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The New Testament Evangelist

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Be encouraged and inspired with this Bible-based sermon by Derek Prince.

Be encouraged and inspired with this Bible-based sermon by Derek Prince.

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Code: MA-5021-100-ENG

Transcript

I would like to speak about New Testament ministry. And primarily I want to speak about the ministry of the evangelist. Before we speak specifically about the ministry of the evangelist I would like to speak about the main ministry that Christ has set in his body in Ephesians 4:1–6.

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation [or calling] wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Some years ago I became extremely interested in New Testament church order and ministry. It was the same time that I got thrust into the deliverance ministry. These were two new areas of truth that the Lord brought me into. I began to study the nature of the New Testament ministries and the pattern of New Testament church life and I worked out a kind of blueprint. But then I ran into a problem. No matter how good the blueprint may be, you can’t build the building without the right kind of material, and the material for the building of the church is human. It’s the believers. And I saw that we can never build a New Testament type of church without New Testament Christians. And in most cases, we have not been producing the type of human material needed for a New Testament church.

Now the main theme of the opening part of this fourth chapter of Ephesians is the process of building the church. But Paul very logically and rightly begins by emphasizing the type of person that we have to be to take our place in that building. And the emphasis is on three things: lowliness, meekness and forbearing. And no matter how clearly you may feel your intellect proves the New Testament church life and order and ministry, you can never take your place or function in it until you meet the requirements of character. Lowliness, meekness and forbearing.

It’s one thing to apprehend truth intellectually, it’s another thing to move into it spiritually. In this chapter the apostle Paul first emphasizes what is required in Christian character. Then a little later on he sets before us the perfect pattern of lowliness, meekness and humility in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. And this is a parenthesis which we’ll take a little out of the order in the scripture. Moving on to verses 9–10, speaking about Jesus:

“Now he that ascended [or went up], what is it but that he also descended [or went down] first into the lower part of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.”

The same one who went up to the highest place of glory is the one who went down to the lowest place of shame. And the lesson is this: The way up is the way down. If you want to go up, start by going down. He that exalted himself shall be abased, but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. The perfect pattern of that is Jesus himself. Because he humbled himself even to the death of the cross, Paul says in Philippians 2:9:

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him.”

And the great basic lesson of this chapter which none of us can bypass is the character lesson. It’s character that qualifies us for a place in God’s building. And the character requirements are clearly stated: lowliness, meekness, forbearing.

Otherwise, you can argue, theorize, theologize and speculate about New Testament order and truth but, you’ll be on the outside looking in. The only way in is through meeting the character requirements. Let’s read the opening verses of the chapter again.

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord...”

Please note this epistle was written from a jail, which is very appropriate. In a certain sense, this epistle probably unfolds the highest truths concerning the church of Jesus Christ. It’s theme, in a certain sense, is in the heavenlies. But it was written from a jail, and that is singularly appropriate. The way up is the way down. You want to go higher? Go lower.

I believe it was the Evangelist Moody who said this. He said, “As a young man I used to believe that God had his gifts arranged on shelves and that the best gifts were on the highest shelves. And if I wanted one of the best gifts I’d have to reach up and take it.” But he said, “I discovered later it’s the other way around. The best gifts are on the lowest shelf, and if I want them I have to stoop down to get them.” A tremendous truth.

All right, let’s read those opening words again. I’ll tell you what, we’ll read them together. Ephesians 4:1–3. And if you have another translation, that’s all right, you read that. Those of you that have the King James, read it together with me. Are you ready?

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness, and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Paul begins in this chapter by emphasizing the unity of the body of Christ. Then later on, out of the unity he unfolds the diversities of different ministries. But we must begin not with diversity but with unity. Otherwise, if we do not begin with unity we will never come to unity. In the next verses, that is verses 4,5 and 6, Paul lays down the seven basic unities on which the unity of the church is built. Notice these as we go through them. I’ll read the verses and then we’ll check them over. Seven basic unities.

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Let’s take the seven unities and count them all. Number one, one body which is the church of Jesus Christ. There is only one true body, and it only has one head. Any body with more than one head is a monstrosity. But the church of Jesus Christ is not a monstrosity.

It’s very interesting, if you study the prophecies concerning the political developments in the end time, there are a lot of many-headed bodies that emerge. Daniel 7 and Revelation 13, there’s bodies with four heads and seven heads and ten heads and so on. That’s man’s way, but the church doesn’t go that way. The church remains one body with one head, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Number one, one body.

Number two, one Spirit which is the Holy Spirit. And in the divine order, just as my spirit controls all the actions of my body, so God intends the Holy Spirit to control all the actions and all the members of the body which is the church. And if it were that way there would be perfect harmony and orderly cooperation amongst all believers.

Number three, there is one hope of your calling. I like to express this in one word which begins with H. Heaven.

In the 5th verse we come to the fourth unity, one Lord. Nobody should have any problems about that. That is Jesus Christ.

One faith. I can express my faith in one or other of two very simple phrases. My faith is the Bible. Or, it’s the gospels. And it doesn’t make any difference because Peter says by the gospel the word of God is preached unto us. So I don’t have to make any creeds or draw up any statements of fundamentals, I just say I believe the Bible, the word of God. That’s my testimony.

One baptism. Now that’s the thorny one of course. That’s where the problems arise. People say is it infant baptism or is it adult baptism? Do you baptize in this formula or in that formula? I’m a little tired of all these hangups. I say it isn’t so much the formula, it’s the results that matter. Every true New Testament baptism is a burial followed by a resurrection. And if you achieve true burial and true resurrection, I don’t think it matters too much which formula we’ll use. And friend, let me tell you this. If you have been genuinely buried, don’t let anybody ever come along and bury you again with a new formula. And if you’ve never been buried, no matter how many formulas were used, you’ve never been baptized. So let’s go for the results.

I heard a Southern Baptist preacher, Brother Ken Sumrall say this: “Jesus didn’t say talk about baptizing, he said do it.” And if we concentrate on that, I don’t think we’d have these silly theological squabbles about the name.

I don’t believe in the early church there was one unvarying formula that was always necessarily applied. When you get to the point of hanging everything on a precise form of words, you are no longer moving in the liberty of the Holy Spirit.

We come to the seventh unity, one God and Father. We’re all one family and we all have one Father.

Now on those seven basic unities is based the unity of the body which is the church. Then Paul goes on to unfold the diversity that comes out of the unity. And that starts in verse 7.

“But unto each of us [individually] is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”

Now he’s talking about ministry gifts and as I said the other day, ministry gifts are the extension through the believer of the ministry of Christ. It’s according to the measure of the gift of Christ. It’s the impartation of Christ in his ministry to that man, and through that man to the body which is the church. So it’s given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Verse 8 he quotes from Psalm 68:

“Wherefore he saith, When he [Christ] ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”

The gifts that he refers to here are named in verse 11. Verses 9 and 10 are a parenthesis we’ve already looked at. The gifts that Paul here has in mind are the five ministries which are specified in verse 11. But notice that these ministries were given after the ascension of Jesus Christ, it is not speaking of ministries that he did while he was on earth. They are other ministries that were appointed after he ascended up on high. So we go on to verse 11:

“He [the ascended glorified Christ] gave some, apostles; some, prophets; some, evangelists; some shepherds and teachers.”

I prefer to say shepherds. In every other place where that word occurs in the New Testament it’s translated shepherd many times over. And it seems to me ridiculous to give it a special kind of clerical, ecclesiastical translation just in that one passage. So the five main ministries are apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, teachers.

You see, to say a man is a pastor is to create an image of a man in a dark suit standing behind the pulpit on Sunday morning. To say a man is a shepherd creates a totally different image. It’s a man who’s got people to look after. A sheep knows its shepherd and a shepherd knows his sheep. There’s a personal relationship involved.

I cannot and do not intend to talk on all these ministries at length. But let me suggest these simple ways of understanding them. The apostle by literal meaning is one sent forth. If you have never been sent forth, you cannot be an apostle. No apostle ever sends himself. No apostle is every self appointed. There are a lot of self appointed men going around calling themselves apostles but they don’t fulfill the scriptural requirement. An apostle is sent forth and is answerable to those who send him.

A prophet is one who speaks forth. The prophet has a message. It’s a message received directly by revelation from God and it’s for a specific time, place, situation or group of people. That’s what makes him different from a preacher who merely unfolds the general truths of the word of God. But the prophet has a specific message.

You see, Jonah was more than a preacher. Jonah could have walked into Nineveh and said, “If you people go on living the way you’re living, God is going to judge you.” That would have been true. But he had a specific revelation. He said, “Judgment is coming within forty days.” That made him a prophet.

The evangelist we’re going to deal with in a little while. An evangelist is essentially one who carries the good news. Evangel, good news in Greek. The evangelist’s specific task is to carry the good news. He’s a man on the move. He can never stay long anywhere because he’s always thinking about the people who haven’t yet heard the good news.

The pastor is the shepherd of the sheep.

The teacher is the one who unfolds doctrine to the people of God.

I want to show you quickly how apostles emerged in the church after the day of Pentecost. Before the day of Pentecost Jesus appointed twelve. One of them became a traitor and the leaders of the early church appointed another man to take the place of Judas. The man appointed was Matthias. But after the day of Pentecost the way of appointing and sending forth apostles was radically changed. I want to show you just one clear example.

Let me add this, that I have counted in the New Testament at least 28 persons entitled apostles. At least 28. Turn to Acts 13:1.

“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul.”

Five men are named. These men had combined in themselves two of the ministries mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 4:11. They were prophets and teachers. Verse 2:

“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”

Two of them, out of their waiting upon God in prayer and fellowship, were specifically called by name by the Holy Spirit to go forth for a special work. Verse 3:

“And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them forth.”

Notice they were sent forth by the local church at Antioch. They were also sent off by somebody else, verse 4:

“So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit...”

You say who sent them forth? Was it the Holy Spirit or the church? The answer is both. The Holy Spirit working through the church. And he has no other way to work because the Holy Spirit has no members of his own. Therefore, he has to work through the members of Christ’s body.

Now Paul and Barnabas before they were sent forth were prophets and teachers. What were they after they were sent forth? Sent forth ones, that’s right. Apostles. Turn to Acts 14:4.

“But the multitude of the city was divided: part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.”

There’s something rather up to date in that situation. You’ll notice apostles, plural. Who were they? Well, you don’t need to wonder, turn to verse 14.

“Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes...”

So Barnabas and Paul were both apostles. When did they become apostles? When they were sent forth from the local church at Antioch under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Notice there is promotion in the body. Men who are prophets and teachers can graduate to be apostles if the Holy Spirit so moves.

Now let me ask you this question and you don’t need to put your hand up. Do you have faith that there can be in the body of Christ today men who are prophets and teachers? I’ll tell you I do. If that be so, then there is a scriptural way for apostles to emerge out of that situation. The pattern is established there in Acts 13 and 14. There’s a man whose books are on the table out there who specifically calls himself a prophet and a teacher, Kenneth Hagin. And I have no problem about that, I acknowledge Brother Hagin to be what he says, a prophet and a teacher. I believe there are a good many today in the body of Christ, but I do not think that in that New Testament pattern there are many who have yet emerged as apostles. But I see it as one of the next items on God’s agenda.

Now there are people going around who claim to be apostles. I don’t want to criticize them, but if they have not been sent forth by the Holy Spirit from a duly appointed local congregation, and if they aren’t answerable to that congregation, I personally will not acknowledge their apostleship. I won’t acknowledge freelancers just going around and saying, “I’m an apostle, thus saith the Lord, you better do what I say.”

You know, there is the type of man who flies into a city, travels around the prayer groups, prophesies over people and goes a week later having appointed four elders, three prophets and two evangelists. As far as I’m concerned, that is all a lot of rubbish. I do not accept it. It is unscriptural. Furthermore, in the New Testament we do not find one apostle ever traveled and ministered on his own but always in companies or groups.

Now that’s about apostles. What I want to talk about this morning—you might not realize it, is evangelists. I’ll begin with a little personal testimony. God has specifically called me by name to be certain of the things listed in Ephesians 4:11. I’m not going to tell you which but one of them is not an apostle. Let me say that very clearly. So one day I was looking in the mirror and shaving and just thinking about things in general and I said to myself, “Of course I’m not an evangelist.” And it was as if God said to me, “But you can be if you want to.” And I was really surprised. So I more or less said all right. I don’t know exactly what I said but I kind of left it open to God if he wanted to, well, okay.

Since then the Lord has given me some understanding of the ministry of evangelism which I didn’t have before. Now, there are as I said, about 28 persons named in the New Testament as apostles. Do you know how many there are named as evangelists? One. I challenge you to find more than one. There is only one person specifically named as an evangelist in the New Testament. How many of you know who it was? Philip, that’s right. We’ll look at that first. I mean, this is a matter for you to search the scripture for yourself, but if you come up with another, please let me know. But you find him named in Acts 21:8.

“And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven [deacons appointed in Acts 6 ].”

Now you’ll notice there are two things. There are governmental offices and there are spiritual ministries. As I understand the church, there are only two governmental offices: elders and deacons. By governmental office, Philip was a deacon. But by spiritual ministry he was an evangelist. The two are combined. And he’s the only evangelist specifically named in the New Testament.

So if you want to know the ministry of the evangelist, there is only one place to look and that is at the ministry of Philip. That is portrayed in Acts 8. We will not read the whole of chapter 8, but most of it. And the greater part of this chapter is devoted to describing the ministry of Philip the evangelist. The opening verses of the chapter say that the great persecution began in Jerusalem against the church and they were scattered abroad except the apostles. One of those who were scattered abroad was Philip the deacon. And he made his way to Samaria and began to preach there.

Let me offer this comment. Of the five ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 I find three never regularly operated as individuals. Apostles, prophets and shepherds always operated in groups. It is not scriptural to have one person ministering on his own regularly as an apostle, a prophet or a shepherd. They’re always plural.

Now this is something you’ll have to check for yourself, but there are two of those ministries which can—not necessarily must—operate as individuals. That’s the evangelist and the teacher. And here is Philip the evangelist on his own. I’m always impressed by this story. Every time I read it it overwhelms me. Philip, a Jew, went down to Samaria, the headquarters of a nation that had no dealings with the Jews. He didn’t have a committee, praise God for committees. He didn’t have any publicity. He didn’t have any announcements over the radio. He just turned up on his own; one man, unexpected, unwanted and turned the city upside down. Glory to God. What turned the city upside down? The ministry of the evangelist.

The Bible says a man’s gift maketh room for him. A man who has a genuine God given gift, his gift will clear the way before him. Let’s read what happened beginning at verse 5:

“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them; and many taken with palsies [or paralyzed], and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

Let’s move on to verse 26. Acts 8:26. This is the next phase of Philip’s ministry.

“And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and , behold, a man of Ethiopia, am eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for a worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.”

The custom of all people in the Middle East is always to read aloud even when they’re by themselves. They never read silently. So this man was sitting in his chariot reading aloud.

“Then the Spirit [the Holy Spirit] said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: in his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. [quoted from Isaiah 53.] And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on is way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.”

Let’s pause and notice some of the main aspects of Philip’s ministry. I call him God’s paratrooper. He didn’t have a lot of advance propaganda, he kind of took the enemy by surprise. He turned up in Samaria before Simon the sorcerer even had time to line up his defenses. He suddenly arrived in the city and started to preach. He was guided supernaturally and he moved unpredictably. Here he was a little later in the middle of this tremendous move of God in Samaria and the angel of the Lord said go on the way that leads to Gaza, which is desert, don’t expect to find anybody there. And as he was going on the way he caught up with this eunuch in the chariot. The Spirit of God spoke to Philip and said, “Join thyself to this chariot.” He was supernaturally directed. He did unexpected things. So he climbed up in this chariot, preached, the eunuch gave his heart to the Lord, the eunuch was baptized. And the moment the eunuch was baptized, God took his paratrooper and dropped him down somewhere else—literally. He was caught up and found himself in some other city.

The paratrooper, the evangelist, is a man on the move. He doesn’t stay long anywhere. He’s got a burning, consuming desire to tell other people who haven’t heard the good news about Jesus Christ.

Secondly, his message is especially simple. When he went to Samaria he preached Christ. And when he got up into the eunuch’s chariot he preached Jesus.

Thirdly, he never left converts without their being baptized in water. Everybody who believed him in Samaria was baptized, and he did not go on until they had been baptized in water.

Likewise with the eunuch. He did not really leave him to faith in Christ but he saw him baptized. And the moment he saw him baptized, his job was done and off he went. Now this is in line with scripture. Jesus said go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Discipleship, the entrance into it is by baptism. In Mark 16 Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” There is no permission to preach salvation without water baptism. And you cannot find one convert in the book of Acts who claimed salvation without being baptized in water.

And they did not wait till the church had a baptismal service three weeks later, they were baptized within a few hours of profession of faith in Christ. On the day of Pentecost, 3000 persons were baptized the same day. The mathematics of that is rather interesting. I’ve baptized a good many people and I would say, what with everything, each person requires about two minutes. So if you have 3000 persons baptized in one day, that’s 6000 minutes, and that’s 100 hours. So there was 100 hours of baptizing on the day of Pentecost. Now who did the baptizing the Bible doesn’t tell us. At least, the twelve apostles. So if the twelve apostles did the baptizing, there was an eight and a half hour baptismal service on the day of Pentecost. That is really an interesting picture because what it did was imprint indelibly on the minds of the ancient world the fact that anybody who believes in Jesus is going down into the water. They didn’t understand any other way of believing in Christ except that. And you can go right through wherever you like, they never left converts that were not baptized in water.

Acts 16 is really almost comical. At midnight Paul and Silas were in the jail, there comes the earthquake, they’re set free, the jailer jumps in and wants to commit suicide. Paul says, “Don’t do it, we’re all here.” He falls down and says, “What must I do to be saved?” It says they preached unto him the word of the Lord. Paul said believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, thou shall be saved, and thy house. It doesn’t say anything about preaching baptism. But before dawn, the jailer and all his household were baptized in water. They didn’t even wait till dawn.

There is a tremendous urgency in the New Testament about water baptism. I have seen this happen recently. About three years ago I was preaching in Fort Lauderdale and I didn’t intend to speak about water baptism, it just came. Afterwards, a group came up to me and said, “Brother Prince, we’re convicted. We want to be baptized.” I said, “When?” They said, “Now.” I said what better place than the Atlantic Ocean. I said, “I’ll meet you on the beach.” I was clever enough to go home and get my swimsuit. They had come from Miami so they just had the clothes they came in, nothing else, not even any towels. So around about midnight I took seven people down into the water and baptized them. Then they climbed in dripping clothes into their cars and drove all the way to Miami. But that was New Testament conviction.

Last year in August I was in the Full Gospel Businessmen’s regional convention in St. Louis. The last night I was the banquet speaker in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. I preached on what God requires the sinner to do: repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. Not in successive phases separated by weeks at a time, but the same day. Repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit. At the end of that message, and there were about 400–500 people present, I asked how many people want to repent. A great many stood up and I said, “Now sit down. How many want to be baptized in water?” I was amazed, well over 100 people stood up. Then I said, “How many want to receive the Holy Spirit?” About 40 or 50 stood up. So I thought, “Now I’ve got something on my hands. I preached myself into a situation, what am I going to do about it?” Well, Brother Ken Copeland was there on the platform so I thought I’d be a little bit sly and said, “Now, those of you that want water baptism, you come forward on my left and those of you that want the baptism in the Holy Spirit, you come forward on my right.” Then I said to Brother Copeland, “You take the ones that want water baptism.” Then somebody said, “Where are they going to be baptized?” Some person ran off to the night manager of the Chase Park Plaza and said, “Can we use your swimming pool?” And he said no, it was contrary to the city’s regulations, can’t do it. So there we were with all these people wanting to be baptized; swimming pool not permitted.

This time I thought, “I’ve got to accept a little responsibility for what I’ve done.” So I stood there and a man put his hand up in the back and said, “You can use my swimming pool if you like.” I said, “Where do you live?” He gave some long complicated address and I said, “How do you get there?” It sounded like somewhere in the middle of nowhere. So I said, “Brother, give us your name and give us your phone number and tell us once again how to get there.” So he did. Then they said, “Everybody who has got a car, drive up to the front door of the Chase Park Plaza and take as many people as you can and head out to this brother’s home.” Well, I got in a car with some friends of mine and Brother Copeland and sometime after midnight we eventually found this place. It was a rather exclusive suburb with houses on large lots and these people had a very large swimming pool. When I got there, you could hear it about a block away, there was a crowd of people lining the swimming pool and six ministers in the pool baptizing people. Nobody had come with their baptismal robes or even their swimming suits. People just went down they way they were into the water and got baptized.

There was one lady in a very elegant, kind of ballroom dress. A lady friend of mine said, “I heard her saying to somebody, well, after all, it’ll wash. Here goes,” and just jumped in! Then they got in their cars and drove off wherever they were going.

I didn’t stay for the end but they said at least 127 persons were baptized in that swimming pool around about midnight, which is really New Testament. That’s the way it is.

Now then, let’s notice some more things about Philip’s ministry. We go to Acts 8:5 and just look at that again.

“And Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things that Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.”

Philip’s only means of attracting listeners was the miraculous. But when you’ve got miracles, that’s really all you need. A few miracles will gather a crowd any time, any place, believe me.

Then verse 7:

“For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.”

Let me suggest to you how I see Philip’s ministry. He presented to them Jesus Christ, the claims of Christ as savior and Lord. And everybody who was confronted had to make a decision either for or against Jesus Christ.

Now, it then says unclean spirits crying with a loud voice came out of many. Out of whom did they come? They did not come out of those who rejected Jesus Christ. So they came out of those who received Jesus Christ. This, to me, is obvious. People say, “Can a believer be delivered from an evil spirit?” My answer is believers are the only people who have the right to be delivered from evil spirits. Unbelievers, unconverted are legitimately in the hands of Satan, they have no claims to deliverance. It’s only those who acknowledge Jesus Christ who have the right to be delivered.

So when these people acknowledged Jesus Christ, Philip ministered deliverance to them. And because of the tremendous atmosphere of witchcraft in that city, deliverances were very powerful and very dramatic. There was a tremendous clash of kingdoms. The kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness.

The other thing in Philip’s ministry were the miracles. And specifically, the particular types of miraculous healings that are mentioned were healings of the lame and the paralyzed.

Now, let me sum up. As I understand, the ministry of the New Testament evangelist is to confront people with the good news of the gospel and the claims of Jesus Christ. And it demands a response either for or against. For those who respond by yielding to the claims of Christ, three things follow. They receive deliverance from evil spirits, they are confronted with the miraculous power of God in healing, and they are baptized in water. I believe that is the pattern of the New Testament evangelist’s ministry. It’s to present the good news of Christ and the claims of Christ, and to demand a decision. For those who respond by yielding to Christ, God has three provisions available through the ministry of the evangelist. The first provision, deliverance from evil spirits. The second provision, confrontation with the miraculous power of God, visible miracles of healing. And the third, water baptism. I believe that’s how God intends the evangelist’s ministry to function. There is no other pattern anywhere in the New Testament.

Now, let me ask you a question. Suppose Philip had not had, let me say, a full evangelist’s ministry by New Testament standards? Suppose he had merely presented the claims of Christ and people had accepted those claims and yielded to Christ as savior and Lord, but suppose they had not been miraculously healed. Would they have been any the less Christians? No, they would have been Christians who needed healing.

Suppose Philip had not had the ministry of deliverance and they had accepted the claims of Christ as savior and Lord, but had not been delivered of evil spirits. Would they have been any the less Christians? No, they would have been Christians who needed deliverance from evil spirits.

And suppose they had accepted the claims of Jesus Christ but not been baptized in water. Would they have not been Christians? My answer is the would have been Christians, but Christians that needed to be baptized in water.

So, how you enter the church depends on the type of ministry you come by. If you come by the standard New Testament evangelist’s ministry, not merely do you confess Christ as savior and Lord, but you are also delivered from your evil spirits, you’re confronted by the miracle working power of God in healing, and you’re baptized in water.

Now, I have come to see that God took me at my word. And when I said, “Of course I’m not an evangelist,” he said, “You can be if you want to.” From that moment onwards he started to make me that. And I will explain to you my ministry in this respect. What God has made me is an evangelist to the body of Christ, to fill up the lack because in the initial contact with Christ, the full provision of the evangelist’s ministry was not there. I couldn’t understand this. You see, I don’t go to the unconverted, I go to the converted. But, it’s with the evangelist’s ministry. Why? Because when they originally came in, they didn’t get what they should have got through the evangelist’s ministry then. See that?

Now, God doesn’t reject you as a Christian if you’re not baptized in water. God doesn’t reject you as a Christian if you’re not miraculously healed. God doesn’t reject you as a Christian if you’re not delivered from evil spirits. But God’s provision is that you should get all those things. And if it didn’t come through the original evangelistic contact, God says now we’ll make up the deficiency. And that’s what he’s doing at the moment, he’s straightening out his body.

There are multitudes of believers, true Christians, in the body who didn’t come by the evangelistic ministry such as God had ordained. Therefore, they didn’t receive the provisions of that ministry. But God is arranging for them to receive it now. The full provision of God through the evangelist is conversion, deliverance from evil spirits, miraculous healing and water baptism. And God is now bringing the church up to the place where they have what they should have had when they first came in. This is part of the total process of restoration which is going on, the restoration of the church, the restoration of the ministries, and the restoration of the gifts.

You don’t have to be perfect to be a child of God. Did you know that? When you become a child of God you’ve got a whole lot of problems that still need to be dealt with, but God doesn’t reject you because of your problems. He says, “Let me straighten you out.”

I preached once a very powerful message on the provision of God for healing and I pointed out that I firmly believe that God has provided healing for every child of God through the atonement of Jesus Christ. It’s settled forever. He himself took our infirmities, bore our sicknesses, with his stripes we are healed. In God’s eyes it isn’t in the future, it’s already done. Well, at the end of that message a very sweet person came and he said, “Brother Prince, I must not be a Christian at all.” I said, “Why not?” He said, “Because I’m sick.” I said, “That doesn’t mean you’re not a Christian. It only means that you haven’t yet received the full provision of God that he’s made for you as his child.” He was quite satisfied.

Likewise with deliverance. My opinion is most of God’s people at the present time need deliverance from evil spirits. But God doesn’t say they’re not his children because they need deliverance. He simply says, “You haven’t yet received all that I have provided.”

Let’s sum up the ministry of evangelism and the we’ll move to ministry here this morning. The evangelist is God’s paratrooper. He’s a little unorthodox, unexpected, unpredictable. He sneaks up on Satan on his blind side. He gets into the situation before Satan has had time to organize his defenses.

I remember Charles Simpson saying this. He said, “Our methods in Christianity are so stereotyped and well worn, we never take the devil by surprise. We announce beforehand to all the demons, `Come to church 11:00 o’clock Sunday morning, that’s the time to resist the truth of the gospel.’ And Satan has all his demons ready because he knows what’s going to happen.” But praise God that he is setting his people free to the point where they’re going to drop down inside Satan’s camp before he even knows they’re coming. This is what the young people are doing, the Jesus people. They just go out and turn up somewhere where they oughtn’t to be expected. And Satan doesn’t have time to organize his defenses.

The evangelist is God’s paratrooper and he just drops down out of the sky suddenly, unexpectedly, without a committee, without a welcome meeting, without the mayor even being aware that he’s there.

Secondly, his message is very simple. It is Christ and Jesus. He demands a response from those whom he confronts with his message. For those who respond and accept his message and Christ, there are three other provisions that go with his ministry. Deliverance from evil spirits, miraculous healing and water baptism. That is the doorway that God has appointed of evangelism into the church. And if, in the church today, evangelists were functioning according to the New Testament pattern, every person who came into the church would undergo deliverance from evil spirits, healing and water baptism. Then we wouldn’t have congregations full of people who’ve never been baptized in water, never received healing and never been delivered from evil spirits. You understand, we haven’t had the right way of entry. Lots of people have got in on a much lower level than God intended them to come in.

Now I want to say this to you who are here this morning. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ and you have never been buried by baptism as a believer, you should do it today, not tomorrow. If you haven’t received the Holy Spirit, it’s part of the package deal. Repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit. And if you haven’t been delivered from evil spirits, it’s included in your inheritance. God doesn’t consider you a second class citizen because you have needs in your life. But he does want to supply those needs.

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