SBTS chapel live blog: David Platt — Luke 9:57-62
Preacher: David Platt, lead pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala.
Text/title: Luke 9:57-62
Platt said he was humbled and overwhelmed to open the Word of God and preach. He said he was humbled and overwhelmed to lead Christ's church.
6.8 billion people in the world. The most liberal estimates say that 1/3 of those are Christians. Even with those estimates that would leave 4.5 billion people in the world without Christ and on their way to an eternal hell.
Along with this great spiritual need comes physical need. 26,000 children will die today of either starvation or a preventable disease.
If these things are true, then we do not have time to play games with our lives or His church. We do not have time to waste our lives and ministries on the American Dream. We have a master that demands radical sacrifice and a mission that demands radical urgency.
Isn't this text odd? Doesn't it seem like Jesus is trying to prevent these people from following Him. Isn't this odd? We will do everything we can to get people to follow Jesus. But whenever large crowds were following Jesus, He would turn around and say things like, "Whoever would follow after me must hate his father and mother." He would turn around and say things like, "Pick up your cross and follow me." Pick up your instrument of torture and follow me.
Jesus has said these things to us. He has told us to give up everything we have. He has told us to love Him in a way that makes our closest relationships in the world look like hate compared to our love for Him.
But we begin to twist this picture and redefine Christianity according to our thoughts and our ideas. We twist Jesus into a Jesus who wants us to avoid danger altogether. The problem is when we do this we are twisting Jesus into a white, middle class American man, and when we worship this Jesus, we are not worshipping Jesus, we are worshipping ourselves.
1. Are we going to choose comfort or the cross? (Luke 9:57-58)
In Luke 9:51, the book of Luke shifts. There Jesus sets His face to go to Jerusalem.
You do not follow Jesus to advance yourself. Jesus is the end, in and of Himself. When you follow Jesus, He is all you have. You may not even have the basic need of shelter. You find your sufficiency in Christ.
And I look at my life and I see how tempted I am at every turn to use Jesus Christ to advance myself and to attain more comforts in this world.
My wife and I were living in New Orleans and our house went under water and we lost everything that we had. It was a sanctifying time for me and my wife. What we discovered was an incredibly satisfying place. We were stripped of the comforts of this world in order to find our sufficiency in Christ.
But it didn't take long. I was invited to preach in a large church in Birmingham and a year later we had more than we ever had. From the world's perspective, we were living a dream. But inside I had sinking feeling that I was losing what it meant to trust in the sufficiency of Christ.
I went to Cuba recently. When you go to Cuba, you don't see the church as buildings. You can't find the church in buildings. You find the church in people. I went to Cuba and I met a pastor who had planted 60 churches. 60 churches. I asked him how he did it. He looked and me and he said, "We just make disciples of Jesus."
Jesus is enough for him. He is enough for our brothers and sisters in underground locations. Imagine going to a location at night dressed in dark clothes. You go to gather at the risk of your life. You enter a little room with 60 believers crammed in. There is one little light bulb hanging in the room and they say to you, "Will you preach for at least two hours?"
These people have gotten the idea that all you need is the Spirit of God and the Word of God with the people of God to carry out the mission of God and they are right.
We are coming up on the time when we set the budget for the next year. I hate budget time. We evaluated our budget and I said, "We have got to cut stuff." We cut our worship budget by 83%.
2. Are we going to settle for maintenance or are we going to sacrifice for mission? (Luke 9:59-60)
There is a man who wants to go back and bury his father. Jesus says to him, "Leave the dead to bury the dead."
I got a call one day telling me that my dad had died. I cannot imagine not going back to do his funeral. What is Jesus saying? Jesus is saying that when we follow after Him, there is no higher priority in our lives. There is no higher obligation and responsibility on our lives than to advance the name of Jesus.
There is an urgency that resounds here that beckons us to leave behind the maintenance, business-as-usual mentality in the church to move ahead in advancing the kingdom of God to the ends of the earth.
We cannot settle for maintenance in the church. We cannot settle for a Christianity that designs endless programs that revolve around us. We cannot see missions as a program. We were created to take the Gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth. This consumes us, this saturates us, this motivates us, whatever position we have, we are doing it to proclaim the Kingdom of God to the ends of the earth. Every single follower of Christ. I want the people that God has entrusted me to lead to see that there is a grand purpose of God for their lives. They were created to impact the nations for the glory of God.
Does this mean we are all supposed to go overseas? Many, but not all. Every job we have is intended for one thing: to proclaim the Gospel to the end of the earth.
3. Are our lives and ministries going to be marked by indecisive minds or undivided hearts? (Luke 9:61-62)
The last guy Jesus talks to wants to go back and talk to his family before he goes. This is the same thing we would want to do. Jesus said if you follow after me, there is no looking back. Our hearts are the issue. Where we find our delight, joy and satisfaction is the issue.
Isn't this why those believers in those house churches are in those churches for hours at a time? Isn't this why our brothers and sisters in the Sudan are dancing in war-torn villages in the midst of persecution?
Does Jesus have our affections? Do we believe that He is supremely satisfying? Will we let go of everything that we have and go and follow Jesus?
Brothers and sisters, we have Someone worth losing everything for. Are we willing to forsake the pleasures, pursuits and stuff of this world to forsake everything to follow Him?
Let's lead people to see another way to live. The cost of discipleship is great, but the cost of non-discipleship is far, far, far greater. The cost of non-discipleship is great for the lost and the poor around us and it is great for us who would never know the supreme satisfaction that is found in following Christ.