Just recently, my church went through David Platt’s Bible study entitled “Counter Culture”. It is an excellent study that shows how Christians should be countering our culture when faced with things like poverty, same-sex marriage, racism, immigration, abortion, pornography, and orphans.
A description of the book is as follows:
Everywhere we turn, battle lines are being drawn – traditional marriage vs. gay marriage, pro-life vs. pro-choice, personal freedom vs. governmental protection. Seemingly overnight, culture has shifted to the point where right and wrong are no longer measured by universal truth but by popular opinion. And as difficult conversations about homosexuality, abortion and religious freedom continue to inject themselves into our workplace, our churches,, our schools and our homes, Christians everywhere are asking the same question: How are we suppose to respond to all this?
David Platt (current president of the International Mission Board & former pastor at The Church at Brook Hills) tackles these subjects head-on and takes us to God’s Word for the answers. Each subject is looked at through the lens of what God says in His Word vs. what the world is saying.
Each chapter is excellent and brings out some great points but I want to focus on several quotes from the last chapter entitled “The Most Urgent Need: The Gospel & The Unreached”.
David opens the book with asking three questions that each of us must answer for ourselves.
- Are we going to choose comfort for the cross?
- Are we going to settle for maintenance or sacrifice for mission?
- Will our lives be marked by indecisive minds or undivided hearts?
Platt is urging the church and Christians to answer these questions. He makes the following statement:
Are we going to follow Jesus? Not, are we going to bow our heads, say a prayer, read the Bible, go to church, and give a tithe while we get on with the rest of our lives? But, are we going to follow Jesus with all our lives, no matter where He leads us to go, how countercultural the task is, or what the cost may be for us, our families, and our churches?
He goes on to talk about choosing comfort over the cross:
When we observe our churches today, do they look like groups of people who gather with one another as they give their lives to spread the gospel among unreached people, impoverished communities, abandoned orphans, lonely widows, dying babies, sex slaves, and suffering brother and sisters around the world? Sadly, I don’t believe that’s the picture we portray. Instead, we spend the majority of our time sitting as spectators in services that cater to our comforts. Even in our giving to the church, we spend the majority of our money on places for us to meet, professionals to do the ministry, and programs designed around us and our kids.
I can’t help but wonder what might happen if we put aside our personal preferences, let go or our extra biblical (and in some cases unbiblical) traditions, lay down our cultural comforts, and organize ourselves solely and sacrificially around God’s Word and gospel mission.
David Platt then talks about are we settling for maintenance or are we willing to sacrifice for the mission:
Over the course of the book, we have considered massive physical needs in the world. Yet as we contemplate these needs, if we are not careful, we run the risk of ignoring people’s most pressing need. That need is not for water, food, family, freedom, safety, or equality. As urgent as all of these things are for men, women, and children around the world, they are surpassed in urgency by a much greater need. That need – the most urgent need – is for the gospel.
The central message of the church in the world, then, is proclaiming the gospel to the world.
Jesus Christ gave us marching orders, and they are clear. Proclaim the gospel – the good news of God’s great love for us in Christ – to every people group on the planet.
Platt concludes the chapter by explaining that too many people are marked by indecisive minds. He pleads with each of us to have undivided hearts toward the work of spending the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Following Jesus doesn’t just entail sacrificial abandonment of our lives: it requires supreme affection from our hearts.
What must be consistent for all of us, however, is that we pray, give and go as He leads, and as we do, that we proclaim the gospel with conviction, compassion, and courage.
My favorite quote from this chapter and one that I hope and pray that I live out is the following:
For if the gospel is true, and if our God is worthy of the praise of all people, then we must spend our lives and mobilize our churches for the spread of Christ’s love to unreached people groups all around the world. Jesus has not given us a commission to consider; He has given us a command to obey.