• Making The Application
• Part Two
• Even good preaching is useless if we do not apply what is taught to our lives.
• 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 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.
• The last lesson we looked at Discernment.
• A lost art which proves crucial to application of the Gospel to life is meditation.
• We live in a rushed world with no end of distractions.
• We are busy with all sorts of things.
• We barely have time to think about how we are going to get through the day, let alone anything else!
• Yet consider Deuteronomy 6:6-12, Psalms 1:2, 19:14, 119:15, 48, 78, 148; Philippians 4:8
• In the Law of Moses there is an expectation of constant reflection
upon God's precepts.
• Paul expects Christians to think on that which is good, lovely,
praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
• A major part of the challenge is the "curse" of literacy, and all the
more, the "curse" of ever-available technology.
• As has been perceived by both philosophers and scientists, first
literacy and then Internet technology changes the way we think.
• When we can read we can think about the things we have heard or
read but know that if we forget we can access that information
• There is less impetus on remembering and meditating upon what we have read.
• That opens it up to read more because we do not need to meditate anymore, so we do not dwell where we have been, but move on to more information.
• The ever-present availability of the Internet has taken this theme to a new level:
• Now what is most important is knowing where to find information and discern its legitimacy, since information can always be accessed whenever necessary.
• Thus we emphasize personal Bible study and constantly exhort to “Read your Bible,"
• But how much of that reading and study ever goes beyond the obtaining or reinforcing of information and gets the chance to inform how a person lives?
• A sponge can only hold so much.
• Many read but never come to an applied understanding!
• Yet for most of Christian history most Christians were
• They were never able to read or study their Bibles,
• And yet they could be faithful Christians, practice righteousness, and apply the Gospel to their lives.
• Think of a medieval peasant:
• He would hear the Scriptures read in the assembly;
• He would hear a lesson by a preacher; that would be the sum of the spiritual message he might hear that week (or month)!
• If he sought to follow the Lord Jesus, what would he do?
• He would meditate upon those Scriptures he heard and the lesson he heard!
• He would be meditating upon it while going about his life, at home, doing his work, etc.
• And what if, say, he is meditating on the reading of the parable of the Good Samaritan of Luke 10:25-37 and he came upon a person in need on the road?
• Or perhaps the preacher spoke of Joseph's fidelity to God despite sexual temptation in Genesis 39:1-23, and the man was tempted by a woman on the way home?
• If he was thinking about God's will and then found himself in a situation to observe it, would it not be that much harder to disregard it and rebel?
• There is great value in meditation!
• One of the greatest challenges in Christianity is making what is learned on Sunday work from Monday through Saturday!
• If the only time we think about the Gospel or the sermon is on Sunday, then it will be that much harder to apply it the rest of the week!
• Yet if we meditate upon what we have read and heard,
• And fill our minds with the words of God and suggestions of how to apply it,
• We will find it easier to not only avoid temptation,
• But also to do what God has said.
• And even consider other opportunities to apply
it (Philippians 4:8)!
• No matter how good the preacher is, he is not you;
• He might think of wonderful applications to what is preached,
• But you and only you are to put the thought into what was said according to God's will and how it will work in your life, in your profession, in your family life, that is, in your faith (Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17)
• Thus we must meditate upon what we have read, heard, and seen; we must have our thoughts in the things of God, pray to God for wisdom and discernment (James 1:5),
• And ascertain how we are to apply the exhortations of the Gospel to our faith and lives!
• Conclusion (part two)
• Doing what God wants is only going to happen if we are thinking (meditating) about what God wants.
• Therefore, meditation is so important to us.
• Psalm 119:97 “Oh how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day”.
• So we have considered “Discernment, and now Meditation”.
• Our next lesson will see how to apply both of these in our daily living.
By Carey Scott
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