He’s an Evangelist
Today begins a new chapter in the history of the congregation meeting here at Tomlinson Run. Paul and Coral are safely settled in their new location and their new work begins today. The same questions linger. Why did he leave? Wasn’t he happy here? Were we not at peace and improving spiritually? Didn’t he love us? Why did he feel compelled to go? I recently was privileged to sit at the feet of our aged brother, Sewell Hall, who described a similar circumstance. His experience helped put our situation into perspective. The answers to the questions above are obvious. Of course, he was happy. Yes, we are at peace. Yes, we continue to grow spiritually. Yes, he loves us. Why then did he leave? The reason simply is, he left because he’s an evangelist.
The duty of an evangelist is the role of one sent to a world in need of salvation. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Ro 10:12-15)
Preaching the good news is indeed a compulsion. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. (1Co 9:16, 17) I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2Ti 4:1-5)
The apostles received the following directive in what we know as the limited commission. “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. (Mt 10:7, 8) Preaching the gospel takes precedence over all else in this life. Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” (Lu 9:59, 60) Jesus was sorely missed after a long day of teaching and healing at Capernaum. Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons. (Mk 1:35-39) Jesus left heaven to preach the gospel! The evangelist can do no less than follow the instruction and example of his master.
Yes, we wish he had stayed. Yes, we miss him. Yes, we wonder what things will be like without him. Nevertheless, Paul, thank you for the time you labored here as evangelist, elder and friend. Go, do your work and fulfill your ministry. We will see you around the bend brother.
Ken Fleeman (2018-11-04)