Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This world is not your home.

“When we risk our lives to run after Christ, we discover the safety that is only found in his sovereignty, the security that is found only in his love, and the satisfaction that is found only in his presence. This is the eternally great reward, and we would be foolish to settle for anything else.”

As I have read this book I have been challenged to go beyond just knowing what the Bible says about how I should live. I have read sound Biblical teaching and practical advice about how to live out taking the Gospel seriously and taking it to the nations. I have been reminded that it is all too easy to be comfortable and to find my security in stuff. And I have been reminded of the urgency of making Christ known. But that doesn’t mean that taking to heart what David Platt sets out before us is easy. If we are to take his words seriously, and thereby take Jesus’ words seriously, it is a big change of heart and mind that he is asking the church to make, and he says that “The key is realizing – and believing – that this world is not your home.”

I do know what the Bible says. So why do I need reminding again and again? I have had access to years of education, great Bible teaching and training and so it can be easy to rely on my own efforts and talents. I live in a culture that mocks Christians and dissuades me from sharing my faith, so I need to be reminded that the world hates Jesus and it will hate me too. But despite what it might sometimes feel like, God is sovereign and "the reward of Christ also involves a greater security than this world can ever provide." My head knows most of the things that Platt writes about, but my heart and my life need to be transformed by them and there is no time to waste. I think I might have to read this book once a year!
In the last three chapters of the book Platt sets out to explain to us why we must urgently take the gospel to the world, what the risks and the rewards are, and he sets out a plan to make this happen which he calls “The Radical Experiment.” I warned you at the beginning that this book was going to make you feel uncomfortable and cause you to examine your priorities. I don’t assume that everyone who reads this book will feel able to sign up to all the steps that Platt proposes in the last chapter. We are all living in different situations and seasons of life. But surely we know that we need to pray for the world, read the Bible, give more money, spend time serving others and be a part of a community of believers?  This is Jesus, the gospel and the world we are talking about. This is serious. “To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay away from Jesus.”

According to Platt, some Christians have accepted the world’s thinking that religion is a matter of preference and that we therefore don’t need to share the gospel. Others may understand intellectually that Jesus is the only way to God, and yet they don’t do much about sharing it. To show why Christians cannot remain silent, Platt looks briefly at the book of Romans to explain what the Bible says about those who have not heard the gospel. And he reminds us that in God’s plan, He has chosen to use us to communicate the gospel. When we want to know God’s will for our lives, it is pretty clear, “The will of God is for you and me to give our lives urgently and recklessly to making the gospel and the glory of God known among all peoples.”

The American dream and the Australian dream promise so much and actually deliver so little. Platt urges the church to live lives that are so radically different from those around them. He asks “do we believe the reward found in Jesus is worth the risk of following him?” 

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