March 04, 2021 Joshua Reese

Shatter the Wish Dream: Part 2

Shatter the Wish Dream: Part 2

In the last post (read it here: )I shared on the glories and dangers of the wish dream for churches, writing:

"We all have wish dreams about the church we want. But in all of our wishing, and dreaming, and even praying, we cannot, allow grand visions about what our church could be, prevent us from loving what our church is. We must not allow the wish dream about the flock to prevent us from loving the flock of God that is among us.

Love the flock you have in the present. Love the flock you are becoming. And, like Jesus, love the flock we will become. "

Welcome One Another, As Christ Has Welcomed You

So what are we to do instead? 

How do we “shatter” the wish dream like Bonhoeffer said?

Paul tells in Romans 15. 

Romans is a letter written to believers who needed their wish dream shattered; who needed their ideal church community drowned so their actual church community could live. 

The church at Rome began as a Jewish church, meaning Jews who were at Pentecost and believed Peter’s words about Jesus being the Messiah, went back to Rome and started what we would call “Messianic Jewish” congregations, or more accurately, true Judaism as it was meant to be (and will be!) Then, because this is part of their task in their election to be a light to the nations,  the light from these Jews went to the gentiles and the gentiles joined the church. 

Things were messy!

The Jewish believers are adhering to the Torah, but the gentile believers weren’t so sure about circumcision and not eating bbq. But, because of their shared worship of the Messiah, they were determined to work it out. 

However, in AD 49 Emperor Claudius expelled all the Jews from Rome, Messianic and otherwise and the once Jew/Gentile church became simply a gentile church with potluck bbq every Sunday and circumcision scalpels in sight.  

But then, 5 years later, Claudius reversed the law and here come the Jews back into Rome! And with their return come the same problems, this time flipped; not, “How can gentiles worship with Jews, but how can Jews worship with gentiles?” 

Due to the ethical and theological questions this posed, Paul wrote 16 chapters to help them figure it out, and by my count, he didn’t and essentially told them, “You’re all sinners. You all need Jesus. He’s coming. Do your best in the meantime. Sincerely, Paul.”

The church in Rome had a wish dream. And that thing needed shattered. 

(Romans 15:5)

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

That’s all beautiful. But verse 7 is what this post is about. 

7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Verse 7 shatters our wish dreams. 

Verse 7 causes us to view, think about, care for, and live with our fellow members in terms of how Jesus has viewed, thought about, and cared for us.

Do you see? 

Christ welcomed you even though you hated Him. 

Christ welcomed you even though you ignored Him.

Christ welcomed you even though you’re the cause of the nails in His hands and thorns on His brow. 

This is the posture of our Lord, welcome; open arms of mercy! 

Earlier in the same letter Paul wrote:

(Romans 5:8–10)

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 

If Jesus welcomed us according to our merit or what we could do for him, he’d welcome none of us. But because He welcomes according to his tender mercy and loving kindness, He welcomes all of us who repent of our sin and trust in Him. 

And he does not sulk or sigh about us. He’s eager to love us. He’s eager to minister to us. 

So how do we shatter our wish dreams for christian community and fellowship?

We welcome one another as Christ has welcomed us. 

We forgive one another as Christ has forgiven us.

We love one another as Christ has loved us. 

We don’t just welcome the wish dream version.

We don’t just forgive the wish dream version

We don’t just love the wish dream version.

We love, welcome, and forgive, the real version, the reality right in front of us, the flock of God that is among us. 

Jesus Will Make All Your Dreams Come True

In all of that life-laying-down-cross-carrying-long-suffering-love, there exists good news.: Jesus will make all our wish dreams come true. 

Here’s what I mean. In the present moment, in what the Old Testament and New Testament attests to over and over and over, we’re in a present evil age. 

The effects of the curse of sin have not been reversed. 

However, because of the cross, the resurrection, the ascension, and the Spirit sending, It’s reversal has been guaranteed. God is indeed going to do the thing He promised to Adam and Noah, and Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob and Moses and David, and the prophets. 

And though it’s reversal has been guaranteed for the future, the present still looks like it does, with Satan prowling, creation groaning, and bodies decaying. And for believers, part of living in this present evil age means that believers are still presently susceptible to sin. 

Which means this: We sin and hurt one another. We're less than our wish-dream versions.

But the curse is not the end of the story. 

Jesus will actually make all of our wish dreams come true. He has a day in heart, burning like an oven

  • when the curse will finally be reversed, 
  • when the Lord will light Gehenna on fire with the breath of His mouth and that prowling lion and his minions are tossed into it
  • When creation is “Re-Edened”
  • When our bodies are “Re-Edened”
  • And the Lord sits on David’s throne in Jerusalem, ruling the nations in righteousness. 

In that day, our wish dreams and the Lord’s wish dreams, come true as the Lord presents the church “to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

There’s our wish dream come true. 

That day, when Jesus receives the reward of His suffering, is real. 

We won’t have wish dreams anymore because reality has taken it over as we are presented to the Son in splendor, without spot, wrinkle, or any such thing, holy, and without blemish, no wish dream necessary.