Mission Harvest © 2011 William J. Brannan
Only people with a dream or a vision are able to accomplish amazing things in life. When our dreams and visions die, we become slaves to hopelessness and despair. The Pulpit Commentary says something profound about the impact of despair:
“Despair unfits alike for human and Divine service. Men are moved to duty by the hope of good or by the fear of evil. These motives cannot avail one who does not believe that his state can be either bettered or worsened. The man becomes careless of his happiness, indifferent to salvation. The biblical medicine for despair is the firm insistence on the message of salvation. God is coming—is on the way, to requite, to redeem, to deliver.”
Dreams and visions cause life to be filled with faith and hope; they cause us to look to the future with expectation and look to the present with thanksgiving. When people lose their dreams life becomes dead. The good news is that dreams and visions are a natural result of receiving the Holy Spirit; it causes people to become visionaries. Listen to how Peter explains the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost:
“But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:16–17, NKJV)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a revolutionary experience. It was baptism of the Spirit in the upper room that caused the same disciples who denied Jesus before His crucifixion to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, often at the peril of their very lives; it empowered them to look out into the world and into the future with expectant hope that things can be changed; it gave them a dream of the kingdom of God impacting the world in which they lived.
One of the problems today is that many people have been robbed of their dreams of a better world and a better future. People without the Holy Spirit often expect that the future holds nothing but trouble. Such expectation places faith in fear and believes that everything is destined to get worse and worse until Jesus comes and bails us out. Instead, Jesus described the kingdom of God this way:
“And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”” (Luke 13:20–21, NKJV)
And when describing the destiny of the church he said:
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18, ESV)
In Biblical thought, gates are the seat of government, because that is where the judges and elders sit and govern. This means that the church will overthrow wickedness in the Earth. The point is that Scriptures are filled with a vision of the triumph of the kingdom of God for today, not only tomorrow. It all began when Jesus died for our sins and rose again. It began small, like a mustard seed, but has been growing, and its destiny is to fill the whole Earth. This is a vision of hope. It proclaims liberty in the face of evil. It is good news for today.
People today are often scared when they hear someone use such language because they do not have a vision of what the kingdom of God is. If they did, they would rejoice. The gospel truly is good news for the poor and a proclamation of liberty to captives. It doesn’t rob people of life; instead, it causes people to truly live.
It was such kingdom dreaming that inspired great missionaries like William Carey to believe that the same God who raised the Brittons out of barbarism could do the same for India. Yet the power of God goes far beyond influencing barbaric cultures, it also can take any culture and move it forward into reflecting heaven on Earth. It can liberate, heal and bless any society. The same Holy Spirit that inspired the great missionary movement of old can cause us to dream of overcoming corruption and distress in nations today. That dream begins when someone gets filled with the Holy Spirit. Such people have the courage to dream because they have come to personally experience the incredible power of God which is available to men through the Holy Spirit, and have become convinced that God can do the same thing for others.
The power of the Holy Spirit not only inspires Dreams, but also causes those dreams to become reality. The Holy Spirit empowers people to impact the world with mighty acts of love. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that healing and transformation can be brought to the world, but it will only happen through those who dare to dream Holy Spirit inspired dreams.
1. The Pulpit Commentary: Isaiah Vol. I. 2004 (H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.) (571). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.