I do not know if you have ever heard Bible used as an acronym – Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth – with the result the Bible is seen more as a user manual than a book about the creator of the universe. Again, this does not negate that the Bible will promote application but what I think we need to see is that the Bible is not a book about application but is a book that brings about application.
It is our standing with Christ which allows us even to apply what we read in God’s word. If the bible is given as one of instruction then the listener may be inclined to seek after the next thing to do rather than realize it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that any work at all can be done.
As I read about preaching the one thing that seems to be promoted the most is to preach sermons that are applicable to the audience. We should preach understandable sermons but if we simply give instructions about how to save money or have good marriages we will have accomplished nothing if the source the ability to have those things is overlooked. So I would say we need to revive preaching that is Christ centered and then the application that is revealed is then able to be based on Christ rather than simply being a how-to sermon.
I had the privilege of preaching this week on John 19:25-42 entitled - Its All About Christ - and sought to make sure that all I did was focused on Christ rather than man. How successful I was I am not sure but I do know that from now on my preaching needs to first focus on Christ and then move from there to where the text leads. My fear is that in the effort to be relevant we, including myself, have made the Bible to be about man and not about Christ.
I want to make sure I am understood and that is I do believe that we do need to apply what we read and hear from scripture. But, this application has to come from a heart changed and controlled by Christ. So we simply need to remember that scripture Is All About Christ!