Here are some highlights from David Platt’s excellent RADICAL:
We may have loved a god that we made up in our minds, but the God of the Bible, we hate.
We realize that we are saved not just to be forgiven of our sins or to be assured of our eternity in heaven, but we are saved to know God. So we yearn for him. We want him so much that we abandon everything else to experience him. This is the only proper response to the revelation of God in the gospel.
This is why you and I cannot settle for anything less than a God-centered, Christ-exalting, self-denying gospel.
I am part of a system that has created a whole host of means and methods, plans and strategies for doing church that require little if any power from God.
But what is strangely lacking in the picture of performances, personalities, programs, and professionals is desperation for the power of God. God’s power is at best an add-on to our strategies. I am frightened by the reality that the church I lead can carry on most of our activities smoothly, efficiently, even successfully, never realizing that the Holy Spirit of God is virtually absent from the picture.
We can so easily deceive ourselves, mistaking the presence of physical bodies in a crowd for the existence of spiritual life in a community.
God delights in using ordinary Christians who come to the end of themselves and choose to trust in his extraordinary provision. He stands ready to allocate his power to all who are radically dependent on him and radically devoted to making much of him.
The message of biblical Christianity is not “God loves me, period,” as if we were the object of our own faith. The message of biblical Christianity is “God loves me so that I might make him—his ways, his salvation, his glory, and his greatness—known among all nations.” Now God is the object of our faith, and Christianity centers around him. We are not the end of the gospel; God is. God centers on himself, even in our salvation.
And to disconnect God’s blessing from God’s global purpose is to spiral downward into an unbiblical, self-saturated Christianity that misses the point of God’s grace.
But if we are not careful, we will be tempted to make exceptions. We will be tempted to adopt spiritual smoke screens and embrace national comforts that excuse us from the global plan of Christ. And in the process we will find ourselves settling for lesser plans that the culture around us—and even the church around us—deems more admirable, more manageable, and more comfortable.
In the process we have unnecessarily (and unbiblically) drawn a line of distinction, assigning the obligations of Christianity to a few while keeping the privileges of Christianity for us all.
Every saved person this side of heaven owes the gospel to every lost person this side of hell.
And what if anything less than passionate involvement in global mission is actually selling God short by frustrating the very purpose for which he created us?
One of the unintended consequences of contemporary church strategies that revolve around performances, places, programs, and professionals is that somewhere along the way people get left out of the picture.
My mind tends to wander toward grandiose dreams and intricate strategies, and I’m struck when I see Jesus simply, intentionally, systematically, patiently walking alongside twelve men. Jesus reminds me that disciples are not mass-produced. Disciples of Jesus—genuine, committed, self-sacrificing followers of Christ—are not made overnight. Making disciples is not an easy process. It is trying. It is messy It is slow, tedious, even painful at times. It is all these things because it is relational. Jesus has not given us an effortless step-by-step formula for impacting nations for his glory. He has given us people,
Disciple making is not about a program or an event but about a relationship.
They were not listening to receive but to reproduce.
Now the world is our focus, and we gauge success in the church not on the hundreds or thousands whom we can get into our buildings but on the hundreds or thousands who are leaving our buildings to take on the world with the disciples they are making.
Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time for waiting is past!… Should such men as we fear? Before the whole world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God,… and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts. We will a thousand times sooner die trusting only in our God than live trusting in man. And when we come to this position the battle is already won, and the end of the glorious campaign in sight. We will have the real Holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring faith and works for Jesus Christ.
The key is realizing—and believing—that this world is not your home.
When we risk our lives to run after Christ, we discover the safety that is found only in his sovereignty, the security that is found only in his love, and the satisfaction that is found only in his presence.
Following Christ is not sacrificial as much as it is smart.