In his book Teaching Acts David Cook writes about three kinds, or levels, of preaching application:-
1. The necessary application. This comes directly from the meaning of the text, and demonstrates how the text applies to all hearers at all times. For example, some beliefs and attitudes are always wrong and are therefore to be repented of, while others are always right and are therefore to be adopted and nurtured.
2. The impossible application. It can be helpful, says Cook to show what sorts of application do not flow from the text. For example, when our Lord says that we cannot worship God and money, the preacher may wish to stress that none of his hearers may regard themselves as exceptions.
3. The possible application. The preacher may seek to apply the text by saying, in effect, “This may mean that some of you need to…” This does not have the same degree of authority as a necessary application, but, when used thoughtfully and sensitively, does have the advantage of specificity.