Applying the Text
Part of the preacher’s job is to apply the truth of the passage to the lives of those listening. Application can be a list at the end of the sermon or spread out throughout. It can include an illustration of someone who has applied the truth to themselves or a series of questions. Questions are vital in application because they force the listener to respond personally. The greatest application is not a series of how-to steps, but encouragement to pursue Christlikeness.
One way to think through application is by using an application grid. Since the Gospel applies to all of life, application in preaching should hit a broad variety of people and life situations. A grid takes into account the many different types of people that may attend: ages, marital status, gender, and occupations. Using the grid helps the preacher apply the truth to a wider swath of the congregation and protects against the natural tendency to focus on a select few. The grid also encourages corporate application as well as individual application.