Archive for the ‘Platt Excerpts’ Category

  1. Can a Christian Be Demon-Possesed?

    Posted on May 27th, 2015 by Jonathan

    In Secret Church 7: Angels, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare, David Platt addresses the issue of demon possession and how we should biblically think about it. To view the teaching in its entirety, go here.

  2. 10 Commandments for Entertainment & Social Media

    Posted on May 26th, 2015 by David Burnette

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    Without realizing it, certain areas of our lives can get disconnected from Christ’s lordship. We don’t consciously rebel, but we fail to consider our actions and habits in the light of God’s Word. Social media and entertainment often fall into this category. We don’t mean to look like the world in the things we post on Facebook, nor do we intentionally choose to celebrate sin as we enjoy a movie, but it happens.

    One of the ways to address these blind spots, as we might call them, is to bring them out into the light. This involves applying Scripture to our use of social media and our entertainment choices–along with everything else in our lives. The following list of ten commandments for social media and entertainment is one way to do this. These commandments and the accompanying verses are taken from Secret Church 14, “The Cross and Everyday Life”:

    1. Fear God

    The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)

    2. Flee sexual immorality

    But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)

    3. Speak wisely

    For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34)

    4. Communicate honestly

    A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish. (Proverbs 19:9)

    5. Cultivate humility

    Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. (Proverbs 27:2)

    6. Have accountability

    Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. (Proverbs 19:27)

    7. Maintain mastery

    “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

    8. Guard your heart

    Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

    9. Renew your mind

    Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

    10. Redeem your time

    Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

    — To access Secret Church 14, “The Cross and Everyday Life,” in its entirety (for free), go here.

  3. It Is Finished

    Posted on May 12th, 2015 by Radical

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    We are not saved from our sins because Jesus was falsely tried by Jewish and Roman officials and sentenced by Pilate to die. Neither are we saved because Roman persecutors thrust nails into the hands and feet of Christ and hung him on a cross.

    Do we really think that the false judgement of men heaped upon Christ would pay the debt for all of humankind’s sin? Do we really think that a crown of thorns and whips and nails and a wooden cross and all the other facets of the crucifixion that we glamorize are powerful enough to save us?

    Picture Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. As he kneels before his Father, drops of sweat and blood fall together from his head. Why is he in such agony and pain? The answer is not because he is afraid of crucifixion. He is not trembling because of what the Roman soldiers are about tot do to him.

    Since that day countless men and women in the history of Christianity have died for their faith. Some of them were not just hung on crosses; they were burned there. Many of them went to their crosses singing.

    One Christian in India, while being skinned alive, looked at his persecutors and said, “I thank you for this. Tear off my old garment, for I will soon put on Christ’s garment of righteousness.”

    As he prepared to head to his execution, Christopher Love wrote a note to his wife, saying, “Today they will sever me from my physical head, but they cannot sever me from my spiritual head, Christ.” As he walked to his death, his wife applauded while he sang of glory.

    Did these men and women in Christian history have more courage than Christ himself? Why was he trembling in that garden, weeping and full of anguish? We can rest assured that he was not a coward about to face Roman soldiers. Instead he was a Savior about to endure divine wrath.

    Listen to his words: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” The “cup” is not a reference to a wooden cross; it is a reference to divine judgement. It is the cup of God’s wrath.

    This is what Jesus is recoiling from in the garden. All God’s holy wrath and hatred toward sin and sinners, stored up since the beginning of the world, is about to be poured out on him, and he is sweating blood at the thought of it.

    What happened at the Cross was not primarily about nails being thrust into Jesus’ hands and feet but about the wrath due your sin and my sin being thrust upon his soul. In that holy moment, all the righteous wrath and justice of God due us came down rushing like a torrent on Christ himself. Some say, “God looked down and could not bear to see the suffering that the soldiers were inflicting on Jesus, so he turned away.” But this is not true. God turned away because he could not bear to see your sin and my sin on his Son.

    One preacher described it as if you and I were standing a short hundred yards away from a dam of water ten thousand miles high and ten thousand miles wide. All of a sudden, that dam was breached, and a torrential flood of water came crashing toward us. Right before it reached our feet, the ground in front of us opened up and swallowed it all. At the Cross, Christ drank the full cup of the wrath of God, and when he had downed the last drop, he turned the cup over and cried out, “It is finished.”

    This is the gospel. The just and loving Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful people and sent his Son, God in the flesh, to bear his wrath against sin on the cross and to show his power over sin in the Resurrection so that all who trust in him will be reconciled to God forever.

    – David Platt, Radical, 34-36

  4. What’s Really Going On as Funeral Pyres Blaze in Nepal

    Posted on May 7th, 2015 by Jonathan

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    With the death toll at well over 7,000 people and climbing, the tragic scale of the earthquake in Nepal is hard to put into words. Perhaps the sadness is more effectively captured in this vivid account of the continually blazing Katmandu funeral pyres than it is in a quantitative catalogue of casualties. Here’s a heartbreaking excerpt:

    The family of Usha Shrestha gathered along the banks of the Bagmati River on Monday to bear her body down to the funeral pyres.

    They carried her on a stretcher fashioned from green bamboo, her body wrapped in a lavender flowered sheet, a red-and-gold sari and a marigold cloth written with God’s name.

    They dusted her with red powder and placed small, crumpled bills atop her chest. They laid her jewelry over her heart, roughly two days after it stopped beating.

    A professional body burner stacked logs of sal wood, a teak-like timber, onto a small platform and laid packets of ghee, a clarified butter, amid the timbers to ensure the flames would take light. One by one, her three sons prostrated themselves at her feet, their weeping uncontained by the surgical masks stretched across their faces.

    Then the eldest son performed the ultimate filial duty, laying a flaming stick upon his mother’s lips.

    As the flames spread across her chest, the body burner heaped straw atop her corpse, sending bluish smoke billowing into the sky over the white stupas of the Pashupatinath temple.

    Since Saturday evening, when the 45-year-old widow was crushed in her home by Nepal’s massive 7.8 earthquake, Hindu funeral pyres have been burning here almost around the clock. As of mid-Monday, nearly 300 bodies had been cremated, authorities at the temple said, more than six times the normal rate of roughly 15 to 20 per day. (The Chicago Tribune)

    The report goes on to relate the perspective of a professional body burner in Katmandu. Though devastatingly sad, you should read the rest of it. And as you read it, be reminded of what is really going on as the funeral pyres smoke and smolder. David Platt was reminded of it during a visit there a couple of years ago:

    I stood at the Bagmati River in South Asia where every day funerals are held and bodies are burned. It is the custom among these Hindu people when family or friends die to take their bodies within twenty-four hours to the river, where they lay them on funeral pyres and set the pyres ablaze. In so doing, they believe they are helping their friend of family member in the cycle of reincarnation. As I saw this scene before me, I stood in overwhelmed silence. For as I watched these flames overtake the bodies, I knew based on Scripture that I was witnessing at that moment a physical reflection of an eternal reality. Tears streamed down my face as I realized that most if not all of the people I was watching burn had died without ever hearing the good news of how they could have lived forever with God. (Counter Culture, 248-249)

    As we look to Nepal, may we bear in mind the eternal state of souls who die without Christ. To only meet their needs with water, shelter, and medical attention is a travesty of a remedy. Without the gospel, the flames of funeral pyres are not the only fires that Nepal’s dead will face.

    Hear David Platt address the current situation in Nepal on the latest Radical Together podcast episode: A Christ-Compelled Response to Nepal.

  5. Christianity Explained: Jesus Gives All He Has To Us (2/2)

    Posted on April 30th, 2015 by Jonathan

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    In 2007, David Platt preached a sermon series titled Abide. Abiding in Christ is the starting point for the Christian life; everything else is simply an overflow of our relationship with Jesus. The first message in the series was on Matthew 11:28-30, in which Jesus said to his disciples,

    Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

    Over the course of the sermon, he explains Christianity in its most elemental terms:

    We give up all we have to Jesus–the full weight of our complete and utter inability to obey God.
    Jesus gives up all He has to us–pardon for our sins and power to obey God.

    Last week we highlighted a warning against legalistic thinking. This week we wanted to share a helpful illustration from the same sermon that shows how the Christian life is all of grace. In describing the infinitely greater contribution of Christ in this divine exchange, Platt uses the Matthew 11 imagery of a yoke to show how our obedience to God is totally empowered by Christ.

    Now the imagery that dominates this particular passage is the picture of a yoke. And a yoke is a strong, heavy, wooden bar that is placed over an ox in order to allow that ox to pull a cart or pull a plow. And oftentimes a yoke could be singular, could be placed on one ox, but then also you can have a yoke that can be shared between two oxen. You have one ox on one side and the other on the other side, and they would share the load together in a yoke.

    And if you have a yoke like this, that is shared between two oxen, then basically the picture is: one of those oxen would be stronger than the other one. You would have a weaker ox on one side and a stronger ox on the other side. And the stronger ox would be able to basically the pull the load of the weaker ox. You would have one ox that was more trained in the commands of the master, that was more experienced, that was stronger. As a result, the weaker ox would come in, and they would be able to accomplish more together–and especially for that weaker ox, to be able to be pulled along (basically) by the stronger ox.

    . . .

    How can Jesus say, “Take my yoke upon you. You learn from me and you will find rest for your souls”? Because, here is the beauty of Christianity, this whole picture is of Him giving us His ability to obey God, to please God. When we join in the yoke with Him and we learn from Him, what are we learning to do? We are learning to trust in Him and not in ourselves. And as a result, slowly, surely, we are relaxing in the yoke and learning to let Christ do in us what all along we have been trying to do for ourselves.

    Now, rest in Christ is becoming a deeper and deeper reality on a day-by-day basis. Why? Because we are learning to let go of the strain of trying to do this Christian life on our own, and we are learning to let Him do it for us.

    This is huge. “Are you saying that we sit back and don’t do anything?” Absolutely not. It is not a passive picture. It is learning. It is following. It is going after the law. It is not because the law doesn’t matter anymore. What many people have done is, with the emphasis that the church has had on legalism, they say we don’t have to follow the law. On the contrary, we are free–not to forget the law–we are free to obey the law. And now we have in us Christ Himself, who enables us to follow the law.

    Here is the beauty. The reason that Jesus can give us rest is not because He is giving us the rules–”Here’s the regulations, here’s the law, here’s the commandments, now follow them.” Instead, the beauty of Christianity, what makes Christianity not just another religion, not just another ethic that we live up to, is the picture of Christ Himself in us, enabling us to follow the law, enabling us to please God, enabling us to obey God. And now when we live our lives, it is Christ in us living through us. Then we bring great glory to our Father because He is doing it in us. And it is all saturated in Christ, the one who is giving us the grace moment by moment, day by day. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in your Christian life that you are intended to do on your own. It is all intended–every single prayer we pray, every single step we take, every single thought–is intended to be saturated with Jesus Christ. And the picture of being in a yoke with Him is that He takes over more and more every day, and we find more and more rest in Him every day. Do you want this? This is the picture of coming into the yoke with Him.

    To listen to the entire sermon, “The Disciple’s Identity – Part 1: You in Christ,” click here.

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    In 2007, David Platt preached a sermon series titled Abide. Abiding in Christ is the starting point for the Christian life; everything else is simply an overflow of our relationship with Jesus. The first message in the series was on Matthew 11:28-30, in which Jesus said to his disciples,

    Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

    Over the course of the sermon, he explains Christianity in its most elemental terms:

    We give up all we have to Jesus–the full weight of our complete and utter inability to obey God.
    Jesus gives up all He has to us–pardon for our sins and power to obey God.

    In describing our “contribution” in this divine exchange, Platt leads us through a thought experiment to shine a light on how easily we tend toward legalistic thinking:

    Scenario 1: Your alarm clock goes off in the morning and you wake up immediately because you know you have got quiet time ahead of you. And so you get out of bed and you go and you spend some time in prayer and you spend some time in the Word, and things are going well from the very beginning of your day. You are off to work from there. It seems like everywhere you go you have got things planned out. The presence of God is so real in your life. Things are going well. You are walking with Him, living in communion with Him, and you get to the end of your day, and on your way home you have the opportunity to share the gospel with somebody else.

    Scenario 2: The alarm clock goes off the in the morning and you hit it about 6 or 7 times. Snooze, snooze, snooze until there is not chance you are having a quiet time – the morning is anything but quiet for you. You get up, rush, get ready, and you are off to work, and everything is disorganized. Nothing is working out the way it was supposed to. You are going throughout your day and you don’t have anything planned and the presence of God seems anywhere but near your life at this point. It is nowhere close. You are running through, trying to get things done. Finally you get to the end of an exhaustive day–some of you have been there this week – you get to the end of your day and you head home, and on your way home you have the opportunity to share the gospel with someone.

    Now with those two scenarios, here is the question that I want to ask you. In which of these scenarios do you think God is more likely to bless you in leading that person to Christ? Our tendency is, the majority of us would say, “Definitely the first scenario.” But why do we even think that? Here is why we even think that. Because we really believe that God blessing our lives is somehow based on our performance during the day.

    Why would God be more likely to bless here than there? And our answer might be because over here (scenario 1), I was walking with Him. Over here (scenario 2), I just wouldn’t feel worthy. I have ignored Him all day. I wouldn’t be where I need to be spiritually in order to be ready for that, so He probably wouldn’t use me as much. That is uncovering the hidden truth at the core of our Christianity. We have got to weed out this idea that God’s blessing is based on our performance. It is not. It is not based on our performance. God’s blessing in either one of these scenarios is based on His grace and nothing else. It is not based on what you and I have to bring to the table. The whole point of Christianity is: the best that we bring to the table is still not good enough.

    To listen to the entire sermon, “The Disciple’s Identity – Part 1: You in Christ,” click here.

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    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

    Religious liberty is one of the topics that David Platt addresses in Secret Church. For more information and to register, go to SecretChurch.org.

  8. If the Old Testament has One Main Purpose, then…

    Posted on January 28th, 2015 by Radical

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    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.

    Knowledge
    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.

    Application
    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?

    Proclamation
    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.

  9. David Platt on Ethnicity and the Sin of Favoritism

    Posted on January 21st, 2015 by Radical

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    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.

  10. Hero Syndrome – An Old Testament Interpretation Misstep

    Posted on January 13th, 2015 by Radical

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    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