JACKSON, Tenn. – Oct. 13, 2008 – Desperation for God and his spirit must mark the lives of Christians and propel them to seek his glory above all things, David Platt told Union University students Oct. 8-10.
Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., was the keynote speaker for Union’s annual Faith in Practice week. He addressed the student body in three services during the week in a packed G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel.
“We have reduced (Jesus) to a poor, puny savior who is just begging for us to accept him,” Platt said in his first message. “Accept him. As if Jesus needed to be accepted by you or me. Jesus doesn’t need our acceptance. He is infinitely worthy of all the glory in the universe.
“We need him,” Platt continued. “We need Jesus for every breath we breathe.”
Preaching from Exodus 33 in his first sermon to the Union students Oct. 8, Platt asked them how desperate they were for God’s spirit in their lives. He said Christians must be desperate for that spirit because they have an assignment from God that they cannot fulfill on their own – reaching the nations with the gospel.
Unfortunately, Platt said, too often God is taken out of the gospel message. Instead of offering God himself, Christians sometimes are guilty of offering his gifts instead.
“Contrary to popular evangelistic invitations, you don’t come to Christ to get heaven,” Platt said. “You don’t come to Christ to get forgiveness. You don’t come to Christ to get abundant life or your best life. You come to Christ to get God.”
In his second address on Oct. 9, Platt asked the students how they knew God’s will for their life. He then pointed them to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, and reminded them that God’s will for every believer is to make disciples of others. That command should become the center of Christians’ lives, Platt said, by sharing the word of God with others.
“You and I have a responsibility to show others what following Christ looks like,” Platt said. “You can’t mass produce disciples.”
That means, among other things, that mature Christians must teach others how to pray, and how to study Scripture, Platt said. It also means that Christians must give themselves to global missions.
“Every saved person in this room owes the gospel to every lost person in the world,” he said.
In his final message at Union on Oct. 10, Platt continued his emphasis on the importance of Christians taking the gospel to the world. At the minimum, Platt said more than 4.5 billion people in the world are lost. Christians, therefore, do not have time to play games in church and in life.
To be obedient to Scripture, believers must choose the cross over their own comfort, Platt argued. They also must be willing to make sacrifices for the gospel, and should be characterized by undivided hearts rather than indecisive minds.
“As followers of Christ, we do not have a right to determine the direction of our lives,” Platt said. “We have sacrificed that right.”
Thus, when Christ commands men and women to follow him, for those who pledge their obedience, they must ask a question, Platt argued: “Is the glory of Christ worth it to us? Do we want his glory?”
This is why he said Christians should abandon their lives to make the gospel known -- because Christ’s glory is worth it. Jesus is worthy of the glory of the millions in the United States who are bound for hell because they have rejected God, and he is worthy of the glory of the 3,000 tribes in Africa who follow religions devoid of God.
“It’s why we go to Japan, and Laos and Vietnam, because there’s 350 million Buddhists in those countries who are following Buddhist rules and Buddhist regulations, and Jesus Christ – not Buddha – is worth every single one of their glory,” Platt said.
Platt’s messages are available online at www.uu.edu/audio.
Due to inclement weather, all Union campuses will be closed on Thursday, March 5, with all day and evening classes canceled.
The wellness center will open at 10 a.m. and close at 8 p.m., and the aquatic center will be open from 1-3 p.m.
Friday's Preview Day has been canceled.
Nathan Shoemaker's junior recital has been rescheduled for Thursday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Hartley Recital Hall.
Brewer Dining Hall will be open from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. for continuous service.