So the Cross does not merely tell us that God forgives, it tells us that that is God’s way of making forgiveness possible. It is the way in which we understand how God forgives. I will go further: How can God forgive and still remain God? – That is the question. The Cross is the vindication of God. The Cross is the vindication of the character of God. The Cross not only shows the love of God more gloriously than anything else, it shows His righteousness, His justice, His holiness, and all the glory of His eternal attributes. They are all to be seen shining together there. If you do not see them all you have not seen the Cross.
As Christians we should never feel sorry for ourselves. The moment we do so, we lose our energy, we lose the will to fight and the will to live, and are paralyzed.
Our Lord does not promise to change life for us; He does not promise to remove difficulties and trials and problems and tribulations; He does not say that He is going to cut out all the thorns and leave the roses with their wonderful perfume. No; He faces life realistically, and tells us that these are things to which the flesh is heir, and which are bound to come. But He assures us that we can so know Him that, whatever happens, we need never be frightened, we need never be alarmed.
To be a Christian is not only to believe the teaching of Christ, and to practice it; it is not only to try to follow the pattern and example of Christ; it is to be so vitally related to Christ that His life and His power are working in us. It is to be “in Christ,” it is for Christ to be in us
Philosophy has always been the cause of the church going astray, for philosophy means, ultimately, a trusting to human reason and human understanding. The philosopher wants to encompass all truth; he wants to categorize and explain everything, and that is why…(philosophy is) diametrically opposed to the preaching of the gospel.
The only people who are ever interested in revival are evangelicals, and a good way of testing the quality of a man’s evangelicalism is his interest in revival. The institutional people do not often talk about revival. They try sometimes to pay lip-service to it but they do not believe in it… The true evangelical, on the other hand, is always longing for an outpouring of the Spirit, and the great evangelical reawakenings have always been a result of an effusion of the Holy Spirit. The evangelical by nature is tremendously interested in revival.
This is something that happens to you: it is God dealing with you, and God acting upon you by His Spirit; it is something you become aware of rather than what you do. It is thrust upon you; it is presented to you and almost forced upon you constantly in this way.
How do you know whether a man is a Christian? The answer is that his mouth is “shut”. I like this forthrightness of the Gospel. People need to have their mouths shut, “stopped”. They are forever talking about God, and criticizing God, and pontificating about what God should or should not do, and asking, “Why does God allow this and that?” You do not begin to be a Christian until your mouth is shut, is stopped, and you are speechless and have nothing to say.
The man who is meek is not even sensitive about himself. He is not always watching himself and his own interests. He is not always on the defensive… To be truly meek means we no longer protect ourselves, because we see there is nothing worth defending… The man who is truly meek never pities himself, he is never sorry for himself. He never talks to himself and says, “You are having a hard time, how unkind these people are not to understand you.”
Do you mean by that, asks someone, that the saints in the Old Testament were not forgiven? Of course I do not. They were obviously forgiven and they thanked God for the forgiveness. You cannot say for a moment that people like David and Abraham and Isaac and Jacob were not forgiven. Of course they were forgiven. But they were not forgiven because of those sacrifices that were then offered. They were forgiven because they looked to Christ. They did not see this clearly, but they believed the teaching, and they made these offerings by faith. They believed God’s Word that He was one day going to provide a sacrifice, and in faith they held to that. It was their faith in Christ that saved them, exactly as it is faith in Christ that saves now. That is the argument.
It was God’s hand that laid hold of me, and drew me out, and separated me to this work.
There is no purpose in having a basis or a confession of faith unless it is applied. So we must assert the element of discipline as being essential to the true life of the church. And what calls itself a church which does not believe in discipline, and does not use it and apply it, is therefore not a true church.
We must not divide on the question of prophetic interpretation: pre-, post-, a-millennialist, and so on. Not one of them can be proved, so we must not put them into the category of essentials. You have your views; hold them. Let us discuss them together; let us reason together out of the Scriptures; but if we divide on these matters, I maintain that we are guilty of schism. We are putting into the category of essentials what is non-essential.
The gospel is open to all; the most respectable sinner has no more claim on it than the worst.
Man’s happiness was never meant to be determined by his circumstances, and that is the fatal blunder that we all tend to make… Man’s happiness depends on one thing only – and that is his relationship to God!… We cannot get it anywhere else. We must come back to the soul and to God who made it. We were made for Him, we are meant for Him, we have a correspondence with Him, and we will never come to rest until, like that needle on the compass, we strike that northern point, and there we come to rest – nowhere else.
Do we realize that if we truly understand the doctrine of justification by faith we have already grasped the essence and the nerve of the New Testament teaching about holiness and sanctification? Have we realized that to be justified by faith guarantees our sanctification, and that therefore we must never think of sanctification as a separate and subsequent experience?
The evangelical always gives primacy to preaching. When people cease to be interested in preaching, they cease to be evangelical. If you put discussions before preaching you are beginning to deny your evangelicalism. The church starts with preaching. Revivals, reformations, have always been great restorations of preaching. To the evangelical, nothing compares with preaching. Even reading is very secondary to preaching – “truth medicated through personality,” the impact of a man filled with the Spirit proclaiming the message of God!
A depressed Christian is a contradiction in terms, and he is a very poor recommendation for the gospel… Nothing is more important, therefore, than that we should be delivered from a condition which gives other people, looking at us, the impression that to be a Christian means to be unhappy, to be sad, to be morbid, and that the Christian is one who “scorns delights and lives laborious days.”
Repentance means that you realize that you are a guilty, vile sinner in the presence of God, that you deserve the wrath and punishment of God, that you are hell-bound. It means that you begin to realize that this thing called sin is in you, that you long to get rid of it, and that you turn your back on it in every shape and form. You renounce the world whatever the cost, the world in its mind and outlook as well as its practice, and you deny yourself, and take up the cross and go after Christ. Your nearest and dearest, and the whole world, may call you a fool, or say you have religious mania. You may have to suffer financially, but it makes no difference. That is repentance.
I am a Calvinist; I believe in election and predestination; but I would not dream of putting it under the heading of essential. I put it under the heading of non-essential… You are not saved by your precise understanding of how this great salvation comes to you. What you must be clear about is that you are lost and damned, hopeless and helpless, and that nothing can save you but the grace of God in Jesus Christ and only Him crucified, bearing the punishment of your sins, dying, rising again, ascending, sending the Spirit, regeneration. Those are the essentials… While I myself hold very definite and strong views on the subject, I will not separate from a man who cannot accept and believe the doctrines of election and predestination, and is Arminian, as long as he tells me that we are all saved by grace, and as long as the Calvinist agrees, as he must, that God calls all men everywhere to repentance. As long as both are prepared to agree about these things I say we must not break fellowship. So I put election into the category of non-essentials.
We must be very careful to draw this distinction between essentials and non-essentials lest we become guilty of schism and begin to rend the body of Christ.
When man truly becomes what he is meant to be under God he then begins to realize what faculties and propensities he has, and he begins to use them. And so you will find that the greatest periods and epochs in the history of countries have always been those eras that have followed in the wake of great religious reformation and revivals.
We all tend to go to extremes; some rely only on their own preparation and look for nothing more; others, as I say, tend to despise preparation and trust to the unction, the anointing and the inspiration of the Spirit alone. But there must be no “either/or” here; it is always “both/and.” These two things must go together.
It is a kingdom which is to come, yes. But it is also a kingdom which has come. “The kingdom of God is among you” and “within you.” The kingdom of God is in every true Christian. He reigns in the Church when she acknowledges Him truly. The kingdom has come, the kingdom is coming, the kingdom is yet to come. Now we must always bear that in mind. Whenever Christ is enthroned as King, the kingdom of God is come, so that, while we cannot say that He is ruling over all in the world at the present time, He is certainly ruling in that way in the hearts and lives of all His people
The ultimate test of our spirituality is the measure of our amazement at the grace of God.
The main trouble with the Christian Church today is that she is too much like a clinic, too much like a hospital; that is why the great world is going to hell outside!… Look at the great campaign, look at it objectively, look at it from God’s standpoint. Forget yourself and your temporary troubles and ills for the moment; fight in the army. It is not a clinic you need; you must realize that we are in a barracks, and that we are involved in a mighty campaign.
There are certain things which have to be said over and over again, of necessity, and yet this is the marvel and the wonder of the cross, that however many times a man may preach about it, he has never finished preaching about it. There is always something fresh to say, always something new. There is a great central message that is always there, but nothing is so wonderful as to see that one thing in different ways.
We must come back to the soul and to God who made it. We were made for Him, we are meant for Him, we have a correspondence with Him, and we will never come to rest until, like that needle on the compass, we strike that northern point, and there we come to rest – nowhere else.
Fasting, if we conceive of it truly, must not…be confined to the question of food and drink; fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose. There are many bodily functions which are right and normal and perfectly legitimate, but which for special peculiar reasons in certain circumstances should be controlled. That is fasting.
Revival, above everything else, is a glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is the restoration of Him to the center of the life of the Church. You find this warm devotion, personal devotion, to Him.
The ultimate cause of all spiritual depression is unbelief. For if it were not for unbelief even the devil could do nothing. It is because we listen to the devil instead of listening to God that we go down before him and fall before his attacks. That is why this psalmist keeps on saying to himself: “Hope thou in God for I shall yet praise Him…” He reminds himself of God. Why? Because he was depressed and had forgotten God, so that his faith and his unbelief in God and in God’s power, and in his relationship to God, were not what they ought to be. We can indeed sum it all up by saying that the final and ultimate cause is just sheer unbelief.
Prayer, in many ways, is the supreme expression of our faith in God.
The work of preaching is the highest and greatest and most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called.
Our supreme need, our only need, is to know God, the living God, and the power of His might. We need nothing else. It is just that, the power of the living God, to know that the living God is among us and that nothing else matters… I say, forget everything else. Forget everything else. We need to realize the presence of the living God amongst us. Let everything else be silent. This is no time for minor differences. We all need to know the touch of the power of the living God.
How often do we hear about the discipline of the Christian life these days? How often do we talk about it? How often is it really to be found at the heart of our evangelical living? There was a time in the Christian church when this was at the very center, and it is, I profoundly believe, because of our neglect of this discipline that the church is in her present position. Indeed, I see no hope whatsoever of any true revival and reawakening until we return to it.
We must grasp once again, the idea of church membership as being the membership of the body of Christ and as the biggest honour which can come a man’s way in this world.
Faith…holds on to truth and reason from what it knows to be fact.
Why do we expect God to prohibit war? Or why should God prevent war? Apart from the theoretical reason that God should prevent war because it is sinful…there can be no doubt that the real reason why people expect God to prevent war is that they desire a state of peace and feel that they have the right to live in a state of peace. But that immediately raises another question, which, in a sense, is the fundamental question with respect to this whole matter. What right have we to peace? Why do we desire peace? How often, I wonder, have we faced this question? Has not the tendency been to take it for granted that we have a right to a state and condition of peace? Do we stop to ask what is the real value and purpose and function of peace?… It is not enough that we should desire peace merely that we may avoid the horror and suffering of war… Man’s chief business in life is to serve and to glorify God. That is why the gift of life has been given to him. That is why we are here on earth. All other things are subservient to this—all the gifts and the pleasures which God gives us so freely… But is that our reason for desiring peace? Is that the real motive in our prayers for peace?… Do we deserve peace? Were we justified in asking God to preserve peace and to grant peace? What if war has come because we were not fit for peace, because we did not deserve peace, because we by our disobedience and godlessness and sinfulness had so utterly abused the blessings of peace? Have we a right to expect God to preserve a state of peace merely to allow men and women to continue a life that is an insult to His holy Name?
Nothing is a cause for divorce save fornication. It does not matter how difficult it may be, it does not matter what the stress or the strain, or whatever can be said about the incompatibility of temperament. Nothing is to dissolve this indissoluble bond save this one thing… It is this question of the “one flesh” again; and the person who is guilty of adultery has broken the bond and has become united to another. The link has gone, the one flesh no longer obtains, and therefore divorce is legitimate. Let me emphasize again, it is not a commandment. But it is a ground for divorce, and a man who finds himself in that position is entitled to divorce his wife, and the wife is entitled to divorce the husband.
There are other people who are prepared to argue and discuss and even change their opinion, but they do not do anything about it. The evangelical, however, is a man who acts on his convictions. There would never have been Protestantism if this were not true.
Faith is a refusal to panic.
You are always on duty in the Christian life, you can never relax. There is no such thing as a holiday in the spiritual realm.
As Christian people we must learn to appropriate by faith the fact that God is our Father. Christ taught us to pray “Our Father.” This eternal everlasting God has become our Father and the moment we realize that, everything tends to change. He is our Father and He is always caring for us, He loves us with an everlasting love, He so loved us that He sent His only begotten Son into the world and to the Cross to die for our sins. That is our relationship to God and the moment we realize it, it transforms everything.
If you do not believe in the unique deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are not a Christian, whatever else you may be. We are not looking at a good Man only, we are not interested merely in the greatest Teacher the world has ever seen; we are face to face with the fact that God, the Eternal Son, has been in this world, and that He took upon Him human nature and dwelt among us, a Man amongst men – God-Man. We are face to face with the mystery and the marvel of the Incarnation and of the Virgin Birth. It is all here, and it shines out in all the fullness of its amazing glory. “What manner of Man is this?” He is more than Man. That is the answer – He is also God.
What is the chief end of preaching? I like to think it is this: It is to give men and women a sense of God and His presence.
Man is at his greatest and highest when upon his knees he comes face to face with God.
Holiness is not something we are called upon to do in order that we may become something; it is something we are to do because of what we already are.
The glory of the gospel is that when the church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it.
“Schism” – People who were agreed about the centralities of the faith dividing and separating from one another over matters that were not essential to salvation, not absolutely vital. This is always one of the dangers afflicting us as evangelicals… We can be so rigid, so over-strict, and so narrow that we become guilty of schism.
If you do not desire to be holy I do not see that you have any right to think that you are a Christian.
I must never ask myself in the first instance: What do I feel about this? The first question is, Do I believe it? Do I accept it, has it gripped me?
Even adultery is not the unforgiveable sin. It is a terrible sin, but God forbid that there should be anyone who feels that he or she has sinned himself or herself outside the love of God or outside His kingdom because of adultery. No; if you truly repent and realize the enormity of your sin and cast yourself upon the boundless love and mercy and grace of God, you can be forgiven and I assure you of pardon. But hear the words of our blessed Lord: “Go and sin no more.”
Whenever I see myself before God and realize something of what my blessed Lord has done for me at Calvary, I am ready to forgive anybody anything. I cannot withhold it. I do not even want to withhold it.
I sometimes think that the very essence of the whole Christian position and the secret of a successful spiritual life is just to realize two things: I must have complete, absolute confidence in God and no confidence in myself.
The church is always to be under the Word; she must be; we must keep her there. You must not assume that because the church started correctly, she will continue so. She did not do so in the New Testament times; she has not done so since. Without being constantly reformed by the Word the church becomes something very different. We must always keep the church under the Word.
I have known men…who have been utterly, entirely orthodox, but the churches to which they belonged not only did not have prayer meetings, but they did not believe in prayer meetings. You could not wish for anything better from the standpoint of orthodoxy, but they do not believe in prayer meetings. Prayer has very little place in their lives. Now while they may be orthodox, I take leave to suggest that they are not truly evangelical. This element of prayer is essential to the evangelical; it is his life; it is vital to him.
Not to be in fellowship with those who are born again is to be guilty of schism, which is sinful.
Grace is favor shown to people who do not deserve any favor at all… We deserve nothing but hell. If you think you deserve heaven, take it from me, you are not a Christian.
The great doctrine of the second advent has in a sense fallen into disrepute because of…this tendency on the part of some to be more interested in the how and the when of the second coming rather than in the fact of the second coming.
In the last analysis it is not the temptations that meet us on the streets that determine our conduct; it is the heart of the man who faces them. Two men may face the same conditions; one falls, the other stands. The difference is not in the temptation but in the heart of the man.
We have somehow got hold of the idea that error is only that which is outrageously wrong; and we do not seem to understand that the most dangerous person of all is the one who does not emphasize the right things.
The Spirit does not glorify Himself; He glorifies the Son… This is, to me, one of the most amazing and remarkable things about the biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit seems to hide Himself and to conceal Himself. He is always, as it were, putting the focus on the Son, and that is why I believe, and I believe profoundly, that the best test of all as to whether we have received the Spirit is to ask ourselves, what do we think of, and what do we know about, the Son. Is the Son real to us? That is the work of the Spirit. He is glorified indirectly; He is always pointing us to the Son.
We must never separate the Spirit and the Word. The Spirit speaks to us through the Word; so we should always doubt and query any supposed revelation that is not entirely consistent with the Word of God. Indeed the essence of wisdom is to reject altogether the term “revelation” as far as we are concerned, and speak only of “illumination.” The revelation has been given once and for all, and what we need and what by the grace of God we can have, and do have, is illumination by the Spirit to understand the Word.
Their god is something which they created themselves, a being who is always prepared to oblige and excuse them. They do not worship him with awe and respect, indeed they do not worship him at all. They reveal that their so-called god is no god at all in their talk. For they are forever saying that “they simply cannot believe that God will punish the unrepentant sinner to all eternity, and this and that.” They cannot believe that God will do so, therefore, they draw the conclusion that God does not and will not. In other words, God does what they believe he ought to do or not do. What a false and blasphemous conception of God! How utterly untrue and unworthy! Such is the new paganism of today.
The ultimate test of my understanding of the scriptural teaching is the amount of time I spend in prayer. As theology is ultimately the knowledge of God, the more theology I know, the more it should drive me to seek to know God. Not to know “about” Him but to know Him! The whole object of salvation is to bring me to knowledge of God… If all my knowledge does not lead me to prayer there is something wrong somewhere.
The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: “Why art thou cast down-what business have you to be disquieted?” You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: “Hope thou in God” – instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: “I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.”
The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: “Why art thou cast down-what business have you to be disquieted?” You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: “Hope thou in God” -instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: “I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.”
1. It is wrong to put direct pressure on the will. The will should always be approached primarily through the mind, the intellect, and then through the affections. The action of the will should be determined by those influences.
2. In the end it may produce a condition in which what has determined the response of the man who ‘comes forward’ is not so much the Truth itself as, perhaps, the personality of the evangelist, or some vague general fear, or some other kind of influence.
3. The preaching of the Word and the call for decision should not be separated in our thinking
4. This method surely carries in it the implication that sinners have an inherent power of decision and of self-conversion.
5. There is an implication here that the evangelist somehow is in a position to manipulate the Holy Spirit and His work. Some organizers today even predict the results.
6. This method tends to produce a superficial conviction of sin, if any at all. People often respond because they have the impression that by doing so they will receive certain benefits.
7. You are encouraging people to think that their act of going forward somehow saves them.
8. It raises the whole question of the doctrine of regeneration. This is the most serious thing of all. This work is the work of the Holy Spirit, and His work alone, no one else can do it. And as it is His work it is always a thorough work; and it is always a work that will show itself.
9. No sinner ever really decides for Christ.
First of all, the evangelical is one who is entirely subservient to the Bible… This is true of every evangelical. He is a man of one book; he starts with it; he submits himself to it; this is his authority.
Does it grieve you my friends, that the name of God is being taken in vain and desecrated? Does it grieve you that we are living in a godless age…But, we are living in such an age and the main reason we should be praying about revival is that we are anxious to see God’s name vindicated and His glory manifested. We should be anxious to see something happening that will arrest the nations, all the peoples, and cause them to stop and to think again.
Though we are all Christians together, we are all different, and the problems and the difficulties, the perplexities and the trials that we are likely to meet are in a large measure determined by the difference of temperament and of type. We are all in the same fight, of course, as we share the same common salvation, and have the same common central need. But the manifestations of the trouble vary from case to case and from person to person. There is nothing more futile, when dealing with [a] condition, than to act on the assumption that all Christians are identical in every respect. They are not, and they are not even meant to be.
The big difference…between a lecture and a sermon is that a sermon does not start with a subject; a sermon should always be expository. In a sermon the theme or the doctrine is something that arises out of the text and its context, it is something which is illustrated by that text and context.
Our justification means not only that our sins are forgiven and that we have been declared to be righteous by God Himself, not merely that we were righteous at the moment when we believed, but permanently righteous. For justification means this also, that we are given by God the positive righteousness of His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is something essentially wrong with a man who calls himself a Christian and who can listen to a truly evangelistic sermon without coming under conviction again, without feeling something of his own unworthiness, and rejoicing when he hears the Gospel remedy being presented.
When a man is speaking to God he is at his very acme. It is the highest activity of the human soul, and therefore it is at the same time the ultimate test of a man’s true spiritual condition. There is nothing that tells the truth about us as Christian people so much as our prayer life. Everything we do in the Christian life is easier than prayer.
You and I must never look at our past lives; we must never look at any sin in our past life in any way except that which leads us to praise God and to magnify His grace in Christ Jesus… When Paul looks at the past and sees his sin he does not stay in a corner and say, “I am not fit to be a Christian, I have done such terrible things.” Not at all. What it does to him, its effect upon him, is to make him praise God. He glories in grace and says, “And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
Light entertainment, easy familiarity and jocularity are not compatible with a realization of the seriousness of the condition of the souls of all men by nature, the fact that they are lost and in danger of eternal perdition, and their consequent need of salvation. Not only that, such methods cannot bring out the Truth; and our business is to preach the Truth. These methods may affect people psychologically and in other respects, and they may lead to “decisions”; but our object is not merely to get decisions, it is to bring people to a knowledge of the Truth.
Above all – and again this I regard as most important of all – always respond to every impulse to pray… It is the work of the Holy Spirit… So never resist, never postpone it, never push it aside because you are busy. Give yourself to it, yield to it; and you will find not only that you have not been wasting time with respect to the matter with which you are dealing, but that actually it has helped you greatly in that respect.
Why believe the devil instead of believing God? Rise up and realize the truth about yourself – that all the past has gone, and you are one with Christ, and all your sins have been blotted out once and for ever. O let us remember that it is sin to doubt God’s Word. It is sin to allow the past, which God has dealt with, to rob us of our joy and our usefulness in the present and in the future.
Preaching the Word is the primary task of the Church, the primary task of the leaders of the Church, the people who are set in this position of authority; and we must not allow anything to deflect us from this, however good the cause, however great the need.
That is what preaching [the Bible] is meant to do. It addresses us in such a manner as to bring us under judgment; and it deals with us in such a way that we feel our whole life is involved, and we go out saying, “I can never go back and live just as I did before. This has done something to me; it has made a difference to me. I am a different person as the result of listening to this.”
To dwell on the past simply causes failure in the present. While you are sitting down and bemoaning the past and regretting all the things you have not done, you are crippling yourself and preventing yourself from working in the present. Is that Christianity? Of course it is not.
A sinner does not “decide” for Christ; the sinner “flies” to Christ in utter helplessness and despair saying – Foul, I to the fountain fly, Wash me, Saviour, or I die. No man truly comes to Christ unless he flies to Him as his only refuge and hope, his only way of escape from the accusations of conscience and the condemnation of God’s holy law. Nothing else is satisfactory. If a man says that having thought about the matter and having considered all sides he has on the whole decided for Christ, and if he has done so without any emotion or feeling, I cannot regard him as a man who has been regenerated. The convicted sinner no more “decides” for Christ than the poor drowning man “decides” to take hold of that rope that is thrown to him and suddenly provides him with the only means of escape. The term is entirely inappropriate.
Avoid cleverness and smartness. The people will detect this, and they will get the impression that you are more interested in yourself and your cleverness than in the truth of God and their souls.