Dreams

Notes below based on sermon preached at One Church Home on August 7, 2022

In Genesis 37:5-7, when 17-year-old Joseph dreamed that his brothers’ sheaves of grain would gather around his sheaf and bow down to it, he could not have conceived the difficult path he would follow over the next 13 years to bring the dream to fulfillment. Nor could he have begun to understand its far greater significance to a dream much more significant than his own.

This was a dream that had its origin before the world ever began. It was God’s dream, His perfect plan to make for Himself a people, a family, His sons and daughters; to be their God, for them to be His people; and to dwell with them forever. 

Ezekiel 37:27
My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.

We read in last week’s blog that God instructed Abram to “Go” and that in the going:

Genesis 12:2-3
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
3 …and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

In Genesis 15:4, God made it clear that Abram’s “very own son” would be his heir.

The Lord fulfilled His promise of a son in Isaac, the father of Jacob, the father of 12 sons, including Joseph. They would become the 12 tribes of Israel, “a great nation” (Genesis 12:2), God’s chosen people. But first, they had to endure a worldwide famine. 

The fulfillment of Joseph’s dream was about God’s providence and sovereignty in Joseph’s life, but it was also so much more. It was about God’s sovereignty in fulfilling His covenant promise to make for himself a family and to do that through Abraham’s seed.

Throughout the book of Genesis, we see persistent patterns of threats to God’s covenant plan and His covenant people. One of those is famine. Following the curse of the ground after the fall, famine intermittently threatened to destroy the entire covenant line of God’s chosen people, with famines recorded in Abraham’s generation (Genesis 12:10), again with Isaac (Genesis 26:1), and later with Jacob and his sons (Genesis 47:13-26). 

But each time, God provided for His people. 

This time using a dream given to Pharaoh and interpreted by Joseph, God gave Joseph the opportunity, the wisdom, and the favor to serve as second in command of all of Egypt, storing up grain for seven years in anticipation of the famine before it came. 

As God provided food for Joseph’s family, He was providing for His family, His covenant people, Israel, continuing faithfully to walk out His promises and His plan. By providing grain during a severe famine—first for Egypt (Gen. 41:56), then for all the earth (Gen. 41:57)—all the nations were blessed as God had promised, although far greater spiritual blessings were yet to come.

It was also in Egypt that God began to fulfill his promise to multiply Abraham’s seed. After Joseph settled his family in Goshen, the family of Abraham was “exceedingly fruitful.” They “multiplied greatly”—from 70 people when Jacob and his sons and their families had moved to Egypt to more than 2 million people as Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt in the great exodus. 

God is still at work in the lives of His people—no longer just the nation of Israel, but now a worldwide Church. And He still gives us dreams and works through those dreams to fulfill His dream, His plan to make for Himself a family.

One Church Home is one of those dreams. Yes, we have a dream to build a building. But the dream is so much bigger than a building. We are building a church.

It looks like one, sounds like church, and feels like home.

One Church Home is our vision, our calling, our heritage. So it’s essential that we fully understand what each word means.

One is our vision. 

It’s who we want to be and become. We want to be one—united with Christ and united with one another as the body of Christ. When we are united, we are joined together, made one, in agreement about the things of God.

I John 5:7 (NKJV) declares:
For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word [Jesus], and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one.

This doctrine is one of the most fundamental yet challenging to understand and explain within the Christian faith. 

Our God is a triune being—three distinct and equal persons, each entirely and uniquely God. All three persons of the godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—have always existed in perfect relationship, love, and unity with one another as one God. And we were created out of the overflow of that love. 

In the very first verse of Genesis, the Bible tells us, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” This Hebrew word for “God” is Elohim—one of the most common names for God in the Old Testament

The basic meaning of the name Elohim is a god of greatness and strength or power. Elohim is the infinite, all-powerful God who shows by His works that He is the world’s creator, sustainer, and supreme judge.

Elohim is grammatically plural rather than singular (the “-im” suffix in Hebrew makes the word plural; the singular would be “Eloah“). We find the plural Elohim more than 2,500 times in the Bible. And yet Deuteronomy 6:4 makes clear that The Lord God is one.

If we look closely, we see that each of the persons of the Trinity was indeed present at the creation. God the Spirit was hovering over the water as God the Father spoke the world into existence through the Word—Jesus.

We read in the first chapter of the gospel of John that Jesus (the Word) “was” in the beginning—He already existed, that He was God and was with God in the beginning. John 1:3 tells us that through him, all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made.

So Elohim—God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in all His fullness, strength, and power, created the heavens and the earth.

And then, after Elohim’s good work, creating and filling the earth, comes my favorite part of the first chapter of Genesis, as a different name for God is introduced: Yahweh—the LORD. This is God in relationship, God in covenant

It is the same one God, but He reveals a different aspect of who He is and why He made us. Still, even as He shifts His name to Yahweh, He refers to himself as “we” (plural) when He says in verse 26, “Let us make mankind in our image.”

We were created, male and female, by our triune God and in the image of our triune God. And as He exists as three persons in perfect unity and love, we as His image bearers are made to reflect His love and walk in unity with Him and one another. 

In the 17th chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus prayed:

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unityThen the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

When we, through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, live as one with God and with one another, we reflect the love of the three persons of the Trinity for one another and for us, and we become a living gospel to a hurting world.

Church is our calling.

The church is not a building or place; it is a people. J. H. Newman says the church is “the whole body gathered together from all ages.” The church transcends time and space, being gathered over centuries from across the earth He created. 

According to the Greek word for church, “Ekklesia,” we are the “called out ones.” 

Called out of what

In John 15:19 NKJV, Jesus said:

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Even while we live in this world, we are chosen by God and called to live apart from worldly values, beliefs, and actions. We are to live “set apart.” That doesn’t mean isolated. It means different…as Jesus was different. 

We are not just called from; we are called to.

Called to whatWe are the people He has called to Himself—to belong to Him, know Him, follow Him, love and serve Him and others in His name for His glory.

Our first calling is to relationship—to love God and one another. In Matthew 22, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

In Isaiah 43:1, the Lord who created you and formed you says: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”

If people can’t tell by how we live and especially by the way we love that we are Christians, that we belong to God, we may be coming to church, but we aren’t living as the Ekklesia, the called out ones, the church.

Home is our heritage.

What is home? It’s not just the place where we live. We wouldn’t call it home if we were to stay at a hotel. For that is a temporary place to rest one’s head.

Home has some permanence, as it’s always there for us to return when needed. It’s where we are loved and accepted, where we belong, and where we are part of a family. 

In addition to being a noun, home can also be a verb. While English is a noun-based language, Hebrew is a verb-based language.

So, by instinct, geese “home” back to their nesting grounds each spring after flying south each winter. They return again and again to the same place.

“Homing” can also be aiming toward something like a target, with great accuracy, like a heat-seeking missile. Once released, the missile will home toward its target, not stopping until it is either destroyed or reaches its destination.

So, here’s a question for us: are we “homing” toward heaven? Are we singularly focused on what Paul calls the upward call of God in Christ Jesus? Yes, our salvation, but also our sanctification—the process of being freed from sin, becoming more holy; and our transformation—becoming more like Christ…from glory to ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord

Here’s the best part, we don’t have to wait to get to heaven to find home

As a church, our heritage is home. When covid forced us out of the middle school, we continued to be the church, to gather just as the early New Testament Church did in homes. 

But it goes far deeper than that. Yes, someday we will dwell with Him in heaven, but until then, He dwells in us here.

Psalm 90, verse 1 says 
Lord, you have been our dwelling place [our home] throughout all generations.

Not only will you be, but you have been and are right now. God loves us so much that he sent His Son to dwell with us and to die for us. And then He sent His Spirit to dwell in us until we can dwell with Him forever. When you belong to God and are one with Him, He makes his home with you and in you. He is your home.

We are all part of the dream of one church home. And if God gives us a dream, we can trust Him to bring it to pass in His way, through His resources, and in His perfect timing. 

As He does, we must be careful that we don’t miss it because it doesn’t look like we expected. We shouldn’t be looking for a building. God’s church is not a building. We’ll find the dream when we follow after His presence, step into His vision and calling on our lives, and live fully into the heritage of one church home.

Note: all scripture references are from the New International Version. (2011) BibleGateway.com

Questions for reflection or discussion: 

How does Joseph’s story speak to you about the character of God?

Has God given you a dream? Write it down or share it with your discussion group. 

Can you see how He is working to make your dream a reality? Write them down to create altars of remembrance of His faithfulness in your heart. 

Who has been a dream encourager in your life? What impact has that had on you? In whose life have you been a dream encourager?

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how your dream relates to God’s larger dream, His plan to make a family and to dwell with us. 

Are you willing to submit your vision of your dream for God’s perfect fulfillment of the dream, even if it looks much different than you expected?

As the “Ekklesia,” which do you find more challenging: living as the ones called from or called to? Have you asked the Holy Spirit to help you love God and love people more?

 

615-266-6122 / hello@onechurchhome.com

Church Mailing Address:
PO Box 717
Fairview, TN 37062