FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

"EVANGELISTS?"

Many modern denominational churches practice a pastoral leadership, where one man, or in some cases one woman leads an entire congregation of people. They elevate these men and women to a place of authority that God never intended for the body of His Son.

We have discussed in other lessons the concept of elderships (shepherds – the real meaning of the term pastor). These were men who had the responsibility in the church of the New Testament to shepherd God's people according to the doctrine of Christ. There were always a plurality (never one), and they had to be appointed according to the qualifications that they Holy Spirit made known; the first of which was that they were to be men. They only had authority over their own flocks. They did not determine doctrine, but enforced the doctrine of Christ (Acts 14:23; 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4).

 

This brings us to ask, “What is the difference between elders and evangelists, and what place do evangelists have in the New Testament church?”

 

First, there are a couple of words we need to define in order to make sure we understand the terminology and application of this work.

 

Preacher: This word comes from the Greek, “Kerux ” and means “a herald”. In some cases it has reference to one who brings glad tidings (as in an original announcement).

Romans 10:14-15 “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

 

Evangelist: This word comes from the Greek, “Euangelistes ” and means “a messenger of good” or “one who speaks well the glad tidings”. It has a more founded meaning in that this position was one in all the churches as appointed by Christ.

Ephesians 4:11 “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,”

 

As you may have noticed, there is little difference between the two words and in many cases they can be used interchangeably. In addition, all Christians are to preach and evangelize in a measure and are obligated to use it; however, some are specially endued to it as the above passage denotes.

Just as Paul would prepare and train Timothy for this work, he would additionally teach Timothy that it would be the local churches responsibility to prepare others for this work.

2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

 

Now with the definitions under our belts, let's take a look at the qualifications that these men were to have according to scripture and then the work itself.

 

As we have already mentioned, the Apostle Paul trained Timothy for the work of evangelism. It began verbally over a long period of time, starting in Acts 16:1-3, when Paul took a very young man who had a good reputation among the brethren; circumcised him for convenience sake, and trained him through direct teaching, experience, and the gifts that existed until the word was written.

However, we learn the most concerning his training to be an evangelist when Paul would locate him in Ephesus , give him verbal instruction, and then write His instructions in Apostolic letters to enforce what Timothy was to do as an evangelist. Let's look at the work he was given and see that it stands as a series of qualifications for the work of the evangelist.

1 Timothy 1:3-11 “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia— remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. 5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”

 

In this first passage we see that Timothy was commissioned to stay in Ephesus and demand that no other doctrine be taught. The doctrine singular was the doctrine of Christ, that blessed gospel of God mentioned in verse 11.

Notice why it is important to have those among us with the ability to teach only the doctrine of Christ! If those who were not inclined to teach only the doctrine of Christ are allowed to teach and speak; chaos, dissention, and falling away from the intent of the word are certainties (just as the Judaizing teachers would have created, if given the role of instruction).

This is the very reason that the Lord would set this position and the position of teachers in each church (which we read in Ephesians 4:11); He knew that if the untaught were given the teaching and preaching role, chaos and apostasy would ensue.

 

Even then, they would be expected as evangelists to maintain not only the doctrine they taught, but themselves also.

1 Timothy 4:15-16 “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”

1 Timothy 6:11-14 “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing,”

 

The evangelist was not only to adhere to the doctrine of Christ for the purpose of instruction, exhortation, and encouragement; but even more so to train their own service to mirror the words spoken.

Notice, that the evangelist was to give themselves entirely to the doctrine they have been charged to speak. They were not to tickle ears in order to maintain their position. Paul explained that it would be a fight of faith, and he was to fight it!!!

The evangelist was also to train others to be ready to fight the same fight as well.

2 Timothy 2:1-2 “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” -- we will speak more on teachers in an up-coming lesson.

 

Finally, this brings us to the teaching of Paul to Timothy that stands as a blue print for the work of the evangelist, note:

2 Timothy 4:1-5 “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

 

As we have seen in these passages of scripture, there are specific qualifications for these men. It stands on the doctrine, not on the secular education!!! You didn't see that Timothy had to have a B.A. or Maters, did you? Does it hurt? No! But we have to take away the understanding that the priority is the soundness of doctrine and the ability to speak with conviction, rebuking, exhorting, patience, and true instruction!

 

In Acts 8:4-5; Philip was one of the many who were scattered everywhere and went preaching the word (introducing the word). At the end of this chapter we find Philip in Caesarea (Acts 8:40). We are re-introduced to Philip in Caesarea again in Acts 21:8; 15 to 20 years later. He has remained in Caesarea and now bears the title evangelist (located and speaking well the glad tidings).

 

In Titus 1:5; the Apostle Paul would leave Titus on the Isle of Crete to set in order the things that are lacking. This would include the appointment of elders through the teaching of the qualifications (1:6-9), and the establishment of the qualities of sound churches (2:1-10). At the end of the second chapter, Paul would give Titus the same instructions he gave Timothy as an evangelist (II Timothy 4:2), note:

Titus 2:15 “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”

 

As we have seen in the wisdom of the Lord, the role of the evangelist is vital, along with the work of the eldership to maintain the purity of the word; both spoken well for edification and as the foundation for shepherding the church of Christ.

The Local church has the responsibility to train through the word these men who will bring the word accurately; exhort, rebuke, convince, with all longsuffering and teaching. Not just these but all who will teach, and shepherd the Lord's church (Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 2:2).