Gospel preachers are in the public spotlight and that is exactly where God wants his faithful ministers. Sermons are delivered in the most public manner. Articles they write are read throughout the world. Their daily activities are watched and put to the test of hypocrisy due to the public nature of their work. Lives can be changed for the better or worse depending upon the content of the message proclaimed. The command of God is to “preach the word” not our personal convictions and opinions (2 Timothy 4:1-2). A preacher is disqualified from the work of an evangelist when he preaches or writes about his personal opinions and convictions as though they represent truth. Continue reading » Qualified and Disqualified Preachers
In 2 Timothy 4:5, the Apostle Paul exhorted young Timothy, “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” The admonition is serious, and any man who would take on the work should have an understanding of what God requires of him. It is also important that all Christians know what is the evangelist’s work.
Too many times I have heard the simplistic answer, “The evangelist is to evangelize!” The Greek word for evangelist means, “the bringer of good tidings … one who brings good news.” So, looking at the definition, the evangelist preaches the gospel to the lost. When this is contended, it is sometimes intended to limit the work of the evangelist to that single act, preaching to the lost.
Continue reading » The Work of an Evangelist
Behold a sower went out to sow. But before he cast a single seed, he got down on his knees and tested the soil. Here it was too dirty and there it had too much clay and over by the way it was too distant to consider. He tested more soil and decided it was unlikely to receive his seed positively and after a little while came to the conclusion that all the soil around him was infertile and so he went back and sat on the porch until he nearly starved. When his master returned, he was cast off the estate and punished for wasting his seeds and not trusting in their power.
Therefore, hear the parable of the soil tester: When anyone confronts his duty to share the gospel seed with others, he takes it in his heart and mouth and considers where he might sow it in the interest of being fruitful. Sadly, his master never instructed him to waste time testing the soil, but he believes it to be practical and wise to whittle down the field to a few likely spots. Yet all he sees are people in sin; he’s looking for people that don’t seem to need the gospel to share the gospel with! And he is surprised that he can’t find any!
The soil tester turns up his nose at the man with tattoos and the coworker who is trying to quit smoking. He judges everyone under the age of 30 to be too wild and everyone over the age of 30 to be too old to change their ways. At the end of the day, the soil tester has not sown a single seed, but he feels justified because it is the soil’s inadequacies that are to blame. When Jesus returns, however, he is found to have wasted his opportunities as a poor steward of the seeds and he is cast into outer darkness as an unprofitable servant.
Editor’s Note: This is the second of two articles recounting brother Holmes’ preaching trips to, primarily, the Pacific Northwest.
Jo Ann and I waited until the first of May in 1998 to leave for the Northwest again. We did this for two reasons. First, to give us time to “get over” the grueling task of the eleven month work in 1997 and second, I needed time to work on some material for the trip.
My first meeting on this trip was in Rock Springs, Wyoming. We had planned on leaving early Monday morning, but Jo Ann became very ill with a virus like condition that caused, among other things, severe vomiting and extreme weakness. I took her to our doctor Monday morning explaining our need to leave as soon as possible and he gave her some strong medication including something to “put her out” to overcome the vomiting. Though she was still not feeling “up to par”, we left on Wednesday and traveled hard as I was to begin the meeting in Rock Springs on Sunday.
Continue reading » Preaching in the Pacific Northwest – Report 2 (1998, 1999, 2001)
Editor’s Note: This is the first of two articles recounting brother Holmes’ preaching trips to, primarily, the Pacific Northwest.
On January 3rd, 1997, JoAnn (my wife) and I left our home in Duncanville Texas and spent eleven months on an extended preaching trip, at least half of it in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wisconsin and the province of Alberta Canada. The rest of the time was spent in my holding meetings in Ohio, Mississippi, W. Virginia and the south Texas area.
In preparation for the trip I resigned as an evangelist for the Dallas Avenue church in Lancaster Texas December 31, 1996 after fourteen years of the best local work of my almost fifty years of preaching. With the help of a working membership who helped to arrange Bible studies for me, I baptized over 100 souls into Christ during that time.
The eleven month trip in 1997 came about as a result of several years of preaching trips I had taken into Canada. Four days driving up and four days back home put me in contact with several souls who would ask, "Why can’t you come help us?". Most of these brethren had no preacher to work with them and were struggling. A burning desire to help these precious souls began to grow within me until finally I told Jo Ann and the elders at Dallas Avenue that I simply had to go before I grew too old and my health failed me.
Continue reading » Preaching in the Pacific Northwest: Report 1 (1997)
A Brief Tribute to Glenn Rogers
The Rio Grande Valley of Texas is that area along the US-Mexico border, from Rio Grande City at the upper end to Brownsville on the coast. The "Valley" includes Mission, McAllen, Edinburg and Harlingen, Texas (and several other small communities). In this region there are two English speaking churches not involved in institutional cooperatives arrangements and associated innovations (Laurel Heights in McAllen & Pendleton Park in Harlingen).
But in this same region there are dozens of Spanish speaking churches and local preachers. I know of at least six congregations on this side of the border. Moving to the other side of the border, there are that many congregations just in Reynosa, Mexico – just south of McAllen. There are many second and third generation Christians here, making it obvious that a great deal of work was done here in the 50’s and 60’s. Much of this work was done by Glenn Rogers, accompanied by his wife & faithful helper, Loyce.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: "Along the Border"
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (NKJ).
As a youngster, I heard 2 Timothy 2:15 discussed widely in class and used often in gospel preaching. In most instances, the passage was relied upon to urge Christians to “study” (KJV) their Bibles and to “rightly divide” (make a distinction) between the Old and New Testaments. While there is no doubt that “being diligent to present yourself to God” will include studying the scriptures, and “rightly dividing the word of truth” will include distinguishing between the covenants, it is also true that this passage carries a deeper meaning than then allowed. The instruction to Timothy in verse 15 is embedded in a wider context of preaching the gospel that lends weight to the work of evangelism. We must learn this lest we “need to be ashamed.” Continue reading » Associate Editorial: “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Every so often we learn of some unsavory action of a “televangelist.” Through the misadventures of these men the word “evangelist” often takes on a less than desirable air in its usage in modern society. Like other words and relationships, this word, in its proper religious sense, had its beginnings with God and has become tainted by what men have done with it.
In 2 Timothy 4:5, Paul tells Timothy, “Do the work of an evangelist.” Evangelists are mentioned among those the Lord gave the church “for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12). They thus have an important place in God’s plan for the church, the saved. As the title indicates, the purpose of this article is to tell what place in God’s scheme an evangelist has. Continue reading » The Work of Evangelists
“So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. And when they were at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John as their attendant. And when they had gone through the whole the whole island unto Paphos….Now Paul and his company set sail from Paphos, and came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departed from them and returned to Jerusalem. But they, passing through from Perga, came to Antioch of Pisidia; and they went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.” (Acts 13:4-6,13-14) What is often overlooked in the foregoing passage is how much time Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark spent with the logistics of preaching the Gospel. Upon mentioning this fact, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is the time spent in travel. Reflecting on this we realize that some of their travel would also have taken some time, however long, to arrange. Further meditation upon these verses forces one to conclude that these brethren also arranged for some form of overnight accommodation and meals. We are ignorant as to exactly how much divine guidance may have helped them in finding proper directions and suitable soil for the Gospel on this leg of this missionary journey (Cp. Acts 8:26,29; 10:19; 16:6-10). Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: The Logistics of Preaching
(The Gospel Guardian, Vol. 7 No. 3, May 19, 1955, adapted from “The Evangelist”)
Saul Paul, Evangelist
Dear Brother Paul,
The “Blazon of Gospel,” our nationwide program of work made possible by the cooperation of many congregations has suffered as the result of your outspoken opposition. Many congregations have ceased supporting this work–they seem to be so shallow in their thinking as to believe it is wrong for churches to cooperate. Who are you to set the pattern of congregational cooperation for all time?
It shall be our policy to be as frank and open minded as possible with you in this matter. We have made an exhaustive survey of your history and we feel it necessary for the good of the “Blazon of Gospel” to expose you. We are surprised that you have been able to hoodwink so many congregations.
At Antioch for example, we learn you opposed Brother Simon Peter, an esteemed preacher of the gospel, and actually rebuked him publicly. You stirred up so much trouble at Antioch that a special meeting of apostles and elders had to be convened in Jerusalem. Who can condone such conduct?
Do you think it seemly for a missionary to do part-time secular work? We hear that you are making tents on the side. In a letter to the church at Philippi you admitted that they were the only church supporting you. We wonder why? We also wonder if the church contributes to your tent-making enterprise. Continue reading » Voices from the Past: A Letter from a Sponsoring Congregation
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things.”
Previous articles by this writer in Watchman Magazine appearing under the broad heading of “Attitudes Toward Preaching” have identified problematic areas which hinder the spread of the gospel. When men who preach have bad attitudes, those mind-sets invariably interfere with the free dissemination of truth. The “earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7) which carry the precious message of the cross can certainly detract from its message. Whether accidental or intentional, human weaknesses mask the beauty of the story of Jesus. It should be the goal of every minister of the gospel to “hide behind the cross of Christ” and “evangel” (proclaim) Jesus and not himself. Continue reading » Associate Editorial: “How Beautiful Are the Feet” (Romans 10:15)