LECTURE 12 ON SERMON PREPARATION Application

According to Broadus application usually comes at the end of the message and this is especially true if the message is unified as it ought to be, however applications may appear elsewhere in the sermon and ought to dominate the whole process. The first step is focus which is determined by the aim. And I like Broadus’ reference to the fact that it is not necessary to make an application to the converted separate from the unconverted. The application should follow from the Sermon, and if the message touches on conversion, then it should be preached to everyone present. We should never assume that all our listeners are regenerate.  It should involve God’s judgment and His encouragement. In other words, the aim is to persuade and in order to persuade you have to have motives. These include the desire for happiness, holiness, recognition in the good sense, security and love.

Now I am not speaking against your taking this course or pursuing a seminary degree, but, it is important that you realize that what you gain here is knowledge but that knowledge must be accompanied with passion. Some churches use the music and other artifices to entice people to listen. However, the greatest object is worship and the second greatest object is teaching, and neither of them should be dependent on outward forms.

Chapell calls the situation of the congregation a labyrinth because it is the place out of which you need to lead people. In order to apply the truth, these are the questions we need to ask ourselves: What does the text mean?-How do I know what the text means?- What concerns caused the text to be written?- What do we share in common with those to whom the text was written or with the one who wrote it? How should the people to whom I am preaching respond? What is the most effective way in communicating the text? I like the way he brings out the solidarity between the preacher and the congregation. If you are preaching about self-righteousness, please do not make it seem like you are not self righteous. All sinners are. He gives us examples of grammatical, mechanical and conceptual outlines. The grammatical helps you to see the relationship of the words. The mechanical identifies the ideas and the conceptual is useful in longer narrative passages. These are all artificial terms simply meant to guide us and it is probable that accomplished preachers use at least the first two and maybe all three in a presentation. The advice is 1) put everything in LOGICAL order, 2) figure out what’s important and what is not. This depends on the objective and the theme. State and restate what the text says and what the objective is. Then exegete in English and define any terms that may be confusing. Finally pray for yourself and the congregation to receive more light.

John Bettler in Logan agrees with Broadus in stating that preaching is application. In it we are applying Scripture to the audience. “Preaching is speaking truth to the congregation,” as Paul says in Romans 15:4, For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Identify a portion of Scripture that has a single thought or purpose. Ask why this is here? Philippians 2 is a good example. It is not a theological text-it is an exhortation to unity, You selectively ask “why, how, what, when, where,” of a text, whenever any or all of those queries is appropriate. Bettler has some great outlines, but the point is for you to learn how to outline in the same way. Finally, the concrete application should proceed from the general to the particular to the concrete. Preach pastorally and use illustrations including personal ones, but do not use them excessively. Their value is that they enable us to communicate our own struggles to the audience.