Speaker: Pastor Darin Browne
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.
WE ARE ALL IN MINISTRY
Recently, we have been talking about heaven, and last week I shared that when you truly see eternity as reality, it changes everything. It changes how we see our struggles and trials, it changes how we view other people, because we recognise that every one of us is going to die, and face judgement…
Hebrews 9:27 (ESV)
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
When we come to Christ, several things happen, starting with us becoming a new creation..
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
The old has gone, and the new has come. The things we said and did…gone. The old destructive habits…gone. The old fears and hurts…gone. Accept Jesus, and a new life, eternal life, begins. Not just a new chapter in your current life, but an entirely new book. And the life we live is the first chapter if an eternal book, which gets better and better into eternity!
ADOPTED INTO HIS FAMILY
When we come to Jesus, we are also adopted into His forever family. You are no longer a slave to sin, you become a child of God…Royalty! This brings tremendous privileges, but also several responsibilities as a representative of the King.
Paul writes that one of these responsibilities is what he calls the ministry of reconciliation. In the Greek reconciliation is the word KATALLAGÉ, meaning atonement or restoration of privileges. It means a levelling up, and we still 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 had severed.
If we have an eternal perspective, we must represent the King, and His Kingdom. The way we exercise this ministry of reconciliation is by becoming ambassadors for our King.
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.
WHAT IS AN AMBASSADOR?
According to Miriam Webster dictionary, an ambassador is “an accredited diplomat sent by a state as its permanent resident in a foreign country.” Diplomat 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. Sons and daughters of the King should make the best ambassadors of the King.
So, let’s look at what being an ambassador actually means.
1: REPRESENTS THE KING
An ambassador represents the King and His Kingdom in a foreign land. We are here for a short time, but we don’t live here, we are just passing through. Heaven is our true home. And your life might be the only Bible people will ever read, so we must represent the King and His laws and values correctly.
I am sick of hearing about Christians compromising godly values to fit in and be accepted in this sinful society. We are Called and commissioned to uphold the laws of our King, even on foreign soil!
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 Aussies 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 Heaven by you, the ambassadors of the King.
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,
Therefore, if we serve the King, 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. Stay loyal and obedient, and the King’s authority rests with you. Disobey Him, and you lose it!
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, 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 don’t always listen. We need to speak to God and listen to our King more!
4: OBEYS THE WILL OF THE KING
An ambassador obeys the will of the King. He doesn’t value his own personal opinion more than his master’s. He doesn’t try and compromise to suit himself; he just obeys.
God is not impressed with you coming to church or being religious. He is not thrilled by pious legalism. Nothing tells God you love Him more than your obedience!
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, not grudgingly, but because he is devoted to his home country and its leader. As Jesus said…
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 Philippines for example, you see paintings in the wall from the Philippines, be entertained by Filipino dancers, eat food from the Philippines and see them wearing Philippines clothing. Their embassy is considered a sovereign piece of the Philippines 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 Kingdom culture, watering it down to not offend people. No ambassador worth his salt would compromise his own culture just to fit in with the host nation.
If we have an eternal perspective, we should behave like ambassadors and stand up for our Kingdom’s culture, and our King’s ideals!
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, and make sure His interests, not their own but His interests, 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 with an eternal perspective, we must understand His will and 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 it hurts your King?
7: IS READY FOR RECALL AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE
An ambassador must be ready for recall at a moment’s notice.
Recently several nations have recalled their ambassadors to Israel because if the Gaza campaign. Israel has recalled her ambassador to South Africa because of their criticism of the war. If you are an ambassador, you need to be ready to be recalled home at a moment’s notice, whenever your leader decides.
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.
Ambassadors 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.
MIND YOUR ACCENT?
Someone in America once asked me how I found their country. I said it was just like Australia, but with funny accents. She told me she didn’t have an accent! We may not think we have an accent, but others can tell.
Lize mentioned the other day that people recognise her South African heritage by her accent. She then profoundly said that the people of this world should recognise us as Christians by our heavenly accent. Heavenly perspective gives rise to a heavenly accent that represents the King and the Kingdom we serve.
If you stay long enough in a country, you tend to pick up their accent. What about you? Do you have God’s Kingdom heavenly accent, or have you picked up this world’s accent?
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 Heavenly Kingdom, you’re a lousy ambassador, and a poor advocate for your country, and you probably speak with the wrong accent. Jesus said…
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 moral debate in Christianity today is happening because we’ve got these two commandments reversed. We love people, cater to people, excuse the sin and behaviour of people in the name of love first, and then we love God second. We see the Bible through the prism of society, instead of society through the lens of the Bible.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great German pastor, theologian, and martyr was asked in 1943 how it was possible for the Church to sit back and let Hitler seize absolute power. His firm answer: “It was the teaching of cheap grace.”
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”
We live in a time and culture that not only teaches cheap grace but celebrates it. Love is love, and if God is love, we have to love everybody and let them do whatever they want! They say love demands we drop our standards and accept everything!
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 of Heaven above all. We must have an eternal perspective.
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, a promise, a covenant 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, we are ambassadors for God’s heavenly Kingdom…
Philippians 3:20 (ESV)
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,
We are made for another world, but until we are called home, we are called to be ambassadors for the Kingdom of God on this earth. 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 on earth to serve the King. Will, you pledge with me to stand for the Kingdom of God?
Lord, I promise to love You, obey You and serve You above all others, without compromise and without excuses. I promise to stand for Heaven’s principles and ideal, in my actions, thoughts and words, and I pledge never to compromise to this world’s standards.