People are complex, comprised of various parts (emotions, intellect, action, speech, etc.) which are interrelated and inseparable. (click to Tweet)
What we think affects what we do and say. What we love also affects what we do and say.
In much contemporary preaching, what a person should do (i.e. the “hands” of a person) becomes the primary target of preaching application points. This incomplete application of the text will eventually lead to frustration as listeners realize their inability to obey what they have been called to do apart from an inward transformation of the heart. What the mind and heart think and feel affects the hands and the feet (how they obey, serve, and evangelize).
What Christians cherish in their hearts and think with their minds will affect what they do with their hands and feet. (click to Tweet) The progression in application should be from head and heart to feet and hands. The head and the heart lead to proper action and mission. Most application in modern preaching is backwards. It calls to action before attacking the head and the heart with the truth of Scripture.
Evangelism and the Heart
One example is the continual exhortation from pulpits across America to engage in evangelism. Most believers don’t deny they should speak more of Christ. Yet research has shown many Christians never share their faith. Why is this the case? Do preachers just need to yell a little louder and pound the pulpit a little harder when speaking about evangelism? The issue with why more believers do not speak of Christ is not a head issue (knowledge), and for many it is not even a hands issue (obedience). Rather, a lack of evangelism stems from a heart issue. Many believers do not share Christ because they have lost their wonder over what the gospel teaches and how Christ has transformed their lives. People naturally commend to others the things that they cherish. (click to Tweet) If a man gets a new electronic gadget and he appreciates how it enhances his life, then he will naturally bring it up in conversation with his friends and family. The same is true of the gospel. If Christians are meditating and being affected by the gospel to the extent that they cherish the gospel, then they will naturally commend the gospel to others. More seminars, more sermons, and more training on evangelism will not correct the problem. What is needed is spiritual heart surgery. The diagnosis for lack of evangelism is a heart no longer amazed at grace. The cure is to preach the gospel in such a way that hearts are awakened by the Holy Spirit to cherish Christ above all else. The result will be believers who naturally speak of Christ because they have such a great affection for him.
So as you prepare to preach, aim at the hands and feet through the head and the heart.