The  Power(s)  of  God

church of Christ - Bryan, Tx
“abiding in the teaching of Christ” - 2 Jn 9

Creation - Miracles - Providence & Prayer - The Gospel

This study is the result of questions and discussions with listeners on our daily

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There is a difference in God’s use of his power.  The fact that he ceases to use his power in some way does not diminish from his power or mean something is lacking. It just means that the use of his power in a particular way has accomplished what he intended it to do.

                                        Creation:

God exercised his power in the creation of “heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is”.....  (Acts 4:24 from Psa 146) -- and ceased from creating…  Since, this power of God is no   longer being exercised >> does that mean God’s power is diminished? Certainly not!

                                        Miracles:

Miracles are visible demonstrations of supernatural power.  This is simply another manifestation of God’s power. Obviously God’s power is not limited to miracles ONLY. (We just noted the use of God’s Power in Creation and we will also consider use of his power in his providence, in prayer and in the gospel.)  Many people get wrapped up in miracles, the visible demonstration of supernatural power upon the material or physical world in which we live.  They fail to realize these were not an end in themselves, but were used by God as a means to an end.  In John chapter 6 some individual looked at the miracles as an end in what they could  receive - they were fed and followed Jesus to get more food rather than being convinced of who he was and follow his teaching, for when they heard his teaching which they did not like, we are told that “many of his disciples went back and followed him no more”. This same problem exists today - many want miracles so bad they accept something which is not a miracle and call it a miracle, AND do not want to hear what Jesus says concerning miracles.  Let’s consider some Biblical facts concerning miracles:

    1. Miracles, the visible demonstration of supernatural power, did not require the death/blood of Jesus.  God used this power throughout Old Testament times and many are recorded in the New Testament before and without the shedding of the blood of Jesus.

    2. After the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the doing of miracles was limited to the Apostles and certain ones to whom they gave that power. The exercise of God’s power to do miracles through others was by spiritual gifts which they received by the laying on of the Apostles hands (Acts 8:18).

    3. All the Apostles are dead.  Obviously they can no longer do miracles nor pass on the gifts of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of their hands.  AND all who received these gifts by the laying on of the Apostles hands are dead. 

    4. Miracles have accomplished what God used them for > the confirmation of the revelation of his word, spoken unto us through his son.  { Mark 16:19  So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken unto them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.   20  And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen.   Heb 2:3  how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at the first been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard;  4  God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will. }

    5. In 1 Cor 13 Paul (by revelation of Jesus) noted that when the revelation was complete (which would include it being confirmed), the spiritual gifts would cease. He says when it is complete we can look into that revelation as a mirror and see ourselves as we are (face to face).  James says the word of God, which saves us, is that “perfect law of liberty” which we can look into and see ourselves as we are (James 1:21-25).  { we now have that perfect law of liberty (the gospel)
completely revealed and confirmed..     Jude 1:3  ... "exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith (gospel) which was once for all delivered unto the saints."       2 Tim 3:16  Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.       17  That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.    2 Pet 1:3   seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue; }

    Conclusion: God no longer uses his power to do miracles - that is the visible demonstration of his supernatural power. Since, this power of God is no longer being exercised  does that mean God’s power is diminished?  Certainly not!    Just as he is no longer using his power to create, he is no longer using his power in the visible demonstration of his supernatural power.

    God’s creating power has accomplished and fulfilled what he intended it to do.  Likewise the visible demonstration of his supernatural power has accomplished and fulfilled what he intended it to do. 

                                    Providence: 

         God has used (and I believe he continues to use) various individuals and nations to accomplish his purposes and they never knew it unless he told them and the only way we know is because he told us he did it….   This may be easier to see with a couple of examples:

        God used the hate of Joseph’s brothers to save the nation Israel… They sold him into slavery to get rid of him and God used that to have Joseph become 2nd in power over all Egypt and save his family from famine... { Gen 45:5  Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life……     7    And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.   ......      Gen 50:20   But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.}

        God used the Medes to overthrow Babylon  { Isa 13:1  The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.     Isa 13:5  They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.    Isa 13:6  Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.               Isa 13:17  Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.     Isa 13:18  Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.               Isa 13:19  And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. }

The Divine power that God uses in his providence is not discernible to human beings, it’s a behind the scenes action > certain results may be visible, but how God causes it cannot be known. The how and wherefore of God’s providential power is one of those secret things which (as Moses said) belongs to God > Deut. 29:29.  AND in our day and time, when God has no prophets on the earth and does not speak to us directly  we are not able to say “this or that” is the providential working of God.  AND that should be sufficient for those who truly believe in God. We must be careful we do not attribute everything that happens to God because there is also Satan and evil men at work in this world, but “I know" God is “doing HIS thing”, whatever it is, and it is always what is best for that which is righteous…

    God has used this providential power throughout time…… Still does…… One way he uses this power is thru

                                        Prayer:

The providence of God as just discussed is the power God uses in answering prayer, and he does answer prayer.  “… The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) 

    “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1 Jn 3:22).  Notice whose prayers God will answer > the prayers of the righteous, those who keep his commandments and please him...

    We also should note that God’s answer to prayer may be:  NO (as with Paul on one occasion), or  Wait,  or  OK,  or  this is better than what you asked for……  

    UNDERSTAND > I Am not diminishing from God’s power nor the fact he answers prayer BUT we must understand the truth about this matter.   Disciples prayed for Peter when imprisoned and God freed him.  Do you think they prayed for James a few days earlier?   I’m sure they did. YET God allowed Herod to KILL James.  (Acts 12)

    Four Situations:
  FOUR Individuals, ALL with same critical illness

    1. Believe & pray  > doctors treat >   Gets well  > they Praise the Lord…

    2. Believe & pray  > doctors treat > NOT Gets well—die > they ??? -->> still serve or…

           Remember reaction of the 3 Hebrew “children” & fiery furnace, and David when child died.    

    3. Not Believe & pray > doctors treat >   Gets well  > they don’t Praise the Lord…

    4. Not Believe & pray > doctors treat > NOT Gets well—die > they ??? -->>  

    NOT being healed does not diminish from the power of God nor does it necessarily mean we are not pleasing to God, and being healed does not prove one is pleasing to God… This is the providence of God, we don’t/can’t understand……   One living and another dying may have far-reaching effects we can’t see, like the selling of Joseph….  The faithful in Christ trust in God and praise him for the good and know he is with us during the bad…..

    This healing is not a miracle (visible demonstration of God’s supernatural power).  As previously noted there are No miracles today like in 1st century (thru hands of apostles and prophets) AND that does not diminish from the power of God.  It JUST means he is using his power in other ways.  THAT is what he tells us he has done……

    But that brings us to another way God exercises his power:

                                   The Gospel:                                                                                                                                  

    God’s power is not limited to creation, nor miracles, nor his providential working,  nor thru his answering of prayer..

    There is another way in which God exercises his power which is really more powerful than all of these.  More powerful because it involves sin and the soul of man.  The Word of God has more power than the miracles of healing, tongues, etc.  Most people get wrapped up in the material things, like the ones who followed Jesus for the food, then turned and followed him no more when they heard his teaching which they didn’t like…

    God, because of the very nature of God, cannot just ignore sin nor can he miraculously just get rid of it.  God devised a plan whereby he could forgive sins and remain just (satisfy his justice - Rom 3:26).  It necessitated the sacrifice of his Son upon the cross, the shedding of his blood.  BUT when that was done - the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus was accomplished - men were/are still in their sins and many will never receive forgiveness and will suffer the consequences (eternity in Hell).  What else was/is needed???

    SO, how could the people throughout the world at that time and down thru the years even until today be saved by the blood of Jesus.  God had that all worked out as part of his overall plan:

    As Jesus said “go preach the gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved and he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk 16:15-16).   He also said that “repentance and remission of sins must be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem”  (Lk 24:47).   So, the gospel (good news = word or teaching of Jesus) must be preached to everyone.  WHY?  In order for them to KNOW this way of salvation, to believe and obey the teaching of Jesus.  That’s why the gospel is “the power of God unto salvation” to all men of all nations (Rom 1:16)  It is the “words whereby men can be saved” (Acts 11:14)  It is the “engrafted word [or perfect law of liberty] which is able to save our soul” (James 1:21)  It is the “word of God which is living and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb 4:12).

    When Peter showed that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of David that one of his seed would die and be resurrected to His throne, and that JESUS was now on that throne as Lord and Christ > many were “cut in the heart” (by the powerful word of God, the gospel) and believing they wanted to know what to do to be saved (Acts 2:37).   Peter told them to “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” and admonished them to “save themselves”  >  those who “gladly received his word were baptized and added to the body of Christ” (Acts 2:38-41)   >  They were saved in their obedience to this “power of God unto salvation”

    In Acts 20:32  Paul tells some, when departing from them, that he “commends them to God and the word of his grace which is able to build them up and give them an inheritance among them that are sanctified”. 

    In 2 Peter chapter 3 Peter says this powerful word of God tells us the day is coming when God will “say the word” and  the material world will come to an end “be dissolved and the elements will melt with a fervent heat”. 

    We are told that Jesus will save only “those that obey him” (Heb 5:9).    AND that when he comes again the will take vengeance (punish) those who “obey not the gospel” (2 Thess 1:7-9). Jesus tells us the “wise man” is the one who “hears his word and does it” (Matt 7:24)  and  the “foolish man” is the one who “does not do it” (Matt 7:26). 

Let’s be wise > Don’t get wrapped up in this material world, looking for the visible demonstration of God’s supernatural power (miracles) for physical benefits.  let’s look to this word of God, the word he has spoken in these last days thru his Son, which is the “power of God unto Salvation”, that which “is able to save our soul”.   And let me add, I talk to God every day and he talks to me and the same can be true for you.  Remember God has spoken to us in these last days by his Son and says “hear ye him” > HE TALKS TO US THRU HIS WORD AND TELLS ALL OF US THE SAME THING ALL THE TIME > When we pray we are talking to God,  AND  if we are one of his children IN Christ he hears and will answer.  Let's not neglect our Salvation by neglecting this  great Power of God (Heb1:2, 2:1-4).