HIS AMBASSADORS

In 2 Corinthians 5:20 Paul writes: Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

If you have your Bible handy open it up to 2 Corinthians chapter 5. Let’s look at this most important verse together.

Remember that a good question to ask when you see the word “therefore” is what is it “there for?” It should always cause us to look back in the context of a passage to see what was said. And what Paul just said is a powerful motivator for what we find in 5:20. In verses 14-19 in chapter 5 Paul talks about the love of Christ compelling (or controlling) us. He says because Christ died and rose again for us we should know longer live for ourselves, but for Him. He goes on to say that we are new creations in Christ (5:17), that God has erased our sinful past and our lost condition. God has saved us and He no longer counts our sins against us! The flow of the passage indicates that He wants us to tell others what we have experienced in Christ (i.e., tell them how you were reconciled). You see He has given us a ministry, yes you are in the ministry. You might ask, what ministry has God given me? The answer is the ministry of reconciliation…YOU ARE HIS AMBASSADOR.

The Greek word for ambassador is presbeúomen it means to act as a representative.

Ambassadors in the ancient world and today represent a king (of one country to another). They not only represent him, but also speak on his behalf. This is precisely the idea that Paul is communicating to believers. We represent the King of heaven and we speak on His behalf. Wow! I am an ambassador of Almighty God! What a great honor and privilege!

But presbeúomen (ambassador) also has the meaning of elder. In Vine’s Expository Dictionary we read: “There is a suggestion that to be an "ambassador" for Christ involves the experience suggested by the word "elder." Elder men were chosen as "ambassadors."

So what kind of “experience” do you think it takes to be an ambassador for Christ?
As I think about it, it occurs to me that it is more than just one thing.

First, I need to have “experienced” God. That is, I need to know Him personally, be born-again. Second, I need to “be experienced” at walking with the Lord. That means I have a vital, living relationship with Him. It means I am dependent on Him to live through me (Galatians 2:20). I am walking by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7-9) and living to please Him. Third, it means I am growing “in experience” in His Word so that as I live my life and interact with others I am sharing His truth through my actions and my words. Now don’t get the wrong impression, you don’t have to be a Bible scholar to be Christ’s ambassador, but if you are not immersed in the things of God, you will not be a very effective ambassador. Ultimately “evangelism is the natural overflow of a heart in love with God.”

What does our King, who sent us, want us to communicate to this world? He wants us to speak the message of reconciliation. But before we get to the content of the message we need to talk about our attitude toward the lost. The text says that God wants to make His entreaty (literally means to call or beg) through us. The NIV says: “as though God were making His appeal (pleading NKJ) through us.” This language implies a passionate burden for the unsaved. It would indicate a deep concern for people who don’t know the True King and not just a flippant or careless attitude toward them. It means we should have His kind of love - His heart for the lost (cf. Matthew 9:36-38; Romans 9:1-3).

We know that God wants to call people to Himself through our passionate proclamation of His message. What should we tell them?

Our King’s message is that people can be reconciled to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. Men and women who don’t know Christ are alienated from God because of sin. They are called “enemies” of God. The Gospel of reconciliation tells them that God does not want that to continue (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9), He has provided the way to peace with Him through Jesus (Romans 5:1). Paul goes on to say in Romans 5:8-10: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath {of God} through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (NAS emphasis mine)

The word for “reconciled” (katallasso) means to change (that is from enmity to friendship). The Gospel message that we are to live and proclaim is so important that it can bring a lost sinner, who is under God’s judgment (John 3:18, 3:36; Romans 1:18, Ephesians 2:3-5) into a right and peaceful relationship with Him.

Paul wrote in Colossians 1:19-22: For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him (Jesus), and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— (NIV)

It can be a life-changing truth to recognize that we are His ambassadors (representatives). People who know that we are Christians look at our lives to see if they can see the Gospel. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we are communicating something.

How would you say that you are doing at being Christ’s ambassador? Did you know that this is what you are? If so, does this truth impact your daily life? Let’s take our call seriously and let God extend His message (“arm”) of grace through us to this lost and dying world by the way we live every day and the words that they hear us say.

There is no doubt -they are watching & listening!!