In this session of Secret Church 18, Pastor David Platt concludes the series on cults and counterfeit gospels by offering three exhortations based on the truths presented in the previous sessions. We must believe the gospel in our lives, guard the gospel in our churches, and spread the gospel in the world. The one true gospel of the one true God is worth giving our lives for. David Platt encourages Christians to boldly engage those who are members of a cult or believers in a counterfeit gospel with the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
- We Belong to Christ so We Should Share the Gospel with Those Who Believe a False Gospel
- Three Exhortations
- How Should We Share the Gospel with Those Who Believe a False Gospel?
- The Urgent Need to Share the Gospel
All that leads to a conclusion and a recap tonight.
With The One True Gospel and The One True God we looked at the real bill and then we looked at five counterfeit bills: Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholicism, The Prosperity Gospel, and Theological Liberalism.
What do we do now? As I was praying about where to land tonight, these two verses came to my mind: In 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, Paul is speaking about himself and Apollos as church planter missionaries. He says, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”
We Belong to Christ so We Should Share the Gospel with Those Who Believe a False Gospel
The word there for servant of Christ refers to the under-rower in a boat. Picture the lowest, galley slaves in a boat. Their only job is to do whatever the captain of the ship says to do. This is who we are. We are under-rowers. We belong to Christ.
We are stewards of the gospel and the mysteries of God. He has entrusted a gift to us. What is required of us?
It is not that we be found smart, cool, creative, innovative, fashionable, likeable, rich, famous, successful, or admirable—none of these things. It is required that we be found faithful with this gospel. That is where I want to exhort you.
First of all, if we are going to be faithful with this gospel, let’s believe it in our lives. Let’s believe the one true gospel of the One true God in our lives. Let’s live it out.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:16–18).
We have been saved by God’s staggering grace for God’s supreme glory!
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8–10).
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens (Psalm 96:4–5).
Let’s live it out.
Guard the Gospel at Your Church
Secondly, let’s guard the gospel in our churches. Pastors, church leaders, and church members—in whatever capacity you serve—guard this gospel. If you’re not a member of a church, Christian, become a member of a church. We’ll preach on that a couple of weeks from now in a whole other sermon.
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you (2 Timothy 1:13–14).
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ (Colossians 2:8).
Guard the gospel and believe in the gospel doctrine as it indeed is worth the defense of our lives! It’s worth it. Our lives are not spent in vain when they are spent believing the gospel. Apply it in your life and guard it in the church.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3–4).
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:54–58).
How Should We Share the Gospel with Those Who Believe a False Gospel?
Then, let’s spread the gospel in the world. Let’s give our lives spreading this gospel in the world.
Come with me to Brazil. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times. Think about the Amazon. I discovered there is a reason that not a lot of people live in the Amazon. There are a variety of creatures that are not particularly kind to our kind. We got on the river, went down through some tributaries into this very remote area, and picked up some guides from a tribe there. Then we walked into this canopy of trees and there were immediately a swarm of creatures that were ready to greet and eat us.
There are bugs you never knew existed before. One can spray, but not with Off!. I found out Off! is only 2% DEET. I found 100% DEET and sprayed that on me. These guys eat DEET for breakfast. It doesn’t matter. They found a way through us and started eating us.
Our guides could tell we were a little bothered by this and said, “Don’t worry, guys. The most dangerous animals here in the Amazon are asleep while we’re hiking during the day, such as the jaguars and the snakes.” This was comforting during the day, but then it hit us that the most dangerous animals come out at night when one is least conscious.
The nighttime came, which we were no longer looking forward to, and we got into hammocks, because we didn’t want to sleep on the ground. The hammock was hung between two trees. We crawled into the hammock with mosquito nets over us and behind our heads. We were laying there and it was totally dark. We couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces. We could hear all kinds of things though. The Amazon comes alive at night.
Then it hit me. “I’m grateful for this mosquito net that protects me from all these bugs, but it will do nothing when the jaguar comes my way.” It’s a sanctifying experience to go to sleep in the Amazon. I was praying in dependence on the Lord—as we should all the time—but I felt my dependence in a fresh way as I was thinking, “Lord, I would love to wake up in the morning.” I fell asleep and woke up greatly relieved—and thankful to the Lord.
This was the routine in the Amazon. At night, we would sit around with these guides. The first night, they shared some stories about their tribe and history. It was very fascinating. Then they asked us if we had anything to share, so we shared some stories.
Share the Gospel with Those Who Believe a False Gospel by Knowing Scripture
I shared on Mark 4-5 that night and talked about the God Who created the world and came to us in Jesus. There are back-to-back stories in Mark 4-5 about Jesus Who had power over demons, nature, diseases and death. I was telling these stories and these guys said, “We’ve never heard these stories before. Would you mind if we go back to our tribe and tell these stores?” I responded, “No. We don’t mind.”
We did this every night and they listened. One night, one of the guides said, “When you tell these stories about Jesus, it’s as if there is something in my heart. My heart is leaping.”
The last night, we walked through the gospel one more time and asked, “Do you have any questions?” Another guy said, “When I hear these stories about God and how we have sinned against Him, my heart feels very dirty. Is there a way for it to be clean?” We said, “Yes, there is.”
I want you to get a picture. These are two guys who represent about two billion people who have never even heard this true gospel we’ve talked about tonight. Nobody has ever told them. That can’t be tolerable for us. This gospel is too good. We have to think through—in our lives, families, and churches—how to get this gospel to people who have never heard it. We are in a world where they have been sold all kinds of things that are told about Christ but are not true. We have to get there because this gospel is good.
Now come with me to Sao Paolo in the south part of Brazil. Sao Paolo is a massive city and we come to this one part of the city that is an urban jungle. There’s an area called Cracolândia which stands for Crack-land. Basically, the government has taken a couple of city blocks to quarantine and contain people who are strung out on crack, complete with police on the outside. People can only get in if they are strung out on crack. That is why people are brought there. No one is allowed out as long as they are strung out on crack. Just imagine walking through a city square and everywhere you look, there are people of all ages totally strung out on crack. It is one of the most oppressive, depressing pictures I’ve ever seen.
There are Baptist brothers and sisters who have set up Christolandia—Land of Christ. They offer a breakfast every morning for people who are in Cracolândia, but before breakfast, they preach the gospel.
So, I stood and preached the gospel and said, “Christ is better. Trust in Christ and He will give you new life. Who wants new life?” A few people started coming forward and we talked with them. They then began a rehab process over the coming days. Over a course of many months, they went through this rehab process.
A few days later, I was in Christolandia on the border of Cracolândia at a conference where I was preaching. The people who led worship one night had gone through that rehab process. I want to show you a quick video. It’s not real well made because it was just taken on my phone. When you watch this video, I want you to know that every person you see here was totally strung out on crack just a few months before. Watch this with me.
Share the Gospel with Those Who Believe a False Gospel because It Is Powerful
This one true gospel of the One true God is good. This gospel is powerful. It has power to break down barriers. It can save any person from any cult and any person believing any counterfeit gospel. Let’s give our lives proclaiming it. Let’s obey Jesus’ command.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20).
The need is urgent and the time is now!
Do you not say, “There are yet four months, then comes the harvest”? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor (John 4:35–38).
Millions—billions—of people need to hear this good news. We don’t have a lot of time. You don’t have a lot of time. I don’t have a lot of time. “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14b). Don’t waste your life. Give and spend your life making the one true gospel of the One true God known to the ends of the earth in anticipation of the day when you and I will stand before Him.
What is our desire on that day? Is it that He will look at us and say, “Well done, good, smart, creative, popular or financially successful one?” No. It is that He will look at us and say, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’” (Matthew 25:21).
May it be so.
Session 9 Discussion Questions
Study Guide pp. 113-115
1. Why do you think people are attracted to cults and counterfeit gospels?
2. How is it loving to engage those who believe in cults and counterfeit gospels?
3. Read 1 Corinthians 4:1–2. In light of these verses, how should we view ourselves in terms of our place in the mission of God?
4. What does it mean to live with an eternal perspective?
5. How do churches guard the gospel?
6. Which cult or counterfeit gospel do you feel least equipped to identify or engage? How will you grow in this area?
7. What practical steps can you take to grow in your understanding of the gospel, the Trinity, and the person of Christ?
8. Why is the authority of Scripture such a critical issue when it comes to addressing false teaching?
9. What warnings do we see in Scripture against living our lives in vain?
10. Why is the church so important for the purity and proclamation of the gospel?