JACKSON, Tenn. – Oct. 30, 2009 – Students should pursue the kingdom of Christ by giving up the American dream and living a radical life proclaiming Christ’s glory to a needy world, David Platt told Union University students Oct. 21- 23.
Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., was the keynote speaker for Union’s annual Faith in Practice week. He presented 10 truths to the student body in three services held in the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel.
Jesus’ call to salvation demands radical surrender, involves radical commands and includes radical grace, Platt said in his first message.
“When you come to Christ for salvation you lose the right -- forfeit, surrender the right -- to determine the direction of your life and that includes the direction of your finances,” Platt said
In Mark 10, a rich man is commanded five things from Jesus: “Go. Sell. Give. Come. Follow,” Platt said. “(Jesus) gives commands, and when he speaks he is not giving options to consider. He is giving us commands to obey.”
“Is this a dangerous way to live?” Platt asked. “According to the world, yes. It’s crazy. But according to Christ, this is life.”
Platt told students that when their heart is attached to Christ and when they trust and love him, “It just makes sense to abandon the pursuits of this world and the pleasures of this world, because Christ is all-satisfying and Christ is all-trustworthy.”
In his second address, Platt said Christians need to see the gospel, not guilt, as the primary motivation for giving to the poor.
“God, to whom the mountains bow down, who calls the stars by name, to whom the wind and waves give absolute obedience, he is your father who delights in his children,” Platt said.
“So, when you take steps that are risky in the culture around you, you have no reason to be afraid,” Platt said according to Mark 10. “You have a shepherd who protects you, a father who delights in you and then he’s pleased to give you the kingdom.”
The text in Mark 10 indicates that the riches in the young man’s life were stealing his affections from God, Platt said.
“We need to realize that God has made us his temple to be a display of his glory to the ends of the earth, and we need to spend our lives making the glory of Christ known in the midst of urgent spiritual and physical need around us,” Platt said.
Platt argued that the nature of possessions can be deadly and dangerous, but that Jesus wasn’t saying wealth is inherently bad.
“It’s the misuse of wealth or hoarding wealth in the neglect of others,” Platt said. “Our possessions can subtly take away the perspective that God desires for us to have in this world.”
Though Christ says to sell everything and give to the poor, the purpose of doing so is to build up treasures in heaven, Platt said. He told students to “make tons of money” and to give themselves to “building up treasures in heaven around the world.”
If Christians instead chose to live comfortable lives chasing the American dream, Platt said that decision would be costly to them but more costly – eternally costly -- for the billion and a half people worldwide who have not and would not hear the gospel.
“Our lives will count on earth when our eyes are fixed on heaven,” Platt said. “We don’t belong here. Live like you’re out of place.”
He predicted that when Christians encounter eternity, they will wish they had “lived more radically for the day when every tribe and every people and language and every nation would bow around the throne of Christ to sing his praises. …
“Brothers and sisters, that is a dream worth living for,” Platt said. “That is a dream worth dying for, and I want to challenge you to do just that.”
Audio from all three of Platt's addresses is available at www.uu.edu/audio.
By Megan Thompson (’12)