An official envoy...to a foreign government or sovereign as a resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign
An authorized representative or messenger
Greetings Calvary Chapel!
A unique thing happened yesterday. I had spent a number of hours Sat. and again on Sat. PM preparing for a message. For some reason, it simply wasn't coming together in my heart. So I went to bed Sat. PM feeling that I should not preach that message, and I prayed a short prayer to God before going to bed at about 12:30 am, "Lord, I know you have a plan for tomorrow... and something you want to say. Whatever that it is, I will say it. I trust You to show me and to fill my heart and thoughts with that message." And I went quietly and calmly to sleep. When I got up, I still was not sure, and prayed something similar. At 8:15, I left for church, and thought about what God has been saying to us for several weeks, and felt He was telling me He did not want me to change the focus, and that is why the message I had worked on did not come together. After worship practice, I went into the men's room and said, "Lord, I trust You to put the text on my heart you want me to share." Before I went up to preach, He did. It was 2 Corinthians 5:20, "For we are God's Ambassadors..."
Those words paint a vivid picture for us of the unique mission we have as Christians to our fellow man. They go along perfectly with what we have been focusing on as, "the next thing." The "first thing" He drew us too, as you recall, was prayer (especially in the ministry sense of "speaking to God on behalf of others"). The "next thing" was to "Love our neighbors as ourselves," recognizing that if we are to be effectively used of God in reaching people for Christ within our PERSONAL SPHERE, we must first "live a life of love" towards them, "just as God in Christ Jesus loved us and gave Himself up for us." (Eph. 5:2). In this, we are to:
1. REPRESENT GOD TO OTHERS BY HOW WE TREAT THEM
That is our Ambassadorial protocol. (5:14a)
Both the Bible and simple observation make it plain that, on the whole, our world is, in many respects, hostile to the Kingdom and Sovereign we represent. And God has called us as His representatives to take His position toward our fellow man - which is "love" and grace (see, John 3:16-17; Romans 5:8; and again, Eph. 5:2). This is our Ambassadorial protocol for bridging the gulf between the offending party (us; mankind) and the offended party (God). But also,
2. COMMUNICATE TO OTHER'S GOD'S DESIRE TO RECONCILE.
5:18-19, "...He has given us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was, in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not counting men's sins (i.e., man's offenses against Him) against them."
That is our Ambassadorial ministry.
It is, as Paul said, "as though God were making HIS APPEAL" (which I will explain in a moment) "THROUGH US!" That is our ministry! That is the Ambassadorial ministry we have been given.
And what is God's appeal to mankind that, through us, He wants to make?
I WANT THE BREECH BETWEEN US THAT YOUR TRANSGRESSION HAVE MADETO BE HEALED, AND FOR YOU TO BE IN A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH ME (5:18)
I DO NOT WANT TO HOLD YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS AGAINST YOU (5:19)
I HAVE DONE THE MOST INCREDIBLE THING TO WIN YOUR REBELLIOUS HEARTS BACK... I HAVE SENT MY SON TO DIE IN YOUR PLACE FOR YOUR SINS AGAINST ME SO I WILL NOT HAVE TO CONDEMN YOU (5:21)
IF YOU WILL ACCEPT THIS, I WILL MAKE YOU A NEW PERSON WHO WILL NO LONGER WILLINGLY SIN AGAINST ME (5:17)
NOW IS THE ACCEPTABLE TIME! TODAY IS THE DAY OF GOD'S FAVOR! (6:2)
We should be passionate about this!!! We should, towards others, say with Paul as Ambassadors to those in our personal sphere, "I implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God!" (2:20b) And, oh, "We urge you, do not receive God's grace in vain" (6:1).
In view of all this, I gave you a challenge. To be God's Ambassadors, we must be CRYSTAL CLEAR on the basic truths of this GOOD NEWS we have been given to announce. For several weeks on Wed. PM's, we have given you a through kind of training on how to do this Ambassadorial work. Due to the generosity of others, we have even been able to give you pocket New Testaments for your personal work in this regard, and a packet of pocket-sized gospel of John's to give to those you reach out too. Now I want to again ask something of you. I gave you yesterday a 15-min. overview of the Book of Romans, asking you, at the end, to commit to studying it for some fresh personal preparation for your Ambassadorial Ministry, because of how it opens / clarifies the MESSAGE OF RECONCILIATION - which is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Here again are the 5-gears that you shift through in Romans...
Chs. 1-3 / The Universality of Sin (i.e., proof that all are sinners)
Chs. 4-5 / The key to pardon (i.e., how man can be declared not guilty [justified]) in spite of all our sins.
Chs. 6-8 / The gospel doesn't leave us the same (i.e, dead to sin, alive to God; the work of the Spirit, etc.)
Chs. 9-11 / Where does Israel fit into all of this (most difficult section - write me if you need help)
Chs. 12-16 / Practical Instructions about the Christian life (i.e, How should we then live, now that we have rec'd God's grace?)
I think it must be obvious to everyone that Calvary Chapel is not about just going to church. It is about fulfilling our high calling! It is about getting equipped to be the people and to do the ministry God has given us! It is about knowing the Word of God and living what we know!
May the Lord use you, O Ambassador of His, to bridge the gulf between other offenders of King, by practicing the protocol of the Kingdom, which is LOVE! And, may He use you, O Ambassador of His, to implore others that the King of Heaven and Earth is perfect in love, grace and forgiveness, and has carried out a perfect act whereby whosoever that would may be reconciled back to Him and not have their sins counted against them!
'til we finish the race,