Study 10 AMBASSADORS
CALLED BY A NEW NAME
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portion: 2 Corinthians 5: 1-21
In Proverbs 13:17, Isaiah 18:2, 30:4; 33:7 and Jeremiah 49:14 we find the word ’envoy’, meaning an ambassador. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul speaks of himself as Christ’s ambassador (Ephesians 6:20), and of all Christians as the ambassadors of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:20).
What is an ambassador? In 2 Corinthians 5:20 Paul says, “We are therefore Christs ambassadors …” An ambassador is a REPRESENTATIVE - one who represents another. He goes to a foreign country and represents the Throne and the Government of his own people. Now this is true of ambassadors for Christ representatives of the King of heaven and of heaven itself in a foreign country - this world. His position is one of great RESPONSIBILITY, so think of this in its spiritual significance. Christ is our representative in heaven (Hebrews 9:24) and we are His personal representatives on the earth (2 Corinthians 5:20). However, none of us can truly represent the Lord in our own strength, but when He sends us out we go with all the RESOURCES of heaven behind us. He is our sufficiency, and we go in His Name. Compare 2 Corinthians 6:1. Let’s notice the Marks, the Message and the Motive of God’s ambassadors.
1. The MARKS of an Ambassador of God
- (1) He must be a citizen of heaven. No alien can ever represent our Queen or her Government in a foreign Court. Now look at 2 Corinthians 5:17, because a true ambassador must be ”in Christ…” , ”a new creation…” and “redeemed… with the precious blood of Christ…” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
- (2) He must be above reproach. Our Queen would never send out a man of doubtful character; and the Lord requires that His ambassadors should live lives that are above suspicion. Notice again in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “… the old has gone, the new has come …”, and compare Philippians 2:15. He is the object of the closest scrutiny, and in every relationship he must be blameless.
- (3) He must be selfless. He must be willing to put aside completely his own interests so that he might do the will of his king. Is the whole determined attitude of our lives, ‘Not I, but Christ’? Do we “die every day”? - look up 1 Corinthians 15:31. Have we entered, by faith, into the experience of John 12:24 and Galatians 2:20?
- (4) He must be in constant contact with the Throne. He will make use of every modern method of communication. In the same way, by prayer we can be in constant contact with the Throne of God - how necessary for a true ambassador!
- (5) He must be steadfast and loyal. Look up Ephesians 6:20. The Apostle Paul is in prison, but how willingly he suffered these “chains” for Christ’s sake! How faithful and how utterly loyal he was to his King!
- (6) He must be diplomatic. Diplomacy is the art of negotiation. We have no wisdom of our own and we certainly do not have the wisdom needed to win souls and to represent the Lord before men; but we have a great promise that God will fulfil in us if we ask Him (James 1:5).
- (7) He must know the language of the people among whom he lives. How important it is for the ambassador to be able to communicate in a foreign country. The language that we, as ambassadors, need to learn is the language of love. Look up Luke 10:33-35.
2. The MESSAGE of an Ambassador of God
This is clearly defined in 2 Corinthians 5:19-21. We are to proclaim the fact that at infinite cost to Himself God has made a way of reconciliation possible; that He has done this by sending His own Son to die for sin; and that through His sacrifice the barrier of sin has been removed and God and man have been brought together in Christ, by His at-one-ment. The ambassador is to proclaim this message and to tell men and women that these are God’s terms for reconciliation, and he is to press them to accept these terms and to be reconciled to God. The ambassador’s message is therefore one of absolute certainty; it is one of great heavenly and spiritual authority - for it has been ”committed to us” (verse 19), and we proclaim it “on Christ’s behalf” (verse 20); and its proclamation calls for great loyalty on the part of the ambassador. Philip was a good ambassador - look up and compare Acts 8:5 and 35.
3. The MOTIVE of an Ambassador of God
- (1) The love of Christ (verse 14). His great love for us, and in us (Romans 5:8) compels us to go out with His message of reconciliation.
- (2) The Judgment Seat of Christ (verses 9-10). One day our King will recall us, then - Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 3:13.
- (3) The dire need of the lost (verse 11). The fact that men are lost and bound for a Christ-less eternity should stir us, not only to live so that we truly represent our Lord, but to proclaim with passion the message that He has committed to us. This passion was in the heart of the Prophet when he wrote - Isaiah 62:1, and it was certainly in the heart of the great Apostle himself when he wrote - Romans 9:2-3. It is the passion of our beseeching God that burns within us, that becomes a part of us and that finds its expression as we pray for men and women “on Christ’s behalf” that they will be reconciled to God.