c. Some guidelines for cultivating aptitude in application
1) There must be continual engagement in the disciplines of personal piety.
2 Tim. 3:16 with 2 Tim. 4:2
Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976), pp. 260-261;
Thomas Murphy, Pastoral Theology, (Audubon, NJ: Old Paths Publications, 1996), pp. 79-80.
2) There must be continual engagement in pastoral intimacy.
1 Cor. 1:11
1 Thess. 2:8-9
Thomas Murphy, Pastoral Theology, (Audubon, NJ: Old Paths Publications, 1996), pp. 199-200.
3) There must be continual engagement in intellectual industry.
e.g. Puritans – Physicians of the soul.
Matthew Henry/Jonathan Edwards
Art Lindsley article “The Importance of Application in New Testament Themes.”
Jack Seaton, “The Pastors Letter“, Wicket Gate, Sept./Oct. 2000
4) There must be continual engagement in the discipline of homiletical sedulity.
d. Some concluding observations and counsels about application in preaching
1) Make this aspect of your sermon preparation a matter of earnest prayer.
James 1:5; 4:4
2) Remember and consider the real and diverse categories of people who are attending upon your ministry.
a) Remember the three main divisions of mankind, to some degree present in every service.
1- The church and the world
2 – The faithful and the hypocrites who are members of the church
3 – The various stages of spiritual growth within the church
John Owen, The Works of John Owen, vol. VI, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2004), p. 189.
b) Remember the chronological divisions of the congregation.
c) Remember the occupational differences.
William G. Blaike, For the Work of the Ministry, (Birmingham, AL: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2005), pp. 149-150.
3) When applications are hard in coming consult the proven masters.
Matthew Henry, John Calvin, The Puritans, Charles H. Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, John C. Ryle
Iain H. Murray, Jonathan Edwards A New Biography, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1987), pp. 459-460.
4) Do not expect a uniform density of application in every sermon.
5) Avoid a stereotyped and predictable structure in your applications.
6) Make judicious use of searching questions in your application.
Reverend Robert Traill, The Works of the Late Reverend Robert Traill, vol. IV, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1975), p. 196.
7) Be prepared to pay the price of consistent, close application.
8) Pray for and expect the aid of the Spirit in suggesting additional application in the act of preaching.