Summary: We are called to be ministers of reconciliation and ambassadors of Christ; what can we expect as ambassadors?
Expectations of Ambassadors
2 Cor. 6:1-13
The US presently has appointed around 225 ambassadors throughout the World to represent the interests of our country in those places. Throughout the history of the US, only 8 ambassadors have died while serving, the latest we are all very aware: Christopher Stevens was killed in Libya on September 12, 2012. There have been millions of ambassadors for Christ who have been killed in the line of duty.
Last week we looked at 2 Cor. 5:17-21, and saw that every Christian has been chosen by God to serve throughout the world as representatives of HIS KINGDOM INTERESTS:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (It is only through the Righteousness supplied by God in Christ that we have peace with God.)
This morning we honestly consider the expectations of serving as Christ’s Ambassadors in 2 Cor. 6:1-13.
Look at the Urgency of the Message (1-2)
Look at The Urgency of the Message for the world to “be reconciled to God”! 2 Cor 6:1: As God's fellow workers (commissioned with God’s message) we urge you NOT to receive God's grace in vain. (It is NOT a Gospel of Works that we, as ambassadors are called to preach, but the Gospel of God’s Reconciliation by GRACE alone in and through Christ from 2 Cor. 5:17-21) (Paul quotes from Isa. 49:8- Let me read it in the ESV: For he says, "In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you. "Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” TODAY, right NOW is STILL the day of God’s Grace to save sinners. Are you looking at others and witnessing with that thought in mind? As surely as morning comes and there is DAYTIME, evening will also come and there will be an end to the DAY and TIME of GRACE.)
Our Reputation as Messengers (3-7)
Our Reputation as Messengers is on the line (3-7): 3 We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way (It doesn’t matter what comes at us on account of the Gospel, we patiently proceed.): in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights (I’ve experienced those!) and hunger; 6 (HOW do we do that?) in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech (the written revealed word of God) and in the power of God (by His Spirit, Not our own strength); with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…”
We preach grace, we live grace, we GIVE GRACIOUSLY, and we do nothing which would stand in the way of the message of God’s Grace. We don’t trust in human resources but spiritual virtues and the armor of God: Eph. 6: 14 “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth (the truth of Jesus Christ) buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, (HIS IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS, reconciled by God, applied to my heart and life.) 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (You can run from God but you will only find peace if you run TO God in Christ.) 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, (It is a GIFTED weapon given to us) with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation (Protect your HEAD and mind with the applied salvation of God in Christ.) and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Prayer covers us, protects us, prepares us, humbles us, and shows us how powerful God IS and how utterly weak and helpless we are.)
We are protected and war, not with weapons, but with the fruit of the Spirit: Gal. 5: 22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.) Lord, let me be eternally armed by YOUR PROTECTION; let me UTILIZE your weapons, and Lord, Help Me to Produce your spiritual fruit so that the world will take notice of your life-changing GRACE in Christ!!!