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David Platt, speaking at Verge12.

Two assumptions:

1. The Great Commission can be accomplished and will be completed.

2. Pastors and church leaders are moblizers and equippers for people in the local church.

Eight non-negotiables:

1. A God-centered God. We must give the people we lead a glimpse of the God-centered God who exalts himself.

2. A word-saturated ministry. We give them a glimpse of the glory of God by giving them the Word of God. It’s the only thing that will drive them into mission and then sustain them. Biblical theology drives urgent missiology.

3. A life-changing gospel. Maybe one of the reasons so many in the church aren’t making disciples of all the nations is that they aren’t really disciples in the first place. Should it not concern us that the Bible never offers a “sinner’s prayer” and never talks about “accepting Jesus into our heart.” We have modern evangelism built on sinking sand that runs the risk of ruining souls. We must be very careful about assuring people they are Christians when they have not responded to the gospel. It’s damning to drain the lifeblood of Christianity and replace it with Kool-Aid. They need to see the greatness of God—he is a loving father who may save us, but he is also a wrathful God who may damn us. In the original Greek, “dead in your trespasses and sins” means “dead.” We have developed many methods of ministry that require little or no help from the Spirit of God. One of the greatest hindrances to the advancement of the gospel is the attempt of the church of God to do the work of God apart from the power of the Spirit of God.

4. A Spirit-empowered church. We have created a church culture that does not depend on the Spirit. We need to be desperate for the Spirit of God.

5. A Christ-driven strategy. Go and make disciples of all the nations.

6. A peoples-focused goal. Panta ta ethne (ethno-linguistic people groups, not socio-political nation-states). The Great Commission is not a general command to make disciples among as many people as possible, but to make disciples among all the people groups. “Unreached” people is not the same as “lost” people. The difference is access. If we are not mobilizing our people to go to unreached peoples, we are not being obedient to the Great Commission. Our obedience is incomplete. Ladd: Christ has not yet returned, therefore the task is not yet done. We are not completely missional if we are not engaged in reaching unreached peoples.

7. A multifaceted approach. Let’s not take both-and’s and turn them into either-or’s. Local and global. Spiritual and physical. Pray and go. Short-term and long-term.

Why don’t we just let the locals do it? That’s the point! With the unreached there are no locals!

8. A death-defying commitment. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake” (Matt. 24:9). It will be costly. Satan is—in a sense—fine with us spending all our time with people around us while ignoring the unreached. When we engage the unreached, we will be met with the full force of hell. Are we willing to pay the price? Are we willing to redesign church budget and family budgets? Are we willing to let go of programs and preferences? Are we willing to lead and shepherd people, telling them, “This may cost you everything.” At the same time, we must not forget the reward. There is coming a day when the trumpet will sound, Christ will return to receive the reward he is due. And all the peoples of the earth will be represented around the throne, crying out, “Salvation belongs to our God!” Those people will not seeing letting go of the things of this world as “sacrifice.” He is worth it.


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20 thoughts on “8 Non-Negotiables for Mobilizing the Local Church for Accomplishing the Great Commission”

  1. Viktor Palenyy says:

    4?

  2. Brian Considine says:

    Point 4 was A Spirit Empowered Church – We have created a church culture that does not depend on the Spirit. Let’s be desperate for the Spirit

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Thanks, Brian. I missed it during the talk. I’ll post your summary.

  3. Viktor Palenyy says:

    Thank you Brian

  4. Great stuff – thanks David (and Justin).

    One thought on point 6: “panta ta ethne” is in the accusative, with no preposition. This makes it unlikely, I think, Jesus is referring to people FROM a particular group, since in that case he’d have used a preposition such as “en,” “ek” or “apo” (cf. Gal 2:15; Rev 5:9; 7:9; 11:9; Acts 2:5; 10:35; 15:19). Instead, however, Jesus’ simply says, “disciple all the nations.”

    Thus Jesus’ point is neither that we should disciple people FROM every people-group, nor people FROM every nation-state, but rather that we should disciple entire nations AS NATIONS. Of course this entails calling individuals to repent, but at the same time it anticipates the emergence of Christian nations.

    1. J.Clark says:

      Steve,
      Good discussion but that is a giant leap. The translation is “every ethnicity” or “ethnic group.” The gospel is like yeast not like flour. A Christian nation starts from the bottom up not top down. Remember, the Jews were an ethnic group among a nation/empire. The term is all inclusive and I think that is the point.

    2. Brian Considine says:

      Steve, with all due respect, your thought is not Biblical. Jesus is not after “Christian nations” but rather global glory from every nation, tribe and tongue (Revelation 7:9). Discipling whole nations is not the point but establishing His Kingdom in the hearts of some so as to influence (that salt and light thing) the rest until His mandate is complete (Matthew 24:14) at which time His Kingdom will be fully established (Rev 21).

  5. L-T Hopper says:

    I would have thought prayer was one.

  6. Daren Thomas says:

    David Platt talks a good game but it seems he would just as soon ignore rural America for the sake of the city or some foreign land. Why is it that rural America is ignored today? Is it because ministry in rural America isn’t flashy? Is it because rural Churches are unable to become mega-churches?

    1. Brian Considine says:

      Daren, maybe it’s because Rural America is already “reached” with the Gospel and David’s concern is where Jesus is not yet known?

  7. Manning Lee says:

    #3 speaks to me with its truth about “draining the lifeblood out of our faith and replacing it with Kool-aid. So true. Speak it, I pray we can grasp these concepts with our hearts, not just read them and move on.

  8. Bill says:

    I am challenged every time I hear Platt preach. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Brian Considine says:

    Justin, I would add to the conversation that it is important to consider the 3 scripture verses that David used to frame this talk – Matthew 24:14, Matthew 28:19-20, Revelation 7:9, 14:6 (I don’t recall which one Platt used out of Rev but they speak of the same idea). In them we find the Mandate, the Commission and the Consummation of God’s purposes for the Church.

  10. Ronn says:

    This is very well written and I believe should be a must read for anyone that is ministry motivated.

  11. Frank Bahula says:

    WOW!

  12. Jim Spelman says:

    “Ask the Lord of the Harvest to thrust out laborers into the harvest.” This simple command seems to imply that we want what God wants. That we are letting our hearts be bent and broken for the things that break the Heart of God. That we are becoming fully surrendered as Living Sacrifices. Let us cry out to God with broken and surrendered hearts for the people groups whose language has not yet raised up to Heaven in the form of worship.

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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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