Matt Cohen

Is Sermon Application Legalism?

Declaring and obeying God’s commands is not legalism. Legalism is seeking to obey God’s commands in order to be right with God. Biblical obedience is seeking to obey God’s commands because a Christian is already right with God through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Confusion on this point can lead to a significant distortion of the Christian life.

Some pastors think that to become great at sermon application, you need to develop a certain skill. Whereas there is skill involved in crafting sermon application, excellent sermon application doesn’t begin with skill acquisition; it begins with shaping what you believe about sermon application.
Application is the Crown of Exegesis
Application is the crown of exegesis (2 Tim. 3:16–4:2). The ultimate goal of exegesis is not simply to “get it right.” Exegesis also aids the pastor in his calling to reprove, rebuke, and exhort real people to live for God’s glory.
In his book, Toward and Exegetical Theology, Walter Kaiser makes the point powerfully, “Exegesis is never an end in itself. Its purposes are never fully realized until it begins to take into account the problem of transferring what has been learned from the text over to the waiting Church. . . . The exegetical process and the hermeneutical circle have not been closed or completed until the exegete comes to terms with his own and his intended audience’s response to the text.”
Paul Tripp often says that serving up exegetical insights without carefully crafted sermon structure and thoroughly prepared sermon application is like serving individual ingredients rather than a thoroughly prepared dish. To grow in sermon application, you must believe that exegesis is a means to spiritual growth in the life of God’s people—a necessary ingredient that must be baked in.
Application is the crown of exegesis.
Application is a Friend of the Gospel
The preacher must also believe that indicative and imperative verbs belong together. An indicative statement indicates something.
Read More
Related Posts:

Is Sermon Application Even Necessary?

When we connect the transforming power of God’s Word to the daily lives of our people, they will be transformed into a people who will make a name for the Lord. We seek to grow in Christ-centered sermon application because connecting the transforming power of God’s Word to daily life produces a people who live for the glory of God.

Legend has it that philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was fond of illustrating the point that Christians should be doers of God’s Word (James 1:22) by telling the parable of waddling ducks. The parable goes something like this:
One balmy Sunday morning in the land of ducks, all the ducks waddled to church. When they found their pews, their duck preacher waddled to the pulpit. Opening the duck Bible, he preached a spellbinding sermon about God’s great gift to ducks—wings! “God has given you wings to rise above the confinement of pens and soar to the heavens,” the duck preacher exclaimed. All the ducks in the congregation uproariously shouted, “amen, praise God for the gift of wings.” Then they all waddled home.1
The parable reminds preachers that growing in Christ-centered sermon application is our important privilege as we seek to form local churches that reflect the glory of God. In Christ-Centered Preaching, Bryan Chapell defines sermon application as “the present consequence of Scriptural truth.”
It’s not easy to grow in Christ-centered sermon application. In this article, we will explore four reasons why, despite the challenges, it’s well worth our time and effort to grow in Christ-centered sermon application. The four reasons arise from reflection on Isaiah 55:10–13.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heavenand do not return there but water the earth,making it bring forth and sprout,giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;it shall not return to me empty,but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
For you shall go out in joyand be led forth in peace;the mountains and the hills before youshall break forth into singing,and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Read More
Related Posts:

Scroll to top