When you lose the ability to dream about a better tomorrow, you just ruined your today because you lose hope. Dr. Tony Evans says hope is more than just a wish. It's a God-given guarantee.
You're not a loser. You are more than a conqueror because God has a dream of a glorious future for you. This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. A dream can be powerful enough to set a whole new direction for our lives if we don't allow discouragement to crush it. Today, Dr. Evans takes a look at the amazing difference it makes when we dream God's dreams and start seeing them come true.
Let's join him. It was on August 28, 1963 that the greatest speech of the 20th century was given by a king, Martin Luther King. And what was great about the speech was not only the eloquence of the spokesperson, his ability to craft words in an impactful yet concise way, but what made it what is arguably the greatest public speech of that century. What at the core of it was a speech about a dream. It was a dream about a different kind of America.
It was a dream about a place where the content of one's character would be more important than the color of one's skin. The thing I remember most was how he took the vision that he had expressed for America and then stepped it up and said that his eyes had seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. Now, once he did that, he moved it from a social speech to a spiritual speech.
What he sought to do, unapologetically, was root the dream, the vision, into the program and purposes of God. What Dr. King said was, I see something. I see the coming of the Lord, that is, his glory, his plan, his program, so I'm dreaming now based on something I see. There's nothing like seeing the future and adjusting the present in light of it.
There's nothing like peering out to tomorrow and then beginning to implement it today because you see it. Woe is the individual, is the person who doesn't see anything. Because when you don't see anything, you lose hope. When you lose the ability to dream about a better tomorrow, you just ruined your today because you lose hope. On that occasion, in 1963, one king down here saw another king up there in an attempt to root a vision for a better country, in this case, racially speaking, to the plans and programs of God. So when Coretta Scott King passed and that moved to the forefront of my mind and since it involved a dream, my mind went to Revelation chapter 5 because in Revelation chapter 5, we get to peer into the future. And if your eyes and my eyes can see the glory of the coming of the Lord, then perhaps it will affect a better today while we look forward to and await the awesome tomorrow that God has in store for us. While the book of Revelation speaks about the future and the glorious culmination of history as it bleeds into eternity, it also functions as a mirror for how we are to function now in light of the glorious tomorrow that we await.
He says in the two verses I want to focus on, And they sang a new song, verse 9 says, saying, Worthy are you to take the book and to break its seal, for you were slain and purchased for God with your blood, men from every tribe, every tongue, and people and nation. And you have made them to be a kingdom and priest to our God, and they will reign upon the earth. Now, God says that this is the glorious tomorrow to which we are headed. We are headed toward a day when the recognition of the rulership of Jesus Christ will be worldwide, and where his people will sing his praises and serve alongside of him in the ruling of this planet. This vision of a better tomorrow is supposed to be being mirrored today through his unique group of people, Christians, those who make up the Church of Jesus Christ.
The first thing he did was announce a celebration. He says they sang a new song. This is a context of worship, of celebration, of praise, but we're told that it was a new song. A new song comes when your world is falling apart and every day looks dark and God breaks through and removes the clouds, makes the sunshine again, reverses the situation, and you break out in a song. It's a new song because you've seen a brand new intervention of God into your circumstances. The Bible says when Israel crossed the Red Sea, they sang a new song.
Why? Because God had done a new thing. One of the things I'm looking forward to happening in so many lives this year, all year long, is a whole bunch of singing of a new song. A new song that comes out of a victory that God has brought to bear in your world and in your life. No reason that everybody sometime this year ought to be singing a new song. You say, but I can't sing.
No, you'll understand. When you've been delivered, you can sing. So while we have to wait to see the full expression of the earth wide vision of the rule of God through Jesus Christ, what you and I get to do now in principle is still sing a new song because since he is worthy and since he in you, then you get to act on his behalf in history to see some of your dreams come true.
One of our problems, why we don't get to sing a new song as much as we ought to sing a new song, is that we don't understand what it means to be paid for, to be owned by another. Jesus Christ is declaring that his blood owns you. And if you would just let him own you, that is, dominate your will, dominate your purposes, dominate your plans.
If you would just let him own you, you would see how good he could take care of you. God's dream, if you will, is that Jesus Christ be everything. In fact, let me read to you Ephesians chapter one, reads like this. With a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth. In him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose who works all things after the counsel of his will. He says in verse 10 that God's goal is the summing up of all things in Christ. That's God's dream. So if that's God's dream, if you want to see the coming of the Lord, that's got to be your dream too. That is, your life's dream must be to bring all aspects of my being under the authority of Jesus Christ. Without that dream, you can't see the coming of the Lord because that's God's dream. And he gives us a picture of it happening in heaven. This picture of heaven that's supposed to be mirrored on earth, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, involves every tribe, every tongue, every people, and every nation.
In other words, it's a worldwide dream. He says that God's dream is that people from every race, every background, every orientation in terms of nationality are going to be represented around God's throne. What's going to give him their commonality? The blood. He says the one thing that will make them all alike is that they were purchased with the same blood. That's why Jesus says, if I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me.
Why? Because the one price tag, the common currency that brings us into a relationship with God is the blood. No matter where you go around the world, there will be Christian congregations relating to God and one another because of the blood.
The Bible says that the blood of Jesus Christ, Ephesians 2, has erased the Mason-Dixon line. It has erased the barriers between not only God and man, but between men and one another. Where is our problem then, going back to Martin Luther King's dream?
Why has it been so difficult? Well, the reason why it's difficult in the world is because the church hadn't got it right yet. Because remember, the church is supposed to mirror the kingdom of heaven. He says, notice the first line of verse 10, you have been made to be a kingdom of priests to our God.
And we talk about this kingdom agenda thing, the rule of God. The problem today is that the priests are missing. Now the Bible says every Christian is a priest. That is, every Christian has access to God for the purposes of worship and service. Every Christian has access to God in worship and service.
The problem is that instead of being priests to God, we're working at being acceptable to man. It's like with Peter, Galatians chapter 2. Peter was eating ham sandwiches with the Gentiles. Peter's eating ham sandwiches with the Gentiles because, you know, Peter was a super Jew. So one day he got this revelation from heaven that don't call unclean what I call clean.
In other words, you judge based on me, not based on how you were raised. God then sent Peter to a Gentile house, Cornelius. He would never associate with Gentiles.
But now he ran into God and God says, we don't use that criteria anymore. So he now goes over and he is now fraternizing with the Gentiles and discovers how good they can cook. He had never had pork chops before. He had never had ham hacks before.
He certainly hadn't had chitlins before. But he discovers these Gentiles know how to eat. And in Galatians 2, he is eating with the Gentiles, the Bible says.
It says some of his boys from the hood showed up, all right? Some of the Jews showed up and saw their leader eating with the Gentiles. And it says, and they got upset, Galatians 2 says. It says Peter being intimidated by the circumcision. That is, intimidated because of what his race thought, what the Jews thought, the circumcision, the Jews. It says Peter got up from the table with the Gentiles.
It's recorded in Galatians 2, verse 11 through the end of the chapter. It says Peter pushed his chair back and got up because he didn't want to offend his race. Then he goes on to say the rest of the Jews who were with Peter, because they were getting into that pork too, the rest of the Jews who were with Peter got up too.
Why? Because the mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pew. So that when the leader is not willing to lead right, the followers can't follow right. So the rest of the Jews got up too. But then it goes one step further in Galatians 2.
It says even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. We'll be back with more on that in a moment. First though, Dr. Evans, your book, Oneness Embraced, is the perfect follow-up for what we're learning today as we talk about God's dream for unity among His people.
Tell us more about it. Well, that was really a book from the heart where I deal directly with the race issue. I confront it, I talk about the justice issues, the cultural issues, the political issues that inform it, the historical issues, and then we try to conclude with giving a practical strategy for transformation in any community based on the Word of God. So we want to not cancel out our differences, but we want to embrace our uniquenesses so that we can manifest all that God had in mind when He created, like He creates differences in every area of His creation to show the breath of His wisdom, the breath of His glory. Well, the same thing happens with race. God wants to show the breath of His creative genius when He creates the races.
If you embrace the uniqueness of your race, just use it in concert with God's purposes. Oneness Embraced explains why unity among Christians of all kinds isn't just about getting along, but getting things done in our hearts, in our churches, and in our communities. Now for a limited time, we're packaging a copy of the newly revised Oneness Embraced along with the six full-length messages in Tony's current teaching collection, Faith, Hope, Unity, a tribute to Black History Month.
They're all available to you as a thank you gift when you make a contribution to help support Tony's work here on the radio and around the world. Without your assistance, this ministry wouldn't be possible, so we want to take advantage of this opportunity to express our appreciation for you. Visit us at TonyEvans.org or call us at 1-800-800-3222 before this special limited time offer runs out.
That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, Tony, welcome back with more of today's lesson right after this. Get into the powerful themes of this book and make new discoveries about what Jesus' death accomplished, how to maintain unity at home and at church, what spiritual armor is all about. The course includes custom content from Tony not available anywhere else. Work through it at your own pace.
Collaborate with other students. Get your specific questions answered through our online forum. Connect with the Tony Evans Training Center at TonyEvans.org. It's like having a seminary on your smartphone or other device.
Start today. TonyEvans.org. Barnabas was known as the son of encouragement. He was the encourager. Barnabas was born in Cyprus. Cyprus is a Gentile colony. So he was raised with Gentiles, grew up with Gentiles, went to school with Gentiles, played ball with Gentiles, but that's how bad racism is.
It'll make a good man bad. It says Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. So can you imagine how the Gentiles felt? Sitting down there, we're good enough to eat with you till your people show up.
But now that your people show up and they don't like dealing with us, you now don't want to associate with them because you don't want to offend your people. The problem occurred, according to Galatians 2, is when Paul showed up. The Bible says Paul came in and saw what was happening. And the Bible says, and Paul condemned Peter before them all. He said, Peter, you acting a fool and you leading these folk astray. But guess what his argument was?
His argument wasn't social. His argument was, Peter, you are not acting in concert with the truth of the gospel. You are embarrassing the name of God. You are embarrassing the word of God.
You are embarrassing the truth of God. And you're supposed to be the leader of the people of God. And that's when he says, don't you know, Peter, I've been crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live, yet not I. It's Christ who lives in me, the life which I now live.
I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. In other words, Peter, you don't identify yourself anymore first by your background. You say, but this is how Peter's mama raised him. Guess what?
Peter's mama was wrong. And that's what Jesus meant in John 10 when he said, I came to bring a sword. I came to separate people when they disagree with me. If you could have a hundred pianos, but if they're all tuned to the same tuning fork, they all will be tuned in harmony. And God is only going to work when his people are tuned in. He closes this dream of the future, which we're supposed to mirror now in verse 10 when he says, and they will reign upon the earth. To name something in the Bible was to exercise authority over it. So everything he named, he controlled. That's the point of naming. He didn't just say, this is what it's going to be called. He said, this is what it's going to be called.
And I'm over it. Naming also involved a future. To name something like when a woman takes a man's name, a woman takes a man's name because of the future.
He didn't lie. They made all these promises to her and she believed it. And she thinks she's got this great future. You take a name because of the anticipation of tomorrow.
It involves the future. That's why it involves following me and me leading you because it involves me going somewhere if you take my name. So naming meant to have dominion over something and to take it somewhere. So he named all the animals and he even named Eve in order to exercise authority over it. He says, and we will reign with him. In other words, when you are connected properly to Christ, you get to have dominion over the things that God gives you the right to name. And that's authority. Dominion, reigning, ruling, being in charge.
That's authority. When you have this biblical world view that I'm a ruler. I'm a king with a small k. I'm not the king. There's only one, the king. But I am a king with a small k because I get to name things. You get to name your children because you're in authority over them.
But why are you naming them to get them ready for the future? See, you get to name things and woe is the person, the Christian in general, and most certainly the male Christian who spends his life never reigning over anything. Never ruling. Every Christian in general and every male Christian in particular has been called to rule, to speak a name over something, and to declare its future. It says that we will reign with him. We will reign with him what in the future?
Over the whole earth. Because the Bible says that we will be given assignments and we will rule the earth with him. The earth will come under our management.
The Bible says even angels will be judged by us. That's rulership. See, if you don't understand, you got a small k in front of your name because you get to rule. Then you don't act like a king. You don't act like a king because you don't think like a king.
And every Christian has been brought into this dream of ruling with Christ, of partnering with him and being alongside of him in God's philosophy of history. We all have homes, and in our homes we have what you might call house rules, the rules that govern how we operate. Now, a conflict automatically erupts when there is rebellion against house rules.
This is particular with parents and children. You automatically enter a conflict when somebody living in your house disregards the rules of your house, because it's your house. If you drink and you're coming to my house, then you need to leave Jack Daniels in its bag outside. Okay, because in my house, you know, you don't drink. If you smoke, there are no ashtrays in my house, okay?
Well, I would ask you, would you mind going outside? Just house rules, okay? But there is an automatic problem if you want your rules to work in my house, because this ain't your house. Go to your house and abide by your house rules where you live, but don't impose your rules in my house. You say, well, I don't like the way the furniture is arranged.
Hey, you didn't buy it? So you can not like it, but you have no say so about it, because it's my house. And there is automatic conflict. When you want to operate your way in my house, we going to be at odds with one another.
There are parents and children right now who are at World War III, because they want to change the rules. This is God's house, and He only functions by His rules. So when you bring your rules into His house, you got a conflict. So one of our problems today is many of us are living in conflict with God. As individuals, we're living in conflict with God. As families, we're living in conflict with God. Many churches are living in conflict with God. And most certainly, the society is living in conflict with God.
So we're constantly at war. But like I always say, like a rebellious teenager, when we need something, we still want to go to Daddy. Now, we're in conflict, but I need some tennis shoes. We're in conflict, but I need some new clothes. We're in conflict, but I need some gas in my car. We're in conflict, but I need the keys.
Why do you expect me to be happy about giving you all you ask for when you don't respect house rules? Jesus Christ is simply saying, I'm sovereign. There is a dream out there. And you're going to get the right to sing a new song, the ultimate song in the future, where you get some practice sessions today. And they're songs of victory. In spite of how bad the world is and the world is going to hell in a handbasket, you're not a loser. You are more than a conqueror, even on your bad days, because God has a dream of a glorious future for you, especially if you recognize house rules. It's His Kingdom. He's the King.
And you are there to service Him. Dr. Tony Evans talking today about how our dreams can come true when we dream with the King. Now, if you'd like to get a full-length copy of this presentation by Dr. Evans, which includes quite a bit of additional material, just ask about the title, Dreaming with the King. It also comes as a part of Tony's current six-part series, Faith, Hope, Unity, which is available on CD or digital download alongside his newly revised companion book, Oneness Embraced. For a limited time, you can get this special package with our thanks when you make a contribution to help support Tony's work. As always, details are waiting for you at TonyEvans.org or call our resource request line at 1-800-800-3222, where team members are standing by day and night to help you.
That's 1-800-800-3222. Dr. Evans believes there's a desperate need to reclaim civility in our culture, and he encourages believers to find ways we can demonstrate kindness to those we encounter each day, friends, neighbors, co-workers, even complete strangers. Your act of kindness can alter the atmosphere of our culture for good and for God. Men grow up in a series of hoods, babyhood, boyhood, manhood, but making it all the way to biblical manhood takes a different kind of growing. Be sure to join us next time as Dr. Evans explains. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
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