In city, town, and hamlet where a Seventh-day Adventist evangelist conducts a series of public meetings there should be a great revival. No Seventh-day Adventist preacher should be content merely to preach in a theoretical way the important doctrines of our message. He should so preach Christ that people will be converted and seek deliverance from sin. The meetings should leave a deeply spiritual impress upon the community.
We read concerning the work of Evangelist Philip in the city of Samaria:
"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city." Acts 8:5-8.
Philip preached Christ, the people were de livered from unclean spirits, and there was great joy in the city. This is a pattern of what our work as Seventh-day Adventist preachers should be like.
"Of all professing Christians, Seventh-day Adventists should be foremost in uplifting Christ before the world. The proclamation of the third angel's message calls for the presentation of the Sabbath truth. This truth, with others included in the message, is to be proclaimed; but the great center of attraction, Christ Jesus, must not be left out. It is at the cross of Christ that mercy and truth meet together, and righteousness and peace kiss each other. The sinner must be led to look to Calvary; with the simple faith of a little child he must trust in the merits of the Saviour, accepting His righteous ness, believing in His mercy." Gospel Workers, pp. 156, 157.
We are to be "able ministers of the new testament." We are to so present Christ and His law to the people that they will experience the law written in their hearts. (2 Cor. 3:3, 6.) It is not enough for us to preach our solemn, Heaven-ordained message to condemn men and to witness against them in the day of-judgment. Rather, we must proclaim our truth so as to pluck men from the fire of sin and destruction and lead them into an experimental knowledge of the saving power of Christ.
There are seventy million people in the United States who belong to no church. Most of these do not profess to know Christ. Of the eighty million church members in our nation few have found salvation from sin. The larger percentage of professed Christians today have "a form of godliness* but deny the power thereof." 2 Tim. 3:5. Society has become very corrupt. There is corruption in individual lives, in government, and within the churches. Moreover, men are frightened today as they view the prospects for the future. Never was the time more auspicious for a great revival. The feeling is extant that the nations need a great spiritual awakening. Darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people. This is the time for us to "arise, shine." (Isa. 60:1, 2.) We shall miss our most glorious opportunity if we do not catch the vision of so presenting Christ as the center of our message that great revivals will follow our preaching.
It Will Bring Results
When we begin our evangelism in a city our first work is to lead people to conversion. The apostle Peter has written, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the di vine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add." First, men are to be led into a born-again experience. They are to become partakers of the divine nature. Then upon this spiritual foundation they are to add the fruits of obedience so clearly set forth in our Heaven-appointed doctrines.
In Cincinnati, Ohio, where approximately five hundred were brought into the church, from the very first every effort was made to bring people to Christ, and as soon as they declared themselves for the Saviour they were put in an instruction class. There were 120 in the class before the Sabbath was presented. Eighty of these came through in the first baptism.
In all my campaigns I seek for conversions from the very beginning, and I instruct my associates that the most important part of their work has begun when the meetings first start. We press for decisions for Christ in the early part of the campaign.
If men and women are led to a converted experience, our work of bringing them to obedience in commandment keeping, tithing, health reform, and so forth will be much simplified. There must be no diminishing in preaching with positiveness the doctrines of our distinctive message, but we must magnify Christ in a much larger way.
We were told by the editor of the Cincinnati Star that he evaluated our campaign as the greatest revival that ever came to Cincinnati. In Bluefield one merchant said he knew our work to be genuine because people came in and paid their debts. In Pittsburgh a judge recommended to a woman seeking for divorce that she attend our meetings. Should not our great and wonderful God-given message produce the mightiest revivals of our day? Let us preach Christ to the cities, to the nations, and to men. Let us with fervency of spirit persuade men and women to come to Christ.