Welcome to week six of our preaching podcast mini-series. We are excited to partner with Veritas Baptist College for this preview on the sermon preparation courses they'll be offering in the upcoming semester. In this episode, I have the opportunity to discuss preaching and sermon preparation with Cary Schmidt. Here are the notes from our conversation:
How can application be dangerous or in which ways can application hurt the credibility of a sermon?
The Bible can be viewed as a book of applications, and not simply saying what God says. If you take the Bible as a purely applicational book, you will make it say anything you want it to say. “Come out from among them and be separate” can be made to say anything, for example. The credibility of the scripture and sermon are undermined because we don’t give God’s message.
I John 2:15-17 is the classic application for anything you want to label as a problem.
When “thinking people” get into the word and hear those kinds of messages, you risk turning off an entire audience of spiritually mature people--they will leave. They know that the Bible “doesn’t say that,” and that that pastor is preaching to people who don’t really think much. The credibility of the sermon is lost at the foundation. Your message will not be relevant to people who are hungry for the word of God. Thinking people want to be fed in a Bible rich culture.
“If we are not given proper interpretation first, then we have an application that is shaky at best and dangerous at worst.” - Bryan Samms.
In your Veritas Baptist College course on New Testament Survey you make the statement, “Indicatives precede imperatives.” Please explain how important this is to application.
To say it simply, to say who God is and what God has done precedes what God tells me to do and provides the context and motivation for what God tells us to do. Another way to say it is we love him because he first loved us. The way I say it to my church family is, “If we can’t get there by loving Jesus, we don’t want to get there any other way.”
How do you see the gospel centric philosophy shape preaching in the way that you present imperatives in scripture?
I will do much more for Jesus in love than I will ever do out of obligation. The prodigal son is a good example of this. The cure for not wanting to do right is not sucking it up anyway but getting reconnected to your first love. Get back to Jesus and figure out why you love duty and not God.
There is a relationship dynamic that will cause us to fall in love with God and want to obey him. We will see the imperatives as his love, what’s good for us. The gospel, the love of God, gives us permission to cast off man made law and lovingly take up and embrace the lordship of Jesus and his loving laws. Christ’s laws allow him to be Lord in our lives.
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Sermon Referenced in this episode: