Peter Adam continues a series of articles, this time identifying preaching as being the natural place where the Bible is corporately opened and applied to God’s people.
If God speaks to his people as a group, why attempt to individualise the focus of applications?
It’s not so much that there’s something in the text for me, as there’s something in the text for us.
It is also significant that Malachi, like most books in the Bible, was addressed to the people of God, the church of that day, and not to individuals. This means that if we read or preach Malachi and apply it to us as individuals only, we will miss an important element of the message.
“Scripture is God preaching”, and part of this sermon is the book Malachi. So we should follow what God has done, and address this book to the church of our day. Our first question should be, “What is God saying to us?” Not, “What is God saying to me?” or “What is God saying to individuals in the congregation?”
So rather than looking for individual application, we should work for corporate application. “Corporate” here does not mean big business, it means “body”, as in “the body of Christ.” We should train ourselves to look for the shared values of our churches, our shared godliness, our shared sins, our shared blind spots, our shared weaknesses, our shared strengths.
Let’s take as examples two issues from Malachi: robbing God, and speaking harsh words against God [3:6–15]. The issue is more than, “How do we as individuals rob God?” The issues are, “How are we as a church robbing God?” and, “How is our church letting individuals rob God and not challenging them?” and, “How is my robbing God setting a bad example to others in the church?”, and, “What am I doing to challenge the church as a whole to stop robbing God?”, and, “What are our church leaders doing to stop individuals and the church as a whole robbing God?”
Read the whole post at Gospel Coalition Australia.