December 8, 2013 – December 14, 2013
“Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.” II Samuel 22:36.
Study Help: The Voice in Speech and Song, 225–237, 258–275, 283–293; Gospel Workers, 147–164.
“The truth should be presented with divine tact, gentleness, and tenderness. It should come from a heart that has been softened and made sympathetic.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 400.
- Why does a speaker’s earnestness affect the listeners, and how should their interest be directed? Acts 23:1; 4:13.
Note: “Excitement in the speaker is not power but weakness. Earnestness and energy are essential in presenting Bible truth, the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).” Selected Messages, Book 2, 59.
- What effort should be put into a sermon to make it effective? Titus 2:15. What effect does a lifeless presentation have on the listener’s perception of the truth?
Note: “An unconsecrated minister, presenting the truth in an unimpassioned manner, his own soul unmoved by the truths he speaks to others, will do only harm. Every effort he makes only lowers the standard.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 344.
“The Lord requires His servants to be energetic. It is not pleasing to Him to see them listless and indolent. … Some preach these truths, of such weighty importance, in so listless a manner that they cannot affect the people. ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might’ (Ecclesiastes 9:10).” Ibid., 504.
2 OTHER FACTORS OF SUCCESS
- What must always be borne in mind when a sermon is presented? Isaiah 55:2.
Note: “Brethren, I entreat of you to keep your own souls in the love of God, and never let the wellsprings dry. A cold, joyless discourse will kill the church. Bring animation into your words and prayers. There must be no cheap, faithless sermons given.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 225.
“A dry, lifeless presentation of the truth belittles the most sacred message that God has given to men.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 48.
- What rule will a competent preacher follow? Colossians 3:23. How do fervor, intonation, and moderation of speed in a sermon affect the heart and mind of the people?
Note: “The very tones of the voice, the look, the words, should possess an irresistible power to move hearts and control minds. Jesus should be found in the heart of the minister. If Jesus is in the words and in the tones of the voice, if they are mellow with His tender love, it will prove a blessing of more value than all the riches, pleasures, and glories of the earth; for such blessings will not come and go without accomplishing a work.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 32.
“By talking in a high key, the speaker detracts considerably from his usefulness. There are others who talk so low that their words can scarcely be heard. Another laborer will speak hurriedly, rushing his words one upon another. Half that he says is lost, for the hearer cannot take in the precious words coming from his lips. These are defects which should be overcome.
“The habit should be acquired of speaking slowly, yet earnestly and solemnly, with all the assurance which the word of God can give. Then the hearer gets the benefit of every sentence.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 259.
3 ORATORY, DEBATE, AND OUTWARD DISPLAY
- How does God view philosophical, argumentative, oratorical, and theatrical display in the pulpit? Colossians 2:8; II Timothy 2:24, 25; Titus 3:9.
Note: “The combative armor, the debating spirit, must be laid off. If we would be Christlike we must reach men where they are.” Evangelism, 249.
“He who presents eloquent words, simply causes the people to forget the truth that is mingled with his oratory. When the excitement passes away, it is found that the word of God has not been fastened upon the mind; nor have the simple gained in understanding. The people may go away from the church and may speak in admiration of the oratorical powers of the man who has preached to them, but they may not be convicted by the truth or brought any nearer to the point of decision.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 283, 284.
“Some ministers make the mistake of supposing that success depends on drawing a large congregation by outward display, and then delivering the message of truth in a theatrical style. But this is using common fire instead of the sacred fire of God’s kindling.” Gospel Workers, 383.
- Why are anecdotes inappropriate for our pulpits? I Timothy 6:20; II Timothy 2:16. What is the only safeguard against the faulty practices discussed in this section?
Note: “Ministers should not make a practice of relating irrelevant anecdotes in connection with their sermons; for this detracts from the force of the truth presented. The relation of anecdotes or incidents that create a laugh or a light thought in the minds of the hearers is severely censurable. The truth should be clothed in chaste, dignified language; and the illustrations used should be of a like character.” Gospel Workers, 166.
“It is living earnestness that God requires. Ministers may have little learning from books; but if they do the best they can with their talents, if they work as they have opportunity, if they clothe their utterances in the plainest and most simple language … they will be listened to by men of even superior ability and talents. There will be a charm in the simplicity of the truths they present.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 152.
4 SUCCESSFUL CAMP MEETINGS
- Describe Christ’s manner of teaching. Mark 10:1. Why is this method especially important as we approach the end of time?
Note: “As we approach nearer the end I have seen our camp meetings with less preaching and more Bible study; little groups all over the ground with their Bibles in their hands, and different ones leading out in a free, conversational study of the Scriptures.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 235.
“In all true teaching the personal element is essential. Christ in His teaching dealt with men individually. It was by personal contact and association that He trained the Twelve. It was in private, often to but one listener, that He gave His most precious instruction. To the honored rabbi at the night conference on the Mount of Olives, to the despised woman at the well of Sychar, He opened His richest treasures; for in these hearers He discerned the impressible heart, the open mind, the receptive spirit. Even the crowd that so often thronged His steps was not to Christ an indiscriminate mass of human beings. He spoke directly to every mind and appealed to every heart. He watched the faces of His hearers, marked the lighting up of the countenance, the quick, responsive glance, which told that truth had reached the soul; and there vibrated in His heart the answering chord of sympathetic joy.” Education, 231.
- How can we use Christ’s method of teaching to increase the success and interest of our camp meetings? John 13:15; I Corinthians 11:1.
Note: “We have lost two-thirds of all that the camp meetings were designed to accomplish. The idea seems to be woven into the minds of some that all they have to do is to sermonize, sermonize. While sermons are good in their place, there is sermon after sermon given to the people that they cannot retain in their minds—it is an impossibility for them to do it—and they are just wearied out with sermons.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 209.
“When the great throngs would gather about Christ, He gave His lessons of instruction. Then the disciples in different places and different positions after the discourse would repeat what Christ had said.” Ibid., 235.
5 TEACHING CHILDREN AND YOUTH
- How can teachers of children and youth reach their heart by the presentation of the truth? Isaiah 40:11.
Note: “Those who instruct children should avoid tedious remarks. Short remarks and to the point will have a happy influence. If much is to be said, make up for briefness by frequency. A few words of interest now and then will be more beneficial than to have it all at once. Long speeches burden the small minds of children. Too much talk will lead them to loathe even spiritual instruction, just as overeating burdens the stomach and lessens the appetite, leading even to a loathing of food.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 420.
- What is the most effective factor in guiding children and youth? Colossians 1:9–11.
- What will be the ripple effect of such teaching? Psalm 101:2; I Timothy 4:12.
Note: “Every teacher should be under the full control of the Holy Spirit. Then Christ can speak to the heart, and His voice is the voice of love.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 67.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What factors should we bear in mind when speaking in public?
2 In public speaking, how is energetic vibrance contrasted with theatrical display?
3 What do humor and theatrics do in the presentation of the truth?
4 How can Christ’s methods be implemented at our camp meetings?
5 What qualities are needed to teach children and youth efficiently?
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.