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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Application of scripture

If you recall, we looked at the idea that "great observation leads to good interpretation." Expanding on that, "great observation leads to good interpretation which leads to proper application"; which is what we are going to be discussing here.

Remember, the goal of Bible study is obedience, not knowledge. The pharisees had knowledge, but no obedience.

It's vital that as one in a ministerial position that you "observe" scripture often.

Let's look at application. How do you know what you're supposed to do with the passage that you read? You need to apply 9 questions to them.

1. Is there an example to follow?

Keep in mind that there is 1 correct interpretation, but there are many applications of the text. That's how differrent preachers can read the same passage, but preach on different topics.

2. Is there a sin to avoid?

3. Is there a promise to claim?

For example, in Nehemiah 1:8-9, Nehemiah is speaking and is recfalling the Word of God given to Moses. If you follow God, you receive blessing; if not, you receive discipline. We'll look more at conditions in a bit.

Neh 1:8 "Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples;
Neh 1:9 but {if} you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.'

Remember, that if God gives you a promise, He is always faithful.

4. Is there a prayer to repeat?

By this, I do not mean repeat the words verbatim. I mean that the prayers uttered are to be used as models to follow.

Prayers generally follow the A.C.T.S. model, which is a simple mnemonic device to help us remember the four basic elements of prayer.

A = Adoration:

We put aside all our thoughts and troubles and come into the presence of God.It is a time for "turning our heart home...," a pause in our activities to focus on God, and God alone.

For many this is a time of praise for all the glory of God revealed around us. For others it is a time of quiet listening, putting all other thoughts aside and seeking a clear focus of our love for God.

It is a time to put things in perspective, to remember "who we are and whose we are." It sets the stage for all that is to follow.

C = Confession:

This is the time for truth telling. Even as we know God is aware of all our faults and failures, it is important to let God know that WE are aware of them as well.

Too often we can hide and deny the places that hold the most pain. Too often the world rushes us on and we allow situations to fester.

Truth telling involves honest appraisal both of the good and the bad in our life. It is a time to speak to God with the deepest trust that these circumstances need attention, healing and resolution.

Often this honesty needs to be spoken aloud, shared with a trusted friend or spiritual director for in the speaking, insight often comes.

Being honest before God may lead us into some painful realization as to our need for seeking help, reconciliation or guidance.

Such Honesty is the most direct and powerful way to resolve the situations of our life.

T = Thanksgiving:

In the context of adoration and with ourselves being very honest before God, we are then able to give thanks.

We "count our blessings" as we recognize all that God has done for us. From the smallest gift of a flower blooming on a concrete sidewalk, to the awesome love of God in the Grace and Sacrifice of Jesus Christ... we give thanks.

We give thanks for the food we have, the shelter provided, the family and friends, the church family and its support.

We give thanks for hope and healing, claiming all that God has promised to us. We give thanks for the opportunity to be in prayer, to speak with the everlasting God of creation.

We give thanks for the opportunity to worship in freedom, and without coercion. We give thanks for love, and for our Lord.

S = Supplication

Supplication is simply the sharing of our needs. They are different than our wants and desires. God has promised to care for our needs.

We may recognize the shallowness of some of our desires. We may uncover a deeper need long ago buried. We may discover God has placed in our life new solutions and answers to our prayers.

As we go over our concerns for others, we may be given insights into how best to minister to others. At times, names may come to us "out of the blue." And perhaps a phone call is needed, a card, or a visit or a deep word of prayer for them.

God has a way of using our supplications to become occasions for our own growth in our spiritual journey. We are often confronted with actions and opportunities which, if followed through, enrich us greatly.

ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.

As you begin, go through the letters, first with A (adoration), pause and consider how great God is. Then after a few moments, move on to C (confession), and do the same. Then move on to T (thanksgiving) and end with S (supplication.)

Examples of prayers include Jesus' in John 17 and David's confession in Psalm 51.

5. Is there a direct command for me to obey?
There are commands all through the Bible. The book of james has 54 different commands in it. It's also a great book to read if you;re stumped for a book for Bible study.

Try to think of a few commands off the top of your head right now.

How about...
  • The 10 commandments
  • Mark 12:30 - "and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with allyour soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength."
6. Is there a condition to meet?
We touched on this in #3. Looking at John 15:7, we read... " "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."

In observing this, we learn that there are several parts.

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you," then you can "ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."

7. Is there a verse to memorize?

Memorization is vital to spiritual growth and for meditation on the Word. YOu can;t meditate unless you memorize. Conversely, you can't memorize unless you meditate.

8. Is there an error in my belief?

Here is again a very good reason to plant scripture in your heart.

9. Is there a challenge to face?

You might not use all of these, but you certainly will use at least one in you application.

The key is spending time in God's Word. If you're not spending time in the Word, you're not going to have anything to say to people.

At the end of class, Kyle challenged those of us who are not involved in a ministry area dealing with people to do so.

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