Paul Lamey on the Expository Thoughts blog asks an interesting question: “Is Personal Application Necessary?”
Lamey answers “Yes” and I agree with him. He also hastens to add that we must be careful not to have applications in our sermons that are “contrived, forced or ‘moralistic.'”
Lamey notes that an effective application can “permeate the message throughout” which I would also agree with. Then he suggests removing the “we” and “some people” and replacing it with “you.” That can help to give the preacher an effective application.
One might argue that application can be superfluous if the message is clear. I think that language is too ambiguous to leave the meaning of the sermon totally to a supposed clear presentation of theory.
If you want people to leave with something concrete, then give them something concrete. Let them know what you are saying in real terms and leave vague generalizations to other times when you are not trying to speak the Word that God has given to you.