There are three things –3 motivating forces – of this ministry of reconciliation. However, there are many, many things that Satan will use to motivate us to do and say nothing! And if we do nothing, and if we say nothing, whose ambassador are we?
Whenever we think of evangelism or witnessing or spreading the gospel, we tend to enforce it with the Great Commission – “Go Ye into all the world” – but, I think our motivation for being ambassadors is more than just a commission, it is a calling! The calling that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 4:1- “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” All these things are motivated by three basic things; The Character of God; The Commands of Christ; and the Condition of mankind.
First is the character of God. The Gospel message, or what Paul calls the “message of reconciliation”, originated in the heart of God. It is His work not man’s, and it grows out of His essential character. The revelation we get of God from the Bible is not one of proving He exists, what the Bible reveals to us is the character of God. The character of God can really be summed up in two ways – both of which are found in the Book of 1John. John declares these two things in his letter in 1st John 1:5 where he first says “God is light!” “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you; God is light, in him there is no darkness at all.” In 1John 4:8 he says “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love!” And, in 1John 4:16 he says it again “God is love!” God’s love is eternal, it is unconditional, and it is all inclusive.
If man rejects God’s love, he opens himself up to God’s wrath. We tend to think of these two things in two separate compartments; His love it is assumed is reserved for those who love him; and His wrath is reserved for those who don’t. But, God’s love and God’s wrath cannot be separated, they are two aspects of one character quality – God’s Holiness. His love goes out to the sinner as well as the saint and for the same reason; both are creatures of his hand, his creation, and objects of his love.
At the same time, his anger is kindled against the saint as well as the sinner, also for the same reason; God’s holiness cannot tolerate sin, no matter where it is found. When he punishes the sinner he acts in love. When He chastises the saint, he acts in love. Both His love and His wrath are a part of the Gospel message. Without the love of God, we would have no Gospel, and without the wrath of God there would be no need for the Gospel.
But, God is also “light” it says. “Light” in the scriptures is a symbolic term and stands for three things; physically it stands for glory and splendor; intellectually it stands for truth and an awakening to truth; And, morally it stands for holiness. It is in the light of God’s Word that we find revealed His holiness and his love. It is then, the awesomeness of the revelation of His Love and the light of His Word which motivates us to live up to our calling as ambassadors.
Our second motivation is the commands of Christ. These are recorded in all four Gospels and in the first chapter of Acts. We have made the mistake, I believe, of putting all the emphasis on the word “go” but a closer look at the teachings of Christ reveals that He uses three words to express his desire for the disciples and for the church. The three words are “Come”, “Follow”, and “Go.”
“Come unto me” is the call of Christ to all who would seek salvation and rest and a right, reconciled, and new relationship with God. But, it does not stop there. The story is told of a little boy who fell out of bed one night, and when his mother asked him how it happened, he replied; “I guess I stayed too close to where I got in!” Many Christians suffer from spiritual boredom and ineffectiveness because they don’t get beyond where they got in! They hear “come” and they are satisfied that their sins are forgiven and they are on their way to heaven.
But Christ also says “follow.” “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” It is in the “following” that we learn and are trained and transformed. It is in the “following” that we receive the motivation to “Go.” Go Ye into all the world – as ambassadors!
The third motivation then, is the Condition of mankind. How we view the condition of mankind will determine our level of motivation and our effectiveness in this ministry of reconciliation that we have been given. We must see every person we come into contact with as being separated from God, lost, blinded by Satan, and headed for eternity in the “lake of fire!” We can do that because that is the truth of God’s Word. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” However, it is God’s will that “not one should perish, but that all would come to everlasting life.” When the vertical connection between man and God is broken, all of the horizontal connections become totally unstable! There is only one way to change that – Get the vertical right and the horizontal will become right as well. This is what Paul meant when he said in our scripture – “So now we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view” which assumes then that we begin to see everyone from a spiritual perspective.
There are many things that can and will motivate us to do and say nothing, but these three – the character of God Almighty; the commands of Christ to “come, follow, and go” and the true condition of mankind should motivate us to go beyond considering ourselves “saved” to considering ourselves to be Ambassadors for Christ.
Next week; a word from Romans 12:2 “Be Ye transformed”…