That would be... "PRACtical APPlication".

God wouldn't have done us any favors if He had chosen to write a great big book about "theory" or "theology".  He didn't.  He wrote us a "love story"... the greatest one ever written.  In it you'll find encouragement, instruction, cool stories and lots of practical application.

From the movies and from some other popular television, here are a few great topics that may serve as illustrations and pointers to God's Word on the topic.



This clip, from the movie, "Braveheart", demonstrates the concept of forgiveness as good as anything I've ever encountered.  The dead chick, wrapped in white, is the daughter of the two folks on the right and Mel Gibson's girlfriend.  She's dead because she and Mel disobeyed Mom and Dad and were hangin' out together.  Pay attention to the range of emotions present in Dad, as he works through them and eventually forgives Mel.

The Preachin’

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

1 Peter 3:8-9 (NLT)
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it.

The Problem

      Broken Relationship With God

Matthew 18:21-35 (NLT)
21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 No! Jesus replied, seventy times seven! 23 For this reason, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so the king ordered that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt. 26 But the man fell down before the king and begged him, ‘ Oh, sir, be patient with me, and I will pay it all. 27 Then the king was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. 28 But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. 29 His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘ Be patient and I will pay it, he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and jailed until the debt could be paid in full. 31 When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him what had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘ You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you? 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison until he had paid every penny. 35 That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters in your heart.

Matthew 6:14-15 (JNT)
14 For if you forgive others their offences, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others their offences, your heavenly Father will not forgive yours.

Matthew 5:23-24 (NLT)
23 So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.


§      Speaking to Him

§      Hearing from Him

§      Experience of His Presence

§      Intimacy

§      Worship

§      Blessings for Obedience

§      Acceptability of Giving

The Process

§      When someone is taken hostage, describe the process.

o     Take something or do something they have no right to.

o     Withold something until “payment” is made.

§      Parts to forgiveness

o     Transgression

o     Debt

o     Cancellation of the Debt

§      Identify the “parts” to the process in the following situations:

o     Someone steals your bike

§      Transgression – taking of your property

§      Debt Created –

·      give the bike back /

·      go to jail /

·      explain how you could do such a thing

§      Cancellation (forgiveness) –

·      Give up your right, desire, and expectation to get the bike back

·      Give up your right, desire, and expectation for punishment of the offender

·      Give up your right, desire, and expectation for an explanation.

o     Someone punches you in the face

§      Transgression – physical violence against you

§      Debt Created—

·      Eye for an eye

·      Go to jail

·      Explain why

§      Cancellation (forgiveness)

·      Give up your right, desire, and expectation for retribution

·      Give up your right, desire, and expectation for punishment of the offender

·      Give up your right, desire, and expectation for an explanation.


This clip from, "Finding Nemo" illustrates the concept of temptation leading to sin.  Some questions are in order with regard to Bruce's real commitment to not eating fish.  Folks who struggle with the temptation to eat fish probably shouldn't hang out in close proximity to them!

1.         Introduction

In his book, Men at Work, George F. Will takes a close look at four baseball players. One of those examined is Orel Hershiser (of Dodgers fame), who talks about his philosophy of pitching.

“There are two theories of pitching,” Hershiser says. “One is that you try to convince the batter that a particular pitch is coming and you throw something different. The other theory, that you don’t hear as much, but that I use, is that if the batter expects a particular pitch, you throw it, but you throw it in a place where he can’t hit it.” That is: Know what a batter wants or expects and throw the ball almost there. If he is a highball hitter, throw it a bit too high. His eagerness will prevent him from laying off it, but it will be hard to hit well.

Isn’t that the way the enemy works in our life? He knows just what kind of pitch that we are a sucker for and then throws it our way. But, it is just a little higher or just a little bit more outside than where we like it, and most likely we will bite on it every time. After all, it looks so good. It feels so right.

Doug Cecil, Dallas Connection, Spring, 1995, p. 1

2.         Body

a.         (Read Genesis 3:4-5; Matthew 4:1-10)

b.         Lie #1:  God either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about your needs.

                                   i.     Genesis

1.         satan suggested,

2.         Eve considered,

3.         Eve decided

                                ii.     Matthew

1.         satan suggested,

2.         Jesus rejected, based on the Word of God… not how he felt.

c. Lie #2:  It MIGHT NOT be disobedience…

d.         Lie #3a:  If it IS disobedience, God probably won’t do anything about it.

e.         Lie #3b:  If He does, the penalties for the sin will be less painful than rejecting the temptation.

                                   i.     Consequences aren’t always felt immediately

                                ii.     One of the most SERIOUS consequences is broken fellowship with God, and the inability to hear Him.

                              iii.     Sometimes, consequences are cumulative

                             iv.     See above on consequences

                                v.     This is a “feelings” driven approach which is ALWAYS wrong (doing the right thing for the wrong reason is the wrong thing)

                             vi.     Our real problem:  the temptation is more real to us than God.

f.   Lie #4:  Succumbing to the temptation will “feel good” and somehow enhance or improve your life.

3.         Closing

It was F. B. Meyer, I believe, who once said that when we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin. And second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed him or her. We also do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances.

Stephen Brown, Christianity Today, April 5, 1993, p. 17


[1]10,000 sermon illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Dallas: Biblical Studies Press.

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