What do you normally think of when you hear the word evangelist? Some people think of guys on television, others think of preachers that do Gospel Meetings. In the New Testament, the word is "euangelistes." So, like the Greek word, "baptisma," which means "immersion," it is brought over into English without being translated.
The word comes from the "angello" group of words, which carries the root meaning of "message." With the prefix, "eu," it becomes "good message." So, euangelion is good news, euangelizomai" means to tell or announce the good news, and euangelistes is a proclaimer of glad tidings. In secular use, these words were typically used for the message of victory or other news that causes joy, especially of news that brings fulfillment of hopes and longings for happiness and peace. If a war were over, an "evangelist" would bring the news of victory.
In the New Testament, these words describe the message of Christ's victory over sin and his offer of true life. The "evangelists" carried this message wherever they went. The first large-scale evangelism comes in Acts 8:4 where ordinary people went about everywhere preaching the word. In a short period of time, the Christian good news spread all over Rome, Africa, India, and Britain due to Christians going about everywhere preaching the word. In fact, some of the greatest growth of early Christianity came from Africa. Who do we know was going to Africa in Acts 8? It wasn't the Apostles who single-handedly took the good news to the world. They stayed in Jerusalem while everyone else went about preaching the world. So it was ordinary Christians who shared the good news.
Isn't that the nature of good news? It just has to be shared. If folks really believe and buy into good news, the excitement of good news spreads like wild fire whether people want to listen or not. The good news of Jesus Christ is not something to be confined to the church building.
Is there any reason to fear sharing the good news? If so, then one is for sure, if it is not the reverential fear of God, then this fear comes from some place other than God. There is nothing truly to fear. Some will accept it joyfully, others will not. That is the way it is with good news. As Christians, we are more interested in being faithful than in being comfortable. Our goal is to do what pleases God.
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"In the New Testament, these words describe the message of Christ's victory over sin and his offer of true life." --- Isn't it wonderful we can truthfully proclaim sentences such as this. Thanks for sharing. Thomas