He Is Omnipotent

Title: He Is Omnipotent

Bible Book: Selected Passages

Author: Mark Adams

Subject: Easter; God, Omnipotence of; Resurrection; Life over Death



Jeremiah 32:26-27 – Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?

John 11:25-6 – “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though He dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.”

This week I came across the story of a 747 jetliner that was halfway across the Atlantic when the captain came on the loudspeaker and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have lost one of our engines, but we can still reach London with the three we have left. Unfortunately, this will make us ONE hour late.” An hour later the captain came on the PA and made another announcement. He said: “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but we’ve lost another engine. No need to worry though, because we can still make it on two. However, this will make us TWO hours late.”

A short while later, the passengers heard the captain’s voice again, “Guess what folks? We just lost our third engine, but please rest assured-we CAN fly with only one but we will now arrive in London THREE hours late.” At this point one impatient passenger became furious and shouted out, “For Pete’s sake, if we lose another engine we’ll be up here all night!”

Now-even though this story makes us chuckle, it does illustrate the sad fact that so often in life we do feel POWERLESS. I mean, we all know what it’s like to feel as if all our engines have failed and there’s nothing we can do to stop our descent. You know what I’m referring to-from time to time we face problems or wrestle with issues that are so great-well, no matter how hard we try we can’t gain enough “altitude” to get over them.

And the fact is, we never feel more powerless than when we are faced with the grim topic of death-by the way have you noticed-no one’s laughing now? We don’t laugh-because this IS a grim topic-we don’t even like to talk about it because to do so reminds us of one of life’s most uncomfortable facts…

I. We are POWERLESS in the face of DEATH.

I mean, no matter how hard we try-no matter what we do-death comes to each of us sooner or later.

For Joseph Bayly’s children it was SOONER. We often talk about how unnatural it is for a parent to have to bury their children-it’s supposed to be the other way around. Well, this poor man buried three of his kids. His newborn son died after surgery, his five-year-old boy died from leukemia, and his eighteen-year-old was killed in a sledding accident complicated by mild hemophilia. Each of these experiences made this grieving father feel even more powerless in the face of death. Well, as an outlet for his grief he wrote a book about death entitled, The Last Thing We Talk About. Listen to what he says about this enemy none of us are strong enough to defeat:

“The hearse began its grievous journey many thousands of years ago, as a litter made of saplings. Litter, sled, wagon, Cadillac: the conveyance has changed, but the corpse it carries is the same. Birth and death enclose a man in a sort of parenthesis of the present. And the brackets at the beginning and end of life are still impenetrable. This frustrates us, especially in a time of scientific breakthrough and exploding knowledge-knowledge that allows us to break out of earth’s environment and yet be stopped cold by death’s unyielding mystery. Electroencephalogram may replace mirror held before the mouth, autopsies may become more sophisticated. Cosmetic embalming may take the place of pennies on the eyelids and canvas shrouds, but death continues to confront us with its blank wall. Everything else changes; death is changeless. Dairy farmer and sales executive live in death’s shadow, right along with Nobel prize winner and prostitute, mother, infant, teen, and old man. The hearse stands waiting for the surgeon who transplants a heart as well as the hopeful recipient, for the funeral director as well as the corpse he manipulates. Death spares none.”

Bayly’s words remind me of The Message’s paraphrase of Job 21:23-26 where it says, “Some people die in the prime of life, with everything going for them-fat and sassy. Others die bitter and bereft, never getting a taste of happiness. But they’re both laid out side by side in the cemetery, where the worms can’t tell one from the other.”

Well, in spite of our knowledge that rich or poor, death IS going to get us sooner or later, we still do all we can in our power to stop it don’t we!? Sure we do-because death terrifies us that much. We do all we can to avoid it as long as possible. Do you remember the story of the hiker in Utah a year or so ago named Aaron Ralston? This 27-year-old was climbing alone in the Rockies when an 800-pound boulder suddenly shifted and trapped his right hand against the wall of a narrow crevice in a remote canyon. He shoved the rock with his shoulder and tried to chisel it with his knife; he even attempted to hoist the thing with his climbing rope and pulley. But he didn’t have the strength. No matter how hard he tried, the boulder wouldn’t budge. After five days of failed attempts-days in which he drifted back and forth between depression and hallucination-his food and water gone-Ralston decided to sever his right hand. He decided he would rather lose it than his life. And I won’t go into the details-but that’s exactly what he did. Using a dull pocket knife he severed his own hand just above the wrist. Then after bandaging his wound, he crawled through a 150-foot ravine, repelled (one-handed of course) down a 60-foot wall, and then hiked six miles before he found help.

Well, like Ralston, we do everything in our power to free ourselves from death’s clutches. I mean, to us death is “public enemy number one” so we wear seat belts and install multiple air bags in our cars. We exercise regularly. We eat less fat. We spend a fortune on research to decide which vitamins to take. We try to de-stress our lives. We do everything in our power to escape death but eventually it traps us all. In spite of mankind’s strongest efforts, every year in the U.S. alone 3.3 million people die. That’s 6,400 every day. We don’t like to think of this but a day will dawn when each of us will be included in that daily accounting of death’s most recent victims.

And the writers of the Bible confirm this fact over and over again. Ecclessiastes 8:8 says, “None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle.” Psalm 89:48 asks, “What man can live and not see death?” Well, none-no man can because as Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is destined that each person dies once and after that the judgement.” So you see, like the Utah mountain climber we are each caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to death. All of us live one final breath from our own funeral, and we are powerless to stop it.

In his new book, Getting Through the Tough Stuff, Charles Swindoll cites four ways we tend to respond to the inevitability of death.

A. Humor

First, he says, many use HUMOR.

He cites the example of a popular bumper sticker that says, “Don’t take life so seriously! You won’t get out of it alive anyway!” We grin when we read things like this-and that’s how many of us handle this grim topic. We keep the subject light and humorous. Somehow, making a joke out of it keeps death at a safe distance and that way we never have to face the reality of it. As you watch late night talk shows over the next few months I challenge you to keep a mental record of all the times popular comedians make light of death. It’s a repeated theme. Do you remember Woody Allen’s death joke? He said, “It’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

Swindoll tells about one couple who were married for over fifty years-but whose marriage had been rather stormy-sort of a fifty year battle. Well, eventually the husband died, and it fell to the wife to choose a grave marker. She contacted a stonecutter to relay her choice of stone to be used. She said over the phone, “Look, I don’t want to be fancy. I certainly don’t wish to spend a lot of money. But I do think I ought to have a stone there, marking my husband’s grave. Let’s just keep it brief and simple. Why don’t you just engrave the words, ‘TO MY HUSBAND,’ in a suitable place on the stone?” He said, “That’ll be fine. I’ll take care of it.”

He finished cutting the marker and engraving the words and then called the woman to come and see it at the cemetery. She arrived, prepared to see a clean-cut grave marker with the words, “TO MY HUSBAND” engraved in a suitable place on the tombstone. Instead to her horror she saw these words etched in the center of the granite slab:


Well, for many people, a humorous story like this helps mask the pain and confusion surrounding death….but in the end the laughs stop because death still comes. I mean, HUMOR, as good as it makes us feel, is powerless to stop the grim reaper.

B. Denial

Another familiar reaction to death is DENIAL.

As I said earlier, some of us just refuse to talk about it. We remove death from all conversation. We pretend it doesn’t exist. You see, for many people it’s easier to not talk about death’s reality than it is to wrestle with it’s meaning. It is said that the great King Louis XVI of France would not allow the word “death” to be uttered in his regal presence. Louis ascended to the throne at age four and ruled seventy-two years, longer than any other European monarch. He built the glittering palace of Versailles. But on September 1, 1715 King Louis XVI, who was referred to as the “Sun King” discovered what we all must: death cannot be wished out of existence. Denial is powerless to prevent our passing from this world.

Bayly writes, “We are critical of the Victorians because they sentimentalized death and surrounded it with pathos. But modern man denies it. The sort of taboo Victorians placed on public discussion of sex has been transferred to death in our culture. This conspiracy of silence…has produced a denial of death without precedent in Western Civilization.”

And Bayly is right. Why else do you think so many people spend so much money on anti-aging cremes and botox injections and plastic surgery? Why do they keep having wrinkles and bulges removed until their face is stretched so tight they can’t close their eyes? They go to all this trouble and expense because they want to avoid seeing evidence of death’s approach in the mirror each morning! But denial IS powerless isn’t it? I mean saying death isn’t coming, or spending a fortune to make it LOOK like it isn’t coming doesn’t slow it down one bit. It still comes.

C. Romanticizing

Others deal with death by ROMANTICIZING it.

In various ways they emphasize death’s supposed beauty and nobility. This week I saw a news report about a man in Europe who has spent a small fortune to build a special room in which he can live with his dead wife. His bed is right there next to her casket. He’s decorated the room with flowers and candles. He writes her poetry each day and opens the casket lid and reads it to her. He’s done all this in a romantic but still futile attempt to avoid the pain of her passing. His actions remind me of one more quote from Joe Bayly’s book. Bayly writes, “Coronary, cancer, stroke, infection…death comes, even normally, in a multitude of ways, to every human condition…every age. Shall we deny death and try to make it beautiful? A corpse is never beautiful, animal corpse or corpse of man…We cannot beautify death. We may live with it and accept it, but we cannot change it’s foul nature.”

Once again, Bayly is correct. In spite of all our human attempts to veil death’s horror, it is still a fearful thing to behold. And, no matter how hard we try to mask over this fact, we all have to face death eventually.

D. Fear

This leads to the final way people react to death-They do so with great FEAR.

This is the most common response to death. If you doubt me on this then observe how fellow passengers on an airplane react when turbulence causes sudden drops and shudders during a flight. Young and old alike scream and cry out-because the fear of death plagues us all.

In fact, the FEAR of DEATH is so strong it has been known to rob many people of the JOY of LIFE. Max Lucado tells the true story of a young woman named Florence. At the age of 37 she told her friends that her life hung by a thread that might snap at any moment. So she went to her bed. And she stayed there-for fifty-three years! Her panicked declaration that death was coming proved to be true because she did die eventually-but at the age of ninety. Doctors could find nothing wrong with her. Over the decades examiners left her bedside shaking their heads. Most diagnosed her as a hopeless hypochondriac-dreading death, obsessed by its imminence.

Perhaps her fear was related to the three years she spent on the battlefront as a nurse-because the woman I’m referring to is Florence Nightingale. Even she, history’s most famous nurse, lived as a slave to her fear of death.

Well, none of these responses help, do they? When we or a loved one lies dying, death won’t be funny or distant or beautiful. It will still be that fearful enemy that we cannot stop. We are POWERLESS when it comes to death-so what we need is Someone Who isn’t.

To deal with this inevitable fact of life, we desperately need Someone Who is more powerful than death itself. Let me put it this way: We need Someone Who is truly OMNIPOTENT. And this brings us to the attribute of God that I want us to discuss this morning because one of the Bible’s clearest teachings is that…

II. Our Heavenly Father is indeed ALL-POWERFUL

Our God is omnipotent! Now, the word, “OMNIPOTENT” is derived from Latin and refers to the fact that God’s power is infinite and unlimited. In other words God NEVER “loses an engine” or runs out of gas. In the Bible the word that is used for omnipotent is “almighty” and it occurs 345 times in Scripture and is never used to refer to anyone but God. This should help us to realize that God alone is Almighty. As Psalm 89:9 says, “O Lord God Almighty, who is like You? You are mighty, O Lord, and Your faithfulness surrounds You.”

Well, God is ALMIGHTY…OMNIPOTENT! He can do with power anything power can do because He has the strength to do all He wills to do. He has the unlimited and inexhaustible resources to work His will in every circumstance in the universe. I love how Tozer puts it. He says, “God possesses what no creature can: an incomprehensible PLENITUDE of power…a potency that is absolute.”

Tozer also points out very skillfully how God’s omnipotence interacts with His other attributes.

One example is seen in God’s SOVEREIGNTY-something we studied together last Christmas. You see, to reign, God must have power and to reign sovereignly, He must have all power. God couldn’t be completely sovereign if He weren’t completely powerful-all-powerful. And since God is also INFINITE, whatever He has must be without limit. Therefore God has LIMITLESS POWER. Since our infinite God has infinite power, His works-everything from creating a galaxy to making a daffodil bloom are done without effort. I mean, God expends no energy that has to be replenished-and this reminds us of another of His attributes-His SELF-SUFFICIENCY…an attribute that makes it unnecessary for Him to look outside of Himself for a renewal of strength. I mean, since He is self-sufficient God never has to re-charge Himself. He’s never tired or weak. Ever wish you had a self-sufficient digital camera battery?! You can stop wishing because there’s no such thing. But God IS self-sufficient. Tozer says, “All the power required to do all that God wills to do lies in undiminished fullness in His own infinite being.”

III. Omnipotence came on EASTER MORNING

Well, to people like you and me who are powerless in the face of death the greatest proof of God’s omnipotence came on EASTER MORNING.

On Friday of that first Holy Week, Jesus Christ, His Only Son, was beaten almost to death. You should remember Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion, was painfully accurate on this point. Our Lord was cruelly beaten and then in that wounded state He was forced to carry His own cross all the way to Golgotha. Then His bleeding and broken body was nailed to a Roman Cross. Six hours later Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” and He died. So, like you and me Jesus experienced death.

To make sure He was dead, a Roman soldier rammed a spear through His heart. So without a doubt Jesus Christ died that day. Another proof of His death is the fact that no one-not even His disciples-men who had seen Him walk on water and calm the raging sea and heal the sick and even raise others from the dead-not even these who were closest to Him and saw Him do powerful, amazing things-not even they thought that Jesus had enough power to rise again Himself, especially after sustaining the wounds He had received that first Good Friday. To them-that was too much. In their minds no one had that much power. But on the third day Jesus proved that He did by rising bodily, triumphantly from the grave. On Easter Sunday morning He did what His followers thought was impossible. He actually defeated death-this enemy whom we are all so powerless before. In the words of Max Lucado, on Easter morning Jesus made death look like “a ninety-eight pound weakling dressed up in a Charles Atlas suit.”

So you see, Easter demonstrates once and for all God’s omnipotence. It proves to us that He really is ALL-MIGHTY, because the thing that has the most power from our perspective is death-and in Jesus, God even sent it packing. Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Since the children have flesh and blood, Jesus too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil-and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Romans 8:1-3, 11 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He Who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit…”

Well, this fact-this Easter Sunday proof of God’s almighty power brings us great comfort. It calms our fear of death for as Erwin Lutzer says, “We do not need a Savior who can just ‘help’ us. We need a Savior Who can resurrect us. We do not just need a Savior who helps us when life gets tough. We need a Savior Who can help us when life ends!”

This week I came across the true story of a missionary in Brazil who discovered a tribe of Indians living in a remote part of the jungle. These primitive people lived near a large river. The tribe was friendly but in desperate need of medical attention. You see, a contagious disease was ravaging the population and people were dying daily. An infirmary was located in another part of the jungle and the missionary determined that the only hope for the tribe was to go to this infirmary for treatment and inoculations. In order to reach the infirmary, however, the Indians would have to cross the river-a feat they were unwilling to perform. You see they believed the river was inhabited by evil spirits. To them entering the water meant certain death. They were terrified by the river. Well, the missionary set about the difficult task of overcoming the superstition of the tribe. He explained how he had crossed the river and arrived unharmed. No luck. He led the people to the bank and placed his hand in the water. The people still wouldn’t believe him. He walked out into the river and splashed water on his face. They watched closely, yet were still hesitant. Finally he turned a dove into the water. He swam beneath the surface until he emerged on the other side. Having proven that the power of the river was a farce, the missionary punched a triumphant fist into the air. He had entered the water and escaped. The Indians responded by breaking into cheers. Then they followed him across.

Well, this gives us a picture of what our Almighty God did that first Easter Sunday morning. He saw that we were enslaved by our fear of death and powerless to stop it. So in is limitless love and power He came and died in our place and then rose again. He went through death but defeated it. He submerged, crossed over, and then rose from the dead on the third day. He knocked both ends out of the grave and transformed death from an alley with no exit-into a thoroughfare from earth to heaven for all who put their faith in Him.

IV. Empowered to overcome the problems of LIFE

But, not only can Easter free us from the power of death-through it God can also empower us to overcome the problems of LIFE.

As Lutzer alluded life is tough. Experience has taught us that life is full of other problems that we feel powerless to solve. Think about it-have you ever felt like your life was out of control-like you were powerless in some situation…whether it’s trying to break a bad habit or save a relationship or get out of debt or manage your schedule or just to live right? Well, the fact is we ALL fail in these ways because we were never meant to live this life on our own power. No-we were meant to live life EMPOWERED by a relationship with our Creator and Redeemer. In his classic little book, Basic Christianity, John Stott said,

“It’s no good giving me a play like HAMLET or KING LEAR, and telling me to write a play like that. Shakespeare could do it-I can’t. And, it’s no good showing me a life like that of Jesus and then telling me to live a life like that. Jesus could do it-I can’t. But if the genius of Shakespeare could come and live in me, then I could write plays like that. And if the Spirit of Jesus could come and live in me, then I could live a life like that…to have Him as our example is not enough. We need Him as our Savior.” That’s one reason Jesus came back from the dead-to empower us to live as He lived. I mean, Jesus didn’t die and then rise again just to be studied and oohhed and aahhed over. No…He died and rose again to offer through His blood and His life, NEW life-transforming power to live an abundant, successful, fulfilling life. This is what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 1:18-20 when he says, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, and His incomparably great POWER for us who believe. That POWER is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead!” Paul is reminding us here that the same power that enabled Jesus to rise from the dead is available to help you and me rise above our problems. Jesus’ resurrection proves to us once and for all that no problem is too big for God to handle. No situation is hopeless if it is turned over to Him. If God can bring His Son back to life, He can cause a resurrection in any aspect of your life as well. So, let me ask you, what has died in your life? What dreams; what hopes; what relationship; what vision? Remember-no situation in life is beyond Jesus’ resurrection power!

Okay, let me ask you another question-does access to God’s omnipotent power seem tempting? Would you like to have power sufficient to defeat your own impending death? Do you long to have power to help you beat all the inevitable problems that come with life in a fallen world? Well, then hear me-this power supply is available but it isn’t just automatic…

V. We must RESPOND to the message of EASTER

No to have access to this power…we must each RESPOND to the message of Easter.

The 11th chapter of John’s gospel that we read from earlier is part of the account of the death of Lazarus. You may remember that Lazarus became sick. His sisters sent for Jesus but by the time He arrived Lazarus had been in the grave four days. Verses 25-26 tell us what Jesus said to Martha when He got there. He said,”I am, right now Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in Me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in Me does not ultimately die at all. DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?”

Now, I want you to be sure and understand-this question wasn’t just for Martha. It was recorded in Scripture because it is for you and me as well. You know that humorous bumper sticker I told you about earlier is wrong. Remember? It said, “Don’t take life too seriously. You won’t get out of it alive.” Well the truth is we should take both LIFE and DEATH seriously because we do get out of life alive. We all face life after death because we all have eternal souls.

We will live forever…somewhere. The question is where? And the “where” depends on how we answer this question of Jesus, “DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?” Jesus alone has the power of resurrection. But our assurance of spending forever with Him in Heaven depends on our response to this question. If we say “YES!” and then respond to our belief by asking Jesus to forgive us of our sins and then commit to following Him as Lord-then and only then to we have this power for living at our disposal-then and only then can we face life’s end with a calm but joyous expectation.

John Knox was born in 1505 in Scotland. If you remember your history then you know God empowered his preaching to regenerate a society. It inspired the masses and defied the excesses of the throne. Some loved him, others despised him but Scotland has never forgotten him. To this day you can visit his home in Edinburgh and stand in the room where some believe he took his final breath. Here is what happened on his final day. His coworker Richard Bannatyne stood near his bedside. Knox’s breath became labored and slow. Bannatyne leaned over his friend’s form and whispered, “The time to end your battle has come. Have you any hope?” The answer from the old reformer came in the form of his pointer finger. He lifted his first finger and pointed it upward and died, inspiring a poet to write these words:”…the death angel left him, that time earth’s bonds were riven, the cold, stark, stiffening finger still pointing up to heaven.” When we respond to God’s omnipotent Easter power by giving Him our life and our death-when we receive His work on the cross, we too have this sure hope.

This morning if you haven’t responded in this way, then I urge you to do so…pray…right now and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sin…commit to follow Him through life as Lord…and if you have responded…if you’re a Christian, then I pray God will impress upon you the need to share the powerful message of Easter with a sin-weakened world. If you have a public decision to make…come and share it with me now as we stand and sing.

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