Today we’re continuing our series entitled “The Light Has Come” as we celebrate the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. We’ve been looking at the prophecy of Isaiah, recorded in chapter 9 and verse 6, as the Spirit of God speaking through the prophet describes this child that would be born. Now, last week we looked at the first part, the first name with which he was described, saying that he will be called the “Wonderful Counselor”. The prophet Isaiah tells us,
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God…” (Isaiah 9:6).
Today, we’re going to stop there at the second part of that description, the second name, and it is my honor and my privilege to tell you how great and mighty my God is. I personally seize every opportunity to go out into nature and worship our Creator. And maybe you go out into the night and find yourself gazing into the sky praising God for the majesty of his creation? I often do because I see his fingerprints all over his creation; he is our Mighty God, and the Bible says in Romans chapter 1,
“Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…” (Romans 1:20).
He is our Mighty God. The apostle John tells us in the opening of his gospel, “In the beginning was the Word…” (John 1:1). And he uses the same two words recorded in the Greek Old Testament, Genesis chapter 1,
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
I don’t believe it’s an accident, that the first thing John is going to tell us about Jesus is that he created the universe. In the beginning was the Word, before there was any time, anything, or anyone there was the Word, Jesus Christ.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1-3).
Our mighty God, Jesus Christ, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, taught us, healed us, loved us, and died for us; after also creating the universe. For through him all things were made. The prophet Jeremiah talks about how Mighty God is,
"Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).
Some of you came to church today and you’ve got problems. You don’t know where to turn, but I’ll tell you, no matter how bad it looks, nothing is too hard for God. God is a Mighty God, he is all-powerful, he is all-knowing, and he is always present. No matter where you are, God’s presence is with you, because God’s presence is everywhere. The Bible tells us that he knows your thoughts, he knows your heart, he knows everything about you and he also can do anything. There is nothing that is too hard for God. He is our Mighty God.
And yet, as we look at the world, we hear and see all the pain and suffering that people are going through and we wonder, “Why? You know, “Where are you God? Where is your power?” And all around us is misfortune, people going off to war, cancer diagnosis, miscarriage, and bankruptcy. Time and time again we face unthinkable tragedy; we pray and pray only to see things get worse. Maybe today you’re asking “God, where is your power?” Maybe your family is stressed, Christmas is making it worse, and you’re wondering, “God, where are You?” Well today, I want to assure you that God is working, that his power is real, and so we’re going to look at God’s Word to get a better understanding. The first thing I want to show you is that God is working in you. You may not see it, but we live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). So, number one, God is working in you.
Now I wonder how many of you thought that when you became a Christian you were going to be blessed, everything was going to go your way, and you were going to live your life on easy street? I wonder, how many of you thought that Jesus came to take all your problems away? Now those are all great thoughts, but that’s not a promise of the Gospel. As a matter of fact, Jesus said,
"In this world you will have trouble…” (John 16:33).
You see, he’s working in you, but he’s not giving you the numbers to fill out your lottery ticket. You see, God’s power is not to make your life easy. The Bible tells us in Philippians where the apostle Paul is writing to the Christians in Philippi,
“It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).
You see, God is working, he’s working in you, but he’s working in you to will and to act according to HIS good purpose. You may remember when God sent Moses to confront Pharaoh, telling him to let my people go, and yet the Pharaoh continued to harden his heart and refused to let the people go. Well, God told him, you may remember this, Exodus chapter 9,
“By now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:15-16).
In the same way, what we see is that God’s power is at work, but not so that we can sit back and do nothing. His power is at work in us, to change us, to transform us, to make us more like Jesus. It’s so that his name is proclaimed in all the earth. To take us from being self-centered to others-centered, from being unfruitful to bearing much fruit. And that’s why the apostle Paul invites Timothy and the church in Ephesus to join him in suffering for the gospel. In his second letter to Timothy Paul says,
“Join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Tim 1:8-9).
It’s God’s power working in us, the power of God to save us, and to empower us to fulfill our calling to a holy life according to his own purpose and grace. You see, God’s power is real, you may not see it, but God’s power is working in you. You may think that everybody else is getting the breaks, that God has forgotten you, because nothing seems to be happening; but I assure you that God is working to change you and give you the opportunity to become more like Christ. And so, number one, God is working in you. Number two, God is working for you.
I can’t count how many times I’ve looked back in my life and seen that God’s power was at work. God was working in me, helping me to have more faith, to trust him no matter what I was dealing with, and to become more like Christ. You see, it’s at those times when we’re at our lowest, when we’re on our knees crying out, just wondering where we go from here. It’s at that midnight hour, when you’re at your weakest, at your lowest, that you discover God’s power working in you and for you.
The Bible tells us in Isaiah chapter 40, this great man of God, Isaiah says,
“God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31).
“Even youths grow tired and weary” like an Olympic athlete, even the best of the best, grow tired and weary, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Maybe this is where you are this morning, you know, it took everything in you just to get the church today and you’re tired and weary. Maybe for you, this year has just been the mother of all years, you’ve had more than your share of problems, you’re worn out, but the good news is that God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
One of my favorite scriptures comes from a great man of faith and yet the apostle Paul had a weak spot, he asked God to take it away; he’s praying and fasting, he’s pleading with the Lord, and God responds to him in second Corinthians.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Some of you this morning may be at a low point in your life and I pray that you’re in that place of realizing that God loves you, that God cares about you, and that God has a great plan for your life. I don’t know how low you’ve gotten, but I do know that God’s power is for real, his power is working in you to change you, and when you’re weak, in Christ you can be strong. And then the third thing, the third principle, is that God’s power is working through you.
God’s power is working through you, through us as his Church, and one of my favorite Scriptures that has totally transformed my life is found in Acts chapter 1. Luke records these words of Jesus to his followers,
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
God’s power is working through you. If you’re a born-again believer, meaning that you’re saved, and you’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit, then you’ve been empowered by his grace to share the good news of Jesus Christ. God wants to work through every one of you. If you’re a follower of Christ, you’re a minister of the gospel, a minister of the good news of Jesus Christ. And so, whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a teacher, a business owner, or an employee, no matter what you do, if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you’re a minister of the gospel.
The apostle Paul said it this way in second Corinthians chapter 5, he said, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Cor 5:19-20).
And so, if you’re a follower of Christ, you’re an ambassador, you’re a diplomat, a minister, and a representative of Jesus Christ. Therefore, God’s power is available to you, working through you, if you’ll just step out in faith and go. God’s power is for real, and when we’re weak, that’s when we’re the strongest, because God’s power is working through us. Of this I can testify, because even though some people like the way I speak, there’s no reason why I should be standing before you today except for the power of God through Christ Jesus. You see, I’ve always had speech problems, I was always very introverted, and never liked to speak before more than two or three people, but even more than that, greater than what I can or can’t do, is what God is doing through me. Listen to what the Apostle Paul says, first Corinthians, chapter 2, he says,
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
Paul says, “I’m not a great speaker. I don’t have a gift with words. My messages are nothing special.” And maybe today, you don’t feel special, you don’t feel like you have anything to offer, but I want to assure you that something extraordinary happens when you allow God to work through you. You see, many years ago, Jesus chose 12 men who were nothing special in the world’s eyes. They weren’t great theologians, Bible scholars, teachers or even leaders, but Jesus took these 12 ordinary guys and with God’s power working through them they were able to change the world. And that’s what’s so awesome about God, he never asks us to do anything that he doesn’t also equip us to do. You see, as we allow God’s power to work in us, to change us, and to make us more like Jesus; as we allow God’s power to work for us, moving with signs, wonders, and miracles; and as we allow God’s power to work through us he will do extraordinary things.
Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
303 West Lincoln Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
December 03, 2017
Graphics, notes, and commentary from LifeChurch, Ministry Pass, Preaching Library, and PC Study Bible.
Scripture from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.