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9 thoughts on “David Platt: The Gospel Demands Radical Generosity”

  1. J.D. Hawg says:

    You might want to place a WARNING label on this message. As Dr. Platt can attest, it led several in his church to sell their homes and downsize, including himself, in order to free up more funds for the work of the Kingdom. God used it to convict me and my wife, too. We sold in February and bought in September. We were able to cut our mortgage payment by over 50% and we’re currently praying as to how God can use that money for His glory.

  2. Donovan says:

    Powerful truth. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Michael Boyd says:

    I have been reading and listening on the subject Platt discusses in this sermon consistently for one year now and as Platt say’s it was a big blind spot in his life and theology and is also in the church in general, and I’ve learned as I’ve studied the subject that it was for me too. I found, as Platt says happened to himself, that it actually caused me to have a “crisis of faith” because of how sobering it was to see how vastly different my life was from what the Bible says it should be in this area. It concerns me because it would seem we should all know what the Bible says on this topic and be living our lives consistently with it, but I think we do not- it’s definitely a big blind spot. We know our Reformed theology and other areas of theology well, but not what the Bible teaches in this area, and it’s an area of theology that should really have a major impact on the way we believe and live our lives as Christians, especially as American ones who are the rich the Bible talks about (Matt 25, James, 1 John 3, and many others!). I think that much of the church is more American than we’re Christian. There is no difference or “counter-cultureness” between the way we live and the way the lost live. And this time of year it really tells on us! What Platt say’s in this sermon needs to be seriously considered and grappled with by many of us (some for the first time) and we need to study on this subject further. I think it is an area of greatly needed reform in the church. We hear all about Tim Keller’s recent books, but nothing of his first book in which he took up this topic called “Ministries of Mercy”, which is an excellent treatment of this subject. Check out Keller’s paper called “The Gospel and the Poor” he wrote this past summer as well. Others who have taught on this subject include John Piper, Francis Chan, Matt Chandler (Luke sermons), Russell Moore (adoption book applicable to this area), Randy Alcorn and others. I think the last four sermons of David Platt’s “Radical” series of sermon pretty much says it all, and I would add the applicable James sermons. I live in the area where Platt’s church is, and after hearing the “Radical” series of sermons last April online and now having heard his whole James series in person along with seeing how the church is being doers of the Word in this area am on the verge of becoming a member at The Church at Brook Hills. If you’ve not heard David Platt, I would strongly recommend you do.

  4. Tough stuff. A powerful message that needs digesting.

    I was trying to rationalise what he was saying, asking whether his focus was legitimate, whether the balance of his sermon was justified.

    I recognise that in doing that, I could also be attempting to justify the “this is not a message for me” attitude my heart often inclines to.

    I would add that the extent to which we understand the gospel is the extent to which we will give out of gratitude, and not out of guilt. The final passage where he talks about “Christ, who for our sakes became poor” is a great motivation for me!

    A question that arises for me: is it better to give out of guilt (than not give), risking self-righteous satisfaction, so that the resulting poverty awakens us to the grace of God? Or are we simply never going to give sacrificially until we understand the gospel? I don’t think I know of anyone giving away half of what they own out of guilt…

    So I leave this feeling challenged to consider whether my giving is little more than “scraps” from my table, and as I do my accounts and plan christmas shopping this week, I’m really grateful to have had this sermon to frame my thinking. Thanks for posting it!

  5. The Bible plainly teaches that followers of Jesus ought to be concerned with the plight of the poor, and that we ought to liberally give of the resources that God has blessed us with in order to share and show the love of God for all people.

    However, the reason that the rich man spent eternity in hell, and the reason that Israel was judged and went into captivity was because they refused to believe God. That is also the point of the parable he is preaching from in Luke 16:19-31. Neglecting the poor, even extorting them, is a symptom of unbelief.

    For me, as moving as the sermon was, it missed the mark because it placed the problem of “rich folk” in the lack of concern for the poor and not in our lack of faith towards Christ. We are condemned for our lack of faith, not for our ignoring the poor which is a symptom of our lack of faith. He said that those present, his church, were the rich man. Surely he was over-stating his case (28:00 – 29:08). Yes, saved people still struggle with greed and selfishness, but they aren’t going to hell like the rich man.

    In other words, it would not have helped the rich man at all had he fed Lazarus or even adopted him as a son, or even every poor kid in the world if he failed to believe Moses and the prophets.

    I don’t know anyone who is a follower of Christ who isn’t working through how they can be a better steward of the things that God has given them. So, I’m not belittling that point or even the conviction of it. But salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ and not by works. And I can guarantee you that this stingy, but repentant guy is very grateful for that.

  6. Brad, I appreciate your measured and clear response, which helps a lot.Here are some further thoughts!

    I too had concerns about the generalisation about the “millions of dollars worth of cars” that they would drive home in.

    Equally, though, I have similar concerns about many of the words of the prophets when they spoke about Israel: how were the good men in Israel supposed to feel when the prophets tore into the whole community? We don’t see God dealing with individuals very much through his prophets.

    The way I understand that (and correct me if I’m way off) is that we have a degree of responsibility for the conduct of our brothers and sisters in our communities: if we are the spiritually mature, then the immature christians are in a sense our children, and we are called to guide and lead them.

    So if our example of the Christian life is not sufficiently reflecting the description of the true Christian in the sermon on the mount, then it is a sin of ommission that we must repent of. And worse, it may be an indication that we are not Christians at all. Perhaps this is what Platt is focussed on.

    If we are not producing fruits of the spirit, then the spirit is not in us, and that’s when we should worry. Love, kindness, goodness are some of these fruits. The problem is, how do we identify that our fruit is really that of the spirit, and not just incidental fruit of common grace, or self-interest (even sinners know how to give good gifts to those they love).

    I guess the answer would be in the story of Zachaeus. The thing that made Jesus recognise salvation coming to Zachaeus was not the amount which he gave away, but the reason that he did it. Some people can give away half their earnings for communism, or for cancer research, or for their children, but this man was giving it away **because of Jesus.** He was placing his treasure directly in Jesus (even though Jesus didn’t see a penny of it). Therefore, when our lives display a reckless concern for not just our wealth, but our health, our families, our jobs: and they display a careful concern for pursuing Jesus, then we can be confident of his saving power.

    I found it interesting how Jesus also dined with Pharisees: his offer of grace was not just to the poor and outcasts. This is the challenge, because we can think that salvation has come to our house just because Jesus is eating there…but he will have harsh words for us if his presence does not have the desired effect!

    Understanding it this way also makes sense of the passage where the woman poured the expensive perfume onto Jesus, and he rebuked the “disciple” who said that this money could have been better spent on the poor.

  7. So how do we preach a gospel in which the natural response of the rich is to sell half of what they have for the sake of the Kingdom?

  8. Jason Engwer says:

    I have a lot of problems with this sermon, some of which have been mentioned by other posters. I’ve written an article in response to the sermon here.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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