September 2016

Ambassadors for Christ is our theme for 2016. See 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.”
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.
Here has been our journey, January introduction to theme, February “a foreign country”, March “its official representative”, April “sent by a country”, May “an accredited diplomat”, and June “the possibility that God has sent you on an errand?”. July led us into a further exploration of the meaning of an “official representative” culminating in the assertion that love is the official mark of God’s Kingdom. In August we explored how it is possible to love in a fallen, faithless, and futile existence.
I want to return now to the “accredited diplomat” discussion begun in May. The Dictionary ( defines accredit [verb (accredits, accrediting, accredited) [ with obj. ] (usu. be accredited)]
1 give credit (to someone) for: attribute (an action, saying, or quality) to:
2 (of an official body) give authority or sanction to (someone or something) when recognized standards have been met:
3 give official authorization for (someone, typically a diplomat or journalist) to be in a particular place or to hold a particular post: an ambassador accredited to a northern European country.
What is our official authorization that God gives for us to His diplomat? In Acts 4 Peter and John are before the Jewish ruling council explaining their actions and hence their power (authority) to do the good deed done. The Council hears what they have to say, but then comes this magnificent observation. Acts 4:13 (ESV) “13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” Even unbelievers recognize when we’ve been transformed by Jesus. It is not how smart we are, or how eloquent or how prestigious its simply the character of Christ revealed in the totality of our lives.
In Acts 19 there is an interesting story about men trying to do miracles: Acts 19:13–14 (ESV) “13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this.” The evil spirit responds, Acts 19:15 (ESV) “15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” It is not enough to simply speak the name of Jesus without the presence of His Holy Spirit within us to back it. That is why Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit, 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.” Without the Holy Spirit within you your witness will never be effective.
What does the Holy Spirit within me look like? Galatians 5:22–26 (ESV) tells us, “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” So examine your life; are you exhibiting “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control” every day? Not just on Sunday but every day, every hour, and every minute. The second part of the examination question is am I “in step with the Spirit.”?
We erroneously believe that all we have to do is speak truth, however, truth always wants to be wrapped in an accredited diplomat, one who has the authorization and authority to speak it. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can apply truth to human hearts.
Here is the “other side of the coin” Galatians 5:19–21 (ESV) “19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” So examine yourself honestly, which series best represents your real (actual) life? The works of the flesh, “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies” or the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”.
An accredited diplomat shows that they have been with Jesus through their “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”.