April 2016

In January I began our journey into 2016 with an introduction to 2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV) “20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Here is a reminder of my first paragraph.
Ambassadors for Christ is our theme for 2016. A dictionary defines an ambassador as: “an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country:” Let us work backwards through the definition.
We began our Ambassador considerations in February with “a foreign country,” and followed in March with “its official representative.” Let us continue to move backward to the assertion, “sent by a country.” In Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV) 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The church calls this “the Great Commission” Jesus sends us to “go and make disciples.” Jesus is Lord of Lord and King of Kings therefore we can safely assume if the Sovereign says go the Sovereign’s country (Heaven) says go.
Jesus follows up the Great Commission with this command at His ascension, in Acts 1:8 (ESV) “8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” I submit it is pretty clear that Jesus sends His disciples into the world to bear witness to His character, purpose and plan. Bearing witness to Jesus, who He is and what He did and making disciples are not simply possibilities for Christians, they are essentials. You cannot be a faithful Christian without intentionally engaging in making disciples and bearing witness to Jesus Christ. This is not for a select few, it is a universal sending of all Christians to the local, nearby and far away environs.
The moment you chose to follow Jesus, to be His disciple and to be called a Christian you inherit the Great Commission. In following Him you become a sent agent of Heaven to a lost, fragmented and frustrated world. You are sent to bear witness to the outcasts, enslaved, addicted and hopeless that Jesus Christ is “…the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (ESV) When John the Baptist’s disciples were sent to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah, he replied “22 . . .”Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Luke 7:22–23 (ESV) We are likewise sent to bear that same witness that in Jesus, “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.”
The problem is not the message or the response which it receives. The problem is that we don’t believe we are sent and therefore we don’t engage in the essential task. The essence of sending is movement. I have to move from where I am and go someplace else. If that is done physically we call those missionaries. But what if this is spiritual? What if my moving involves releasing an inappropriate self understanding and embracing God’s new vision? What if my going (being sent) involves moving away from complacency and satisfaction to embrace the spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6) that is all around us in this foreign land? What if my moving entails seeing myself as Heaven’s Ambassador to a lost, dying and decaying world? Everyone of us needs to move then. Everyone of us is called to be a witness. Everyone one of us is called to be an Ambassador.
Will you embrace your “sentness” (I made it up) What will change in your life if you live out this calling, commission and privilege? What if you really understood yourself as one sent by Heaven to bear “Good News” to this foreign land? One thing I know, if you take this Commission to heart, the Holy Spirit will do amazing things through you. (reread Acts 1:8)