Theology in Row 6
Theology in Row 6
Every Sunday we sit under the preaching of God’s Word. On a regular basis we hear the truths of Christianity explained. How do we get from great truths that fill our minds to doctrines that affect our daily lives? How do we connect the dots so the wheels don’t come off during the week and we fail to walk in light of what we have heard and received as the Word is preached?
It’s easy to say “Amen” to the preaching. It doesn’t take much effort to say, “That was a great sermon!” What would you say on Wednesday if someone asked, “Have you found it easy or difficult to practice the message we heard on Sunday morning?” What I want to pass on in this article are little steps that have helped me move from theoretical theology to practical theology. My prayer is that you will be helped in your walk with God.
First, I call them little steps because we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking what we do must be on a grand scale. We need 29 steps to apply God’s Word to our lives. We need to spend 4 hours in prayer every day. The problem with such thinking is twofold. One, we put the bar so high we program ourselves for failure. Two, what we truly needs is to put ourselves in a position where God can work. It’s not about us doing grand things. What we need is for God to do a great work in us. So my steps are geared to that end.
Second, I pray for myself on Saturday evening and/or Sunday morning. I want God to work in me. I want Him to cleanse, renew, revive, and fill me. I need Him to do His work of grace in me. If He doesn’t do His work in me, I will fail. For I can never do enough, speak enough, or give enough to earn His favor. First Peter 5:6 puts it like this, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
Third, I take notes. I started note taking shortly after God saved me. I am easily distracted. Small things can make me go off track and before long my mind is a million miles away from the sermon. The note taking keeps me focused. It helps me stay on track. I have found that the act of jotting down notes reinforces what has been said. So the end result is that I remember more of the message.
Fourth, I include in my notes thoughts or ideas that may not have been pointed out by or referred to by the preacher. I believe these thoughts come from work of the Spirit who indwells every believer. Remember, we have asked God to work in us. So these thoughts are not coming to us randomly. So it is important to jot them down so that later we can ponder what God is doing. I believe it is part of what Galatians 5:25 calls us to do, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Fifth, I read through my notes throughout the week. Each time I will focus on a different area of the message. My aim it to meditate on the Word. I turn it over in mind. I ponder its various implications and applications. I write my new thoughts down and read any passages of Scripture that casts new light on the message. My desire is to be able to agree with the psalmist when he declares, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it day and night”(119:97).
I close with an important reminder from James 1:22-25, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.” My prayer is that you will have the double blessing of hearing the word and doing what it says.
Elder Jim Gordon