I just listened to a message by David Platt entitled, “Divine Sovereignty: The Fuel of Death-Defying Missions” sent to me by my daughter, Bethany. David wrote Radical, one of the three or four books that has influenced the way I live and the way I shepherd my faith family.
About one year ago, the Lord convicted me of a sin in my life. The sin involved fear. For years, I was afraid to send anyone from our faith family into any area or region where they would be at risk because of their faith. Whether they were called or not… whether they were willing or not… whether they were ready or not, I was unwilling to bless the venture.
Then one day, the Lord revealed the sin to me and then, by His grace and mercy, took away the fear.
Yesterday, I finished listening to Platt’s message challenging church leaders to be willing to embrace a “Death-Defying Missions”. His final exhortation was “Let us lead our churches to die willingly”. An unthinkable thought a year ago.
In the message, Platt referenced a Romanian pastor named Josef Tson who happens to be a Baptist. Allow me the extreme privilege of quoting Pastor Josef Tson from an address at the 22nd annual Southern Baptist Founders Conference July 13-16, 2004 at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., with the theme “The Fellowship of His Sufferings.”
“When the secret police officer threatened to kill me, to shoot me, I smiled and I said, 'Sir, don't you understand that when you kill me you send me to glory? You cannot threaten me with glory.’”
“I told the interrogator, ‘You should know your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying,’”
“Now here is how it works, sir: You know that my sermons are on tape all over the country. When you shoot me or crush me, whichever way you choose, [you] only sprinkle my sermons with my blood. Everybody who has a tape of one of my sermons will pick it up and say, ‘I had better listen again. This man died for what he preached.’ Sir, my sermons will speak 10 times louder after you kill me and because you kill me. In fact, I will conquer this country for God because you killed me. Go on and do it.”
“After I said this, the interrogator sent me home. Another officer who was interrogating a pastor friend of mind told him, ‘We know that Mr. Tson would love to be a martyr, but we are not that foolish to fulfill his wish.’ I stopped to consider the meaning of that statement. I remembered how for many years, I had been afraid of dying. I had kept a low profile. Because I wanted badly to live, I had wasted my life in inactivity. But now that I had placed my life on the altar and decided I was ready to die for the Gospel, they were telling me they would not kill me! I could go wherever I wanted in the country and preach whatever I wanted, knowing I was safe. As long as I tried to save my life, I was losing it. Now that I was willing to lose it, I found it.”
I am not advocating martyrdom. I have no desire to knowingly send someone to their martyrdom. I do, however, hope that we will all lose our fear of death because of our faith.
In actuality, most of us will never be put in the situation of losing our physical lives because of our faith. However, are their areas of our lives that should die because of our faith?
Something to think about…
If you would like to listen to David Platt’s message, here are either the audio or the video links.
Click here for audio.