Summary: Believing is fine, intending to is fine, but it’s actually what you do that makes the difference. Application makes all the difference.
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Well, I’m really excited about this new series. It’s called Life Apps, and for the next six weeks, we’re going to talk about five specific applications for Christians out of the Bible. And the reason I say for Christians, is if you’re not a Christian or you’re not really a church person or a religious person, then this is the great news: You get to come and listen to us talk to ourselves, and then if your wife dragged you in here, you can say, Honey, you need to be doing that stuff because I’m not one of you, so I don’t really have to do this. Because these specific applications are given to us in the Scripture for Christians, but if you’re not a Christian, you are welcome to play along as well. Okay? In fact, if you come for these next few weeks and you hear some helpful stuff, obviously you can try this at home. You don’t have to be a professional, you don’t have to be a Bible reader, you can just do this stuff, because what we’re going to discover together for the next few weeks is that really, application is what makes all the difference. Believing is fine, intending to is fine, but it’s actually what you do that makes the difference. Application makes all the difference.
The other thing you need to know as we go into this, especially if you’re new to Christianity or new to the Bible, all of the applications, all the things that are in the Bible that tell us what to do—thou shalts and thou shalt nots—all that stuff that kind of bothers us sometimes, all of that stuff was given to people, to men and women who were already in a relationship with God. Now, when I say relationship with God, I don’t mean like God created everybody, so everybody has a relationship with God. I mean a very, very specific, defined relationship with God. You’re familiar with the phrases Old Testament, New Testament; the word testament actually means covenant or contract.
So, in the Old Testament we find Old Testament kinds of things, like the Ten Commandments and all that stuff. All of those commandments, all of those laws were given to a group of people that were in a contractual relationship with God. And in the New Testament, it’s the same way. The New Testament is written to people who are in a relationship with God through Jesus. So, the reason that’s important, or maybe the best way is to illustrate it this way: I never go next door in my neighborhood and tell my neighbor’s kids what to do. It doesn’t work very well if you’ve ever tried that. I don’t go next door and tell my neighbor’s kids, Hey, you need to be in bed at 9:30, you need to do your homework, you need to be at school early, and you need to go to your third period math teacher early, like at 7:30, because you need a little help in math. I mean all of that may be true, but it’s really none of my business.
I’ve never called one of my neighbors and said, Hey Frank, can I speak to your son Jimmy for just a second, because I told him I wanted him to be in bed at 9:30 and I just want to make sure. Hello? I mean you just don’t give your neighbor’s kids rules. You know why? They are not your kids. And so one of the things that’s easy to forget is this: When we open the Scripture, all of those rules were given to specific groups of people that were already in a specific relationship with God. I guess the primary example would be the Ten Commandments, and this may come as a shock. Did you know that the Ten Commandments weren’t given for everybody? When Moses came down with the Ten Commandments, he didn’t say, This is for all peoples, of all times, in the whole world. That wasn’t the case at all. The Ten Commandments were given to the nation of Israel, who already had a father-son covenant relationship with God. In fact, it’s pretty interesting. You know the story: God delivered the nation of Israel from the Egyptians, from Egyptian bondage, and then he fed them, he housed them, he clothed them. God led them, God protected them, and then after months and months and months of God just giving, giving and giving, God said, Now, let me tell you how you ought to live your life. The nation of Israel is like, Well, of course we’ll do whatever you say; look what you’ve done for us.
So, the Ten Commandments and all the laws of God were given to a specific group of people that already had a relationship with God. That’s why at the beginning, when I said for these next few weeks we’re going to talk about these five applications for Christians, it’s not that everybody can’t do this stuff, but there’s a group of us that’s supposed to do this stuff. Right? Because we already have a relationship with God through Jesus. Now the other thing, the other reason I make a big deal out of this—and this is a little bit of a rant, but just give me a second—somewhere along the way, and I don’t know how this happened, I’m sure it’s preachers’ fault, so I’ll take responsibility for all pastors of all time, somewhere along the way the church got all confused about this and the church decided that all of these rules and laws that are in the Bible were for everybody. So, the church became very judgmental.