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David Platt urges churches to reach the suffering; calls inaction 'wickedness'

David Platt urges churches to reach the suffering; calls inaction 'wickedness'

David Platt, pastor of McLean Bible Church near Washington, D.C., and founder of Radical, a resource ministry that serves churches. | Baptist Press/Adam Covington

Pastor and author David Platt issued an urgent call to those in the Church to transform their compassion for a lost world into action and truly live out what they claim to believe. He condemned apathy as “wickedness.”

Platt recently released his latest book, Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need (Multnomah). The book, penned after a trek through impoverished villages in the Himalayan mountains, highlights the plight of those suffering around the world and calls on Christians to do their part to bring physical, emotional and spiritual healing to such individuals. 

On Wednesday night, Platt hosted the Something Needs to Change Simulcast at McLean Bible Church, where he stressed that the “entire Christian life begins when we realize something needs to change.” 

“It’s impossible to be a Christian without change,” Platt began. “We are continually being changed more and more into the image of Jesus ... It’s what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, and it’s what it means to make disciples of Jesus, which is what we’ve all been called to do.”

“This is everybody’s greatest need in the world; the need to change, the need to be changed ... by the love of Jesus. Girls need to be rescued from trafficking. People need to be saved from preventable diseases. Men and women need to hear the Gospel before they die. In order for change like that to happen in the world, there’s some change that needs to happen in us.”

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Change is not just necessary, Platt contended, but it’s possible, as well. 

“Something needs to change, and something can change,” he posited, adding that those who have been changed by God should be the ones most aware that change is possible.

“The problem is, I talk with a lot of people in the Church, and it’s like we don’t believe that,” he said. “A lot of people look at a world of urgent need and think it’s impossible to change the number of people trafficked, in poverty, and those who haven’t heard the Gospel.

“It’s like we settle into a reality where we know there’s a need in the world, but we don’t see a way we can change it. It’s called fatalism and it’s wickedness ... it’s evil, it’s sinful, and God has not called any of us to live this way.”

Citing James 4:13-17, the pastor said three words summarize how change can happen: “Urgent, humble action.”

“Change happens through action — not through thinking and talking — but through acting, doing something,” he said. “Fath acts, faith works, and if we’re not acting in a world of need, we don’t actually have faith.”

According to Platt, true change happens when people understand what they are: A mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:14).

“We are here for a moment and gone the next. Change happens when you realize there’s not a lot of time. One of the greatest hindrances to change is thinking you have plenty of time,” he warned. 

“Girls in brothels right now don’t need you or me saying, ‘maybe, someday, I’ll do something.' They need us to realize that they don’t have a lot of time and we don’t have a lot of time. Humbly act today.”

David Platt speaks at McLean Bible Church, Sept. 18, 2019. | Screenshot: Radical

The New York Times best-selling author revealed that his latest book is filled with “face-to-face stories of need” that will hopefully spur readers into action.

“I’m asking God to use this book as an instrument of His hands to move you toward urgent, humble action — not in the future, someday, but now, today,” he said. “Believe me, something needs to change, and by God’s grace, something can change.”

Platt, who founded Radical, a nonprofit organization that exists to serve the church in accomplishing the mission of Christ, announced that all proceeds from his latest book will be used to help remedy “urgent needs in the world.” 

Additionally, he revealed that Radical is currently “exploring, vetting, and developing partnerships with indigenous laborers around the world” who are bringing physical and spiritual help to those in need. 

“There’s so much need in the world, but the greatest need is the Gospel,” Platt emphasized. “We want to mobilize resources from those whom God has given grace to, to make His glory known there.”

“Something needs to change, and something can change. The question is: Will we lay ourselves before God and let Him work the change He desires to do? I pray that the answer is yes.”

Following the session, Platt participated in a Q&A, where he was asked: "How do we handle the weight of being chosen by God, unlike others who live in terrible circumstances only to go and suffer in eternity?"

Platt answered, “I don’t have an answer as to why as I was born into a place in the world where I’ve heard the name of Jesus pretty much since I was born. I didn’t have anything to do with where I was born. That’s the pure grace and mercy of God. I can’t explain it, but I praise God for it.”

“But I do know that I’ve been given grace for a reason,” he continued. “God was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach among the gentiles, I might preach among the nations. There are some things I can't explain, but this I know: I’ve been given mercy for a reason, and that’s to make mercy known. I’ve been given grace for a reason, and that’s to spread grace, to spread the Gospel.

"I could sit around and try to figure out some of the mysteries here, or I could just go with the grace God has given, believe His Word, and give my life unreservedly to make His grace known so less and less people wake up to places where the Gospel is not yet known."

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