Taking on the World - Radical
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Taking on the World

Many Christians in our culture enjoy the blessings of God without ever asking why they have been blessed. Could it be that God has blessed us, both spiritually and physically, for a greater purpose than our own comfort? Based on Psalm 67, David Platt helps us connect God’s blessings with His mission in the world. This is a theme that runs from Genesis to Revelation.

Let me invite you to open to Psalm 67. It is good to be together in the Word.

Dios tenga piedad de nosotros y nos bendiga,
y haga resplandecer su rostro sobre nosotros; (Selah)
para que sea conocido en la tierra tu camino,
entre todas las naciones tu salvación.
Te den gracias los pueblos, oh Dios,
todos los pueblos te den gracias.
Alégrense y canten con júbilo las naciones,
porque tú juzgarás a los pueblos con equidad,
y guiarás a las naciones en la tierra. (Selah)
Te den gracias los pueblos, oh Dios,
todos los pueblos te den gracias.
La tierra ha dado su fruto;
Dios, nuestro Dios, nos bendice.
Dios nos bendice,
para que le teman todos los términos de la tierra.

Okay, so you’re “amen”-ing and clapping, but I’m guessing nobody understood a thing I just said, because…well, one of two things. Number one, you don’t know Spanish; or number two, you know Spanish really well, and I’ve just obliterated the Spanish language over the last minute or so.

I remember the first time I ever went to a Spanish-speaking country on a mission trip. I didn’t know any Spanish, but I thought, “Ah, I would love to be able to share the gospel in Spanish.” So I found a gospel presentation in Spanish and did my best to memorize it. I thought it was kind of cool to be in a country where literally the only thing I could communicate was the gospel. It was a little awkward at times. I would go up to people and say “Hola.” We’d look at each other in awkward silence and then I’d just start sharing the gospel. They would stop me along the way to ask questions or make comments, and I had no clue what they were saying. So I just looked at them—huh?—and I’d keep going with my gospel presentation.

So I realized I needed to learn some more Spanish. We were playing with kids during the day, and I wanted to tell some of these little guys that they were strong. So I asked somebody, “How do you say ‘strong’ in Spanish?” They said, “The Spanish word for strong is fuerte.” All day long I’d go up to the little guys, grab their muscles, and say, “You fuerte.” I’d make some motions, “Fuerte! Fuerte!” They would laugh. I found out later why they were laughing. As some of you know, the Spanish word for strong is fuerte, but I was saying puerta, which means door.

The next day I thought I’d try again. We were playing soccer with these kids and I wanted to tell some of the kids when they missed the goal, “Good try.” So I asked, “How do you say ‘Good try’?” And they said, “Say ‘Buen hecho’” —so good actor, good try. Okay, I could do that. So I’d go up to kids and whenever I saw they’d missed a goal I’d pull them aside and say, “Aw, buen noches.” I’d yell across the field, “Buen noches!” Obviously you know, “Buen noches” does not mean good actor or good try. It means good night. So every time the poor kid missed the goal, I’d pull them aside and go, “Good night, kid. Good night.” Or I’d yell it across the field.

All of this was compounded and made worse by the fact that I was leading this mission team. So when we got down there, I gathered everybody together and said, “Listen, we’re going to go out there today. People are going to start speaking Spanish to us and we need to be able to communicate that we don’t understand what they’re saying. Here’s what we need to say and we’re going to practice these lines together.” Then I gave them three lines. I said, “First, when somebody starts speaking Spanish to you, just look back at them and say, ‘No comprende.” Which I thought meant, “I don’t understand.” And then I said, “No habla Español.” Which I thought meant, “I don’t speak Spanish.” And then say, “Lo siento,” which means, “I’m sorry. So we practiced it together. “No comprende, No habla Español, Lo siento.”

We went out all day and our team was faithful to say the lines their teacher had taught them. But we all know when you change one small letter in any language, it changes the entire meaning of what you’ve communicated. So our team went out, people started speaking Spanish to us, we would look back at them and say, “No comprende,” which I had told them means “I don’t understand” or “I don’t comprehend.” But it actually means “You don’t understand. You don’t comprehend.” So “No comprendo” would have been much more appropriate. Similarly, “No habla Español”—instead of meaning “I don’t speak Spanish,” actually means “You don’t speak Spanish.” So all day long, people would come up to us, start speaking Spanish, and we would look at them and say, “You don’t understand. You don’t speak your own language. I’m sorry.” Then we walked away.

Somewhere along the way there are some basics in the Spanish language that I had missed. What I want to do today is to dive into a basic truth in Scripture that I’m convinced many people have completely missed across the church in our day. I put myself in this category. In my own life, growing up in the church, I totally missed this for many years. I remember like it was yesterday the first time I ever heard someone walk from cover to cover through Scripture and show this truth. It was one of those jaw-on-the-ground moments when I just sat there and realized, “This changes everything.” The truth I heard on that day totally changed the trajectory of my entire life. So I want to show this truth to you as part of this series, “Together and Forward.”

Last week I sought to show you that God wants this church to move together and forward trembling at His Word. Today, my aim is to show you that God wants this church to move together and forward taking on the world. It’s all over Scripture, but we’re going to start right in the middle, in Psalm 67. I’m simply going to read the first two verses:

May God be gracious to us and bless us

and make his face to shine upon us,

2 that your way may be known on earth,

your saving power among all nations.


There it is—one simple, significant truth. We’ll split it into two parts and here’s the first part of this fundamental truth.

God Desires to Bless Us

This truth alone is breathtaking to think about. Verse one: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us.” God desires to bless us with His grace. This is huge!

We live in a world where every other major religion claims that God’s blessing is earned by what we do for Him. If we do this or that, then we can receive the blessing of God. But not here in Psalm 67. Here, God’s blessing is not based on who we are or what we do. God’s blessing is based on Who He is and what He does for us by His grace.

So non-Christian friend, hear this, because this is the central message of the entire Bible. Every one of us in this gathering has sinned against God and we deserve to be separated from God for all of eternity. But God, in His grace, has made a way for us to be saved from our sin. He has sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sin, so that any one of us—no matter who we are and no matter what we have done—by simply trusting in His love for us, can be saved from all our sins forever. It’s the greatest news in all the world. God blesses us—not based on what we can do for Him, but based on what Christ has done for us. So we invite you to receive the grace of God today.

Then followers of Christ, I invite you to rest and rejoice in this grace. In a gathering full of broken and hurting people—men, women and students who have had people in your lives love you for a little while and then leave you, who have had people love you only to let you down—know this: the love of Almighty God will never leave you and will never let you down. God desires to bless you.

Now, we could stop here, because this is where we most often stop. God loves us. God blesses us. Stop. But that’s not where this psalm stops. Look at it. Psalm 67:1 doesn’t say, “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us,” period. No, that’s not a period—that’s a comma and there’s more that comes after that. There’s a purpose clause that comes after that.

So, here’s the deal: We could easily stop right here and say, “All right, we’ve talked about the blessing of God. We can just camp out there for the next few minutes—great sermon.” And we go home feeling good about the blessing of God. But that would miss the entire point of this text, because the text beckons us to say, “Okay, God desires to bless us—but why? Is there a purpose behind God’s blessing?” This is the question we fail to ask. We know we’ve experienced the blessing of God, but we don’t stop and ask, “Why?” The psalmist does though, giving the answer in verse two: “So that…” Purpose clause. Here’s why. “So that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” That’s the why. So here’s the truth—one simple, significant truth.

God Desires to Bless Us So That We Might Make His Glory Known in All Nations

God desires to bless us, but not to put a period on it and go home. God desires us to bless us so that we might make His glory known throughout all the nations. Then you’ve got the period. God desires to bless us so that we might make His way, His salvation, His power, His glory known in all the nations. This is a truth that penetrates every single page of the Bible. This is not just one text.

So here’s what I want to do: I want to give 20 Scriptures over the next couple minutes. We’re going to fly through these and won’t have time to turn to all of them. I want you to hear them, from cover to cover in Scripture. I want you to see this truth across all the Bible, starting in the very first chapter.

So the first Scripture is Genesis 1:26–28, talking about God’s creation of man and woman in His image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Then when you get to verse 28, the Bible says, “And God blessed them.” So here’s blessing. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” So from the very beginning of creation, God was blessing man and woman, made in His image—but it doesn’t stop there. He’s blessed them and then He told them, “Be fruitful and multiply.” In other words, “Fill the earth with My image, with My blessing. Make My glory known through My image in you all over the world. Multiply.” So that’s the very beginning of the Bible.

We know a couple chapters later sin enters the world and mars the image of God in man. But God in His mercy is still blessing sinners. Turn over to Genesis 12:1–3. God takes an idolator, a sinner named Abram, and He calls him to Himself. He says, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse.” Then look at verse three: “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So God says to Abram, “I’m going to bless you for the spread of My glory to all the peoples of the earth. You’re going to be a conduit of My blessing. It’s not intended to stop with you—it’s going to spread through you. You’re going to receive My grace, then you’re going to spread My glory to all the peoples of the earth.”

Abraham then has a son named Isaac. In Genesis 26:4, God says the same thing to Isaac: “Your offspring is going to be like the stars in the sky.” And then God says, “And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” He tells Isaac, “I’m going to bless you greatly so that all the nations of the earth will be blessed through you.”

Isaac has a son named Jacob. God says to Jacob in Genesis 28:14, “Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Now, that was a really stout promise, because Jacob was a single guy at that point. He didn’t even have a wife. This is good news for a single guy in a patriarchal culture—you’re going to have descendents like the dust of the earth. So why is God blessing him in this way? He says, “So that through you all the peoples of the earth will know My blessing.”

So from the very beginning of the Bible, we’re seeing this set up. God is doling out extravagent promises to His people of grace for the spread of His glory to all people, so that all the nations of the earth will know Him. So that’s the first book of the Bible.

Psalm 67 Shows How God Blesses Us For Spreading His Glory

Turn to the next book of the Bible—Exodus. Start asking the question: why? Why is God doing what He’s doing? Take Exodus 14 for an example. After God brings His people out of slavery in Egypt, He leads them to the edge of the Red Sea. Why? This was not a helpful military maneuver. He brings them to a dead end, where a huge body of water was in front of them and the Egyptian army was right behind them, about to overtake them. Why would God do that?

Well, in Exodus 14:4 He explains why. God says, “I’ve brought you to the edge of the Red Sea so that I might gain glory for Myself. And the Egyptians are going to know that I am the Lord.” When He splits that sea in half and sends His people through on dry land, and then when that water comes crashing down on the Egyptians, He says, “They’re going to know Who I am.” God blesses His people by splitting a sea in half—why? To gain glory for Himself and so that the nations might know that He is the Lord.

This truth is in all the Bible stories. Think about the stories we love to tell our kids. Think about Joshua and the battle of Jericho in Joshua 5–6. Remember at the end of Joshua 5, Joshua is off by himself looking at this huge city with its massive walls, trying to think through how they were going to take this city. Basically he had five military options available to him in that day. First, they could try to go over the walls. Two, they could try to go under the walls. Three, they could try to break through the walls. Four, they could send a decoy in, something like a Trojan horse. Or, five, they could starve the people inside the walls to make them come out. He had five military options available to him: over, under, through, send the decoy in, or starve them and make them come out.

Well, at the end of Joshua 5, God comes to him and says, “Here’s the battle plan.” Joshua’s thinking, “Over, under, through, decoy, starve them…”   But God says, “I want you to gather your trumpet players. They’re going to play some tunes for a few days, and then—here’s the climax—one day, after you play some songs, you’re going to shout. A real loud shout. And the walls will come down and you’ll take the city.” That’s unusual.

So if you’re Joshua, you want a second opinion at this point. Put yourself in his shoes. You’re about to go back to an army that has trained for war through an entire generation. They are ready for battle. As their leader,  you’re about to go to them, stand in front of them, and say, “Ah, hey guys, I know you’re ready for battle, but we’re going to hand this one to the music group.” No offense to the music guys, but I just don’t think that’s what everybody had in mind. So why? Why was God designing this battle plan for the first major city in the Promised Land?

Don’t miss it. He’s doing what He does throughout Scripture. God is orchestrating the events of His people so that in the end, only He gets the glory for what happens. Let me tell you what you don’t see in Joshua 6. When they take that city just like God had told them to take it, what you don’t see is all the Israelites going up to the trumpet players telling them what an incredible job they did that day. “Ralph, I’ve never heard you play that well. Harry, you hit that high C. It was awesome! We went running in.” No. You see the people on their faces saying, “Only God could have done this.” God is blessing the people for the spread of His glory.

Think about other stories. Think about Daniel 3—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Why? Why would God let three Hebrews boys be thrown into a fiery furnace for standing up in devotion for Him? Well, if we just tell that story and don’t get to the end, we miss the whole point. Daniel 3:28–29 tells us that as soon as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego come out of that fiery furnace without a drop of sweat on their brow, there’s a pagan king who declares the that God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is able to save His people and is worthy of glory throughout this land. God did that for His glory.

The same thing happens three chapters later in Daniel 6. Why would God let Daniel be thrown into a lions’ den for having a quiet time. That will make you think twice about having your quiet time. This is what God does—why? When we get to the end of the story, Daniel 6:25–26 tells us that as soon as Daniel comes out the next morning, not having been touched by those lions, another pagan king declares, “The God of Daniel deserves praise throughout this land.” God is blessing His people for the spread of His glory among all peoples, among all the nations.

Think about why Solomon was so wise. We know he was wise—why? First Kings 10:1–9 tells us he was wise so that a pagan queen, the Queen of Sheba, would come, see his wisdom and from her lips she gives glory to his God. It’s in the Psalms—right here where we read earlier and in other psalms we love. Think about Psalm 23—“The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” He leads and guides me in paths of righteousness—why? For His name’s sake. Why does God lead and guide you as a good Shepherd? He does it for the sake of His name, for the sake of His glory.

It’s in the Psalms. It’s also in the prophets. Think about Isaiah 43, one of the most beautiful pictures of God speaking to His people in all the Bible:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name, you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

and the flame shall not consume you.

For I am the Lord your God….

Because you are precious in my eyes,

and honored, and I love you,

Talk about the grace and blessing poured out on this sinful people. But then we get to verse seven, we ask the question: why? God says, “You are people whom I have created for My glory in the nations around you.”

Maybe one of the most explicit places in the prophets is in Ezekiel 36:22–23, when God is recounting what He has done and what He is about to do among His people. Listen closely to what  God says to His people:

It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

God literally says to His people, “When I bless you, it’s not for your sake. It’s for the sake of My name among the nations.” Now, is that just Old Testament? Well, turn to the New Testament and you’ll see the good news of God come to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Then where does every one of those gospel accounts end? With this command: “Take this grace, this blessing, and make it known in all the nations.” Matthew 28:18–20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Luke 24:44–49, Jesus died so that repentance and forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in all the nations.

Luke picks up this account in Acts 1:8, talking about blessing. Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” Talk about grace from God. Christian, the Holy Spirit is living inside of you. You have the power of God’s Spirit inside of you. Why? So that you might be a witness to His glory “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” His blessing is for the spread of His glory among the nations.

Paul knew this. In Galatians 1:15–16, he was talking about how Christ revealed Himself to Paul. Listen to how he describes it:God “was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that…” Why, Paul? Why was God pleased to reveal Jesus to you of all people, Paul? God “was pleased to reveal His Son in me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles” —among the nations. He knew that the reason he had come to Christ was to proclaim Christ to the nations. This is why in Romans 15:21–22 he said, “The driving ambition of my life is to make the saving power of Christ known where He has not been named.” Peter said the same thing in 2 Peter 3:9. The desire of God is for all people to know His love, His salvation.

Psalm 67 Connects God’s Blessing With His Purpose

We started this journey at the very beginning of the Bible—and now we’re at the end of the Bible. Revelation 7:9–10 tells us that all of history is headed toward the day when a multitude that no one can count—from every nation, tribe, tongue and people—will gather around the throne of our God, singing, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” God has given us a Book and has orchestrated all of history to end on the day when He is receiving glory, honor and praise for His grace from every tribe, tongue, people and nation. This is the final, ultimate, all-consuming glorious guaranteed global purpose of God. God blesses His people so that they might make His glory known among all nations. That’s the truth, cover to cover, throughout Scripture.

So then, here’s the question we must ask in light of that truth, as individuals  and in the church. Have we disconnected the blessing of God from the purpose of God? Have we disconnected God’s blessing from its intended purpose? You ask, “What does that mean? How have we done that?” Let me give you an example. I think if I were to walk into the average church in our country and ask the average person sitting in a seat to sum up the message of Christianity—what’s the message of Christianity?—I think the would probably be something along these lines: “Well, the message of Christianity is that God loves me enough to send His Son Jesus to die for me. That is the essence of Christianity.”

But what we’re seeing today is that this is not the essence of biblical Christianity. Biblical Christianity doesn’t say God loves me enough to send His Son Jesus to die for me—and that’s it.

Let’s do a little English class for a second. If “God loves me” is the essence of Christianity, then who is the object of Christianity? Me. Therefore Christianity is about me. When I come to church, it’s about me. It’s about music that fits my preferences. It’s about my life and my plans and my dreams and my family. It’s about my portfolio and my comfort, as well as what I think is best for my life.

But based on the authority of God’s Word, let me say that “God loves me” is not the essence of Christianity. Biblical Christianity does not say “God loves me,” and then puts a period on it and goes home. Biblical Christianity says, “God loves me so that His grace, His way, His salvation, His power, His glory might be made known in all nations. Now who’s the object of Christianity? God is. And everything centers on Him. Christianity is not ultimately about us. It’s about Him and Him being made known in all the nations.

Well, you might say, “Wait a minute. God blesses me so that His glory might be made known in all nations. So are you saying that God has an ulterior motive in blessing me, in loving me? Is that what you’re saying?” And I want to be crystal clear. That is not what I’m saying. That is what God is saying. God is saying from cover to cover in His Word that Hehas blessed you, He has saved you and loved you for a purpose, and that purpose is for His glory in all the world. God does all that He does for His glory among the nations. He’s written a Book that ends with Him getting glory from all the peoples of the world. God does all that He does for one ultimate purpose: to exalt Himself.

Does it rub you wrong that God lives to exalt Himself?  Then I would ask you this follow-up question: who else would you rather He exalt? You? Me? No—He’s God. At the very moment He chooses to exalt someone or something else, He would no longer be the God Who is worthy of all exaltation. And He is. Ladies and gentlemen, you are not at the center of God’s universe. I am not at the center of God’s universe. God is at the center of His universe and everything revolves around Him.

Now, I want to be careful here, because I want us to see that this does not take away from the magnitude of God’s love for you and me. Just think about it. How has God chosen to show His glory most clearly to the world? By sending His Son to save us from our sin. Praise be to God, this is the gospel: God glorifies Himself—how? By reconciling sinners like you and me to Himself, that we might know Him and enjoy Him as we glorify Him.

Based on the authority of God’s Word, I say to you: God has been gracious to this church. God has blessed this church. God’s face has shone upon this church. Why? So that His way, His salvation, His glory might be made known in all nations. So that this church, full of the blessing of God, might take on the world for the glory of God. Do you realize what this means? God has a global purpose for this local church.

Now, here’s another place I want to be careful, because this is the point where people might start to think, “Oh. Okay. So this is a missions sermon. Oh, yeah, like you’re president of a missions organization. Now I get it. I had totally bought this concept until now that I realize that of course you would preach about missions.” This is where I want to beg you: please do not walk out of this gathering today and say, “That was a good missions sermon.” Don’t even say it was a bad missions sermon. Good or bad—it doesn’t matter—just don’t call it a missions sermon. This is not a “missions sermon.”

Because if we do that then we’ve taken the very purpose of God in all of history and we’ve turned it into a compartmentalized program in the church for a few people who are called to that. “Oh, you’re passionate about the glory of God among the nations? Well, okay, you must be a missionary.” That is what I used to think too. When I was seeing this from cover to cover in God’s Word, learning more about the world and places where the gospel has not even gone yet, I thought, “This is a no-brainer. I need to go. I need to move to another nation.”

I remember when I was in seminary, my wife Heather and I were wrestling through that. There was one particular day when the then-president of the International Mission Board (who was in the position I’m in now) was coming to our campus. He was preaching in the chapel and I had been asked to take him to breakfast. So the night before I said to Heather, “I’m taking this leader of the missions organization to breakfast in the morning. I think I’m going to tell him all the things we’ve been talking about—like, we’re ready to go. Is that okay with you?” And she said, “Yes, that’s okay with me.”

So I go to breakfast the next morning and as soon as we sit down, I was pouring out my heart. “I see this in the Word. I see the need in the world. So my wife and I are ready to go. We’re ready to be missionaries. How do we start?” He looked back at me and for about 30 seconds, he encouraged me in what I just said. But then he spent the rest of breakfast talking to me about the need for pastors to shepherd local churches, to spend themselves for the spread of God’s global glory. That’s all he talked to me about.

I was so confused. I went home that night and Heather asked, “How did it go? Where are we going?”

I said, “I think the president of the International Mission Board just talked me out of becoming a missionary.”

She replied, “What did you say?”

I said, “I don’t know. Did I come across wrong? I just don’t know.”

I look back at that conversation and I am so thankful, because here’s what happened that day. This brother created a category in my mind that I don’t think was there before. Looking back, I don’t know why it wasn’t there. But it wasn’t there.  I have a feeling it’s not there for many people.

So here’s the category that he created for me: there’s a category, a type of person, who is passionate and zealous for the spread the gospel and God’s glory to all nations, but who does not become a missionary. There’s somebody like that who actually exists out there. Then I started thinking about it more and realized, “Well, of course there’s that category. It’s called a Christian.”

So if you’re passionate about the glory of God among the nations, you become a missionary?  And everybody else who doesn’t care about God’s glory among the nations just stays here? No, that makes no sense. The Spirit of Christ wants the world for Christ. Christian, do you have the Spirit of Christ in you? Then you want the world for Christ. You will be driven with zeal, with passion, to see the nations know He is God. This is not just for “missionaries.” This is for every single follower of Christ.

Ladies and gentlemen, global mission is not—definitively not—a program in the church. Global mission is the purpose of your life. Global mission is not a program in the church; it’s the reason we have breath. You have been given breath and life and salvation and a family and a job and resources and whatever else the Lord has given you for a reason: to spread His glory among the nations. Do you realize that? Do you see that in the Bible? It will change the way you look at your life, your family, your job, your resources—and the church.

You’ll realize that every one of us in this gathering, and all of us together in the church, has a choice. We have a choice. We can coast through this life in a nice comfortable Christian spin on the American Dream, and totally miss the purpose for which we are here—or we can lay down our lives, compelled by the blessing of God and we can say, “Lord, however You want use my life, use my family, use my time, use my money, use my gifts, use my talents, use this church to make Your glory known among the nations.” I’m not assuming that will look the same for all of us. Without question, it will look different for each of us.

Last night, before the gathering, I was talking with a member of this church who is using his profession to get the gospel to a place where it’s really hard to take the gospel. I just sat there with joy, thinking about the sovereign creativity of God and the way He leads people in different ways. Do not underestimate for a second the part God has for you, Christian, to play in the spread of His glory among the nations. Don’t underestimate the role God has for this church to play, particularly in a part of the world where God has so evidently brought the nations to you. God has brought the nations to Metro D.C., so live for the glory of God among the nations right here, then for the glory of God in the nations far from here. This is God’s design for McLean Bible Church: every single member working together with zeal, passion and drive to take all the grace God has given and use it for all His glory in all the world.

Psalm 67 Shows How God Can Influence Our Culture

So let me close with this. You and I know this truth goes completely against the grain of everything in our culture. Everything in our culture screams, “Do what’s best for you right where you live, not what’s best for God and His glory in the nations.” I read an article one day in a magazine about how our culture defines success in the world. Let me share an excerpt of it with you. It’s about retirement. The article tells retirees that what’s most important is “getting a life.”

Whatever it is—work, faith, family, hobbies or just puttering around the yard—retirees need to find those things, or something new, that matters most to them to sustain themselves in retirement. It is important to know yourself and have certain passions you can indulge.

Example in Miami: Robert credits a willingness to be flexible for a comfortable retirement. At 66, he retired almost two years ago. He and his wife Pat have a spacious home in a Miami suberb where real estate values have more than doubled since they bought. They have season tickets to the Miami Dolphins (for him) and the Miami Heat (for her).

He plays golf three times a week and they have a time-share condo in St. Martin. Even his health seems to be better, largely because he has more time to walk and play golf. Pat’s no slouch either, having taken cooking, sewing, tennis and golf classes, as well as doing some modeling in her retirement.

“You take what the fates give you,” Robert says. “I consider myself a very blessed person.”

That’s success, according to our culture  and there are Christian spins on that we’ve bought into across the church. But brothers and sisters, we’ve got to ask the question: when we stand before God in heaven to give an account for what we have done with the blessing He has poured out on us, what are we going to say? “You want to check my portfolio?” “God, did You catch my golf game?” “Did you see me play tennis?” “Did you see all the food I ate after those cooking classes?”

Just two weeks after reading that magazine article, I read another article about success in the same magazine. The first article was pretty long. The second one was pretty short. Here’s an excerpt of it:

Paul and Loretta Burnam said they always expected a happy ending, even though their son and his wife had been held hostage by extreme Muslims in a particular country for more than a year. But just after 3:00 a.m. last Friday, they discovered that wasn’t to be. Their son Martin, 42, was killed during a rescue attempt. His wife, Gracia, 43, was wounded during the gun battle that ensued, but freed. The couple were Kansas missionaries. It was seen and reported that Martin Burnam told his wife two days before he died that he had a premonition something would happen. And he wrote a letter saying goodbye to his children, ages 11, 12 and 15. Martin Burnam, shot and killed on the mission field in this particular country.

Now, you might think, “Wait a minute, David. I thought you said this story was also about success. How can you say that someone who was shot and killed by Muslim extremists is a success?” Here’s how I can say that. Martin Burnam breathed his last breath in that particular country and the very next instant he was transformed into the presence of Jesus Christ. And there he bowed before Him and began to sing praises, giving Him the glory He is due, in an eternal joy that you and I in this gathering cannot even begin to fathom.

Psalm 67 Calls On His Followers To Spread His Glory Amongst The Nations

Do you know where Martin Burnam is today? He’s in the same place. You know where Martin Burnam is going to be two billion years from now? Sure, he wasn’t able to walk and play golf and take cooking classes. But two billion years from now, he’s going to be in the same place, experiencing the same joy, because he connected the blessing of God with the purpose of God.

Now, the Bible is not saying by any means that every person should move overseas and die for the spread of the gospel. But the Bible is saying that every follower of Christ has been created, called and blessed by God for one all-consuming, all-captivating, all-encompassing purpose: to live, give, pray, go, send and sacrifice for the spread of God’s glory among all the nations. No one in this room will regret for a minute in heaven living and dying for that purpose on earth.

In light of this word that I pray I’ve faithfully communicated, I want to ask you to take a minute to reflect on the grace and blessing of God in your life. How has God blessed you? I hope your heart immediately goes to salvation, for saving you from your sin. If you have never trusted in Jesus to save you from your sin, I invite to do that now—even right now in this moment in your heart. Just say, “I receive Your grace and Your forgiveness of all my sin.” When you do—and for all who have—reflect on that grace, then reflect on all the other ways He has blessed you.

Then with all of that in mind, would you say to Him—individually and in families and then across this church—would you say to Him, “God, all this grace You have givenwe put it all before You and we ask that You would use it all for Your glory among the nations. Use my life. Use my family.” I’m not assuming by any means that you know exactly what that means, but just put it on the table. “Here’s my life. Here’s my family. Here are all the gifts You’ve given me, all the resources I have, all the gifts I have. Use me for the spread of Your glory among the nations. Help me to connect Your blessing with Your purpose.”

I am confident God is pleased with those kinds of prayers being lifted up across McLean right now and that He will answer those prayers in ways we could not even begin to imagine. So I want to give you just a moment individually and together as a church to say, “Here are our lives. With all the grace You’ve given us, we want to be used for Your glory among the nations.” I want to invite you to spend time in prayer for a minute about these truths.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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