More than a dream
The words ‘I have a dream’ were made famous by American civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King, in a speech in Washington DC in 1963. He ended the speech with the words: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’ By any measure this was a stirring speech (you will find it in many volumes of ‘best speeches’).
It is not my purpose to comment on the merit or meaning of that speech. But the words, ‘I have a dream’ and ‘Free at last!’ resonate down the years. And for sure they have an application or challenge for the Christian and the Christian Church.
The Bible says that ‘where there is no vision the people perish’ and continues, ‘but happy is he who keeps the law’ (Proverbs 29:18). The reference is, of course, to the law of God. Christians have the privilege, not just of dreaming, but of seeing and faithfully participating in the outworking of God’s sovereign purposes.
This presents a challenge to any company of professing Christians – a challenge timely for the early months of a New Year. What is our vision for the Church and its work? What is your earnest desire for the cause? What should it be?
Let me suggest a few things that should be part of our vision and desire in these difficult days.
*That God should come in power and revive true Christian faith in our churches throughout this land;
*That the preaching of the Word might, by the Lord’s sovereign blessing, be used to save souls;
*That many people might be reached for Jesus Christ – so that we shall see the attendances at public worship multiply and many professing faith in Christ;
*That prayer meetings might flourish, with every member making a conscious effort to be present;
*That the lives of professing Christians would show forth Christ in exemplary spiritual and moral strength;
*That our nation would once again come to respect the Lord, his Word and his day;
*That the Lord Jesus should come again and that those who profess him should long for his coming to judge the world in righteousness.
As far as ‘freedom’ is concerned, the most important freedom anyone can possess is the freedom that comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ – freedom from the guilt, power and consequences of sin. Such freedom is not achieved by marches or speeches. It is achieved through the experience of God’s grace, through a transformation of a person’s life by the Holy Spirit within.
We need a recovery of such spiritual religion – of a Christianity that is strong and robust and confident in the sovereign Lord. Only through his work is real freedom possible for men and women – not necessarily from the oppression of false religions or hostile secular governments, but freedom from the dire consequences of sin and a lost eternity.
To have that freedom, a soul must be saved. That is the greatest desire any could have for their own or others’ lives. Indeed, apart from that there can only be a ‘fearful expectation of judgement’ (Hebrews 10:27).
May Christ come in his saving power among us, and in all the churches, this year. May the Lord bless you all, and all your families, in 2008.
John W. Keddie