While Jesus was here on earth, He made some incredible statements. We find in John 10:10, that Jesus says He came to give people rich and satisfying lives. In John 14:12 He says that those who believe in Him will not only do the same works He did, but that they will actually do greater works!
Then in Luke 5:26, after Jesus has healed a paralyzed man, the crowd that is there is amazed and filled with awe and they declare, “we have seen extraordinary things today.”
In short, following Jesus should lead people to experience the extraordinary.
This is what we want to see for all those who call Connection Point home, people living extraordinary lives. But you see, an extraordinary life in Jesus is tied to our willingness to fulfill God’s big dream. You will find that is the common thread between the three verses listed above.
But what is God’s big dream? We see a glimpse of it in 2 Peter 3:9 where Peter writes, “God is not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” God’s dream is that everyone reach repentance, that everyone would know Him, as their loving, powerful, majestic heavenly Father.
This ultimately results in what we find in Revelation 7:9-10, which reads, “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, ‘Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!’”
This is the very heart of God. His will is for none to perish. That we would all one day be in eternity with Him, this is God’s big dream. And He has had a desire to fulfill this big dream since the fall of man, since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23-24).
He wanted to fulfill this dream by making a covenant with a righteous man named Abram. We read in Genesis chapter 12, “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.’” (Genesis 12:1-3)
God was making a plan of how He wanted to fulfill His big dream. He would bless all the families of the earth through the family of Abram, whom God later renames as Abraham. The problem is, Abraham and his wife Sarah are beyond child-bearing years, but God does the impossible and He gives them a son, Isaac, through whom these blessings will be fulfilled. God tests the obedience of Abraham by asking him to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham obeys, but right before Abraham would sacrifice his son, God intervenes and provides a ram for Abraham to sacrifice instead.
God then declares, “Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:16-18)
Isaac marries Rebekah, they have two sons, Esau and Jacob. Isaac winds up passing the blessing of God onto the younger son, Jacob. Jacob marries two sisters, Leah and Rachel. Jacob is renamed Israel by God. Jacob has twelve sons. And one of them, Joseph, gets sold into slavery by his brothers and carried to Egypt.
Joseph faces hardship, but eventually becomes second-in-command under Pharaoh. Within a few years, North Africa and the Middle East face severe drought, so Joseph’s brothers are sent by their father Jacob (or Israel) to buy food in Egypt. The brothers meet Joseph and eventually, the entire family of Jacob moves to Egypt to enjoy the bounty of the land and the provision of Joseph.
But after Joseph dies, eventually a new Pharaoh came into power and he decides to enslave the people of Israel. God raises up a man named Moses to help free the people of Israel from Pharaoh. After they are freed, here’s what we find in Exodus chapter 19, verses 5 and 6 for how God planned to fulfill His big dream through the people of Israel. It reads, “Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation’”
But what did the Israelites do? We find in Exodus 32, that they forfeit God’s big dream, “The Lord told Moses, ‘Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt’” (Exodus 32:7-8).
The Israelites forfeit God’s big dream, so 1500 years later God sends His Son on a rescue mission. This is what we celebrate every Christmas. The Son of God came, born in Bethlehem to die on a cross in Jerusalem, to display His power over evil and death through the cross and the resurrection, so that God could fulfill His big dream.
But then Jesus, 40 days after the resurrection, ascended to heaven, to the right hand of God the Father, leaving the continuing mission of God, His big dream, to be fulfilled by His devoted followers. So how does God intend to fulfill His big dream now?
It is best expressed in what we call the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Reading from Matthew 22:36-40, “‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’ Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
God wanted to fulfill His big dream through the people of Israel, they forfeit His dream, so Jesus comes and says, look, all of those commands that were to be followed by Israel in fulfillment of God’s big dream can be summed up with two basic commands…love God and love others. That’s it, love God and love others.
And then Jesus gives us how these commandments are to be fulfilled in Matthew 28:18-20, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
How does God intend to fulfill His big dream?
Through a rescue mission. With us going together to love the lost by sharing the Gospel with them with words and actions.
This is why it’s important we lead people to become everyday disciple makers at Connection Point.
As our leadership team evaluated how we were doing at fulfilling God’s big dream, we realized we had created systems that did not facilitate its achievement. We needed to find ways to equip people to participate in God’s rescue mission. We knew we needed to find better ways to lead this great church toward the fulfillment of God’s big dream instead of its forfeit.
We’d Love to hear from you!
How have you been a part of fulfilling God’s big dream? Share your comments below.