The Call of the Evangelist
Acts 1:8 Matthew 28:16-20
The word “EVANGELIST” comes from the Greek word “koine” transliterated as “EUANGELIAN”. In writing this, I was made aware again that in the centre of this word is another word “ANGEL”. The long word originally meant a reward given to a messenger who brought good news. The two sections of the word are “GOOD” and “I BRING A MESSAGE”. I seem to remember that whilst studying Roman history long ago, someone who brought bad news usually ended up with a very unpleasant response.
When Jesus, had risen from the dead and appeared to many of His followers, He made a final promise recorded in Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
These words have been understood by Christians as “The Great Commission”, whereby the church would grow. Matthew also records other words of commission from Jesus at the end of his gospel: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
The work of an evangelist, whether in a large meeting, a small gathering or one to one, is to tell of the sacrifice of Jesus for our sin, and His resurrection to bring us the hope of eternal life with Him. This needs to be followed by an invitation to to respond. The hymn I most associate with such an invitation is “Just as I am without one plea..” Amazing words first written as a communion hymn. It reminds us of the path we once walked, and of our need to re-commit ourselves every time we come to His table to partake of the bread and wine.
My wife and I have recently moved to the village where she was was born and grew up. We decided to join the Parish Church where we’ve received a very warm welcome. It is part of a group of small fellowships served by a Rector and a Curate. Before our arrival, one of churches made the decision to close their building which had become unsafe. At the service of thanksgiving for the work of that church, the Rector spoke these beautiful words,
“It is desperately sad that St. Oswalds, Broadwaters, has taken the courageous decision to close its doors, but the congregation will continue, and the legacy they leave is one of gently walking alongside those who are getting to know God and encouraging them on their journey.”
When new believers respond to the gospel message, it is our job to disciple them, teaching them the Bible, helping them to grow, supporting them and being a good example of how a follower of Jesus should live before a watching world.
Each one of us can be part of encouraging those who have met with Christ. A smile, chatting over a cup of coffee, maybe sharing something of how God has been beside you at a difficult time, or how you have been blessed by God’s unexpected goodness. Testimony is powerful.
In today’s world where generations have grown up without knowing the word of God, it is extremely important for new believers to be taught from the Scriptures what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The church is commissioned not to simply make converts but to make disciples and with the help of God we can all be involved. What a privilege.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You that your invitation is to all mankind. May I never shy away from blessed opportunities to share your love with those who don’t yet know You so that I might lead some to You. Amen