Summary: We anxiously await the coming of the Lord, but, in the meantime, we have a message, "be reconciled to God," a mission to the entire world, and the motivating love of Christ to compel us.
Ambassadors for Christ
Christian roles series 03/21/04 AM
Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
Bible scholar and author William Barclay wrote of an ambassador in Roman times and noted two things about the office.
1. He was an administrator sent by the Emperor to a conquered land. His commission was from the Emperor and he reported directly to him, and
2. He was the one responsible for establishing rules and boundaries, etc. when it was decided a conquered people should become part of the empire.
Essentially this role was for bringing people into the family of the empire; what a beautiful picture of the Christian’s role in God’s kingdom. Consider the Christian as an ambassador:
I. The ambassador of Christ has a mandate: v19
A. Illus.: Joseph was on a mission for God even though he didn’t choose to be.
1. Joseph didn’t enjoy diplomatic immunity, just God’s victory. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive”. Genesis 50:20
2. Lived in a foreign land but never surrendered his citizenship or forgot God. And God never forgot Joseph.
3. We are also in this world to fulfill God’s purpose.
B. Our task is to persuade others. v18
1. Our goal is to please God. “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” v9
2. We are "in the body" with a task to perform. To share God’s urgent message. “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men…” v11
3. Our mission is to all people. The mission of the apostles is now the church’s mission. Matthew 28
II. The ambassador of Christ has a message: v20
A. “Be reconciled to God.”
1. As the Roman ambassador brought people into the empire so we seek to bring others into the kingdom of God.
2. Jesus bore our sins so we could share His righteousness. v21
3. “so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7
B. A powerful message: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16
1. Only message with power to destroy sin, give life.
2. It turned the world upside down and penetrated Cesar’s palace.
3. A compelling message. “let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death…” James 5:20a
III. The ambassador of Christ has a motive: the love of Christ. v14
A. Jesus expressed love in many ways:
1. He lamented over the lost: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Matthew 23:37
2. He loved the lost.
a. The young ruler “Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him…” Mark 10:21
b. Zaccheus “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:1-10
c. Sinners “But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. “But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13
3. Lack of love angered Him. Mark 3:1-5
4. Proved His love for all on Calvary.
B. He died for us, so we live for Him. v15
1. As He loved us so we must others.
“We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” 1 John 4:19-21
2. Love is a compelling motive. We will do almost anything for love.
IV. The Christian ambassador has a homeland:
A. Paul, an example. Lived in the Jewish nation.
1. He viewed Jesus as a man and enemy.
2. Like most Jews, he was seeking a worldly Messiah.
3. When he met Jesus on the Damascus Road, his entire outlook changed. Acts 9
4. Now he sees all men as objects of God’s love.
5. Now he sees himself as a slave to Christ and an ambassador to the world. Philippians 3:7:11
B. God calls us to take the same point of view: Colossians 3:1-3
1. Our citizenship is in Heaven. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;” Philippians 3:20