Summary: This sermon deals with learning how to apply God’s word to our everyday lives
November 13, 2003
I. Today I want to look at the sixth way to get into God s word. We ve talked about Hear, Read, Study, Memorize, and Meditate. If you remember that drawing that we did of the hand, the palm is Apply.
A. You need to APPLY GOD S WORD. The first are the five ways you get it into your life and then Applying it is what you do after you ve got it in there.
B. Notice (James 1:22 NIV) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
C. There is no doubt that this is the hardest part for many people. How do I apply Scripture?
D. Getting from "What did it mean then?" to "What does it mean now?" is the key to understanding scripture.
E. Built into every story in the Bible there is a principle that we are to apply to our lives.
1. There s no story in the Bible by accident; even the most seemingly insignificant stories are there to teach a principle.
2. So you look beyond just the story and find out what the general principle is that the story is teaching, and then apply that principle to the time that you are living in.
F. There are three questions you ask:
1. WHAT DID IT MEAN TO THE ORIGINAL HEARERS?
2. WHAT IS THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLE THAT APPLIES TO ANY TIME PERIOD?
3. WHERE OR HOW COULD I PRACTICE THAT PRINCIPLE TODAY?
G. For example, in Acts 15 there is a verse that says "Don t eat meat that has been strangled or offered to idols?"(Acts 15:20 NIV) Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
H. Now tell me when was the last time you ate meat that you knew was from strangled animal or that had been offered to idols?
I. I really don t think I ve ever eaten any meat offered to an idol. You have to figure out, What does this mean to my life? You ve got to find the principle beneath it. Here s how you do it.
J. First you go back and find out, What did it mean then? Get out a Bible dictionary, read about meat offered to idols.
K. You d find out that what happened in those days is people would take meat and offer it to idols. Now obviously a piece of stone doesn t eat it. So after it s left there for a day or two they d take it back out on the street and they d sell it.
L. So they’d make a profit on it. The priests of these pagan religions were taking the meat that was being brought in, out the back door and putting it back out on the market.
M. For a Jew to eat that kind of meat was a violation of their religion. They re saying when you eat meat that s offered to idols, you re in essence partaking of that religion.
N. Paul comes along and he says, "You know as well as I do that meat is no different than the meat down at McDonalds. The idols aren t real so there s really nothing wrong with that meat, but because it offends people (those who are Jews who ve become Christians) you ought to not eat it.
O. In Acts 15, when you study the context you find out that they had a big conference in Jerusalem. The first Christians were all Jews who obeyed the Jewish laws.
P. Then they found out that there were all these people outside of the nation of Israel in Antioch and other Gentile areas that Paul was leading to the Lord.
Q. They had to decide at the Jerusalem conference does a person have to become a Jew in order to become a Christian?
R. Do you have to first keep all the Jewish laws to be a Christian? They were asking, since we re keeping all these laws, does everybody else have to accept Judaism in order to become a Christian?
S. The final answer was No, you don t. And aren t you glad you don t have to keep all the Jewish laws to become a Christian? That would mean no pork chops, or ribs.
T. But, they said, let s send them this suggestion. Don t commit immorality, don t eat meat offered to idols. The first one is real clear -- don t commit immorality.
U. But the second was not that clear, don t eat meat offered to idols. What they re saying is if you have some Jewish Christian around who, if they saw you eating meat offered to idols would be offended by it, even though we know that there s nothing wrong with it, for the sake of not offending them and creating a stumbling block for them don’t eat it.