Almighty God

  • Almighty God
  • Isaiah 9:6 and Philippians 2:13
  • Lyndol Loyd
  • December 3, 2017
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12-3-17 sermon from LakeRidge UMC on Vimeo.

Here at LakeRidge, as we progress through the season of Advent, we are looking at some of the Old Testament prophecy names that were given to Jesus some seven-hundred years before he was ever born. Remember that the time in which these names are given is a turbulent and troublesome time. There is incredible conflict and strife for people. In many ways, it was a time like the days we find ourselves living in today when it comes to world affairs.

 

Isaiah 7:14- “The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).”

 

If there has ever been a day and time that we need to know that God is with us it is today. What an amazing thing to know that God would send his Son, Jesus Christ, to be with us in the midst of this life that we lead.

 

But more than just simply telling people that the Messiah would come to be God with them, God has the Old Testament writers prophesy about specific names that will be given to Jesus, names that have incredible meaning to them. Hear this passage from the Prophet Isaiah:

 

Isaiah 9:6- “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

 

During this time leading up to Christmas we are exploring these names for Jesus – Immanuel, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. This morning we are focusing on the name, Mighty God.

 

Here in the South Plains of Texas the ground is about as flat as you can get and has relatively few trees. We all know that. You’ve probably even heard the old joke about how out here the only thing between you and the wind is a couple of strands of barbed wire.

 

While others might not find it to be an incredibly beautiful place I have to say that there is a beauty to it that those of us who live here find on display on a daily basis.

 

Each day as the sun sets in the Western sky God pulls out his paint brush and the sky is filled with an incredible mix of yellows, pinks, oranges and purples. Whenever I stand in front of the vast wide openness of the plains and take in the spectrum I can’t help but worship God. His fingerprints are everywhere.

Maybe you feel the same way whenever you watch the ocean waves crash against the beach line or whenever you stand on top of a mountain peak? You see it all and you can’t help but have an appreciation for the Creator of the Universe. It just gives you a sense of how mighty God is.

 

Jeremiah is a prophet in the Old Testament, and he has this beautifully crafted Scripture that talks about how great, how mighty God is, and you will find it in Jeremiah 32:17 which says, “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!”

 

It’s interesting because it starts with a Hebrew word, “AH” and it means a painful groan.  Okay?  It’s like ahhh!  Some of you have been saying “Ahhh!” and having some painful groans as you go about doing your Christmas shopping.

 

So Jeremiah makes a painful groan. He looks up at the heavens and the earth that God has made and after seeing it says, “Nothing is too hard for you!”

 

Who knows? Maybe you came to church today, and you’ve got problems.  Maybe your marriage is a mess.  Let me tell you, nothing is too hard for God.  Maybe you lost your job or your business is going under, and you don’t know where to turn.  No matter how bad it looks, let me tell you, nothing is too hard for God.  Maybe the doctor has given you some information about an illness and it’s terminal.  Let me tell you today, nothing, nothing, nothing is too hard for God.  God is the mighty God.  He is all powerful.  He is almighty.

 

When Jesus was born many people missed out on his coming because he didn’t fit their preconceived ideas of what the Messiah would be. In their minds the Messiah was going to come as a Warrior King, would wipe out their enemies and empower them. What they received instead, on that first Christmas, was a baby born to parents of humble means in a stable where animals are sheltered.

 

This wasn’t their idea of a Mighty God.  So they missed it. I can’t help thinking that some of us have some preconceived ideas about who God is supposed to be that maybe don’t match up with who He truly is. I have a hunch that many of us could benefit from a better understanding of what it means to call Jesus our Mighty God.

 

There are a bunch of five dollar theological words that we don’t tend to use all that often that really could be helpful to us in understanding why Jesus is our mighty God.

 

 

Words like omniscient. That means God knows everything, and the Bible says He actually knows your thoughts, and some of you are in trouble right now because you are thinking, “I can’t understand a word he is saying.” and all you’re thinking about is what’s for lunch.  God knows that. Right?

 

God is also omnipresent.  God is everywhere.  Here’s what amazes me.  Right now, as we are gathered here for worship there are also other believers in Christ who are doing the same thing all over the world. No matter where people are gathered to worship this morning, God’s presence is there. Isn’t that cool? God’s presence is absolutely everywhere. God is omnipresent.

 

God is also omnipotent.  God can do anything.  This living word is full of signs and wonders and miracles that God has done.  There is nothing that is too hard for God.  God is almighty.  God is all powerful.  He can do anything.

 

Yet, often, I know all of that in here. I know that God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. I really do.  I know it, and I read it, but I’ve got to be honest with you today.  Sometimes, I just don’t see it.

 

I look at the world and it’s just full of pain and suffering.  It is wars and famine and ISIS and mass shootings and sexual harassment, and I hear and see on the news what people are going through, and I’m thinking, “God, where is Your power?”

 

I even look in my own life and people come to me looking for answers, looking for God’s power. I’ll never forget on July 5, 2004 receiving the phone call that my sister had gone into labor at 25 weeks in her pregnancy. My sister and brother-in-law had struggled to become pregnant and now they were concerned for the life of their baby and the health of my sister. When you look at your only niece in the NICU weighing in at 1 lb. 14 oz. it can cause you to ask, “God, where is your power?”

 

You are thinking, “We prayed and we prayed and we prayed for this baby. God where is your power in the midst of this?”

 

Maybe today in your life, you’re asking the same question.  “Where is God’s power in my life?”  Maybe you’re in a real tough place with a relationship, and Christmas is just making it worse, because you can’t seem to reconcile and you’ve got more problems, and you’re thinking, “God, where are You?”

 

Maybe you’ve had a dream for something to happen, and it hasn’t yet, and you say, “God, where is Your power?”  Well today, we are going on a journey in God’s word, because let me tell you,  Jesus’ power is real.  We just may not see it the way we want to see it.

 

Know this, Jesus’ power is at work in you.  You see, in Philippians 2:13, Paul writes to the Christians in Philippi, and he says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

 

Sometimes when a person first becomes a Christian it can be tempting to think that this whole Christian life in God is about me.  Make my life easy.  Take all my problems away.  I thought I was going to retire, kick back in the mountains somewhere or on the beach.   Man, I’m going to have the easiest life.  Right? Maybe I’ll buy some lottery tickets and pray that God picks me.

 

But here’s the deal, God’s power is not to make my life easy.  God’s power is to work in me, the Scripture says, to change me.

 

To take me from being selfish and self-centered into someone who is Christ-like with love, compassion, with peace, patience, gentleness, self-control; all the fruits of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness and self-control.

 

You see, God’s power is real.  We just don’t see it.  God’s power is working in us.  Now, maybe for you, you don’t see God’s power.  You think everyone else gets the breaks.  Right?

 

Maybe someone else at work gets the promotion and you get passed up.  Maybe today you think that God has put you on the shelf and forgotten about you, and nothing seems to be happening.  You think, “Where is God’s power in my life,” and you don’t see it.

 

Well, let me tell you.  God’s power is real.  Jesus’ power is working in you to change you, to allow you to become more like Him, to become more like Christ.  Jesus’ power is working in you.

 

Jesus’ power, if you are taking notes, write this down, is working for you.  Isaiah, a prophet, a great man of God, writes this about God in Isaiah 40:29-31, “29He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 30Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 31But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

 

Maybe this hits home for you today.  You feel weary.  You feel tired.  You feel worn out.  It took everything in you just to get to church today, to get all those kids in the car, and then for you get in.  You’ve got problems.  You’re weary.  You’re worn out.  It’s coming towards the end of the year.  Man, you’re just fried.  The good news is, God gives strength and power to the weary.

 

One of my heroes of the faith is Paul, the apostle.  He wrote a lot of the New Testament.  Paul had a weakness.  He had a handicap, and he asked God to  take it away.  Not once, not twice, but three times.  He’s knocking on God’s door.  He’s saying, “Take it away.  Take it away.”  God responds to him in 2 Corinthians 12, He says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”  Then Paul says, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Now, Paul, one of the greatest men that ever lived on the earth, says, “For when I am weak, I am strong.”

 

I don’t know what point you are at today, but no matter where you are, God loves you.  God cares about you, and God has a plan for you.  You see, Christ’s power is real.  Jesus’ power is working in you to change you, to make you more like Him.  Jesus’ power is working for you.  When you are weak, you can be strong.

 

Jesus’ power is at work through you.   Hear this passage of Scripture from Acts 1:8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

 

I want to tell you today, that every one of you, if you are a Christ follower, you are a minister.  I may be the lead pastor of LakeRidge, but every one of us is a minister. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, or a teacher, or whether you have a business, or you’re an employee, or whether you’re an athlete, whatever you do, if you’re a follower of Christ, you are a minister.  Jesus’ power is available to work through you, if you will just step out in faith and have a go of it. Jesus’ power works through you.

 

Maybe you feel like you’re just an ordinary person, just like me, but know this truth, something extraordinary happens when Jesus’ power comes in and works through you.

 

I’ll give you an example.  Jesus, two-thousand years ago, chose twelve ordinary people: fishermen, tax collectors, people who had nothing going for them in the world’s eyes.  They weren’t Pharisees or Sadducees.  They weren’t some spiritual leaders, and He took those twelve ordinary people, and when the power of Jesus worked through them, they did extraordinary things and changed the world.

 

Here this morning we’re a bunch of ordinary people.  I love LakeRidge because we are just ordinary people, who know an extraordinary God.  Look what God did through twelve people, who were willing to allow God’s power to work through them.

 

How much more can we do at LakeRidge? We are ordinary people; yet, we allow Jesus’ power to work in us to change us, to make us more like Him.  When we allow Jesus’ power to work for us, to heal us, and bring signs and wonders and miracles, and when we let Jesus’ power work through us to do extraordinary things.

 

On the first Christmas Jesus came to us as Immanuel, God with us. He came to be our Mighty God.