December 1, 2013 – December 7, 2013
“In Their Mouth Was Found No Guile”
“The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.” Ecclesiastes 12:11.
Study Help: Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 336–340; Testimonies, vol. 3, 419–424.
“It is not eloquent speakers that are needed, but humble, earnest workers, men who have childlike trust in a higher strength. It is the men of prayer, who seek the Lord with humble, contrite hearts, that are men of power.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 285, 286.
1 PRESENTING THE TRUTH IN LOVE
- How can we disarm prejudice and opposition when presenting the message of truth? I Peter 3:8, 9.
Note: “The spirit of Jesus should pervade the soul of the worker; it is the pleasant, sympathetic words, the manifestation of disinterested love for their souls that will break down the barriers of pride and selfishness, and show to unbelievers that we have the love of Christ.” Evangelism, 636.
- How should unpopular truths be presented from the pulpit? Ephesians 4:15, first part.
- What precautions must be taken not to exasperate those that we are trying to reform? Jude 21–23.
Note: “My brethren, let your hearts become broken and contrite. Let expressions of sympathy and love, which will not blister the tongue, flow from your lips.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1164.
2 DEVELOPING AN OUTLINE
- What type of outline, with a logical sequence of ideas, is necessary in any presentation of the truth? Isaiah 28:10.
- Why should the number of ideas in a presentation be limited? Ecclesiastes 12:11, 12.
Note: “The truth must be given point after point. It must be spoken distinctly and with clear utterance making a few essential points; then it will be as a nail fastened in a sure place by the Master of assemblies.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 216.
“They [ministers] injure the work, injure the effect of the truth that they would advocate, by crowding into one discourse so much and making so many points that minds cannot always appreciate or follow them. More success would attend their labors if they riveted one or two points in the minds of the hearers and make these points of vital importance, press them home and urge upon them the danger of rejecting the light upon those points. Let the minds of the hearers distinctly understand the bearing of every point and then urge to a decision.” Ibid., 218, 219.
“When a minister throws out a mass of matter before the people for them to pick up and arrange in order, his labors are lost; for there are few who will do it.” Evangelism, 649.
- Why do our sermons, lessons, and prayers need to be short and to the point? Ecclesiastes 5:2, last part; Matthew 6:7.
Note: “Many make a mistake in their preaching in not stopping while the interest is up. They go on speechifying until the interest that had risen in the minds of the hearers dies out and the people are really wearied with words of no special weight or interest. Stop before you get there. Stop when you have nothing of special importance to say. Do not go on with dry words that only excite prejudice and do not soften the heart. You want to be so united to Christ that your words will melt and burn their way to the soul. Mere prosy talk is insufficient for this time. Arguments are good, but there may be too much of the argumentative and too little of the spirit and life of God.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 419.
3 SIMPLICITY AND DISTINCTNESS
- Why is it useless to present intellectual discourses instead of making plain the plan of salvation? I Corinthians 1:21–25.
Note: “The lessons of Christ were illustrated so clearly that the most ignorant could readily comprehend them. Jesus did not use long and difficult words in His discourses; He used plain language, adapted to the minds of the common people. He went no farther into the subject He was expounding than they were able to follow Him.
“Ministers should present the truth in a clear, simple manner. There are among their hearers many who need a plain explanation of the steps requisite in conversion. The great masses of the people are more ignorant on this point than is supposed. Among graduates from college, eloquent orators, able statesmen, men in high positions of trust, there are many who have given their powers to other matters, and have neglected the things of greatest importance. When such men form part of a congregation, the speaker often strains every power to preach an intellectual discourse, and fails to reveal Christ. He does not show that sin is the transgression of the law. He does not make plain the plan of salvation. That which would have touched the hearts of his hearers, would have been to point them to Christ dying to bring redemption within their reach.” Gospel Workers, 169, 170.
- How can we make our subject more well-defined, earnest, and clear? I Corinthians 1:5.
Note: “If you have the quickening grace of Christ to energize your movements, you will put earnestness into your sermons. Your subject will be clear and well-defined in your mind. You will not be lengthy in your remarks, neither will you speak hesitatingly, as though you did not yourself believe what you were saying. You must overcome slow hesitation, and undecided, sluggish movements, and learn to be minute men.” The Review and Herald, April 6, 1886.
4 AROUSE TO MENTAL ACTIVITY
- What lesson can we learn from Christ to make listeners alert and interested during our discourses? Luke 2:46.
Note: “If instead of preaching to them [parents and children], the speaker would try to teach them, asking them questions, and speaking in a conversational tone, their minds would be aroused to activity, and they would be able more clearly to comprehend the truths opened before them. Their understanding would take hold of the living reality of the truths necessary for the quickening of the perception and for growth in knowledge.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 236.
- What topics should be presented to stimulate thought and bring souls to a decision for Christ? Acts 16:30, 31; Colossians 1:25–28.
Note: “Let every discourse that does not enlighten the soul, that does not answer the question, What must I do to be saved? be cut off from your program. Preach the testing message of the third angel. It is essential that our ministers preach the truth that has a direct bearing on the message for this time, and that they present the subjects in the most simple language. What must I do to be saved, and the righteousness of Christ, are themes that are of vital importance to the people.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 329.
“It is known in heaven how we represent Christ to the world. It is known what impressions we make upon those around us. Our words and actions are all written in the books of heaven. Then how important it is that we reveal the fact that we have been with Jesus, and have learned of Him. Do any of you who profess to know Him indulge in light, trifling conversation? O, do not permit your lips to utter that which will be a stumbling-block to those who are watching to see what benefit you have received from your faith in Christ. Rather lift their minds to dwell upon eternal realities. When you mingle with the people in the market place, as you walk the street, or wherever you may be, be sure that you have a living connection with God, and that you represent the character of Christ to the world.” The Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, February 15, 1892.
5 PERSONAL READINESS
- What is the most important factor in preparing a sermon or a Sabbath school presentation? Ephesians 6:18, 19.
Note: “There is too little time spent in secret prayer and in sacred meditation. The cry of God’s servants should be for the holy unction and to be clothed with salvation, that what they preach may reach hearts.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 219.
- What prerequisite must be met by anyone before he or she is ready to teach or preach? I Timothy 4:16.
Note: “It is not enough to argue in defense of the truth. The most telling evidence of its worth is seen in a godly life; and without this the most conclusive statements will be lacking in weight and prevailing power; for our strength lies in being connected with God by His Holy Spirit, and transgression severs us from this sacred nearness with the Source of our might and wisdom.” “Ellen G. White,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 998.
“To preach what we do not practice, is but to confirm sinners in their impenitence. The most earnest exhortations to walk in the light will be unheeded, if the speaker himself neglects to follow the light which Christ has given.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 301.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What methods can we use to disarm prejudice among our listeners?
2 How can we make our presentations logical and sequential?
3 In what practical ways can we be more effective teachers of the truth?
4 Why does a conversational manner, with questions and answers, produce good results in teaching?
5 What is necessary for an effective presentation of the truth?
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.