Evangelism : What should be preached?

The Gospel Herald Volume No. 1 - Issue No.3 - July 1997- Web Version February 1998 by Ken Hoeck

Paul, in his epistle to the Ephesians 4:11-12, lists some of the types of servants of Christ and their purpose: “ And he gave some , apostles: and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

The books of the bible are God’s words of instruction to His people for all times. In II Timothy 4:5, Paul writes “ But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” What is an evangelist? And what should be his works? Let us look to God’s infallible word to discover the true answers. Get out your own bible and follow the where the spirit shall lead. The word rendered evangelist(s) in the scriptures in rendered from the Greek word euaggelistes which is translated by Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance # 2099 to mean : a preacher of the gospel. Searching further in the concordance we dig a little deeper to find that this word is constructed from the root word euaggelizo meaning : to announce the good news [gospel or euaggelion -Greek.], declare, bring, show good tidings; a messenger, especially an angel, by implication a pastor. We find an evangelist to be a preacher of the gospel or good news. Just what is this good news? And is that all which we should preach? Is there something else? Should we preach at all? Do you have your bible ready? Yes? Good, then let us follow the chosen servants of God as detailed through His word.

What should be preached ? .. Let’s ask Ezekiel ( 14:6-9 ) “ Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself. And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” This doesn’t sound like good news. The Lord God, Himself, is heard here preaching repentance. Notice that the idols referred to are not only physical visible idols but idols in their hearts! Anything that we put before Him that prevents us from turning wholeheartedly to Him becomes an idol to us! Recognize, also, that we put our own stumblingblock, caused by our iniquities (sins), between us and God. Isaiah 57: 14-15“And shall say “Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of My People.” For thus saith the high and lofty One That inhabiteth eternity, Whose name is Holy; “I dwell in the high and holy place with him also that is of a contrite heart and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Here we see the Lord (speaking through Isaiah) removing the stumblingblock of our iniquity (our sins) and reviving us! Now that is good news! The Lord said that those that trust in Him would repeat these words written by Isaiah - as later did John the Baptist in Matthew 3:2-3 “ And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom at heaven is at hand” For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying,”The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” John preached water baptism, repentance and also he told people of Jesus and His coming wonders. Matthew 3:11” I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He That cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: “ [see the other powerful accounts in Mark 1:1-8, Luke 3: 2-18, and John 1:23-34] Do you begin to see that repentance was only part of the gospel message? In the following passages we will uncover the truth of the good news message as delivered by God and His servants in both the Old and New Testaments. We are going to cover, or should I say uncover, alot of scriptures so have your bible open and ready to prove all things. Now let us examine other passages detailing the preaching of repentance, all the Kingdom of Heaven, and the wondrous works of God.

The Messages

Jeremiah 26:2-6 “ Thus saith the Lord; Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, Which come to worship in the Lord’s house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: If so they hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord; If ye will not hearken to Me, to walk in My law, which I have set before you, To hearken to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse unto all the nations of the earth.” The God of the Old Testament, as we see, preached repentance! Turn to the book of Joel 2:12-13 “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me, with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil.” Return to the book of Jeremiah 26:12,13 “ Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and all the People, saying “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words ye have heard. Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will repent Him of the evil that He hath pronounced against you.” While we are in this book - thumb back to Jeremiah 7:3 “ Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Amend your ways and your doings’.” What did Paul and Barnabas have to say in Acts 14:15 when the people thought them as gods and were to sacrifice to them, not God.- “ And saying, “ Sirs, why do you do these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, Which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:” The message to turn ourselves from sin is clear. Verily, even Jesus commanded unto us repentance. Matthew 4:17 “ From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say ‘Repent : for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’.” In Acts of the Apostles 3:19,20 ; at the gate of the temple, which is called Beautiful, Peter had to preach to the people. He glorified God and told the crowd “ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, Which before was preached unto you.” The removal of our sins is the good news of the repentance message. This can only occur through Jesus Christ. Listen to Peter in Acts 10:42,43 - “ And He commanded us to preach unto the people and to testify that it is He Which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” Try Exodus 34:6,7 - “ And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” The purpose of preaching repentance is to bring sinners closer to God. The Lamentations of Jeremiah ( commonly referred to as just Lamentations ) in chapter 3:40 declares “ Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.”

Jesus Christ is the answer for our problem of sin removal and the Apostles honored him with the sacrifice of the fruit of their lips. In fact, the main reason that the holy spirit was given was to testify to Him. Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witness unto Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” That is exactly what the apostles did throughout the book of Acts. Let us read through some of these testimonies. Acts 8:5,12 “ Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them.” “ But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Speaking of Paul, when he was still named Saul in Acts 9:20 “ And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.” Peter in Acts 10:36 -” The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; Whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed Him openly; Not to all the people but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead.” One must realize that Jesus is not revealed unto all people, just as this typifies, but only those chosen by the Father so do not be discouraged if few ears will hear the gospel message. Turn on your own and read in Acts 13:16-41 where Paul gives a passionate sermon about Jesus and of the salvation He brings. Even when beaten and scourged the apostles proclaimed the Lord. They gloried in being persecuted for His namesake. Acts 5:40-42 “ And to him they agreed ; and when they had called the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” They preached Jesus Christ which is to say that they preached the same message as Him and further preached about Him and the remission of sins possible because of His blood. Let us see more examples of what Jesus and His little ones taught. Luke 4:43 “ And He said unto them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore I am sent’.” A couple chapters ahead in Luke 9:2 we read: “And He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” and now turn to Luke 9:60 “ Jesus said unto him ‘Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” Go back to Acts 28:23- “ And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets from morning until evening.” Acts 5:42 “ And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” .

How about some more Old Testament preaching? Preaching of His excellent works are found through out the OT. Find I Samuel 12:7,10- 7“ Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord of all the righteous acts of the Lord, which He did to you and your fathers.” 10“ And they cried unto the Lord, and said ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord, and have served baalim and Ashtaroth: but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee.” The works of the Lord! Let us all praise Him for them. The Psalms of David utter endless praises unto Him. For example read from Psalm 73:28 “ But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, That I may declare all Thy works.” All of Psalms 78, 107 and 145 sing praises of His mighty works and are edifying for our deep meditation and reflection toward our own preaching. All of the Psalms tell of His goodness. Try Psalm 107:8-9 “ Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!” Or Psalm 118: 17 - “ I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of The Lord.” I Chronicles 16:7-36 is a perfect example of spreading the good news of His works. Read it in its entirety in your own bible now.

Follow examples

The most famous evangelism passage is found in Acts 8 the story of Philip and the eunuch. Read along starting in verse 27 and ending in verse 39. - 27“ And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of the great authority under Candace queen of the Eithiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, ‘Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.’ 30 And Philip ran hither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, ‘Understandest thou what thou readest?’ 31 And he said,’ How can I, except some man should guide me?’ And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, ‘He was led like a lamb to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, ‘ I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man.’ 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? ’ 37 And Philip said, ‘If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.’ And he answered and said, ‘ I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were coming up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.” Philip preached that Jesus was the Son of God and that He suffered and died for our sins and that the way to salvation was to repent and be baptized and to accept Him and all He said and did into the heart.

My personal favorite case of evangelism and the grandest on record is told in Acts 2 immediately after the giving of the holy spirit to the apostles. Let us pick it up in verse 14 - “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them , ‘Ye men of Judea, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, ‘I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved,’ 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreacknowledge of God, ye have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning Him, ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; Thou shalt make me full of joy with Thy countenance.’ 29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on His throne; 31 He seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ that His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make Thy foes Thy footstool.’ 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ 38 Then Peter said unto them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 for the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.’ 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this untoward generation.’ 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” This evangelizing session gathered nearly three thousand converts! This message must truly be an example of the faithful gospel! Notice how the apostle preaches repentance, remission of sins through Jesus, the goodness of God, and testified with many other words!

Be a lampstand that generates light so that people may see their sins and repent of them. This is how to have honor amongst those you preach to and not become a hypocrite. Isaiah 62:1-3 “ For Zion’s sake will I not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Isaiah 42:6- “ I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the People, for a light to the Gentiles.” Isaiah 49:6 ( also quoted in Luke 2:32 and Acts 13:47 ) states : “ And He said, ’It is a light thing that Thou shouldst be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, and that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the ends of the earth.” We are to be an example, a light unto the nations (Gentiles).

Let us check the New Testament for more such commands. Turn to Matthew 5:14-16 and see what Jesus said to His disciples: “ Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Which is in heaven.” Now flip the pages to Ephesians 5:8-13- “ For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light, in the Lord: walk as children of the light, (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable to the Lord: And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” We must be an living example to all people. Showing the fruits of the spirit at all times and speaking only good words. Our actions will show what is “acceptable” to God unto others. We are also not only to not be near evil works but to rebuke and admonish them! Does the bible support this verse? You can be sure by opening to Psalm 51:12-13 - “ Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; And uphold me with Thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; And sinners shall be converted unto Thee.” Return now to Acts 18:9 - “ Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Be not afraid, but speak and hold not thy peace.” Compare this with Isaiah 58:1 - ” Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew My People their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Acts of the Apostles 20:31 has Paul delivering these words - “ Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Now, back again to Isaiah 62:6 - “ I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day or night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till He establish, and til He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” Matthew 10:27 “ What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.”

Good News

Isaiah 61:1-2 “ The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;” Jesus has freed us from captivity to sin. For sin indeed is our captor until His truth sets us free. We know that the wages of sin is death. We need not be down-hearted or sad for He died in our place so we may taste eternal life. Praise be to Jesus Christ the Son of God and our Savior. Its not too much to ask in return to obey His orders and preach the gospel. Mark 16:15-18 “ And He said unto them , “ Go ye into all the world , and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.”

Let the light of your words and the brightness of your actions shine unto all mankind as an example, a witness and as a warning. - kmh