David Platt

B. Childress
Sep 08 2013

WHEN FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST share stories of how they became Christians, they often say something along the lines
of, “I decided to make Jesus my personal Lord and Savior.”  Initially and ultimately, of course, it’s wonderful to hear
brothers and sisters recount the moment when their hearts were opened to the incomprehensibly passionate love of
God – a love that now captivates them in an intimately personal relationship with Jesus.  At the same time, when I reflect
on that particular statement – “I decided to make Jesus my personal Lord and Savior” – I can’t help but wonder how
much this idea represents some subtly yet significantly dangerous trends in contemporary Christianity.

On one level, this statement minimizes the inherent authority of Jesus.  Surely, none of us can
decide to make him Lord.  
is Lord regardless of what you or I decide.  The Bible is clear that one day “every knee [will] bow, in heaven and
on earth and under the earth, and every tongue [will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Philippians 2:10-11).  The
question is not whether we will make Jesus Lord.  The real question is whether you or I will submit to his lordship, and
this is the essence of conversion.

Yet on an even deeper level, I’m afraid that we use this phrase all too often to foster a customized Christianity that
revolves around a personal Christ that we create for ourselves.   Almost unknowingly, we all have a tendency to redefine
Christianity according to our own tastes, preferences, church traditions, and cultural norms.  Slowly, subtly, we take the
Jesus of the Bible and twist him into someone with whom we are a little more comfortable.  We dilute what he says about
the cost of following him, we disregard what he says about those who choose not to follow him, we practically ignore what
he says about materialism, and we functionally miss what he says about mission.  We pick and choose what we like and
don’t like from Jesus’ teachings.  In the end, we create a nice, non-offensive, politically correct, middle-class, American
Jesus who looks just like us and thinks just like us.

But Jesus is not customizable.  He has not left himself open to interpretation, adaptation, innovation, or alteration.  He
has spoken clearly through his Word, and we have no right to personalize him.  Instead, he revolutionizes us.  He
transforms our minds through his truth.  As we follow Jesus, we believe Jesus, even when his Word confronts (and often
contradicts) the deeply held assumptions, beliefs, and convictions of our lives, our families, our friends, our culture, and
sometimes even our churches.  And as we take Jesus at his Word, we proclaim Jesus to the world, for we realize that he
is not merely a personal Lord and Savior who is worthy of our individual approval.  Ultimately, Jesus is the cosmic Lord
and Savior who is worthy of everyone’s eternal praise.


According to research, many “Christians” no longer believe that God is the supreme Creator and Ruler of the universe.  
Such “Christians” believe that everyone is god or that maybe god is simply the realization of one’s human potential.  
Over half of “Christians” don’t believe that the Holy Spirit or Satan is real, and tens of millions of them don’t believe that
Jesus is the divine Son of God.  Finally, almost half of “Christians” don’t believe the Bible is completely true (Barna
Group, “Most American Christians Do Not Believe That Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist,” April 10, 2009).

I put
Christians in quotation marks for what I hope by now is an obvious reason: such “Christians” are not Christians.  It is
impossible to follow Jesus yet disregard, discredit, and disbelieve his Word.  Simply put, to follow Jesus is to believe

Now we’ve already observed how intellectual belief in Christ does not equate with saving faith in Christ.  As we noted,
even demons believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave.  Becoming and being a disciple of Jesus
involves far more than mere intellectual belief in him.  But it certainly doesn’t involve anything less.

Believing Jesus has been fundamental to following Jesus from the beginning.  When you read through the Gospels and
observe Jesus’ interaction with his disciples, you see him continually teaching them truth and challenging their thinking.  
In every story and every conversation, Jesus is turning these disciples’ minds upside down with his words.  Though
Jesus never enrolled his disciples in a formal school or sat them down in a classroom, he used every situation, every
conversation, every miracle, and every moment to mold their minds to become like his.

Then, when Jesus prepared his disciples for his death and departure, he promised them his Spirit (note: the Holy Spirit is
real according to Jesus), “the Spirit of truth,” who will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have
said to you.” (John 14:17, 26 ESV).  To be a disciple of Jesus was (and is) to be devoted to the words of Jesus. “If you
abide in my word,” Jesus says, “you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:31-32 ESV).  “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
(John 15:7, ESV).  From the start, the promises and privileges of following Jesus with your life were tied to believing
Jesus with your mind.

As the New Testament continued beyond the life of Jesus on earth, Paul talks about how disciples, through the Spirit of
Christ, have the mind of Christ (See I Corinthians 2:16).  He urges the Roman Christians to be transformed by the
renewing of their minds (See Romans 12:2), and he implores the Colossian Christians to “put off the old self with its
practices and…put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:9-
10 ESV).  He writes about spiritual warfare, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the
knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  (II Corinthians 10:5).  According to
Scripture, the minds, hearts, and lives of Christians revolve entirely around the words of Christ.


But isn’t it a bit crazy for you and me to base our lives in the twenty-first century on the words of a man from the first
century?  After all, aren’t some of the Bible’s teachings simply archaic?  Are we really supposed to take literally
everything that Jesus said?  Haven’t we experienced cultural developments and discovered scientific advancements
since the days in which Jesus lived?  How do we know that what Jesus taught two thousand years ago is still true today?

This is where we realize that the authority of Jesus’ words is tied to the actuality of Jesus’ resurrection.  Think about it.  If
Jesus did not rise from the dead, then ultimately we don’t have to worry about a thing he said.  He would be just like
every other religious teacher in the world, teaching truths and imparting opinions for how to have a better life.  In fact, he
would actually be far worse than other religious teachers, because he promised that he would rise from the dead and
then didn’t.  If Jesus wasn’t resurrected, then all of Christianity is a hoax and Christians are the most pitiably stupid
people on the planet (the New Testament itself teaches this in I Corinthians 15).  And if that’s the case, then we are free
to pick and choose whatever we want to take from Jesus that might be helpful for us.

But if Jesus
did rise from the dead, if he did what no one else in all of history has ever done or will ever do – conquer
death – then we can’t just accept what Jesus said.  We must orient everything in our lives around what Jesus said.  

So did Jesus rise from the dead?  Is he indeed Lord regardless of what you and I decide?

Some people believe that Jesus didn’t even die on a cross, much less rise from the grave three days later.  Many
Muslims, for example, purport that it was merely a man who looked like Jesus who was crucified that day.  Never mind
that this theory was invented by the prophet Muhammad six centuries after the Crucifixion occurred.  Others believe that
though it was Jesus on the cross, he didn’t actually die there.  He was simply hurt really, really bad.  He fainted and went
unconscious, so people simply thought he was dead.  This explanation assumes that Jesus went through six trials, no
sleep, a brutal scourging, thorns thrust into his head, nails thrust into his hands and feet, and a spear thrust into his side
after several hours on a cross.  Then he fainted, was wrapped in grave clothes, and put in a tomb with a stone rolled
over the entrance that was guarded by Roman soldiers.  He subsequently regained consciousness, nudged the stone
away from the darkness of the tomb, hopped past the guards who were standing by, and coolly went about his way.  This
is probably not the most plausible explanation.

Others maintain that the tomb was not empty.  Some people believe what has been described as the “wrong tomb
theory,” that when the women went to the tomb that first Easter morning, in their grief and shock over Jesus’ death, they
went to the wrong tomb and mistakenly thought Jesus had risen.  Ever since that day, then, everyone else has gone to
the wrong tomb.  If only someone would check next door.  The obvious problem with this theory is that the last thing
Roman (as well as Jewish) authorities wanted was a group of people claiming that their leader had risen from the dead.  
That’s why they posted guards at the tomb in the first place.  Surely they knew which tomb to guard, and even if they
didn’t, they could have shut down all of Christianity by simply pointing to Jesus’ body in the right tomb.

Still others believe that the disciples are to blame for a concocted resurrection story.  Some claim that the disciples stole
the body of Jesus, which would require a small group of timid Galilean men (who the night before had been scared to
admit they even knew Jesus) to outmaneuver a guard of highly skilled Roman soldiers.  Others allege that the disciples
were merely delusional – hallucinatory at best – when they claimed they had seen Jesus alive after he died.  But even
the thought of resurrection from the grave was virtually inconceivable in both Greco-Roman and Jewish thought in the
first century.  Nevertheless, hundreds of people claimed to have seen Jesus, some of whom ate, drank, and talked with
him.  Hallucinations don’t normally eat and drink.  Besides, it was not in the best interest of disciples for them to proclaim
the resurrection of Jesus in the first century, knowing that they could (and would) die for it.  In the words of Pascal, “I
believe witnesses [who] got themselves killed.” (Blaise Pascal, Pensees, section 592).

So why do I belabor this point?  Because if Jesus actually rose from the dead, then we absolutely must listen to
everything he said.  The reality of his resurrection validates both the truthfulness and timelessness of his teaching.  
Jesus is not just another religious teacher whose thoughts and opinions we can take or leave according to our
preferences.  Regardless of what we might say (or decide),
Jesus is Lord.  As a result, regardless of what he might say
(or declare), we have no choice but to trust his Word.


In light of this, consider one of the most biblically clear yet culturally controversial issues on which Jesus spoke: hell.  
When teaching his disciples, Jesus explained that God had given him authority to judge all people everywhere for all
eternity.  Hear his words in John 5:

    The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they
    honor the Father.  He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

    I tell you the truth; whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be
    condemned; he has crossed over from death to life…

    For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.  And he has given him
    authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

    Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out –
    those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

    (John 5:22-24, 26-29)

Later in Scripture, Revelation 20 depicts the judgment scene to which Jesus referred:

    Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it.  Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there
    was no place for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were

    Another book was opened, which is the book of life.  The dead were judged according to what they had done as
    recorded in the books.  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that
    were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown
    into the lake of fire.  The lake of fire is the second death.  If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of
    life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    (Revelation 20:11-15)

The simple yet solemn reality of God’s Word is utterly undeniable: Everyone who confesses Jesus as Lord will be forever
saved, and everyone who rejects Jesus as Lord will be forever damned.  In the words of Scottish professor James
Denney, “If there is any truth in Scripture at all, this is true – that those who stubbornly refuse to submit to the gospel,
and to love and obey Jesus Christ, incur at the Last Advent an infinite and irreparable loss.  They will pass into a night
on which no morning dawns.” (James Denney and Alexander Maclaren,
The Epistles of St. Paul to the Colossians and
, Expositor’s Bible, vol. 31 [New York: Armstrong, 1905], 300).

This has been the consistent teaching of the church throughout history, yet various voices under the banner of
contemporary Christianity have now claimed that hell is not real – or at least not eternal.  Such claims are commonly
cloaked in provocative questions.  
Did God really say that he would send sinners to hell?  Did God really say that a
person must believe in Jesus to go to heaven?  Did God really say…?

Notice how questions like these are grounded in attempts to twist God’s Word.  We always need to be careful when
someone begins a statement with the words, “Did God really say…?”  After all, these are the very words that caused the
fall of man in Genesis 3.  The deceiving serpent tempted Adam and Eve to question the love of God and doubt the Word
of God: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’”(Genesis 3:1).  Through this question,
Satan convinced this couple that God’s love was subject to their own opinion and that God’s Word was subject to their
own judgment.  He elevated the thoughts of men above the truth of God, and sin made its entrance into the world.

Let us learn our lesson here.  It is a dangerous thing to twist Jesus and his Word to reflect what feels most comfortable
to us.  As disciples of Jesus, we must take Jesus at his Word in the context of total trust in him.

So what happens when we completely trust and carefully listen to Jesus’ words on hell?  Hear him describe this place of
fiery agony in Mark 9:43-48:

    If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell,
    where the fire never goes out.  And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter life crippled
    than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.  And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.  It is better for you to
    enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where “their worm does not
    die, and the fire is not quenched.”

As we’ve already seen in Revelation 20:15, God’s Word tells us that “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book
of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”  In a similar way, Revelation 21:8 envisions hell as “the fiery lake of burning

You may wonder,
Well, isn’t fire just an image in these passages?  Aren’t these verses symbolic?


But even if they are symbols, what are they symbols for?  A wintry retreat or a summer vacation?  No, these stand for
something much worse.  Surely burning fire and smoking sulfur are not symbols for a nice place to be.  They are images
that represent a terrifying place to be.

Hell, according to Jesus, is a place of conscious torment and utter darkness (See Luke 16:22-23; Matthew 22:13).  Later
in the New Testament, hell is described as a place of never-ending destruction where people are separated from the
presence of the Lord and the power of his might (See II Thessalonians 1:9).

Most horrifying of all, hell is a place of eternal duration.  Jesus contrasted eternal punishment with eternal life (See
Matthew 25:46).  John wrote about sinners in Revelation 14:11, saying “The smoke of their torment rises for ever and

In the words of Thomas Watson, “The wicked in hell shall be always dying but never dead.  The smoke of the furnace
ascends forever and ever.  Oh, who can endure thus to be ever upon the rack?  The word ‘ever’ breaks the heart.”  As
people listened to Jonathan Edwards preach in the eighteenth century, they were “urged to consider the torment of
burning like a livid coal, not for an instant or a day, but for ‘millions of millions of ages,’ at the end of which they would
know that their torment was no nearer to an end then ever before, and that they would ‘never, never be delivered.’”
(Richard Hofstadter, America at 1750: A Social Portrait, Vintage International Vintage Series [New York: Vintage, 1973],

But we no longer believe in the horror of hell.  Today, we say things like “We had a hell of a time” or "We played a hell of
a game” or “That was a hell of a song.”  The way we talk about hell shows that we have no idea what we are talking

But we cannot be ignorant of this, and we must not be indifferent to it.  According to Jesus, there is ever-agonizing,
never-ending wrath awaiting lost sinners before a holy God.  He has spoken.  Clearly.


Thankfully, Jesus has spoken just as clearly on heaven.  He proclaims, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who
believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26).  
Indeed, Jesus says, “Whoever believes in [me will] not perish.” (John 3:16).  We find comfort in passages where Jesus
promises his disciples that he is preparing a place for them (John 14:1-6), a place where one day all who believe in him
will dwell with God in “a new heaven and a new earth” where God “will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no
more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1, 4).  Over and
over again, Jesus promises everlasting joy and eternal life to all who turn from themselves and their sin to trust in him.

Jesus’ words about eternity encourage every person who trusts in him.  Casey, a member of our church in his early
thirties, once looked like the epitome of health, strength, and fitness.  But one day Casey experienced some stomach
pains, and after a series of tests, he was diagnosed with cancer.  Weeks later, Casey went in for surgery, and when he
woke up, the doctors gave him, his wife, and their precious little girl news that they never could have imagined.  “When
we opened up your stomach, we saw cancer all throughout your body.  Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to stop
it.”  They continued, “You will likely have only a few more weeks to live.”

As Casey’s death drew near, I went to see him in the hospital, and on my way I thought,
What do I say to Casey?  Do I
tell him I’m sorry this happened to him?  That I wish this weren’t the case?

But I needn’t have worried, for those who visited Casey that day were in for a surprise.  Whenever anyone walked into
his hospital room, Casey greeted them by pointing to heaven and saying with the sincerest of smiles, “I’m going to be
with Jesus today.”

All of a sudden, anything I might have said – “I’m sorry this happened to you” or “I wish this weren’t the case” – just didn’t
seem appropriate anymore.  In fact, I actually left his hospital room that day a bit envious!  For that hospital room, by the
power of Jesus’ words, had been turned into a place for Jesus’ worship, and as Jesus’ disciple, this brother knew in his
mind and believed in his heart that it is indeed true: “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21).

True belief in both heaven and hell radically changes the way we live on earth.  We are encouraged by the hope of
heaven, and we are compelled by the horror of hell.  We know that this world is not all that exists.  We know that every
person on the planet is only here for a brief moment, and an eternity lies ahead of us all – an eternity that is either filled
with ever-increasing delight or never-ending damnation.

So Jesus’ words make sense: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  If you and I know and believe that Jesus
came to save us from hell for heaven, then we have no choice but to spend our lives on earth making that salvation
known.  If the people sitting next to us at a coffee shop or studying next to us in the library or working next to us in the
office or living next to us in our neighborhoods may be on a road that leads to everlasting suffering, then we
must tell
them about the Christ who leads to eternal satisfaction.  Anything less than this makes no sense according to what we
believe.  How can any Christian stay silent and sit idly by while family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and acquaintances
walk off an eternal cliff into everlasting darkness?

So do you believe what Jesus said?  Do you trust his words on hell as much as you trust his words on heaven?  Has
your mind – and life – been totally transformed by his truth?


Following Jesus necessitates believing Jesus, and believing Jesus leads to proclaiming Jesus.  Consequently, a
privatized faith in a resurrected Christ is practically inconceivable.  Yet privatized Christianity is a curse across our
culture and the church today.

Multitudes of professing Christians say (or at least think), “Jesus has saved me.  Jesus’ teachings work for me.  But who
am I to tell other people what they should believe?  Who am I to tell others that their belief is wrong and my belief is
right?  Even more, who am I to tell them that if they don’t believe in what I believe, they will spend forever in hell?”

I completely understand this feeling.  I remember standing one day in a sea of people in northern India.  If you’ve never
been to India, just think
people.  Lots and lots and lots of people.  Approximately 1.2 billion of them, to be precise, over
600 million of whom live in northern India.  Crowded streets and urban slums are surrounded by seemingly endless
villages that span the countryside.  Economic disparity runs rampant as more people live below the poverty line in India
than the entire population of the United States put together.

But India’s poverty is not merely physical; it’s spiritual, as well.  The church partners with whom we work in India estimate
that approximately 0.5 percent of the people in northern India are Christians.  In other words, 99.5 percent of the people
in northern India have not believed in Christ for salvation.

Knowing this, I looked around me one day in that crowded sea of people and thought to myself, Who am I to travel all the
way over here to tell these people what they need to believe?  
Who am I to tell them that all of their gods are false,
whether they’re Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, or any other gods, because Jesus is the only true God?  And who am I to
tell the 597 million non-Christians who surround me at this moment that if they do not turn from their sin and trust in
Jesus, every one of them will spend eternity in hell?

It felt extremely arrogant, completely unloving, and uncomfortably brash to claim that 597 million Hindus, Muslims,
Buddhists, and Sikhs around me at that moment would go to hell if they didn’t trust in Jesus.  And absolutely, such a
claim would be arrogant, unloving, and brash – unless it is true.

If Jesus were just another religious teacher on the landscape of human history, offering his thoughts and opinions
regarding how people should live, then it would definitely be arrogant, unloving, and outright foolish for me (or anyone
else) to travel around the world telling people they need to either follow Jesus or face hell.  But Jesus is indeed more
than just another religious teacher, and Jesus is indeed the resurrected God, Savior, and King who alone has paid the
price for sinners and pave the way for everlasting salvation, so telling people everywhere about Jesus is the
only thing
that makes sense.  It is the height of arrogance to sit silent while 597 million Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and Sikhs go to
hell.  It is the epitome of hate to not sacrifice your very life to spread this Good News among every person you know and
every people group on the planet.


When you actually believe Jesus’ words and realize Jesus’ worth, then you understand that his aim is not simply to be
your personal Lord and Savior and that his death on the cross did not revolve around you alone.

Christians sometimes say, “When Jesus died on that cross, he died just for me.”  Without question, there is truth here,
for Jesus personally died for you and me. (See Galatians 2:20).   But we must not stop there.  According to Jesus’ own
words, he died so that “repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations.” (Luke 24:47).  
Far beyond just dying for you and me, Jesus was dying to purchase people “for God from every tribe and language and
people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9).  Disciples of Jesus know that he is not merely a personal Lord and Savior, worthy
of someone’s individual approval.  Disciples of Jesus know that he is the cosmic Lord and Savior, worthy of everyone’s
eternal praise.

So disciples of Jesus can’t help but make disciples of all nations.  If we truly believe Jesus’ words and know Jesus’ worth,
then we are
compelled to be part of this task.  Together, we spend our lives telling hundreds of millions of people in
America and Europe to turn from sin and trust in Jesus because he’s worthy of their worship.  We make disciples in
Africa, where there are over three thousand animistic tribes worshiping all kinds of suspicious spirits and false gods, who
do not deserve glory.  We make disciples in Japan, Laos, and Vietnam, where there are 350 million Buddhists following
Buddha’s practices when Buddha does not merit their praise.  We make disciples in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, where
there are over 950 million Hindus worshiping millions of worthless gods.  We make disciples in China, North Korea, and
Cuba, where over a billion people have grown up in Communist environments that deny the very existence of the God
who reigns above all.  We make disciples in Central Asia and the Middle East, where over 1.5 billion Muslims are
following a false god.  We make disciples among all of these peoples and among the toughest of these places because
we know in our minds, hearts, and lives that Jesus has died on the cross and risen from the grave and that he alone
deserves to be exalted as Lord.


And when we believe Jesus ‘words, we are emboldened to live for Jesus’ worship.  Jesus has told us, “If you abide in me,
and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7, ESV).  This has to be one of
the most astounding promises in all the Bible.  Jesus just said, “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

The key to understanding this promise, though, is understanding the setting in which it is given.  Jesus had just spoken
to his disciples about how he would die on the cross, rise from the grave, and then ascend to heaven.  From there he
would send his Spirit to empower them to go and make disciples all over the world.  As they went, trusting in his word,
Jesus promised to give them everything they needed to accomplish this task.

So this is not a promise upon which you or I pray for a new house or a better job or more comfort.  No, this is a promise
upon which you and I pray, “Lord, please give me everything I need to spread your truth from wherever I live to the ends
of the earth.”  That is a prayer God is guaranteed to answer.

A few years ago, Heather and I traveled to a part of East Asia where very few people have ever heard of Jesus before.  
While we were there, Heather repeatedly shared the gospel with one particular girl named Meilin.  One on hand, Meilin
seemed so receptive to the gospel, yet clearly something in her spirit was still resisting Christ as Lord.  Amid her many
questions, we persistently prayed and pleaded for God to give us the words, wisdom, and grace needed to share the
gospel clearly with Meilin.

After we had spent a couple of weeks with Meilin, it was time for us to leave her town.  We had packed our bags and said
goodbye to the group of people who would share the gospel there after we left.  They were praying and studying the
Bible just inside the home where we had been staying, and we could hear them talking while we were waiting outside for
our ride.

At that moment, seemingly out of nowhere, Meilin rushed up to Heather.  She pulled Heather aside and eagerly shared
how she was turning from her sin and trusting in Christ.  Right as Meilin shared this and Heather celebrated with her, the
group inside the house behind us – who had no idea what was going on outside the house – was reading Psalm 46:10
aloud.  I saw tears streaming down Heather’s face as she prayed with Meilin, and I heard the group inside the house
saying these words: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  
Immediately, I was reminded that the Savior who reigns at the right hand of the Father is ready to give his disciples
everything they need to exalt his name all over the world.


Disciple of Jesus, do you realize the scope of the story of which you and I are a part?  We live in a fallen world of sin,
suffering, and death.  For centuries, all creation longed for a coming King who would conquer all of these things.  That
King came in the person of Jesus Christ.  During his time on earth, he healed the hurting, delivered the demon
possessed, gave sight to the blind, called the lame to walk, and caused the dead to live again.  Then he did what no one
else in history has done or will ever do again.  After his heart flatlined for three days, he chose to come back to life.  He
rose from the grave in victory over sin, the devil, and death itself, and in the words of Scripture, “to him was given
dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him; his dominion is an
everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:14, ESV).

Jesus is decidedly not dead; he is alive – and he is active.  Jesus appeared to his disciples, ate with them, drank with
them, and then sent them out, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and
make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:18-19).

In other words, “Based on the reality of my resurrection and trusting the truth of all I have taught, go and tell the world.”  
After saying this, Jesus ascended into heaven before their very eyes, where he is now seated at the Father’s “right hand
in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only
in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:20-21).

He is not seated there simply to watch what is happening on earth.  Through his Spirit, whom he sent, he is leading his
people to proclaim his truth in every corner of the earth.  And this is where we come in.  As followers of Christ, every one
of us finds ourselves on the front lines of a spiritual battle that is raging for the souls of men and women right around us
and all around the world.  The all-sovereign Son of God, our Savior, is above us, sitting in the seat of heavenly
command with all authority in heaven and on earth.  Day and night he intercedes for us, and he is committed to giving us
everything we need to tell every person on the planet who remains captive to sin, Satan, and death, “There is Good
News.  Turn from sin and death, trust in the life-giving, grave-conquering King, and you will live with him forever.”

So we go as disciples of Jesus who love his Word and trust his truth.  We go not simply as men and women who at some
point decided to make Jesus our personal Lord and Savior, but ultimately as men and women who at every point are
devoted to proclaiming Jesus as the universal Lord and Savior.  We believe him as his disciples; therefore, we obey him
and make disciples.


Do you believe Jesus?  Has your mind been transformed by the reality of what he taught?  He said, “I am the way and
the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).  He said, “God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” and then he said,
“Whoever does not believe [in him] stands condemned.” (John 3:16, 18).  Plainly put, if you don’t believe Jesus when he
says these things, then you are not a disciple of Jesus.  Yet if you do believe Jesus when he says these things, then you
can’t help but to make disciples of Jesus.

The reason you and I make disciples is not because we have some superficial sense of duty.  We make disciples
because it has become our souls’ supreme desire.


FOLLOW ME: A CALL TO DIE. A CALL TO LIVE., by David Platt, Copyright 2013, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.