The Pastor's Sermons

by Ellen White

The Lord will strengthen the memory of the one who is speaking in His name. He will bring to the mind the words necessary for the occasion, that portion of His word which will be meat in due season for the people. To His faithful servants God will be tongue and utterance. The Holy Spirit will make the word effective, to convict and convert souls. 1888 580

At the commencement of the Sabbath Eld. Farnsworth preached a most gloomy discourse telling of the great wickedness and corruption in our midst and dwelling upon the apostasies among us and there was no light, no good cheer, no spiritual encouragement in this discourse. There was a general gloom diffused among the delegates to the conference. But the Lord gave me testimony calculated to encourage. My own soul was blessed and light seemed to spring up amid the darkness. (see 3BIO 393) 1888 68

Some are indulging lustful appetite which wars against the soul and is a constant hindrance to their spiritual advancement. They constantly bear an accusing conscience, and if straight truths are talked they are prepared to be offended. They are self-condemned and feel that subjects have been purposely selected to touch their case. They feel grieved and injured, and withdraw themselves from the assemblies of the saints. They forsake the assembling of themselves together, for then their consciences are not so disturbed. They soon lose their interest in the meetings and their love for the truth, and, unless they entirely reform, will go back and take their position with the rebel host who stand under the black banner of Satan. If these will crucify fleshly lusts which war against the soul, they will get out of the way, where the arrows of truth will pass harmlessly by them. But while they indulge lustful appetite, and thus cherish their idols, they make themselves a mark for the arrows of truth to hit, and if truth is spoken at all, they must be wounded. Some think that they cannot reform, that health would be sacrificed should they attempt to leave the use of tea, tobacco, and flesh meats. This is the suggestion of Satan. It is these hurtful stimulants that are surely undermining the constitution and preparing the system for acute diseases by impairing Nature's fine machinery and battering down her fortifications erected against disease and premature decay. 1T 548

By some there is shunning of the living testimony. Cutting truths must not be shunned. It needs something besides theory to reach hearts now. It needs the stirring testimony to alarm and arouse; that will stir the enemy's subjects, and then honest souls will be led to decide for the truth. There has been and still is with some a disposition to have everything move on very smoothly. They see no necessity of straight testimony. 2SG 283

Sins exist in the church that God hates, but they are scarcely touched for fear of making enemies. Opposition has risen in the church to the plain testimony. Some will not bear it. They wish smooth things spoken unto them. And if the wrongs of individuals are touched, they complain of severity, and sympathise with those in the wrong. As Ahab inquired of Elijah, "Art thou he that troubleth Israel?" they are ready to look with suspicion and doubt upon those who bear the plain testimony, and like Ahab overlook the wrong which made it necessary for reproof and rebuke. When the church departs from God they despise the plain testimony, and complain of severity and harshness. It is a sad evidence of the lukewarm state of the church. 2SG 283

Just as long as God has a church, he will have those who will cry aloud and spare not, who will be his instruments to reprove selfishness and sins, and will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, whether men will hear or forbear. I saw that individuals would rise up against the plain testimonies. It does not suit their natural feelings. They would choose to have smooth things spoken unto them, and have peace cried in their ears. I view the church in a more dangerous condition than they ever have been. Experimental religion is known but by a few. The shaking must soon take place to purify the church. 2SG 284

Preachers should have no scruples to preach the truth as it is found in God's word. Let the truth cut. I have been shown that why ministers have not more success is, they are afraid of hurting feelings, fearful of not being courteous, and they lower the standard of truth, and conceal if possible the peculiarity of our faith. I saw that God could not make such successful. The truth must be made pointed, and the necessity of a decision urged. And as false shepherds are crying, Peace, and are preaching smooth things, the servants of God must cry aloud, and spare not, and leave the result with God. 2SG 284

Much singing, as well as protracted praying and talking, is extremely wearing. In most cases our ministers should not continue their efforts longer than one hour. They should leave preliminaries and come to the subject at once, and should study to close the discourse while the interest is the greatest. They should not continue the effort until their hearers desire them to cease speaking. 2T 117

[ Despisers of Reproof ] The apostle Paul plainly states that the experience of the Israelites in their travels has been recorded for the benefit of those living in this age of the world, those upon whom the ends of the world are come. We do not consider that our dangers are any less than those of the Hebrews, but greater. There will be temptations to jealousies and murmurings, and there will be outspoken rebellion, as are recorded of ancient Israel. There will ever be a spirit to rise up against the reproof of sins and wrongs. But shall the voice of reproof be hushed because of this? If so, we shall be in no better situation than are the various denominations in our land who are afraid to touch the errors and prevailing sins of the people.

Those whom God has set apart as ministers of righteousness have solemn responsibilities laid upon them to reprove the sins of the people. Paul commanded Titus: "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee." There are ever those who will despise the one who dares to reprove sin; but there are times when reproof must be given. Paul directs Titus to rebuke a certain class sharply, that they may be sound in the faith. Men and women who, with their different organisations, are brought together in church capacity have peculiarities and faults. As these are developed, they will require reproof. If those who are placed in important positions never reproved, never rebuked, there would soon be a demoralised condition of things that would greatly dishonour God. But how shall the reproof be given? Let the apostle answer: "With all long-suffering and doctrine." Principle should be brought to bear upon the one who needs reproof, but never should the wrongs of God's people be passed by indifferently. 3T 358

There is great danger of encouraging a class of men to enter the field who have no genuine burden for souls. They may be able to interest the people and to engage in controversy, while they are by no means men of thought, who will improve their ability and enlarge their capacities. We have a dwarfed and defective ministry. Unless Christ shall abide in the men who preach the truth, they will lower the moral and religious standard wherever they are tolerated.... When the theory of the truth is repeated without its sacred influence being felt upon the soul of the speaker, it has no force upon the hearers, but is rejected as error, the speaker making himself responsible for the loss of souls. We must be sure that our ministers are converted men, humble, meek, and lowly of heart. 4T 441

The people have not been educated to bear their testimonies as they should have been, although the Lord has been pleased to give much light upon this matter. There has been altogether too much preaching, and not enough pains taken to educate those who have newly come to the faith to speak and to pray, and learn how to do service for the Master. This kind of work is of far greater importance than is frequent preaching. It is a mistake for the preacher to do all the speaking. He should do faithful labour to teach the people who have not had an experience to learn how to speak, to learn how to pray in such a way that they may improve week by week.--Letter 54, 1894, pp. 10-12. (To Elder O. A. Olsen, June 10, 1894.) 5MR 350

There is very little reverence for sacred things in either the Upper Columbia or the North Pacific Conference. The ordained instrumentalities of God are almost entirely lost sight of. God has instituted no new method of reaching the children of men. If they cut themselves off from heaven's appointed agencies to reprove their sins, correct their errors, and point out the path of duty, there is no way to reach them with any heavenly communication. They are left in darkness and are ensnared and taken by the adversary. 5T 298

The minister of God is commanded: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." The Lord says of these people: "They seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness." Here is a people who are self-deceived, self-righteous, self-complacent, and the minister is commanded to cry aloud and show them their transgressions. In all ages this work has been done for God's people, and it is needed now more than ever before. 5T 299

The word of the Lord came to Elijah; he did not seek to be the Lord's messenger, but the word came to him. God always has men to whom He entrusts His message. His Spirit moves upon their hearts and constrains them to speak. Stimulated by holy zeal, and with the divine impulse strong upon them, they enter upon the performance of their duty without coldly calculating the consequences of speaking to the people the word which the Lord has given them. But the servant of God is soon made aware that he has risked something. He finds himself and his message made the subject of criticism. His manners, his life, his property, are all inspected and commented upon. His message is picked to pieces and rejected in the most illiberal and unsanctified spirit, as men in their finite judgement see fit. Has that message done the work that God designed it should accomplish? No; it has signally failed because the hearts of the hearers were unsanctified. 5T 299

If the minister's face is not flint, if he has not indomitable faith and courage, if his heart is not made strong by constant communion with God, he will begin to shape his testimony to please the unsanctified ears and hearts of those he is addressing. In endeavouring to avoid the criticism to which he is exposed, he separates from God and loses the sense of divine favour, and his testimony becomes tame and lifeless. He finds that his courage and faith are gone and his labours powerless. The world is full of flatterers and dissemblers who have yielded to the desire to please; but the faithful men, who do not study self-interest, but love their brethren too well to suffer sin upon them, are few indeed. 5T 299

The providence of God says, "Go forward," not back into Egypt; and instead of framing a testimony to please the people, ministers should seek to arouse those who are asleep. 5T 372

[ Duty to Give Reproof ] "If wrongs are apparent among His people, and if the servants of God pass on indifferent to them, they virtually sustain and justify the sinner, and are alike guilty and will just as surely receive the displeasure of God; for they will be made responsible for the sins of the guilty. In vision I have been pointed to many instances where the displeasure of God has been incurred by a neglect on the part of His servants to deal with the wrongs and sins existing among them. Those who have excused these wrongs have been thought by the people to be very amiable and lovely in disposition, simply because they shunned to discharge a plain, Scriptural duty. The task was not agreeable to their feelings; therefore they avoided it." 5T 676

"Never was there greater need of faithful warnings and reproofs . . . than at this very time. Satan has come down with great power, knowing that his time is short. He is flooding the world with pleasing fables, and the people of God love to have smooth things spoken to them. . . . I was shown that God's people must make more firm, determined efforts to press back the incoming darkness. The close work of the Spirit of God is needed now as never before." 5T 676

There is nothing more needed in the work than the practical results of communion with God. We should show by our daily lives that we have peace and rest in God. His peace in the heart will shine forth in the countenance. It will give to the voice a persuasive power. Communion with God will impart a moral elevation to the character and to the entire course of action. Men will take knowledge of us, as of the first disciples, that we have been with Jesus. This will impart to the minister's labours a power even greater than that which comes from the influence of his preaching. Of this power he must not allow himself to be deprived. Communion with God through prayer and the study of His word must not be neglected, for here is the source of his strength. No work for the church should take precedence of this. 6T 047

In New Zealand many who claim to believe the truth manifest their own spirit in the presentation. Self-esteem and self-sufficiency are so prominent that Christ is lost to view, and the terrible fact remains substantiated that many are standing before the world as witnesses for Christ who exalt self, who idolise self, and their own ideas and wills, when their wills and devices are out of harmony with the work of God for these times. Jesus is hid behind poor, selfish humanity. The man appears with his defects glorified by him as perfection. ADVANCE 03-01-99

They (the youth who attend Battle Creek College) may not need sermons and long censorious lectures as much as they need genuine interest. Let them know by your works that you love them and have a care for their souls. FE 55

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. GW15 252

The perils of the last days are upon us. Devote not precious time in trying to convince those who would change the truth of God into a lie. Proclaim the third angel's message. Bear a straightforward, clear-cut message.

If some choose another position, let them alone. Labour for those who have never had the evidence of truth. So long as men hold fast to < men > , and believe men in the place of the word of God, you can do little to help them. You are working against principalities and powers, as is represented in Eph. 6:12.

We are to revive the truth; to stand in the truth. Whoever is determined to depart from the faith can not be helped by you. All your reasoning will be as idle tales. Take the banner of truth and hold it aloft, higher and still higher. The Lord calls for faithful minutemen. Go into the cities that need the message of a soon-coming Saviour. Thousands of unbelievers in our cities need to hear the last message of warning.

It is Satan's plan to produce these variances, to keep our minds on dissensions and unprofitable problems until the last woe shall come upon the world. Time now is too precious to be lost through confusion. Proclaim to the world that Christ is soon coming. RH AUG.09,1906

It is important that the minister should have the spirit of Jesus. His teachings should show that he feeds on Christ, that he lives up to every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God; and in his familiarity with the word of God, he will be instant in season and out of season to bring from the treasure-house of God things new and old. He will reveal that a solemn sense of the value of souls is upon him, and that self is lost sight of as he presents the sacred truths of God to the people. He will not give the impression that he is seeking to make a display of intellect, but to hold up Jesus Christ, and him crucified, before the people. Every one who is seeking to open the Scriptures to others should have an abiding sense of their accountability to God, and should realise that they are standing before a congregation of souls whom they will have to meet again at the Judgement seat of Christ, and that their message will prove a savour of life unto life or of death unto death. Present before your hearers in simple language the claims of God's law upon men, while your own heart is softened and subdued by his Spirit. This is our message. God has given to man his rule of life in his holy law, to guide and control his words and actions. This law permits no neutrality. It has a bearing upon every man's life, and will not relax its hold until every case is decided for life eternal or for perdition. RH FEB.22,1887

Many sermons preached upon the claims of the law have been without Christ, and this lack has made the truth inefficient in converting souls. Without the grace of Christ it is impossible to take one step in obedience to the law of God. Then how necessary that the sinner hear of the love and power of his Redeemer and Friend!...

`Without me,' says Christ, `ye can do nothing.' In and through the grace of Christ we can do all things. RH FEB.3F,1891

The work of the ministry has been carried forward altogether too much in our own human wisdom. We have seemed to think that an understanding of the theory of the truth was sufficient for the work. When we have talked to the people, we have gone over the ground to them, and explained all the lines of truth, and yet we have not brought into it the divine power of the truth to transform the life and character. When the work of God is done mechanically, it cannot be effective in converting souls. Though we have the truth, though our position be so well taken that our enemies cannot controvert it, this is not all that is necessary. There must be a power with our work beyond the mere knowledge of the theory of the truth. We must have divine energy to accompany our human effort. RH JUN.04,1889

Paul speaks of the riches of the glory of the mystery that is to be made known to the Gentiles. There are many mysteries in the word of God that we do not comprehend, and many of us are content to stop our investigation when we have just began to receive a little knowledge concerning Christ. When there begins to be a little unfolding of the divine purposes to the mind, and we begin to obtain a slight knowledge of the character of God, we become satisfied, and think that we have received about all the light that there is for us in the word of God. But the truth of God is infinite. With painstaking effort, we should work in the mines of truth, discovering the precious jewels that have been hidden. It is the minister's privilege to have a constant supply of fresh truth for the people. He should be in such a position that he can bring from the treasure-house of God not the same thing over and over, but new beauty and new truth. RH JUN.04,1889

Those who seek for more and still more of the Spirit of God, will not be disappointed. They will hold daily communion with God, and divine power will surely attend their efforts as they present the truth. As certainly as the truth is presented in the Spirit of Christ, it will reach the hearts of the people. Brethren, we should not go into the desk unless we have previously devoted some time to wrestling with God in prayer. We should not be satisfied to use the set discourses that we have preached over and over for the last ten, fifteen, or twenty years. We should draw fresh, new matter from the store-house of God's word. We are desirous that the angels of God may stand by our side when we are in the sacred desk, that God may impress the mind; that there may be glorious unfoldings of the truth; that it may be presented in the demonstration of the Spirit; that it may be meat in due season to the flock of God. It is the special grace of God that makes the sermon effectual. The minister's words will have very little influence upon the people, unless divine enlightenment accompanies them to the hearts of the hearers. We need much more of the Spirit of God than we have had in the past. Brethren, how long are you going to continue to labour without receiving the holy unction from on high? RH JUN.04,1889

We are to imitate Christ. The people should be able to discern the Spirit of Christ in his followers; and when the Spirit of God works with your efforts, you will not work in vain. The people will see that God works in you, and they will be moved by his Spirit to accept the truths that you present before them. The preacher should do something more than simply to please the taste, and convince the intellect. His words should reach the hearts of his hearers. And when men and women are led to accept the truth through the instrumentality of man, they should not give honour to the man, but they should realise that his efforts have been successful because divine power has accompanied his work, and give the glory to God. It is the truth that he has presented to them that should receive their acceptance and favour. RH JUN.11,1889

Let us connect with Christ, and then we shall have a power that the world cannot give, or take away. Said the apostle, speaking of the gospel, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." God would make known to his saints what is the glory of the mystery of Christ. There are depths and heights of unsearchable riches in the truth of God. Why should ministers make the truth powerless before the people because they themselves lack spiritual life and devotion, because they are not connected with God? RH JUN.11,1889

The goodness and glory of the Lord were to pass before mortal man; and if you plead with the Lord for his help, plead with him for a view of his glory, the blessing of the Lord will come upon you. When you come to speak before the people, your heart will be filled with love, filled with warmth and divine moisture. When this love is in your heart, the truth will strike its way through coldness and worldliness to the very hearts of the people. It will make its way through all pride and formality, and will leaven the soul with its power until Jesus will be enthroned in the heart. RH JUN.11,1889

When Christ abides with you, and you abide with him, you will have something more to say than you have said in the years that are past. You will have a message that will cut through the fleshly tables of the heart, a message that will divide between the joints and marrow, and discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. If we would have wisdom and knowledge to enable us to go through the time of trouble that is before us, we must be gathering it now by daily exercise of faith. RH JUN.11,1889

Do not think of going into the desk without a deep, solemn conviction of the responsibility of your work. RH JUN.18,1889

A minister after preaching a discourse which fully convicted one of his hearers of the Bible truth, was accosted with the question, "Do you really believe what you have preached?" "Certainly," he answered. "But is it really so?" said the anxious questioner. "Certainly," said the minister, as he reached for his Bible. Then the man broke out, "O, if this is the truth, what shall < we > do? What shall < we > do?" "What shall < we > do," thought the minister. "< We > ?" Why, was not he a minister? What could the man mean? But the question forced its way to his very soul. He went away alone to plead with God as what he should do. He had the solemn realities of eternity to present to a dying world. For three Sundays his place in the desk was vacant. He was seeking an answer to the solemn question, "What shall < we > do?"

When this minister returned to his charge, he had an unction from the Holy One. He had realised that in his preaching he made little impression, and he had felt the terrible weight of souls upon him, and now he came to his desk, but not alone. There was a great work to be done, but he realised that he was not to do the work alone. He knew that there was a power behind him. It was God that was to do the work. God was to be magnified, and lifted up before the people. He presented the Saviour and his matchless love. There was a revelation of the Son of God, and a revival began that spread through the church and to the surrounding regions. RH JUN.18,1889

The promises of God are rich and abundant; and why is it that there is so little power and success with the messengers of God?--There is a lack of that faith that claims the promises of his word. Let the ministers go before God, and say, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." Let them never rise from their knees until the work is accomplished. RH MAR.19,1889

There is too much preaching done without the ministering that God desires you to do. The minister should not think that his work is done when he leaves the desk. He should go to individual souls, and labour with them in the Spirit of Christ. O, if you would go to the lost, and let your heart break before them, we should see a work similar to that which was done in 1844. Then you might have seen three of four in the orchard, two or three in a barn, five or six in a chamber, pleading with God for souls. When they came to meeting, their faces were lighted up with the glory of God. RH MAR.19,1889

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us" [verse 7]. Have we received a bright thought? If so, we are not to think that it is because of any wonderful smartness or intelligence in ourselves. It is because God is the Author of it. If anyone tells you you have preached a good sermon, tell him the devil told you that before he did, and for him not to be an agent for the devil. There is pride in our hearts that must be emptied out, and then Jesus Christ will come in and take possession of our whole heart. SAT 099

The enemy is willing that these spasmodic efforts should be made; for those who make them engage in no decided warfare against evil. A soothing plaster, as it were, is placed over their minds, and in self-sufficiency they make a fresh start to do the will of God. ST MAR.11,1897

[Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Isa. 58:1.] Hypocrisy is peculiarly offensive to God. A large majority of the men and women who profess to know the truth prefer smooth messages. They do not desire to have their sins and defects brought before them. They want accommodating ministers, who will not arouse conviction by speaking the truth. They choose men who will flatter them, and in their turn they flatter the minister who has shown such a "good" spirit, while they revile the faithful servant of God. . . . Many praise the minister who dwells on the grace and mercy and love of Jesus, who is not particular to enforce duties and obligations, who does not warn of the danger of hypocrisy, or present the terrors of God's wrath. TDG 055

Let Daniel speak, let the Revelation speak, and tell what is truth. But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the centre of all hope, "the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star." TM 118

The Lord desires you to be soul winners. Do not try to reveal your smartness as theologians, even of Bible truth, for by so doing you will speak to many words that will be as little understood by them as Greek. ... Connect yourself firmly with Christ, and present the truth as it is in Him. Work as Paul worked. Wherever he was, whether before scowling Pharisees or Roman authorities, rich or poor, learned or ignorant, the cripple at Lystra or the convicted sinners in a Macedonian dungeon, he lifted up Christ as One who hates sin and loves the sinner, the One who bore our sins that He might have full power and authority to impart to us His righteousness. UL 342