Evangelism Should Lead to Building Christ Body

Evangelism Should Lead to Building Christ Body

"It is written..." (Matthew 4:6). But the Lord rejected the temptation by saying, "It is also written..." (Matthew 4:7). The whole purpose of God can be understood only when Scripture is compared with Scripture - when "It is written..." is read along with "It is also written...". Consider the matter of "the great commission".

Jesus commanded His disciples saying, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation" (Mark. 16:15). He also commanded them saying, "Go and make disciples of all nations…" (Matthew 28:19). These two commands are but two parts of ONE great commission. Only through a careful consideration of, and obedience to, both parts of this commission can we find and fulfill the whole will of god. The first step obviously is to go out and preach the gospel to everyone (Mark. 16:15). This command is not addressed to the individual believer, but to the whole body of Christ. It is humanly impossible for any single individual or any local parish by itself to preach the gospel to every human being in the whole world. Each of us can, at best, have but a small part in this task.

But that part, however small it be, we must fulfill. Here is where Acts 1:8 comes into the picture. Each believer must have the Holy Spirit coming upon him and enduing him with power, if he is to be an effective witness for Christ. What began at our confirmation must continue through our whole life as we share our faith. Note carefully, that all are not called to be evangelists (for Christ has given only some evangelists to His church - as Ephesians 4:11 makes clear), but all are called to be His witnesses.

An evangelist has a wider field of work than a witness. A witness has to proclaim Christ in the circle in which he moves and works - to relatives, neighbors, fellow workers in his office and to the others he comes across daily, to whom he may happen to be led to while traveling, etc. Here is where we can all be witnesses, whatever our earthly occupations may be. But Christ has also given evangelists to the church who have a wider ministry of reaching the lost. However, the evangelist's task is NOT merely that of 'winning souls' or 'bringing people to Christ' (as we commonly hear), but 'building up the body of Christ' (as Ephesians 4:11-12 makes plain).

The kind of evangelism that the apostles of our Lord engaged was one where they placed their converts into local parishes to be made into disciples and built up spiritually.

The five ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4:11(apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers) are listed in their order of priority in 1 Corinthians 12:28. There we are told, "God has appointed in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then gifts of healing (that seems to refers to evangelists, since all evangelists mentioned in New-Testament times had the gifts of healing), and then administrations (literally, 'those who steer the ships', referring to shepherds/pastors)."

This makes it clear that in God's eyes, the ministries of the apostle, prophet and teacher are more important to the building up of the body of Christ than that of the evangelist. The evangelist can find his proper place in his ministry only as he takes his appointed place in subjection to the ministries of the apostle, the prophet and the teacher. Only then can his ministry serve to the building up of the body of Christ. Here is where todays evangelism has gone astray from the Word of God.