Phillip Jensen on Applying the Bible to Everyday Life

Phillip Jensen on Applying the Bible to Everyday Life Scripture Application

Australian minister and Bible teacher Phillip Jensen shares in the video below wisdom on applying the Bible to everyday life, in which he mentions the relationship between biblical theology and application, and also how to avoid legalism in applying Scripture.

Here are some helpful quotes from Jensen:

  • “To preach the gospel without being able to call on people to repent is not to preach the gospel, because the gospel preaches repentance.”
  • “Application flows from the Scriptures.”
  • “Look into the Scripture passage itself and understand it in depth…the applications will become apparent. If you can’t find the applications in the Scripture, I’d suggest you still need to keep looking.” (Jensen’s #1 Tip for Applying Scripture)
  • “Legalism comes from adding application on the Scriptures instead of drawing application out of the Scriptures.”
  • “Biblical theology as a subject helps you perceive what the Bible itself is saying, rather than looking at the congregation and thinking this is what they need to hear.”

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Attention Church: Our Preachers Still Need Our Prayers

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This post is a continuation of a two-part series on prayer and the act of preaching. Read Part One.

In the book of Acts, it’s hard to miss the fact that the apostles gave their attention “to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). But what does this actually mean? Up to this point in Acts, there hasn’t been that much praying (so, for example, it isn’t even completely clear whether 2:42 means ‘they prayed’ or ‘they kept going to the temple’). But in Acts 4:24-30 we see that when the church prays, it prays for the preaching of the apostles. And although I can’t prove it, I suspect that from this point on in Acts praying for the impact of the apostles’ preaching is considered a complete no-brainer. We can see basically the same concern when Paul writes to the Colossians:

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. (Col 4:2–4)

Paul clearly expects—and longs for—the prayers of the Christians at Colossae for his preaching.

So what should we do? Let me give you a straightforward double challenge.

First, resolve to make sure that from now on (whatever your habit has been in the past), you will pray for your own preaching. Perhaps you have been totally consistent in this for years. It may be that you would never dream of standing up to speak to anyone without praying that God would help you to believe and live your own sermon. And it may be that you always pray for those on whom you are about to inflict the sermon—if that’s you, well and good. However, if you are part of the (large?) number of Bible teachers who would be rather embarrassed (or deeply ashamed?) if the amount of time and energy they had put into praying through and for the sermon were to be announced to the congregation just before they stood up to speak, this may be a great time to hit the reset button and repent.

The second part of the challenge is this: make sure that your church prays together for the preaching. I haven’t done any exhaustive research (well, actually, I haven’t done any research at all on this), but I suspect that the church prayer meeting is in rapid decline. The growth of home groups is, I think, a really good thing, but it doesn’t come without a cost. In my experience, the cost is that the ‘prayer’ part of the home group is always weaker than the study part. The net result is that we pray more for my Aunt Nelly’s next-door neighbour’s friend’s daughter than we do for the proclamation of the message of Jesus. (And it’s not that my Aunt Nelly’s next-door neighbour’s friend’s daughter doesn’t need prayer—I’m arguing for both/and rather than either/or.) So, again, it’s just worth checking—is there a dedicated time during the week when people gather specifically to pray for our core business? If not, please make one.

Book Cover Saving Eutychus Preaching Gary Millar and Phil Campbell—Gary Millar is Principal of Queensland Theological College (QTC), Brisbane, Australia.

This post was written by Gary Millar in Saving Eutychus: How to Preach God’s word and keep people awake and has been used with permission. Buy Saving Eutychus: Amazon | Matthias Media

Two Potential Dangers of Podcast Preaching

Two Potential Dangers of Podcast Preaching 2

Those of you under 40 may find it difficult to imagine that when I was a student minister, we had to go to a place called a ‘library’ to find information in ‘books’. Occasionally, we were also able to get things called ‘cassettes’. Since cassettes were (a) expensive, and (b) hard to get, they were passed around, used, re-used and abused. (In fact, I would still love to hear the end of the Martyn Lloyd-Jones talk on Romans 11 that someone recorded ABBA’s Greatest Hits over!) Contrast that with today—a quick glance at The Gospel Coalition website gives instant access to thousands of excellent expository sermons. The issue today isn’t lack of resources, but rather how ‘ordinary’ pastors compete for the listening ears of their congregations with the ‘big guns’, whose sermons are available live (or at least later on the same day they were preached).

There are, of course, many ways in which this is a good thing—I mean, seriously, can we ever have too much good teaching? And yet there are dangers.

  • One of these is that teaching the Bible becomes completely detached from loving relationship.1
  • Another danger stems from the fact that people place far too much emphasis on the preacher as ‘performer’ (or even ‘personality’). And when that happens, it effectively removes the need for prayer.

In the local church, if we are regularly rubbing shoulders with those who preach, we know that there are weeks when they are under huge pressure to carve out enough time to prepare properly; we know that there are weeks when they just can’t nail their sermon; we know that there are weeks when their kids are playing up, or they are working through marital issues, or they are feeling under the weather.

And so we pray.

We know that our friends—those who have just received crushing health news, who have recently been bereaved, who are struggling with anger, who are trying to deal with pride, who have sinned sexually—will be listening to this sermon. We know how much we need God. And so we pray (or so we know we should). But if we are sitting in front of a screen watching or listening to an old sermon preached by a guy we don’t know, in a place we’ve never been, to people we’ve never met, it isn’t quite the same. To put it bluntly, it doesn’t really matter to us if God showed up and addressed his people through his word that day. It doesn’t really matter what was going on in that church. So why should we pray? The connection between our prayers and the sermon is broken—and when that happens, it isn’t easily fixed.

Preachers praying

I could be wrong, but I strongly suspect that preachers are praying less today too. They (we) are certainly talking less about prayer than, say, 20 years ago. And while it’s true that there has been a significant resurgence of biblical preaching, I’m not sure this has been accompanied by a resurgence in praying—and especially not prayer about preaching. Gradually, we seem to be losing sight of the fact that God uses weak and sinful people, and that he uses them only by grace. Yes, we may sow, plant and water—but only God gives growth. That’s true in your local church and mine. It’s also true of every podcast and ebook and conference address under the sun.

God doesn’t use people because they are gifted. He uses people (even preachers) because he is gracious. Do we actually believe that? If we do believe it, then we will pray—we will pray before we speak, and we will pray for others before they speak. It’s that simple.

Book Cover Saving Eutychus Preaching Gary Millar and Phil Campbell—Gary Millar is Principal of Queensland Theological College (QTC), Brisbane, Australia.

This post was written by Gary Millar in Saving Eutychus: How to Preach God’s word and keep people awake and has been used with permission. Paragraphs and bullet points have been changed.

Buy Saving Eutychus: Amazon | Matthias Media 

1Bullet points are original

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