Reaching Hearts

The monthly bible instructor column.

A. RUBY WILLIAMS, Middle East College, Beirut, Lebanon

[Editor's Note.—Ruby Williams is a missionary in the Middle East. Her material is the basis of a specialized study in personal evangelism at the Theological Seminary. As dean, matron, and also field Bible instructor, she well knows the divine art of leading souls to Christ. We urged that she share these organized research points with the readers of THE MINISTRY. It may well serve in guiding personal workers in devotional contemplation.—L. C.K.

I. Conversion is "the greatest miracle performed by divine power." It "is the greatest work, the highest work, in which human beings can have a part."—Ev. 290, 292.

A. CONVERSION IS A CHANGE OF HEART-SERVICE.

1. Men choose to serve Christ rather than Satan.
 
a. The natural man is under the will of Satan.—ST 515; John 8:44.
b. God is testing and proving the hearts of men if they will choose Christ or Satan.

"Through the years of probation, God is testing and proving the hearts of men, that it may be seen who will find room for Jesus. The question to be answered by every soul is, Will you accept the pardoning love of God, which is a remedy for the diseases of the soul, or will you choose the enmity of Satan, and reap the terrible doom of the lost?"—Review and Herald, May 31, 1892.

c. Changing to Christ's will involves severest struggle of the heart.

"At the hour when we leave the service of Satan for the service of Christ, when true conversion takes place, and by faith we turn from transgression to obedience, the severest of the heart struggles takes place. But many accept the theory of truth, and compromise with the world, the flesh, and the Devil."—Ibid., Jan. 31, 1893.

d. As we submit to Christ's service, our hearts are united to His.—COL 312, 313.

2. Men too often are held in Satan's service ignorantly.

a. Do not believe Jesus pardons personally.—SC 57; Ps. 50:21.
b. Think God is too stern.—SC 59.
c. Some unaware of danger, asleep.-6T 22; Luke 15:8, 9.
d. Some in darkness, ignorantly working against truth.-1 John 2:11; Ev. 306; Prov. 16:2.
e. Some look wistfully, "know not how to re­cover themselves."—Ev. 462; Luke 15:4-6.
f. Some "of God's people" in other churches, but Circumstances not favorable to light.--6T 70, 71.
g. Some hungering, waiting only to be gathered in.-6T 71.
h. When full meaning of law revealed, change takes place in heart.
"When the Spirit of God reveals to man the full meaning of the law, a change takes place in his heart."—Review and Herald, April 5, 1898.

3. Powers of darkness contend to keep hearts.

a. Satan attracts the mind, finds access to hearts.

"When Jesus, the sinner's only hope, draws the soul by the cords of his love, the enemy begins a work of opposition, and tries to turn the attention of the one who is moved to seek Jesus, to the world. He engages the mind of the seeker in his delusive snares, and catches away the word of truth; for his falsehoods seem more palatable to the natural heart than do the truths of heavenly origin, and men accept them, rejecting the word of truth."—Review and Herald, May 31, 1892.

b. Powers of darkness are working with intense energy.-6T 22; Eph. 6:12.
c. He desires to take every glimmer of hope and ray of light.—SC 58.
d. Spirits will battle for souls.—Ev. 626.
e. Enemy [Satan] catches away the good seed from the heart.

"As the birds of the air are ready to catch up the seed from the wayside, so Satan is represented as ready with his unseen agencies of evil, to catch away the seeds of divine truth from the heart, lest it should find a lodgment there, and bring forth fruit unto eternal life. He fears that the word of God may awaken the careless, and take effect upon the hardened heart."—Review and Herald, May 31, 1892.

4. All heaven is working to win hearts.

a. God, the Spirit, and Christ, working to reach hearts.—TM 144, 145; John 1:12; 3:36; 3:3-7.
b. Angels cooperate in winning hearts to Christ. —AA 152, 153.
c. Angels are ever present to help in battle with self.—DA 440.
d. All resources of heaven are working.—COL 197.

5. Decision rests between worker and sinner.

a. If worker works in God's will, He takes re­sponsibility.-Ed. 138.
b. Influence of worker may be savor of death.-TM 158.
c. If sinner resists not, he will be drawn to Christ.-MB 137, 138.
d. Worker to reach Christ with one hand and sinner with other.-Ev. 293. B. CONVERSION IS IN THE HEART, THROUGH MIND.

B. Conversion must take place in the heart.

a. God's plan is first to reach the heart.-COL 97; GW 507; I Sam. 16:7.
b. With the heart man believeth.-Rom. 10:8-11.
c. Truth must be received, not in the conscience, but the heart.-Ev. 291.
d. The heart struggles severest at conversion.

"At the hour when we leave the service of Satan for the service of Christ, when true conversion takes place, and by faith we turn from transgres­sion to obedience, the severest of the heart struggles takes place. But many accept the theory of truth, and compromise with the world, the flesh, and the Devil."-Review and Herald, Jan. 31, 1893.

e. Thy law is within my heart.-Ps. 40:8.

2. The heart is reached through the conscience in the mind.

a. Holy Spirit reveals beauty to mind, passing through conscience to heart, captivating soul.-Ev. 291.
b. "Let us reason together;" "let thine heart keep My commandments."-Isa. 1:18; Prov. 3:1.
c. The one hope of the sinner is restoration of knowledge of God.-Ed. 76.
d. Knowledge of plan of salvation leads to foot of the cross.-SC 30, 31.

3. The will must be yielded, then God changes the heart.

a. When we submit our wills, the heart is united to Christ's heart.-COL 312.
b. By yielding the will to Christ, life is changed. -SC 52.
c. Every man is free to choose the power to rule him.-Ev. 626; Joshua 24:15.
d. When man's will becomes God's will, charac­ter is transformed.-5T 515.

4. Convincing mind does not mean conversion.

a. When truth is held by the conscience, heart is not stimulated; only the mind is affected.-Ev. 291.
b. Intellectual knowledge is not enough, heart work must be done.

"It is not enough to have an intellectual knowl­edge of the truth; there must be a heart work done."-Review and Herald, Jan. 31, 1893.

c. To inscribe name to a church creed is not of the least value to anyone if heart is not changed. -Ev. 291.
d. Profession of faith and possession of truth in the soul are two different things.-COL 97.
e. Soul is not sanctified through truth that is not practiced.-Ev. 290; Matt. 7:21, 22.
f. Keeping of commandments from sense of ob­ligation is not obedience.-COL 97; 1 Kings 8:58.
g. Sometimes men and women decide in favor of truth without conversion.-GW 159.

h. Judas was led to think he was a true dis­ciple, but his heart had ever been carnal.-1 Sp. G. 44.

C. POWERS OF GOD:, INFLUENCE THE HEART.

1. The name of Christ reaches the heart.

a. Sermons on Christ prick to the heart.-Ev. 188; Acts 4:12; 2 Cor. 3:3.
b. The heart feels the need of Christ more and more.-Ev. 300.
c. One gleam of purity of Christ reveals infidelity of heart.-SC 33.
d. If Christ is presented, seed is sown.-Ev. 193.

2. The love of God softens the heart.

a. The manifestation of the love of Christ is the only power to soften the heart.-Ev. 57.
b. His love softens heart, impresses the mind.-SC 30, 31.
c. Not flowery speeches or pleasing tales, but "God so loved" converts.-Ev. 189.
d. The heart should be moved by the deep sense of the love of Christ.-SC 49.
e. Love of Christ drew hearts.-Ev. 484.

3. The cross breaks hearts.

a. Christ crucified-talk it, pray it, sing it, break and win hearts.-6T 67.
b. The cross of Christ, practical godliness, touches hearts.-4T 375.
c. His infinite sacrifice awakens gratitude in hearts.-7T 29.
d. Beholding love of Christ on the cross softens the heart.-SC 30.

4. The Word of God changes the heart.

a. Changes mind and hearts.-GC 195.
b. Works in heart to subdue every unholy at­tribute.-COL 100.
c. Let the Word of God do the cutting.-Ev. 304.
d. Let truth reprove and judge the soul.-Ev. 303.

5. The Holy Spirit's special work is to reach hearts.

a. He only can make the change (conversion). -COL 96.
b. Softens hearts.-9T 107; PK 425.
c. Purifies hearts.-9T 164; CH 138.
d. Withdraws affections from this earth and fills soul with desire for holiness.-AA 52, 53.
e. When accompanies the truth, He sanctifies the heart.-COL 408.
f. "When Spirit of God reveals to man the full meaning of the law, a change takes place in the heart."-Review and Herald, April 5, 1898.

D. MAN CAN DE THE INSTRUMENT IN REACHING HEARTS.

1. The love of Christ in worker will win hearts.

a. If you feel for others His same deep love, you will win, attract.-COL 197; Gal. 1:24.
b. Melting love of God in the hearts of the work­ers recognized by the people.-Ev. 485.
c. As worker in love presents crucified, risen Saviour, God moves upon hearts.-4T 536.
d. In touch with God makes him in touch with fellow men.-GW 509.
e. If you reveal love of Christ to them, He will give salvation.-Ev. 485; 6T 67.
f. Speak of the love of God simply, naturally, and you will reach thousands of hearts.-Ev. 443.
g. Persons of little talent, if hearts in the love of God, may win many souls.-5T 307.
h. The love of Christ revealed in personal min­istry softens hearts.-COL 57.

2. Man's heart must share in Christ's crucifixion to reach hearts.

a. Let your heart be broken, then you can ad­dress repenting sinners.-6T 67.

b. Go to Gethsemane at the foot of the cross; know value of soul.-COL 196.

c. Wrestle with God like John Knox.-Ev. 294.

d. Life-giving preaching costs the preacher much -death to self, crucifixion to the world, the travail of his own soul. Crucified preaching can only give life, and can only come from the crucified life.-Gal. 2:20; Preacher and Prayer, 16.

e. The teacher . . . must be near the cross him­self in order to bring sinners to it.-Life of Paul, 126.

3. The life of Christ in man gives life to dead hearts.

a. Knowledge is not sufficient, only life can beget life.-GW 508.

b. If worker is transformed, he awakens re­sponse in those who hear the Word of life.

"But if the worker has not himself been refined, transformed, he cannot present the truth with a freshness, a force, a power, that awakens responsive feelings in those who hear the word of life. It is true that some will be found who will accept the truth on its own merits, notwithstanding the de­fects of the one who presents it to them."-Review and Herald, April 12, 1892.

c. Testifying of what Christ has done will be warm words to convince.-Ev. 486.

d. All the preacher says is tinctured, impreg­nated, by what he is.-Preacher and Prayer, 7.

e. Your attitude, your sympathetic understand­ing of people, your compassion for those in trou­ble, your quiet earnest faith in God, and above all else your own inner assurance that comes, not through intellectual belief in the truth of Chris­tianity, but from an experience in your own life of its power-these are the things that speak to the people and that convince them or leave them cold and doubting.-Psychology for Pastor and People, 50.

f. Preachers are not sermon makers, but men makers and saint makers, and he only is well trained for this business who has made himself a man and a saint.-Preacher and Prayer, 10.

4. Man's heart must be channel for Spirit to reach hearts.

a. Sustaining divine power in lives of Paul and Silas brought conviction to Philippian jailer.-AA 426.

b. Ministry of Holy Spirit is our great need; it brings power.-Ev. 299; Acts 1:8.

c. All heaven waiting for channels to pour bless­ing to human hearts.-COL 419.

d. Enter heart and soul into the work to seek and save.-TM 160.

e. Christ throws into the soul the vital energy of His Spirit to make seed of truth germinate.

"Simple, brief statements, from a heart made soft and sympathetic by the love of Christ, will be as the grain of mustard seed, to which Christ Himself likened His utterances of divine truth. He throws into the soul the vital energy of His Spirit, to make the seed of truth germinate and bear fruit."-Special Testimonies to Ministers, Series A, No. 1, p. 15.

f. Moses spoke from his heart, and it reached the heart.-S.D.A. Com. V. 1, 1113.

5. The degree of consecration of the man is more important than his methods.

a. Man must work with God in His plans, not in his own way and against Him.-5T 726.

b. Holy Ghost does not flow through methods but through men.-Preacher and Prayer, 6.

c. Let God work in us to reveal truth.-Ev. 291.

d. No man by his own effort can be a light bearer for God.-COL 418.

e. No man can impart what he himself has not received.-COL 418.

f. The love of God, continually transferred to man, shines out in heartfelt service.-COL 419.

g. The greatest need of the world is the mani­festation through humanity of the Saviour's love. -COL 419.

h. If their hearts are in the love of God, persons of little talent may win many souls.-5T 307.

i. Unless the work is first done in the worker's heart, all the specific directions will be labor in vain.-TM 125.

j. Success depends, not on knowledge or accom­plishments, but on ability to reach hearts.-Ev. 283.

"The requirement that God makes in grace is just the requirement He made in paradise. We

want to understand the claims of God upon us that we may reach the hearts of men, and teach them what God's word requires of them in order that they may have eternal life."-Review and Herald, July 15, 1890.

(Concluded next month)


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A. RUBY WILLIAMS, Middle East College, Beirut, Lebanon

July 1955

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