The Evangelist is to preach the Word of God faithfully.

 

2 Timothy 4:5

 

Live in the Thrill of Victory – We are free in Jesus.

 

We have been looking at how God created the church to function. We have seen that the Elder led congregation is what God ordained and last week we saw the duties and qualification of an elder.

In general I said – An Elder is an older man who has wisdom from life experience; who watches over and make decisions for a local congregation.  An Elder is a steward of the churches finances and steward of the souls of the saints.  He is also a shepherd, one who cares for the flock; protecting and feeding the Christians.

 

There are two other offices within church government that God ordained also – Evangelist and Deacon.

 

Ephesians 4:11  It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be shepherd and teachers

 

First we know that apostles and prophets are offices that ceased to exist since the perfect Word of God has come. Apostles and Prophets had special gifts and were moved and inspired by God the Holy Spirit.  We discussed last week that the shepherd and teacher was the office of Elder.  The shepherd, the elder, the overseer (Bishop) is all one office.  In 1 Timothy 3 we find another office in the church.  Without Philippians 1:1 and 1 Timothy 3:8 we would think that deacons (dee ak on os), also translated ministers, was just a general term to describe a servant.

 

1 Timothy 3:8 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9  They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10  They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. …12  A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13  Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

 

So there is an office of deacon which requires certain qualifications to be met.

 

Even qualifications for the wives of Elders and Deacons must be met.

1 Timothy 3:11  In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

 

The word evangelist is only used three times in the New Testament, the verb form is used 55 times, which means to preach. So an evangelist is one who preaches the Good News of Jesus.

 

Philip is called an evangelist (Acts 21:8); he was first one of the seven chosen to serve food to the Grecian widows in Acts 6. Stephen, one of the seven, wasn’t called an evangelist but we see him preaching in Acts 7.

Timothy was called to do the work of an evangelist but Titus who was leading and preaching in Create was not so called. Paul called Titus his brother in 2 Corinthians 2:13.  In a spiritual sense all Christians are brothers and sisters.  (Wanted to discharge Shirley – said I was family)

 

2 Timothy 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.

 

So you could call the one who preaches an evangelist and be Biblically accurate. It is important to call “Bible things by Bible names.”  Words mean something – some words have changed over the years but if we change meanings people get confused.  A hundred years ago I could have described myself as gay and people would know I was happy.  If I said that today, you would think I was confusing a sin.  Have you ever heard someone say “that was bad?”  You only know the mean by the inflection in their voice.

 

I think we have gotten away from calling preachers evangelist because of TV evangelists bad reputations and because of traveling evangelist. We misunderstand what the duties of an evangelist are.  We think an evangelist only preaches to lost sinners, we think that an evangelist is only goal is evangelism.  If you read First and Second Timothy and Titus, you will get a different understanding of what an evangelist does.

 

Can we call the one who preaches a minister? The short answer is yes but it becomes an interesting discussion.

 

1 Corinthians 3:5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe–as the Lord has assigned to each his task.  (Colossians 1:23)

 

1 Thessalonians 3:2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and (minister) God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith

 

So Paul and Apollos are called ministers and so is Timothy but we also know they were called apostles and evangelists. So the term minister / deacon (dee ak an os) is used in the general sense of serving others instead of the office of Deacon.

 

But what are we to do with Phoebe, Tychicus, and Epaphras?

We know Tychicus could have replaced Titus is Create so that seems he was an evangelist like Titus.

 

Titus 3:12  As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there.

 

Philemon 1:23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings.

 

Colossians 1:7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister (deacon) of Christ on our behalf

 

Because of these descriptions everyone has seen them as preachers, evangelists – ones who teach the Christians in local churches and suffer for their faithfulness to the Gospel.

 

Many see Phoebe as different; Tychicus and Epaphras traveled around but Phoebe was associated with one church, the church in Cenchrea. All we know about Phoebe is this one passage.

 

Romans 16:1  I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea.

 

People don’t say she was an evangelist they will say she held the office of Deacon in the church of Cenchrea. People will call Phoebe a Deaconess.

Is it Biblically possible for Phoebe to be a Deacon? NO

Phoebe cannot meet the qualification of the office of Deacon.

 

1 Timothy 3:12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.

 

So Paul calling Phoebe a deeakonos was in the general sense of the word just like the NIV translates it. Phoebe was a servant just like each one of us must be a servant of Jesus.

 

Jesus was even called a deacon.

Romans 15:8  For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs

 

So call me an evangelist or a deacon/ a minister/ a servant or just brother. The most accurate term to describe my responsibilities would be evangelist. As you read what Paul wrote to the Timothy and Titus.  Let me sum it up with two passages.

 

1 Timothy 4:11 Command and teach these things. 12  Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14  Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16  Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

 

2 Timothy 4:1  In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2  Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. 3  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

 

Be an example in speech, life, love, faith and purity.

Publicly read scripture, Preach and teach

Preach – correct, rebuke and encourage

This is what it means to be an evangelist.

 

So let me do my job –

If someone hurts you don’t retaliate.  Christians will hurt other Christians because we are sinners.  Don’t turn away from God and the church because a Christian sinned against you.  Learn to forgive.

 

Romans 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20  On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Do people irritate you? Do people make you angry?

Don’t take revenge – two wrongs don’t make a right.

 

Jesus said love your enemy.

Matthew 5:44  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

 

Your evil enemy doesn’t deserve your love or patience but neither do you deserve God’s love and grace. This is going to get more difficult because our “tolerant” society thinks that we are intolerant and hateful.  They think we are quick to judge and condemn.  They think that our opposition is hate and prejudice.

 

We believe that following God’s word and God’s ways is the best way and we want others to enjoy the peace that comes from following Him.  Instead those who are not Christians think we are extremist.  We call ISIS extremists because they kill people who don’t believe their way; but non-Christians really don’t see much of a difference between us or them.

 

60% believe if you try to convert someone to your faith, it’s social extremism.

So if you live a Christian life and share Jesus with other you are an extremist.

 

52% believe if you pray for a stranger in public, it’s social extremism.

79% of adults say you can believe whatever you want as long as it doesn’t affect society.

How can you keep what you believe from affecting society?  It is impossible.  You live what you believe and thus make decisions based upon your beliefs and therefore affect others around you.

Somebodies values will win the day.  Can Christians say to secular humanist that they can believe what they want as long as it doesn’t affect society?  It is illogical but 79% of adults in America believe it.

 

We must be loving and patient with Christians and non-Christians alike who don’t rationally work through issues and topics that affect us daily. Love your enemy – you don’t see them as an enemy but they see you as their enemy – disarm them with love.

 

If we love like Jesus we will be able to say with Paul.

 

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.