A summary of Platt on God’s remedy for our sin:
How can a holy God look at a guilty sinner and say: “Innocent”? We rightly expect God to justify the innocent and condemn the guilty. And none are innocent. So how can God call the guilty innocent?
Jesus’ death is the payment for sin. All the suffering of Jesus is for our sin. Isaiah shows that Jesus stood in the place of sinners, in our place, to bear the penalty for sin: Isaiah 52:13 – 53: 12.
Is it true that “God hates the sin but loves the sinner”? In one sense, certainly. God loves sinners. But when we see God’s holy wrath against sin, we need to understand that it’s not as though sin is something outside us. Sin is at the core of who we really are. So when Jesus went to the cross, he wasn’t just enduring the penalty of sin as though it is something outside us. He was doing this in our place — taking the full wrath of God due to us as sinners.
Here’s the deal: We are sinners. All of us by nature went our own way. God has both wrath and love towards sinners. How can God’s judgment and love toward sinners be reconciled? That’s the cross. God takes away all of the judgment due us. The beauty of the gospel is that God takes away all our sins and does not count any of them against us.
“Think of it: Of the God of the universe looking at us and saying ‘I have no record of anything going wrong in your life.’ Because God cancelled the debt at the cross. In fact, because of Christ’s righteous obedience, he looks at us and says ‘I only have a record of you doing right.'”
“Everything in all of creation responds to God, until you get to man and we have the audacity to look him in the face and say ‘no.’ From this sin, we see lostness all over this book (Isaiah). What does it mean to be lost? It means to be cut off from God. To live alienated from God. Separated from Christ (Eph 2:12). Romans 5:18: one trespass led to condemnation for everyone. In our sinfulness we are cut off from God, we are enemies of God. We are slaves to sin, John 8:34. Jesus said ‘truly truly I say to you: everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.’ 2 Timothy 2:26 says we are captured in the snare of the evil one, having been captured by him to do his will. We are children of wrath, Eph 2:3, and darkened in our understanding. And this affects every facet of our being. And this is the natural state of all of us. Romans 3: ‘there is none who seeks God, not even one. There are none who understand.'”
A side note: I know this is not Platt’s purpose, but it is really remarkable how well he knows the Scripture. He is quoting dozens of Scriptures from memory. This is a good model for all of us.
Platt is really driving home the lostness of the human condition. A reflection: I’m reading through Jeremiah right now, and over and over you see Jeremiah denouncing the sins of Israel. And what stands out is: this is the state of all of us, by nature apart from God. Jeremiah isn’t just denouncing the sin of “those people over there.” The point of the book is that we are all fallen, every one of us, and our only hope is to look to God in Christ for mercy. That is, we cannot come to God on the basis of our good works. Apart from him, we don’t have any. The way to a relationship with God is to acknowledge our sin to him and trust in Christ for mercy, not in anything we do, have done, or can do.
Piper introduced David Platt with two things he loves about him most: his love for the Scriptures and passion for God’s glory among the nations.
Platt remarked how the passages he planned on speaking on are the same ones Louie Giglio went to last night — so maybe the Lord wants us to go deep into these passages.
Reading from Isaiah 6 now.
“There is no one like our God. It is folly to compare anything to our God. All of the earth is a continual explosion of the glory of God. ‘He brings the stars out one by one and calls them each one by one.’ And he is sovereign over all nations. Go to Isaiah 46. This is part of the purpose of Isaiah — to show the sovereignty and supremacy of God over the nations.”
This is a key point he is making: God’s sovereignty over nature is meant to buttress our confidence that God is sovereign over human history as well. We shouldn’t think “God is sovereign over rocks and trees and stars, but human history is out of his control.” He is sovereign over human history just as much as he is sovereign over the course of the stars and workings of nature.
Louie Giglio brought in some amazing illustrations from astronomy to illustrate the supremacy of God.
Apparently, the electromagnetic radiation that quasars emit translates into sound. “Stars don’t just shine; they also sing.”
So he put some quasars up on the screen and then the sound their signals reduce to. Then he did this for some whales, mashed it all together, and laid over Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God.” And it all fit. It was pretty cool.
It seemed so hard to explain that I captured the video on my iPhone. Here’s the video:
And here was his point:
“The point is simply this. God is a God who doesn’t need anything. He has a band, he has a universe, that is singing to him. Every bird’s wing that flaps through the sky, every ocean wave that crashes on the shore, every snowflake that falls imperceptibly to you and me, or when a baby cries or a human being laughs, it is all God’s creation praising him, and he is big and powerful and amazing and expansive in every way, and he is the one asking the question: ‘Whom shall I send? He doesn’t need us, but he invites us to be a part of what he is doing.'”
There is a ripple effect of the gospel that is undeniable. It doesn’t lead us to just contemplate what happened to us, but proclaim what Christ has done.
God is bigger than we think he is. I don’t know how big you think he is, but he’s still bigger than that.
God is not just a global God, he is a galactic God. And he is even bigger than that. I love the quote “the universe is one of God’s thoughts.”
Isaiah 6 has been in my heart over the last few weeks, and this is an incredible passage. Isaiah saw a God who is “high and lifted up”–not low and bowed down.
Worship is happening with or without you. Worship happens wherever God is present, and Isaiah saw this. The vision of God was so great it wrecked him. He didn’t need anyone to tell him what kind of trouble our sinful condition puts us in. And God restored him, and Isaiah heard “whom shall we send?”
You cannot be near the cross and not hear that. Because the world is messed up, and God cares.
Talking about the Sombrero Galaxy now, 34 or so million light years away. “Most of you didn’t even know about it. And so you are saying ‘then what’s it doing there/’ It’s there for God, not first you.”
Astronomers are perplexed: why is the universe so big? And they are saying “There’s got to be more people in this place. It’s way too big if it’s just for you and me.” I agree — if the universe was created just for humanity, it’s oversized. But if they knew the universe’s primary function was not to house humanity but to magnify the creator, they would know it’s just about the right size.”
“This world is messed up to an amazing magnitude. But in the midst of this there is a God, who is great beyond our wildest imagination.
“And he has linked arms with us and given us marching orders if you will, and we are not at our leisure tonight. We are here under the mandate of hte grace of God, which found us, restored us, redeemed us, breathed life back into our dormant lungs, and brought us back from the grave for one purpose:
“That we would become an amplifier for the beauty of Jesus among all the peoples on the planet.”
Since I’m here anyway, I think I’ll live blog the DG conference.
It’s on missions, and the theme is Finish the Mission.
Louie Giglio is up now.
Doing the right thing when it costs something is the essence of true heroism. It is also the mark of a great leader.
From J. Oswald Sanders’ Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer. I can’t get it to work as a table, as it is in the book, but you should be able to see the comparisons well enough:
Makes own decisions
Seeks personal reward
Confident in God
Knows men and knows God
Seeks God’s will
Humble [and ambitious for God's aims]
Follows God’s example
Delights in obedience to God
Loves God and others
Depends on God
Sometimes people say to me, “leadership is not a biblical category. The right terms are shepherding or stewardship or discipleship.”
Shepherding, stewardship, and discipleship are indeed critical things. And the absolute last thing I would want to say to pastors is “you aren’t shepherds, you’re leaders.” That would be horrible. Shepherding is a massive, valid, critical, and biblical category, and I think it communicates more about the nature of the pastoral role than simply the term “leader” does.
However, leadership is a biblical category. Pastoring (shepherding) is a type of leadership. And there are other types of leadership in the church and in all sectors of society everywhere that we are unable to properly describe and understand if we abandon the term “leadership.” Leadership is a good and right and proper category for these things.
In other words, if we abandon the category of “leadership,” we abandon an essential and necessary grid for understanding the task of (dare I say it) leading people. That’s what school superintendents, project managers, small group leaders, managers, CEOs, directors, vice presidents, marketing managers, executive pastors, senior pastors, and on and on, are doing.
Saying “that’s not leadership, that’s stewardship” doesn’t help a ton — stewarding what? Neither does saying “this is discipleship.” In the church and among Christians, that’s a helpful category. But is the marketing manager at Target discipling his or her employees? Maybe there is an element of that, even in the general arena of work. But if so, it’s discipleship in the context of leading a department, or carrying out whatever your role is.
We might be tempted to say that leadership is the right category for the task of leading outside the church, but it’s not a biblical category for inside the church.
But this would ignore the fact that the Bible actually speaks of leadership, and uses that term to describe the task of leading and shepherding inside the church as well. For example:
Luke 22:26: “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.
Hebrews 13:7, 17: “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. . . . Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls.”
Acts 5:31: “God exalted him at his right hand, as leader and savior.”
One interesting thing to note, and this is one reason this matters so much: In Luke 20:26, Jesus is drawing a contrast with how the Gentiles led, and how he wants the church led. The Gentiles lorded it over people and saw exercising authority and controlling people (for the leader’s benefit!) the main thing in leadership. Jesus said: “Not so. That’s a wrong view of leadership. It will not be that way among you.”
Here’s the point: If we remove leadership as a category of thought, we are unable to make these sorts of contrasts and comparisons. If what a person in the general society is doing can be called “leadership,” but what we are doing in the church can’t be, we lose the ability to learn from comparisons and contrasts. Jesus couldn’t have made the point he did here.
And, it is to be noted, Jesus’ point was not “you aren’t leaders.” His point was: “Lead in this way, not that that way. You will lead for the benefit of those you serve, not your own benefit. You will not focus on controlling people and exercising authority, but building them up for their good.” That’s true leadership.
The problem is not the concept of “leadership.” It’s that there are lots of wrong ideas about leadership out there. The problem is not leadership, but bad leadership.
We don’t need to be afraid of the term leadership — it is a biblical category. Let’s not eat the confusing fruit of overspiritualization that seeks to eliminate real, biblical, helpful categories in favor of more spiritual-sounding, but often ambiguous, ways of speaking.