The Gift of Evangelism
By Dr. Ray Melugin

Introduction
With brush arbor meetings, tent revivals, and city wide campaigns nearly a thing of the past, modern day "evangelism" has called upon entertainment celebrities, sports figures, and Gospel rock concerts, to present an attractive show business style religion. But do the flashy speakers, ex-drug addicts, ex-convicts, or Hollywood entertainers fit the gift of evangelism as found in the New Testament?

I. The Gift of Evangelism
Note: The word "evangelism" does not occur in the Bible.

The word "evangleist" occurs only three times: (1) On Pauls trip back to Jerusalem, "we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist." (Acts 21:8) (2) "And he gave some...evangelists" (Ephesians 4:11) (3) Paul urges Timothy to "do the work of an evangelist." (2 Timothy 4:5)

A. Special ability to communicate the Gospel in relevant terms to unbelievers. (Acts 8:26-38; John 1:40-42, 45)
1. The gift of evaneism does not involve witness across cultural lines as the missionary gift does.
2. The gift of evangelism does not thunder out judgement against a sinful society, but majors upon the grace of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

 

II. The Work of Evangelism (2 Timothy 4:5)

A Proclamation

1. More than a non-verbal influence. No one is saved by observing a quiet, godly life. (It does however, prepare hearts to receive the Word.)

2. Explanation must be given to show an unbeliever how to become rightly related to God. (Acts 16:28-32)

3. Evangleism demands speaking only of Jesus Christ. ( I Timothy 1:4; Titus 3:9)

 

B. Proclaim the Good News

Note: The word "gospel" comes from two Greek words, "well," or "good," and "announcment," i.e. the gospel is a "good announcment," or "good news."

  1. The "Good News" is, something that happened historically bringing unsearchable riches presently. (1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:8; I Corinthians 15:3-4)
    Note: I am declared righteous by God, through faith in Christs shed blood, removed from the penalty of sin, and placed as a son in God's family.

  2. 2. Biblical evangelism appeals to the intellect as well as to the emotions.
    a. The Apostles did not make hasty appeals for decisions without challenging man's intellect.
    Note: Paul lectured, discussed, disputed, and dialogued for hour after hour, day after day, two or three years in some places. (Acts 5:8)
    b. The Sanhedrin accused the Apostles of "filling Jerusalem with your doctrine." They must have appealed to their intellect with the truth. (Acts 5:8)
    c. The Evangelistic gift will promote a doctrinal content. (Titus 2:1)

C. Proclaim the Good News Effectively

1. When Peter preached at Pentecost, hearers "were pricked in their hearts..." resulting in conversion, and baptistm of 3,000 souls (Acts 14:1)

2. On their missionary journey to Iconium, Paul spoke in the synagogue "so that a great multitude of both Jew and Greeks believed." (Acts 14:1)

Note: This happened repeatedly on Paul's missionary journeys found in the book of Acts.

3. The gift of evangelism so effectively confronts people that they eventually must decide for or against Christ.
a. After Paul preached boldly for 3 months at Ephesus, his listeners were forced to a yes or no. (Acts 19:9)
b. Before Governor Felix, Paul spoke of righteousness, temperance, and judgment, Felix rejected Christ. (Acts 24:25)
Note: Thus the meaning of II Corinthians 2:16, the gospel being "death unto death...life unto life."

 

D. Discipleship Follows Evangelism

1. Evangelistic ability desires to see continuous growth in each convert. ( I Timoth 4:6, 11, 16; Matthew 28:18-20 "teaching them to observer...."

Note: Babes in Christ should not be left to sink or swim. A church training program needs to guide new converts in understanding their faith, growing in grace, and launching out in witness.

 

III. How Widespread is the Gift of Evangelism?

Note: Campus Crusade estimates it takes 1,000 layment and 6 pastors one year to win one person to Christ. Since the gospel is to go to every person, the Lord must have given the gift to large numbers of believers.

A. The gift is not restricted to the pastor, or professional.

1. Phiip is the only one in the Bible called an evangelist. (Acts 21:8)
2. The Early church was a lay movement. (Acts 8:1-4)

B. City wide evangelism reaches the masses, but misses the multitudes.

1. The Early Church evangelized in the open air, on highways, in houses, by rivers, in jails, etc. (Luke 14:23; Acts 5:42)
2. In Acts 8, Philip held a city wide campaign, then was called to one lone Ethiopian on the Gaza highway.
3. Innovative ministries indicate the gift of evangelism is widespread.

 

 
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