“To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10). Throughout the churches of Christ in the past few years, there has been a buzz word that has frequently risen in sermons, articles, bulletins, and pretty much every other different outlet or avenue… INTENTIONAL. Many of you reading this might have had an opportunity to hear this word from the pulpit or see it written somewhere and maybe did not fully grasp its meaning. What does it mean to be intentional? This week, the E.T. challenge is being intentional with the opportunities before us.
Being intentional involves a certain level of awareness to these opportunities that are before us every single day. Intentionality carries with it the responsibility of being deliberate with the choices we decide to make. Someone once said, “You don’t climb mountains without a team, you don’t climb mountains without being fit, you don’t climb mountains without being prepared and you don’t climb mountains without balancing the risks and rewards. And you never climb a mountain on accident – it has to be intentional.” To make this a little bit more understandable for our context let us say it this way: “You do not find souls that need Jesus without first seeking, you do not bring those souls to Jesus without having prepared, you do not bring those souls to Jesus without having talked to them, you do not bring those souls to Jesus without living the Christian life yourself, you do not bring those souls to Jesus without building a relationship or rapport with them first. And you never bring a soul to Jesus on accident – it has to be intentional.”
Last week, we examined what it meant to be purposeful in our evangelism and what it meant to take on the purpose of our Lord Jesus Christ, to seek and save the lost. This week, we are examining what God’s intent is for His Church, and how we can intentionally fulfill it. We do this through intentional evangelism. According to Ephesians 3:10, we have been given a great mission to make known the manifold wisdom of God to all the world. God’s intent for His Church is for His Church to bring others to a knowledge of God and to a relationship with Him. We are supposed to be intentionally seeking out opportunities to bring the world to God. It is a deliberate mindset. It is a recognition that there are souls all around us, that do not know God or His manifold wisdom, who are lost. It is the realization that we might be the only chance that person has to obtaining salvation. So how can we be intentional in bringing them to Jesus?
There are so many people in the Church that believe people are just going to show up to the church building uninvited, unsought after, with no effort on our part. This is simply not true. God has given us this amazing purpose and intent to be His hands and feet, but so many of us are worried about what offended us this week. You might be thinking, “I do not have opportunities to teach others, I am simply too busy.” Instead, have you ever thought, “I wonder what Christ would do with the schedule I have, with the opportunities I have been given?” As we said before, souls are not brought to Jesus on accident. When was the last time that we invited a co-worker to worship with us? When was the last time we talked to our barber about Jesus, instead of about sports or politics? When was the last time we talked to a co-worker carpooling with us to work about Jesus, instead of complaining about traffic? When was the last time that we asked our neighbor over for dinner? When was the last time we lived our lives intentionally evangelizing to others?
The bottom line is, we are never going to accomplish the intent God has for His church if we are not intentionally seeking to achieve it. God has not given us a challenge that we cannot accomplish; He has not set us up for failure. He has given us the gospel of Jesus Christ, the greatest news this world has ever heard. He has given us the good news of salvation and of the manifold wisdom of God. What are we going to do with it? Please join us as we seek to be intentional in our evangelism this week.
– Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism