Young Timothy was a trustworthy companion and student of the Apostle Paul. By certain statements of Paul in both letters to him it appears that while he had a good grasp of truth and doctrine he may have been a little intimidated by older people or even a little shy in public. Paul used terms like “power” and “soldier” and “hardness” in his words of encouragement to the young preacher. He expected Timothy to stand with boldness to proclaim God's word. God gave this as an example to us. Many of us may need the same boldness in the work of God.
Our text of scripture introduces us to a word that appears only three times in the New Testament, the word, “Evangelist.” Paul tells this young pastor that he should do the work of an Evangelist. But what does that mean? The word first appears in the book of Acts (21:8) and is used to define the work of a man filled with the Holy Spirit. He was one of first deacons of the church at Jerusalem. His name was Phillip. He had doubtless been instrumental in the work of caring for the widows in the early church. But as sometimes happens, God had another work for him. Phillip's work changed to that of an “Evangelist.” He apparently became so good at sharing the message that others gave him this title as an indication of God's calling on his life.
The second time the word is used it appears in a list of gifts given to the church in Ephesians 4:11. These gifts are actually persons with a special calling on their lives to serve the church. The list includes Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, and Pastors and Teachers. Our focus is now on this group of Evangelists of which Phillip became one. But we have already asked, what does that mean? Let's look at the word in the original language of the New Testament. It is a combination of two words “Good” and “Angel.” Have you seen a “Good Angel” lately? An “angel” here is a “messenger of God,” not one of those ministering spirits who are so important to the kingdom. We believe in those too. In this case this messenger of God is a “messenger of good.” Specifically, he is a messenger of the good news or a messenger of the gospel. The Evangelist is a bearer of the Gospel, the good news that salvation, blessing and deliverance are here for us. An Evangelist may be comparable to a missionary, one who plants new churches or as we often use it, one who preaches our Revival Meetings. Indeed, this word appears over sixty times in the New Testament Greek when it is translated “preach,” “preach the gospel,” “bring good tidings or glad tidings, ” and “declare.” It is certain that this word refers to the sharing of the gospel. Another Greek word translated “preach” is also used in the New Testament over sixty times that appears to be a reference to the official work of a preacher. It is a separate command to young Timothy where he is told to “Preach the word.” 2 Timothy 4:2
While being an Evangelist is a special calling on some people there is no doubt that God wants others to do “the work” of an Evangelist. Timothy is told to “do the work” of an evangelist. It was not his specific calling but he was to “do the work” because it is necessary to bring new people to faith by the preaching of the Word of God, the gospel, to those who have never heard. A pastor such as Timothy has another calling on his life but it is imperative that he do the work of an evangelist. Make no mistake about it God has used some men mightily in this work of evangelism but our point here that it remains important for each of us to be involved in doing this work too.
It is not our responsibility to invite people to church, though that is not wrong. It our job to share the good news that Jesus saves from the wrath of God. We are not to bring the world into the church but to take the good news, the gospel, out to the world. Is that not the message of the Great Commission to the church: “Go ye therefore...” Matthew 28:18-20. The message is not meant to be bottled up it is to be announced to the world. And we have the blessed privilege to be the “good angel” in the life of some person who needs Christ! God wants me to be a better witness of his grace in this new year. I would venture to say, He wants you to “do the work of an evangelist” too. O Magnify the LORD with me!