Monday, April 28, 2008

If there’s been one thing I’ve learned this semester in my effective sermon delivery course at seminary, it’s been to help people to not only apply the text of Scripture but we are to help them implement the text of Scripture. Let me explain.

It is one thing if from my pulpit I tell my people “Read your Bibles!” That’s application. They know what to do. But we – as preachers – must take this one step further. If we merely stop here that’s still insufficient. We must give them implementation helps. We must tell them how to do what they know they need to do. If we tell them to “Read your Bibles!” we must also tell them “How to read your Bible.”

In a sermon we could say, “Perhaps there is someone here who is struggling with their daily Bible reading. Perhaps the mornings are so busy and the alone time with God is crowded out with the normal engagements of getting ready for work, showering, eating, watching the news and, of course, sleeping late.” But what if we as preachers give them helpful (as practical as it gets) helps as to how they can change:

1) Get up 20 minutes earlier than you usually do and make your coffee and then read the Bible (tell them what to read; start with John, Psalms, etc).
2)Begin your prayer time praying through a psalm, praise God, confess sins to God, thank God, present your requests to God (A-C-T-S prayer).
3)End the quiet time with a prayer thanking God for the clarity of His word and commit the day to Him for His glory. Ask that He may use YOU for His glory in being a witness for Him wherever you find yourself throughout the day.

I hope this helps us bear in mind that we must not only apply the text for our hearers in the sermon but we must also implement it for them (or, show them how to implement it).


Anonymous said...

Geoff, this is an excellent reminder for us.

One of the former homeletics professors at Covenant Seminary used to instruct his preaching students to imagine him standing at the back of the sanctuary listening and asking "what do you want me to do?" as they opened God's word to the congregation.

Interpretation always precedes application, but application must be integrated into the message.

In my opinion, it's a common challenge in preaching today that the balance of exegesis and application be rightly maintained. Both are obviously essential.

Thanks for the thought provoking challenge.

Love, Dad

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!