2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
When we come to Christ, when we accept Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, certain things happen. Firstly, we become a new creation…the old has gone, and the new has come. If we are willing, if we are obedient, the old life can be gone. The things we said and did…gone. The old destructive habits…gone. The old fears and hurts…gone. Accept Jesus, and a new life begins. Not just a new chapter in your current life, but an entirely new book.
But other things also happen. You receive eternal life, and you get to go to heaven with God forever. Also, sin’s power over you is broken. You don’t have to be a slave any more to sin because you are a child of God…Royalty! But along with this, royalty comes with several responsibilities as a representative of the King.
But this passage also reveals that we have a ministry, the ministry of reconciliation. So, what does that mean? In the Greek reconciliation us the word KATALLAGÉ, meaning atonement or restoration of privileges. It means a levelling up, and we use the word reconciliation in business to refer to making the ledger balance.
Our ministry as believers is to facilitate the balancing of the ledger between God and man. Our job is to bring people to Christ and reconcile the relationship that sin has severed. What a joy to share the good news and bring people to Jesus, reconciling them and allowing Him to full them and give eternal life!
Another responsibility we have is that we are called to be ambassadors…official representatives of the Kingdom of God. If you are a believer, you are automatically an ambassador. But what does this mean for us here in Australia in 2022?
WHAT IS AN AMBASSADOR?
According to Miriam Webster dictionary, and ambassador is “an accredited diplomat sent by a state as its permanent resident in a foreign country.”
Sounds very official, and some of us can be less than diplomatic at times, but I want to examine what an ambassador is and what we need to do to fulfil that role.
1. AMBASSADORS REPRESENT THE KING
An ambassador represents the King and His Kingdom. Which means that when people see you, you represent God’s Kingdom to them. Think about it. If you meet someone from a foreign land, your view of that country is heavily influenced by that person.
I cringe at times when I meet Aussie aboard, because if that was all you saw of Australians you would think they are all loud, boozy, sweary, obnoxious ockers!
Matthew 5:16 (ESV)
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.
Overseas people will judge Australia by you. In society, people will judge the Kingdom of God by you, the ambassadors of the King.
This is not our home! We are aliens and strangers in the world as Peter says,
1 Peter 2:11 (ESV)
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles (aliens and strangers) to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
2. HAS AUTHORITY OF THE KING
An ambassador has the full authority of the King. If the ambassador grants a visa, or makes a comment, it is with the King’s authority. We as believers have our King’s authority.
Matthew 28:18-19 (ESV)
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
That word authority is Greek EXOUSIA, meaning to have mastery over, to have universal power over something. So, what do we as ambassadors have power over?
As Jesus said, all authority has been given to Him. Therefore, if we have Him, we have the same authority as He does, if (big if) if we abide in Him. Does He have authority over sickness, or over evil, or over nature? Yes, He does, and if we abide in Him we share that same authority. However, if we do not abide in Him, if we disobey His will, we do not have such authority.
John 15:7-10 (ESV)
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
Abide is MENO in Greek, which means to dwell, remain, stay with. An ambassador must abide in the will of his King, not misuse the King’s authority for his own ends.
There are three possible relationships with the King. You can reject His rule and be an enemy, but that leads to judgment. You can accept His rule and be unfaithful, but that leads to loss of reward. Or you can accept His rule, do His will faithfully, abiding in Him and receiving His authority, and ultimately His reward.
3. CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH THE KING
An ambassador is constantly communicating with their home country. They don’t act on their own ideas or concepts; they communicate constantly with their King before any decision is made. If you are a believer, you have the Holy Spirit within you, and so you can be blessed as an ambassador to have constant communication.
John 16:13 (ESV)
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
The thing is, we often don’t listen. We need to speak to God and listen to our King more!
4. AMBASSADORS OBEY THE WILL OF THE KING
An ambassador obeys the will of the King. He doesn’t just fire off and do his own thing, he asks and then makes sure he obeys the will of his master.
We think that going to church, being religious and praying brings God joy. It doesn’t. Plenty of people are religious, even other religions pray. What blesses the Lord is obedience. All the religion in the world without obedience doesn’t impress God at all.
We see this with King Saul. He disobeyed, then got all religious to try and impress God and God’s prophet Samuel. But Samuel said,
1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV)
And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.
An ambassador obeys His King, he doesn’t just do his own thing. Obedience is more important than his own personal wishes or agenda.
John 14:15 (ESV)
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
5. CARRIES THE CULTURE OF THE KINGDOM He represents
This point is so relevant to today’s Christian. An ambassador carries the culture of his home nation. He does not try to conform his culture to the local culture.
So, if you visit the embassy of the Solomons for example, you see paintings in the wall from the Solomons, be entertained by Solomon Island dancers, eat food from the islands and see them wearing Solomon Islander clothing. Their embassy is considered a sovereign piece of the Solomons right here in Australia.
Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
God’s Kingdom has a culture, and it has morals and laws to uphold that culture. I’m sick of hearing about Christians and especially leaders who insist on compromising our culture, watering it down so as to not offend people. No ambassador worth his salt would compromise his own culture just to fit in with the host nation. No, ambassadors champion their King’s culture!
Matthew 10:34 (ESV)
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
It about time we behave like ambassadors and stand up for our Kingdom’s culture.
6. IS ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF THE KING
Ambassadors don’t just waste their time in frivolous activity. They align themselves with Kingdom principles, get about the business of the king. Ambassadors make sure the king’s interests and not their own, are pursued.
If your car tyres wear unevenly and if your car pulls to one side, chances are your wheels are out of alignment. If your life is out of alignment, you’ll feel the pull of satan and this world, and wear unevenly. But if your life is aligned with His Kingdom, you will be about His business and run smooth and true.
Ephesians 5:15-17 (ESV)
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
If we are ambassadors, we must maximise not waste our time for the King. What are you doing for the King in your life? Are you aligned with His principles? Are you investing time into His Word to understand His will more effectively, are you praying, are you coming to church, sharing the gospel, caring for each other? Or are you just trying to have a good life, fun life, doing whatever pleases you, even if to hurts the King?
7. AMBASSADORS ARE READY FOR RECALL AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE
An ambassador must be ready for recall at a moment’s notice. For example, in 2015 Australia recalled its ambassador from Indonesia in protest at the execution of two Australians in Bali for drug trafficking. If you are an ambassador, you need to be ready to be recalled home at a moment’s notice.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (ESV)
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
Ambassador must serve well, serve faithfully, serve without compromise, but be ready to head home immediately when called. And Jesus is calling us home very soon.
WHAT ABOUT DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY?
Sometimes diplomats misbehave, and there is something they hide behind called diplomatic immunity. One female foreign diplomat in Canberra was allowed to continue driving despite accumulating 15 demerit points in just over 12 months. If arrested, diplomats are not subject to the host nation’s legal system.
However, an ambassador can be recalled and punished when they return home if they have compromised their kingdom’s reputation. It all comes down to whom they are serving…themselves or their king.
They must choose to serve their king ahead of the country in which they have been posted.
I believe that the Bible teaches we must obey our country’s laws unless they contravene God’s laws. So, I will obey Australia’s laws in many respects, but I cannot and will not support their laws regarding the murder of babies in abortion, or the changing of God’s laws regarding sex and gender.
I’m pretty sure that our government will not offer me diplomatic immunity, but Jesus said
Matthew 10:28 (ESV)
do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
As an ambassador, we can and must follow the King first, whatever the cost!
THE AMBASSADOR’S BEHAVIOUR SHOWS WHO THEY REALLY LOVE AND SERVE?
As an ambassador, your behaviour reveals your heart, and whom you serve.
1 John 2:15-16 (ESV)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world.
If you love this world more than you love God and His Kingdom, you’re a lousy ambassador, and a poor advocate for your country.
When Pharisees questioned Jesus on the greatest commandment, He summarised it like this
Mark 12:29-31 (ESV)
“The most important (commandment) is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The first commandment is to love your Lord, God, and King. The second is to love your neighbour. The debate across Christianity today around moral issues is occurring because we’ve got these two commandments reversed. We love people, cater to people, excuse the sin and behaviour of people first, and love God second. We see the Bible through the prism of society, instead of society through the Bible.
If we are to be faithful, honourable and true ambassadors of the Kingdom, we have to stop putting our own agenda or the agenda of the world first and serve the Kingdom above all.
An ambassador who compromises or waters down the standards of his country to fit in with the local culture is not worthy of the calling. An ambassador who pursues his own interests first before his country’s is also not worthy.
When an ambassador is appointed, they take a pledge to serve their nation and maintain the customs, standards and even the secrets of that nation. Maybe it’s time we did that here. This is not our home.
Philippians 3:20 (ESV)
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,
C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
We are made for another world, but until we are called home, we are called to be ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. This means obeying the King, putting His interests first, standing up for His standards and proclaiming His message, regardless of what the world believes, or how they attack us.
Today I am calling you to pledge your life for the King. Will, you pledge with me to stand for the Kingdom of God?
IN WHAT WAY ARE WE AMBASSADORS FOR GOD’S KINGDOM?
HOW CAN YOU BE A BETTER AMBASSADOR?
WHAT IS A NEW WAY YOU CAN REPRESENT THE KINGDOM OF GOD TODAY?