Vol. 15 No. 31 – August 21, 2016
The Doctrine of Spiritual Gifts:
The following are several ways to learn what your gift is and how to develop it.
- Be active in the Lord’s work.
- Be willing to do anything for God.
- Inform yourself about the total package of abilities you have.
In addition to our spiritual gift, God has given us other abilities by which we can apply our spiritual gift. These abilities come in two forms, Natural and Acquired.
1) Natural abilities are God-given at birth, they include things like I.Q., a measure of health and strength, musical talents, the ability to sing well, linguistic abilities, mechanical aptitudes, etc.
2) Acquired abilities are things like cooking, sewing, driving a car, learning a language, learning to play an instrument, learning about business or financials, etc.
While we may tend to take such skills or abilities for granted, remember that, many people in the world have few opportunities to acquire skills beyond their natural abilities.
However, with both our natural talents and abilities, we may have been able to acquire, the believer should inform himself or herself of the total package of these various abilities that God has placed in their life so that they can potentially utilize them in conjunction with their spiritual gift. In other words, you should take inventory to know what stock you have available for the Lord’s use. Just going through the process of self-evaluation, taking inventory of your abilities periodically, may help you ascertain what areas of service you ought to explore.
When you recognize the total package you have, you can then sharpen your talents, acquire new skills if necessary, and work on the development of your spiritual gift. For example:
a) If you think you may have the gift of teaching, then it will be necessary to study the Word of God in greater detail than just for personal application, learn Biblical Greek and Hebrew, develop your writing skills, etc. The ability to communicate may be more directly given as part of your spiritual gift, but even that skill can be sharpened by education. Nevertheless, the content of which you will be teaching, (Bible Doctrine), must be learned.
b) If you think you have the gift of giving, then you should work on being a good steward in all areas of life, 1 Cor 4:2, so that you have the means to be able to give and give wisely. The ability to be generous is God-given, but to have the wherewithal with which to be generous requires discipline in financial affairs.
c) The gift of evangelism in the early Church not only involved the preaching of the Good News, but also itinerating, (moving / traveling from place to place), with the message. To be able to do this may involve paying special attention to one’s health, in order to have the stamina to travel in spreading the Gospel, and living a life of flexibility with few anchors holding you back.
d) If one has the gift of exhortation, it certainly should be based on Biblical knowledge and not the latest trends in psychology, which are constantly changing. The only valid and worthwhile exhortation must be rooted in Biblical truths. And, of course, to have Biblical knowledge requires consistent study of God’s Word.
These are just a few examples of recognizing the natural or acquired talents or abilities you have, compared to what you might need in order to serve with your spiritual gift. Once you have done the evaluation of your natural talents and acquired skills, you can then determine what else you may need to acquire in order to maximize your effectiveness in the application of your spiritual gift.
Nonetheless, as mentioned above, the first thing we all need in order to maximize the effectiveness of our spiritual gift is God’s Word resident within our souls. Therefore, we need to objectively assess the amount of Bible doctrine we have stored within our souls, and continue to receive more and more of it from our right Pastor-Teacher.
- Do not attempt to discern your gift by comparing your service / ministry with those of others.
We should never try to determine if we have a certain spiritual gift on the basis of our specific ministry compared to that of other believers. Often, we define spiritual gifts in terms of the ministry of well-known servants of God like Billy Graham, who obviously has the gift of evangelism, or Pastor Robert Thieme, Jr. who had the gift of Pastor Teacher. Even though these men had those gifts and excelled in them with a specific ministry and effect, we should never compare ourselves to them and think that if we do not have the same impact, personality, charisma, speaking ability, knowledge, etc. as they did, that we do not have that gift.
We have to keep in mind 1 Cor 12:5-6, that there are “varieties of ministries and effects” that God has designed our gift to be used for. We need to recognize that there are additional factors to consider other than just the gift itself.
Each Christian possesses a spiritual gift. They also have a specific ministry and a particular degree of effectiveness in how God will use their gift. We are all part of the body of Christ and God uses the entire body to reach the world and serve His body. You might conclude that you do not have the gift of evangelism simply because you do not preach to large audiences from a stadium and have thousands respond. In this case, you may be wrongly comparing your ministry and effectiveness with some of the “giants” of the Christian faith, 2 Cor 10:7-18.
2 Cor 10:7, “You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we.”
We know from 1 Cor 12:4-6, that there are not only diversities of gifts, but also of ministries, and of levels of effectiveness. Out of 100 men who are gifted as evangelists, only 10 may have a public ministry, and only 1 may have a ministry of national or international prominence. It is wrong for the 99 to conclude that they do not possess the gift of evangelism because another believer has a prominent public ministry in which many come to Christ. We must be very careful to define spiritual gifts from Scripture and not from the experiences of others.
Only a few others in your local assembly may possess your particular spiritual gift. Among those who possess the same gift, each will have a unique ministry. Your gift will be expressed in a certain environment, deployed through your personality and individuality. With all things being equal, even those whose gifts are identical with yours and whose ministry is similar will have differing degrees of effectiveness. Remember effectiveness does not translate directly into successfulness in God’s eyes. It is not a measure of servant-hood. Effectiveness is merely God’s plan and will for the faithful servant.
The Warning Against Desiring Spiritual Success
by Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.
“Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you …” (Luke 10:20).
“Worldliness is not the trap that most endangers us as Christian workers; nor is it sin. The trap we fall into is extravagantly desiring spiritual success; that is, success measured by, and patterned after, the form set by this religious age in which we now live. Never seek after anything other than the approval of God, and always be willing to go “outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrews 13:13). In Luke 10:20, Jesus told the disciples not to rejoice in successful service, and yet this seems to be the one thing in which most of us do rejoice. We have a commercialized view—we count how many souls have been saved and sanctified, we thank God, and then we think everything is all right. Yet our work only begins where God’s grace has laid the foundation. Our work is not to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace, and our work as His disciples is to disciple others’ lives until they are totally yielded to God. One life totally devoted to God is of more value to Him than one hundred lives which have been simply awakened by His Spirit. As workers for God, we must reproduce our own kind spiritually, and those lives will be God’s testimony to us as His workers. God brings us up to a standard of life through His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that same standard in others.
Unless the worker lives a life that “is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), he is apt to become
an irritating dictator to others, instead of an active, living disciple. Many of us are dictators, dictating our desires to individuals and to groups. But Jesus never dictates to us in that way. Whenever our Lord talked about discipleship, He always prefaced His words with an “if,” never with the forceful or dogmatic statement—“You must.” Discipleship carries with it an option.”
The point is this. You cannot determine your gift merely by studying this subject in the Bible. You must find your gift and specific service by ministering, and by obeying the commands of Scripture to serve one another. You cannot identify your gift by comparing yourself with others because the ministry of every Christian is unique. While some may have the same gift, their ministries and relative effective-ness will differ.
1 Peter 4:10-11, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Peter tells us that every Christian has received a spiritual gift and that we are stewards of this “grace” of God. To be a good steward of your spiritual gift you must know what your gift is. Not knowing your gift is like being in charge of a man’s investments without knowing what he has in the bank. You must know the gift that God has bestowed upon you to be a faithful steward and it is discovered by ministering to one another.
- Some specific action to discover your Spiritual Gift.
1) Pray, ask God to make your ministry and your gift evident. 1 Cor 14:13, (an example of prayer regarding a temporary gift); Phil 4:6.
2) Study the Scriptures, note the commands of the Bible, and ask God to give you insight into specific ways you may put the imperatives of the Bible into practice. 2 Tim 2:15, “Study to show yourself approved to God, as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately, (rightly dividing), the Word of truth.”
3) Look for needs around you, and consider how you may meet those needs, 1 Cor 10:24; 14:12, “So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.”
4) Always be sure you are filled with the Spirit when entering into service. You cannot exercise your Spiritual Gift without the filling of God the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18-21.
5) Listen to what others are telling you regarding your gift. Many times it becomes evident to others well before it becomes evident to you, 1 Tim 1:18; 2 Tim 1:6.
1 Tim 1:18, “This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight.”
2 Tim 1:6, “And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
Take the initiative to get to know others and their needs and stop waiting for people to have you over. Begin to seek ways of serving others. Before you begin each day, consider a particular place that you are going to and serve as the moment presents itself.
God’s Coffee, Unknown
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: ‘If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups… and then you began eyeing each other’s cups.
Now consider this: Your spiritual life is the coffee and your Spiritual Gifts are the cups. They are just tools to function in your Spiritual Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Spiritual Life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us. ‘God brews the coffee, and has given you a cup. Don’t look for better cups; utilize the one you have been given and enjoy your coffee!’
Spiritual Gift: A supernatural endowment of the Holy Spirit, whereby every Christian is empowered to perform a certain function which edifies the Church and glorifies God, Rom 12:3-8; 1 Cor 12:4ff.
Specific Service: That unique service / ministry for which each Christian has been gifted and to which he or she is called, Rom 12:6-8; Col 4:17; 2 Tim 4:5.
General Service: The commands regarding the obligations to serve for which all Christians are responsible, regardless of gift or calling, Rom 12:9-15; Gal 6:2, 6, 10.
- Romans chapter 8 gives great encouragement to the servant of God by reminding us of what God has accomplished on our behalf and the freedom we have.
A servant should be bold in his discipleship to exercise his spiritual gift not being held under slavery to sin but living in the freedom of the Royal Family of God.
Having noted the Doctrine of Spiritual Gifts, we move on in vs. 11, to explore the four communication grace gifts Jesus Christ gave to the Church for its edification. These four gifts are a part of His agency in the filling of all things, especially the Church with Bible Doctrine for its edification.
Eph 4:11, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.”
The four spiritual gifts mentions here are Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, and Pastor-Teachers. As noted above, the first two were temporary spiritual gifts of the pre-Canon era of the Church Age, and the last two are permanent spiritual gifts for the entire Church Age.
In the Greek it reads, “KAI AUTOS EDOKEN TOUS MEN APOSTOLOUS, TOUS DE PROPHETAS, TOUS DE EUANGELISTAS, TOUS DE POIMENAS KAI DIDASKALOUS.”
Pastors and Teachers are demeaned to be one gift not two, due to the contexts of this passage in comparison with others in the NT, where POIMEN, shepherds, and DIDASKALOS, teachers, are both instructed to “teach” the Word of God to the Church as the means of feeding them, guiding them and protecting them, Rom 12:7; 1 Cor 12:28-29; Heb 5:12; James 3:1; cf. John 21:16; Acts 20:28; 1 Cor 9:7; 1 Peter 5:2. Pastor is an old English word for shepherd.
In addition, the construction of this sentence has also led many to view them as one gift. Some view the KAI between Pastor and Teacher to be used as an Ascensive Conjunction of KAI that typically means, “even,” but is simply a hyphen. There are no such punctuation markings in ancient languages, therefore KAI sometimes acts as a hyphen and shows that Pastor is only a part of the title and that this is a hyphenated gift.
Many also quote the Granville Sharp rule as the determining factor, yet strictly speaking, Sharp’s rule only absolutely applies to Nouns or Pronouns in the singular case, whereas these are in the plural. It is possible that the rule applies here, but it does not follow the traditional definition of the Sharp rule. It is more likely from the NT context that these are one gift rather than from the construction, although the construct gives it credence too. (See Daniel Wallace’s discussion on this in “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics,” Pg. 270-284.)
The First Communication Gift of Authority, The Temporary Gift of Apostle.
Definition and Etymology:
APOSTOLOS, ἀπόστολος is an Attic Greek word originally used for a high‑ranking admiral or general officer chosen by a counsel to command either an army or an Athenian fleet on a military expedition, generally against the Spartans. Therefore, it was an admiral, supreme commander, or one who has the highest rank. It was also used for whoever was in command of a band of Greek colonists when they would leave Athens and go elsewhere to establish a Greek colony. The governor of the founded colony was called an APOSTOLOS.
APOSTOLOS is a Greek noun from the verb APOSTELLOO that is a compound word from the Preposition APO meaning, “from, off, or away from,” and STELLOMAI a primary verb meaning, “to put something in order, to prepare, to arrange, gather up, etc.” Therefore, APSOTELLOO comes to mean, “to send out, forth, or away.” Likewise, APOSTOLOS comes to mean, “one who is sent, a messenger, or one sent on a mission.” It is transliterated and used for an apostle who generally was a delegate; specifically an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ, (sometimes with miraculous powers), or for the gift of Apostle. We noted this word in John 13:16 for “one who is sent” in reference to our Lord who was sent by the Father.
Apostle was a unique spiritual gift, 1 Cor 12:11, 28, Eph 4:11. It was the first and highest of all spiritual gifts ever given. This gift had maximum command authority appointed through the sovereign decision of:
- God the Father, Rom 1:1.
- Jesus Christ provides the spiritual gifts, Eph 4:11.
- The Holy Spirit matches the gift to the individual, 1 Cor 12:11.
The qualification for being an Apostle included:
- Seeing the Lord and being an eyewitness to His resurrection, Acts 1:2, 22; 1 Cor 9:1.
- Being invested with miraculous sign-gifts, Acts 5:15-16; Heb 2:3-4.
- Being chosen by the Lord and the Holy Spirit, Mat 10:1-2; Acts 1:2; Eph 4:11.
The term apostle was used for the original twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, including Judas Iscariot. The list of the original 12 disciples is found in Mat 10:2-4; Luke 6:13-16. These were the apostles to Israel. Yet, the Bible distinguishes between the apostles to Israel, the original 12, and the apostles to the Church, that includes Paul who replaced Judas Iscariot according to 1 Cor 15:7‑10.
This is not to be confused with the term apostle that is used in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers like Barnabas, Timothy, and Silvanus for the early establishment of the Church. Others were given delegated authority and therefore occasionally had apostolic authority without having the gift. For example, Barnabas, Acts 14:14; Gal 2:9, and James, the Lord’s half-brother, 1 Cor 15:7; Gal 1:19. James was not an apostle but he was given the authority of an apostle to write the book of James. Apollos, 1 Cor 4:6, 9. Sylvanus and Timothy, 2 Thes 1:1; 2:6.
The 12 Apostles to the church were given the gift of Apostle to establish the Church and exercised absolute authority over the churches until the Canon of Scripture was completed. The Canon is now the absolute authority. The spiritual gift of apostleship carried fantastic absolute authority. It was designed for two purposes.
- The formation of the canon of scripture, the New Testament. This absolute authority was restricted to the pre‑canon period of the church age, from 30 to 96 A.D.
- Leadership in the pre-canon period of the church age. This involved the establishment of local churches, the clarification of the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age until the Canon was completed, the maintenance of a true systematic theology with dispensational emphasis, the training of Pastors, and the establishment of local church policy. The gift also functioned in sending out colonial apostles (super missionaries).
No gift of apostle was appointed to the Church until after the Ascension of Christ, Eph 4:8-11.
To qualify, as one of the twelve Apostles, one must be an eyewitness to the resurrected Christ, 1 Cor 9:1; 15:8-9.
1 Cor 9:1, “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?”
An apostle also had the temporary gifts of miracles, healing, speaking in tongues, etc. as signs and wonders for the Jews first and second as an identification card that they were from the Lord to establish the authority God gave them over the Church, Acts 5:15; 16:16-18; 28:8-9, 2 Cor 12:12. For example, Paul did not have the gift of healing at the end of his life, it was removed from him before he died, some ten years before, in 57 AD, 2 Cor 12:6-10; Phil 2:27; 2 Tim 4:20.
Apostles received direct revelation from God and communicated it to the Church. All revelation today is through the Word. All writers of the NT were either apostles or someone closely associated with an apostle, (e.g., Mark, Luke, James, and Jude). Once the Canon of Scripture was complete, (writing of Revelation), the gift of apostleship was withdrawn. The Canon of the NT became the basis and absolute criterion for the Christian way of life.
The spiritual gift of apostleship was temporary and discontinued after the completion of the Canon. The removal of this temporary gift began in the pre‑Canon period of the Church Age. There is no perpetuation of apostleship. No sons became apostles. We never receive anything in the Christian life through physical birth. Everything we have comes as a result of spiritual birth, regeneration. Therefore, today no one has the right to exercise authority over more than one church. Each local church should be self-sustaining and self-governing. No one has the gift of Apostle, nor should claim it.
The Apostle Code:
By aligning the list of Apostles given to us in Scripture, and understanding the definition of their name, we see a wonderful outline of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
From the list in Mat 10:2-4.
Jesus Christ – the rock the corner stone (of our faith), being all-powerful (in hypostatic union), the one who has supplanted sin, He is the gift of the grace and mercy of the Lord, the warrior on horseback, [Rev 19:11], (who won the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict), by becoming the curse (sin) for man, [Gen 3:17ff], in the likeness of Adam, [Rom 5:12-17], the gift of God who will come to collect His just due at the resurrection, [1 Cor 15:20-22], supplanting our sinful flesh by changing, (becoming a man). He is the courageous one. Praise God for His gift, the corner stone for all who hear and obey, (confess the name of the Lord). Praise the Lord you men of the world.
From the list in Acts 1:13 that is arranged slightly different and has the removal of Judas Iscariot and the adding in of Paul, in bold below.
Jesus Christ – the corner stone gift of the grace and mercy of the Lord, who has supplanted sin, (as our substitute), being all-powerful, (in hypostatic union), the warrior on horseback, (who won the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict), in the likeness of Adam, by becoming the curse, (sin), for man, the gift of God, supplanting our sinful flesh by changing, (becoming a man). The corner stone for all who hear and obey, (confess the name of the Lord), praise God for his substitution, little ones.
The Second Communication Gift of Authority, The Temporary Gift of Prophet.
Definition and Etymology:
“Prophet” is the Greek noun PROPHETES, προφήτης, which like Apostle, is transliterated into the English as Prophet. The term PROPHETES is related to the verbal form PROPHEMI, “to say, to foretell.” Because of the temporal force of the PRO prefix, PROPHETES is often interpreted as “one who foretells, a fortune-teller, or one who is divinely enabled to look into the future.” That definition is too narrow. As early as the classical period PROPHETES simply denoted a “preacher or speaker,” as PROPHETEIA meant, “prophecy, or an oracular response.”
This gift was second in order of merit for the Church, and is so listed in 1 Cor 12:28. It is also mentioned in Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:10; 14:1‑40, where it is presented in contrast to the gift of tongues.
The gift of Prophet was given to males only and had a limited teaching ministry related to contemporary events; that is why they are called “prophets and teachers” in Acts 13:1. Foretelling was an important dimension of prophecy, e.g., Deut 13:1f.; 18:21-22. Yet, a prophet in the Biblical sense of the term is someone more than a person who prophesies the future. A prophet proclaimed the Word of God to the people in response to a Divine call. At the center of the prophet’s urgency to speak for God, especially in the Old Testament, is often a circumstance of the day that God is addressing. The Lord used the Prophets in the OT to bring His people into conformity with the Covenant and His will.
Old Testament prophets were national leaders, especially in times of crisis. In times of prosperity, they were the final authority on Bible doctrine. Elijah and Isaiah are among many of the great national leaders who were prophets in the OT. However, this gift for the early Church Age was not related to national leadership. The gift of Prophecy was not a national leader like that of the OT prophets. Those with the gift of prophecy in the Church Age only functioned within the realm of the Church.
As a spiritual gift of the Church Age, the Prophets spoke as inspired by the Spirit of God the Mystery Doctrines for the Church Age, which also included eschatology, 1 Cor 13:2. The Prophet was a minister to the Church, 1 Cor 14:4, 22, and ordinarily spoke a message of “edification, and exhortation, and consolation,” 1 Cor 14:3. Occasionally he was empowered to make an authoritative announcement of the Divine will in a particular case, Acts 13:1ff., and in rare instances he uttered a prediction of a future event, Acts 11:28; 21:10f. Because of the tremendous amount of eschatology in the NT epistles, it is obvious that the writers who were apostles also had the gift of Prophecy.
Even so, in the New Testament, the gift of Prophet continued to foretell future events, including messages of Divine guidance or a warning of judgment, or a prediction about the immediate future. For example, Agabus’ prophecy of a famine, Acts 11:28, and what awaited Paul in Jerusalem, Acts 21:10f. In addition, others like Silas and Judas, (not Iscariot), had the gift of prophecy, Acts 15:32; as did some in the church at Antioch including Barnabus, Acts 13:1.
Therefore, a NT prophet was one who proclaimed the Word of God, Acts 11:28; Eph 3:5. Believers in the early Church did not possess Bibles, nor was the NT written and completed. How then, would these local assemblies discover God’s will? His Spirit would share God’s truth with those possessing the gift of Prophecy. Paul suggests that the gift of Prophecy had to do with understanding “all mysteries and all knowledge,” 1 Cor 13:2, meaning spiritual truths.
In exercising the temporary spiritual gift of Prophecy, the Prophet received his message from God, or he declared God’s will to someone in terms of prophecy, i.e., in terms of future events. The prophecy also had to be doctrinally accurate. Paul’s outline of the gift of Prophecy in 1 Cor 14:3, as noted above, emphasizes the functional nature of prophecy as “edification, exhortation, and consolation.” They, together with the apostles, were instrumental in revealing the “Mystery of Christ” with a fullness of revelation not known before, Eph 3:4-5.
Prophecy did not involve a state of ecstasy or any relinquishing of the Prophet’s own personality and will, or any identification of the Prophet as possessed by God. The Prophet could control himself, as Paul wrote to advise them to have control over their prophetic words, 1 Cor 14:29-33.
False prophecies and Prophets were to be distinguished from genuine. This was to be carried out by those Spirit-filled believers who were present, 1 Cor 14:29, especially by those with another of the temporary gifts, Discerning of Spirits, 1 Cor 12:10; cf. 1 John 4:1-2.
Philip’s daughters are said to have prophesied in Acts 21:9 which presents a problem, because the four daughters of Philip the evangelist are said to “be prophesying” in the Present, Active, Participle. However, they did not have a spiritual gift. Therefore, we must distinguish between people permitted by God to prophesize, and those who had the spiritual gift of Prophecy; similar to that of those who had the gift of Apostle, compared to various others who were called apostles in the missionary sense. No record of their prophecies is ever given, and obviously, they did not have the spiritual gift of Prophecy.
Christians today do not get their spiritual knowledge immediately from the Holy Spirit through Prophets, but mediately through the Spirit teaching the Word via the Pastor-Teacher. With the Apostles, the Prophets had a foundational ministry in the early Church, yet they are not needed today, Eph 2:20. As such, the gift did not extend into the post‑Canon period because of the doctrine of historical trends. Every function of the gift of Prophecy during the pre‑Canon period is fulfilled by the doctrine of historical trends during the post‑Canon period. By metabolizing Bible doctrine in your soul, you become your own prophet. Therefore, with the completion of the Canon of Scripture in A.D. 96, and its gradual circulation, temporary gifts of communication ceased to exist. They were replaced by the permanent communication gifts of Evangelist and Pastor-Teacher.
The Third Communication Gift of Authority, The Permanent Gift of Evangelist.
Definition and Etymology:
“Evangelist” is the Greek noun EUAGGELISTES, εὐαγγελιστής that is related to the verb EUAGGELIZO that means, “Bring or announce good news, proclaim, or preach (the gospel).” The double G, (γγ), in Greek is equivalent to “ng” in English and is pronounced as such.
EUAGGELISTES is a compound word from EU that means, “good or well” and AGGELLO that means, “announce, proclaim, report, or bear a message.” So EUANGELISTES denotes a “preacher or proclaimer of good news,” (i.e., the gospel of Jesus Christ), and is transliterated into English as “Evangelist.”
In secular use, this word identified one who proclaimed “oracular announce-ments.” It was used for bringing news, especially of a victory in war or some other joyous event, in person or by letter. It carried the idea of fate. As such, the term became a technical one for “news of victory.”
Except in Church writings, this is a rare word. It occurs three times in the New Testament: referring to Philip as “the evangelist,” Acts 21:8, (the only Evangelist named), to Christ’s gift of “evangelists” to the Church, Eph 4:11, and to Timothy, who was the Pastor-Teacher at Ephesus, who was to do the work of an “announcer of the gospel,” 2 Tim 4:5. Epaphras no doubt also falls into this category, Col 1:4-7. The term denotes a function, which Apostles also exercised, though not all who had the gift of Evangelist were Apostles.
Being “bearers of the Good News,” the Evangelist does not proclaim oracles, as among the Greeks, but the good news of salvation in Christ, Rom 10:15. It is the supernatural ability to effectively communicate the gospel and win the lost to Christ with exceptional clarity. Also included in this is the idea that the ministry of an Evangelist was itinerant, and it might be performed publicly or privately.
While the gift of Pastor‑Teacher communicates the whole realm of Bible doctrine inside the local church, the gift of Evangelism is designed to communicate the gospel outside the local church. By its title, it is clear that this gift has reference to effective preaching of the gospel message to the unsaved, and as such, it is to be compared to the teaching gift of Pastor-Teacher, which gives instruction to the saved. Therefore, Evangelists are not primarily Gospel compilers, but missionaries who pioneer outreach in areas where the faith has not yet been proclaimed.
Like the other three communication gifts in Eph 4:11, only male believers receive the gift of Evangelism. Their gift is the God-given ability to communicate the gospel in a manner that holds the unbeliever’s attention, where people will gather or assemble to listen to the presentation of the gospel. These unbelievers will give attention and listen to the evangelist, where they would not listen to anyone else, cf. Acts 11:19-21.
The Evangelist exercises his spiritual gift in a group of unbelievers. His gift is designed to reach the unreachable with the gospel message. It is the ability to teach and express the gospel so that unbelievers will listen and have a clear understanding of the issue of salvation; i.e., that faith in Christ means eternal life, and that rejection of Christ means eternal condemnation.
Often, an evangelist will have a speaking talent that goes with his gift, but it is the gift that creates the opportunity for unbelievers to give it a hearing. When this spiritual gift functions, the unbeliever will listen to the gospel almost by compulsion, as the man with this gift is sensational in his communication of the gospel to the unbeliever. He is a sensational speaker with a sensational personality; this is necessary in order to get a hearing from unbelievers.
Philip, as an example of an Evangelist, was a traveling missionary. He went from Jerusalem to preach in Samaria and was on the road to Gaza when he met the eunuch whom he baptized, Acts 8:5f., 26f.. He afterwards came to Azotus, (known as Ashdod today), and passing through, he preached the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea, Acts 8:40. Those like Philip, who acted as missionaries to the Gentiles in the early Church and went to those who never heard the gospel, were also called Evangelists.
Pastors do not have this gift, but they are mandated to do the work of an evangelist in 2 Tim 4:5, “Do the work of an evangelist.” Although Timothy was ministering for a while at the church of Ephesus, he was not to forget the work of an Evangelist; preaching the gospel to unbelievers. A local ministry should never in any way neglect evangelism. In addition, every Evangelist should be part of a local assembly and must continue to learn Bible doctrine from his own Pastor-Teacher so that he is better prepared to witness the gospel message.
Likewise, all believers are mandated to evangelize in 2 Cor 5:19-20. Jesus gave the “Great Commission” to the Apostles in order to evangelize the world, Acts 1:8, “And you shall be my witnesses,” cf. Mat 28:19-20; Eph 6:20. This work continues through all believers today. This is because, as a Royal Ambassador, every believer represents God before the human race. 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 all are called to bring the gospel to the lost by whatever means may be at their disposal, and accordingly, like Timothy, should do the work of an evangelist, it is the sovereign purpose of God that certain men should have a special gift in evangelism. Never the less, it is necessary that all believers personally witness for Christ and give the message of reconciliation as opportunity presents itself.
The Apostles and prophets laid thefoundation of the Church, and Evangelists continue to build on to it, by winning the lost to Christ.
If you would like more information on this subject, you may order lesson:
#’s 16-093 through 16-095
A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.
To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!