With each New year there comes new dreams. What Will Become of Your Dreams?
One of the most outstanding characters in the OT is a young man by the name of Joseph. Joseph was the son of Jacob and when he was 17 years old, his job along with his half brothers was to shepherd his father’s flocks. Joseph was despised by his brothers because he was a favorite of their father and also because of his dreams. One day Joseph’s brothers took their flocks to Shechem to graze them. A few days later Jacob called for Joseph to go and check on his brothers. Joseph followed his father’s instructions and set off to find his brothers. As he looked for them a man noticed him wandering in the fields and asked him who he was looking for. Joseph said he was looking for his brothers and the man informed him that they had left and went to Dothan. Joseph left to find his brothers and while he was on his way, his brothers saw him from a ways off and conspired to kill him. They said “here comes that dreamer, lets kill him, and then we shall see what will become of his dreams?”
I believe that the concept of a dream is very important. .Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision; the people perish: God’s people must have a vision or purpose. Abraham had a dream of a promised land, where his seed would be as numerous as the stars and his belief in and commitment to that dream led him and sustained him through many trials. It was the dream of the Promised Land that led Moses through 40 years of wilderness wanderings. The vision of God’s faithful promises empowered the prophets to boldly proclaim the coming of a Savior.
During the early days of the church, the people must have dreamed that the Gospel would be heard by all men. Spurred on by that dream, early Christians preached the Gospel wherever they went. Those first-century Christians had a clear concept of what they wanted to achieve and they had a commitment to bring their dreams to fruition. Perhaps you have some dreams today. I certainly have some and I want to us to think about “what will become of our dreams?”
First, what will become of our dreams for the church? I am sure that all of us have dreams of seeing the church grow and the lost being saved. In order to grow and to continue to answer the Lord’s call the church must remained focused on its mission to seek and to save the lost. This certainly must be our focus, for we cannot compete with the denominations when it comes to activities.
As we study the NT, a sense of vitality and urgency is clear. It is apparent that the message of Christ was the most important thing to them. Everywhere the early Christians went, they preached the message of Christ. The church experienced tremendous growth, as great numbers of people were baptized. The Roman world responded with ridicule and violence. Many followers of Christ had to die for their faith, but it did not slow the movement. The story of Christianity is both exciting and true. It is a story of a Church with a burning mission. It is a story of a people who were focused on their purpose and who dared to dream.
If the church of today is to be successful, we must recapture that vitality and success from the early days. We must discover and focus on their mission. Even before Jesus was born, his mission was clear. Matthew 1:21 and she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Jesus himself said, I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Lk. 5:23).He came to saved an otherwise lost and hopeless people. The final words of the resurrected
Savior, are a mission statement. He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all baptizing them and teaching them to observe my commandments.”
Because of the example of Jesus, there was no doubt in the minds of early Christians concerning the mission of the church. They were consumed with this purpose and displayed a unending passion to tell the world that it needed a Savior, like Jesus. They dreamed of seeing the church be successful. When the church is fulfilling its mission, certain things happen. The early disciples serve as an example.
True biblical Christianity produces growth, when practiced in any generation. The mission of the church today continues to be to preach the Gospel to a lost world.
Attempts have been made to paint the Church in a negative light and condemn those who have taken their stand on the Word of God. I have heard some say that some of our older preachers really didn’t understand some subjects and many of them preached too hard.
Some have made the accusation that the Church exalts doctrine over Christ. I ask the questions,” Can we not exalt Christ and doctrine at the same time?” and “Is it possible to exalt Christ and not exalt the doctrine that He and the apostles taught?” If exalting doctrine is so bad, then why would Jesus say, John 7:16 -17, my doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
Nothing promotes growth, encouragement, spiritually, and zeal, like people who commit their lives to Christ. Jesus commanded his people to make disciples of all nations. This is the mission of the Christianity today, yesterday and forever. We must not let our dreams for the church be dashed by worldliness, materialism, selfishness, innovations, unsound, false doctrine or anything else.
Secondly, what will become of our dreams for our children? Most parents all have dreams for their children. Some, dream that their sons will grow up to be a famous athlete, doctor or lawyer. They dream that their daughters will grow up to have a successful marriage and a good home life. The most important dream that we should have for our children is that they would become good Christian men and women.
That dream can be fulfilled by instilling the truth into the hearts of our children. This done by is by constant teaching and faithfulness in our own lives. In Deut 4:2 God says Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. He continues in verse 9, only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;
Our future grief or gladness will depend upon what we do with the opportunities we have to develop our children. Many congregations are hurting or no longer exist because some parents fail to communicate the importance of being a Christian to their children.
What has happened to many of our children? Some have left the church and joined some denomination, filled with doctrinal error. Others have lost their faith and become so modernistic or liberal that they have no regard for biblical authority
Because of certain influences in our society, today’s young people face many challenges. Modern entertainment has had an effect upon our young. The young are impressionable and are impacted by what they see and hear. Many things are going on in the physical world of the young and sometimes it is difficult for them to slow down and meditate on spiritual things. Choosing what is necessary and eternal above what is appealing and seemingly important becomes difficult.
Young people live in an emotion-packed world which is vastly different from that of past generations. Many look for the exciting and appealing in worship, rather than the solemn moments of devotion. The rightness and wrongness of an approach to worship many times is “What turns you on?” rather than, “what has God authorized.” Some want worship to be jazzed up and made more exciting and we have some parents and preachers who are all to willing to accommodate by calling for preaching or singing to fill the empty space during observance of the Lord’s Supper.
In many cases more emphasis is being placed on feelings than on knowledge. Hosea said that God’s people were destroyed by a lack of knowledge. We must teach our children that the source of goodness, obedience and godly living comes from what God has revealed to us. A knowledge of God’s word will show the importance of the church and doctrinal purity.
We cannot afford to lose our young people. There is great potential in young people. There can be strength in young people. They are idealistic. There are worlds to be conquered, battles to win, and deeds to be done. They have not become jaded by life’s heartbreaks and defeats and because of this they can often achieve great things. We must not destroy the idealism and zeal of the young. The church needs the fire and zeal of young people. We need our young people in future years to sustain that which we have loved and held so dear to our hearts.
Being a parent is a serious business. What will become of our dreams for our children? We must strive to be the right example, so that our dreams of them being good Christian men and women will not be shattered.
Finally, what about our dreams for ourselves? Do you have a dream or a vision of being the best Christian that you possibly can? Daily Christian living as taught in God’s word is summarized in Colossians 3:17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. This verse should be applied, to every activity that we do in life. Everything is to be done in the name of Christ. This must always be so, if we are to realize our dreams.
Our daily living should be identified with Christ. When we live Christian lives, it identifies with Christ. Every one that names the name of Christ should depart from iniquity. 2 Timothy 2:19, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. We belong to Christ. He is our Savior and Lord. We must not be ashamed to be identified with Christ or our brethren.
We can dishonor the name of Christ. Most parents try to teach their children the importance of honoring the family name. In just a few minutes, a person can disgrace a name that many have worked hard to build up. As Christians we must be very careful where we go, careful in what we say and how we act. We should avoid questionable places. When we decide to wear the name Christian, we are identified with Christ. We must not dishonor our family name.
What about your dreams for being the best Christian that you possibly can? Will you realized them or will they be unfulfilled?
Dreams will not come true for those who fail to implement their desires into actions. God has always been pleased with energetic people, who realize they are his workmanship created unto good deeds in Christ Jesus.
The great artist Raphael once painted a controversial picture of Alexander the Great. It showed the great conqueror, early in life, as a dreamy-eyed young boy. Critics told Raphael that no one could ever believe that Alexander ever looked as he depicted him. The artist replied, “Any one who conquers the world, must first dream that he can do it.”
Do we have a dream for the church, our children and ourselves? We must commit ourselves to work toward a realization of those dreams. What will become of our dreams? Will they come to fruition, or will they lie broken and shattered and unfulfilled?