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Making The Application
• Part One
• We have heard sermon after sermon.
• How do we translate them into our own personal application?

• Introduction
• Romans 10:17: faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
• Galatians 5:6: all that matters is faith working through love.
• Thus we know we come to faith through hearing, accepting the Word of God.
• But how do we go from hearing and accepting the Word of God in the Gospel to living the faith in love?
• That is what we need to figure out.

• Applying The Message
• The process by which we go from hearing and acceptance to living the message is the application process.
• Seeking to apply the message to life is crucial.
• Christianity as just a set of interesting or even good ideas, or a nice philosophy, is woefully insufficient;
• A merely academic faith is dead (James 2:14-26)
• The impetus has always been placed on living the message:
• Following Jesus (1 John 2:6),
• Doing His commandments (1 John 2:3-5),
• Displaying the fruit of the Spirit(Galatians 5:22-24),
• Doing and not just hearing (James 1:22-25)
• Yet application is often fraught with difficulty.
• The vast majority of variance in Christian faith and practice is in terms of application!
• The Bible was written to people thousands of years ago to people in different cultures.
• What do we directly absorb, what do we learn by example, and what should we avoid?
• These are serious questions we should consider.
• Let us consider how we are to apply God's message to life.

• Discernment
• John 7:24: Jesus exhorts the Jews to not judge by appearances, but judge righteous judgment.
• This gets to the heart of what is necessary to apply the Gospel to life: discernment!
• We understand that we must follow Jesus' commandments (1 John 2:3-5).
• We recognize that examples illustrate and often provide a pattern (1 John 2:6)
• There will be times when we will have to make necessary inferences or use deductive reasoning.
• Yet in all these things we are still going to be confronted with the great challenge of every age:
• Assuming we come to the best understanding of the Gospel message in its context, how do we most faithfully live out the Gospel in our own context?
• Such application will demand discernment of not just what God has said, but also how we can best put it into practice in our 21st century environment (Matthew 16:3)!
• This challenge is immensely frustrating to many;
• Many wonder why so much has been left to us to try to sort out and figure out:
• Has God abandoned us, leaving a first century script, expecting us to sort out without assistance how to make it work in the twenty-first?
• God has not abandoned us! He is ever present.
• We can see in the New Testament the endeavor to make sense of what God did in Christ, how to encourage others to follow Jesus, and how to make application.
• What God has declared as right and wrong behavior remains either right or wrong;
• Cultural viewpoint changes do not shake God's standard of justice and righteousness (Galatians 5:17-24).
• Such is also why James exhorts us to pray to God for wisdom (James 1:5):
• God will provide wisdom, understanding, and insight if we are truly trusting in Him.
• Yet perhaps we do well to consider that the flexibility is a virtue, not a flaw!
• The core truths of Christianity are timeless;
• God's standard of holiness and righteousness is timeless;
• but the way people look, talk, think, their emphases, etc. have changed over time.
• Even today different people in different places have different circumstances: some areas struggle with certain sins more than other areas;
• Certain cultures take certain aspects of righteousness for granted, while others take other aspects for granted.
• God in Christ has not hamstrung the Kingdom with a message that makes sense only in certain cultures at certain times;
• The Gospel has been revealed so as to be able to be proclaimed to all, heard by all, and applied by all to their lives
(Romans 1:16-17, Colossians 1:6)
• Therefore discernment is in order!
• We must discern our context:
• What parts of the Gospel do we "naturally" find easily acceptable?
• What aspects are made more difficult because of cultural or social values?
• We must discern what is best to emphasize:
• Not only speaking what people want to hear as good (2 Timothy 4:3-4),
• Not only cantankerously emphasizing points of disagreement so as to repel any debate(Colossians 4:5-6).
• There are times and seasons to discern how to encourage those outside in the Gospel, but only so as to exhort them toward faith and obedience to Christ (Romans 1:5, 16);
• What good is denouncing others for their shortcomings and limitations without reference to our own (Matthew 7:1-4)?
• Our discernment must always be rooted in Christ and informed by the revelation of God in Scripture (Colossians 2:1-10, 2 Timothy 3:14-16),
• And we must seek to do all things to the glory of God, consonant with His character and will (Romans 14:6-8; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 4:11).
• This is especially relevant in the proclamation of the Gospel.
• The ultimate benefit of sermons, studies, and lessons derives from their applicability.
• One can set up a Biblical theme, explain its truth from Scripture, but what then?
• If a Biblical principle is explored, demonstrated as true, but
then only applied to worldly people, denominationalists, or
others, of what value has the lesson to the people actually
• What are they being called to do in order to conform
to Christ (Matthew 7:1-4, Romans 8:29)?
• Thus whatever lesson we preach or teach should be directed toward the people to whom we are actually speaking so to equip them to apply their faith to their lives (Galatians 5:6; Ephesians 4:11-16)!
• Yet even if the preacher or teacher does well at providing appropriate application, what then?
• Thus discernment is of the greatest importance to application; it is the means by which we decide what must be applied.
• Yet what else goes into applying the Gospel message to life? (that we will cover in the next lesson)

• Conclusion (part one)
• Learning all about the Bible does us no good if we cannot apply it to our lives and character.
• Each of us needs to read the scripture with the understanding that God is speaking to me.
• It is my job to figure out what God wants from me so that I may live in such a way that is pleasing to God.
• Our next two lessons will consider more areas in which we can learn to make application.
• Invitation.

By Carey Scott

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