The Voice in Speech and Song


Chapter 56—Eternal Truth

Need of New Sermons—A familiarity with the truths of the Scripture will give the teacher of truth qualifications that will make him a representative of Christ. The spirit of the Saviour's teaching will give force and directness to his instruction and to his prayers. His will not be a narrow, lifeless testimony; he will not preach over and over the same set discourses; for his mind will be open to the constant illumination of the Holy Spirit.—Gospel Workers, 252. VSS 319.1

Converted Speakers—When men are really converted, controversy and debate will be ended. The plain, searching truth will be proclaimed by lips touched with a live coal from the altar of God.—The Review and Herald, February 21, 1899. VSS 319.2

Plain Presentation of Truth—Everywhere there are hearts crying out for the living God. Discourses unsatisfying to the hungry soul have been given in the churches. In these discourses there is not that divine manifestation which touches the mind and creates a glow in the soul. The hearers cannot say: “Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32. Much of the teaching given is powerless to awaken the transgressor or convict souls of sin. The people who come to hear the Word need a plain, straightforward presentation of truth.—Testimonies for the Church 6:53. VSS 319.3

Appeal to Men of High Position—Men in high positions of trust in the world will be charmed by a plain, straightforward, Scriptural statement of truth.—Evangelism, 557. VSS 320.1

Voice Like a Trumpet—The true minister of the gospel will not stand before the people to speak smooth words, to cry, Peace and safety. He realizes the dangers that threaten the soul, and he presents the truth as it is in Jesus. The truth comes from his lips clear, plain, decided, as if he fully believed that the words spoken will be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. The words of the minister who knows that he has the Spirit and power of God, will awaken the conscience of his hearers.—The Review and Herald, March 29, 1906. VSS 320.2

Effect of Smooth Sermons—God's ministers must lift up the voice like a trumpet, and show the people their transgressions. The smooth sermons so often preached make no lasting impression. Men are not cut to the heart, because the plain, sharp truths of the Word of God are not spoken to them.—Gospel Workers, 149 VSS 320.3

Good News of Salvation—The highest employment of the powers of speech is that of imparting divine truth. Wherever the audience may be, whoever may compose that audience, Christ's witness is to speak the plain, unvarnished truth. He is to minister grace to his hearers. His words will be in harmony with the teaching of Christ. The soul who is truly converted will have his lips touched with the sacred fire of cleansing. To every individual he meets he will find an opportunity of speaking the good news of salvation. He believes; therefore he utters the sentiments of his heart. He stands as the oracle of God, speaking to men the words of life and salvation.—Letter 222, 1907. VSS 320.4

Fresh Manna—You have been too anxious to present lines of thought that would bring glory to yourself. You have thought it was necessary to dwell upon subjects which do not enlighten minds in regard to vital truth, or make clearer the way to present salvation. For Christ's sake keep to the point. In every discourse break the bread of life, present fresh manna, lay upon souls the solemn responsibilities that God has placed upon them, and keep in view eternal realities. Call the attention of the people to vital questions, and keep them to the point of decision, asking them, “What are you going to do?” Cooperate with heavenly intelligences. When you allow your mind to be diverted from plain lines of truth and to be engrossed with subjects that please your fancy, you are simply losing time. The Holy Spirit does not work with you, and thus you make a mistake.—Letter 29, 1895. VSS 321.1

Self to the Background—In the first chapter of Corinthians, Paul has given us instruction which every true laborer needs to study, especially the following verses: “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” [1 Corinthians 1:23-25]. Here is a lesson of special consequence to every worker in the vineyard of the Lord. It will not result in solid work for men to preach to please the ears of the people, while the truth is not held forth in a manner to bring them to the cross of Jesus Christ. The messenger of God must present eternal truths plainly, and keep in distinct view before the people their peril in neglecting eternal interests. While self is kept out of sight Jesus Christ must be ever lifted up and exalted. VSS 322.1

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. VSS 322.2

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling” [1 Corinthians 2:1-3]. VSS 323.1

The apostle feared lest his work should stand in the wisdom of men and not in the power of God, and thus his labor prove to be a work which would not produce a harvest....Especial heed should be given to the words of the apostle: “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers” [2 Timothy 2:14]. VSS 323.2

The minister of the gospel is never exhorted to strive to be a smart preacher, a popular speaker; but is commanded to “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” (2 Timothy 2:15, 16). Will every messenger of God give heed to these words?—Manuscript 29, 1893. VSS 323.3

New Light, New Ideas—Some of our ministers have a runway of discourses which they use without variation year after year. The same illustrations, the same figures, and almost the same words. They have ceased to be students. There is an end to improvement, and they stagger under the load of a few set discourses to prevent mental decrepitude. But by the ever-learning student new light, new ideas, new gems of truth will be found and eagerly grasped.... The gospel is not properly taught and represented before unbelievers by men who have ceased to be students, who have, as it were, graduated as far as searching the Scriptures is concerned, and they bring a reproach upon the truth by the manner in which they handle it. If men obtain the ears of the people, the very best quality of preaching is needed, because pleasing fables are presented by eloquent lips.—Letter 33, 1886. VSS 323.4

Scriptural Study vs. Suppositions and Fables—Preach the Word. You may have inventive minds. You may be expert, as were the Jewish teachers, in getting up new theories; but Christ said of them, “In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines, the commandments of men” [Matthew 15:9]. They presented traditions, suppositions, and fables of all kinds to the people. The forms and ceremonies they enjoined made it simply impossible for the people to know whether they were keeping the Word of God or following the imaginations of men. VSS 324.1

Satan is well pleased when he can thus confuse the mind. Let not ministers preach their own suppositions. Let them search the Scriptures earnestly, with a solemn realization that if they teach for doctrine the things that are not contained in God's Word, they will be as those represented in the last chapter of Revelation.—Letter 207, 1899. VSS 324.2