What are the qualifications required to make us effectual ministers of the new covenant? What is the one supreme thing which we must have if we are to proclaim the advent message with power and lasting success?
The opinion of many regarding the qualifications of a successful minister are: He must be an eloquent preacher, whose modulated voice falls like bewitching music upon the ears of adoring crowds; he must have a magnetic personality which attracts multitudes and evokes their applause; his moderate and modern views must accommodate all. His consuming zeal, compelling influence, and constraining appeal will make him a power among men. Reasonable and unquestionably useful as sonic of these qualities may be, we•do not need to seek men's opinion concerning requisites for those who serve the Lord in public ministry. Rather, let us ask the One in whose employ we are to minister. Our findings will apply to those who serve in obscure places as well as to those in the more prominent and public positions.
Who does the Lord say will bear the news of eternal life and impending judgment to an alienated and rebellious world? Heaven resounds the answer : "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me." "Ye are witnesses of these things, . . . but tarry ye.. . until ye be endued with power from on high." The supreme qualification, then, for effectual service in the proclamation of the last gospel message, is not education, natural gifts, social influence, nor indeed any other carnal equipment. The equipment that is of vital necessity to those who would be effective in winning souls and extending the kingdom of the Lord Jesus, is a real baptism by the Holy Spirit.
These credentials converted a Galilean fisherman into an ambassador of the court of heaven with such authority that he turned three thousand rebels into loyal subjects of the King of kings in one day. This anointing from heaven has turned illiterate, black men into mighty evangelists who see whole villages transformed in dark African forests. This same outpouring of heavenly rain will turn dry, lifeless communities into fruitful, flourishing centers of spiritual activity. It will turn powerless believers into irrepressible witnesses of the glorious advent message. What cannot God do with a man or a woman who is filled with the Spirit? Think of Gideon, Paul, Stephen, Luther, Wesley, the pioneers of the advent movement, and thousands of unknown servants of the Lord who have turned men and cities and even nations upside down by the power of the Holy Ghost !
Only fire can kindle fire. Only he Who is in touch with God's Holy Spirit, whose heart throbs and glows with an ardent, tender love for souls, and who preaches only for the sake of souls, can speak with that burning eloquence which, flung into the hearts of his hearers, quickens in them true personal godliness, brings them into closer harmony with God's law, and wins them for the truth. Brother Minister, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?"