Saturday sermon series: “What the Gospel Demands” by David Platt.

Yes, I’m going to do it. Starting today I am going to post a series of sermons so weighty and so sobering that I dare say they rival any other sermon ever presented on DefCon in the area of depth of conviction. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to listen to today’s message (part one in the series) entitled What the Gospel Demands.

For the next eight Saturdays I challenge all the readers of DefCon to listen to this series. Some of you will be glad you did, but some of you may be angry with what you hear and refuse to listen to any more after today.

I expect some to be repentant due to deep conviction after listening to this message. And I even expect some to be very angry due to that same conviction after listening to this message. But I can’t fathom anyone being indifferent to this message.

I warn you, though, this series will end on Saturday, December 24th, and more than likely it will damper your current view of the upcoming self-indulgent Christmas festivities.

 

32 thoughts on “Saturday sermon series: “What the Gospel Demands” by David Platt.

  1. Much of what David Platt says I agree with. Although I don’t like the idea of “social justice” where the govt takes and redistributes as it sees fit…but I do wonder how much *more* can we (my family) give? We give to our church and they distribute money as they see fit (as the first church did). We also give in other areas (I like buying chickens and cows for families in poverty…as these can continually produce eggs and milk!)…but I know we can do more.

    Is comfort wrong? This is a question I have toiled with for a long time. Then I read this from RC Sproul Jr and must admit, now I am confused more…who to believe?? http://rcsprouljunior.blogspot.com/2011/09/ask-rc-is-it-wrong-to-live-as.html

    Who is right? Platt or Sproul?

    Is working hard to earn a decent living wrong? Or is it right as long as we don’t enjoy any extras? And if we do have extras…how much is too much?

    If Platt is taking every word literally in that scripture in Luke 14…to give up ALL (hate mother, father etc.), as well, then while we give up all monetarily, we should give up those we love as well. I don’t believe that is what Jesus is saying…otherwise, there would be no family units. So, is Jesus really asking us to give up everything? Or just be willing to ~ if called? Or *is* the Word calling each of us to do that?

    And then it begs the question, is having a savings wrong? We keep one in case of emergencies. Am I not giving it all then?

    My family and I live on a small income (for our country) and try to live simply. I have felt convicted though, about giving *more* than we already do, lately. However, my husband and I are considering adopting an orphan…in which case, money needs to be saved in order to do this. So, I am hoping that this is one way we are helping others.

  2. I was listening and greatly encouraged, UNTIL he said those who do not care for the poor will go to hell.

    NO – those who reject Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross go to hell. We serve because we are saved not to earn our salvation. If our salvation depends upon what we do – then it is Jesus plus… which becomes works based and this is NOT sound Biblical theology.

  3. @Ali, you are correct that we do not go to hell because we do not care for the poor anymore than a person will not go to hell because they were an adulterer, or a murderer, or whatever sin you wish to put in the blank. People go to hell because they are sinners by nature and everything about them rejects the finished work of Christ on the cross.

    I also believe that as you stated, we are saved not by our works. After salvation, nothing can be added to grant me a different level of salvation or grace. However, I believe that James makes it clear that if we evidence no works, then we cannot be a true believer. I have the book Radical and this simply seems to follow the book. I am not convinced that Platt is trying to teach that not caring for the poor will send you to hell, as much as I am convinced that he is pointing out that what becomes our god will condemn us. I will listen again though and re-read the book to verify.

    Has he taken the idea of giving and social gospel to an extreme not taught in Scripture? Yes, in some areas I believe he has. I do not think that Christ was telling the slavemasters to get rid of their slaves. He is not telling us to sell everything we own, take vows of poverty, and not provide an income for our families to survive on.

    @Katy, I have done well in jobs in the past, but sadly, much of that time was spent simply trying to live the American dream with no concern for the poor. Platt does seem to do a good job in bringing us to the point where we wake up and realize that the poor are always with us. We can do something to help others instead of caring only for ourselves. For each of us, that picture is going to look different. Some may be able to provide chickens, eggs, food, blankets, coats, whatever to help those less fortunate. Others may be able to give to charitable organizations or missions to a degree that would leave many reeling in shock at the amounts given if it were known.

    What we cannot do though is allow our money, our goals, our investments, our property, our cars, our whatever-we-have to become more important than the two commandments reiterated by the Lord Jesus Christ. 1) Love the Lord thy God with ALL your heart, soul, and mind. 2) Love your neighbor as yourself.

    What this boils down to is this – what is most important to me? Is a new 60″ flat-screen more important than helping with a genuine need I know a “neighbor” has? Is it right for me to drink a Starbucks every single day when my conscience convicts me that in so doing I am not really loving my neighbor as myself, and in so doing, I am not loving God with ALL my heart, soul, and mind?

    We must learn to act on our convictions. Yes, Americans are richer than 93% of the world’s population, but does that mean we have a responsibility to make them richer or better off than they are in their hovels and degradation of poverty? NO! I do not see this as a command in Scripture. Even if you had the opportunity to raise every single one of the 7 billion people of earth to a better existence, there will always be some who are rich and others who are poor.

    Our responsibility is to share the gospel first and foremost. If we are able to help others with gifts of some kind, then praise the Lord. We should do so to the best of our ability and give thanks to God for what we are so blessed with. However, I do not believe we should trouble ourselves at night and not sleep because we are afraid that somebody is poorer than us in earthly wealth or circumstances.

    Consequently though, I believe we should be losing sleep if our concern is ONLY for ourselves, if it is only for a desire to live the American dream that drives us to work each day, if is only for ourselves that we care to drink our lattes and watch our big-screen tv’s, and if it is only for ourselves that we cry when we find ourselves in a financial tailspin or in a situation that makes us wonder whether we will have food for the next day for our children.

    @Pilgrim – Thank you for sharing this audio. It was a good reminder if we are not in complete agreement with some of Platt’s final conclusions.

    Every blessing – The Desert Pastor

  4. Very well said The Desert Pastor. :) I agree…and those are the things I agree with Platt on as well…but it was when he said that Jesus said that if we weren’t helping the poor that we go to hell that tripped me up (just as Ali mentioned). Thank you for sharing…one thing Platt certainly *does* do is revitalize my attitude toward giving.

    ———————————————————————–

    Thank you for your words DP, I appreciate them.

    My mind keeps going to the part in scripture when Jesus’ feet were annointed with the costly perfume…and the disciples said how it could have gone to get money to feed the poor instead. However, Jesus said the poor will always be with us……

  5. Dear Katy:
    I am uncertain what you mean about Platt endorsing “social justice.” This usually means liberal politics and I do not see Platt endorsing such a thing.

    Whether or not Sproul or Platt is right, is going to be a matter of conscience. I cannot answer that for you. I simply look at how Christians have predominantly lived throughout 2,000 years and then look at the bloated, comfortable, secure, prosperous Christians in the West and see a huge divergence. The 1st century Christians turned the world upside down, the 21st century Christians, not so much.

    I see a chasm in Evangelicalism that bothers me. On the one end we have theologically sound, white collar, seminary trained, theologians that write many books, yet are rarely ever seen getting their hands dirty, and on the other end we have less theologically sound, less known folks (who have never been published or never been to seminary) out feeding the poor, visiting the widows, and adopting the orphans. Usually (but not always) the former consists of Calvinists with sound theology, and the latter usually (but not always) consists of Arminians and Emergents with awful theology. Is it too much too expect good orthodoxy AND orthoproxy? We should never sacrifice right doctrine for love and mercy, and we should never sacrifice love and mercy for right doctrine.

    Why do so many of the highly educated Calvinists fill the colleges and seminaries while so many of the Arminians and such fill the mission fields and soup kitchens?

    (I know there are exceptions on both sides, but you get my point.)

    I don’t believe Platt is advocating a monastic sell-everything-and-live-under-a-rock type of Christianity (and especially not in order to gain salvation!). In fact, in this sermon (or a later one) he even says he does not know what living like this looks like for him and his family so he will not even attempt to dictate what it should look like in your family.

    What I get from Platt is we certainly have missed the mark in American Christianity, so far I might add, that when someone suggests we actually live like the Bible says we should as Christians, they are oftentimes labeled legalists and Pharisees. ‘Tis a shame because Platt is saying very similar things that James said in his Epistle.

    Nikki:
    I was cautious when I read the book Radical as it seemed it could be taken as “Jesus +.” Yet later in the book Platt assured the reader that this is not the case (I was glad when I read that). I believe taking all of Platt’s messages on this subject in its totality, you would not come away with “Jesus +” anymore than you would come away with “Jesus +” after reading James’ Epistle. A call to live out our Christianity may appear as “Jesus +” on the surface, but in light of the rest of Scripture (James) and the rest of the sermons (Platt) one can see neither man is calling for or advocating a works-righteousness.

    Ali:
    Can you direct me to the minute (and second) mark that you heard that? Based on the totality of Platt’s messages (and book) I don’t believe he’s making this correlation. I’m fairly confident he believes that faith alone is what saves and anything less does not lead one to eternal life. Perhaps the point is whether or not one who is indifferent to the poor is really a Christian.

    It at least begs the question:
    If one claims to be a regenerated child of God, yet has no concern for the poor (those genuinely poor, like in 3rd world countries for instance), can that person rightly be considered a Christian? Wouldn’t that indifference be a sign of the dead faith James is talking about in chapter two of his Epistle?

    To all:
    Oftentimes when we hear a hard message, one that convicts us deeply or grinds against our flesh, we tend to dismiss it by finding something–anything wrong in the message that we can
    latch onto and use to dismiss the whole sermon. I’m not accusing any of you of doing that as I do not know your hearts, but I do know human nature, and we tend to bend that way. Now if Platt is indeed teaching outright heresy, “You must do ABC and XYZ in addition to faith in Christ in order to merit God’s favor and find salvation,” then I am with you (readers of this blog know me well enough), but because we hear a piece that can easily be construed as legalism without taking the totality of the entire message to heart, we err just like the person who reads James’ Epistle and says, “A ha, he’s teaching works, therefore I reject his Epistle.” We know by the totality of Scripture (including Acts 15) that James is teaching no such thing, but instead demonstrating that a living faith will be marked by works (I address this in this post from January: http://defendingcontending.com/2011/01/17/if-james-contradicts-paul-then-james-also-contradicted-himself/ ).

    Please know, I am presenting this series out of a deep conviction and passion for the message Platt is desperately trying to deliver in order to awaken the amused-into-a-deep-sleep Western church. I pray that, although we may disagree on some points, we will take what he presents to heart and consider when Jesus asked us to lay down our lives for Him, if He reeaallyy mean it?

    Sincerely,
    – Pilgrim

    P.S. Desert Pastor: I read your comment after writing the above. I agree with your sentiments.

  6. I am a big fan of David Platt’s preaching…however, I am not a big fan of his (or others with the same theme) process of laying on the guilt as related to radical living. Guilt will motivate actions based on duty and fear and performance…but the Gospel will change hearts and those who are passionately in love with Christ WILL be radical. Let’s target the hearts and watch people change…not target the behavior and hope for change…This quote says it all from another young pastor from the south:

    “long term, gospel motivated obedience can only come from the grace of what Jesus has already done, not the guilt of what we must do” – Tchividjian

    Humbly and desperately abiding in Christ,
    -atg

  7. Dear ATG:

    Platt points us to the very words of Christ to awaken us to our prosperous and secure lifestyles.

    Can he do it a little better or use a slightly different approach? Perhaps. But I can tell you that his pointing me to the very words of Christ and holding up those words as a mirror to the visible church in America (which I am certainly a part of), it is profoundly convicting–not as behavioral modification–but as a reflection of my own lavish, opulent lifestyle. And Christ’s words leave me no wiggle room for lofty excuses or self-justifications as the widows and orphans are neglected, the poor go hungry, and all of them go without the gospel, while I tell them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled.”

    Woe is me.

  8. Pilgram, I’ve come to wonder the same things about Emergents/Armenians filling the soup kitchens and mission fields. It seems to be rampant around here, and lately, I’ve stopped to wonder why. I’ve come to somewhat of a conclusion that (in the cases that I know of, specifically emergent) that is their gospel. When it says “go” they take it as, I’m sharing the gospel with people when they feed them soup, and they will see the love of Christ through their actions. I was speaking with a couple of frustrated street ministers the other day, they are litterally CROWDED by “missional” people filling their streets and feeding people, giving them sunscreen, free laundry etc. that when they come to people with nothing in their hands, people don’t give a care to listen. They don’t need to feed people, the people are well fed by people who are not giving them the gospel, they want to give them the gospel. So, it would be nonsense to waste their time to set up their own feeding program AND share the gospel. We are crowded with good works Christians trying to earn their way to heaven or something. Not that their isn’t enough poor for everyone, but locally… and in other instances in our country, the emergents and others who aren’t sharing the true gospel have it covered.

    So, do we set up our own programs to feed and clothe AND share the gospel so it looks like we do care for both, or just fill in the gaps the others have left behind?

  9. Abidingthroughgrace says:
    November 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Thank you for that, I believe it was very well put.

    I just have to ask, and maybe I am taking this out of context, but….what is negative about these two words? Are we supposed to live poor and insecure?

    *prosperous* and *secure* lifestyles.

    To add to the above…if Jesus is bringing this to your attention, why not thank Him for prospering you and giving you security and then sharethose things with others freely as it was given freely. Again, I may have misunderstood the post.

  10. Pilgrim,

    In regards to the social justice thing…Often, there are left-leaning pastors who think that redistribution of wealth by the gov’t is what is needed…(think: Jim Wallis and many smaller pastors who think he speaks truth). I was stating that I agree with Platt…but if he leans towards social justice, I was not agreeing with that. I didn’t hear him say anything about it during his sermon…however, many will use his words *to* push that agenda.

    I believe Platt is right on, though, about our hearts and giving. I know that we can give more…..and we will. :) I am definitely thankful, though, that you are sharing this series…as it is definitely an eye-opener. Thank-you :)

  11. Katy,
    You can rest assured that Platt is not one of those liberal preachers who advocates the socialist ideal of redistribution of wealth.

    Anna,
    I understand what you’re saying, that those seeking to justify themselves in the eyes of God are filling the needs of those around us because (after all) they’re trying to earn God’s favor by doing good works. In America, the government and those working to earn God’s favor (Galatians 5:4) have pretty much taken care of the vast majority of our neighbors’ needs. This, however, is not so in other countries around the world, where there are no government social welfare programs.

    It is a very, very rare thing to ever find someone starve to death in America–unless of course you’re deemed unfit to live by an American court and are ordered to die by starvation (e.g. Teri Shiavo)–but in America even our homeless are well fed and nowhere near death by starvation. And because of our government’s intervention by its social programs (which inevitably create generational dependence), opportunities for Christians to help their neighbor in many instances are few. When the “poor” in our country drive cars, have televisions and cell phones, I find it hard to call them poor by the standard of poverty around the world, or by the standard of the Middle East in Jesus’ time when He said that thing about rich people, camels, and needles.

    So, if you’re looking for the physically poor, you’ll have to look elsewhere; outside of our country to places like India, Africa, etc.

    Johnny,
    Firstly, I don’t know if Christians are “supposed” to live in either condition, but Proverbs 30:8-9 gives us a good rule of thumb to live by and may answer your question better than I:

    “. . . Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, That I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God. Are we supposed to live poor and insecure?”

    My concern, my friend, is that Christianity throughout the world and history (with some exceptions of course) has been poor, persecuted, without physical security, and martyred. In America it has been a long, long time since any Christians have known what it is to want, what it is to go hungry, and what it is to be hunted for imprisonment, torture, or execution.

    We have simply lost touch with how the Apostles lived and died, how Jesus lived and died (a pupil is not above his Master), how most Christians have lived and died throughout history, and how many Christians are living and dying today around the world. (There’s a reason the pages of “Foxes Book of Martyrs” are absent of stories of Americans who have died for their faith in the streets of Indiana.)

    My point is NOT that we are somehow more spiritual if we purpose to cause ourselves to suffer, but I can tell you from experience (i.e. my own life) that we are suffering spiritually BECAUSE of our immense wealth and our safe and secure lifestyles (without even mentioning the wickedness of our indifference to the poor, the suffering, and the lost and dying around the world). Our prosperous lifestyle in America may have been good, even very good, for a time, but it certainly has become a curse to us, and has arguably become a stumbling block.

    I would suggest that our luxurious and opulent lifestyles have become a detriment to us, much like with Israel, and contributed to their repeated fall. And this, dare I say, is part of the problem with American Christianity. After all, God knew man’s propensity to take His blessings and turn them into a impediment, that’s why He said in Deuteronomy 8:11-14

    “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

    And finally, Johnny, you asked:
    ” . . . if Jesus is bringing this to your attention, why not thank Him for prospering you and giving you security and then share those things with others freely as it was given freely.”

    I actually am working on doing just that. Right now my wife and are actively trying to get out of the American debt hole that we (and most other Christians in our nation) have found themselves in because we bought the lie of the American Dream. Our goal is to live humbler and give more, much more, than we are now. Those who know me personally, know what I am doing and what my goals in this matter are. And I am determined to NOT to pass this American Dream curse down to my children.

    I am simply sharing this sermon series as a conviction/encouragement to other believers to examine their current lavish lifestyles in light of Scripture. Some will be convicted and some will dismiss it for whatever reason they can find, but I am taking this admonishment to heart and desiring to change things in my life. I just want to share this with others in the hopes that some out there will be convicted/encouraged as well.

    Sincerely,
    – Pilgrim

  12. A couple of comments on the comments:

    “the question we must ask ourselves is “what is the gospel”? is it Jesus PLUS xyz? or is it faith in Jesus alone?”

    I’ll stand with Jonathon Edwards and George Whitfield and say it is “Jesus PLUS xyz”…. Of course, I don’t really mean Jesus PLUS as you would propose the false dichotomy – it’s just that Jesus didn’t die only to save us from hell, but from being slaves to sin. So it’s really Jesus (saving us) PLUS Jesus (sanctifying us) PLUS every other wonderful thing Jesus does in and through the life of a true saint. Jesus said caring for the poor saint, orphan, and widow were signs of a true conversion. So the real question we must ask ourselves is if we believe the words of Jesus and if he effectually works in the life of true believers or not. A reformed slogan that proposes to defend salvation by faith at expense of the plain teachings of Christ? That’s another question to ask ourselves.

    “If our salvation depends upon what we do – then it is Jesus plus… which becomes works based and this is NOT sound Biblical theology.”

    See above comment. Faith without works is dead… works are surely not the cause of, but the result of salvation. There is an easy believism in the reformed churches that has turned the otherwise sound teaching on the saving grace of God into lasciviousness. That is NOT sound theology either friend, packing the pews with false converts because they can recite some clichés about salvation by grace though the love of God has not been shed abroad in their hearts and Jesus does not rule their hearts by faith. Read Whitfield’s the almost Christian sometime, it’s a quick read and well worthe it. One of the points is that there are many “doctrinally sound” false converts because they are lovers of money.

    “Whether or not Sproul or Platt is right, is going to be a matter of conscience. I cannot answer that for you. I simply look at how Christians have predominantly lived throughout 2,000 years and then look at the bloated, comfortable, secure, prosperous Christians in the West and see a huge divergence. The 1st century Christians turned the world upside down, the 21st century Christians, not so much.”

    Amen brother pilgrim. I look forwards to listening to this series you are going to present. I know you are rooted in the doctrines of grace and are promoting these teachings for the right reason, not to promote a works based salvation.

    “Guilt will motivate actions based on duty and fear and performance”

    True brother, but guilt can also bring about Godly sorrow, that works repentance that leads to salvation – even salvation from our American greed and consumerism. I say that just to add balance, not to contradict you. I guess I mean guilt can be a starting point, but love should be the motivation that reigns for sure!

    In Christ -Jim

    —————————————-

    “And thus many, both young and old, now-a-days, come running to worship our blessed Lord in public, and kneel before him in private, and inquire at his gospel, what they must do to inherit eternal life: but when they find they must renounce the self- enjoyment of riches, and forsake all in affection to follow him, they cry, “The Lord pardon us in this thing! We pray thee, have us excused.

    But is heaven so small a trifle in men’s esteem, as not to be worth a little gilded earth? Is eternal life so mean a purchase, as not to deserve the temporary renunciation of a few transitory riches? Surely it is. But however inconsistent such a behavior may be, this inordinate love of money is too evidently the common and fatal cause, why so many are no more than almost Christians.”

    -Whitfield (from the almost Christian)

  13. “There has also been an evident alteration with respect to a charitable spirit to the poor (though I think with regard to this in this town, as the land in general, come far short of Gospel rules).”

    -Jonathan Edwards commenting on the fruits that indicated a true and remarkable work of God had taken place in New England. Apparently Edwards also believed that these works were evidence of true conversion and revival (though surely not the sole, or even primary evidence).

    -Jim

  14. I haven’t listened to the sermon yet, and I don’t know if I will.

    After reading the comments, who wants to? I have listened to David Platt before, and thought he was quite biblical.

    However, since mammon is a god, it is hard for many to part with it. And it could surely be the downfall, eternal downfall, of many.

    We can give more, we just don’t want to. Not only do we not want to give, we want more, and yet more. The greed is unending.
    If anyone feels guilt about the sermon they have heard, all I can say to that is good. It is called conviction. And if we, as Christians, cannot take conviction, we had truly better question our salvation.

    And this before I have listened to the sermon.

  15. I would be interested to know if David Platt has followed thru on selling his house , and what he did with the money he has made on his book and if he has left his mega church to be a missionary yet? I wonder how he feels when people confront him on whether he gives enough to the poor and still seems to live a pretty nice life.
    He says everyone should be “doing “even though he says he can’t really do it either. I read the book months ago and wonder what the outcome for him is.
    We are all convicted by the Holy Spirit on how to live our lives. Let the Holy Spirit be our guide as believers.
    David Platt is creating division by determining who is a “good Christian” by what he is teaching. Sort of a,”I’m better than you before God because I give the most” outlook. The Bible says to be a cheerful giver not one who responds out of guilt. None of us are worthy before God and we all stand only in the rightousness of Christ before Him. There are no levels of acceptance.
    I hope all of your readers do as God leads them and have a great Christmas based on the fact that we are celebrating the fact that our Saviour came into the world.
    As far as the remark on Israel, there problem wasn’t their obsession with wealth but idolatry. As a matter of fact, God promised to bless them if they obeyed Him. They should have recognized the Messiah when He came but they didn’t and they crucified Him but God has promised restoration for them as a land a nation and a people forever when He returns and they realize who Jesus was and will be saved, as Paul says in Romans 9-11. Read about that return and restoration in Zech12-14. They have hope based on what God will do and not what they have done. Our hope is based on that as well. So do as the Spirit leads thru the Word of God.
    Gary Gilley usually gets it right. His article on social justice is excellent.
    pam

  16. Dear Pam:

    You said:

    “I would be interested to know if David Platt has followed thru on selling his house , and what he did with the money he has made on his book and if he has left his mega church to be a missionary yet?”

    I’ll leave it up to you to determine if Platt is a hypocrite or not. Other than my attempt to not be remiss for failing to tell readers who the person preaching is, my decision to present this series is not to uplift, put on display, support, or “sell” David Platt. In other words, this is not about David Platt. This is about me, my heart, and my pursuit of manna in the American dream. This is about Christians, their hearts, and their pursuits of the American dream.

    If it turns out that Platt has not done “enough” to back up his teaching, then that’s between him and God. As for me, I have been deeply convicted by Platt’s book (and now this series) as Platt brings Scripture to the forefront regarding our duty as Christians to the poor and suffering . . . Scripture we often gloss over or explain away.

    The conviction from the book began last year after I had already become “guilty” of my lifestyle after my own study of Scripture. And all of this was topped off with a recent mission trip to the second poorest nation in the world–seeing how our Christian brothers and sisters are living there while we live in utter opulence here.

    You said:

    “I wonder how he feels when people confront him on whether he gives enough to the poor and still seems to live a pretty nice life.”

    I do not know how he feels, Pam, but it does seem you have contempt for him. I do not wish for your feelings about him (strongly suggesting he’s a hypocrite) to cloud the issue and divert attention away from the subject at hand.

    You said:

    “As far as the remark on Israel, there problem wasn’t their obsession with wealth but idolatry. As a matter of fact, God promised to bless them if they obeyed Him.”

    I understand their idolatry was their problem (which is why I said it “contributed” to their fall). Their idolatry was a HUGE problem, including their idolatry of pagan gods, their idolatry of wealth, their idolatry of the culture around them, etc. If their obsession with wealth was not a problem, then I am perplexed why God would provide such a warning in Deuteronomy 8:11-14.

    You said:

    “They have hope based on what God will do and not what they have done. Our hope is based on that as well.”

    Yes. I completely agree. No one here is saying otherwise, and neither is Platt, no matter how many times people keep accusing him of such.

    Dear FleeBabylon, Katy, Doreen:
    Thank you for your encouragement in this “controversial” topic, and thank you for understanding this series in light of my position on salvation, grace, and works.

  17. “If our salvation depends upon what we do – then it is Jesus plus… which becomes works based and this is NOT sound Biblical theology.”

    This statement is only partially true. From John the Baptist, to Jesus, to the apostles, down to Edwards and Whitfield all taught that what we do reflects if we are a new creation in Christ. Our doing does not save us, but it is fruit that reveals what type of tree we are. We would all question the salvation of a practicing homosexual who is also a drunkard. Yet we give ourselves a pass on greed. Paul says neither the greedy nor homosexuals and drunkards will inherit the kingdom. We as American christians judge ourselves by ourselves and we are not wise. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

  18. Dear Pilgrim,
    I am so sorry that when reading my email you feel the tone is comtempt or I feel that David Platt is a hypocrite. I never meant that at all. All that I meant to say was that we shouldn’t confuse our actions with our salvation. I absolutely believe that if we are born again that there is evidence of a changed life. The Holy Spirit living in us teaches us to say no to unrightousness.
    I guess with all of the confusion that some well known pastors are creating about the place of social justice in the life of a Christian, I am always wary.
    You would have to be very hard hearted not to feel the pain of poverty that our brothers and sisters in other countries and right here at home experience. All I wanted to say was that if we study the Scriptures we can see that we are called to be cheerful givers and not one who gives because someone accuses us of our Christianity being false if we don’t.
    As far as David Platt goes, my questions had to do with assuming that others won’t do something when he even says he can’t. I guess I feel that God is able to complete in us the good works He purposed for us to do before the foundation of the world. And He said He would.
    I know that your website defends and contends and with all of the apostasy today, we certainly need watchmen on the wall. So I thank you for all that you do.
    No offense intended.
    pam

  19. Thanks, Pam.

    I understand the divergence of opinions on Platt’s teaching (the book and the series). I know that Sola Sisters and Gary Gilley (all of whom I enjoy), do not wholeheartedly endorse the book. I appreciate Gilley’s honesty in his review of the book (even that he can only recommend Radical with caution).

    And instead of eviscerating Platt in his review, Gilley was fair enough to admit:

    “I appreciated Radical more because it is less condemnatory, legalistic and guilt-driven. In addition the true gospel is better explained and emphasized (pp. 30-36; 143-160). In fact Platt clearly remarks, “People’s greatest need in the world is Christ. To meet people’s temporary needs apart from serving their eternal spiritual need misses the point of holistic biblical giving” (p. 195).”

    I appreciated that.

    I also understand that there is potential for misuse or abuse in any good teaching. If anyone comes away from the book or this series thinking that Platt is advancing a works-righteousness salvation, then I think the error may fall on those “hearing” or “reading” his words incorrectly. And this may be attributed to coming to the book/series with preconceived notions.

    And to be honest, I also bring my preconceived notions to the table as well. I thoroughly enjoy books, sermons, lectures, etc. that challenge me, step on my toes, and ultimately help to prevent me from falling under the sweet spell of Laodicea. Platt’s book/series has been a help in this area. Where I may show a little grace in a poor presentation because I understand the bigger picture and appreciate the conviction, others may cling to those same issues–minus any grace–and use that to throw the baby out with the bathwater and thus, remove themselves from under the weight of conviction. Conviction helps me grow, finding ways to dodge conviction does not.

    And finally, for those who wish to better understand my view on the works vs faith issue, please refer to my piece If James Contradicted Paul, Then James Also Contradicted Himself.

  20. “”The God that answers by orphanages, let Him be Lord.” – Charles Spurgeon
    (This same spurgeon started several orphanages and homes for widows.)

    Imagine is David Platt had said that! The reformed bloggers would certainly have a field day.

    ‘No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money’. The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. -Luke 16:13-14

    I see the same type of ridicule on the sola sisters thread mentioned above (and a little bit here too).

    -Jim

  21. It has been my experience that when my toes get stepped on, I do not respond favorably.
    It is difficult to handle when pet sin(s) are exposed and touched on;David Platt does just that by exposing materialism and greed. We may all be guilty of this if we are truly honest.

    Thanks for posting this Pilgrim.

  22. It’s at minute 28 that Platt says if you don’t feed the hungry and clothe the naked, you go to hell. (from what Ali said…just showing the time he says it)

    Then at minute 33 he says that it is by grace alone and faith alone….but then emphasizes that our fruit shows if we are truly Christians or not. :)

    So, he is truly right-on. :) Terribly convicting but much-needed. Again, thank you Pilgrim for this series!

  23. Out of all the criticism I’ve seen about this series/book, one of the oddest attempted correlations that critics have tried to make is that Radical is like other “fads” like WWJD, the Prayer of Jabez, etc.

    What makes this so strange an argument is that following the Bible’s commands to care for the poor should never be a “fad” (perhaps, I guess, only in the West), and James certainly didn’t believe it was a “fad” when he penned his Epistle. He apparently viewed it as the logical extension of what Jesus already told us. If we love Jesus we will follow His commands (John 14:15 and John 15:14) and James merely said our lifestyles would prove whether or not we had true living faith or a false dead faith, including how we treat the poor (see again, James 2:14-17).

    Secondly, I can assure you, the people I know that follow every wind of doctrine (or cultural Christian “fads”) won’t touch Radical with a ten-foot pole. Where the Prayer of Jabez, The Shack, WWJD, etc. all appeal to their carnal flesh, Radical is the complete opposite. American Christians will eat up anything that promises to help prosper them, but they reject a message like Radical that tells them to forsake themselves and their precious possessions to further the gospel and the Kingdom of God.

    In fact, after reading the book I purchased a bunch of copies and passed them on. I have yet to hear back from even one of them about the book. To equate Radical with “fads” like the Purpose Driven Life, Your Best Life Now, etc, is a seriously poor argument.

    And finally, I encourage all of you to listen to part five of this series. In that message Platt answers all the false charges against him and his series, including:
    – Platt just guilts people into giving.
    – Platt thinks Christians who give more away are better than those who don’t give away as much.
    – Platt thinks the rich man was in Hell because he had money and Lazarus was in Heaven because he was poor.
    – Platt is teaching a works-righteousness gospel.

    He answers those false allegations and more in part five (and he does most of that in the first 14 and 1/2 minutes of the sermon). Part five is due to post on December 3rd.

  24. Let’s not forget the command in Luke 14:33, “whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple”. I am fond of MacArthur’s commentary on this verse-

    ‘only those willing to carefully assess the cost and invest all they have in His kingdom are worthy to enter. This speaks of something far more than mere abandonment of one’s material possessions; it is an absolute, unconditional surrender. His disciples were permitted to retain no privileges and make no demands. They were to safeguard no cherished sins, treasure no earthly possessions, and cling to no secret self indulgences. Their commitment to him must be without reservation’.

    I know I have quoted this before, but I think it bears repeating.Total surrender to Christ includes every area of our lives, including our finances.
    David Platt boldly proclaims this much needed truth, his book ‘radical’ is a worthy read.

  25. Pilgrim said:

    Where the Prayer of Jabez, The Shack, WWJD, etc. all appeal to their carnal flesh, Radical is the complete opposite. American Christians will eat up anything that promises to help prosper them, but they reject a message like Radical that tells them to forsake themselves and their precious possessions to further the gospel and the Kingdom of God.

    And to that I say: AMEN! :o)

  26. @The Pilgrim & Katy — What??!!?? You guys don’t like “The Prayer of Jabez”? Personally, I think that is one of the best thought-out, theologically sound books on demanding God answers our prayers and our wants that has been written in a very long time. It probably ranks right up there with “Your Best Life Now” and “Forty Days of Porpoise.”

    Ok, ok, please don’t hang me out to dry, I was just kidding!! Seriously, I have enjoyed both the book by Platt as well as this sermon series. Some very good reminders of what we need in our lives to bring us back to the reality and need of the gospel message being presented to the world around us. @The Pilgrim – keep ‘em coming!

    The Desert Pastor

  27. Pilgrim, excellent point…anyone who might suggest Radical and Purpose Driven Life/Jabez/Shack are in the same category as a “fad” is way off. There is no comparison. Radical, as you mention is a call to die to self where as the others mentioned are calls to uplift self and serve self. Huge distinction.

    I thought I’d weigh in again at this point regarding the conversation…I have been wrestling with my unease with the approach Platt uses. I really love David Platt and have listened to many of his sermons. Through wrestling, I finally came to realization of MY issue…and it goes like this:

    If we focus on our giving and living and actions and such we are only treating the symptoms of our lack of faith. I truly believe that we don’t need to give statistics of how much the church gives in comparison to this or that…I just heard the other day that people spend $300 million on Christmas themed pet clothes each year! Yikes! But what’s the point? Our spending, our giving, or humility, or Bible reading, our prayer, our service, the way we treat our wife and kids, how we treat our boss and employees, our willingness to drive across town to give a brother in need a ride, our hospitality, our…you name it are all SYMPTOMS of the same disease. The disease is of course that we don’t love Jesus enough!

    We don’t LOVE JESUS ENOUGH! If we did, there would be no to discuss the need to live radically…because we would already. The more we love Jesus the more we will live radical…always. Let’s look together at what Paul tells the Corinthians:

    1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV): [1] And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. [2] For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. [3] And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, [4] and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, [5] so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

    Paul came to them knowing nothing among them except Christ and Him Crucified…He decided to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified. This should be our charge and our goal.

    If we treat an illness with cough medicine we might not cough for a little while, but the illness is still there and unaffected…merely the symptoms change, they are covered over with external efforts.

    Or if our house is on fire and spray water on the flames the house will burn down…we have to spray water on the base of the fire and the fuel source to put the fire out.

    So, for me…yeah I’m convicted by it all. But any unrepentant unbeliever could be convicted as well. The difference is that deciding to know Christ and Him crucified will change everything for every believer. We must bring the reality of Christ’s love for them into the lukewarm believers heart! Into MY heart! I don’t love Christ enough. But being saturated with the Word of God and being awestruck daily with Christ’s love, sacrifice, salvation, and intercession will lead us to live radically. So, as I said. this is what didn’t sit right with me and I hope it is encouraging and uplifting.

    desperately needing more of Christ,
    -atg

  28. Is it possible to have a look at the questions that David encouraged his listeners to work through? I thought this message was excellent, and would like to spend some time thinking about the implications and looking further into these passages.

    Many thanks

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