Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The work of an evangelist: Is 61:1-2

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God.” (Isaiah 61:1-2)
Paul tells his disciple Timothy to, “be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5) Timothy was not an evangelist, but he was to do the work of an evangelist. We may not have a title in God’s kingdom, such as Pastor, Teacher, Prophet, Evangelist, and Apostle, but we are all called to care for people, share God’s good news with others, speak the prophetic word of God, preach the Gospel to the poor, and go to the world with the ministry of reconciliation. We do not have to be called something to do the work. So what is the work of an evangelist? I believe that this scripture clearly shows. The work of the evangelist includes:

Preaching the Gospel. The Gospel latterly translates in the original Greek as “good news” or “glad tidings”. God has good news for the poor, afflicted, and the needy. God’s good news was not just for the religious elite, but it reached down to even the lowest of men and women. Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) Those who think they are righteous do not find any good news in the Gospel, but those who know they are sinners find life, joy, and peace with God. We are to take the Gospel to all mankind. It is not ours to decide who is worthy or who is “ready”. We are to preach the Gospel and leave the results up to the Lord.

Healing the body, soul, and spirit. When Jesus quoted this verse, He added that He was to bring “recovery of sight to the blind.” (Luke 4:18) Healing is part and parcel with the Gospel. Jesus, during His time on this earth, healed may people (even some who did not deserve to be healed). When the apostles were sent out, they too went about healing those who were sick. When Jesus healed, He healed more than just the body; He also healed the soul and spirit. Consider the Gerasene demoniac, after Jesus delivered him and healed him it says that, “The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened.” (Luke 8:35) Jesus not only delivered him, He also healed his mind. Jesus heals the whole man and, as part of the work of the evangelist, He has called us to do the same.

Delivering from bondages. Bondages come in many forms. We can become addicted to drugs, alcohol, and other substances. We can develop patterns of sin, such as a habit of lying. We can also give place to demonic strongholds in our lives. Even if we are not demonically “possessed” we can still be “demonized” or oppressed by demonic spirits. When we give ourselves to addictive substances, sinful patterns, or yield to demonic influences, we become prisoners of those things. Jesus came to set us free from all our bondages. Part of the work of an evangelist is not only to preach freedom, but also to minister freedom to the captives and to the prisoners. When Jesus sent out the seventy, he told them, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” (Luke 10:19) We should not be fearful of the enemy for we have been given power over him. Jesus wants us to use that power and authority to set others free.

Calling men and women to salvation. Paul, quoting from Isaiah said, “for He says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is ‘The acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘The day of salvation’” (2 Corinthians 6:2) Now is the time to be saved! We are to call people to respond to the Gospel. The Gospel is good news, but we must respond to it. Jesus has paid for the forgiveness of all mankind, but unless we repent and place our trust in Him, we will not benefit from His forgiveness. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20) It is not enough to simple tell others of the good news; we must also call them to respond to the good news. We must make clear, in our words and deeds, the path God is calling us to walk. People should be able to see in us and example of repentance and faith. They should see in us the response they themselves need to make.

David Robison


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