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8 Non-Negoitables for Mobilizing the Local Church for Accomplishing the Great Commission

March 2, 2012

Justin Taylor shares this summary of David Platt’s talk last night at the Verge12 Conference. May God grant local churches the grace to be faithful to the cause of the gospel.

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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