THE MINISTRY OF THE EVANGELIST
BY KEVIN J. CONNER
“And He gave some . . . evangelists . . .” (Ephesians 4:11).
“Philip the evangelist” (Acts 21:8-10).
“Do the work of an evangelist” (II Timothy 4:5).
We come now the ascension-gift ministry of the Evangelist. There is little problem or controversy over the ministry of the Evangelist compared to that which pertains to the Apostle and Prophet.
A. Definition of Word
There are three words relative to the ministry of the evangelist all coming from the same root word in the Greek. Our English word is derived from such.
There is the Hebrew thought pertaining to the Gospel which is also considered.
a. Euaggelizo = “to announce good news or glad tidings.” (SC 2097).
It especially speaks of the ministry of the evangelist. Jesus Christ was THE Evangelist and His ministry evidenced that He was the announcer of good tidings (Matthew 11:5; Luke 1:19; 2:10; 8:1; 16:16; Acts 8:4, 12, 25, 35; 13:32; Ephesians 2:17). This word is used 11 times in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. It is used about 45 times in the whole of the New Testament.
b. Euaggelion = “the gospel or the good message” (SC 2098).
It especially speaks of the message that the evangelist brings. It speaks of the saving gospel of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and all that pertains to it. It involves the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and salvation received by faith on that basis (Mark 1:1; Matthew 24:14; Acts 15:7; 20:24; 16:25; Galatians 2:2-7; Revelation 14:6; Ephesians 2:17).
c. Euanggelistes = “a preacher or messenger of good news” (SC 2099).
From EU = well, and ANGELOS = A messenger. It especially speaks of the person who is the evangelist, be it man or woman.
This Greek word is specifically used only three times in the New Testament. It is used of Philip the Evangelist (Acts 21:8); of one of the fivefold ascension-gift ministries (Ephesians 4:11), and Paul exhorts Timothy to do the work of an Evangelist (II Timothy 4:5).
In Summary, the Evangelist is a person with a distinctive ministry, and is a bearer of the message of good news in the saving Gospel of Christ.
It may also be said that these related Greek words speak of the ministry, the man, and the message of the Evangelist.
Although the New Testament holds the emphasis on the Gospel of Christ as being the good news for all mankind, there is a Hebrew word that carried with it the same thought.
Basar = “To be fresh. i.e., full (rosy, fig., cheerful); to announce (glad news) (SC13).
It is translated: Messenger–I Samuel 14:17
Preach–Psalms 40:9; Isaiah 61:1
Publish–I Samuel 31:9; II Samuel 1:20
Shew forth (bear, bring, carry, preach, good, tell good)–I Chronicles 16:23; Psalms 96:2; I Kings 1:42; Isaiah 60:6
Tidings–Isaiah 61:1; II Samuel 18:19,20; Jeremiah 20:15; I Chronicles 10:9; II Samuel 4:10; Psalms 68:11; Isaiah 40:9; 41:27; 52:7; Nahum 1:15.
It is mainly used of Christ and of those who bring good tidings (i.e., the coming Gospel). Isaiah 40:9; 41:27; 52:7; 61:1; Psalms 68:11; Proverbs 25:25.
In summary this Hebrew word speaks of a messenger who preaches, publishes and brings, bears and carries good tidings. It certainly pointed to the coming Gospel of Christ–The Evangel!
B. Christ THE Evangelist
Without doubt, Christ is THE Evangelist. He is the Messenger of God, the One who preached, published and brought good tidings. He is the “good news” personified. The Old Testament, especially Isaiah, the Prophet-Evangelist, wrote in his Scriptures of Christ as the One who would bring good tidings (Isaiah 41:27; 52:7; 40:9).
He preached righteousness in the great congregation (Psalms 40:9).
Luke’s Gospel takes up the prophecy of Christ the Evangelist from Isaiah 61: 1-2 in Luke 4: 18, 19, and sets out in great sentences the ministry of Christ the Evangelist. We bring both prophecy and history together.
1. The Spirit of Jehovah is upon Me and He has anointed Me.
2. To preach good tidings or the Gospel to the meek.
3. To bind and heal the brokenhearted.
4. To proclaim and preach deliverance to the captives.
5. To recover sight to the blind.
6. To open the prison to them that are bound.
7. To set at liberty them that are bruised.
8. To preach and proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (i.e., the year of release and the year of Jubilee. Cf. Leviticus 25).
Luke’s Gospel uses the word “euaggelizo” about 10 times, especially in relation to Christ’s ministry.
* Gabriel announced “glad tidings” to Zacharias (Luke 1:19).
* The Angel announced “glad tidings” to the Shepherds (Luke 2:10).
* John the Baptist announced good tidings (Luke 3:18).
* Christ preached the Gospel and glad tidings of the kingdom of God in His ministry (Luke 4:18, 43; 7:22; 8:1; 16:16; 20:1; Matthew 10:35, 36).
* The Twelve announced the glad tidings also (Luke 9:6).
The above passage from Luke gives a good summary of the ministry of Christ as the Evangelist. This was His ministry and He abundantly fulfilled it. The Gospel story abounds with evidences of His evangelistic ministry. He is the pattern evangelist.
C. Calling, Qualifications, Ministry and Recognition of the Evangelist
As with every ministry, so the Evangelist must know that he has that distinctive calling in the body of Christ.
Christ must give this ministry gift of Evangelist to some (Ephesians 4:9-11).
It is simply an extension of His own evangelistic ministry in some members of the Body. It is Christ the Evangelist re-living His own life and operating His ministry through these members with that gift.
As with each of the fivefold ascension-gift ministries, so it is with the evangelist. He should be a qualified Elder, as to character, doctrine, conduct, as well as charisma.
Philip, the evangelist, as a qualified Deacon, was a man:
a. Full of the Holy Spirit,
b. Full of faith,
d. Of good report among his local Church at Jerusalem,
e. Had his home in order, four of his daughters having the gift of prophecy.
Undoubtedly he had the other qualifications of Deacons and Elders also and rose to the ministry gift of the evangelist.
a. Evangelists are set in the Body of Christ by the risen Lord (Ephesians 4:9-11) until the Church comes to a perfect man.
b. Evangelists are also given to the Body of Christ:
1) For the perfecting of the saints, to mature them.
2) For the work of bringing the saints into their ministry. That is, they are to stir the saints to personal evangelism, as well as equip and release others with the evangelistic gift.
3) For the edifying of the Body of Christ.
c. Evangelists especially are the messengers and bearers of glad tidings to a lost and dying world. They are called to evangelize.
d. Evangelists should have a sound Gospel message and therefore need to be well grounded in the fundamental truths of redemption to present the Gospel rightly.
e. Evangelists should have the gifts of the Spirit suitable to their ministry. They should have “signs following” their word (Mark 16:15-20).
f. Evangelists have a passion for souls and a soul-saving ministry (Proverbs 14:25).
g. Evangelists have great wisdom in winning souls (Proverbs 11:30). They are fishers of men, depending upon the Lord to move fish into the Gospel-net as they let down the right Gospel-bait.
h. Evangelists have a compelling ministry to bring sinners to the Gospel feast (Luke 14:33).
The same basic principle of Matthew 10:41, 42 is applicable to the Evangelist also.
The Body of Christ needs to recognize and receive the ministry of the Evangelist. To do so is to accept Christ in His members ministering both to the world and to the Church is this gift.
D. Philip, A Pattern New Testament Evangelist
While there are a number of Apostles and several Prophets in the New Testament, Philip is the only person specifically evidencing and named in the ministry gift of Evangelist.
A study of this man gives enough material to set him forth as a pattern of Christ’s evangelistic ministry.
We consider Philip in his evangelistic ministry in both Public and Personal evangelism.
1. Philip-Public Evangelism (Acts 8:1-25)
a. The Ministry
Philip is distinctly called an Evangelist (Acts 21:8).
Christ gave this gift to him (Ephesians 4:9-11).
Philip was one of the seven Deacons in the local Church at Jerusalem before he surfaced to his ascension-gift ministry as an evangelist (Acts 6:1-6).
Thus Philip belonged to a local Church and proved himself as a servant (deacon) there first. He was approved there. Undoubtedly there is a good principle here implicit in this fact for potential ministries.
b. The Message
Philip’s message is clear. He gave the evangel, the good tidings, the good news (Acts 8:1-25).
1) He preached the WORD (vs 4).
2) He preached Christ to the Samaritans (vs 5).
3) He preached the Kingdom or the Rule and Reign of God (vs 12 with Matthew 24:14).
4) He preached the Name of Jesus Christ (vs 12).
5) He had signs following the preaching of the good news, signs of the evangel as promised by Christ (Mark 16:15-20).
* Casting out of unclean spirits in possessed people.
* Healing of palsied people.
* Healing of the lame.
* Miracles and signs (vs 7, 13).
6) He baptized people in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ (vs 12, 13, 16).
7) He, however, did not discern the heart of Simon the sorcerer until the apostles, Peter and John, came down from Jerusalem and allowed him to expose himself under the right circumstances (vs 13-24).
8) He brought great joy to the city of Samaria (vs 9, with John 4; Christ’s own evangelistic ministry there).
What a contrast to the sorcerer. He gave himself out to be some great one, and bewitched the people, doing counterfeit signs and wonders by the power of darkness, enslaving people in the Kingdom of Satan as an enchanter with drugs. Philip preached Christ, delivered people with signs and wonders of the Kingdom of Light, and brought joy to the city by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel of Christ. Philip recognized the Apostolic ministry and did not “pastor” Samaria. This was the foundation of the local Church in Samaria.
2. Philip-Personal Evangelism (Acts 8:27-30)
a. Philip was sensitive to the voice of the Lord and obeyed when he heard (vs 26).
b. Philip did not fear to minister to the Eunuch, a man of authority (vs 27).
c. Philip was willing to be led by the Spirit to this one soul in need (vs 29).
d. Philip knew the Scriptures and was able to preach the Gospel to the Eunuch from the Old Testament in the light of Calvary (vs 30-34).
e. Philip preached unto him CHRIST—a person, not merely a doctrine (vs 35).
f. Philip preached saving faith to the Eunuch (vs 37).
g. Philip saw that the new believer was immediately baptized in water (vs 38-39).
The wisdom and dependence upon the Spirit seen in Philip’s personal evangelist is indeed a good example to follow in personal work.
E. Woman Evangelists
Because the Lord promised to pour out His Spirit on all flesh, “servants and handmaids, sons and daughters”, there are times when the Lord used women in the evangel. This seemed to be in fulfillment to Psalm 68:11 (the same Psalm which speaks prophetically of the ascension-gift ministries; vs 18).
“The Lord gives the word (of power); the women who bear and publish (the news) are a great host.” (Amplified Old Testament).
Paul mentioned “women who labored with him in the Gospel” (Philippians 4:3). (Refer to Chapter on “Ministry of Women” for fuller treatment of this subject).
F. Areas of Evangelism
There are various areas where evangelism can take place. The field is the world–the Gospel is for every creature, everywhere, wherever and by every opportunity that one can use.
1. Garden Park evangelism.
2. House to house evangelism–Acts 2:42, 47.
3. Beach evangelism.
4. Child evangelism–Matthew 19:14.
5. Rest Home evangelism–Psalms 71:9.
6. Hospital evangelism–Matthew 25:36, 43.
7. Prison evangelism–Matthew 26:36, 43.
8. Home Bible Class evangelism–Acts 20:18-21.
9. Secular employment evangelism–work mates.
10. Personal evangelism as the Spirit directs–Acts 8:27-40.
11. Public or mass evangelism–Acts 8:1-26.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS TAKEN FROM THE CHURCH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, AND PUBLISHED BY BT PUBLISHING 1982, PAGES 170-174. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.