Archive for the ‘Platt Excerpts’ Category
Posted on April 13th, 2015 by Radical
Government does not exist for the establishment of religion—any religion, including Christianity. And at the same time, government does not exist for the elimination of religion, which is increasingly the trend in our culture, where we’re setting up a secular state that functionally leaves no room for religion in the public square. The government doesn’t exist to eliminate religion or to establish religion. No, the government exists for the free exercise of religion, and that language is crucial. It’s the language that’s used in our Bill of Rights, but it’s not the language that’s used in contemporary culture.
People talk today about the freedom of worship, which is subtly different. Because when people use that terminology instead of the free exercise of freedom, people are referring primarily to the freedom that men and women have to gather in a church building like this or a synagogue or a mosque or another place for corporate worship. That extends to the home, where families have the freedom to pray (or not to pray) before meals, before bed, or any other time during the day.
But all of this, whether at home or in a religious building, is private—a freedom that one has when he or she is either alone with a physical family or faith family. But what this label, “freedom of worship,” fails to acknowledge is that those who gather for worship in private settings then scatter to live out their beliefs in the public square. In other words, faith by its very nature, can’t be private. It’s inevitably public… Your faith, as free servants of God, affects the way you live. And as Christians who live and study and work and play in every sector of society, we live out our convictions in every sector of society. That’s what the free exercise of religion means—the freedom of worship not just in episodic gatherings but in everyday life.
David Platt, The Gospel and Religious Liberty, July 6, 2014
Posted on January 28th, 2015 by Radical
If you knew that the Old Testament had one overarching purpose, would it change the way you handled it?
In Secret Church 1: Survey of the Old Testament, David Platt says that it was written to reveal how God redeems His people for His kingdom. Knowing that the Old Testament has one unifying storyline affects at least three areas of our lives.
It will affect the way we understand. It is going to keep us from fragmenting it. This is what we do: we take the Old Testament, and we fragment it into all kinds of different pieces. Then we can’t put it together, get frustrated, and we move on to the New Testament. That hampers our ability to understand what God desires to teach us. We need to know the story.
The beautiful thing is that as we look at God’s work in history, we realize that the God who was working in their life is also the God that is working in our lives. We also realize that, if there is a story that is begun in the Old Testament, then that story is still continuing today. We are a part of that story. We want to apply it to our lives. We want to know it. We want to be able to apply what God is doing in all of history. If God is doing something in all of history, don’t you want to know so you can apply it to your life?
There are all kinds of worldviews, ideologies, and world religions in our culture today that are teaching things that are false and against the story of God. If we know the story and we proclaim it, then we can show its beauty and its grace and its truth amidst all the diverse and competing worldviews that are present today.
For more on this, check out Secret Church 1: Survey of the Old Testament.
Posted on January 21st, 2015 by Radical
Favoritism first disrespects man. That word “favoritism” literally means “to receive according to the face.” In other words, to respond to someone based upon external factors, external appearance – to respond to them based on that.
Now, we have been talking about favoritism when it comes to the rich and the poor, and that’s exactly what this context right here [James 2] is addressing. But I want to encourage you at this point to think through if there are any facets of your life where you are showing favoritism – discrimination based on external appearance, based on external factors – for this is sin. And there are many ways that this may look. As I was praying for this, I was reminded again of the ways of the world that are so pervasive in our lives. I was reminded of this particularly when it comes to ethnicity.
I’m not going to use the term “race” here… I think we have to be careful when we talk about different races because we begin to divide up the theological reality that we are all a part of the race from Adam. And this affects how we view ourselves… our unity in Christ, our need for Christ. But when it comes to different ethnicities, you think about it.
Imagine yourself walking into a lunchroom and there are two tables. You’re by yourself, and there are two tables. At one table, there is a small group of people with an ethnicity like you, and at the other table, there’s a small group of people with an ethnicity not like you. What immediately goes through your mind? The reality is, we are drawn, naturally, to the table that is like us. What is the thought process that leads to that? Isn’t it something like – at the speed of thoughts, it’s not like we intentionally go through these stages – but isn’t it something like, “Okay, like me, not like me; like me, therefore safe; safe, therefore comfortable; comfortable, therefore beneficial to me,” and the converse, “Not like me therefore not safe, not comfortable, not as beneficial to me.”
And the challenge before us is to ask God in Christ to radically transform our thinking so that we do not live according to the pollution of the world, that even in the way we speak we are careful not to discriminate, not to show or point out how people are different from us based on external appearance, external factors. When someone says to me, “I was talking with a Korean guy the other day…” Why did you tell me he was Korean? “I was talking with a Hispanic guy the other day…” Why did you include that? Do you say, “I was talking with a white guy the other day? I was talking with a black guy the other day?” The reality is, we are constantly thinking in terms of what separates us from others, and the body of Christ changes everything. We are all in Adam’s race, in need of Christ. And with brothers and sisters, we are all unified in Christ in a way that transforms and transcends ethnicity.
And so we must be careful here to avoid favoritism that disrespects man – that always highlights our differences – because it not only disrespects man, but, ultimately, favoritism dishonors God Himself. We’re not just breaking a law, we’re offending a lawgiver. To show favoritism is to dishonor God.
– David Platt, Faith Loves, James 1:26-2:13
Ethnic discrimination is one of the topics that will be addressed in Counter Culture, available February 3rd wherever books are sold. Visit the book website for more info: CounterCultureBook.com.
Posted on January 13th, 2015 by Radical
The key to understanding how to interpret the Old Testament is to understand why God gave us the Old Testament. This is big…
Why do you think God gave us the Old Testament? Was it for historical information? We know that is not true because He doesn’t give us all the historical facts. He doesn’t fill in all the blanks. He definitely picks and chooses parts of history to give us. The purpose is not just so we would have a good history of the people of Israel that leads up to Jesus. That is not the point.
What about for moral lessons? Did He give us the Old Testament for character studies, to teach us about how to be courageous, wise, brave, or strong? Or, did He give us the Old Testament for examples in life? Is that the purpose of the Old Testament?
The last three encapsulate what are probably the primary reasons we give that affect the way we interpret the Old Testament. This is what I mean by that:
When we go to the Old Testament, most often we look at the stories, and we use them as moral lessons, character studies, or examples for our lives. It starts when we are children growing up in Sunday school, or Bible study, or whatever it may be. We learn the story of David and Goliath, and we learn to have strength in our battles. We look at Abraham and we learn to have faith. We look at these different characters and we say, “We need to be like them. We should learn from them.” As I mentioned earlier, I am not saying that it is not good to see some of these characteristics in these people, but I am saying we need to be careful not to make a quick jump from our lives to their lives. God was doing something much broader than just giving us some character studies. These people were playing a unique role in history.
What is interesting when we study the Old Testament and begin to look at characters is that we always identify with the hero in the story. Who studies David and Goliath and says, “Now we are the people who are scared to death in the background?” No one says that. You don’t want to be that group of people. We are going to study Cain and Abel – who are you going to choose? We always see ourselves in the role of the hero. Whatever applies to them also applies to us.
We look at Moses, in Exodus 1, and see this baby that is born and is saved from the destruction that is going on around him. We automatically think that God will take care of us, and we equate ourselves with Moses instead of equating ourselves with the countless other Hebrew babies that did not make it through the destruction. What right do we have to identify with Moses and not to identify with the others?
Here we begin to see how we can begin to misinterpret the Old Testament if we don’t have an overall picture of why things unfold the way they do.
– David Platt, Secret Church 1: Survey of the Old Testament
Posted on January 8th, 2015 by Jonathan
It may seem like we’re splitting hairs to differentiate between “lost” and “unreached,” but we aren’t.
In a previous post, we discussed unreached peoples, who they are, and what it practically means to be unreached. The definition we gave for unreached was: “people groups among whom there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to engage the people group with church planting.” In describing what it would mean to be in an unreached people group (UPG), David Platt illuminates the one factor that makes a UPG different than merely being lost:
You don’t have access to the gospel. And this is key; this is why we don’t say, Well, I don’t know why we talk about unreached people around the world when there are unreached people who work at my office. Not true. Those people aren’t unreached. Why? Because they have access to the gospel. You are their access to the gospel!
The people who don’t know Christ at your office are lost. For the salvation of their souls, they must respond to the gospel with repentance and faith. But because you are in their life (and, presumably, so are other Christians), they are not unreached.
While an individual can’t be more or less lost (you either know Jesus or you don’t), an individual can have more or less access to the gospel. For this reason, we talk about UPGs a lot.
We should always be sensitive to the lost, having eternity in our eyes and the good news on our lips. But when there are over 6,500 UPGSs comprised of at least 2 billion individual people… it’s safe to say that the unreached deserve our urgent attention.
Posted on January 1st, 2015 by Jonathan
In the latest episode of the Radical Together podcast, David Platt encourages us to live with urgent intentionality in light of the fact that we are mere mists – here today and gone tomorrow. In the last half, he asks practical questions to help you prioritize and spend your time well this coming year. Below are the six questions he poses.
Here is the message in its entirety: A Humbling Start To A New Year
- How will I fill my mind with truth?
- How will I read God’s Word?
- How will I memorize God’s Word?
- How will I learn God’s Word from others?
- How will I fuel my affections for God?
- How will I worship?
- How will I pray?
- How will I fast?
- How will I give?
- How will I share God’s love as a witness in the world?
- How will I show God’s love as a member of a church?
- How will I spread God’s glory among all peoples?
- How will I pray for the nations?
- How will I give to the nations?
- How will I go to the nations?
- How will I make disciple-makers among a few people?
- Who has God has put in my sphere of influence?
- How will I teach them to obey?
- How will I model obedience?
- How will I send them out?
- How will I fill my mind with truth?
Posted on December 30th, 2014 by Radical
Do you believe that Jesus is at work in the world around you and that he wants to use you in alignment with his will to accomplish his work?
Several years ago, I spent a couple of weeks in one city in India. The gospel partners we were working with in this relatively gospel-less city asked us to go out every single night into a popular park full of people. “We believe that God is working in people’s hearts in this city,” they told us, “and he wants them to know his love. God has revealed Jesus to some of them in dreams and visions. Others of them have heard a little bit about him, and they have a desire to know more.” Then they said, “Your job is to go out and find people whose hearts God has prepared, and share the gospel with them.” With that, they prayed that God would direct our steps to people who were open to talking about Jesus, and they sent us out.
Every night, I went into that city park full of confidence. My confidence was not based on my personality or my ability to share the gospel. Instead, my confidence was grounded in the reality that God was already working in people’s lives all throughout that park. He desired their salvation and was drawing them to himself. Now that didn’t mean every single person we talked with responded positively to the gospel. But many did. We had numerous fruitful conversations about Christ, and some of the people we met eventually became followers of Christ. Along the way, I and the team with whom I served had the privilege of being part of God’s supernatural work in people’s lives.
Could it be that God wills for us to approach every single day like this? Maybe he is doing things we have no idea about behind the scenes in the lives of the people we work with, live around, and meet every day. Maybe God has led them into our paths so that they might hear the gospel from us. And maybe when we speak his gospel, he will open their eyes to see his glory. This certainly seems like the daily expectation of the disciples two thousand years ago.
So imagine sitting at a coffee shop today. What if God has been preparing the woman at the table next to you to hear the gospel? What if he has sovereignly arranged the circumstances in her life to set the stage for a conversation you will have with her about Jesus? What if God desires to use you, as you speak the gospel to her today, to change her life forever?
But, you might think, it’s just not that easy to start speaking about Jesus to the person sitting next to me at a coffee shop. We all have fears that quickly rise to the surface–the fear of offending someone, the fear of saying the wrong thing, the fear of being rejected, or even just the fear of initiating an awkward conversation. Yet such fears are only a sign that we are forgetting who we are. We are followers of Christ who have been crucified with him: we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. He has united his life with ours and put his Spirit in us for this purpose. Without him, we have reason to fear; with him, we have reason for faith.
On our own, we are destined to fail. Just think about the outrageous nature of the gospel we share. We tell people that they are wicked at the core of who they are, condemned by their sin, and destined for hell. Yet two thousand years ago, the son of a Jewish carpenter who claimed to be the Son of God was nailed naked to a wooden cross, and everyone’s eternity is now dependent on denying themselves and declaring him Lord, Savior, and King. At first glance, that messages certainly seems like a tough sell, doesn’t it? How will anyone believe it?
They will believe the gospel for the same reason you have believed the gospel: because the Spirit of God opens their eyes to see the glory of God and to receive the grace of God. For the last two thousand years, God has willed to draw people to himself through the proclamation of his Word by the power of his Spirit, and he simply calls each of us to do the same today. And when we are faithful to obey his will, he will show himself faithful to bless his Word.
David Platt, Follow Me, 142-144
Posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Jonathan
Can we know God? The reality is, God is incomprehensible. Psalm 145:3 says, “His greatness no one can fathom.”… We can never fully understand any single thing about God. We can know something about God’s love, power, wisdom and the other attributes… But we can never know His love, power, wisdom or other attributes exhaustively. This is key for us to understand. We can know something about Him, but we can’t know Him exhaustively.
Now some of you are thinking, “What about 1 Corinthians 13:12?” It says, “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully.” Well what Paul is saying is, there’s coming a day where our knowledge is going to be more complete, but he’s not saying there’s going to be a day when we are going to be omniscient. Paul doesn’t say in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that one day we’ll know all things. We have this idea sometimes. We think, and we even say, when we get to heaven we’ll know everything. I hate to break it to you, but when you go to heaven you’re not going to be God. It’s not going to happen. It’s not the purpose. You’re not going to know all things. His omniscience is an attribute unique to Him alone. So we can’t know God exhaustively.
The reason is twofold. Number one, our sinfulness, and number two, His greatness. We can’t know God fully because of both our sinfulness and His greatness. We’ll unpack both of those. Because of our sin we are hindered from glimpsing the fullness of God. We know that. Every single one of us has sin in our lives that keeps us from knowing God as completely as we could. But even when all sin will be removed from us, we will still be finite and God will still be infinite. Even when we get to heaven we won’t be infinite like God. We won’t be God. That means that for all of eternity we will increase in our knowledge of Him.
I want you to think about this with me. God is infinite in His love and His power and His wisdom… But if that’s true, and we are always going to be finite – not infinite – then the reality is, we will be learning more, and more, and more about His love, and His power, and His wisdom, and all that He is for all of eternity.
We can respond to this in two ways. If, in pride, we want to be equal to God in knowledge, this will depress us. Some people think, “I’m never going to get there? Never going to understand it all? I mean you think after a cool 400 billion years I might be closer.” But the reality is, no, we will not be any closer.
However, if in humility we want to live to adore and worship God, this will delight us. I want you to let this picture soak in, that for all of eternity, day after day after day, we will never tire of learning more and more and more and more about the love, the grace, the mercy, and the power of God. And this is huge. Sometimes when people think about heaven, they say, “If heaven is going to be perfect won’t it be perfectly boring?” And some of you have thought that. We think, “That’s a long time – eternity. I mean, don’t you get tired of that?” The reality is, because of who we are going to see in God tonight, we’re going to realize that you cannot get enough of this God, and for all of eternity, we will learn more and more and more. We can know God.
Posted on October 22nd, 2014 by David Burnette
David Platt encourages you to consider how you might be involved in reaching those who have never heard the gospel, whether that’s by going or giving. Reaching the unreached is at the heart of the mission of the IMB.
Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks and months as we highlight a number of practical and creative ways you can participate in giving. Your giving will go directly to help support IMB workers who are taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. You can give by going here.
Posted on October 9th, 2014 by Jonathan
In Scripture, the church is described as a body, a family, and a bride. Naturally, these may be some of the first images that come to mind. But have you ever thought of the church as an army? Here are two words of encouragement from David Platt to a church at war . . .
I want to leave us tonight with two simple, significant words of encouragement. Number one, know this: We are never alone in this war. Now, obviously, we know that, based on what we’ve already seen in 1 Timothy 6. We know that God is with us. We know that He is with us and for us, but I want you to see this even in a bit different way. When Paul says in verse 21, “Grace be with you,” what’s interesting is–and you might circle it and put a note in your Bible, this is important–when he says, “Grace be with you,” that word “you” is not a singular “you.” The word “you” is plural. You might even have a note in your Bible that sends you to the bottom. The Greek for “you” is plural, which is interesting. Kind of weird.
When Paul started this letter, he said, “To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” He has written this letter to Timothy, but he gets to the end, and he says, “Grace be with you.” It’s not “You, Timothy . . . grace be with you.” It’s “You, church at Ephesus, along with Timothy . . . grace be with you.” So, when I say to us, “We’re never alone in this war,” obviously, I mean that God is with us. But also, as you fight this fight of faith, not only is God with you, but the people of God are with you. You are not alone in this war . . .
You, together, fight this fight of faith with grace amidst all of you. One of the ways we experience God’s grace is through one another. This kind of battle is not intended to be played out with a bunch of anonymous church attenders or church hoppers. This battle is intended to be played out with brothers and sisters who are on the front lines together, with locked arms, saying, “We have a mission to accomplish that we’re running after together.” So, we’re not alone in this war.
The second word of encouragement is . . . the outcome of this spiritual war is irreversible. I.e., the battle and the war have already been won . . . Christ has taken the penalty of sin upon Himself, and He has risen from the grave. He has conquered sin and death, and He has conquered Satan. Satan is a defeated foe, and he will be destroyed. Will be. Guaranteed. So . . . as as we fight this good fight of faith, we’re not trying to win. I quoted 1 John 4:4 earlier: “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” This transforms our perspective on our battles, right?
Think about it this way. The morning of April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee meets with General Ulysses S. Grant to sign an agreement marking the end of the U.S. Civil War. The war was over, peace accomplished. But interestingly, just south of where we sit tonight, from Montgomery to Mobile, the battle was still raging. Even though the Civil War was technically over, the battle at Fort Blakeley still took place. Fighting just as real, guns and bayonets just as devastating, and death just as brutal. The war had been decided, but the fighting was still going on. It wouldn’t be until days later when full and final peace would reach all throughout the land.
This is not a perfect picture, but follow with me here. I think it captures a bit of the fight of faith that we find ourselves in. The victory has been accomplished. Satan has been defeated. What continues to be at stake, though, is the lives of those who are still fighting. And just as peace had yet to be fully enforced in Lower Alabama, Jesus’ victory has yet to be completely enforced in this world. The day is coming–it’s going to come–when He will come and force His victory finally and completely. Evil will be totally abolished. But now, we find ourselves in the midst of a fight of faith. I want you to hear this and let this soak in. This, I pray, will transform your perspective on the battles you’re walking through right now. We do not fight this war for victory; we fight this war from victory. That changes everything. He has conquered sin and death and the grave. He has conquered Satan.
You are battling a defeated foe this week. So, flee evil that pulls you away from God. Pursue goodness that pulls you toward God. Experience the life that has been bought for you. He’s called your name. You’ve confessed your faith. Live in light of His presence, in view of His faithfulness to you, in awe of His greatness. Guard this gospel as you give your life on the frontlines of a mission to make His glory known to the ends of the earth. That’s a good fight worth fighting.
The above excerpt is from a sermon David Platt preached on October 23, 2011, called, “The Church at War” (1 Timothy 6:11-21).
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