Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Doing the word

We all know God’s command in James 1 to “prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” But often, doing the word is not as easy as it sounds. It’s so easy for me to “look myself in the mirror” as James says, but then walk away, forgetting what I’ve seen. Collectively, it’s easy for us to hear God’s Word on Sundays, nod our heads in agreement, close our Bibles, go our separate ways, start another busy week, forget what we heard, and never take any specific course of action.

I would like to do a better job of providing tools for our church to apply God’s Word in our lives. Michael Fabarez, in his book, Preaching That Changes Lives, says to pastors, “We must do all that we can to assist our people in acting upon the truth we dispense. Therefore, it behooves us to design and supply tools that will assist them in this process. Providing your congregation with a few useful aids for application is well worth your time and effort” (p. 175).

So, today I've begun my attempt to help us better act on the truth. I will be writing a weekly note called “Doing the Word," which I will either hand out on Sunday or email out early in the week. I will try to briefly summarize Sunday’s message and then offer a few practical application questions. These questions could be discussed as a family or used in private reflection and prayer. I hope you find them edifying.

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On Sunday, we studied John 17:13-19, asking what is the Christians’ relationship to this world, and discovering the crucial role of the Word of God. There were three points:
  1. We are SEPARATE from the world (vv. 14, 16)
  2. We are SENT into the world (v. 18)
  3. We are SANCTIFIED by the Word (vv. 17-19)

Here are some thought and discussion questions, which I shared during the sermon:

  • Am I being increasingly sanctified from the world by the Word? How is progress evident in my life?
  • Which “wrong approach” to the world do I tend to take? Withdrawing myself from it? Conforming to it? Trying to moralize it?
  • Am I taking my commission to the world seriously? Who has God specifically brought into my life to reach?
  • Do I see the dangers of the world? Where am I most susceptible to worldly influences?
  • Since God’s Word is true, am I truly devoting myself to it in my personal walk? My family? The church? How could I do better?

(Sunday’s sermon has been uploaded to our podcast site and is now available for free download or to listen online.)

May God help us apply His Word this week in our hearts, in our words, and in our actions.

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