[Papercut Press] 2001-12-03 - Applying the Sermon

Part 1

1 Corinthians 8:1 Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifies.

We all know, or should know about application in the Christian life, but our need to apply is maybe most true when it comes to hearing God's Word preached on the Lord's day. If we don't apply what we have heard to our lives we have done ourselves little good at best and as the above verse says, we may have even done ourselves harm because knowing only serves to make us arrogant when we fail to apply what we know. It is easy to become self-righteous in our faith but there is only one, Jesus Christ, who can claim self-righteousness. All we can do is rest in His righteousness because our righteousness is as filthy rags, (Isaiah 64:6).

So I would like to offer some suggestions for applying the sermon today, but first I would like to quickly share with you my method for paying attention during the sermon. It can be really hard not to day-dream during a sermon, but I have found a way that works for me and might work for you. I take notes on a 3 X 5 card. Now there is not much space on a 3 X 5 card so I have to pay attention to get the main points and pithy comments of the preacher. I write down at the top of the card who is preaching, the topic, date of the sermon, and then the verse or verses to be focused on. Then I pay close attention to only write down what is important or vital to the sermon. I am only trying to fill one side of the card, but having to focus in this manner has helped me for the last eight years. If I fill two sides I conclude it must have been a great sermon.

On Applying a Sermon

  1. Know your heart. If you do not know your heart and the failings of your sinful nature you may not know that the medicine being given you in the sermon for your sin is what you need for what ails you. Be conscience of what sins you are most prone to fall into and seek to get healing for those sins from the sermon. A sermon will be much easier to apply if you know your condition before you hear it. If you do not know your sin, condition, and frankly disease, how will you know the cure when it comes your way? As you leave your house pray to the Lord that before you enter this place again you may have received help for your soul.
  2. Take notes. The Word of God cannot be practiced if it is not remembered. If you fail to understand something, seek out the answers to your questions. To use a sermon to change our lives it will take work. Don't ever suspect that there is any easy way to leave off sinful habits. When know from 1 John 2:1 that the book was written to us that we might not sin. This book then, especially chapter 1, is a great incentive to us to cease from sin. In addition to sermons, this book then is a good place to being the task of leaving off sinning.
  3. Don't silence your conscience. When you discover something that needs work don't say, "another day." You may not have another day. Don't be like those mentioned in 1 Timothy 4:2, who are, "seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron." But rather seek to be those who, "keep a good conscience," 1 Peter 3:16. If during a sermon you think that the preacher is speaking only to you and that he knows your very sins, I submit that he isn't and doesn't know your sin, but God does, and He is speaking to you. Let your conscience finish the sermon to you.

"Conscience is God's spy and man's overseer … Conscience, the domestic chaplain." John Trapp

"The conscience is not to be healed if it be not wounded." William Perkins

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] brutefact@hotmail.com