[Papercut Press] 2001-12-04 - Applying the Sermon

Part 2

Psalm 31:23 O, Love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person.

So you thought I was done with this topic? No, sorry, this is too important a topic to let die without a follow-up. Sermons can be very powerful. Even reading sermons can be food for thought. On this past Sunday I read a sermon that made me consider overseas missions in a very serious way. Later that day I learned that someone my family supported, church supported, and actually used to live with my family died on Saturday due to an illness contracted directly from the place she was working in. It made me long to serve Christ all the more and seek to reach those who have never heard the good news of the Gospel. Sermons can be powerful, even written ones.

In another book I have been reading I came upon a description of purgatory I had never seen before. It seems that Catholic Theologians suggest that purgatory is like being placed in a freezer or ice box for a while and then shifted into a burning furnace for a while and then shifted back to the ice box and so on... The idea being that the remaining sin in you that you need to work out will either be frozen out of you or burned out of you. Now we all know that Christ died to forgive sin and that means all our sin so this concept holds little truth, but it made me think about those who fail to apply sermons. It is just like going from the furnace to the freezer to work out sin. It is pointless. There is little use in going to hear a sermon if you have not intent to apply what you have learned in the sermon. You can't work out your sin from freezer to furnace just as you can't grow in Christ if you fail to apply what you know.

Applying the sermon, part 2

4. When you get home try to repeat the sermon to yourself. Your might say this is outrageous, and so it is, but what is more important to your soul, football or the Word of God? You can get the scores on headline news, your soul is much more precious. Meditate on the things that hit you hard. Why did they stick in your memory? Is there any truth to them in your life? Should you do inventory with God?

5. This may not come under application exactly, but try to hear the best preachers you can. I will not attend a church that has a preacher who does not preach the Gospel. The Gospel is for believers and for those who will come to Christ. For believers it is the reminder that we have been saved in Christ from our sins, great as they may be. For those who will come to Christ the great word, "whosoever", John 3:16, is for them also.

6. Keep an accurate account of your conduct in relation to what you hear. Examine yourself. Ask yourself if you are applying what you have learned. In the two youth groups I have lead I had a deal with every student. It was simple. If you don't want to be here I don't want you here. I didn't want them there because their parents wanted them there, but rather I wanted them there because they wanted to grow in Christ. My deal was that if they did not wish to be in the group I would go with them, to their parents, and argue their case for not being in the group. No one ever took me up on my offer and the groups exploded in size. My point is that if you are not examining yourself after the sermon, why do you go? If you don't apply what you are learning, what is the point of going? I would argue your case for not even going. If the sermons do not change your life then either change your church or your conduct.

7. Lastly, set your hearts in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. The sweetness of His grace is awesome. You may not hear a life changing sermon every week, but there should always be something you can take from the sermon and apply to your life. Christ is gracious and will speak to your heart -- look for it -- seek it. Things that are holy are not natural to sinners so we must seek Christ's grace and long for it. His love is much more than we can ever imagine and we must set ourselves in a vision to seek His love, for it is abundant to those who seek, Matthew 7:7.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] brutefact@hotmail.com