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.
Let me remind you of our journey this year, 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. We followed in September with a return to the “accredited diplomat” discussion begun in May. October explored why God might choose to use us as ambassadors to make His appeal for reconciliation to fallen humanity with an examination of the analogy of the Incarnation.
Are you truly willing to be an ambassador for Christ? A simple question but filled with potential. Here is the stumbling block. We know that if we are willing the world will not like us. Therefore to be an ambassador, you must be willing to pay the price. Jesus, himself, warned us of this challenge, in John 15:18–21 (ESV) “18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” We tend not to pay much attention to this warning because we think we can follow Christ and not offend the world. Beloved we fail Christ when we don’t offend the world. The world, men and women, boys and girls, of every age, race, tongue, nation, tribe, socio-economic and educational status is in rebellion against God until they yield to Jesus and take up their cross and follow him. They are condemned to eternal death, separation form God and hell because of their unbelief. “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” 2 Thessalonians 2:9–12 (ESV)
So the next question ought to be, do we care? Do we care that the world around us is perishing? Neighbors, classmates, fellow workers, friends, associates and all the other we see every day are doomed to destruction because they choose not to believe in the Son of God. They have earned that BUT what if we said or did something that the Holy Spirit might use to touch their hearts and change their minds? Check out this long passage from Ezekiel 33:1–9 (ESV) “The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, 3 and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.
7 “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8 If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.”
Look specifically at verse 6. God will hold us accountable if we know the truth and keep silent. You might not care about them (world) but you ought to care about yourself. As His watchman, we are making God’s appeal to the world to be reconciled to Him. Reconciliation obtained through the finished work of Jesus on the cross and at the empty tomb. Our privilege is to point to Jesus in our words and in our lives. Our privilege (and responsibility) is to bear witness to His amazing grace experienced in our lives. Our vocation is to lead others to Jesus. Here’s how Jesus puts it, 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.”
Be a faithful ambassador, shine for Jesus, in your life and in your words.