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Servant-Minded Evangelists Patiently Endure Evil

by | Jun 15, 2016 | Missions Articles

 

The following article is the fifth in a seven-part series about the character of an evangelist from 2 Timothy 2:24-26.

What does it mean for ministers of the Gospel to be “patiently enduring evil”? It means no matter how much hostility they might face or have faced for proclaiming God’s eternal truth, they should persevere in that mission. Those who evangelize will eventually experience some form of persecution if they are sharing the Good News indiscriminately as they should. That’s a guarantee.1 It’s easy to preach the Gospel to people who are culturally predisposed to consider it, but Jesus calls us to do so even when people are not — despite potential unpleasant consequences. However, enduring evil doesn’t mean remaining in a hostile environment. 

Jesus gave his original followers permission to flee persecution that arose because they preached about him.2 His earliest devotees fled violent opposition in Jerusalem — the place where the Church was born.3 The apostle Paul was chased from one place to another because people were offended by the message of salvation.4 When Paul writes to his protege Timothy that faithful servants of the Lord should patiently endure evil, he’s not talking about enduring in a physical location or bearing with specific people. He’s saying that worshipers of Christ must continue to identify with him and endure in publicizing his story even if they end up repeatedly experiencing rejection.

Christ is honored when his believers boldly tell people about him even after having experienced the sting of hostility for doing so. When people shrink back from speaking the Gospel because of hardship, they behave like apostates — people who renounce Jesus altogether.5 That’s not to say that everyone who tries to avoid persecution is an apostate. Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends, but denied him three times because of fear.6 Many people in first-century Israel refused to admit they believed in Jesus because they feared the social consequences.7 Yet while it’s possible to be a fearful Christian, God supplies courage for those willing to receive it.

Paul experienced significant ups and downs as he sought to make Jesus known in the city of Corinth (part of modern-day Greece). He saw rejection on a mass scale before witnessing repentance and salvation on an equally high level.8 Perhaps the apostle was weary from all of this, prompting Christ to tell Paul “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you.”9 Paul heeded Jesus’ words. Every Christian should imitate his endurance.

1. Acts 14:22
2. Matthew 10:23
3. Acts 8:14.
4. Acts 14:1-7
5. Mark 4:16-17
6. Luke 22:54-62
7. John 12:42
8. Acts 18:5-8
9. Acts 18:9-10

PHOTO BY reynermedia

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