Why are evangelists needed? Why doesn’t God just send angels down to earth to announce His existence? Today, Joshua Wagner, an evangelist and a theologian, discusses why God made evangelists essential to His plans for humanity.
Joshua Wagner is the son of Kevin and Nicole Wagner. He began ministering at the age of 14 by leading his own Teen Conferences around the world. At the age of 18 he began conducting his own leadership conferences and evangelistic crusades around the world, ministering to crowds up to 50,000 people at a time. He graduated from Victory College and from Oral Roberts University with a Master of Divinity degree.
Why is the evangelist needed?
Why Doesn’t God Send Angels to Announce His Existence?
Read Josh’s Book “Go”: https://amzn.to/2RslerE
Key Quote: Evangelism is a job you can only do on earth. You cannot witness to lost people in heaven because there are no lost people in heaven.
Listen to Daniel King, the Evangelism Coach, on The Evangelism Podcast
Daniel King (00:00):
Welcome back. Once again, we are with my friend, Joshua Wagner, and he has written an excellent book called go. His last words are first priority. Josh, can you explain to me what the title of your book is all about?
Josh Wagner (00:17):
It is taken from the great commission of Jesus Christ. Of course, the first word in Jesus, his great commission is go and preach the gospel. So it is a book on evangelism and outreach. It deals with both the practical and theological aspects of evangelism and the subtitle there is emphasizing that the last words of Jesus that he spoke to his disciples before he ascended to heaven to go and preach the gospel must become our first priority
Daniel King (00:44):
In today’s podcast. AWe’re going to look at one of the questions that you address in the book. And this is a really important question for me because I’m called by God to be an evangelist. And so the question is why is the evangelist needed? Why doesn’t God send angels to announce his existence or just show up in a vision to people. So people know that he’s real. Why has God called evangelists to preach the gospel
Josh Wagner (01:15):
Question? You know it should be noted that God in his sovereignty could have set up the system in any way that he chose. And yet he chose to do it this way. The way that God has chosen for the communication of the gospel to go forth is through the mouths of believers. It is to go and preach the gospel. Now, certainly he could have sent angels to just appear to everybody and tell them about Jesus. He could have made sure that everybody gets a dream or a vision of Jesus, but he didn’t do that. He instead made a decision that for the gospel to go forth, it would be communicated by believers like you and me and all of the others who are in our world, who know Jesus to go and tell others
Daniel King (02:02):
About Jesus. So it is our task as believers to share the gospel. Also our privilege, absolutely to obey the commission from our King.
Josh Wagner (02:13):
And, and there is for those of you who are listening, and if you’ve ever led somebody to Jesus, you also know there’s no greater satisfaction in the world than being able to do that. So yes, it is a great privilege. It is a reward to be able to do that, that we are privileged to do that at the same time, there is a great responsibility and sometimes people maybe they’ve thought through it and maybe they haven’t, but I think there’s in the back of their mind, this idea. Well, if I don’t tell them somebody else will, and, and maybe even if I don’t get there, then God will send an angel to tell them, or they’ll, he’ll show up in a dream or in a vision. And we hear these fantastic stories of people, particularly in the Muslim world who are having dreams and visions of Jesus. I don’t deny those things. But when we talk about truly people who have no relationship with God, no, nothing about Jesus. We cannot expect angels or visions or dreams to do the work that God has called us to do. And when we suggest that that’s possible, it really takes away from us, the urgency and the responsibility to do
Daniel King (03:13):
TLR Osborne. He always said that there’s two prayers that God will not answer. The first prayer is when we ask God to do something that he’s already done. And the second prayer is when we ask God to do something he told us to do. Wow. And so sometimes people pray, God, I pray for the world to be saved. I pray for, for China to be saved. And God’s actually done everything he needs to do in order for China’s to be saved. God gave his only son, his very best Jesus died on the cross. He shed his blood. He provided for the salvation of all mankind for every person in China. And then we’re, we’re praying for China to be saved. And yet God told us go. Yeah. And so when will China be saved? When we obey that word, that’s Jesus that we’re asking God to do something that he actually told us to do.
Josh Wagner (04:14):
Exactly. And you know, it doesn’t mean that God can’t use these supernatural things like angels and visions and dreams too
Daniel King (04:22):
Help the gospel gospel.
Josh Wagner (04:24):
But when it comes to the communication of the gospel, God has uniquely determined that we are the ones to do it. I’m going to give you an example of this in acts chapter 16, Paul, who is a missionary going into unreached places, the places that he is visiting. These are places that have never heard about Jesus. Why? Well, Jesus had just shown up and he wasn’t in these places that Paul was going to. And so how does Paul know where to go? Well, this is a fantastic story. Where in Martin acts 16, verse six, it says Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and glacier. Having been kept by the Holy spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. Now, when they came to the border of my Mesia, they tried to enter Bethania, but the spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So this is now twice. God has said, no, don’t go this way and don’t go this way. It’s it’s this GPS that’s occurring here with Paul.
Daniel King (05:15):
Do you know how I know you’re a good preacher, John? How’s that? Because you can actually pronounce the names of all these places. Well, that’s a good sign. That you’re a good preacher,
Josh Wagner (05:24):
The compliment. And then in verse eight, it says, so they pass by my CA and went down a trow as, and during the night, Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him come over to Macedonia and help us. After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. So notice God uses a vision here, but he doesn’t send this vision to the people in Macedonia. Instead he sends the vision to Paul and says, Paul, there people in Macedonia who are probably crying out to the one, true God, Hey, whoever you are out there, we know you’re real, but we need someone to tell us the truth and what does God do? Send a vision to them. He doesn’t send an angel to them. He doesn’t give them a dream.
Josh Wagner (06:12):
Instead, he uses a vision to tell Paul, Paul, you go, you’re a real person who has the gospel message. And you are now called to go and preach this message to the Macedonians. And that’s what Paul and his companions do. They go there. They lead Lydia to the Lord. They lead. This starts as great church in Philippi that he would one day write the letter to the Philippians, to this great ministry that occurs. But it only happens because Paul was obedient to and preach the gospel. So again, God sent an angel to the Macedonians. He could have sent a vision or a dream, but he didn’t. He sent the vision to Paul so that Paul a human could go and preach the gospel. And that is the same method over and over again, that is used in the book of acts. Think about the Philippian or the European UNIC in acts chapter eight.
Josh Wagner (06:59):
Here’s a man that by all means he even had a Bible. He had this Bible, but he still needed a human to come and communicate the gospel to him to tell him what he was, reading, how it connected him to Jesus,
Daniel King (07:12):
Understand what he was reading, right?
New Speaker (07:14):
So it’s not enough for us to just give somebody a Bible in another country. We need to be there with them to tell them what the Bible means to tell them about the one, true God. Some people think, well, it’s just enough to, you know, dropped Bibles in the middle of the jungle. That’s not enough. It wasn’t enough for the Ethiopian eunuch. Why should it be enough for people in our day to day? Even the apostle Paul, where his conversion on the road to Damascus a vision of Jesus, Jesus knocked him off the horse. He saw the bright light and he went blind.
Josh Wagner (07:45):
And people oftentimes say that Paul was saved on the road to Damascus, but that’s not true. Paul had an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. As you just referenced a vision, this huge noise. And this huge lightning knocked him off his horse and he became, but he was told to go into, to Damascus where he was be told next, what to do. It was at the same time that God showed up and a vision to a man, a Christian man named Anna. Nice. And when he showed up to Anna Niaz, he said, I need you to go down to straight street to Judas his house. And you’re going to minister to a man named Saul and, and last thought, God, you, you messed up. This saw he’s not good news for us, Christians. He wants to arrest us. He wants to kill us.
Josh Wagner (08:25):
But the vision that Anna nice received sent him to Saul’s house or to Judas to Salesforce. It was, and it was there when Anna Niask came and taught to saw that then saw was saying saved. You see, up until that moment, he was not saved. In fact, we know this because when Saul was retelling this, the story of his conversion, it’s actually recounted to other times in verse, in acts 22. And in acts 26, he says this in acts 26. When referencing that story, he says I’m. And, and I, I, he’s a saw, I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. And I am sending you to them to open their eyes, to turn them from their darkness to light. He’s telling them about how God had called Saul to be his ambassador. But look at what it says in Acts 22.
Josh Wagner (09:21):
When Paul recounts this, he says in Acts 22:12, a man named on an ISE came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. He stood beside me and said, brother, Saul, receive your sight. And at that moment, I was able to see him. Then he said, the God of our ancestors has chosen to know his will. And to see the righteous one, to hear the words from his mouth, you will be as witness and all of all people of what you’ve seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away. Calling on his name, see Saul at this moment. When analyze came was still in a sense, he was still an unbeliever, but he needed Anna. Niaz a human to come and to share the gospel with him. And it was only then that he was able to receive the gospel and to have his sins washed
Daniel King (10:04):
Away. Wow. I love it. And then later on in Romans 10, Paul quotes this saying everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. And so he’s saying that out of his own conversion experience, where Anna Niaz here is saying, you must call on his name. And
Josh Wagner (10:26):
When Paul says that in Romans 10, he follows that statement with these rhetorical questions he says, but how can they call him the one in whom they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one in whom they have not heard? And how can they hear, unless someone preaches to them, someone preaches to them and how can they preach unless they’re sent. And that the point that Paul is making there is unless someone, a person, not some angel, not some dream, not some vision, but some, one preaches to the unbeliever. They cannot be saved. Why does Paul know that? Because it was true for his own life. Even a vision of Jesus was insufficient to save Saul. It was only when an ISA came and explained the gospel to him in a way that he can understand that that vision fully made sense. And he was able to receive the,
Daniel King (11:13):
And another example would be that of Cornelius. W what do you think about his story? His story is probably the most
Josh Wagner (11:21):
Obvious when it comes to teaching on this subject. Here’s a man Cornelius, that the Bible says was a really devout man. He was a religious man. In fact, in acts chapter 10, when we’re introduced to him, this description sounds like a Christian. It says he and his family were devout. And God fearing. He gave generously to those in need. And he prayed to God regularly. That sounds like a lot of Christians, or even maybe people who aren’t Christians, but they, they want to be Christians. You know, this is the type of description of what Christians should be, devout God fear and giving to in need, praying to God regularly, but he was not saved. And what does God do? God sends an angel to him. Now, does the angel preach the gospel to him? No. The angel gives him a direction, go call for Simon, Peter in Joppa.
Josh Wagner (12:07):
And so the angel does do a work in the gospel, but not the work of, in the gospel. He instead says, send for that human send for Peter. Peter comes, he shares the gospel with Cornelius and his family, and they become saved. Now, some people who read chapter 10, they think all while he was Cornelius, his family, they were already saved. Peter was just coming to tell them about the baptism of the Holy spirit or to encourage them in some way. Well, if all we had was chapter 10, perhaps you could make that deduction. But thankfully we don’t. We also have chapter 11 where Peter retells the story of Cornelius. And in retelling that story, look what he says here about that event. He says in verse 15 of acts, 11, as I began to speak the Holy, sorry, back in verse 13, he says, he told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, send a Joppa for Simon who was called Peter for, he will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.
Josh Wagner (13:02):
This shows us that when that angel appeared to Cornelius, him in his household were not saved. They needed a human to come. So yes, theoretically God could have set up the system. So that angels and visions and dreams brought the gospel to unlock, to lost people. But that’s not how he did it. He gave that gospel message to you, to me, to every Christian, the great commission to go and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, because angels cannot do that. Job dreams and visions can not do that job. It is only when one person tells another person about the good news of the gospel that salvation has made.
Daniel King (13:36):
Wow, I’m so delighted to hear you say that Josh, because it means that my job is secure until Jesus comes back. My calling as an evangelist will last that it won’t suddenly go away. We are needed, thank God that we’re needed. And
Josh Wagner (13:54):
That’s a job you can only do on earth. You know, we have all of eternity to praise Jesus, to worship Jesus, to read the Bible, to do all these things, but you know what you can’t do in heaven, you can’t evangelize, you can’t witness to lost people because there are no lost people in heaven. So we might as well make hay while there is still time here on earth. Like Jesus says in John three work while it is light for night is coming when no man can work.
Daniel King (14:17):
Wow. Such great wisdom. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.