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.” April saw us consider the “sent by a country.” For May we move to what is meant by an accredited diplomat?
The Dictionary defines diplomat as a noun meaning: 1) an official representing a country abroad, 2) a person who can deal with people in a sensitive and effective way. Wikipedia, (the free encyclopedia) adds “A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with one or more other states or international organizations. The main functions of diplomats are representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state, initiation and facilitation of strategic agreements, treaties and conventions, as well as the promotion of information, trade and commerce, technology and friendly relations. Seasoned diplomats of international repute are used in international organizations (e.g. United Nations) as well as multinational companies for their experience in management and negotiating skills. Diplomats are members of foreign services and diplomatic corps of various nations of the world.
I like the aspects of representation and protection of the interests of the sending state. Scripture calls us to representation as witnesses. Consider Isaiah 43:9–11 (ESV) 9 All the nations gather together, and the peoples assemble. Who among them can declare this, and show us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right, and let them hear and say, It is true. 10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. 11 I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior. and again 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.” It is our privilege and duty to represent Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God to the world.
How do we bear witness or represent Christ to the world? First by the way in which we live. The way we live reveals the values and mores of the Kingdom of God. In its simplest form look at Exodus 20:1-21 and in its more elaborate form Mathew 5:1-7:29. Living in agreement with these codes reveals our agreement with the Kingdom’s principles. Second we tell of what Jesus has done in our lives. The man born blind in John 9 expresses it so simply and elegantly, John 9:25 (ESV) “25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” Jesus has set me free from blindness, bondage to sin, and bareness. I am a new creation in Him, Praise His name. Third by sharing with others all that the Word of God declares. Romans 10:17 (ESV) “17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” By sharing the word of Christ we open the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to regenerate.
There is the other aspect that we don’t think about much. We are to protect the interests of the Kingdom of God. How can we protect the interests of the Kingdom? By living an exemplary life before the world. Matthew 5:16 (ESV) “16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Or this John 15:8 (ESV) “8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” And consider this 2 Thessalonians 1:10–12 (ESV) “10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Another aspect of this protection is found in 1 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) “15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” We protect the Kingdom when we live victoriously every day in this foreign land.
Are you representing and protecting the Kingdom of God to the best of your ability? That’s our privilege as ambassadors. The only way to be successful is if we do it in Christ’s power. Here’s the hope, Philippians 4:12–13 (ESV) “12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”