The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 8 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #232)
A series of homilies on Ephesians.
A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.
TEXT: Ephesians 4:11-12:
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
D.E. Hoste said, “It is morally impossible to exercise trust in God while there is failure to wait upon Him for guidance and direction. The man who does not learn to wait upon the Lord and have his thoughts molded by Him will never possess that steady purpose and calm trust, which is essential to the exercise of wise influence upon others, in times of crisis and difficulty.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “We need to get into the Word and eat it. It’ll hurt us at times, but it will revive us. It may unclothe us to clothe us, empty us to fill us, cast us down to lift us up, and yet this is all we need.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The Evening Light Saints revivalistic group that William J. Seymour was saved through believed human history was coming to an end and anticipated Christ’s imminent return to establish his kingdom. Just before that happened, the group believed, there would be a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a ‘latter rain.’ To prepare for this, the group encouraged Christians to leave existing denominations to become part of a pure and interracial church God was beginning to raise up.”
Today, we are looking at the spiritual gift of being an “evangelist” in the church. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists…” The word translated “evangelist” means: “One who possesses a special gift of communicating the Gospel in relevant terms to those who are not yet Christians and sees souls saved.
In Acts chapter 8, Philip is described as an “evangelist.” The two most significant actions that we read about him doing are (1) explaining the Gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch, and (2) leading an evangelistic crusade in Samaria. He was led by God to go outside the bounds of Jewry to reach people who were unfamiliar with the Gospel.
An evangelist is one who knows the Gospel thoroughly and is empowered by the Holy Spirit to explain it to unbelievers. The evangelist helps the sinner understand how God sees him and then shows him the way out of his sinful state through Jesus Christ. Not only that, but his primary concern in life is the salvation of lost souls. It is an all-consuming passion set on fire by God. The true evangelist will always turn the conversation to the all-important matter of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Obviously, the gift of the evangelist can be combined with other gifts. For example, Peter and Paul both had the gift and calling of being an apostle. However, under Peter’s preaching after Pentecost 3,000 people were added to the church in one day. That is the gift of evangelism at work. Paul traveled hundreds of miles on three separate missionary journeys in order to share the Gospel. Many came to Christ through his evangelistic ministry as well.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “The apostles and prophets laid the foundation of the church, and the evangelists built on it by winning the lost to Christ. Of course, in the early church, every believer was a witness, and so should we be witnesses today. But there are people also today who have the gift of evangelism. The fact that a believer may not possess this gift does not excuse him from being burdened for lost souls or witnessing to them.”
While the gift and calling of an evangelist is only given to some in the church, every Christian should have an evangelistic outlook. We all ought to be concerned about the lost and we all ought to fulfill the Great Commission by sharing Jesus with those around us. In fact, God instructs pastors to do the work of the evangelist.
Eliza Hewitt wrote:
Many in darkness are far astray,
Carry the light, carry the light,
Spreading the beams of the Gospel day,
Carry the beautiful light;
Tell them the gift of the Father’s love,
How the dear Savior He gave;
Tell them of mercy that smiles above,
Jesus almighty to save!