October 20, 2011 by Chris French
Here’s the two points that Platt uses to outline Radical. (1) Our purpose is to make much of God (2) spread His word. The American dream and its money lust gets in the way of making much of God and our “wellness gospel” gets in the way of spreading His word. There are dangers in following Christ! In fact it may be the most dangerous place to be, but the rewards are worth it! That’s the book in a nutshell, now let’s go back and fill in some of the blanks.
We were created with a two fold purpose in mind. The first reason we were created is to have a relationship with God, so we need His grace. We were also created to extend His glory to the whole earth. We were saved not just for relationship with Him, but to bring Him glory by telling others what He’s done for us. How is my life personally effecting people’s lives globally? I need to help by showing mercy and justice and by teaching. Most Americans are to focused on themselves to make a difference in others lives though. We’re to busy making much of ourselves via my big house, nice car and good retirement fund to make much of God by showing people how He comes thru for us when we need Him. Platt believes the best way to make much of God is to undergo personal deprivation. When you take everything away it must be by the power of God that good things happen to you. There’s much more to this than some religious experiment though. Almost 1,000 children die while we’re worshipping on Sunday…every Sunday! That’s unacceptable. God’s people need to step up and start be merciful and just. What would happen if we stopped asking, “How much can I spare?” and started asking, “How much will it take to stop this?”
We complain that a just God would never allow millions of people to die just because they didn’t have food. Guess what? We’re His plan to give them food and so much more. While we’re there meeting their physical needs we’ve got the prime opportunity to teach them about Jesus. To do that we’re going to have to make painful sacrifices. In Matthew 10 when Jesus sends out His disciples He tells them that they’re going to find people with great needs, people who are sick and dying. He uses the figure of wolves to explain to them that they would be going into dangerous situations also. Jesus is very upfront with the dangers of following Him, but when we see death as a reward living radically is much easier. That’s the key to taking back our faith from the American Dream.
Platt extends a challenge to his readers: Do four things for a year and see how much it’s changed you. (1) Pray for the entire world. In Matthew 9.36-38 Jesus looks around at all the need, spiritual and physical, and doesn’t tell the apostles to help! Instead He tells them to pray. They’re not to pray for the poor, but for people to help them! He wasn’t afraid that the lost wouldn’t come to God if they heard the truth, He was afraid His people wouldn’t go! We need to pray that God’s purposes be accomplished in the world.
(2) Read thru the entire Bible. The quotes on the bottom on the bottom of our daily calendars don’t get us any closer to the heart of God. His word does that!
(3) Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose. Our hearts follow our money. Put your heart in a good place! There are some factors to consider when looking for a charity. First you need to make sure that your charity is Gospel centered. Second, make sure its church focused. God’s agent to redeem mankind is the church, don’t try to bypass it. Third, make sure its tangible. You need faces to put to this charity so you can see how you helped. Get involved personally with this charity. Finally, make sure you trust this charity. Shoot for projects that help long-term, not just short-term needs.
(4) Spend some time in another context evangelizing. We need to suffer with people! Job’s friends sat with him for seven days. Spend 2% of your year in another place than your city. 2% is only one week out of the year. You come back with the realization that you can take the Gospel to your own city too.