God's Omnipotence and Our Hope for Eternity
God’s Omnipotence solidifies our Hope for Eternity.
Over the last 3 Sundays, our church has been going through a “Why Easter” series, exploring the “4 Pillars” of Easter. Pastor Hank started off in Genesis and showed that God is Omniscient; He has complete and unlimited knowledge, awareness, and understanding, and perceiving all things. In the second week, we studied Psalm 139 showing that God is Omnipresent; God is always present everywhere; continuously and simultaneously present throughout the whole of creation. Last Sunday we studied that God is Omnibenevolent, or God is all loving and infinitely good.
This Sunday we reach the pinnacle of this study. We see that God is Omnipotent; or He is all-powerful: possessing complete, unlimited, and universal power. So what does this mean to us as Christians at Easter? As the old hymn says, “There is Wonder Working Power in the Precious Blood of the Lamb.” During this lesson, we will cover 3 separate divisions as we ask the question: What does Christ’s Resurrection Prove?
1: Jesus’ Resurrection Proves the Truthfulness of God’s Word
2: Jesus’ Resurrection Proves God Accepted Jesus as Our Sin Offering
3: Jesus’ Resurrection Proves Salvation’s Work is Powerful and Completed
Division #1 - Jesus Resurrection Proves the Truthfulness of God’s Word
First and foremost in this division, the fact that Jesus died and rose on the 3rd day is settled and indisputable. I mean, above what God’s inerrant word says, after Jesus rose from the dead he appeared 12 different times to over 500 eyewitnesses in multiple locations and times over a 40-day period. Furthermore, the transformation of the disciples was in a word “radical”. They went from being “fraidy-cats” and cowards to First and Fearless Followers who would (and did) die for their faith. People don’t knowingly die for a lie. Lastly, the explosion of the church started in Jerusalem, the same place where we could document that the Resurrection happened. For 25 years after Jesus’ death, until the Romans sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple and city, anyone could question hundreds of eyewitnesses.
Plenty of other religions around the world will concede that Jesus was alive, did teach and that He died on a cross, but Christians complete this with His resurrection. When Paul was writing to Corinth, he wrote, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith… For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor. 15:13-14, 16-17)”
Let’s begin this morning by walking through the Old Testament and see what God through His prophets says in Old Testament times about Jesus’ life and His certain resurrection.
We will start and look at some different verses in the Bible from which to understand one central concept. In Gen 1:14-19 God tells us about His creation of the stars. In Isaiah 40:22 the Bible says “He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” In Job 38:31-32 The Bible says “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion’s belt? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?” (Please note that the Pleiades, Orion’s Belt, and the Bear and her cubs are all constellations in the night sky.) And finally look at Matthew 2:2 “and asked,
“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” There are certainly more verses that we could point to, but these will suffice to illustrate this point, the universe works like a clock; the earth rotates around the sun exactly every 365.2563 days. We can calculate exactly when Haley’s Comet will arrive, and we can use stars and their position to calculate very specific positions on earth and in space. We also can calculate exactly when and where a constellation will be on any given day at any given time, in the future or in the past, because the universe’s motion is a constant. So taking this fact, we see a star show up in Matthew 2. Job tells us that “God leads out the bear with its cubs”. What this illustrates is that when God spun the Universe into motion at the beginning of time, He spun that star to arrive at the perfect time in the perfect place to herald the arrival of His son, and so too, at the very instant of the creation of the world in the first chapter of Genesis God not only knew the exact hour of His son’s death on the cross and His resurrection 3 days later, he planned the date and time at the beginning of history.
Let’s secondly take a look at Psalm 22:16 that reads: “Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.” The book of Psalms was written around 1000 BC by a variety of authors, but mostly by King David. What is very interesting here is the date that this was written, because crucifixion was only invented around 600BC by the Persians, Greeks, and Macedonians, and only used as capital punishment by the Romans later. We can clearly see that the author of Psalms 22 was speaking of crucifixion 400 years before it was even invented.
With that in mind, and while we are walking through the Bible, let us also look at other verses with regard to Jesus death and subsequent resurrection. Let’s again go to David’s writings and look at Psalm 16: 10-11 “because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your holy one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” With these verses in mind, let’s move forward to Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 and see how Peter uses these Old Testament verses to point to both Jesus’ atoning work on the cross as well as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy. Acts 2:22-23 Peter dictates the facts. “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did among you through him, as you
yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[a] put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” Pastor Sean, being an attorney, would say this was Peter’s opening argument, similar to a recent Hollywood blockbuster scene where the prosecuting attorney tells the jury “These are the facts of the case, and they are undisputed”. However, Peter uses this to set the stage for the very next verse (24) which is where Peter states “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” And then, Peter gives the “AH HA” moment to the crowd. Peter quotes Psalm 16:8-28 and then gives the facts, David is dead and in his tomb, but Jesus is not. And Peter goes on like Adlai Stevenson’s statements to the UN during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Peter says “Don’t wait for the translation, answer the question!” Look at the evidence, you cannot argue with it!! Peter states in verses 29-33 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”
How I wish we all had such command and knowledge of scripture, but also the ability to quote and explain it as eloquently as Peter. Who could argue? It was right there, and when Christ arose on the 3rd day the prophecy of Psalm 16 had been verified and proven. This proved to be such an effective argument used by the early church in sharing the gospel, we see Paul use the same argument later in Acts chapter 13: 27-37. “The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. “We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second
Psalm: God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’ So it is also stated elsewhere: “‘You will not let your holy one see decay.’ “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.”
So the resurrection of Jesus proves that God’s word is true. It is 100% accurate, there are no errors, and He knew about his life, death, and resurrection from the beginning of creation.
So our Principle for this division is:
God’s Omnipotence is Evidenced in the Truth of His Word and His Fulfilled Promises.
So our “Application Questions” for this division are:
1) When have I doubted or lived like I doubted God’s promises for me?
2) Who have I shared Jesus’ fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy’s with, when they have called into question the validity of the Bible?
Division #2 – Jesus Resurrection Proves God Accepted Jesus as Our Sin Offering
In Division #2 we will go back to Genesis 4:4 and look at Abel giving an offering to God: “And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering,” There certainly have been lots of books and commentaries on these series of verses, about the first murder, Cain’s banishment, but for today I want us to focus on God and his acceptance of Abel’s offering. Abel didn’t just bring “some” fruits, he brought his best of his best. Why did God accept Abel’s offering? His heart was right, and God looked on his offering with His favor. God was pleased to accept Abel’s offering because it cost Abel something to give it, it cost the lives of his flock. There was blood, and blood is required for the atonement of sins. (…..and as Cain knew but didn’t seem to care…. you can’t get blood out of a turnip.) Now let’s move forward to the New Testament and turn to Ephesians 5:2 “and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” Here we see that Christ’s blood and His sacrifice was again this type of fragrant offering, an offering that costs something, an offering that costs a life and requires innocent blood, which is the only sacrifice that is acceptable to God.
There is also an event in Numbers where while Israel was wandering in the wilderness, they started many of their gripe sessions to Moses, and for their insurrection, God sent venomous snakes to plague them. However, when they acknowledged their sin, God gave them a way to escape death from the snake's bite. See the account in Numbers 21:4-8 “They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone
who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.” Notice here that God’s answer to their prayer was not to remove the snakes like they asked…. but to give them deliverance from the snake’s deathly venom. They still got bit, the snakes were still all over, but looking upon the bronze snake delivered them from certain death. Transitioning to the New Testament, John parallels this with Christ’s being lifting up on the cross, and any who look upon him there and believe will be saved and given eternal life. John 3:13-15 says “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” Here John illustrates the beautiful story of Jesus’ cross. Just as God did not take away the penalty of sin when Adam sinned, and God did not remove the snakes from the camp of the Israelites, God did provide salvation from certain death in His son Jesus Christ, who died in our place to pay for our sins on the cross.
Now the Bible is FULL of AWESOME miracles, it is important to note that many people were raised from the dead during the period of biblical writings. In 1 Kings 17, God through the prophet Elijah raises a widow’s son. In II Kings 4 a dead man was thrown into Elisha’s tomb and when he touched Elisha’s bones, he came to life!! In Mark 5 Jesus raises Jarius’ daughter from the dead, and of course, we all know Jesus raised Lazarus in John 11 after Lazarus had been dead for 3 days. But there is something special about Jesus’ resurrection, and this points to the AIM in today’s lesson about God’s Omnipotence, God himself raised Jesus. God did not involve a prophet or anyone else. It was solely an intimate, beautiful and unexplainable action between the Father and the Son. Turn to Paul’s letter to Corinth where he is talking to them about believing in Christ’s resurrection and he wraps up this division for us in a neat bow. 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 Paul says, "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” But he proves the point earlier in the chapter when Paul writes “By this gospel you are saved if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our
sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”
So our Principle for this division is:
God’s Omnipotence is Evidenced in the Assurance of Christian’s Eternal Life.
So our “Application Questions” for this division are:
1) Have I placed my faith in Jesus and claimed His atoning work on the cross as my salvation?
2) Who can I share this with, and what has stopped me in the past?
Division #3 - Jesus Resurrection Proves Salvation’s Work is Powerful and Completed
The year was 1637, the place was Japan. Christian missionaries had been infiltrating Japan, and the government had had enough. It was at this point the Japanese government, in what is now called “The Massacre of the Shoguns” ordered the execution of all Christians. Today there is a marker on the Japanese island of Amakusa whose inscription reads “…the heads of 11,111 Christians are buried here and their bodies are buried elsewhere.” Why? Why execute all Christians and then bury their remains in different places? As it turns out, the missionaries who had brought Christianity to Japan had been sharing about the resurrection, and it is believed that the Japanese rulers separated the heads from the bodies to prevent it.
We, of course, know that God does not need bodies to be in the same place, but this story shows how much power there is in the hope of the resurrection. Secular
Governments and non-Christians fear this, for no other reason than there is so much life-changing power in Christ’s resurrection.
For this division, we will start in Isaiah and look at a few verses in chapter 53. In Isaiah 53:5 we read “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” and we can also skim to Isaiah 53:10 that says “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,” and Isaiah 53:11b “by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” We see these promises by God in the Old Testament, so we can move forward to the New Testament and see what has transpired by the death and resurrection of Jesus, and how the circumstances of Christians has now changed. In John 14:19, Jesus said, "Because I live, ye shall live also." And Jesus also said in John 11, speaking to Martha that tremendous statement, in verse 25, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."
One final point is that the body of Christ having the Holy Spirit is dependent on Christ’s resurrection and God accepting His sacrifice. In John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” and in John 15:26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.” Both say that when Jesus got back to Heaven He dispatched the Holy Spirit to earth. To further clarify this, the disciples had no power to preach until the Holy Spirit came to them. If God had not accepted Christ’s offering and raised Christ from the grave,
We must stop here and answer a comment that is rampant in today’s world. There are so many false teachers and false religions that espouse that “Jesus was a good man” or “Jesus was a prophet” but they deny his deity. We have 2 statements where Jesus clearly states he is the Messiah, so either he “was a good man”, He told the truth and He was God….. or he was NOT a good man because all he did was lie about who he was. There can be no middle ground here.
then Jesus could not have ascended, and therefore could not have sent the Holy Spirit to us.
To cover the final beauty of this division, we turn to the New Testament we see where the Christian’s hope is written in God’s letter to us. This is where our hope and security lies. Our church began in this series 4 weeks ago, in the beautiful garden of Eden, where Eve’s conversation with Satan which led to our fleshly downfall and our need for salvation from sin, we now end with a verse that ties that first sin with our eternal hope. In 1 Corinthians 15:22 we find our peace for eternity "As in Adam all died, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
So our Principle for this division is:
God’s Omnipotence is Evidenced in Our Salvation by Grace through Faith.
So our “Application Questions” for this division are:
1) When have I thanked God for His gift of salvation, and have I shared my life changing testimony with my friends and family?
2) If I am not sharing my faith frequently, who can I ask to hold me accountable and if I need to learn how, who can I ask to teach me?