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We often dream of living the impossible
dream; our world encourages us to follow that dream. We dream of
living an earthshaking life of riches, glamour and prestige. Many spend
their lives chasing the impossible dream. We are convinced we deserve
it. Yet, the masses know the dream will never materialize for them. I am
beginning to wonder if that is why thereís so much anger in our world.
We are chasing the impossible dream and grow angry as it eludes us. We
see kids killing kids, road rage, and all sorts of violence.
We dream of the impossible dream because
God designed each of us to live His impossible dream. The Bible outlines
Godís impossible dream and tells how to work with God realizing it is
within Godís reach for our each of us. This is the message of salvation.
The Bible is written to encourage us to
obey Godís call to his impossible life. It is humanly impossible
to accomplish, but God makes it possible for all. God had an
earthshaking dream for Abraham. He appeared to him saying ďthrough you
all the families of the earth will be blessed.Ē God
promised Abrahamís descendants the land of Canaan for an inheritance,
now that was an earthshaking vision. The worldís order would certainly
have to be shaken to its foundations for Abrahamís descendants to
God promised Abraham a son, but he let
Abraham and Sarah wrestle with the idea of having a son until they knew
it was physically impossible for Sarah to conceive. Godís dream
for their lives seemed so impossible they began to laugh at Godís
God called Moses from leading sheep to
leading his people out of Egypt. Moses responded, ďWho am I Lord
that you should send me?Ē How could a man who had spent forty years
herding sheep be called to do the impossible? Moses not only ask, who am
I, he also ask God, who shall I say is sending me. It was a diplomatic
way to ask God, who are you? God didnít blush. He simply did what He
always does; he revealed his power to do the impossible.
God Is Lord of the Impossible
Salvation begins with Godís impossible
plan. The New Testament opens introducing us to Godís impossible
plan as the angel speaks to Mary. She is told she will have a child.
Mary questions the angel.
34 "How will
this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35 The angel
answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most
High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the
Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in
her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37
For nothing is impossible with God." NIV
Jesus continually brought his disciples
face to face with their impossibilities. In fact, Jesusí
ministry led them to face an endless series of impossible tasks. They
were challenged with the storm at sea, to walk on water, to feed the
five thousand with five barley loaves and two small fish, with those
they could not heal. They were challenged to stand when the only thing
could do was flee. They often returned to Jesus defeated. He
introduced them to the God of the impossible.
A simple reading of the Sermon on the
Mount brings us face to face with Godís impossible dream for our world.
Loving our neighbors as ourselves, praying Godís blessing on our
enemies, turning the other cheek, going the second mile with those who
abuse us, on and on the impossibilities go. Be holy as God is holy.
Reading through the Sermon on the Mount brings me face to face with the
reality of the first statement Matthew records in Jesusí sermon:
ďBlessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Ē I
cannot read through Jesusí sermon without being overwhelmed with how
poor in spirit I am. God desires to bless me with the impossible life
because spiritually I am to poor to attain it on my own.
This sinful world reminds us it is
impossible to live above sin. Paul experienced the impossibility
of living above sin. He couldnít do what he knew to do. It made him
dependent upon the life giving Spirit of God to impart to him what he
could not attain.
11 And if the
Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who
raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies
through his Spirit, who lives in you. NIV
The Holy Spirit is the invisible active
presence of God in our hearts working to resurrect us from a dead life.
He seeks to release us from the prison of sin to resurrect us to Godís
Sometimes God places us in impossible
circumstances to bring us to realize our need of his resurrection power.
Paul not only experienced the impossibility of living above sin
through human effort, he also experienced the impossibility of carrying
out the work God called him to do as an apostle.
8 We do not
want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in
the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our
ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our
hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we
might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10
He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On
him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you
help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for
the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. NIV
The apostles were forced to endure far
beyond their ability to endure to bring them to trust God, who raises
the dead. Dependence upon our fleshly efforts will certainly
make Godís plan impossible. Paul could do all things as Christ worked
through him. He was totally dependent upon Jesusí power working through
him. He was looking to Christís power to make it all possible.
God led his prophets and apostles to extreme measures to bring them to
humbly depend upon his power.
It wasnít always
easy to surrender to Godís impossible plan. We find Esther laying her
life on the line in the direst of circumstances, Daniel struggling in
prayer for wisdom in
enchained and living in a pit; Hosea, married to a prostitute; Elijah,
fleeing from wicked Jezebel; Ezekiel, living in exile. The apostle John
was suffering patiently in exile on the isle of Patmos. God revealed his
impossible vision to John. It is recorded in the book of Revelation for
all to dream it. They all discovered the key to the impossible
lifeósurrender to Godís will and experience His power.
Surrendering our wills to Godís will is the
only hope of experiencing Godís resurrection power in this life.
Paul sought to
surrender his life to the resurrection power of God.
10 I want to
know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of
sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so,
somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. NIV
Surrender begins with desiring to share in
Christís suffering to discover Godís impossible vision for our lives.
Jesus asks a man
who had been an invalid for thirty eight years, ďDo you want to get
well?Ē This is Godís question for each of us; we will never begin to
obey God without desire.
Ten lepers came to Jesus desiring to be healed.
They experienced the impossible the moment they began to obey Jesus.
ďWith this in
mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of
his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good
purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faithĒ (NIV).
We need to see the important part of
this verse? It says Godís power
fulfills ďevery good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your
faith.Ē When our faith, regardless how small, prompts us
to act upon Godís will, Godís begins his powerful work in us as he
empowers us to do more. God raised Jesus from the dead and
glorified him so our faith and hope would be in God.
Surrender is possible when our faith and
hope rest in the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead. The
resurrection power of God is the very hope of our callingóit is our only
hope. Paul prayed for us to be enlightened concerning
Godís resurrection power exerted in our lives.
18 I pray also
that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you
may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious
inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us
who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20
which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and
seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all
rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be
given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And
God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over
everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who
fills everything in every way.
When Jesus died on the cross the
disciples went back to fishing. They returned to their impossible
world. They saw no hope of realizing what they had dreamed while
he was alive. But after the resurrection they placed their faith
in the Lord of the impossible. They turned the world upside down as they
began acting upon their faith to accomplish the impossible. This is the
message of the resurrection. When Jesus arose from the dead his
disciples began living in the hope of Godís impossible dream (1 Peter
20 He was
chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last
times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised
him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in
Previously the discipleís faith and hope
were in human potential, but their faith and hope died with Jesus on the
cross. Through his resurrection they were born anew to a living
hope (1 Peter 1:1-5). It is amazing Jesus appeared to them on the sea
shore after his resurrection performing the same miracle he performed
when he first call them. When he initially called them they had fished
all night and caught nothing. Jesus told them to cast their nets out
again. They caught so many fish the boats began to sink as they hauled
the fish in. After Jesus died Peter said, ďLet go fishing.Ē They went
back to fishing after Jesusí death. Again Jesus met them after they had
fished all night and caught nothing. At his command they cast their nets
and caught another load of fish. Jesus knew they needed to understand
Godís power was with them as Jesus called them to be fishers of lost
Sin makes life impossible without God.
Eveís single sin imprisoned this world to the impossible
consequences of sin. Spiritual death passed upon all because of that one
sin. All the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament could not remove the
consequence and guilt of sin.
10:1 The law
is only a shadow of the good things that are coming ó not the realities
themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices
repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to
worship. 2 If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For
the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no
longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are
an annual reminder of sins, 4 because it is impossible for the blood of
bulls and goats to take away sins. NIV
All our human efforts to remove our sin
only increase our awareness of our sin.
We were dead in trespasses and sins because we
walked according to the directions of this world (Ephesians 2:1).
Nothing more restrictive than death; it leaves us powerless without the
resurrection power of God. The same is true with spiritual death.
19 Now we know
that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so
that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to
God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by
observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of
Human efforts for salvation only make us
more conscious of the guilt of sin. Yet, do you know how most
Christians endeavor to live? We try to work it out on our own strength
only allowing God to help when we run into trouble. It will not work.
Peter followed Christ full of
self-confidence, self-power, self-will, self-determination, but he
denied the Lord. He denied him because he was living in denial
of his need of Godís power to do the impossible. How many times have we
done the same? Christ called Peter Satan and told him to get behind him.
Satan is certainly the author of these thoughts.
God glorifies his people when we allow
him to be the Lord of our impossibilities. ďJesus replied, ĎIf I
glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as
your God, is the one who glorifies meíĒ (John 8:54 NIV).
A young man came to Jesus thinking Godís
impossible dream for his life was within his feeble human grasp.
He had kept all the commandments, and Jesus told him to go and sell all
he had and give to the poor.
23 When he
heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24
Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the
kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the
eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
26 Those who
heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?"
replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." NIV
The Old Testament impresses upon us
salvation from sin is humanly impossible. That is something this
young man wasnít willing to accept. It was the impossibility that made
his disciples hopelessly ask, ďWho then can be saved?Ē
Standing under the wings of Godís
holiness makes us acutely aware of our extreme sinfulness. We
should expect our awareness of our personal sin to increase as we draw
near to God. An increased awareness is a sign we are drawing near to
God. This often discourages Christians. We become aware of just how
impossible it is to come to God without his help. Instead of fleeing in
despair, we must become totally dependent upon Godís provision to make
us holy. The blessing is that Christís sacrifice makes it possible for
us to live under the shadow of Godís holy wings.
In surrendering my life to die with
Christ and be buried with him in baptism I place my faith in God to make
11 In him you
were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with
a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done
by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him
through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
In baptism my faith is not in what I am
doing, my faith is in the operation of God that takes place at baptism.
My faith is in the resurrection power of God when I obey rather than any
personal merit. When I obey Christís command to be baptized, God acts on
my behalf to remove my sin because of the sacrifice of his Son. It is
his work that saves me.
13 When you
were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature,
God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was
against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to
the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he
made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
The sacrifice of Christ disarmed those
heavenly demons seeking to imprison us in an unholy impossible world.
Christ has set the captives in sin free. The demons no longer have the
power to hold us. Paul and Silas were in jail at midnight in Philippi.
God shook the earth and set them free. In Christ God has shaken heaven
and earth to set us free. He has triumphed over those seeking to hold us
We must put no confidence in our human
efforts. We must surrender to the power of Almighty God for His
deliverance. It all begins with our willingness to repent of our sins
and to meet Christ in his death in baptism.
The world seeks to convince us the
fountain of life, happiness and strength lies within our own hearts.
Yet, we were never created to live independent of God. We were created
for God will to live through us. This makes the impossible a reality for
each of us. The joy of salvation is that we receive the life of God
moment by moment as we surrender to his impossible plan.
When Adam and Eve sinned there was never
the slightest hope of recovery without the power of God. The
good news is that Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation
(Romans 1:16). God invites you to be resurrected with Christ
today? He wants you bless you with his impossible incomparable
plans for your life?
Testament outlines the things we must do to accept Godís gift of
salvation. Yet, God makes
it perfectly clear our salvation lies outside the sphere of what is
humanly possible. Paul instructs us to work our own salvation, but he
reminds us in the same breath that it is God who is at work in us to
accomplish his will (Philippians 2:12-13). These thoughts are presented
in a single verse of the Bible, yet we often quote them independently of
each other. We never see their connection. We must never forget that we
are working with the God of the impossible. We work with God as he is
working in us. Our working makes us totally dependent upon God, we
cannot boast about what we have done (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Christís sacrifice for our sins sounds
repulsive to a modern world. What could be more repulsive than a
human sacrifice to set us free from our sin? Yet, we are quick to make
human sacrifices when we decide to go to war to fight for our earthly
freedom. There are people laying their lives on the line every moment of
the day for your freedom to live in safety. Yet, God chose that the
whole world be set free through the death of one manóJesus Christ. Jesus
was God; therefore it was the One who created us that purchased the
impossible life for each of us. Not as repulsive as it might sound.
It should be no great surprise that
Christ also asks us to surrender our lives to follow him. We
must lay down our lives to set ourselves and others free from the
impossible prison of sin.
3 Or don't you
know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized
into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into
death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the
glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. NIV
Bible Study Questions
Why would you want to chase an
Why does God call us to do the
Discuss Godís impossible dream for
Abram and Sarah, and Moses? Can you think of others God called to do the
What is the first thing we must do to
begin to realize Godís impossible plan for our lives?
What part did the resurrection play in
first century discipleís faith and circumstances? (2 Corinthians 1:8-11)
What part does desire play in following
What is the best thing to do when we
When did the ten lepers who came to
Jesus begin to be healed? (Luke 17:11-14)
What is the message of 2 Thessalonians
10. What makes faith and hope in Godís
11. What does Paul pray that we would be
enlightened about? (Ephesians 1:18-23)
12. What happens when we seek God solely
through human strength?
What is your reaction to the fact that
it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God than it is for a
camel to go through the eye of a needle? What was the disciples
14. Why does Christís sacrifice sound
repulsive to our modern world?
15. What does Christ call us to do follow