Ambassadors for Christ has been 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 is our journey for the 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. November explored the question whether we were willing to pay the price of the assignment.
Now I ask you to consider Paul’s admonition in Philippians 3:7–11 (ESV) 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Do you count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of being Christ’s ambassador? This ought to be a truly tough question. Long time Christians answer quickly “of course” but then we return to our idols. If you think I’m being unfair or too critical, look at the history of Israel. Judges through Nehemiah record again and again how God’s people cry out for deliverance from enemies. God delivers and peace follows. As soon as the peace is well established they turn away and follow their idols again. How many times have God’s people forgotten His goodness and mercy? Check Judges 2:10 this is reality.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We are not bound to follow Israel’s failures. First step is to see the incredible privilege which is ours as His ambassadors. If we are not overwhelmed by the magnitude of His grace toward us, we have a fundamental faith problem. See Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Thank you Lord.
Second step is to embrace our responsibility as His stewards (fiduciary, trustee). See Matthew 25:14-30. God trusts you with His treasures; time, talent, money. He asks us to be wise stewards using His treasures for His purposes (fiduciary duty). He will also ask us for an accounting pin the future. Does it thrill you that God trusts you with His treasures? If it doesn’t you have a relationship problem.
Finally do you enjoy your relationship with Christ? No one should represent something they are not thrilled to be a part of. I heard this quotation given to a theology class (pastors in training) “if the Gospel isn’t working for you, please don’t export it” Howard Hendricks. Jesus said John 15:11 (ESV) “11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” If you are not filled with the joy of Jesus you will never be an effective ambassador. And you have a relationship problem as well.
So please, embrace the privilege, revel in His trust, and let His joy leak from every part of your life, always. Be a great ambassador.