Where Dreams Come True
Faith, Hope, and Love
Sunday Afternoon, September 26, 1999
“....there must be a place where dreams come true.”
Where is that place where dreams come true? Where is that place where there is hope? Obviously, the answer on the clearest, largest possible scale is that Jesus is that place. He’s the only place where there is a place to live, a place to call home, a place where dreams come true. But perhaps you step back and say, “Well, what does that really mean, exactly, that Jesus is that place?” We can all say that on an external level, and have every good intention of internalizing it and making it true...“Jesus is that place. I’ll have no other. My loyalty is fiercely and solely reserved for Jesus.” And that is right! That should be our attitude. There is NO other attitude that will yield the fruit that He is after or that we would desire in our own hearts and lives and families and neighborhoods.
I think about a lot of the things that the apostle Paul and others wrote in trying to make “the place where dreams come true” more alive or more real or more practical. There will be a lot of religious things you can do that won’t really satisfy. You could give your body to be burned; and you could have enough faith to cast a mountain into the sea; or you could give all your money to the poor. You could do great religious things of every sort, but all those things won’t really satisfy. Those things are passing away! Those things will vanish. They will melt down. Those aren’t the things that Life is truly all about. Paul goes on to tell us what WILL last, and Jesus is THIS, personified: “Faith and hope and love are the places where dreams come true.” Now Paul could have said that “Jesus” is what remains, because those things are personified in Jesus, but that is not what Paul said. He said, “...these three things remain. The greatest of these is love.” And these three things ARE the place that each of us can have individually where dreams come true!
It isn’t going to be about giving all your money to the poor, casting mountains into the sea, and speaking in the tongues of men or of angels. And it isn’t going to be about giving your body to be burned as a martyr...not really. All those things could come out of this, and that’s fine, but those are not the goals. The GOAL is the expression of Jesus in this passage, and as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13, of faith, and of hope and of love.
So what is faith? Faith is an implicit and an absolute trust in His character, and His ability to provide, and the Truth of His Word. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the voice of God...it’s having a relationship with Him where you can hear Him, see Him, and be directed by Him. “Without holiness no one can see the Lord.” There is a process of giving up all the riches of Egypt because we “see” Him who is invisible. So Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the substance, the Reality of things unseen to the naked eye but seen with the inner eye. Faith is believing that His character wants to lavish good gifts upon His children, and faith is believing that God IS, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. If we will put our whole heart into seeking Him, and we believe that His character is such that He can and will provide for us, then He will care for us as He does the lilies and the sparrows, and we can trust that! We can absolutely trust that! Faith is hearing Him, seeing Him, responding to His promises, and responding to His character...laying it all on the line for Him because He is good and His character is trustworthy and we have nothing to fear.
Some of us recently watched an edited version of a movie called The Postman. One of the lines that stood out to me about the main character was that he “handed out HOPE like candy.” That’s a quality, for example, that Job had. The widows beamed when they saw his face. The children ran to him. And that’s also a quality of Jesus! All of these three things are personified in Jesus. Jesus is hope. He is faith. He is love. God is love. He is the Personification of these things. That’s why Paul didn’t say, “all these things will pass away but all that remains is Jesus.” It’s true. It’s absolutely true that Jesus is all that remains, but Paul wanted to give us something else to hang on to. He wanted to give us the ability to go into Jesus a little deeper, the ability to find Jesus and experience Him, and to find that place where dreams come true. OH! To have that hope, to be on fire in the heart, to not be alone and fed up and frustrated and irritated and confused and fatigued and all the other junk out there. He said there IS a place where dreams come true! There is a place where you, as an individual, and you, as a corporate life, a Church, can experience the fullness of Christ.
And all these religious things, as good as they may be, will pass away. Go ahead and give all your money to the poor. Give your body to be burned. Go ahead and do mighty works for God across the nations by casting mountains into the sea, and seeing great miracles...the dead raised and the lame healed. These are all good things, but Paul said let them flow out of the things that really matter—the things that remain, the things that are Complete, the things that are Perfect, the things that are Jesus! And that is Faith: seeing Him who is invisible, trusting Him completely, and laying it all down for Him in spite of what you feel. In spite of what you have experienced...in spite of what you think is logical... instead of trying to get something for yourself...give it all to Him! Trust Him implicitly and completely. Be fiercely and solely loyal to Him, and see that God is good. His character will stand that test.
“The Postman gave out hope like it was candy in his pocket.” That’s what Jesus does for us if we will stop and look; and that’s what we can do for one another, too. If we are living in the Spirit, we can give out hope like candy, and we can bring that joy.
Another person in that movie, Postman, was a little boy named “Ford-Lincoln-Mercury.” He became a man and was willing to risk his life for what he believed in. The people ran to him, and he led others into that. He began to give out hope like candy and gave courage to people who had no courage. This boy gave a purpose for living to people who had no purpose. All these people were intimidated. City after city, and village after village, people were totally frightened by the enemies on horseback who came riding through with their swords and their big tough talk, making slaves of men. And yet there was this seed of hope, given to a child and spread through multitudes town after town. “Stuff’s gettin’ better. Stuff’s gettin’ better every day.” “It is? Wow!” That hope is a seed of life, a seed of courage, a seed of power, a seed of potential that allows us to become who we CAN become.
So Jesus, by His Spirit, and also those Living by His Spirit, give out hope like candy to the masses who live in darkness and to brothers and sisters who are confused and frustrated by their sins and weaknesses. Faith and hope...that ability to inspire courage and to bring forth the fruit of character and potential out of those who are beaten down, lifeless, and fatigued by their circumstances. Great men and great women can be mined out of the dirt—out of the grave, literally. People who would have had no hope, and people who could have done nothing, seen nothing and experienced nothing... These people can be mined out of the grave, out of the very dirt itself, with a seed of hope deposited in them to see what they can become by the grace of God. To see that if God would give His only Son, how much more all things.
Why would you doubt what He can do for you, what He can do IN you, and what He can do through you? Why would you fear anything? Paul goes on to say, nothing in heaven or earth, under the earth, the past, the present, or the future...nothing can steal my hope or can steal my dream. There is a place where Hope lives! There is a place where Dreams come true. And that is in the person of Jesus with the promises of God and the hope of the miracles of Life that exist in Him. And that the same power that rose Jesus from the dead is mightily working in you. “Christ in you, the hope of glory. The mystery revealed, hidden for ages and generations, now revealed, not only to you, but IN you, the Christ of God, the Anointed One, living IN you.”
You don’t have to be deadpan anymore, and you don’t have to be just extra and hanging around anymore. The Son of God, the Creator of the galaxy, now has made His home in you. The Potential that flung the stars into the sky, now has made His home inside of you, if you truly believe. Your potential is now limitless. Your fears are now useless. Your gifts are now boundless, endless. All that He can be is yours for the taking. If He has really come to make His home in you, you don’t just get part of Him, you get ALL of Him. Part of that is around you in the Body of Christ, Biblically speaking, and part of that is expressed and brought to the surface in you by iron sharpening iron. But all in all, as Paul was able to say, even to the weak Corinthians, “You have every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus!” Peter said, to people scattered around the world, “You have everything that pertains to life and godliness. It’s all here.”
There is a Hope that comes from really understanding all that He has done and all that He wants to do, and the nature of the miracle of Christ in you, the Hope of Glory...Christ in you, plural, and Christ in you individually, the Hope of Glory. And that hope turns cowards, and weak and confused men and women, into heroes. That hope turns them into people who can Live, and who can sow the seed of the Word of God, and can convert the babies by bringing many sons into glory in their home, with their own children, with their neighbors, and with their co-workers. The aroma, the scent of Jesus passing by, can happen in your workplace if you have faith and if the seed of hope is alive within you. It will be contagious! Always be ready to give a reason for the HOPE that lies within you. The glory of God and the future and the hope and the optimism and the strength and the gifts and all that is in Christ Jesus—everything that pertains to life and godliness—dwells mightily in you... just as it brought a dead body, in the grave for three days, back from the dead into resurrection life, shining like the stars in the universe. That’s the Hope.
“And the greatest of these,” Paul said, in this place where dreams come true in Jesus personified in faith, in hope, in love, “the greatest of these is love.” The nature of God is that it’s a day-by-day, situation-by-situation thing. The reason why the greatest of these is love is because you can have all sorts of lofty thoughts about everything, but until you are offended by someone and go back to them on your knees and kiss their hand, you really won’t experience the other things in great measure. Until you are able to apologize...until you are able to make things right...until you are willing to sacrifice for people who don’t seem to be grateful...until you are willing to get out of your own shell and do things you wouldn’t have done (whether it is in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the assembly of believers)...until you are willing to lay yourself out there and be at ease with situations that involve other people...until you are willing to get out of yourself and risk for Jesus in whatever form that may be and in whatever cases of personal offense and personal sacrifice—the other things will just be lofty ideas and concepts to you.
The greatest of these is Love because it is so very practical, and it puts “feet” on the other things. They become Real! They are no longer just religion or pie-in-the-sky ideas, but they affect the people around you because Love is a visible, expressed entity. “The greatest of these is Love.” That’s the place that Paul described as the place where dreams come true. The place where Hope is, the place where Life is. The place where you don’t have to be alone anymore. The place where you don’t have to be just a generic black-and-white face: “I am a Christian, I am dying and going to heaven some day.” You don’t have to be there anymore. You don’t have to just be a “survivor” anymore. No one can take this away from you, no one can rob you of this, and no one can steal your crown—unless you LET them! You can be the “fullness of Christ” as Paul promised in the Scriptures, as a corporate entity AND as an individual in the sense that you can live in the fullness of Hope, Faith, Love, and no one can ever steal that from you.
No matter what your situation is, whether you are in Corrie ten Boom’s Nazi concentration camp, or in heartbreaking family situations, or in cities scattered around the world—no one can ever take away the place where Dreams come true. Because THAT is found in the person of Jesus in Faith, and in Hope and in Love. And that place belongs to YOU, if you will take it and live in it. Don’t let anyone steal your crown. That place BELONGS to you. You can LIVE in it. You don’t have to be weak anymore! You don’t have to be a victim, and you don’t have to be alone...you don’t have to be any of that stuff! The qualities of Jesus, the Person of Jesus, can well up within you as rivers of living water, for all who truly believe, and water the barren desert that surrounds you in your workplace or neighborhoods or wherever it may be. That’s the Hope. That’s the high calling. Shining like stars in the universe. That’s God’s intention for us. Individually and corporately. The place where dreams come true. There is a place where dreams come true, and maybe God just sows that seed in all of us somehow, someway, so that we can find that place in Jesus and so we can find the expression of it that God speaks of.