The times that we are now living in seems to be getting crazier every day. The anxiety and tensions of what is currently going on, as well as what lies ahead for us is growing every day. We have people telling us this is the direction we are to go in, while others are telling us we should go an entirely different direction. The craziness we’re seeing seems to be escalating rapidly all at the same time it appears that things are spiraling down almost out of control. As Christians, what is our responsibility and role during times like these?
The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 briefly outlines what our role as Christians should be, that of being an ambassador for Christ. As ambassadors for Christ we are to be proclaiming the good news of the Gospel for the purpose of reconciling man back to God. So, the question is asked, what does it mean to be an ambassador. The simple definition of an ambassador from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is; “the highest-ranking person who represents his or her own government while living in another country”. As ambassadors for Christ, we need to remember that this world is not our home, but instead we have a heavenly one awaiting us.
To be an ambassador one must be sent to represent the country or kingdom they came from. We read in both Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-18 that Jesus sends His followers out to represent Him to the world, and His followers includes us if we’ve decided to be a follower of Jesus. So, what does being an ambassador for Christ look like? Is there an example for us to learn from?
Yes, there are examples of what it looks like to be an ambassador for Christ. The first example we need to look at is Jesus, the very one that we are to be representing to the world. In Jesus we find the clearest picture of how we are to live and represent Him. No matter the setting, whether it was one-on-one, in a small group, or in front of the multitudes numbering in the thousands, Jesus taught others of Himself and the new covenant He was initiating with those who would follow after Him. He spoke of both grace and judgment, and the need for total surrender of our lives to Him. Other examples we see are found in the Apostles and some of the disciples in the early church. They proclaimed the good news of the risen savior, Jesus, how through relationship with Jesus everyone now has direct access to God the Father, and that Jesus will be coming back to take His followers to forever be with Him in heaven. The Apostles and the early church were so effective in their representing Christ, proclaiming the good news of the gospel accompanied with signs and wonders, it is reported in Acts 17:6 by the gentiles that they had turned the world upside down proclaiming Christ as King. Based on these examples, it is clear that as ambassadors for Christ we are to be boldly proclaiming the gospel of the good news of Jesus whenever we can.
As ambassadors for Christ, we are told in Philippians 2:5-11 that we are to have the same mindset as Christ. There are a couple of things worth pointing out in this passage of Scripture. In verse 6, we are told that Jesus being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Jesus was confident in who He is, and He wasn’t ashamed of that. In like manner, we are joint-heirs of Christ, adopted into the family of God, and we should be confident in that and not ashamed. However, in verse 7 we find that Jesus took on the form of a bondservant, a voluntary slave, to God the Father, and in verse 8 we see that He humbled Himself before God and was obedient to Him unto death, even the death of the cross. In just the same way, instead of claiming our rights and privileges as joint-heirs of Christ and children of God, we need to humble ourselves to Him and be obedient to Him even unto death of whatever type. For Jesus that humility and obedience took Him to the cross to pay for our sins, and while the plan that God has for each of us is different in so many ways, we need to have the same humility and obedience to God that He had no matter what path God may lead us on in this life.
Ambassadors have the full backing and support of the nation it represents, and in the same way we have the full backing and support of God as ambassadors for Christ. God demonstrates His support and backing of Jesus, the Apostles, and disciples in the early church through the supernatural works and manifestations of signs and wonders through the Holy Spirit. We are told in Mark 16:17-18 that as ambassadors for Christ, signs and wonders will follow those who believe. We also read in Acts 1:8 that we will receive power with the baptism of the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses, through which we would be empowered to do the supernatural works that Jesus did. In John 14:12, Jesus tells us that the supernatural works He did, we not only will do them as well, but that we will do greater ones than He did. While supernatural signs and wonders cannot be a barometer for the condition of one’s relationship with God, and while doing them shouldn’t be our primary focus, those things should be taking place to confirm the message we are proclaiming of Jesus as valid and from God.
Another aspect to being an ambassador is the fact that when they are mistreated and harmed in any way, in essence the country or nation that ambassador is from is also getting mistreated and harmed. In 1 Peter 3:13-14, we’re told as followers of Christ to not be fearful of anyone that seeks to harm us. In the previous chapter we see an example of how to let this play out in our lives. In 1 Peter 2:21-23 the Apostle Peter tells us that Jesus left us an example to follow. He mentions that even when Christ was reviled and lied about, suffering at the hands of others, Jesus did not respond to any of it in like manner or try to defend Himself. Instead we are shown what Jesus’ mindset was in how He responded at the end of verse 23; “but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously”. We are told to not be fearful of anything that may come our way, but to instead place our trust in the only one who judges righteously, God Himself.
In regards to being an ambassador, we have to remember that their role is not to dictate, to conquer, or to control the nation they are sent to. They don’t entangle themselves in the internal affairs of the nation they are sent to, nor do they participate in protests or activities to further their cause or the cause of their country. Their role is simply to represent their country, relaying messages to and from the country they are an ambassador to. When I think about that I realize something that is missing in the New Testament, Matthew through Revelation.
I’m reminded that in the days of the early church, they lived under a very corrupt and violent Roman rule, especially towards them. Persecution of the church was severe, taxation was extreme, violence and cold-blooded murder was common, and political corruption and sexual perversions was rampant during that time at all levels. To compare the times we are now living in to what the early church lived through, what we are experiencing is nothing by comparison, though it seems to be heading in that direction. Despite all that the Apostles and the early church lived through, it’s interesting to note that the New Testament is missing some things.
As bad as things were in the first century, we find that there is no record of followers of Christ trying to rise up against the Romans. We also find that there is no record of followers of Christ trying to clean up the corruption in society and government, and there is no record of followers of Christ trying to take over communities and nations. Amazingly, we also find no records of followers of Christ complaining about society, corruption, taxation, persecution, etc. In fact, we don’t even see any instructions given to followers of Christ to do any of the above or seek social justice, but instead the opposite, living at peace with others and being obedient to the authorities for the sake of Christ. For the sake of Christ, you say? Yes. In 1 Peter 2:13-17, we are told to submit ourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, or every human institution depending on the version you’re reading from, and that this is the will of God. In the days we are living in, it seems like people, Christian or not, are focused on doing and saying things for either their sake, the sake of someone they know, the sake of their political party, or even for their country. Yet, we are told that what we do should be for the sake of the Lord.
It is important for us as ambassadors for Christ to remember what our role is here on earth, and to not get sidetracked or distracted and caught up in the affairs of this life. We are ambassadors for Christ, and as such we should conduct ourselves accordingly. We need to live a life blameless before God and man, boldly proclaim the good news of the gospel, and to allow God to confirm the message through the supernatural with signs and wonders. Along the way we are to share the love and grace of our Lord Jesus to those around us, not just in word but also in deed, but our primary role as identified by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-18 is to proclaim the gospel to the world in whatever setting God places us in, and to teach them to observe and do all that He commanded us to do.
We are to be ambassadors for Jesus. Are you His ambassador? I’m challenging myself as well, seeing where I’ve fallen short at times, but it is important for us in the days we are living in to remember what our role is in the midst of anxiety and the crazy turmoil that characterizes the world we now live in. If you find that you haven’t been His ambassador as you ought, there is no better time than the present to begin to do so. Change your focus and mindsets accordingly, be open and willing for the Holy Spirit to manifest Himself in the supernatural to validate and confirm the message of Christ you are proclaiming, and strive to maintain a blameless life in the sight of God and man so as to not hinder or hurt your ability to be His ambassador. Living a blameless life doesn’t require one to be perfect in all their ways, but it does require a heart that is sensitive to any sin and inappropriate behavior and speech in your life along with a strong conviction to live free of sin. If you are aware of sin and inappropriate behavior and speech in your life that is wrong and displeasing in the sight of God, make it right with Him by confessing your sin and turning from it, asking Him for help to live a life blameless and pleasing to Him in all your ways.
BE AN AMBASSADOR FOR CHRIST!!
John Johansson (Pastor John)