…" -Job 27:11

God's infinite power allows him to easily do anything he pleases, anywhere he pleases, at anytime he pleases. In His awesome power God created every aspect of this universe whether visible or invisible by merely speaking it into existence (Hebrews 11:3). Our known universe is 30 billion light years across. This means it would take us 30 billion years, travelling at the speed of light, to travel from end-to-end. Our universe is composed of trillions of galaxies, each having 100's of billions of stars. Our Milky Way galaxy, which contains a 100 billion stars, is 100,000 light years across. Therefore, the diameter of our galaxy is 588,000,000,000,000,000 miles.

The sheer size of our universe is incomprehensible, yet God merely spoke it into existence.

Each star is a vast nuclear generator. During each second, on our Sun, 661 million tons of hydrogen fuse into 657 million tons of helium releasing 4 million tons of matter as electromagnetic radiation1. This is simply the energy released from an average star, and our universe contains a 100 trillion billion stars.

Our Hubble telescope has recently peered at Galaxies that are 13 billion light years away. The light is so faint that it is equivalent to trying to see a firefly on the moon from the earth. Hubble had to take repeated snapshots, over several months, in order to make the distant galaxies visible. These most distant galaxies are still not at the edge of our known universe. The sheer enormity of our universe makes it impossible for us to ever explore or to understand but a miniscule fraction of it. God has created this enormous universe as a constant reminder of his incomprehensible infinite power.

In addition, God's power created all living creatures (an estimated 10 to 30 million species on earth). The total human population on the earth is currently 6.4 billion. The total number of animals on the earth approaches 100's of billions. There are approximately 750,000 different species of insects. The total number of bacteria on the earth is 5 million trillion trillion (more than the stars in the universe). And the scripture says, "In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." (Job 12:10). In his incomprehensible power, God maintains the life of every living creature simultaneously. That is, he maintains the life of multiple trillions of creatures every moment. If he is able to sustain all life on earth and be aware of the death of a single sparrow, then he is certainly able to help us with any problem that we could ever encounter.

Ultimately, his greatest display of power was in raising His Son from the dead. God has proven he has the power to create life from nothing as is evidenced by our universe. But in the resurrection he demonstrated that he has the power to bring life even to what was dead. Jesus had been taken down from the cross on Friday (Mark 15:42,43). He was placed in a tomb for approximately thirty-six hours (Mark 16:1,2). Rigor mortis, the condition where muscles freeze after death, takes a maximum of about twelve hours to set in. Jesus, therefore, was completely stiff and cold by the end of the Sabbath day (I apologize for these gruesome details). Yet God was able to resurrect him from the dead on Sunday morning. We often can feel that we have experienced spiritual rigor mortis, where we have become cold and stiff in our hearts, spirits, and in our dreams. There is no spiritual condition that we can find ourselves in where God cannot resurrect us to greater spiritual heights. He proved this in the resurrection of his son (Ephesians 1:19,20)

Since God possesses this infinite power, he never has obstacles or difficulties that are too great to solve. He also never has plans or schemes that he cannot fulfill. As the scripture says, "Nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37). And, "I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?" (Jeremiah 32:27). He is fully capable of working any miracle and thus he is fully capable of helping us with any personal challenge that we may ever face. Every promise that God has made will be fulfilled by His incomprehensible power.

He not only has the power to deliver us from our present problems, he also has the power to accomplish unbelievable deeds in our future. He can easily open doors, change hearts, work amazing miracles, change our lives, open our eyes, help us to pray, stop Satan's schemes, protect us from any evil, deliver us from any trap, comfort us in our heartache, empower us to do great works, and provide for our every need. If we begin to comprehend this infinite power, we will consistently believe that we can overcome anything. We would say along with Paul, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13). We would never despair or be discouraged in our Christian walk because we would be confident in God's power to fix our problems. No difficulty or obstacle would seem too great for us. That is why Paul writes, "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know … his incomparably great power for us who believe." (Ephesians 1:18,19). Paul understood that if the Ephesian Christians realized the power of God, it would revolutionize their lives.

How many of our days are spent in frustration because we do not understand or grasp the power of God. How many persistent ills plague the church because we are ignorant of God's incomparable power? We are often ignorant because we choose to focus more on our problems than on believing in his power. We can be ignorant when we rely upon ourselves rather than trust that God can and will work.
If we fail to understand and to embrace the power of God, then we are missing a major attribute of God and we are missing a major dimension in our Christian walk. Those who fail to grasp the power of God will be stuck in a version of Christianity that is legalistic, self-reliant, rigid, cold, self-pitying, frustrating, and powerless. It might be possible to go to heaven not realizing the power of God but what a miserable trip we will have along the way.

God has not made it difficult to see or to experience his power. He manifests his enormous power every day (Romans 1:20). Unfortunately, we can make it difficult to experience his power when we have pride in human effort. If we remove God's power from our belief system, then we will only be left with our intellectual exercises and our human efforts. Without God's power, we can become convinced that every activity demands human effort, that every success is proportional to our sweat, and that more determination will solve any and every problem. We can lose our inspiration and ultimately our hope. We can reduce Christianity to a set of activities and formulas and no longer expect great things to happen except what our personal power will allow. We can simply become empty shells that mimic discipleship. In the end, we will have no joy, no spark, no godly fire, and no significant future impact.

The Sadducees were a sect of Jewish leaders who are alluded to in Matthew 22 quoted above. Many of them held the highest offices amongst the Jews including the high priesthood. They heavily relied on the Old Testament law, they did not believe in angels or spirits, nor did they believe in a resurrection. They were the hard-liners who cut the joy and spontaneity out of religion. They searched the scriptures diligently but still missed one of God's greatest attributes - His power. They decided to test Jesus with a legalistic question about marriage to prove there was no resurrection and to presumably validate their entrenched views. Hence Jesus said, "You are in error because you do not know…the power of God". To the Sadducees, power was vested in human intellect and in human effort. To Jesus, power was vested in God. We all have known Christians like this who are obsessed with the literal interpretation of scripture but who are not experiencing real power in their lives. On the surface, they appear to be dedicated Christians with great Bible knowledge, but there is no fruit or joy. They have a form of Godliness but deny it's power (II Timothy 3:5).

Nothing that we are called to do, or to be, is possible by human effort. Anything we accomplish by human effort actually works contrary to God's purposes. Every aspect of our Christian life demands that we rely completely upon God's power. We need God's power to believe (Ephesians 2:8), to love (II Timothy 1:7), to act (II Thessalonians 1:11), to repent (II Timothy 2:25), to be pure (Romans 8:13), to understand (Ephesians 3:18), to bear fruit (Galatians 5:22), and to pray (Romans 8:26).

Knowing God's infinite power, you would think that Christians would be lined up hoping to tap into this power. Unfortunately, His power comes at a price. That price is our humility. Often we would rather remain weak in our pride than to become strong in our humility. When we open our eyes and grow to understand and appreciate the power of God, then our first impulse will be to rely upon him instead of relying upon ourselves.

During the time of the depression, a man by the name of Ira Yates owned a sheep ranch in Texas. Mr. Yates could not make enough money from shepherding to pay the mortgage on his property and was in danger of losing it all. He had little money or clothes or food and had to rely on government subsidies to barely eke out an existence. A seismic crew from an oil company came to his property requesting to drill for oil and Ira signed a lease. The first well drilled began producing 80,000 barrels of oil per day. In modern currency, that translates to $2.5 million per day. Many more wells were dug, with some producing twice as much as the first well. His oil fields continued producing 100's of thousands of barrels a day for more than 30 years. The kicker is that Ira was a potential multi-millionaire living in near total poverty because he was ignorant of the wealth which lay beneath his own feet.
We too can live in spiritual poverty and weakness because we are ignorant of the infinite power that God wants to demonstrate in our lives. When we spend time meditating on, praying over, and appreciating God's power, it will transform our hearts and open up our eyes to see the greatest future that the Church will ever experience.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…" -Ephesians 3:20

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