The Arms of God

Bible Book: Mark  10 : 13-18
Subject: God, Arms of; God, Nature of
Series: A Portrait of God

The Arms of God

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Sermon 3 of 6 in the series, "A Portrait of God."

Mark 10:13-18:

13 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16 And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them. 17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God."

More than 40 verses in the Bible refer to the arm or arms of the Lord and they occur in both the Old and New Testaments. A physical trait referenced over 40 times in the Bible must be very important to the Lord. It is an attribute with significance and meaning or God certainly would not have used it repeatedly in the scriptures.

I read about a man who walked into a fast-food restaurant and ordered a hamburger, french fries, and a cold drink to go. The young man behind the counter noticed an unusual deformity. His customer's right arm was frozen in a circular position with his hand seemingly glued to his hip. The clerk took a chance and asked, "Sir, I know it isn't polite to ask; however, I've never seen a deformity like yours. Could you please tell me what happened to your arm?" The man looked quickly at his arm and exclaimed, "Oh no, I've dropped my watermelon!"

You and I may have weak arms that drop things we mean to hold onto, but God has never dropped anything by accident. His arms are the Everlasting Arms.

"What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms." (Elisha A. Hoffman / Cyril A. Mclellan / A Showalter)

Not everyone is leaning on the everlasting arms of God. You see, God has two arms - one could be named Justice and the other Mercy. We must choose which one of God's arms we wish to deal with now and at the judgment.

Today we study the arms of the Lord. The Lord’s arms never fail, and never drop that which He holds. So, first let's consider ...

I. The Salvation in the Arms of the Lord

Look at Exodus 6:6, which reads ...

"Therefore, say to the Israelites: 'I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.'"

How did the Lord say he would redeem the people? With an outstretched arm. This is figurative language suggesting the mighty power of God working in behalf of those who place their trust in Him. The hymn writer penned,

"The arm of flesh will fail you,

You dare not trust your own!" (George Duffield)

It is wonderful to place your trust in the Lord and His mighty arm. Several years ago I was preaching a revival at First Baptist Church in Welcome, North Carolina. The pastor owned a boat and was excellent at skiing, so he took me out to teach me to ski on the water. I finally had enough instruction to try it, so he placed me in the water with the skies pointing upward - all that kept me up in the water was my life jacket. Then he gunned the motor and the boat snapped forward, pulling me upright. It took a couple of ties and finally I got up and I was skiing - like a pro - I thought. Suddenly, the skies shot upward and I went straight down into the water - way down in the water. I had a serious problem - the life jacket was a bit too large and it came up around shoulders - pushing my arms straight up in the air so that I couldn't stay above the water level. I was bobbing up and down in the water - one moment I was able to breathe and the next my face was totally emersed. I wondered if I was going to drown, but just then I heard the boat rapidly  coming back to me. The pastor, Allen Wellborn, reached down with one arm and pulled me up into the boat. That next breath I took was so special - I'll never forget it. I was saved by the arm of my rescuer. I promise you, when you are sinking you'll be looking for a strong and steady arm to keep you from sinking. In regard to the soul, only God has an arm to pull us out of danger and lift us up to safety forever.

Salvation is found in the arm of the Lord. Note two important things concerning this.

A. The Revealing of His Arm

Look at Isaiah 53:1  and note the question that is asked...

"Who has believed our report and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"

The answer is that many do not see the arm of the Lord. Why? Because they have rebelled against the light revealing His mighty deeds.

1. We see His Arm in nature.

The beauty of the earth calls for us to acknowledge the arm of the Lord that scooped out the valleys, poured waters into the seas, shoved up the mighty mountains, created the crawling spider and designed the giant whale. Simply looking at nature reveals the arm of the Lord - the power that He alone commands. The arm that spread the stars across a limitless sky can surely hold the soul and anyone willing to place faith in His promises.

2. We see His Arm in Scripture

The Bible calls for this. Look at His deeds as recorded in the Word. The greatest of which is the resurrection of Jesus. The arms of Jesus were stretched out on the cross and it appeared that He was defeated. The mighty arm of Rome had brought Him to ruin - or that is what they thought. The mighty arm of the Jewish powers had won the day - or that is what they thought. But, on Sunday after His crucifixion, Jesus got up from the grave, walked out of the tomb, and raised his arms in victory.

Revelation 1:18 notes Jesus saying ...

"I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."

3. We see His Arm in Moral Law

What tells us that there is right and wrong? Behind every law of man there is the arm of the law. Behind the moral law is the mighty arm of God.

4. We See His Arm in Life Itself

Finally, there is life itself. When a person escapes danger, say a near miss in an auto accident, even an agnostic wants to give thanks. But to whom? Why do we have a natural desire to thank someone? That Someone is the only One – the One whose mighty arm made us and sustains us. He has revealed His arm. To perish one must sin against the multiple lights of grace which point to Him and to His mighty arm.

But what does it mean that the Lord has revealed His arm? The Old Testament picture here is one of a soldier making ready for battle. Any oriental warrior in the Bible days would remove an upper garment, and free his arms of every encumbrance in order to fight effectively. Usually, this meant wearing some type of sleeveless upper garment so that the arms were totally unhindered in battle. The Scripture is showing us that God is a warrior. He readies Himself to do battle with the forces which would shackle us, slow us or slay us. The Bible states that the battle is the Lord's, and He has the arm to win every time.

This truth is never more clear than when we consider salvation.

Lloyd Cory, ed., Quotable Quotations, p. 61, has stated:

"In Jesus divine wisdom was cradled in a human brain;
  • In Jesus divine love throbbed in a human heart;
  • In Jesus divine compassion glistened in a human eye;
  • In Jesus divine grace poured forth in human lips.
  • In Jesus divine omnipotence moved in a human arm"

So, we see the revealing of His arm. But also note ...

B. The Redemption by His Arm

On the night Jesus was arrested, He could have destroyed all the soldiers that came to arrest Him, but He died on a cross for you and for me. Rather than pushing up His sleeve to defeat human enemies, He pushed up His sleeve to defeat spiritual ones. He defeated the devil and His minions at the cross, and then trampled them under foot when He stepped out of the empty tomb. Salvation is the work of God’s arm, not ours.

Look at Isaiah 52:10:

"The Lord has made bare His holy arm
In the eyes of all the nations;
And all the ends of the earth shall see
The salvation of our God."

This passage has a double meaning. Though it speaks of the eventual deliverance of Israel, one need only look at Pentecost to see the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy. At Pentecost people from every nation were present and they witnessed firsthand the salvation of the Lord.

Read Psalm 98:1:

"Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory."

Salvation by the arm of the Lord simply means that the Lord alone brings salvation and He has done so by disarming the enemy who is against us. He has freed us from prison.

Revelation 7:10 states ...

"Salvation belongs to our God."

The most beautiful New Testament picture of Christ’s victory in our behalf is found in Colossians 2:13-15, which reads ...

"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Indeed, He did disarm the enemy. He triumphed over them and we triumph through Him."

You see what that passage says! He disarmed our enemies. Praise His name and give thanks for His mighty arm. He is triumphant and so are all who accept Him by faith. "We triumph through Him!"

Now, let's consider ...

II. The Strength in the Arms of the Lord

A. The Awesome Strength of the Lord’s Arm

And just how strong is the arm of the Lord? Some must not think the Lord to be very strong, for they seek to take His throne and seat themselves upon it – making themselves the god of their own lives. Let me tell you story. Once upon a time there was a tribe in Africa that stole chieftain's throne from a rival tribe. They hid the throne in the rafters of the grass hut. The men who stole the throne were having a party in the hut. They were busy celebrating their great victory when all of a sudden the rafters broke and the throne came crashing down, killing several of them. The moral to the is this: "Those who live in grass houses should not stow thrones." Yes, silly I know. But here is the point - If we try to take God’s throne we will one day have the weight of it come crashing down on our heads.

To show you just how true the moral is turn to Luke 1:46-52, and see what Mary said about it, And Mary said:

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his ARM; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble."

Indeed, He has performed mighty deeds with His arm. The power of the Lord will overcome every foe.

B. The Available Strength of the Lord’s Arm

Now we know that the arm of the Lord was mighty in the former days, but what about today? Look at Ephesians 3:20-21:

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

Let us acknowledge that He is God. He does not grow old with time, nor is He weakened by godless generations or the thrones of wicked men and women.

  • He is God
  • He is Sovereign
  • He is Lord
  • Glory to His name!

Let us be fully aware that the strength of the Lord is as available today as in any generation before.

  • The same God who brought the people out of Egypt is still God today.
  • The same God that brought down fire on Mt. Carmel is still God today.
  • The God who helped David defeat Goliath is still God today.
  • The same God that brought down the walls of Jericho is still God today.
  • The same God that rescued Peter from prison is still God today.
  • The same God that raised up Jesus from the dead is still God today.

Look at Isaiah 59:1-2:

"Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. God can save. God can move. God can work. It is we who hinder Him! Let us return to the Lord with faith and devotion. Let us turn from our sins and call upon the Lord. He is mighty to save and mighty to do great things!"

His arm is still available to do mighty things in our behalf. He is able to use His arm in behalf of those who serve Him and trust Him.

Now, note ...

III. The Safety in the Arms of the Lord

Lastly, let us consider the safety in the arms of Jesus. Could there be a place more peaceful and safe than in the arms of Jesus.

A. The Loving Arms of Safety

Note the loving arms of God. Note Isaiah 40:11, which reads ...

"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."

What Isaiah spoke of figuratively, Jesus did literally. In our scripture today we noted that Jesus took the children in His arms, a perfect picture of God’s love. This not only pointed to God’s love for children, but the way that God loves all those who will come to Him.

B. The Lasting Arms of Safety

A lady who was facing difficult trials and troubling circumstances came to W. B. Hinson at the close of a sermon and said, "I'm very much afraid I might fall."

Hinson replied, "Well, why don't you do it?"

She protested, "But Preacher, where would I fall to?"

He replied, "You would fall down into the everlasting arms of God." Then he said, "I have read in the Bible that His everlasting arms are underneath His children. And you know, I believe that if you fall down upon those everlasting arms, it is sure and certain that you will never fall through them."

Understand that God bares his arm to do battle for us because He is our God and has made a covenant with us. He lifted us up from the depths by His mighty arm. He has redeemed us and will not let us go. The songwriter penned,

"In loving kindness Jesus came, my soul in mercy to reclaim,

And from the depths of sin and shame through grace He lifted me,

From sinking sand He lifted me, with tender hand He lifted me,

From shades of night to plains of light,

O praise His name, He lifted me!" (Charles H. Gabriel, 1905)

He did not lift us to drop us. Deuteronomy 33:27 we read:

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, 'Destroy him!'"


Remember how we began? God’s two arms – which one will you deal with? The arm of Justice or the arm of Mercy. God is reaching out to you today with the arm of Mercy. Run into His arms. He will enfold you as surely as He hugged those children many years ago. His arm is not shortened that He cannot save or cannot help you in your time of trouble. Run to Him. Turn to Him. Call upon Him. His arms of safe. Even in death. He will one day enfold us in His arms in His home above.


"Soon I shall hear, a call from heaven’s portals

Come home my child, it’s the last mile you must trod.

I’ll fall asleep and wake in God’s new heaven,

Sheltered safe within the arms of God.

So Let the storm rage high, the darks clouds rise,

They don’t bother me, for I’m sheltered safe within the arms of God./

He walks with me, and naught of earth can harm me,

For I’m sheltered in the arms of God." (Dottie Rambo and Jimmy Davis, 1969)

Are you sheltered in His arms? You can be. His arms are open to you, come to Him now.