Friends, when I say ‘evangelist’, what is the image that appears in your mind? How would you describe an evangelist? What words would you use to describe an evangelist? Well, I would like you to take a moment and write down what comes to your mind first for the above questions before reading the rest of this article.
Now that you have written down who is an evangelist and what you believe that ministry is, let us look at what scripture says about the ministry of an evangelist? What does scripture say about who an evangelist is and what his/her calling is?
The best example of a ministry of an evangelist is given to us in Acts chapter 8:5-40. In this portion scripture we are told about Philip and his ministry. How do we know that he was an evangelist? Acts 21:8 calls him as Philip the Evangelist. So, what does this portion of scripture tell us about an evangelist?
Acts 8:5 ‘Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there.’
Acts 8:6-7 ‘When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed, or lame were healed.
Acts 8:8 ‘So there was great joy in that city.’
Acts 8:9-13 ‘Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great,and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery.But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.’
Acts 8:14-17 ‘When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.’
Acts 8:18-25 ‘When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.” After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.’
Acts 8:26-39 ‘Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So, he started out, and on his way, he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way, home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So, he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?”Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.’
Acts 8:40 ‘Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and travelled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.’
Friends, there are more than 30,000 villages in our nation. Most of these villages have not heard the gospel nor is there a church planted there. The urgent need for the nation is the ministry of an evangelist. We need men and women who will travel to all these villages with the gospel and bring hope to the multitudes of people who are living without hope in this nation. I pray that many will hear the call like I have to be a full-time evangelist. All glory be to Jesus.