In a powerful message at the Cross19 Conference, author and pastor David Platt contrasted the sobering realities of Hell with the beauty of Heaven to highlight the urgency and gravity of the mission that God has given to His people.
In a message titled “Revelation: The Urgency of Eternity,” Platt, pastor at McLean Bible Church in Virginia and founder and president of Radical, referenced Revelation 14:19 to argue that the unreached — those who don’t trust in Jesus Christ — will receive the "winepress of God’s wrath.”
“But they can’t trust in Jesus if they never hear about Jesus,” he said. “How can they believe if they don’t hear? They need to hear.”
Platt revealed that recently he was in Nepal, where he witnessed hundreds of bodies put on a funeral pyre and set ablaze just 24 hours after they died.
“Ashes going down in this river, believing it’s helpful in the process of reincarnation," he said. "I’m smelling these burning bodies and realizing I’m looking at a physical picture of a spiritual reality. Most, if not all of these people, never had a chance to hear about how they can go to Heaven.”
“What will it take [for the] concept of unreached people to be totally intolerable to us?” he implored, adding that there's an "urgency that comes with a view of eternity.”
So many Christians have a “paltry” view of Heaven, Platt said, adding: “If we’re honest, many of us have a pretty boring view of what it’s going to be like. We stand around with each other and sing songs and stare at the light for a few quadrillion years.”
But according to Scripture, Heaven is far more than just “choir practice,” the pastor contended.
“This is a place we’re going to where it’s the fulfillment of all our desires in the presence of God; a new earth, a complete earth, not a place where we have nothing to do but float on clouds, but a new earth where we have everything to do, a God to worship, a kingdom to rule, a universe to explore, a family to enjoy," he said.
According to the dimensions outlined in Revelation, Heaven will be shaped like a “cube,” Platt said, just like “most holy place” in both the Tabernacle and the Temple.
“Heaven is ... one giant massive holy of holies,” he explained. “The point of Heaven is, we’re going to be ushered into the presence of God unhindered.”
When we think of Heaven, we often think of a place where we get "all the stuff we've ever wanted," Platt said, but Heaven is "so much better than that."
"When you think about Heaven, do not think about a place with all the amenities this world has to offer; think about a place where the amenities this world has to offer do not compare with the fact that we are dwelling with God," he said.
"We don’t come to God to get stuff, we come to God to get God," he continued. "The culmination of our salvation is God; He will be with us, we will be with Him. There will be no more sin, no more sorrow. God personally wiping every tear from our eyes ... No more hunger and starvation and trafficking and AIDs."
Revelation says that Jesus will throw open the door to Heaven to His people — completely undoing the curse of God — and then "usher us into the presence of God."
"Those are the five most beautiful words in Scripture," Platt said: “'They will see His face.' Jesus will open our eyes to the face of God. He will shine His light on us, He will share His reign with us ... we will reign with Jesus, He will share His reign with us ... Jesus will come back for us.”
Emphasizing that the "end of Revelation is the beginning of a story where every chapter will be better than the one before,” Platt exhorted listeners to “pursue Jesus as the all-consuming passion of your life.”
“I am not, and I don’t believe the Bible is, exhorting you to pursue missions as the all-consuming passion of your life,” he clarified. “The most important question I can ask you today is not if you’re going to be a 'sender or a goer.' A far more fundamental question is, ‘Does your heart beat for Jesus?’ 'Do you love Jesus, do you want Jesus?'”
A heart for missions and for the nations "springs from a heart for Jesus,” Platt said: “Don’t manufacture a heart for missions and miss a heart for Jesus," he warned.
“If I had just told stories of adventure and sacrifice, then you might be tempted to care more about adventure than Jesus," he said. "In a weird way, you, I even, might be tempted to care more about the idea of sacrifice than the One who sacrificed for you.”
"Spend your life for the fame of His name, where He is not yet known," the pastor concluded. “The end of all history is the exaltation of Jesus’ name in all the nations. How is your life going to spent toward that end? What is He leading you to do?”
The CROSS movement aims to mobilize young people between 18 and 25 to help evangelize the world. The 2019 conference was held in Louisville, Kentucky from January 2-January 5.