Application Driven Sermons?March 21, 2008
A good question by PJ Tibayan: What do you think about Bryan Chapell’s suggestion to label your main headings in the second person and use the imperative to make sure the application is being driven at as you prepare and deliver the sermon?
My brief response:
I think Chapell’s approach can be quite gripping to listen to – purely from a homiletical point of view. I sometimes use it myself if I feel its appropriate. Obviously, if the listener knows from the big idea itself how the truth will apply to them, they are bound to listen more intently.
That said, I think there can be a danger to follow this format rigidly. For one thing, I’m not always convinced there is something for us to *do* in response to every sermon.
We can run the risk of conveying the idea that responding to sermons involves merely the ticking-off an activities checklist (pray more; read the bible more; evangelise more). I’m not saying that’s what Chapell is proposing – after all, his whole thing is preaching redemptive sermons. I’m only suggesting that the approach itself, woodenly used, could lend to that kind of misuse.
The bible is fundamentally gospel. It tells us of God’s great ‘work’, and conversely our ‘failure to apply.’ Thus we must be sure that people approach God by grace not merit.