Evangelists are preachers of the good news, the Gospel. What is the function of an evangelist? Why do we even have them in the church? Look at what the Bible says about evangelists and their role in the body of Christ.

ROBERT >> The last several weeks we’ve been talking about the church. Not just any church, not a new or different kind of church, but the church of Christ you read about in the Bible. And today we want to see that that church had evangelists and pastors. What’s an evangelist, what are pastors, or is there a difference between the two? What does the Bible have to say?

>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Already we have learned in our study of the church, the church you read about in your Bible, that Christ built that church and that it was built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ himself, the Son of God. It is a divine church. It was a church that was prophesied in the Old Testament scriptures.

We read about the beginning of that church and the fulfillment of those prophecies in Acts chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the apostles and they preached with great power the gospel of Christ, how that he died for our sins, how that he was buried in the tomb, but not left there, but rather raised from the dead to live forever, that he ascended into heaven, that he now sits at God’s right hand. He has been made both Lord and Christ. He is head of the church. He is king of his kingdom.

On that day, about three thousand souls, according to the instructions of Peter and the apostles, repented of their sins, and they were baptized, immersed in water for the remission of their sins; and being saved, God added them to his church. And since that day, the gospel has gone forth into all the world. And when people hear that same message of salvation and they respond in that same way, in faith, trusting Christ for their salvation, repenting of their sins, being baptized into him, being saved, God adds them to that same church.

You and I can be a part of that same church by that same gospel. We also learned in our studies that that church over which Christ is head is his body. It’s his spiritual body.

Ephesians 1:22-23 tells us that Christ was made to be head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all. Now, Christ is head of that church, but we also learned in that church are various members that play various roles that perform various functions. And among them are the apostles and the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, teachers.

Look with me in Ephesians 4:11-12. Here the Bible says, And He Himself, that is, Jesus Christ, gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. These ones were given certain gifts and roles in the church to help equip God’s people for the work of ministry, to do the work of the church, to build up the body of Christ.

Already we have discussed the apostles and the prophets. These were given to the church to deliver to us the word of God with great power. They revealed it and they confirmed it to be God’s message. And now the faith has been once for all delivered unto the saints, Jude 3. And so there are no longer apostles that are alive today, there are no longer prophets alive today. The apostles have all died. Those they laid their hands on, giving them power to reveal and confirm the word, they have all died. They’ve served their purpose in delivering to us Christ’s will for his church today. But you’ll notice the next two offices in the church, the evangelists and the pastors. We still have these in the church today.

And there is, you’ll notice, a difference between the evangelists and the pastors. These are two different offices in the church. There are the evangelists in the church and there are the pastors and teachers, because they feed the church, they teach the church. And so we find the evangelists and the pastors were also a part of the body of Christ, his church.

Now let’s take a look at these together today. First of all, let’s consider the evangelists. The evangelists of that church were preachers. The word literally means a proclaimer or a preacher or a herald of good news, of good tidings. And so when you think of an evangelist, you think of a preacher.

You remember Philip in Acts 21:8, perhaps. Philip was one who did a great deal of preaching. He first went to Samaria, and we read about the work that he did there in Acts the 8th chapter and how he brought many Samaritans to believe and to be baptized. But Philip was called the evangelist in Acts 21:8. And there were many other evangelists in the church you read about in the Bible; but they were also called preachers.

I want to read to you Romans 10:13-17 so we can begin to see the place that the preachers played in the body of Christ, the church. Romans 10, beginning with verse 13, the apostle Paul wrote, 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 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.

You see, the preacher is the evangelist. He’s the proclaimer of good news. And he is absolutely essential in bringing people to Christ, because people must hear the message of Christ before they can put faith in Christ and be saved by Christ. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, we read in Romans 10:17. And so we see the role of the evangelist is the role of a preacher, a minister of the word of God. Look with me in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, and here you see these preachers of the gospel referred to as ministers or servants of God. 1 Corinthians 3:5, Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.

You see the picture that Paul paints for us here? You have these ministers like Paul and like Apollos who are preaching the word, they’re planting that word in the hearts of folks, they’re watering that word, trying to encourage the growth of that word within others, and it’s God that gives the increase. They’re fellow workers with God as we all are in the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The evangelist, the preacher, the minister of the gospel, this is a role that we find in the body of Christ that is necessary to help equip the saints for the building up of the church, to go out and do the work of ministry.

These evangelists were to evangelize the world, as we are today, to preach and to teach God’s word. And these evangelists, the preachers of that church, just as today, are to be an example for the church.

One of the best places to learn about the evangelist or the preacher is to go to 1 and 2 Timothy and to Titus, these three letters. The apostle Paul wrote 1 and 2 Timothy to the young evangelist, Timothy, and Titus to this young preacher, Titus. Now, many people call these the pastoral epistles because they do have some things to say about pastors. But these three letters were actually written to preachers, not to pastors. Timothy was a preacher. Titus was a preacher. They were evangelists, ministers of the word of God. And notice some things that are written by Paul first of all to Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 4.

1 Timothy 4, beginning in verse 6, notice what he says. If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. You see here the example of the preacher, the evangelist, the good minister. He is one who is nourished in the words of faith. He is one who is nourished in the good doctrine. He is carefully following that doctrine. Look down a little bit further, and notice verse 11. These things command and teach. And so he is to preach God’s word with great authority. He is to spend time teaching the people what the word of God is all about.

In verse 12 it says, Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. You see, Paul was concerned that this young preacher would not be led astray, but that he would be true to God, that he would set an example even in his youth for the believers in every area of his life. In word, in the things that he would speak, in his conduct, in the way he would live his life, in love, that attitude of heart so important for a gospel preacher, in spirit, in faith, in purity. In every way the preacher must set the example.

And he says in verse 13, Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. It’s so important that the preacher spend time in the word of God, reading that word and exhorting people, encouraging people in that word and teaching people. That’s what doctrine means, the teaching of God’s word.

And then finally look at verse 15 and 16. He says, Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Sadly, it’s evident to many that the preacher’s not been studying in some cases, that he really hasn’t been giving attention and meditating on the things of God. It’s important that he stay in that word, that he keep digging in that word, that he can grow in the knowledge and understanding of that word so he can deliver it to the people.

He says in verse 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. What a great responsibility the preacher has. The evangelist is not only responsible for his own soul, but also for the souls of those who would hear the things that he would be teaching.

Look with me in 2 Timothy. In Paul’s last letter to this young preacher, he says in chapter 2 beginning in verse 1, You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. He wants to encourage this young man and let him understand that his strength is to come from the Lord. He talks about his example in verse 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. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that it may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. You see, the preacher, he’s like an athlete, he’s like a soldier, he’s like a farmer who must patiently endure hardship. He must work hard and diligently. He must give himself completely to the work of God.

Reading on here in chapter 2, he says in verse 15, Be diligent to present yourself approved of God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And so you see how the apostle Paul is especially concerned that the preacher understand the word of God and that he is careful to preach nothing more or less than the truth of God’s word.

In verse 22 he says, Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must of the quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

Yes, the preacher, the evangelist must be patient with others. He must not spend all of his time arguing and debating, but rather helping people to come to a knowledge of the truth, to help them to escape the false lies of Satan; and seeing the truth, being set free to live for God.

Let’s look at some other passages here in 2 Timothy. In chapter 4, verses 1 through 5 we see this grand charge of the apostle Paul to the young preacher. He says, 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: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 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; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. You see, the charge of the evangelist is to preach the word.

Oh, there is a time that will come and has come when men have itching ears. They just want somebody to scratch their ears, to tell them something they want to hear, to tell them what will make them feel good; but the Bible says that the preacher is to tell them what they need to hear. Instead of just going ahead and giving the people what they want so that they can be popular with the people, tell them the truth, whether they want the truth or not. Tell them what God said. Because we know the power is in the gospel, Romans 1:16. The power of God to salvation. The ability to be set free, it’s in the truth. It’s the truth that sets us free, John 8:31-32. And so the preacher must stick with the word and preach the word and always be ready to stand up for the truth.

I want to go into now Paul’s letter to Titus. In Titus chapter 2, he writes this to this other preacher of the gospel. And notice what he says here in verse 15. Speak these things, exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. I hope you can see today as we talk about the evangelist, we’re talking about a preacher. We’re talking about one who is always in the word of God, one who’s careful to watch his example because he wants to set an example and lead others in the way of God, one who is concerned about the truth, about the souls of others.

Now because of their great work and their diligent efforts and their importance to the body of Christ, they do have the right to refrain from working; that is, outside of the church in some kind of secular job. They are to receive wages for the preaching of the gospel. If you would, go with me to 1 Corinthians chapter 9. 1 Corinthians 9:6-14, where the apostle Paul establishes this right of the preacher to be supported by the church. 1 Corinthians 9:6, Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? Yes, the apostle Paul and Barnabas many times would work with their own hands, they would support themselves in the preaching of the gospel; but Paul says they certainly had the right to receive support and to refrain from this working. He gives us some examples here in verse 7.

Whoever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? You see here in 1 Corinthians 9:7 how the apostle Paul is saying if people are working in these things, then they need to be paid for it. And so if we’re preaching the gospel, the church needs to support the preacher in that work.

He says in verse 8, Do I say these things as a mere man, or does not the law say the same also? Paul’s going to go to the old law to see this principle established there. He says, for example, in verse 9, It is written in the law of Moses, you shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain. Is it oxen God is concerned about? Well, certainly God’s concerned about the animals, and those who work for us, we out to take care of them like the oxen; but how much more God is saying should we be concerned about those who do the bidding of the Lord, who are engaged in the preaching of the gospel.

And Paul gives several other arguments here in this passage. He says, for example, in verse 10, Or does he say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes no doubt this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we’ve sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things, lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. I think this is so important. Paul and Barnabas were more concerned about souls, more concerned about the health of the church than they were about their own financial wealth, about their own financial welfare. And so they were willing to give up the right to receive wages if it was going to hinder the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sadly, we have evangelists that are taking advantage of people, that are taking from people and not serving them as they should, and who are getting rich off of the gospel. Look what Paul goes on to say in verse 13. Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

Yes, those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the word through which we find eternal life. And we know what Jesus said. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes unto the Father but by Me, John 14:6.

Yes, it’s the job, it’s the work, it’s the function of the preacher, the evangelist in the body of Christ to point people to Christ, the only savior of the world.

Lord willing, next week we’ll talk about the pastors of that church you read about in the Bible. We’ve already talked about the evangelists; but in the church there were also pastors. And we’ll see the difference, and we’ll see the part that they play in the body of Christ and how important they are to the church. But in the meantime, will you please let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today?

>> Hallelujah, praise Jehovah!
From the heavens praise his name.
Praise Jehovah in the highest,
all his angels praise proclaim.
All his hosts together praise him,
sun and moon and stars on high.
Praise him, oh, ye heaven of heavens
and ye floods above the sky.

Let them praises give Jehovah,
for his name alone is high.
And his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted
far above the earth and sky.

All ye fruitful trees and cedars,
all ye hills and mountains high,
creeping things and beasts and cattle,
birds that in the heavens fly,
kings of earth and all ye people,
princes great, earth’s judges all,
praise his name, young men and maidens,
aged men, and children small.

Let them praises give Jehovah,
for his name alone is high.
And his glory is exalted, and his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted
far above the earth and sky.

>> I heard an old, old story, how a savior came from glory,
how he gave his life on Calvary to save a wretch like me.
I heard about his groaning, of his precious blood’s atoning,
then I repented of my sins and won the victory.

Oh victory in Jesus, my savior forever.
He sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood.
He loved me e’re I knew him, and all my love is due him.
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.

I heard about a mansion he has built for me in glory,
and I heard about the streets of gold beyond the crystal sea,
about the angels singing and the old redemption story,
and some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory.

Oh victory in Jesus, my savior forever.
He sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood.
He loved me e’re I knew him, and all my love is due him.
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.

ROBERT >> Thanks for watching our program today. We’d love to hear from you, so let me encourage you to contact us with your questions, comments, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053. You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv. Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966. And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.
All our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so.
Showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low,
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old sweet song.

Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven sing the sweetest song of all.

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