How to bind a human conscience
For all the pastors trying to get people to do what they should, here is an easy set of directions to follow;
In order to be truly effective, you must gloss over any scripture that speaks of the finality of Christ’s work, or the continued unconditional work of Jesus Christ in the life of the believer. If you let them know this, what will be the motivation for sanctification? For example, where it is written Jesus is the author and perfecter of faith (Heb. 12:2), add the idea ‘if you follow His commands faithfully’. This will give you the entry to dictate what application points the congregation needs today.
1. Assume that All of Scripture has application points for believers. They want something to do, and your job is to make the action points crystal-clear. If you have difficulty finding application points, expand the amount of scripture you’re covering until you find some
2. Separate verses from their context to emphasize their importance. James 1:22 reads, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” This is ready for your application points to the congregation. Don’t forget that these need to be tangible actions they can follow
3. Other verses don’t seem to be ripe for application, but you can overcome that if they are general. 1 Pet. 1:16 states, “Be holy for I am Holy”. “Being” isn’t really doing, but you can expound on this verse and explain that this verse means we have to keep clean from sin. Then, you can give them 5 or 6 ways to do this. Philippians 2:12 states, “Work out your salvation in fear and trembling”. Ignore the fact that this is written to a group (your is in the plural) and move right into private morality.
3. Do NOT preach out of the Old Testament! Although there are many good rules to follow in the Old Testament, that part of the Bible does not apply to Christians
4. Give your sermon a catchy name like, The seven steps to a better prayer life, or Nine ways to overcome sin. When people read the title, they know they are going to get some practical instruction. This empowers them to believe they can do it
5. Remember, people are sheep. They need to be directed at every turn. Without the guidelines you give, they will end up outside the sheep pen
©John Dostal 2016