Called to Preach

2 Corinthians 8: 18

So we’re sending with him the brother who is greatly honored and respected in all the churches for his work of evangelism.

Most of us have been taught at least something about evangelism but there is probably more confusion out there than clarity. Evangelism is definitionally associated with the public preaching of the gospel. Jesus said, “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 the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18 – 20). This is the passage from which many people get their ideas on evangelism, but note, Jesus didn’t say go preach at every person you think is not as holy as you or whom you think is not saved. He told us to make disciples of the nations. You may also be familiar with this passage, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,’” (Mark 16: 15). So, there is the preaching piece and we might ask ourselves, to whom does this mandate speak? Is it to preachers or to everyone?

We have adopted a belief that everyone is called to “preach” the gospel. I don’t know if that is true. Ephesians 4, verses 11 – 12 may help clarify this point, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” There are the saints and there are those who have been appointed to equip the saints. The saints do the work of building up the body of Christ. They go out and tell people the good news about Jesus. The clergy are called to teach, preach and pastor. We are all ministers of God’s gospel, but we do not all have the same function. Enlightenment in this area will help each of us and the ones to whom we wish to minister.

There is another term we use frequently; witnessing. About this Jesus said, “You shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth,” (Acts 1: 8). I do believe every one of us is a witness to Jesus and his ministry. Witnessing is where we get to tell people about what Jesus has done in our lives and to share our testimony. The greatest testimony any of us have is our lives. In other words, the way we conduct our lives draws people to us or repels them. When the love of God is evident in our lives it gives us the chance to talk about Jesus. Of course, most of us want to share what Jesus has done for us but that begins with living a life which makes people care what you have to say. Far too often we have confused our roles and end up in over our heads and on uncertain ground. Rather than telling people the good news about Jesus, we tell them the bad news about themselves. Somewhere we have gotten the mistaken idea that judging people’s behaviors and/or beliefs is the way to attract them to Jesus. There is nothing Biblical in that and we are doing harm rather than spreading grace. Paul said that judgment is putting stumbling blocks in someone’s way.

Our job is to spread the love of God. That’s the message of the gospel. God so loved . . .. We do not even have to decide who is and who is not a good candidate for the Kingdom. God will sort out folks and He will guide them and teach them just as He did each of us. Leave the preaching to the one God calls to the task and take up the mantle of ministry, i.e. ministering to the needs of all people. That is the role to which we are called. Carry the good news, the love and the power of God to the hurting. Lay hands on the sick and release God’s healing power. Pray miracles into people’s lives. Do the work of ministering to people’s needs and God will save their souls. I promise!

Position Available

Ephesians 4: 11 – 12

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.

These are called the five-fold ministries and God calls people to these offices. What I found so interesting about this list is that only one of these ministerial offices is directed towards people outside of the church and, of course, that would be the evangelist. Verse 12 tells us that God gave these offices, and people to fill them, in order to equip the church for her work. In other words, the saints, or the laity, are being equipped for the work of the church. You are the body of Christ.

Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Luke 16:15) but then when he gave the ministerial offices he gave four that were designed more for the church and only one specifically for the unsaved. These offices are appointed to equip us to go into all the world and preach the gospel. They are designated to teach us and build us up. But we are not supposed to only absorb the teachings for ourselves. We are meant to be the distributors of the good news of Jesus Christ. Now how do we do that? Well, this specifically means that we were not all called to preach since we are not all called into one of the five-fold ministries. But we are all called and equipped for “the work of service.” Your calling might be as a school teacher or a hair dresser. Or maybe you are a doctor or work in a laundry. You are the word of the Lord that is sent into the world and you are going to interact with a lot more people than the pastor at your church.  

You are the one who will be there when a co-worker has trouble. You will be the one they see day in and day out. You don’t have to preach at them. Just let the love of God show in what you do. Be loving and compassionate. Do your job with vigor and honesty. Let them see how a child of the most high behaves. Let the light, who is Jesus, inside you shine. It’s not about telling other people what they should do. It is about being who you should be and allowing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22) to manifest in your daily life. That is how people will be saved, by love. Because God so loved, he gave . . . (John 3: 16).

One Touch

Matthew 9: 31

They went out, and spread the news about Him in all that land.

Do you want to know how to evangelize the world? Here is an evangelism revelation. There were two guys in this story who spread the word about Jesus throughout the whole land. Were these just two of the best evangelists ever or is there something else going on here? And most importantly, what can we learn from their story?

The backstory is that two blind men pursued Jesus and healing. When Jesus asked them if they believed he was able to restore their sight they answered, “Yes, Lord” (v. 28). Jesus then touched their eyes and said, “Be it done to you according to your faith,” and the men’s sight was restored (v. 29 – 30). Clearly there is a faith message there but we also see in this example of Jesus’ ministry how we can spread the good news about the Kingdom of God – heal a few people.

What? Me? Well, isn’t that the ministry Jesus has left us with? Look at Ephesians 4 with me, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ” (v. 11 – 12, emphasis added). God has established these ministry positions in order to equip the rest of us for the work of Christ. We, the body, carry out the divine commission. Jesus has also empowered us for this service. “And having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness, ‘Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons’” (Matthew 10: 1, 8). The only question we have to answer is, “Am I a disciple of Christ” because all who are Christ’s disciples are anointed with his authority. 

God gave Jesus the power to heal and Jesus gave it to us. “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you’” (John 20: 21). As we see from the experience of the two blind men, one touch from God will change a person forever. They become the voice heard in the desert. The steps to world evangelism are first that we must allow Jesus to touch us, and I mean really touch us. It is his ministrations to our heart and receiving our own miracles that make his word like a fire brand in our mouths. We need to seek that personal touch and live in it. Then we extend his grace to others. We lay hands on the sick and they recover, not because of our faith, not because of our healing anointing but rather by the blessing of the Lord. Jesus said, “The Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14: 10). So, we need not have performance pressure. It is Jesus within me who does the works and whoever Jesus touches will want to tell the world.