Last month I had the privilege of attending the 2010 Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Florida. While there I was able to hear several different people preach God’s Word, which is always a blessing. One of the men who preached was David Platt, Pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. David Platt is growing in notoriety as a young Pastor and, in my opinion, with good reason. In our last post, Adam masterfully laid out some reasons why Platt’s new book, Radical, shouldn’t sell a single copy. If you haven’t read what Adam wrote, I would encourage you to do so. The teaching that David Platt brought to the Southern Baptist Convention was quite insightful and has impacted me on many levels. It is for this reason that I felt compelled to share a brief summary of the text, along with some personal reflections as they pertain to the Gospel.
If you have a Bible handy (and as a side note, we should probably always have a Bible handy) you can open it up to the New Testament book of Romans (6th book in). In chapter 10 of Romans, the Apostle Paul is talking about God’s Word being a key component in the salvation equation. Beginning in verse 12, this is what God’s Word says:
(12) For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding riches for all who call on Him; (13) for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” (14) How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? (15) How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”
So, here was Platt’s line of thought on this passage of Scripture beginning at the end and working backwards. Question 1: Is God still sending His servants? Of course He is. People are answering God’s call every day to take the Gospel to the nations. Question 2: If God’s servants preach, will people hear? Well, the obvious answer is yes. Unless you are preaching alone in a solitary place or preaching to people who are hearing-impaired, then they will hear when you preach. Question 3: When people hear, will they believe? The answer is yes. Now, allow me to clarify. Not EVERYONE who hears will believe, but the Bible says in Revelation 7:9-10 “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'” This means that wherever you preach the Gospel, no matter what group of people you are addressing, someone is going to believe. We don’t know how many, but we do know that there will be some.
Question 4: When they believe, will they call? Absolutely. When you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He is the only pathway to heaven, just as the Scriptures say, then you will most definitely call on Him for your salvation. Question 5: When they call, will they be saved? Absolutely. This is practically a direct quote from Romans 10:13 which tells us that “whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
So…did we miss anything? Oh yes. There is that small matter of actually preaching the Gospel. The Bible shows us so clearly in this passage what God’s plan for the salvation of His people looks like. It goes something like this: God sends His servants. His servants preach the Gospel. People hear the Gospel. People believe in Jesus after hearing the Gospel. People call on Jesus for salvation. Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved. Now that’s a good plan. However, the one (and only) place where that plan can potentially break down is when God’s servants are disobedient and fail to preach the Gospel. This was the main point of Platt’s message to the Southern Baptist Convention. We MUST be obedient to the call of God and we MUST preach the Gospel at every opportunity.
In six days I will join a team of God’s servants and travel to three villages in the Andes Mountains of Peru. I am going there for the express purpose of preaching the Gospel to people who may have never heard it before. I am filled with nervous excitement about what God has sent me to do. So here’s the thing. I know that, according to God’s Word, everyone on this planet stands guilty and condemned before God because of sin. I know that, according to God’s Word, the only remedy for that sin is the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on our behalf on the cross. I know that, according to God’s Word, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Conversely, everyone who does not will be lost for eternity. Knowing all that to be true, why am I not filled with nervous excitement every day God allows me to wake up with breath in my lungs because I know I have another day’s worth of opportunities to share the Gospel with everyone who crosses my path?
The dominant theme of my thoughts these past few days has been one of severe conviction. I have been extremely negligent in my burden for sharing the Gospel. Now I am not foolish enough to believe that God is not sovereign enough to save someone because I was disobedient and didn’t share the Gospel when I had the opportunity. However, that is what it really boils down to: I am disobedient.
You see, God saved me for a purpose. My purpose is to glorify Him. One of the chief ways I can glorify Him is by pointing other people to Him. I am called and commissioned as an instrument in the hands of the Redeemer and I have a job to do. If I don’t do my job, God will find someone else to do it for me. The result is that I will miss out on some really cool stuff that God is doing and He was willing to use me to do it. I don’t want to fail Him. I don’t want to waste my life. Jesus is too good to keep to myself. And if God has saved you, you’re in the same boat. Don’t miss it. Serve Him. Love Him. Obey Him. Tell others about Him. Time is not guaranteed. Do it now.