Great Commission Lectures and Insights from Romans 9: We Don’t Have Time to Play Games in Church or With Our Lives

I have been hearing for sometime about the preaching of David Platt. A friend of mine said of Platt that he knows of no one who preaches with such urgency and passion. I have to say the first time I heard him was last week in a lecture series that he preached at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and he did not disappoint, but I have to say that is because he treated The Word with such gravity. He spoke on “The Presence of Christ in the Great Commission” as well as “The Authority of Christ in the Great Commission.”

I will only mention some highlights that jumped out to me because I think you need to listen to both of these for yourself. His first lecture was out of Exodus 33 pushing us to be a church that is desperate for the presence of the Spirit. He says that “it is dangerously possible to carry on with means and programs of our church and to do them all smoothly… and realize that the Holy Spirit was absent from the process. We have made a deadly mistake… I am convinced the greatest hindrance to the advancement of the gospel to the nations may be the attempt of the church of God to do the work of God apart from the Spirit of God… Are we as the church… dependent on ourselves or are we desperate for His Spirit?”

He speaks to the weakness of our faith and some of our evangelism techniques that say, “Enjoy the promises… pray this superstitious prayer… and you’ll get best life. You’ll get heaven, but you don’t have to live with him as your savior and your lord and your God, and our churches are filled with people who are living far from the presence of God, saying well I prayed the prayer.” He says of this “Blasphemy, you don’t go to heaven if you don’t want God… We have taken God out of evangelism and offered His gifts instead.” That is powerful.

He moves on to say that we get to have the privilege of the Spirit indwelling us; we get the gift that was reserved only for Moses in Exodus 33. If this is true, Platt says “then how in the world can we get so busy that we would neglect this privilege, how can the books appeal to us so much when the prayer closet beckons us to the greatest privilege of all.” He quotes Samuel Chadwick on prayer, “Satan fears nothing from prayerless studies… he laughs at our toil, he mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.” Platt instructs that if we want to see the glory of God then we have to be a people that are desperate for His Spirit.

On Thursday of that week, he preached from Romans 9:1-6, he says that if we understand Romans 1-8 we are responsible for Romans 9. If we really believe The Book then the ramifications are huge, there are multitudes that stand outside of Christ. He explains his main thesis, that we cannot know and understand Good Gospel Theology without having an Urgent Missiology. If we rightly understand Romans 1-8 then we understand that 2/3 of the world is right now “storing up wrath against themselves for the day of God’s Wrath.” A quarter of these have never heard the name of Jesus. He says, “If this is true then we don’t have time to play games in church, we don’t have time to play games with our lives… We don’t have time to spend our resources on ourselves and indulge in our stuff, we don’t have time to sit back and say ‘I don’t know if I am called to foreign missions, I’m just trying to find the will of God for my life’.”

Platt says about the Will of God, “It’s not lost, it’s not lost, its clear.” He explains that there are some Bedouins in Algeria, over a million, 100% lost with no translation of the scripture and no missionary and yet we say, “What do you want me to do God?” He says powerfully, “God raise up a church who no longer waits for a tingly feeling to go down our spine to causes us to rise up and do what God has already called us to do, where did we get the idea that missions is an optional program in the church for faithful few?” Even if we are called to pastor, it is for the express purpose to take the gospel to the nations. He speaks of how Paul says he is obligated to preach this gospel, and yet “we have taken ourselves out from under the weight of their lostness… If we turn a deaf ear to the nations we miss the whole point of Christianity.”

He finishes by pointing out that Paul is in agony pleading for his brothers, so much so, that he is willing to be cut off for the sake of his brothers and God’s glory. Paul says that he wishes that he himself “were accursed” so his brothers of the flesh could obtain salvation and that they could see God’s supremacy. Therefore, Platt concludes saying “this is why we go to the urban centers of our nation…to Africa…to Japan and Laos and Vietnam… India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh… China and North Korea… and 1.3 billion Muslims… cause Jesus Christ died on a cross, rose from the grave and He is Lord over all.”

The week prior Dr. Russell Moore preached on Romans 9 as well. He preached the Great Commission theme through a sermon entitled “Predestined to What? Why the Doctrine of Election is So Hard to Believe.” Dr. Moore is one of my favorite preachers in all of SBC life, and this message is particularly powerful and convicting. Dr. Moore says, “When you see in your own life what God through his mercy has rescued you from, then you see what is at stake.” When we understand this, we should have anguish for the salvation of the nations. Moore continues, “If you understand the doctrine of election then you understand that there is not a kind of person who is likely to accept the gospel… Gentiles and Jews don’t like it, none of us are the kind of people who are likely to believe the gospel. The power of God comes through the gospel so that those who previously who were not the children of God are now called the sons of the Living God, Romans chapter 9 is not about God keeping people out of the Kingdom, Romans chapter 9 is a missionary text… God will build for the fame of Christ, a people.”

He continues, “There are some of you who are afraid to go share the gospel with someone on Bardstown Road because of how many piercings and tattoos he has” and he says, “You can prance in your Geneva gown all you want to, you’re a Pelagian.” Dr. Moore gets to the heart of the matter, “If you are not more evangelistic now than you were when you came to understand the doctrine of election you never understood the doctrine of election.” Moore concludes with a call for Great Commission fervor rooted in a confidence in God, “God created Sweden for Jesus… God created Russia for Jesus.”

Both of these men are telling us “Our God is mighty to save.” These three sermons are must hears. May we heed these lessons going forward confident in our evangelism and urgent about the mission, longing for the presence of the Spirit in our lives, trusting in the sovereignty of God, and the supremacy of the Christ because “it is not as though the word of God has failed.”