When Paul told Timothy to “Do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5), Timothy knew what that meant. Tragically, far too many preachers today have lost sight of what is involved in this. Timothy understood because he had seen it in the life of the apostle. Paul said to him, “You have carefully followed my doctrine…perseverance…what happened to me…” (2 Tim. 3:10-11). Let’s take time to see what Timothy saw in the work Paul did in his three years at Ephesus, as Paul described it to the elders there.
Evangelists serve the Lord. “You know, from the first day I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord…” (Acts 20:19-20). Read the verse again and take time to think about the implication of the words “first” and “always.”
Evangelists serve the Lord with all humility. Paul uses the words “…serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials.” Contrast these words of Paul with those of Christ who described a far different attitude of other religious leaders. “They loved the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogue, greetings in the marketplace and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’” (Matt. 23:6-7). Evangelists serve, not because it is a place of honor in the church, but because it is a place of humble service, oftentimes with tears and trials.
Evangelists do not hold back needed sermons but openly proclaim God’s message. “I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you publicly and from house to house” (Acts 20:20). God’s pulpit is not designed to preach lessons which impress the audience and as an avenue to receive compliments about great lessons. Doing the work of an evangelist demands we address the needs of the church.
Evangelists are free from the blood of all who hear them. “I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). There were those who said of Jesus, “His blood be on us and our children” (Matt. 27:25), and they will face God on the day of judgment with that blood on their hands. Some who preach today will find themselves with the blood of lost sinners and church members on their hands. We must preach the whole counsel of God. Some are not aware that they can preach for years, never preach anything unscriptural, but fail in changing the lives of others because they hold back and avoid dealing with the real needs of the church.
When Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist and fulfill his ministry, he was not talking about one being an excellent “church administrator.” Far too many schools and workshops focus on these skills instead of being a true evangelist. Paul was first a minister of Jesus, not a church minister.