As Sharp Arrows

     The words of Christ were as sharp arrows, which went to the mark and wounded the hearts of His hearers. Every time He addressed the people, whether His audience was large or small, His words took saving effect upon the soul of some one. No message that fell from His lips was lost. Every word He spoke placed a new responsibility upon those who heard. And today the ministers who in sincerity are giving the last message of mercy to the world, relying on God for strength, need not fear that their efforts will be in vain. Although no human eye can see the path of the arrow of truth, who can say that the arrow has not sped to the mark, and pierced the souls of those who listened? Although no human ear has heard the cry of the wounded soul, yet the truth has silently cut its way to the heart. God has spoken to the soul; and in the day of final account, His faithful ministers will stand with the trophies of redeeming grace, to give honor to Christ.   

     No one can tell what is lost by attempting to preach without the unction of the Holy Spirit. In every congregation there are souls who are hesitating, almost decided to be wholly for God. Decisions are being made; but too often the minister has not the spirit and power of the message, and no direct appeals are made to those who are trembling in the balance.    

     In this age of moral darkness, it will take something more than dry theory to move souls. Ministers must have a living connection with God. They must preach as if they believe what they say. Living truths, falling from the lips of the man of God, will cause sinners to tremble, and the convicted to cry out, Jehovah is my God; I am resolved to be wholly on the Lord's side.    

     Never should the messenger of God cease his strivings for greater light and power. He should toil on, pray on, hope on, amid discouragement and darkness, determined to gain a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures and to come behind in no gift. As long as there is one soul to be benefited, he should press forward with new courage at every effort. So long as Jesus has said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee," [Hebrews 13:5.] so long as the crown of righteousness is offered to the overcomer, so long as our Advocate pleads in the sinner's behalf, ministers of Christ should labor with hopeful, tireless energy and persevering faith.   

     Men who assume the responsibility of giving to the people the word from the mouth of God, make themselves accountable for the influence they exert on their hearers. If they are true men of God, they will know that the object of preaching is not to entertain. It is not merely to convey information, nor to convince the intellect.    

     The preaching of the word should appeal to the intellect and should impart knowledge, but it should do more than this. The minister's utterances, to be effectual, must reach the hearts of his hearers.  He should not bring amusing stories into his preaching. He must strive to understand the soul's great need and longing. As he stands before his congregation, let him remember that there are among his hearers those who are wrestling with doubt, almost in despair, well-nigh hopeless; those who, constantly harassed by temptation, are fighting a hard battle with the adversary of souls. Let him ask the Saviour to give him words to speak that will strengthen these souls for the conflict with evil.

GW 150-152