Ephesians 4:7-16: Spiritual gifts – evangelist, part 3.
length: 65:21 - taught on Nov, 10 2021
Wednesday November 10, 2021
“evangelists” - euaggelistas = a messenger of good news, preacher of the gospel. (verb: euaggelizo - to bring, proclaim the gospel)
In each of these gifts we will show the Lord’s own function in them. We noted last time that the Lord was prophesied to proclaim the gospel to the poor in ISA 61:1 and to proclaim glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation in PSA 40:9. In that psalm He would not restrain His lips, nor hide God’s righteousness within His own heart. This, we are all to do, and the evangelist is to do it through the gift God has given him.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
The noun is only used three times, here and in ACT 21:8 to describe a man, “Phillip the evangelist,” and in 2TI 4:5 in which Paul exhorts Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. In none of these instances is the title evangelist explained in any detail. Therefore, we conclude that the name says it all.
The evangelist is a spiritual gift by which a believer is gifted by God to be a messenger of the gospel.
Can a woman have the gift of evangelism? The Bible doesn’t say anything about it. Paul wrote that he doesn’t allow a woman to speak in church, which we assume to mean that she cannot publicly teach the congregation. He also wrote that he doesn’t allow a woman to exercise authority over a man, which means she could not hold the office of pastor or elder in a church. So we would conclude that a woman could not hold the office of evangelist or pastor officially. But there is nothing definitive that says she can’t have the gift of evangelism, or of shepherd for that matter (I am careful to use this term for pastor as she can’t hold the office). We know that some of the prophets were female, then it stands to reason that they could have any of the permanent gifts without the authoritative offices. Isn’t it possible that a Christian woman could have a gift from God for shepherding children in a school or as a counsel for instance?
And also, in the Bible evangelism is not associated with gathering large crowds. The evangelist to whom multitudes flock to is a modern phenomenon. A person with the gift of evangelism most certainly would evangelize one person at a time, or even a room, but that doesn’t mean they are exercising authority in the congregation.
I’m not trying to be PC. The body of Christ is at least composed of half female, and if they can have any of the permanent gifts, without the office or authority, then I want them functioning in their capacity, and at their best, and that because I love Christ’s church.
The other thing concerning this issue of exclusivity, is that believers can’t always positively label their spiritual gifts. A female Christian counselor or school teacher or Sunday school teacher who can positively identify that she is gifted to do what she does, might have the gift of teaching, or shepherding, or encouragement, or service. If put on the spot and asked what her spiritual gift is, she may answer confidently, “I don’t really know for sure, but one thing I do know, whatever gift God has given me, I’m using it to its fullest.”
Like the man born blind who was healed by the Lord said, “All I know is that I was blind, but now I see.”
In my opinion, we should try to identify what our gift is. I think that attitude makes us better workers and servers, but at the same time, if we cannot for certain identify it, then we should continue to work as unto the Lord and not worry about our titles.
In Paul’s writing he seems to suggest that we should discover the gift given to us:
And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly (not in original): if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
This suggests that those who prophesied, served, taught, exhorted, gave, led, and showed mercy knew that one of these was their gifted area.
But at the same time, we should stress over getting the label just right. Do all the service that you see in front of you, for God is the One who put it there, and eventually you will find an area where you know God has especially gifted you in, and when you find that, keep doing all the other stuff you were doing also.
So, the noun euaggelistes is only found three times in the NT and they are without explanation. However, the verb (euaggelizo) is found over fifty times. In these we see the importance of evangelization of the world, for obviously the gospel is the most important thing to the world. It is the only thing that can save men from eternal death. We all have the privilege of carrying the gospel with us, and the great privilege of giving it to anyone who might receive it. The evangelist is gifted by God in this important and sacred area.
Opinion differs on whether the gift was solely a function, or if it was an office. We cannot say for sure.
It is not unknown to us how important the accurate gospel is in our day or in any age. There are many false gospels out there.
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another [there is no other]; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
Adding works to the gospel:
For not knowing about God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
Try and imagine the damage that has been done to people and societies and nations by false gospels and by lies of all kinds.
Precious is the gift of the gospel, and those who are gifted to bring it and proclaim it are very important.
How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
And directly after this, Isaiah would write the fourth Servant Song concerning the suffering Servant’s victory by which we are all healed.
Still, all of us are called to do the work of an evangelist. The world has grown colder towards God and His redemption, which is their only hope, and so we must look for and pray for every opportunity.
“And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. 12 And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold.”
And, amazingly, false teachers and false gospels were already a problem in the infant church.
I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. 2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. 3 But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.
The Lord sets the example. False teachers will not be eradicated from the earth until the second coming, so we deal with them by knowing them by their fruits and boldly proclaiming the truth of the gospel, meaning everything about it. Evangelists and all, since we are all called to a ministry of reconciliation (2CO 5:19), do not war against false teachers, but we hold to the truth, unafraid to proclaim it, caring not for the persecution and insults they will throw at us, nor for their attempts at ruining our reputation, knowing well that the truth will always overcome when God sees fit.