The Association Forum

A round table discussion on efficient methods.

By various authors. 

Spirit Rather Than Form

By M.R. Coon

Experience has forced me to the conclusion that the vital point of spir­itual contact lies in the messenger de­livering the sermon, rather than in the form of announcing the subjects to be presented. We must make use of phraseology which will rivet the attention of sinners, before we can present the themes of the message which make a marvelous appeal to the heart when Jesus is given His rightful place as the center and the circum­ference of all truth.

The longer I preach, the more I am convinced that the Sabbath, the sanc­tuary, the second coming, the mark of the beast, and all phases of doctrinal truths must be given with a ringing clearness and with such spiritual force as to shake men out of their seats and lead them to step over the line. It is the clear-cut warning message of the judgment now in session, holding up Jesus as our intercessor and pardoner, that startles the sinner and turns him to seek refuge in Christ. This is no time for any tame message. Our com­mission is to give warning and point the way to safety.

When I presented the seal of God and the mark of the beast in an effort just closed, the response was very im­pressive. I did not mince words, but explained exactly what was meant and what was involved. When I finished, I asked those who would promise God, right then, that by His grace and strength they would observe the next Sabbath in loyalty to God, and repudi­ate the false sabbath forever, to come forward and sign a card to that effect. Sixty persons came down the aisles and signed the card that night. Dur­ing the call there were appropriately rendered those inspirational songs, " I have left all to follow my Saviour " and " You must do something with Jesus tonight." Those who responded to the call came weeping, their counte­nances indicating a genuine conviction and determination. The Spirit of God was present in such a marked manner that some of our church members went up into the balcony to pray and to weep before the Lord.

The preacher, realizing that he has a life-and-death message, must lay " aside every weight," and plunge into his topic with the burden of souls on his heart, knowing that men and women will be saved or lost according as they accept or reject the message.

There is little, use to preach a Sav­iour unless we preach the reality and penalty of sin. As we portray sin, man recognizes his need of a Saviour from sin. We cannot preach sin with­out declaring it to be the transgres­sion of God's holy law. These are days in which sin is scoffed at. But sin is a reality; and the sinner des­perately needs a Saviour, although he may not recognize his need until he sees that he is a sinner. How I love to point to the way which leads by the cross of Calvary! How I love to see the sinner, in penitence, creep to the foot of the cross, and there find ap­plied the blood which cleanses white as snow! The presentation of God's holy law and Christ as the end of the law for righteousness, is effective. I am happy in this presentation. How I love to declare a gospel and a truth which no one can answer! All else must give way to it.

Philadelphia, Pa.

Preaching Christ in Doctrine

By A.J. Meiklejohn

There is a growing conviction on the part of many evangelists and Bible teachers, that doctrine is of little value when presented as an abstract truth, and that in the public presentation of doctrines we should seek to lift up Jesus as the embodiment of divine truth, and the doctrines as shafts of light streaming from His sacred per­son. Each doctrine is but one phase of the truth which He came to reveal; and all doctrines, when rightly pre­sented, blend together for revealing Jesus in the beauty of holiness, with impelling power which causes men to leave all and follow Him. Theoretical assent to this is more or less general; it is the application of this principle to evangelism that needs further de­velopment.

During the past two years I have made a careful study of the life of Jesus, and have been led to see a new world of beauty in His marvelous character. I am convinced that there is nothing which the world so greatly needs today as to see Jesus. On all sides there are men and women who, like the ancient Greeks, are wandering about in quest of that which will sat­isfy the soul, and eagerly exclaim, " We would see Jesus." In order for them to see and believe, Jesus must be lifted up in the life and teaching of His followers, and the promise is that when this is done, He will then draw all men unto Himself. As a re­sult of this special study, I have in one of my Bible classes followed the plan of building the doctrines of the message around the life, incidents, and teachings of our Lord. This has led me to work out a new method of ap­proach which I am beginning to use as I return to the evangelistic field again.

The usual plan in an evangelistic series has been to present the doctrinal sermons according to various orders of topics, presenting the proph­ecies of Daniel and the Revelation and the lines of doctrinal truth which em­anate therefrom, and conclude with certain practical themes pertaining to the spiritual life. I am now starting a series of meetings on an entirely new basis, reversing the order and the approach. I shall take the life of Jesus, and follow it through from be­ginning to end, following the chrono­logical order as far as possible. My present outline covers an entire series on the life of Christ, and while this does not cover every point, it is my hope that any person who follows through the series will have a fairly comprehensive picture of His life, while the various doctrinal and pro­phetic truths will be fitted into the great spiritual picture in their proper place and setting.

It will be readily seen how the va­rious features of the gospel message for today will fit into this plan, but to illustrate, I will say that the first sermon of the series would be on the order of an introduction, tending to show how Christ fitted perfectly into the Old Testament predictions. The next sermon would present the virgin birth and the childhood of Jesus. I would not spend a great deal of time on the first part of Christ's life, but dwell more largely on His ministry, covering such topics as repentance, conversion, the nature and conse­quences of sin, et cetera.

When I reach the point in the life of Christ where He speaks about the law, I plan to present the general Bible teaching on the law, and show how the law is but the expression of His life and teaching. The Sabbath would be presented in this connection, and on the same basis — the monu­ment to Christ's creative and redemp­tive work.

The doctrine of the second coming would be introduced in the words of Christ Himself, with all the signs which He gave concerning this event, and His assurances of fulfillment. The prophecies which point to this event would be woven in at this point, and the subject of the new earth would logically follow.

As I come to the death of Christ, I shall seek to present it as I believe it to be, on the one hand, the most awful revelation of sin and its nature, and on the other hand, the most sub­lime revelation of God's love and re­demption,— the subject of all subjects which appeals to the human heart to renounce sin and yield wholly to God. The next stage in the series of ser­mons would be the presentation of the resurrection of Christ, and His com­mission to every Christian to preach the gospel in all the world.

The advantages which appear to me to be obtained by such a method, are, first, it exalts Christ, and presents doctrines as they stand related to Him; second, the appeal is to the heart rather than the head; third, the sermons may be made intensely prac­tical. I do not plan to give merely historical lectures; my sole objective is to reveal Christ, and through this revelation make a practical applica­tion of Christian principles to our present-day life, and in pending issues I shall seek to show that Christ is the only answer to our moral and spiritual needs today.

In preparing for such a series, I would suggest that the preacher fa­miliarize himself thoroughly with the life of Jesus, making special study of " The Desire of Ages," by Mrs. E. G. White, Geikie's " Life of Christ," and Edersheim's " Life and Times of Jesus, the Messiah." There are, of course, many other books dealing with special features of Christ's life and teaching, which would be helpful. It would also be well to study several translations of the Gospels, and I would suggest also the study of such books as " An Order of Events," or " Harmony of the Gospels." But the preacher must not be disconcerted by the fact that no two scholars agree on any order of events. It is not so important that each event should follow in its exact chronological order as it is that the people to whom we preach get a fairly comprehensive view of the life and teachings of Jesus, with special em­phasis on His message for today. This should be given in such a way as to inspire hearers to become fol­lowers of Jesus, and members of His remnant church.

When the preacher has become fa­miliar with this field of special study, then I would suggest that he proceed to map out his series of sermons. This should be done first in a general way, making observations to see that the entire ground is covered in the time allotted to the series. He should know well in advance where the dif­ferent doctrinal points are to be pre­sented, and make sure that his outline furnishes a balanced presentation of the whole gospel for today. All this should be carefully worked out before the preacher starts his effort, as a prevention of bungling work and dis­appointing results.

It is my earnest prayer that the blessing of God will rest on every worker as he goes forth into the har­vest field. Let us lift up Jesus as never before, for just as surely as we do, He will draw all men to Him.

Denver, Colo.

Adaptation to Present Needs

By Stemple White

We are indeed living in a very crit­ical time. Atheism, higher criticism, and modernism are rampant. I be­lieve that the best way to meet such unbelief in public preaching is to preach Christ in the distinctive doc­trines of Holy Scripture. That which brings us out of Babylon, and makes us a peculiar people, will also hold us together as a united people. So I say with Paul, " Preach the word." We must present old truths in a new man­ner, yet ever adhere closely to the written word of God. I never preach a sermon on any doctrinal or pro­phetic subject without endeavoring to permeate it with the great truth of righteousness by faith; and I hold that any of the doctrinal, prophetic, and practical truths can be presented to any audience in such a manner that Christ and His righteousness will be revealed as the only means of salva­tion.

Subjects announced under such ti­tles as  (See PDF for List)  

The secret of effective presentation of these themes lies in portraying Christ crucified, raised, and soon to return, as the background of every sermon; and this can be done only as the speaker himself is filled with the Spirit of the living Christ and be­comes the messenger of warning and of safety.

The following list of subjects gives the titles as used in a recent evangel­istic series. This list is suggestive only, for I never follow a uniform list of subjects. It will be noted that in this arrangement the subject, " The Nature of Man," is placed before the presentation of the Sabbath truth. To me this seems logical for the reason that man was created before the Sab­bath was made. In fact, I am inclined to favor the plan of making the Sab­bath last in the presentation, first, for the reason that people will not have occasion to say Seventh-day Adventists are always harping about the Sab­bath; and second, I believe that the more carefully we instruct the people on all the various beautiful truths, the more apt are they to accept the Sab­bath when they hear it,

Suggestive Order of Subjects (See PDF)

One Hundred Themes

F.W. Johnston, successful in con­ducting theater efforts, writes: " I submit a complete list of subjects as I am now using them, covering nearly a hundred themes. I have just given my ninetieth lecture, and the crowds are still coming! "

World League of Nations

Another King Will Rule the World

Silence in Heaven for Half an Hour

Great Celestial Disturbances (Foretold in Prophecy)

Why Didn't God Kill Satan?

The Millennium, or the Devil's Vacation

The End of the World From Standpoint of Reason

What Will Become of the Millions of

Heathen Who Have Died?

Another World War Predicted (Eastern Question)

The World's Future Metropolis

The Marriage of Christ His Wife, Her

Name and Description

Four Peculiar Beasts

Peter and the Keys of Heaven

Will Hell Burn Out?

Which Is the True Church?

The Flying Roll of the Prophecy of Zechariah

Divine Healing

God's Everlasting Challenge to the Atheist

Who Changed the Sabbath From Saturday to Sunday?

The Unpardonable Sin

Explosion of the Lost-Time Theory

Seal of God ; Mark of the Beast ; Who Are the 144,000?

Coming of Elijah the Prophet

The Soul and the Spirit — What Are They?

The Rich Man (in Hell) and Lazarus

Popular Arguments Examined (Sunday)

Spiritism — Can We Talk With the Dead?

Bible Baptism

Are the Angels Departed Souls?

Relation of Civil Governments to Religion

How to Put the Doctor Out of Business

Striking Mathematical Prophecy

The Great Red Dragon

A Court Trial in Heaven

Aerial Navigation and Communication

The Man Whose Number Is 666

The United States in Prophecy

A Letter From Heaven,— Discovered on a

Mountain in Arabia

The Two Witnesses Who Prophesy

The Seven Last Plagues

Who Will Be the Chief Justice?

Great World Problems

Doctrine of Predestination

An Inspired Record That Christ Himself

Destroyed

The Clock of Heaven — How God Keeps

Time

The Fifth and Sixth Trumpets

The Seventh Trumpet

Modern Universal Perplexities

Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary

The Apocalyptic Vision of Seven Churches

Ten Days' Tribulation

Satan's Throne on Earth

The Bride of Lucifer

Was the Protestant Reformation a Failure?

Modern Christendom in Prophecy

Modern Fashions

How a Woman Saved a Nation

Furnished Apartments in Heaven

The Divinity of Christ

Will World-wide Prohibition Ever Become a Reality?

First Great Submarine Experience Mentioned in the Bible

Spiritual Gifts in the Church

The Origin of Easter

Christ Preaching to the Spirits in Prison

The Thief on the Cross in Paradise

How to Support the Preacher

The Four (White, Red, Black, Pale) Horses

Souls Under the Altar

A Great Earthquake Predicted

Melchizedek

Doctrine of Transubstantiation

A Baptism of Fire

Satan's Great Counterfeit of the Holy Spirit

Christian Science

Married After Rising From the Dead

A Great Gymnastic Wonder, Performed by

the Apostle Paul

The Seven Trumpets

What Is the Difference Between Sins and Faults?

Nahum's Chariots

Ezekiel's Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones

What Civilization Owes to the Christian Church

A Victorious Defeat

A Round Trip to Heaven

An Actual Surgical Operation Without Steel

Instruments or Surgeon

Long-Distance Wireless

A Tree More Than Ninety-five Million Miles

High Planted in Babylon

The Vicarious Atonement

The The Third Coming of Christ

Born Twice and Dying Once, or Born Once and Dying Twice

A Fourfold Objective

W.P. Mclennan, of Memphis, Tenn,. writes: " In the light of present-day conditions, it has seemed to me to be wise to keep in mind, when arranging our subjects, First, the establishment of confidence in the Bible as the word of God, through the presentation of prophecy; second, the conviction that God has a message for this genera­tion; third, God's plan for man's sal­vation; fourth, dealing with errors in present-day teaching. I submit a list of subjects as I presented them in my last tent effort: "

The Crash of Nations

Return of Jesus

Christ Will Return in This Generation

Prophetic Cartoons of the Nations

The Devil Bound 1,000 Years

God's Eternal Plan

Why Voltaire Called Newton a Fool

Who Made the Devil?

Armageddon — the Next War

Twice-born Men

Birthmarks of Regeneration

What Is Sin?

The Christian Sabbath

Sunday Sacredness

The Little Horn and the Big Mouth

The Mark of the Beast (Rev. 14 : 9, 10)

The Seven Seals of Revelation

True Test of Discipleship

The Judgment Now in Session — When Did It Begin?

Court Week in Heaven

God's Message for Today

Has Elijah Come?

Absolute Surrender

Where Are the Dead?

Hell — 25,000 Miles in Circumference

Parable of Rich Man and Lazarus

Nailed to the Cross

The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon

When It Is Wrong to Pray

The Jerusalem Prophecy

The Two Covenants

How to Postpone Your Funeral

Question and Answer Service

God's Last Call

The Life of Job

Baptism

Sunday Blue Laws

Should Christians Use Tobacco?

Will a Man Rob God?

What It Means to Be a Christian

From World Wonder to World Worship

The Man of the Mystic Number

Striding Back to the Dark Ages

The Specter of the East

Keep Your Eyes on the Eastern Sky

Sunday Night Subjects

H.S. Prenier, dean of the Bible De­partment of E. M. C., furnishes a list of his Sunday night subjects used in his last evangelistic series, as follows:

The Sublimity of the Present — A mes­sage of optimism

Is There a Personal Devil? — The les­son of why sin was permitted

The Evolution of War — Story of the mightiest conflict

Two Men Who Went to Heaven and Returned to Earth — What news for you?

The Meaning of Current Conditions ­An explanation of our times

The Time of Christ's Coming — Not the day nor hour

True Greatness — Washington, Lincoln, and YOU

The Ten Commandments — What did the gospel abolish?

The Seventh-day Sabbath — Not Satur­day nor Sunday

Christ Did Not Establish Sunday, Nor His Apostles Sunday Keeping — How Sunday eclipsed God's Sabbath

Who Changed the Sabbath From the Seventh Day to Sunday? — Come ! Hear the confession read

The Mark of the Beast and Seal of God

— How does God know His own? The New Birth and New Covenant -

Obscure things made clear

Lazarus!! Where Were You? — Mys­teries of the dead unveiled

Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise — Come ! Make your reservations

Wonder-working Spirits From Other

Worlds — An exposition of Spiritism Springtime in God's New Creation

Graphic portrayal of life hereafter Does Man Owe God a Dime for Every Dollar? -- Partnership with God

The Spirit That Prophesies What are the eyes and tongue of the church?

What Is the Unpardonable Sin? — How you may know you have not com­mitted it.

True Baptism by Immersion — Christ's memorials mark a change of heart de

Further Suggestive Titles

Marvels of the Starry Sky

The Price of Liberty

Court Week in Heaven

Signs on the Billboard of Heaven

God's Great Searchlight on Our Day

The World's Drama in Five Acts

The Bible and the Spade

The Torch That Never Fails

The Superscription of God

God's Footprints in the Solar System

Breaking Into the Future

The Keystone of Prophecy

Running Past the Danger Signals

The Master Key of Life

The Way Out of Uncertainty

The Heavenly Mirror

God's Measuring Rod

Reforming the Reformation

Protestantism's Turning Point

Signposts on the Way to Heaven

The Arbiter of Destiny

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