The Voice in Speech and Song


Chapter 41—Earnestness and Assurance

Assurance in Presenting Precious Truth—The Word of God must be administered with spirit and with life. It means life eternal to all who receive it. A tame, uncertain delivery will do no good. Improve in manner, voice, earnestness, and assurance, as if you knew what you were handling. Oh, faith must be grasped more, much more than it is now. We can have the most precious truths, and deliver them in such a tame, uncertain, lifeless manner in the interpretation, as to crush out from the precious meaning all the power to impress hearts and awaken consciousness, because our own hearts do not take in the solemn admonitions. Do we believe the Bible? If we do, we will reveal it.—Letter 1a, 1896. VSS 225.1

Animation in Preaching and Praying—Bear in mind that to be a minister does not mean that you must do much preaching. 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 truth abiding in the heart, sanctifying the soul, will give you an appetite to feed on Christ, the Bread of Life, and as you partake of the heavenly manna, you will be able to say, “Come and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Let all your energies be consecrated ability. The Lord wants you to represent the truth as it is in Jesus. Let there be nothing like striving for supremacy.—Letter 1a, 1896. VSS 225.2

Certainty Born of Heart Conviction—Do not present the truth in a formal manner, but let the heart be vitalized by the Spirit of God, and let your words be spoken with such certainty that those who hear may know that the truth is a reality to you. Your manner may be educated, and your words may be of that character that they will voice the words of Peter: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” With just as much assurance you may declare the message of God's truth. Those who believe sacred, eternal truth, must put their whole soul into their efforts. We must be stirred to the very heart as we behold the fulfilling of prophecy in the closing scenes of this earth's history. As our vision extends still further into the glories of eternity—the coming of Christ with power and great glory, and the scenes of the great day of judgment—we should not remain tame and unmoved. “I saw the dead,” John says, “stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”—Letter 8, 1895. VSS 226.1

Enthusiasm in Things Real and Imaginary—On a certain occasion, when Betterton, the celebrated actor, was dining with Dr. Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury, the archbishop said to him, “Pray, Mr. Betterton, tell me why it is that you actors affect your audiences so powerfully by speaking of things imaginary.” VSS 227.1

“My lord,” replied Betterton, “with due submission to Your Grace, permit me to say that the reason is plain: It all lies in the power of enthusiasm. We on the stage speak of things imaginary as if they were real, and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 255. VSS 227.2

The Minister a Messenger from God—The minister who has learned of Christ will ever be conscious that he is a messenger of God, commissioned by Him to do a work the influence of which is to endure throughout eternity. It should not be any part of his object to call attention to himself, his learning, or his ability. His whole aim should be to bring sinners to repentance, pointing them, by both precept and example, to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. He should speak as one conscious of possessing power and authority from God. His discourses should have an earnestness, a fervor, a power of persuasion, that will lead sinners to take refuge in Christ.—Gospel Workers, 172, 173. VSS 227.3

Irresistible Power to Move Hearts—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 for the Church 3:32. VSS 228.1

Living Earnestness—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, if they are humble men who walk in carefulness and humility, seeking for heavenly wisdom, working for God from the heart, and actuated by one predominating motive—love for Christ and the souls for whom He has died—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. Christ is the greatest Teacher that the world has ever known.—Selected Messages 2:152. VSS 228.2

Energy in the Presentation of the Bible—We must cultivate an abiding sense of our own inefficiency and helplessness and rely wholly on Jesus. This should keep us individually calm and steadfast in words and deportment. 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.—Selected Messages 2:59. VSS 228.3

Size of Audience Not Most Important—Remember that you are cooperating with divine agencies—agencies that never fail. Speak with as much earnestness, faith, and interest as if there were thousands present to listen to your voice.—Gospel Workers, 167 VSS 229.1

Decided, Stirring Tones—To every nation, kindred, tongue, and people the tidings of pardon through Christ are to be carried. Not with tame, lifeless utterances is the message to be given, but with clear, decided, stirring utterances. Hundreds are waiting for the warning to escape for their lives.—Gospel Workers, 29. VSS 229.2

Positive Presentations—Cultivate earnestness and positiveness in addressing the people. Your subject matter may be excellent, and just what the people need, but you would do well to mingle a positiveness with persuasive entreaties.... VSS 229.3

Present the plain “Thus saith the Lord” with authority, and exalt the wisdom of God in the written Word. Bring the people to a decision; keep the voice of the Bible ever before them. Tell them you speak that which you do know, and testify that which is truth, because God has spoken it. Let your preaching be short and right to the point, and then at the proper time call for a decision. Do not present the truth in a formal manner, but let the heart be vitalized by the Spirit of God, and let your words be spoken with such certainty that those who hear may know that the truth is a reality to you.—Evangelism, 296. VSS 229.4

Harm in Tame Preaching—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 for the Church 2:344. VSS 230.1

Listlessness of Manner—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.”—Testimonies for the Church 2:504. VSS 230.2

The Belittling of God's Message—More ability, tact, and wisdom are needed in presenting the Word and feeding the flock of God than many suppose. A dry, lifeless presentation of the truth belittles the most sacred message that God has given to men.—Testimonies for the Church 6:47, 48. VSS 230.3

Consumers, Not Producers—Those who preach the gospel without putting the whole being, heart, mind, soul, and strength, into the work, are consumers and not producers. God calls for men who realize that they must put forth earnest effort, men who bring thought, zeal, prudence, capability, and the attributes of Christ's character into their work. The saving of souls is a vast work, which calls for the employment of every talent, every gift of grace. Those engaged in this work should constantly increase in efficiency. They should be filled with an earnest desire to have their power for service strengthened, realizing that they will be weak without a constantly increasing supply of grace. They should seek to attain larger and still larger results in their work. When this is the experience of our workers, fruit will be seen. Many souls will be brought into the truth.—Manuscript 90, 1904. VSS 230.4

No Sleepy Message at This Time—At Christ's first advent the angels broke the silence of the night with acclamations of praise, and proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth; good will toward men.” He is soon to come again with power and great glory. Those who are not wedded to the world will realize that the time demands something more than a weak, faint, methodical discourse. They will see that there must be earnestness and power accompanying the Word, which will arouse the powers of hell to oppose the warnings. God designs to come to the people to awaken men out of their carnal security, that they may prepare themselves for the great event right upon us. The promise is, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” God will accept no sleepy, tame message at this time.—Letter 27, 1894. VSS 231.1