…and then the preacher says, “lets pray”.
I think this point of the sermon (nay – the church meeting) is the pinnacle. This is the moment when you’re asking people to turn what they’ve heard into gospel centred action…
The action of prayer.
This is the moment of instant application. Your flock can respond to their God’s words right there and then.
Surely the first application of any Bible talk is praying, right? So do you preach with the closing prayer in mind? Are you spending that 20, 30, 40 minutes building up to that moment, when people can depend on Jesus and speak to the Father and say…
What do you want them to say to God at the end of your sermon?
Got it? Good. Now write your talk with that in mind.
I wonder if you should – in your mind at least – start the application from your very first words.
See, if it’s the application of the truths of the bible, then understanding and being convicted of the truths are integral to the application.
Don’t we want our hearers to believe everything we say (assuming it’s true)?
And, if the application rightly flows out of the teaching, then all that teaching should be building up to that point, it is like pulling back a sling-shot before letting it fly.
Shouldn’t we be thinking, “I really want them to get this point so they understand the application better!”
Exegeting a biblical passage or theme isn’t not enough to do excellent application. The other type of exegesis needed is to deeply exegete the heart of yourself and your audience.
What will they first think when they hear this?
How will they be likely to reject it?
Why don’t they already believe and behave in accordance to it?
How has the Spirit already been applying this to their hearts and lives?
Where have you seen fruit like the passage expects?
What type of soil will this word be likely to land on?
What lies are you tempted to believe rather than just accept what God’s word says?
What would your life look like if you really were 100% convinced of this?
Know your people, know yourself, know Jesus.
Ok, I know that just sounds weird, but hear me out.
Some people have a unique and amazing knack at hearing a sermon, reading a passage and just nailing what it practically means for themselves and people around them. They can apply the bible so well.
They may not be great teachers or preachers, but they see what the implications of the gospel message are in very real terms. They make great advisors for sermon applications.