I've heard it said that 50 percent of a sermon should be application. Could you comment?
I think that is arbitrary. I prefer to say that all of a sermon should be applicable. If I preach the Word of God powerfully and accurately, everything I say should apply. Obviously, not all will apply to everyone in the same way, but it is my intent to speak what is life-changing for all.
I believe the goal of preaching is to compel people to make a decision. I want people who listen to me to understand exactly what God's Word demands of them when I am through. Then they must say either, "Yes, I will do what God says," or "No, I won't do what God says."
While I believe in the importance of illustrations, I do not believe that 50 percent of a sermon must be applications. If I preach that we should love our neighbors, I need not devote half of my sermon to telling my people in exhaustive detail how to love this way. It is the Spirit who applies the truths of Scripture to each person. But if we fail to give our hearers some clear principles they can apply, we have failed to present God's Word properly. Remember, people live out their theology or beliefs, but they forget your exhortations. They will apply what they genuinely believe to be true.
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