11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
“Evangelists” are catalysts for spreading the gospel. Those with this gift have a unique ability to reach the lost. Although all of us have the responsibility of evangelism, not all of us have the gift of evangelism.
Different from apostles and prophets, the gifts of “evangelist” and “pastor-teacher” are still operative for today.
An evangelist catalytically makes the gospel compelling.
The word “evangelist” occurs just three times in the New Testament (Ac 21:8). Paul told Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist (2 Ti 4:5). An evangelist is someone who can present the gospel in a compelling way so that some come to Christ. Billy Graham is a prime example of this. However, an evangelist may not be a public communicator but someone who shares Christ one-to-one. Evangelists are also missionaries, both at home and overseas (Ac 21:8; 8:6-40; 2 Ti 4:5).
The New Testament does not identify evangelists as foundational to the church (Eph 2:20). Nonetheless this gift was important to the church (1 Co 12:28).
In your article entitled “Spiritual Gifts” when describing the gift of evangelism you have Billy Graham as an example. Im not too familiar with his preaching but what is posted on the Billy Graham website is that it takes more than simple child like faith the the cross for the forgiveness of your sins is needed for salvation). I just wanted to make you aware!
(Copied and pasted from billygraham.org): ⬇️⬇️
Do you understand God’s plan of salvation?
There are certain points we all need to understand about the heart of the Good News of Christ.
First, all are sinners and stand under the judgment of God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NIV). We might believe that we are good enough to win God’s favor or that we can perform certain religious acts to counterbalance our bad deeds. But the Bible states that we are all condemned, for “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10, NIV).
Second, we need to understand what Christ has done to make our salvation possible. God loves us, and Christ came to make forgiveness and salvation possible. What did He do? He died on the cross as the complete sacrifice for our sins. He took upon Himself the judgment that we deserve.
Third, we need to respond to God’s work. God in His grace offers us the gift of eternal life. But like any gift, it becomes ours only when we take it.
We must repent of our sins. Repentance carries with it the idea of confession, sorrow, turning and changing. We cannot ask forgiveness over and over again for our sins and then return to those sins, expecting God to forgive us. We must turn from our practice of sin as best we know how, and turn by faith to Christ as our Lord and Savior. “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV). Christ invites us to come to Him, and God has promised, “to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12, NIV).
Fourth, we must understand the cost of coming to Christ and following Christ. Jesus constantly called upon those who would follow Him to count the cost. A person must determine to leave his sins behind and turn from them. Some people may be unwilling to do so. And there may be other costs as well when we decide to follow Christ. In some cultures, a person who turns to Christ may be disowned by family, alienated from social life, imprisoned or even killed.
The ultimate cost of true discipleship is the cost of renouncing self: self-will, self-plans, self-motivations. Christ is to be Lord of our lives. Jesus declared, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23, NIV). Jesus does not call us to a life of selfish comfort and ease–He calls us to a battle! He calls us to give up our own plans and to follow Him without reserve–even to death.
Yes, it costs to follow Christ. But it also costs not to follow Christ. It cost the Apostle Paul the prestige of a high-level position in the Jewish nation. But he declared, “whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3:7-8, NIV). Christ calls men and women not only to trust Him as Savior, but also to follow Him as Lord.
Fifth, salvation is intimately linked to the cross. The man who hung there between two thieves was without sin. His virgin birth, by the miraculous intervention of the Holy Spirit, meant that He did not inherit a sinful human nature. Neither did He commit any sin during His lifetime. Mary gave birth to the only perfect child. He became the only perfect man. As such, He was uniquely qualified to put into action God’s plan of salvation for mankind.
Why was Calvary’s cross so special, so different from hundreds of other crosses used for Roman executions? It was because on that cross Jesus suffered the punishment for sin that we all deserve. He was our Substitute. He suffered the judgment and condemnation of death that our sinful nature and deeds deserve. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV).
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2, NIV). Paul knew there was a built-in power in the cross and the resurrection.
I remember a meeting early in my ministry when I walked away from where I was preaching, disheartened and disappointed. A businessman who was with me asked me if I knew what was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it until he told me. “Billy,” he said, “you didn’t preach the cross!”
He was right. The message had been theologically sound, and I had preached it as best I knew how. But that vital ingredient was missing. I learned my lesson. From that day to this, I have never preached an evangelistic message without pointing the listeners to the cross.
Finally, faith is essential for salvation. But we must be absolutely clear on what we mean when we speak of “salvation by faith.” There are various kinds of belief or faith, and not all are linked to salvation. In the New Testament, faith means more than intellectual belief. It involves trust and commitment. I may say that I believe a bridge will hold my weight. But I really believe it only when I commit myself to it and walk across it. Saving faith involves an act of commitment and trust, in which I commit my life to Jesus Christ and trust Him alone as my Savior and Lord.
A Personal Example
Let me use a personal example to illustrate this. When I first met Ruth, my future wife, I began to learn things about her–born in China, the daughter of medical missionaries and so on. As time went on, I learned more about her personality and character, and I fell in love with her.
But we were not yet married. We became husband and wife only when we took a definite step of commitment to each other on our wedding day.
In the same way, saving faith is a commitment to Jesus as Savior and Lord. It is a personal and individual decision. It is more than assent to historical or theological truth given to us in God’s Word. It is faith in the promises of God that all who trust in Christ will not perish but have eternal life.
That is truly good news.
How to Receive Christ
I hope this message has helped you to understand what Jesus Christ has done to save us and what our response must be. If you are not sure that you are right with God, you can be sure–right now.
Remember, we must admit that we are sinners. We must turn away from our sins and to Christ. We must trust Him as our Savior and follow Him as our Lord. God promises that when we do this, He will save us and make us His children, and we will live with Him forever.
Will you turn to Christ now?
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This message is adapted from “A Biblical Standard for Evangelists,” by Billy Graham, ©1984 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, published by World Wide Publications, Charlotte, N.C. Bible verses marked NIV are taken by permission from The Holy Bible, New International Version, copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, Colorado Springs, Colorado. ©Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Scott, yes, I have been concerned about Graham’s view of salvation for decades and even his (while he was alive) resistance to correction on the issue. However, is an example of an evangelist and I view him as an evangelical.
Grant sorry I posted 1 John 4:1 twice above!.
Here is your commentary onJohn 6:29-29 “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
“Work the works” is a Hebraism meaning that this group was oriented to works salvation. The people missed Jesus’ point of salvation by grace. They assumed that they could do something to gain God’s approval. They thought the action to which Jesus referred was action demanded by God so that they could be saved. This was to miss the point that eternal life is something given rather than something worked for.
Ro 10: 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
The Jews expressed no doubt about their ability to do the “works of God.” They had difficulty in understanding that eternal life was a gift. They could not fully grasp the grace of God.
Jesus answered and said to them,
Jesus unequivocally challenged their assumption about a salvation whereby one could work for it (Eph 2:8-9; Ti 3:5).
“This is the work [undertaking] of God,
The crowd spoke of “works” but Jesus spoke of a “work.” There is only one “work” that is required from God for salvation, the work of faith. This “work” lies as the sole prerequisite for salvation. The work of God is not what man does for God but the reception of what God has done for people.
that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
Believing in Jesus is God’s only qualification for our salvation. Man is totally unable to save himself. Jesus reversed the crowd’s question of how we shall work the works of God to a question of belief.
Belief in Jesus is to believe in a coherent object.
Jesus is the supreme object of our faith. He is the one whom the Father sent. As the Son He spent eternity in the presence of the Father. The Father sent this Son. It is He who is to be believed to receive eternal life. Those who listen to Jesus cannot dodge His claims.
Jesus said in this verse that to believe in the Messiah is “the work of God.” All salvation is by grace and therefore a “gift” from God (Eph 2:8). This is faith apart from the works of the law (Ro 3:28).
The “work of God” is not what we do but what God does for our salvation. Our role is simply to believe His work on our behalf. Faith brings no merit to God. We come to God empty so that He can fill us with His grace.
Scott, the argument of Galatians is legalism among Christians. This is why the apostle Peter was rebuked by Paul in Galatians 2.
Grant referring to Billy Graham are you saying that he started out preaching the true free Grace gospel and then ended up teaching faith plus works, and it looks like his definition of Repentance is a Catholic view? There is an interview on you tube that Robert Schuller interviewed him and he said something like muslims and other religions will be in heaven (universalism) you tude entitled: (Billy Graham Denies Jesus Is The ONLY WAY To The Father
1.2M views11 years ago).
Is this meaning of (1 Timothy 1:9) Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck? What does shipwrecked faith mean since we cant lose are salvation? Thank you
Scott, I think most evangelical theologians believe that Graham believed in justification by faith alone. However, conservatives hold that he was confused on the subject of repentance–i.e., feel sorry for sins to becoming a Christian.
Those statements about Muslims to which you refer sent a shock wave across the evangelical bow. There was debate as to what he meant so some give him space on that issue. However, I personally do not see how they can be explained. Some think in his aging he became more confused and less precise but I cannot justify that either.
There is a debate among evangelical missionaries whether those who have never heard will be saved or lost. Some believe they will be saved based on the amount of content they have heard. I believe this goes astray from solid Bible teaching as well.
I’m so glad that Scott mentioned that infamous interview Billy Graham did with Robert Schuller, not to mention similar sessions Graham did with Larry King. Schuller was absolutely thrilled to hear Graham suggest that it doesn’t matter if a person knows who Jesus is or not, everyone is going to Heaven. Schuller’s response was, “So, there’s a wideness in God’s mercy!” Graham, in my view, destroyed some seven decades of his own ministry with his view of universal salvation. What was the point of all those crusades all over the globe all those years if everyone will be saved? I would love to hear Franklin Graham and all those left at the BGEA explain their way out of this!