A. Faithful evangelists have some authority, within the work of a local congregation, expected to be rightly executed according to the Lord’s will (II Timothy 4:1-5).
- Authority to preach the word (Titus 2:1; 2:15).
- Limited by the spirituality of the membership of the congregation (I Corinthians 3:1-3).
- Limited by the spiritual growth of the membership of the congregation (Hebrews 5:5-14).
- Limited by the readiness to hear by the membership of the congregation (Mark 4:33-34).
- The authority to watch is not unique to evangelists (I Thessalonians 5:1-6 and Jude 1:3-4).
- Authority to prevent error from being taught/practiced (I Timothy 1:3-7 and Titus 1:10-14).
- Authority to set things in order and appoint elders (Titus 1:5).
- As saints and members of congregations, evangelists are not exempt from what others are expected to do (i.e. Romans 12:9-16, Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 5:22-6:4, I Timothy 5:8, etc.).
- Like all saints, evangelists are expected to use their talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
- Evangelists are supposed to practice what they preach (Romans 2:1-3).
II. Body: Yet, Evangelists Are NOT Shepherds Of The Flock (I Peter 5:1-4).
A. Evangelists are limited (I Corinthians 4:1-6).
- Evangelists are not pastors or apostles (Ephesians 4:11), though some served in the past in multiple offices [i.e. Peter].
- Limited to teach what was taught (I Corinthians 4:17 and II Timothy 2:1-4).
- An example of how evangelists are limited… An evangelist may see the lack of spiritual growth in members in a congregation. He may desire to have more classes than are currently in place. He may desire to teach night and day (Acts 20:31). Yet, he is not a shepherd. He has no more or less authority than any member to set meeting times. He has no rule!
- Without elders, no one is standing in the place of Hebrews 13:17.
- Of course, no one is permitted to instruct in addition to what is written (Galatians 1:8-9), but elders have authority to shepherd within the confines of the written word.
- For an example of this rule… Saints MUST assemble on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7 and I Corinthians 16:1-4; cf. Hebrews 10:22-25). However, saints MAY assemble as often as every day (Acts 2:46; cf. Hebrews 3:13). Qualified shepherds determine what is fit and expedient for each local flock. They can bind such as they have the rule.
- For this to be effective, there has to be mutual humility (I Peter 5:5-6).
- Not allowing anyone, evangelists included, to become a modern day “Diotrephes” (III John 1:9-11).
- The mindset of service to each other (Philippians 2:1-11).
- As in all things, even with elders, the Scriptures must be the standard (Colossians 3:16-17 and II Timothy 3:15-17).
- Thinking of when and how often we assemble, that is up to us all collectively. We have no guidance without elders. This is a weakness that only qualified elders can fix. Herein is a HUGE problem. When we are only left with equal authority and submission to each other; the weakest members have the same role in those decisions of expedient matters as the most mature. It would be sinful to ignore them and press on without them (I Corinthians 12:14-27).
III. Conclusion: Evangelists are not authorized or qualified to shepherd the flock of God. Don’t be complacent (Amos 6:1) and allow such to take place here now or in the future. At the same time, let’s work to grow and hopefully grind out some mature men to be future elders!
*Obviously this lesson was about the work of evangelists within the local congregation. This is not a lesson about the entire work of an evangelist. Further study material is found biblically in I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus.
© 1999-2020 Brian A. Yeager