Apply It to Your Life

I have been challenged by this thought: Am I applying to my own life the Biblical messages I am hearing? Or am I just sitting in neutral? A holy life is an up hill battle, if I am in neutral then I am rolling backward and losing ground.

Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Matthew 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

  1. Mark 4:18-19 — The seed sown in thorny ground (Where are my thoughts going?)
    1. This is part of the the parable of the seed sown on many types of ground.
    2. The full parable is can be found in these passages: Mark 4:2-20; Matthew 13:3-23; Luke 8:4-15
    3. This parable comes with an exhortation:
      1. Mark 4:9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

      2. So apparently this is something very important we need to listen to.
      3. This parable tells us about a key to being fruitful. We know the Lord expects Christians to be fruitful (Romans 1:13; Romans 7:4-5; Galatians 5:22 ff), so we should indeed listen up.
    4. The sower here is sowing the Word and the different soils represent different types of listeners.
    5. We are focusing on the thorny ground where the Word does sprout, but it doesn't get very far.
    6. We are not talking about salvation here. We are talking about our testimony and living for Christ. You can't lose your salvation, you can lose your testimony.
      1. Specifically we are talking about listening to God's Word in our personal devotions and in the sermons we hear.
      2. How do I respond to God's Word when it is presented?
    7. v. 19 — What hinders the Word from becoming fruitful in the listener's life?
      1. cares of this world — There is a lot to be worried about in this world. Is that distracting me from listening to God's message? (Matthew 6:25-30)
      2. the deceitfulness of riches — Wealth is very alluring, but not satisfying. It is easy to be caught up with making/getting a little more and let my focus on God slip. (Matthew 6:19-21)
      3. the lusts of other things — There are plenty of other things to distract us as well, such as popularity and lasciviousness. (Matthew 6:1-5)
      4. entering in, choke the word — These things can creep in and take my focus off of God and soon His Word which had a good start in my heart withers and dies. (Matthew 6:31-34)
    8. What about me?
      1. So, when I am reading my Bible in the morning or sitting in Church on Sunday, what am I thinking about? Is it about what I am reading/hearing or am I distracted by what I have to do that day, where I want to go eat, what I forgot to do this morning?
      2. How about after I get up from my devotions. Do I immediately file away what I learned and become fixated with the problems of the day or do I apply it to my life?
      3. These things prevent God's Word from becoming fruitful in my life.
  2. Apply it to my life
    1. So what does it mean practically to hold on to God's word?
      1. Deuteronomy 11:18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

      2. It means to take it seriously and internalize it. To apply it to our lives.
      3. God's Words needed to sink into their heart and soul, they also needed to permeate every action of their life.
    2. James 1:21-25 — That is the real key here, when I read/hear God's word am I applying to my life or am I just saying, that is good and walking away?
      1. v. 21 — So God's word working in my life is in opposition to my status quo life.
        1. superfluity — Left over, i.e. naughtiness left over that we haven't dealt with.
      2. v. 22-24 — To listen to the Word and not apply it is deceitful and pointless.
        1. It is deceitful because, we feel spiritual for listening, but if it makes no difference in our life we are not more spiritual. (Matthew 21:28-32)
        2. I sometimes realize that I need to go check a note or see how long before my food is done. So I get up and go check it, on the way back I start to think about what I was working on and how to correct whatever it was. By the time I get back to my seat, I am so caught up in my thoughts, that I forgot what I went to check. The whole trip was pointless.
        3. The same thing can happen to us when hearing/reading God's Word. We get so busy thinking about what is next we forget what we read.
      3. v. 25 — Instead we need to look, remember, and apply it. This man shall be blessed in his deed. That is what I want.
    3. This is not easy to do though.
      1. When it rains, what does the water do? It flows to the lowest spot, and make a swamp. Why? Because it takes the least energy to stay there.
      2. We, like water, tend to flow to the state that takes the least energy.
      3. Applying what we hear directly to our life and making corrections takes lots of energy. Instead it is easier to drift into neutral and just let it float past.
      4. This is a very dangerous place to be, because like the water we become stagnant.
    4. So how am I responding.
      1. Look - When I hear a sermon or read my Bible, do I pay attention?
      2. Remember - Does it flow in one ear and out the other?
      3. Apply - Do I say, that is a good message for the Liberal Church. Or some other people here really needed that. Or am I actively comparing it to the reality of my life and asking, God, where do I need to change?
  3. Quench the Spirit
    1. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.

      1. I don't think I fully understand this verse.
      2. However, we know that part of the Holy Spirit's ministry is to point out sin in our lives. (See: Ministries of the Holy Spirit)
      3. So when he does point out sin, if I refuse to listen and act on it, that is certainly one way I can quench the Spirit.
      4. The verses that follow are also instructive.
    2. 1 Thessalonians 5:20 Despise not prophesyings.

      1. If I mock a sermon outright that might qualify for this.
      2. More subtly and more importantly, if I simply don't put any value on it, that can also be despising it.
    3. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

      1. There are two parts to this.
      2. First, every sermon I hear and every devotional I read I am responsible to actively test it to see if it aligns with God's word.
      3. The second part though, is that if it does align, I am responsible to hold on and apply it.
    4. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

      1. What if the message I hear/read is not dealing with sin, but some gray area in my life?
      2. What I am doing is not sin, it is just too close to the edge of sin.
      3. I need to deal with that too.
  4. Examples
    1. First a couple cases where a whole group of people received the same message and saw the same miracles, but only a handful respond
    2. 12 Spies (Numbers 13, 14)
      1. God has brought Israel out of Egypt, He provided for them in the wilderness. He has dwelt in the tabernacle they built and now has brought them to the edge of the promised land.
      2. God commands Moses to send 12 spies into the land to look it over. (Numbers 13:1-2)
      3. The spies go throughout the land and bring back their report. (Numbers 13:26-33)
        1. 10 of the spies say, yes it is a great land, but we can not defeat the giants in the land. (Numbers 13:31-33)
        2. Only Caleb and Joshua say, God is able to give us the land. (Numbers 13:30; Numbers 14:6-9)
      4. All 12 had seen God work at the Red Sea, all 12 had seen the plagues. All 12 had seen God provide water and bread in the wilderness.
      5. Only 2 applied what God had done and had faith to step out.
      6. Only 2 received the promised land, the rest died in the wilderness. (Numbers 14:22-35)
      7. All of Israel suffered the rest of their life because they were not willing to apply what they had seen and step out in faith.
      8. What about me? Have I learned from the trials of others? Have I learned from my own trials? Have I applied it and used it to build my faith, so that when God calls me I can obey?
    3. Luke 17:11-19 — 10 Lepers
      1. All heard the same command, all obeyed, all were healed.
      2. Luke 17:15-16 — Only one praised God
      3. Luke 17:17-19 — Jesus questioned where the others were, the right thing to do was to praise God, but they took their blessing and ran.
      4. Do I apply what I learn all the way? Do I listen? Do I obey? Do I praise God when He works the change in me?
    4. Empty Worship of Judah
      1. As we read through the prophets in the Old Testament we see the same message over and over again: Israel was going through the motions of worshiping God, but God said that didn't count.
        1. Hosea 6:4-6; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:6-8
        2. Isaiah 58:1-12 — The true fast that God desires.
        3. If my worship is not making a difference in how I live my life, than it is empty and meaningless.
      2. Israel still worshiped, and they still thought they were pretty good. God said, "No! I want your heart"
        1. Mark 12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

        2. Jeremiah 24:7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I [am] the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.

      3. Is my heart in the worship? Do I delight in God's commandments (Psalms 112:1 ff), do I genuinely seek to please God?
      4. Ezekiel 33:30-32 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.
        And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee [as] my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, [but] their heart goeth after their covetousness.
        And, lo, thou [art] unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

        1. Does that describe me?
        2. Am I being covetous? That prevents real love towards God.
        3. Am I going to church for entertainment, or am I going so that God can speak to me and change me?
  5. Conclusion
    1. Think back on the sermons you heard in the last couple weeks and the devotions that you have read.
    2. What did God show me in these messages? Not general ideas or good thoughts, but what specifically in my life did I need to address?
    3. Did I make the change?