“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-21)
Let me start this teaching in an unusual way; I want you to answer this question: “If it were up to you to choose a person to be an ambassador for the United States of America in a foreign country, what kind of person would you look for? A person of integrity? A patriot? How about well educated and knowledgeable? I think that an important factor for me would be a person who sees and knows all of our countries problems, and nevertheless is proud to be an American and is absolutely convinced that the U.S.A. is the best country in the world!
Now, let’s apply these things to Christianity and the church: Paul tells us in this scripture that – not only have we been reconciled unto God – but, God has given us the ministry of reconciliation! And, in verse 20 – he says “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” … So, what kind of a person would you choose to be an ambassador for Christ? If you go back and look at these verses once again…you will see Paul’s character evaluation of an ambassador for Christ.
First, in verse 14, – “Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all”! God is looking for people who are absolutely convinced that Christ is the “Way the Truth and the Life”… or as I like to put it, “The truth is that Christ is the only way to life!” And, because they are convinced, they are also compelled to tell others the good news!
In verse 17 – Paul says that those who are in Christ are a “new creation”. Not just the old “remodeled” – “repainted” – “cleaned up and given a makeover!” Not someone who is trying to be a better person, but, a “new creation”! It’s not an external change – (I am still me – on the outside) – but it is an internal change; a change of mind, and of heart, and a soul that longs for God.
Paul goes on to say that this “new person” – this “ambassador of Christ” will – in verse 16 – “no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.” An ambassador for Christ is a person who sees everyone – absolutely everyone – as a child of God…created by God… loved by God…and in either one of two states; saved by grace…or lost and separated from the love and blessings of God. The Word says that “Satan has blinded the eyes of unbelievers (those in and of the world) so that they cannot see nor understand the gospel.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)
An American ambassador sees other countries and the people in those other countries as “having great potential” to change the way they think and feel about America and Democracy…THEREFORE, he himself, must be absolutely convinced!
We in the church ought to see every person as having the potential to change the way they think and feel about God and His Word! And, as having great potential for becoming a part of God’s family and using the gifts and talents God has given them to help bring others into the kingdom as well.
Most people from foreign countries will never see or experience life in the United States, so what they see reflected in the ambassador is how they see America. The sad thing is that just like every one of us is an ambassador for Christ, so every American is an ambassador for America. And, far too many reflect all the negative qualities when they are on foreign soil, or on the news today! I wonder if the same could be said for the church?
So, an ambassador must be compelled and convinced, but there are more requirements that I will continue with next week lest this gets too long. See you next Sunday.