Book Review: Jesus the Evangelist by Rev. Richard Phillips

This was not a book that I wanted to read in particular yet it was one that I needed desperately. Many of us in the church have a hard time with sharing our faith outside the four walls of church, yet it is something we are commanded to do as followers of Jesus Christ. As Rev. Phillips tells us, “The greatest need of Christians is to exercise their faith in Christ–to make their belief not a mere assent but a living practice and habit.” This book is less of a how to manual, though it does give very good and specific ways on how one can share Christ with others, it is more of a telling of how Jesus used evangelism to draw all men to himself.

Some portions of this book were hard to read and were laid out in a such a way that I had to read through several passages more than once. I was drawn in by the language that Phillips uses when he describes those who were used by Christ as witnesses to himself. It’s hard for me to connect with the stories found herein, yet these stories shared are straight from the gospel of John. I found the following quote most interesting, though it does not come from the author himself. He quotes, “Flavel, the Puritan, concludes his study of John 3:16 with three keen observations. First, he says, this verse shows us the exceeding preciousness of souls. Second, Flavel notes, since God has given His Son, we may be confident of receiving every other help and mercy we need to endure this life and arrive safely in heaven. Third, Flavel says, If the greatest love hath been manifested in giving Christ to the world, then if follows that the greatest evil and wickedness is manifested in despising, slighting, and rejecting Christ.”

Rev. Phillips has obviously studied heavily the wisdom found in the book of John and from his deep compassion for souls has written a well thought out book on the subject of evangelism. Some of the passages may be tough, yet a study of them will reap a harvest of wisdom that will definitely be useful in sharing Christ with those around you. Like I said in the beginning, this wasn’t a book that I wanted to read but I am so glad that this book has found its place on my shelf. This book should be read with the gospel of John close at hand. This book is not a comprehensive study of John, for that would take far too many volumes, yet it does offer a look at stories that are indispensable to evangelism and the practice of it.

Perhaps the part of the book that most stirred me was found not in the content of the book, but in the appendix titled, “The Sovereignty of God in Evangelism”. This gave me the greatest hope in knowing that God is for me in the process of evangelizing. The fact that I believe in the perseverance of the saints, has greatly spurred me on to know that Christ is for me and there are those who are His that will hear the message, if we are to speak it, and gather them to himself. It’s the promise found in this book and through the careful study of Jesus witness, we should have no doubts as to his sufficiency in our witness. I recommend this book for Churches who do evangelism, personal witnesses, and for those seeking more practical wisdom on the subject of being a witness for Christ.

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