LAW OF APPLICATION: Apply for life change

Like teenagers revving up their cars for show whilst not moving forward at all - much teaching makes a lot of ‘sound’ whilst producing no movement. Teachers get so tied up in their content that they forget the purpose of content is life change.

MINDSET: If content is “what” application is “so what”; if content is “knowing” application is “doing”.

METHODOLOGY: The Scripture is the primary resource for the Christian teacher to develop complete, equipped students (2 Tim. 3:16,17) through ...
  1. Belief
    1. teaching: doctrines to believe (1 Tim. 4:13,16)
    2. correction: incorrect understanding i.e., false doctrines

  2. Behavior
    1. instructing (+ve): guiding in the right way (Eph. 6:4; Heb. 12:5,8)
    2. reproof (-ve): rebuking a man of his carnal actions and setting him on the right path
All Scripture is given for life change - that the man of God may be ...
  1. complete: character (who you are)
  2. thoroughly equipped for every good work: conduct (what you do)

Seven Application Maxims
  1. Application is the central reason for God’s revelation.
    "The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge
    but to change our lives."
    D.L. Moody
  2. Application is the responsibility of the teacher — not the Holy Spirit.
    	I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. 
          I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
    But if they had stood in My counsel, And had caused My people to hear My words, Then they would have turned them from their evil way And from the evil of their doings.
    Jer. 23:21-22, NKJV
    And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ
    Eph. 4:11-12, NKJV
    2 Tim. 3:16-17 tells us that Scripture is given for life change and Eph. 4:11-12 tells us that teachers are given for the same purpose of life change! As teachers, we are responsible for life change.

  3. Application and information should be appropriately balanced 50:50.

    Take Romans and Ephesians and see how many chapters are devoted to doctrine and how many chapters are devoted to application. As a guiding principle - aim for balance of about 50:50.

  4. Application focuses Scripture on the students’ needs.

    You cannot speak to their needs unless you know what they are. This is discussed in Law #5: the Law of Need. One of the greatest needs of our day is the application of the Word of God.

  5. Application has maximum influence when the student personally sees its biblical basis.

    The Bible says ... God says ...

    Change is strengthened when learners come face-to-face with God’s Word (Job 34:4, NIV).
    Let us discern for ourselves what is right; 
       let us learn together what is good.
  6. Application that has impacted the teacher tends to impact the student more effectively.

    Teachers do not improve Scripture - they simply communicate it. However there is a danger of the teacher choking the communication of the Word of God:

    • Character of the teacher - Who you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.

    • Conduct of the teacher - If they are guilty of carnal behavior, they are sinning - this quenches the Spirit of God, and the spirit of the people hearing the message.

    • Communication of the teacher - Poor delivery diminishes a message.

    • [Degree of] Change in the teacher - This can liberate or limit the power of the truth in the lives of people (Rom. 15:18)
      I will not venture to speak of anything 
      except what Christ has accomplished through me 
      in leading the Gentiles to obey God 
      by what I have said and done 
      Truth that has transformed a teacher is more likely to have the same effect on the students.

      Three practical steps to ensure you live the truth you teach:

      1. Prepare your lessons during the whole week before you teach

        Allow time for God to work in us and through us.

      2. Ask the Lord to apply the specific truth you are going to teach to your own life during the week (Phil. 3:117; Tit. 2:7-8). Life and lips in harmony!

      3. Communicate with all of your mind, will and emotions the applications the Lord has taught you from the Scriptures

        Communicate from your life. Break free from the "thinking only" approach to teaching.

  7. Application must ultimately lead the student from studying the Bible to obeying the Lord.

    This requires two transitions:

    • Lead your students from studying to obeying
    • Change their focus from the Bible to the LORD

    Unless you move the students from the Book to the Person, you will develop "dead orthodoxy" in the hearts of your students. Ultimately, Christianity is a relationship with God.

    Apply for life change.
    Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture 
    they do not understand,
    but the passages that bother me 
    are those I do understand.
    Mark Twain
Five-Step Application Method
  1. Passage: Explain the content

  2. Principle: Draw out the life changing principle (big idea or essence) from the content, expand it and convince your students - Student: "I understand"

  3. Personalize: Apply the principle to your students - touch the emotions of your student and trust the Holy Spirit to convict - Student: "I feel I should ..."

  4. Persuade: Exhort your students to commitment i.e., moving from being convicted to committed. Help your students to move from their emotions to their will - Student: "I'm going to do ..."

  5. Perform: Evaluate whether your students have changed; accountability is required

Seven Application Maximizers
  1. Ask God to develop in you an applier’s heart.

    Learners are not changing because teachers are not applying.

  2. Prepare applications in relation to your students’ needs.

    Many students attend classes with a purpose therefore teaching carries an unstated expectation that the student has a problem and the teacher has the solution.

  3. Plan all parts of the lesson to contribute to the application.

    Pick out the most important concept and relate everything to it. The point of teaching is life-change.

  4. Lead your students beyond general application to specific steps of obedience.

    Life change is not about generalities but in specific identifiable ways.

  5. Illustrate the application with Scripture, history, personal experience and imagination.

    Jesus' primary source of illustration was His imagination - parables and allegories. Use word pictures. Application becomes alive when it is illustrated.

  6. Employ an appropriate style when calling for commitment.

    Change is brought about by persuasion: Are you going to do this? Will you tell God you will do this?

    Avoid excesses such as too emotional; too extended; too expansive; too manipulative; too slick or polished. Make sure you speak out of a heart of love for God's glory.

    Rebuke when learners need rebuke. Exhort when learners need exhortation. Encourage when learners need encouragement.

  7. Strengthen application with student accountability.

    Five ways that students can account for their actions:
    • self - this needs maturity and self-discipline
    • peers
    • significant person - someone whom they respect and cares about them
    • teacher
    • God
18 Where there is no revelation, 
the people cast off restraint; 
      But happy is he who keeps the law.
Prov. 29:18, NKJV

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Alan's Gleanings | October 2011 by Alan S.L. Wong