Ambassadors for Christ

Most of my exegetical attention this week will be pointed toward the well-worn story of the Prodigal Son, but this morning I couldn’t help but be drawn toward an old standard of evangelical theology, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21.  In the Young Life, Inter-Varsity model of ministry, one of the first “memorization verses” is “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”  It is a great verse, one worth knowing inside and out, but this morning my attention is focused on the piece that comes just after that.

“We are ambassadors for Christ…”

I’m wondering how effective we are in this common call?  I wonder if Christians, as a whole, could be regarded is good ambassadors, skilled in diplomacy?  Are we instead more like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, who stands before the UN once a year and spouts hate, lies, and rhetoric all for his own advantage?  I’m wishing for the former, but I fear that the truth is the latter.

So, then, what does it mean to be an Ambassador for Christ?  The Great-Font-of-all-Knowledge, Wikipedia, says that ambassadors have three main roles:

  1. To Protect Citizens
  2. To Support Prosperity
  3. Work for Peace

I would argue that, for the most part, Christians are pretty good at fulfilling Ambassador Roles 1 and 2, but we fail pretty miserably at #3.  It seems as though Roles 1 and 2 are often at odds with working for peace, and so, when push comes to shove, we choose to protect our own: people, buildings, and wealth; rather than working for peace with those who are at odds with us.  The message we have to offer, however, isn’t one of “might makes right,” but instead, as Paul writes, our message is a call to reconciliation with God.  Our message is, for lack of a better word, peace.  Shalom.  As Ambassadors for Christ, our job is to turn the three roles on their head.

  1. Work for Peace
  2. To Support Prosperity for all People
  3. To Protect God’s Creation

Kingdom living is not of this world, and often it turns priorities upside-down.   As Ambassadors for Christ, be reconciled to God and preach reconciliation.  That seems to be what its all about.

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2 thoughts on “Ambassadors for Christ

  1. One of the last times this reading came around, I had cards made up for everyone to take home and put on their doors that said “Welcome to an Embassy of the Kingdom of God”. I preached that if where the US ambassador is, in the embassy under his control, then the US government rules apply and not those of the country around them. If we are ambassadors for Christ, then our embassies should exhibit the ordering of the Kingdom. I don’t know how many folks put something on their door, but people got the point in a different way. I also found that if I have cards or any give-aways from a sermon, people seem to appreciate it and take it to heart a bit more. Requires more planning and a few resources, but generally worth it, I think.

  2. Thanks Steve- those same words struck me this morning as I began bible study for the Sunday ahead. I wonder how do we as ambassadors of Christ go into a foreign land to and represent the values of our kingdom- values of love, peace and justice. Good work.

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