Sunday 160, November 9, 2003

An Evangelist

Scripture readings: Prov 9; Acts 8; 1 Tim 5
 
Eph 4:11-12 It was he who gave some to be...evangelists, ... to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
An Apostle is a gift made by Jesus for the geographically larger church: many cities, maybe even many different people groups.
A Prophet is a gift made by Jesus to hear and see the plans of God for the church.
 
WHAT IS AN EVANGELIST?
We immediately think of Billy Graham. And we remember the Evangelists who would come to the church and have special meetings. Entertaining, emotion-packed preaching.
When south, I learned that "Revival" is an event in church life where there are a week or two of meetings every night with music, special entertainment, and a flamboyant Evangelist. It was more endurance and entertainment than a change to church, culture, or community. So, what is an Evangelist? The best place to look is scripture.
The Greek word, euaggelistes (yoo-ang-ghel-is-tace'), shows up three times in the New Testament:
Acts 21:8, Eph 4:11, 2 Tim 4:5. Acts identifies Philip as an Evangelist. Timothy is instructed to do the work of an Evangelist. And Ephesians recognizes that an Evangelist is one of the servants of the church that is a gift from Jesus.
 
So what is an Evangelist?
The English definition is: "a preacher of the gospel." At least that is what the word is defined as meaning now. But in practice in the western church, we have other definitions which equates "Evangelist" to some rather negative connotations. Just talk to anyone about money and "tele-evangelists."
If "evangelist" only means "preacher of the gospel," is that not the responsibility of all of us? Have we not all been called to share the good news? Why did the Holy Spirit inspire Paul to specifically call out "Evangelist" as one of the 4-fold/5-fold gifts to the church?
Are you or have you been wired to be an Evangelist?
 
WHAT DID PHILIP DO?
He was selected to be one of the seven, like Stephen, who took care of the details of the church so the Apostles could dedicate their time to teaching and prayer.
Acts 6:5-6 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
The language, "Philip, the Evangelist" is to differentiate him from the Apostle Philip. With the stoning of Stephen (with Saulís approval) the church was scattered -- except for the Apostles. The Apostles -- including Philip -- stayed in Jerusalem. Thatís why we know that the Philip in Acts 8 is the Evangelist, not the Apostle.
 
What did he do?
Acts 8:4 Preached the word wherever he went -- including Samaria (none-Jews)
Acts 8:6 Miraculous signs (evil spirits, paralytics and cripples healed)
Acts 8:12-13 Baptized people
Acts 8:26 Listened to angels (obedient)
Acts 8:29 Listened to the Holy Spirit
Acts 8:30 Engages conversation with a stranger. "Do you understand what you are reading?"
Acts 8:31 "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?"
Acts 8:35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
Acts 8:39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
Philip the Evangelist had daughters who prophesied. Acts 21: 8. This "power gospel" went to the next generation in his family.
-- Philip preached the Gospel
-- Philip explained the Word of God in response to inquiries.
-- Philip did signs and wonders -- astonished people
-- Philip baptized people
 
WHAT DID TIMOTHY DO?
We know the most about Timothy because of the two Epistles written to him by Paul. These along with Titus are known as the "pastoral epistles." Therefore, it is commonly assumed that Timothy was a pastor and the teaching from Paul was for Pastors.
But Timothy was part of the Apostolic team headed up by Paul. In fact, several of the Pauline epistles were apparently co-written by Timothy.
2 Cor 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
Phil 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
Col 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
1 Thess 1:1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Thess 1:1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Philem 1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
 
Paul had him stay in Ephesus to correct some erroneous teaching and to set up bishops (overseers) and deacons. These positions are normally viewed as the ones who take care of a church. The pope is the Bishop of Rome. Ephesus was an established church and Timothy stayed there to correct some problems.
 
Timothy had a gift.
2 Tim 1:6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
1 Tim 4:14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
1 Tim 1:18-19 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience.
Timothy was told by Paul to do the work of an Evangelist at Ephesus.
2 Tim 4:5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
Therefore, it should not be pushing things to assume that what Timothy did in Ephesus is the work of an Evangelist. What did he do?
2 Tim 4: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.
 
PREACH [1 Tim 4:13]
-- Read scripture publicly [1 Tim 4:13]
-- Testify [2 Tim 1:8]
TEACH [1 Tim 4:13]
-- Teach teachers [2 Tim 2:2]
CORRECT
-- False doctrine [1 Tim 1:3; ]
-- Modesty and submission [1 Tim 2:9-12]
-- Command the rich [1 Tim 6:17]
-- Teach that elders deserve pay [1 Tim 5:17]
-- Do not ordain hastily [1 Tim 5:22]
ENCOURAGE [1 Tim 2:1, 8; 1 Tim 3:1-13]
-- Be an example [1 Tim 4:12]
 
FROM THE SCRIPTURES, AN EVANGELIST:
  • Preaches the Gospel from scripture
  • Corrects error in the church
  • Prepares leadership for the church
  • Goes from town to town spreading the gospel
1 Thess 3:2-3 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God's fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials.
 
Has Jesus wired you to be an Evangelist? Has a gift been applied to you by prophetic hands? Should you be reading scripture publicly? Should you be correcting errors in the church? Correction that is based upon scripture and apostolic teaching? Are you put in the path of people who need scripture explained to them?
An evangelist is more than a person with a bus and a music ministry. And more than dynamic, hell-fire & brimstone, emotion-packed preaching. An evangelist has prophetic daughters: off spring with the gifts of the Holy Spirit flowing through them. These "off-spring" have correct doctrine and are prepared and equipped to minister to the world, to their community, and to their church.
 
An apostle starts churches in many places with many people groups.
 
A prophet sees the plan of God for the church.
 
An evangelist preaches the gospel, correcting doctrine and practice compared with scripture, preparing the leadership of the church for service.
 
We need to pray that the gift of the Evangelist be revealed and sent to Iron Range Christian Center and the Cuyuna Range.

 


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But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today,
so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
Hebrews 3:13 NIV