We are in part 4 of our series on the "recipe" for an Inductive Bible Study. If you've missed the previous three parts, head over to the blog and catch up. Otherwise, let's plunge ahead with Application.
We live in a culture that values education. Kids are expected to go to school. College is routinely encouraged to high school students. TED Talks get shared on social media. Even churches get in on the act with lecture-style sermons, Sunday School, and resources like RightNow Media.
Now, don't be confused; I believe education is very important. I love learning and long for others to learn. However, we often make the mistake that hearing information is enough. It isn't enough to just learn a new data point or be able to regurgitate some trivia fact. Education is supposed to help us grow and improve. To put it another way, learning is supposed to help change what we do and how we live.
For instance, if a person were to learn that a certain type of food increases their chance of cancer, you would hope he or she would limit or even eliminate that food from their diet. The knowledge isn't the end goal - the information should change the way they live.
Time after time, I have seen Christians make the same mistake in their study of the Bible. They treat it like a textbook, trying to glean the facts, and yet it only goes to their heads and not to their hearts or hands. But Jesus didn't die on the cross simply so we could learn the theological concepts of propitiation, justification, and sanctification. He died on the cross to fundamentally change us!
That is why when you study Scripture, it isn't enough to simply ask "What do I see?" (Observation) and "What does it mean?" (Interpretation). We need to move to "What should I do?" In other words, how do I apply the text to my life?
Now, I will readily admit: application can be hard. But not because we can't figure out an application point. It can be hard because it sometimes means we have to change or even do something we don't really want to do! It may mean being obedient in baptism, or stop using His name in vain, or limit how much we eat, drink, or watch, or go volunteer someplace, or share our faith with a classmate or coworker. Yet, if we want to live like Jesus lived, we sometimes have to do the hard thing God teaches through the Scripture.
Through this series, we've been using Hebrews 4:14-16 as our "practice" passage. We've read it, spent time observing, and then took time last week to ask, "What does it mean?" So now, let's apply part 4 to our Inductive Bible Study recipe.
Last week, we took some time to see what it meant for Jesus to be our High Priest. We saw that the priest represented the people before God. The Jewish people would bring their sacrifices to the priests for the payment of their sins. The priests would then make the sacrifice on behalf of the people before God.
So if Jesus is the true High Priest, we need to bring our "sacrifices" to Him. However, because He paid the price for our sin on the cross, our "sacrifice" no longer needs to include animals killed in our place. Rather, as the text says, we are to "hold fast to our confession." In other words, if you are a follower of Jesus, your spiritual walk began with the step of faith of confessing your sin and need for the gospel. Therefore, to bring your sacrifice to God is to continue to confess your need for Him.
This is why the author ends the paragraph with an encouragement to confidently come to God's throne in prayer and worship because it is a "throne of grace" where we "receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
So, what does it look like for you to "hold fast to your confession"? Do you need to confess some sin? Do you need to just spend some time in prayer, thanking God for Jesus? Do you need to lay before Him an issue you've been trying to deal with on your own?
Next week, we'll finish up our "recipe" by looking at the importance of including prayer.
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