“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).
For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. 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? And how shall they preach without being 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” (Rom.10:13-15).
It is very disheartening to observe that evangelism and the passion for lost souls has lost its cutting edge in the Church. Of all the ministry offices Paul mentioned in Ephesians 4:11, the ministry of the evangelist is one that has suffered most. Many who are called to this office, have abandoned it and turned to be Bishops, Apostles and Pastors. At the heart of this dearth of the ministry of the evangelist is the spirit of the age predicted by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1-4. An age when men would love money, self and pleasure more than God. So to speak this would be the period when the ministry of the evangelist would me needed most!
Who is an evangelist? The evangelist is from the Greek word “euangelistes” and means, “A bringer of glad tidings.” An evangelist is a fisher of men; he is a carrier of the good news of the gospel. The evangelist is a sower of the word of God; a burning arrow blazing with the fire of the gospel.
The command, “do the work of an evangelist” was given by apostle Paul to a bishop. Timothy was the bishop of Ephesus. The command was given at the close of Paul’s ministry, after about 30 years of labour. Paul had the eminent return of the Lord in view, when God would judge the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1). He also knew and predicted that the time would come when many would not endue sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3). Thus, Paul had our age and generation in mind.
The command to do the work of an evangelist is applicable to all Christians in our generation. Leaders and their members should do the work of evangelists. It is disheartening that today we have many title carrying believers who hardly lead souls to Christ. The church is full of pew or bench warmers, but few soul winners and evangelists. May God give us genuine evangelists with passion for lost souls.
Who is an evangelist and what is the work of the evangelist? There are three examples of the evangelist we can see from the Bible. First, is our Lord Jesus. He was the greatest evangelist. We are told he went about preaching the gospel of the kingdom. “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). The evangelist is a man who goes about proclaiming the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. Philip changed the spiritual and moral climate of Samaria when he got there.
The second example is Philip. When he went to Samaria in Acts 8:4-13, he demonstrated what the ministry and work of the evangelist is. Philip did the following things in Samaria. He preached Christ, verse 5; multitudes were won through his preaching in verse 6. His preaching was with signs and wonders, verses 6 and 7. There was also power encounter with a sorcerer in verses 9-13. Then we read in verse 8, “And there was great joy in that city.” All these are the signs of the ministry of an evangelist.
The Bible also paints a third picture of an evangelist in Psalm 126:5,6. The Evangelist has his eyes on the harvest field. (John 4:34). He is not swayed by the vagaries of the weather or situation. He sows his seeds under any condition. The qualities of the sower in this passage is a vivid illustration of an evangelist. First, the evangelist has an exemplary passion for spreading the word of the Lord. An evangelist has fire in his bones that inspires him to preach the word of God with great passion. Secondly, we see in the sower the spirit of perseverance. He is persistently and “continually” on the move sowing the seeds of the word of God. An evangelist is relentless in spreading the word of God. Thirdly, the sower bears the word of God in “tears” and “weeping”. The evangelist is willing to suffer or the pay the price for the gospel sake. Paul’s word to Timothy was “Be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Like a soldier of Christ, the evangelist must be prepared to work under hard conditions. The fourth quality we find in the sower is patience. The goes about spreading the word of God patiently. The fifth thing we find is that he comes back with joy, bearing precious fruits.
WHY DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST?
Because we have a good news to propagate to the world (Isaiah 52:7).
To save the lost (Luke 15:4, 8).
To save men from eternal damnation (John 3:18).
Because men are in darkness (John 3:19).
Because the Bible commands us to preach the word in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).
The gospel is a gospel of hope (Titus 2:13). The world is in need of men who will give them hope.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST?
Understand your purpose of living (Mark 8:34-38).
Have priority in life (Mark 8:34-38).
Have a good prayer life and always pray for souls (Psalm 2:8).
Have passion and zeal to spread the word of God (Matthew 9:36),
Have Compassion for souls that are perishing (Matthew 9:36.)
See men as your trophy and not money nor fame, etc. (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20)
Finally, only God can make one an effective evangelist. When Jesus encountered Peter he was a fisher man by profession. Then, Jesus said to him, “Follow me I will make you a fisher of men.” When Peter followed Christ, he was transformed. Only God can make us true evangelists and fishers of men with passion for lost souls. God is our Maker! May God restore men to the office of the evangelists. May God give us men with the passion for lost souls.