Ambassadors For Christ
Following on from my last post about discipleship, I think it’s important to clarify what we should be portraying. If discipleship is about following or imitating another believer (1 Corinthians 11:1), what makes a life worth imitating?
Certainly among the church, there are such poor followers of Christ, that they couldn’t possibly say “follow me as I follow Christ”. So, what is the standard? What is expected of us? What does the bible say about being ambassadors for Christ?
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ
The first point is that, if discipleship is about someone following or imitating us, then according to Paul, that’s what we need to be doing with Jesus. This means behaving how he behaved, reacting how he reacted, doing the things he did, and saying the things he said.
In 2 Corinthians 5:20, Paul says “we are ambassadors for Christ”. As ambassadors for Christ, God “gave us the ministry of reconciliation”. The word ambassador means to act as a representative. Well, if you aren’t saying and doing the things that the person you represent says and does, then you immediately cease to be representing them.
And how shall they hear without a preacher?
Jesus needs representatives, or ambassadors, here, because he no longer has an earthly body to live an earthly life. Some people say “God is in control of everything and he will do everything he wants to, but we can have the privilege of him using us”. This sounds very Christian, but is it accurate?
We know that Paul, in Romans 10, asked “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”. How does that fit in with a doctrine that says God doesn’t really need us?
In Acts 10, a man called Cornelius was praying, and an angel appeared to him. He told Cornelius to send men to Joppa, to ask Peter to come to him. Peter would then go and preach the gospel to Cornelius and his family. Peter modelled being ambassadors for Christ. Did you ever wonder why the angel didn’t preach the gospel?
God has committed the message of reconciliation to us, not to the angels!
This isn’t removing God’s sovereignty from Him. It was in God’s sovereignty that He decided to give this huge role to mankind. He could have decided to do it a different way.
His word says He committed the message of reconciliation to us, and He is faithful to His word. His word calls us to be His ambassadors
And greater works than these shall he do
So we must make it our mission, to imitate Jesus. Is that even possible? Certainly to a certain extent it is. I’m not saying that we can become God, or that we can live a perfect sinless life. However, with the Holy Spirit in us, we definitely can do a much greater job of representing Him than we currently do.
Jesus Himself said, in John 14:12, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father”. Was he exaggerating? No. How do you define greater works? I’m not completely sure, but since we seem to fall short of even equal works, I’m not sure we need to worry about the definition of greater works just yet.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself
What’s the key ingredient to imitating Jesus? Love! In John 15:17, Jesus said “These things I command you, that ye love one another”. He also said that it is our demonstration to the world, that we follow Him, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”, John 13:35.
There’s no getting away from it, to be ambassadors for Christ we must love God, and each other. Not only that, but Jesus said “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”. Wow, he really meant this love stuff didn’t he!
So what does it mean to be ambassadors for Christ? What does it mean to love each other? Basically, if Jesus did it, we should do it.
This means serving, sacrifice, healing, teaching, feeding etc. If you get stuck, just find something Jesus did, and do it to others. Just try not to make a whip and chase people out of the church!
Just as I was about to publish this post, I read an article about the impact that something so simple as a loving introduction can make on people, I’m A Christian
As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you
After Jesus rose from the dead, John records him commissioning his disciples saying “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you”.
In my opinion, that couldn’t be much clearer. We need to consider this huge responsibility we have. We hold the message of reconciliation. Who is going to hear it today? Who is going to see it in action today? Are we being ambassadors for Christ?
Do you believe, according to Romans 10, that someone’s eternal salvation could hinge on what you are doing with your life? Let me know…