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Sunday, October 8, 2017 am                                        NT Church 2017 Index

THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH 2017 (29)
Leaders In the Church (9)
The Preacher/Evangelist (1)

     We have been studying the NT church this year and the past few weeks we have been addressing leaders in the church.  We have addressed the work of elders and deacons and even discussed the role of women within the church.  Today, we begin addressing the work of the evangelist. In this lesson we want to make some observations about the evangelist.  In our next lesson we will notice his work.

 I.                     Preachers/evangelists

a.       It is a gift from God – Ephesians 4:8, in this transitional passage between Paul’s call for unity and describing functionaries who equip us with the word, Paul quotes Psalm 68:18 (with some variation).  In our text he notes, when the Lord ascended on high He led captivity captive (conquered Satan) and “gave gifts to men”.  This expression could be a reference to His providing us what we need to be pleasing to Him.  That would INCLUDE those “He Himself gave some to be…” in vs. 11-12.  Notice how along with apostles and prophets, we read about evangelists, pastors (elders) and teachers. 
Those with the ability to share God’s word are a gift from God.  And that includes the evangelist (or preacher). 

b.       A great need – we can never have too many preachers.  But it seems that there is a shortage of godly men willing to take up the task. 
Hindrances – Sometimes churches fail to preach on this, or they are not working to develop young men to be preachers of the gospel. 
Sometimes, preachers hesitate to address this because their motives could be scrutinized (e.g. self-serving).
Because of the difficulties they might face (a godly preacher will not be popular in society and even among many brethren), often they are discouraged from pursuing such as their life’s purpose, often by their families, friends and even at times by brethren.
Some fill the pulpit, but their motives are not to preach the whole counsel of God.  They do more damage than good because they have worldly motives.
But it IS needed – 2 Timothy 2:2, Luke 10:2 – the laborers are few.  Ephesians 4:11 – He gave SOME to be…evangelists…

c.        Not all are preachers (formally) – though all preach to others in one way or another (example, discussing God’s word in our conversations, teaching, etc.), not all can be evangelists/preachers in the formal sense. 
God has placed limitations (e.g. women in the pulpit, etc.). 
There are qualities a preacher needs to possess (as we shall see)
Their work requires abilities that some simply do not have.
BUT, by far, the imbalance leans toward our shortage.  There are far more who COULD be preachers, than those preaching who cannot or should not.

d.       The preacher is NOT - the pastor (elders), the church janitor, the errand boy, etc.  
Nor is he the “official” representative of the church.  He doesn’t run the church. 

e.       He doesn’t need a title – reverend, pastor, etc.  (cf. Matthew 23:6-11).  His identity in scripture describes his function.

f.         His purpose - To preach and instruct in the word.  He preaches to save souls and to build up the body of Christ.  (more next week)

g.       God places great worth upon this work – Romans 10:14-15 (cf. Isaiah 52:7).  He put it as part of the church in its growth (Ephesians 4:11-16).   Considering the spiritual needs of this world, his work is VERY important.   There are three NT books devoted to his work.

 II.                   What are preachers called?

a.       Preacher – the Greek word translated preacher was a common word for an official announcer.  We sometimes speak of heralders for the king or some event. 
A preacher is someone with the ability to publicly herald (proclaim) the message of God’s word.

                                                   i.      Romans 10:14-15 uses the word to note that the only way people will believe is if they hear it.  Here he mentions the word being preached.

                                                 ii.      1 Timothy 2:7 – Paul described himself as an apostle who was also appointed to be a preacher.

                                                iii.      2 Peter 2:5 – Noah was described as “a preacher of righteousness.”  Noah was a WARNER!  He warned the people of impending judgment.

                                                iv.      2 Timothy 4:2 – Paul calls for Timothy to “preach the word” – the verb form of this word.

b.       Evangelist – like preacher, this is a messenger.  It is an English based upon the Greek word.  An evangelist is a proclaimer of the good news.  The word “gospel” is also a form of the root for this word.  One distinction could be that this is true whether publicly or privately. 

                                                   i.      Ephesians 4:11 – among those who equip the saints for the work of ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ.

                                                 ii.      Acts 21:8 – Philip, the evangelist

                                                iii.      2 Timothy 4:5 – do the work of an evangelist

c.        Minister – this is the Greek word, “diakonos” from which we get our English word “deacon”.   It describes one who serves.  A preacher, is 1) a servant of the Lord, 2) a servant of brethren where he works, 3) a servant of all as he has opportunity. 

                                                   i.      Ephesians 3:7 – Paul became a “minister according to the gift of the grace of God…”

                                                 ii.      1 Timothy 4:6 – Timothy is called upon to warn and instruct brethren.  He is told, “If you instruct brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ…

                                                iii.       Colossians 4:17 – Paul tells Archippus, “fulfill your ministry”.  The idea is that he has a work to do (though not as described by the denominational world).

                                                iv.      1 Thessalonians 3:1-2 – Paul sent Timothy, “our brother and minister of God.”

                                                  v.      NOTE: In scripture, when describing the work of preachers, it is usually dealing with spiritual matters, primarily dealing with the word of God.  As a matter of fact, OFTEN, we are described as ministers of God or Jesus reminding us that He is the one we must answer to.

d.       Teacher – to teach is to impart knowledge or give instructions.  Clearly, the work of a preacher involves teaching the word of God – both to the lost and the saved.   And it is a word that involves MORE than preaching.  We teach the word in many different ways and settings.

                                                   i.      1 Timothy 4:11 as a minister Paul told Timothy, “These things command and teach.”

                                                 ii.      1 Corinthians 4:17 Paul taught the same thing everywhere and in every church.

                                                iii.      2 Timothy 2:24 – a servant of the Lord must be able to teach.  (Note: whether this is exclusive to the preacher is not borne out.  The word servant is a general term for any servant.  We are ALL servants.  However, on observation related to this text is how he must be able to teach.  EVERY preacher/evangelist MUST have this quality)

e.       These terms are not titles, as much as descriptions of what we do. 

 III.                 Qualities of a scriptural preacher

a.       A Christian – how can one effectively proclaim the word of God, if he has not been convicted by it? I mention this because he needs to be genuine if he is to be effective in his work. 

b.       Disciplined – the work of a preacher is not always easy.  He needs self-control and self-discipline like every Christian (Galatians 5:23, 2 Peter 1:6).  He has a work to do, and often times he needs to be self-motivated, as his time is not micromanaged.  He doesn’t punch a time clock, etc.  And he has much work to do. 

c.        Must not quarrel – 2 Timothy 2:24.   
NOTE: The servant of the Lord – as noted above, this may not just be preachers, but it certainly includes them, and they ARE servants as we noted.
To quarrel means to engage in a heated dispute or to fight (It is the word for fight in James 4:2).  The first thing listed is that a preacher is not someone looking for trouble.  He is not someone who enjoys arguing.  Yes, he will defend the truth, but it is about winning souls, not arguments. 
How many problems are caused or made worse because of quarrelsome attitudes?

d.       Gentle to all –.  2 Timothy 2:24.
Rather than being quarrelsome, he is gentle.  God wants the preacher to be diplomatic and tender in dealing with others.  And this applies to ALL – whether unbelievers or Christians!

e.       Able to teach – 2 Timothy 2:24, 2:2.  To impart information effectively. 
I once heard one say that the work of a preacher is to “storm the will.”  In other words, take the gospel and present it with the intent to move the hearer to action. 
Not all Christians are able to teach publicly, or to effectively teach others.  Some do more damage than good because they simply are not able to teach in that capacity.  Effective teaching requires preparation, understanding and wisdom; knowing what to say, what NOT to say and WHEN; being able to process answers and arguments and effectively reply, AND DOING ALL THIS with gentleness and love.
NOTE: This quality is not necessarily permanent. 

f.         Patient – 2 Timothy 2:24. The word is one who is long suffering.  The idea is one who when wronged bears it patiently.  The NASB says, “Patient when wronged”.   He is one who is not resentful when wronged.  He is patient in dealing with brethren and others who are struggling.  He realizes that people don’t change overnight. Again, this is an attitude that will help in teaching others. 
The pulpit is NOT the place for a preacher to air his personal grudges and to get even with those who have wronged him. 

g.       Humble – 2 Tim. 2:25.
Humility is the quality of one is meek and doesn’t think too highly of himself.  He’s not arrogant or unapproachable.  Continually in scripture we are called upon to be humble.  It is a “fruit of the Spirit” (gentleness – Galatians 5:23).  1 Peter 3:15, it is with meekness and fear that we are to give a defense for the hope that is in us. 
The text qualifies humility noting “in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth and that they may come to their senses and escape the snares of the devil,…   

h.       Watchful – 2 Timothy 4:5. Paul tells Timothy to be watchful in all things.   A preacher needs to be alert (sober) so that he can deal with whatever is happening.  Hopefully, he will prevent problems before they arise, or keep them from getting out of hand.

i.         Faithful -2 Timothy 2:2. Faithfulness means worthy of trust.  Preachers need to be reliable and do the work they have been entrusted with. 
1 Corinthians 4:2, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
Ephesians 6:21, Paul described Tychicus as a “faithful minister in the Lord.”

j.         A godly attitude – many of the qualities we have addressed demonstrate this.  A preacher needs to respect God and His word, his brethren and his work. 

k.        He needs conviction – we began this by noting that he is a Christian.  We conclude noting he believes in what is doing.  He knows the cause and is genuinely serving in his work. 

 IV.   Qualities NOT necessary to be a preacher:

                                                   i.      That he be married and have children.  What would they say of Paul and Jesus?

                                                 ii.      High secular education – while it can be helpful, it is not necessary to be a preacher.  Sometimes, too much secular education can actually be a hindrance.

                                                iii.      A dynamic personality – it is helpful for a preacher to hold the audience’s attention, but that should not be the primary quality.  What is important is that he knows how to teach the truth without compromise. 

                                                iv.      Stylish and fashionable – not the same as clean and neat, and of good taste

                                                  v.      Of social status – some seek a preacher who is well known among brethren or someone who is socially involved in the community – e.g. member of civic organizations, etc.

                                                vi.      An entertainer – again, sometimes this gets in the way of the truth, especially if an audience has “itching ears” (2 Timothy 2:3)

                                              vii.      A certain age – some congregations in seeking a preacher want a specific age range.  While there may reasons for this, godly men could be prevented from serving because they don’t fit that mold.

 As we entrust one to proclaim the word of God before us, let us seek the qualities God wants them to have, rather than self-serving qualities that do not build us up.  Think about it.