Ambassadors For Christ
Passage: 2 Corinthians 5:20
AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST
2 CORINTHIANS 5:20
On Thursday afternoon, Melanie and I took the kids to Chattanooga. We had a two fold purpose in going. One, we wanted to go to Lake Winnepesaukah for Homeschool day on Friday (half off of admission). Second, we needed to pick up my car that died on the I-24 in Jasper, TN, a week ago. We had a great time at Lake Winnie. The kids would have loved to stay longer, but I had to pick up my car by 5:30 and I wanted to swing by Mrs. Bonnie Dunn’s funeral visitation that night. So, we get to car repair shop in Jasper around 5:15. $860 later, I am driving my car and Melanie is driving the van with all the kiddos. Before we jump onto the interstate to come home, we decide to stop at the Love’s Gas station there at the exit to appease the riot and protests taking place in the van. Did I mention that I was in my car by myself?
So, we made a pit stop to let the kids go to the restroom, but more importantly, to get them some snacks. We load kiddos back into the van and I get into my car so that we can begin our trek back to the Boro. Did I mention that I was in my car by myself? This is an important fact! I was looking forward to the hour and half drive with peace and quiet. You see, the night before as we were driving to Chattanooga, Gabriel got a power nap and did not wake up until around 8:00 at night. In the hotel room that night, Grace Ann, Isaiah, and Hope are in one bed. Melanie, Gabriel, and myself are in the other bed. I am trying to wind down by playing a game of Sudoku. In the meantime, Gabriel is all over the place. Bottle, Cup, Dadda, Mommy. As the lights are out and I turn over on my stomach to go to bed, Gabriel begins a 15 minute session of blowing zerberts on my back. All in all, Gabriel doesn’t fall asleep until about 1:00. So, with that said, I am really looking forward to the peace and quiet.
Melanie leads out while I follow her. As we pull onto the interstate ramp, Melanie merges onto the interstate while my check engine light pops on and then won’t go past 20mph. I stop on the ramp and say to myself. Surely that didn’t just happen. Maybe I simply experienced microsleep. Can you have a nightmare during a microsleep session? So, I stop and try again. I get all the way to merge onto the interstate and it happens again. Unbelievable! So, Melanie is off to the races and I am having this moment where everything in me says keep going, but my experience a week ago says, you don’t want to spend another $130 for a tow truck. So, I decide to back the car down the ramp. I call Melanie and tell her to come back and pick me up. I drive the car back to the shop which is now closed. I drop off the key and I expect to hear the worst on Tuesday. Did I mention that I WAS in the car by myself? No longer is that the case. Thankfully, our van still works and we made it home. What is the moral of the story? I am still searching for it.
Why did I tell you that story? Good question. Memorial Day Weekend is often viewed as the official start for summer. The school year has come to an end. Swimming pools have been cleaned out, filled up, and ready for swimmers. This weekend usually kicks off the beginning of vacations. In fact, AAA predicts more than 37 million people will be travelling this weekend alone.
You know what it also means? Memorial Day Weekend also kicks off sporadic church attendance. “Oh Adam, you didn’t just go there.” Well, I did. Some of you might be thinking, “Great, here comes the guilt trip for us missing church this summer.” Well, let me assure you, that is exactly what I mean. I am just joking. Really I’m not. Ok, I am.
I am not trying to make you feel guilty if you miss church. What I am trying to say is during the summer time, it is easy to kick back and not be as intentional as we probably should be. But we must always fight to be intentional with the Gospel.
Open your Bibles to 2 Corinthians 5:20. If you do not have a Bible with you, you can find one in the pew rack in front of you. You can find that passage on page ___. This morning, I want challenge us, encourage us to remember our responsibility as believers in Christ.
Out of respect for the authority of God’s Word, let’s stand and read 2 Corinthians 5:20.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:20 and Pray
I. As Christ’s Ambassadors, We Have a Mission in this World (vs. 20a)
Notice the text does not suggest or recommend that we be Christ’s ambassadors. Rather the text is clear…we are ambassadors for Christ. This is similar in Matthew’s gospel when he says that we are salt and light. The term “ambassador” is a noble word; a term of great dignity. Ambassadors serve two primary functions.
1. An Ambassador is a Representative
Anyone who served as an ambassador did not represent himself, but rather his government. The dignity of an ambassador did not lend weight to his ambassadorship. Instead, it is the dignity of the one he represents. The honor and reputation of his country were in his hands. Serving as a representative was one of the most important roles of an Ambassador. When a foreign king would speak to an ambassador, it was as if he was speaking directly to the king because the ambassador represented the king.
Similarly, just as ambassadors are representatives of someone in a foreign land, we serve as Christ’s ambassadors in this world. We must be reminded that our citizenship is not here. Paul writes in Philippians 3:20:
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our citizenship is in heaven where Christ is. As representatives of Jesus Christ in this foreign land, we must guard against the danger of misrepresenting Christ. We must be diligent to represent him
2. An Ambassador is a Messenger
An ambassador did not speak on his own authority for the ambassador’s personal opinions and demands meant little. He spoke on behalf of the King who sent him. The ambassador says what he has been commissioned to say.
Look at 2 Corinthians 5:20 again. It says that God makes his appeal through us. God could have determined to use angels to proclaim his message, but he didn’t. God could have determined to shape the clouds in the sky to proclaim his message, but he didn’t. In God’s infinite wisdom, He determined to use his people as his channel of sharing his message.
So, as Christ’s ambassadors, we serve as his representative and as his messenger in this world. Therefore, we have our mission. It is important that we don’t lose focus of the mission. As ambassadors of Christ, we must be faithful to the mission, to serve as faithful ambassadors!
II. As Christ’s Ambassadors, We Proclaim a Message for this World (vs. 20b)
Look at the last part of verse 20. There are two words I want us to look at.
The first word I want to look at is “implore.” Paul doesn’t simply proclaim a message and walk away. Instead, he implores people, he begs them, he pleads for them. It is a strong way to ask for something. To understand this better, turn with me to Luke 5:12. Listen to what Luke writes:
While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
Luke uses the same word here. A man has leprosy, a horrible disease, begs Jesus to heal him. This wasn’t a simple request. He begged Jesus to heal him. You can just imagine how strongly he begged Jesus to heal him. Turn over to Luke 9:38-39. Luke writes:
And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him.
Here, a father cries out to Jesus, begs him, to cast a demon out of his son. If I was that father, I can tell you that would not have been a simple request.
Paul is pleading with people. But what is he pleading for? This brings us to our 2nd word.
Reconcile d means to exchange one thing for another. The word used was a legal term that referred to two parties at enmity with each other now being at peace The Greeks spoke of people in opposition to each other being made friends again…or reconciled.
In the New Testament, reconciliation refers to the change of relationship between God and man. We are all born children of Adam and as such are naturally children of wrath and at enmity with God. Sinners who repent of their sins and believe the Gospel are reconciled to God through the death of his son.
We are not commanded to do the work of reconciliation because Christ has already done it. That is why Paul implores on behalf of Christ. God is the reconciler, but not apart from the human will. Therefore, a person must lay hold of this reconciliation by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. A person that is reconciled to God has had their past, present, and future sins erased once and for all. This is truly amazing. And yet, Paul is forced to beg, to plead, to implore people to be reconciled to God. You would think people would be lining up for this deal. But scripture tells us that men love their sin. John 3:19 says:
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
I want to challenge us during these summer months to live intentionally as ambassadors for Christ. I encourage us all to live out our mission as Christ’s representative and that we would proclaim the message we have been given, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to this world. Let me get even more specific. Over the next 2 months, I challenge us all to identify one person we will share the gospel with. Let me give some practical help for us.
1. Pray for help to be faithful with the gospel.
Ask God for opportunities to speak of Christ and for boldness to take the opportunities that he gives.
2. Write out the gospel.
If you can’t explain the gospel, you will never share the gospel. The famous quote, preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words. This doesn’t work. Too often, this is the philosophy we try to live by and it isn’t biblical. Romans 10:14-15 says:
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
3. Be friendly at work, the market, or the gym.
Simply being friendly can provide a path to an open door for conversation that may lead to the sharing of the gospel.
4. Identify your neighbors that live on both sides of your house and the one across the street.
Consider also going for walks, praying for your neighborhood and meeting neighbors.
5. Consider going to the same places so you can get to know people.
When you do errands, such as grocery shopping or getting a haircut, try to go to the same place so you can get to know people. EX: Jasper
These are some practical ways we can position ourselves to be ambassadors for Christ. Could you imagine if every believer in this room focused on sharing the gospel with just one person over the next 2 months? I guarantee that Christ will move in a mighty way because we are being faithful to what he has called us to do! Let’s get busy living intentional lives for the gospel this summer.