The Christian lives as a sacrifice before God daily, as did Jesus. It is our reflection of His grace that we expend ourselves in His service and service to others. As we die a bit more day by day or are crushed by the world little by little, we have the opportunity to pour out our gratitude and love for God and neighbor. As like the Old Testament sacrifices, we are thus a sweet aroma pleasing unto Him. This follows from nature that in the same manner that spices and incense give off more and more of their flavor/aroma as they are burned or crushed so do we in our sufferings unto God. This is why murmuring and complaining in such circumstances is not befitting the true Christian. Psalm 44:22, Romans 8:36, Psalm 116:15, 2 Cor. 2:14-15, Eph. 5:1-2.
Tag Archives: application
As Jesus was teaching/preaching, a man was churning something over and over in his mind that had nothing to do with the sermon at hand, much like some do during modern church services.
“Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.””
Jesus takes the opportunity to make what was a disruption into a famous teaching moment. This is the best advice I can think of for all business persons.
Materialism distracts us from recognizing that God gives us the increases we receive in life, yet somehow this businessman/farmer was able to look past all that God had done to bring about his abundant crops, and could only see himself and his security in that wealth. Yet the bigger problem was not his lack of space to hold it all, or really that he had to come up with a plan to resolve his storage problem. His biggest issue was that in all his life’s work and planning, he never took time to make God a part of his plans.
It’s the thought that you can always get to God later in life once you’ve taken care of your material needs. The Devil rarely tries to convince people that God’s not real or that there is not pending judgement day. The Devil’s best tactic is to convince people that there is always room to get right with God, tomorrow. Business people have so much going on, that if you could poll all of them in one day, I bet there would be a majority that would similarly say they can always accept God tomorrow. But just like the parable, and the population being what it is, the odds are that a few of those same business people will not make it to tomorrow. Worse still are those materialistic people that business people feed into and off of, stats say there are more of those who are betting on tomorrow but will not see the next sunrise. Further in the New Testament, James hits the nail on the head in the advice he is giving:
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
To bet on tomorrow is and will be a losing bet for someone today. Don’t let that person be you, work to be rich toward God and seek the Lord while he may be found.
Scripture regularly admonishes us to be not only hearers, but doers of the Word (James 1:22), just as some, maybe few sermons admonish us with notions of application, or how to work out in our lives a piece of what we just heard. Application in sermons is a dying art, yet its something crucial to the Christian walk. Many Christians are well aware of being delivered from sin, justice and wrath, but know little about how the rest of life is to now work. In the absence of true application the culture is ready to fill the gap with its practices and reasonings. Most sermon application seems like moral/ethical standards or doctrines to just be understood. Denominations push these extremes but rarely provide a healthy balance or more.
Application should be like going to the store and actually buying something that you take home and make yours, as the possession of the product adds to your life. This illustrates the three levels of learning (I’ll call them facts, others and experience). In facts, you learn the details and doctrines of God. In others, you see how people work out those facts in their life. Then in experience, you take both of the above and incorporate them into YOUR life. You have in effect not just read about a product, window shopped, or merely watched an infomercial, but you see such a need for it that you invest in it and take it home with you. Now all three elements are key, because left to themselves or only two of the three, will create problems. For example to just learn facts and doctrine, without any change in heart or life may just make you an Athenian, just liking to know and hear some new thing.
My application in this post is for you to focus on the next sermon you hear, and whether an application is given or not, ask yourself what will you take home from the sermon that you will seek to incorporate into your life, and make yours, and thus be a doer of what you hear.