BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NKJV).
The Greek word translated ambassador in the Scripture above is presbeuoo meaning (1) to be older, prior by birth or in age (2) to be an ambassador, act as an ambassador. The second meaning is what is relevant to this message.
Who is an ambassador? He is “an important official who works in a foreign country representing his or her own country there, and who is officially accepted in this position by that country” (Cambridge Dictionary). In order to ensure his effectiveness, an ambassador usually enjoys diplomatic immunity – exemption from criminal and civil actions in the country in which he serves.
Looking at the role of ambassadors in foreign relations globally, we can get some understanding of what is expected of Christ’s ambassadors. This is important because unless we recognize who we are – ambassadors for Christ – we won’t be able to remain focused, undistracted from our mission on earth.
Responsibilities of an ambassador vis-à-vis an ambassador for Christ
1. An ambassador knows he is not in the host country for himself; he is a messenger. He has no personal agenda but the agenda of his country and government. Ambassadors are not posted abroad to do personal business. No. In most cases, not even their spouses are allowed to seek employment or work apparently to avoid any compromise of their mission abroad.
A Christian should know that as Christ’s ambassador, he is not here to pursue his own business but the Father’s business. Jesus said to His mother, Mary, and others looking for him, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49 NKJV). Even in his occupation or calling, an ambassador for Christ must not neglect the Father’s business.
An ambassador for Christ is not here on earth to do his own will but God’s will. Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34 NKJV). He said again, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30 NKJV). Pursuing the will of God on earth should be the priority of every Christ’s ambassador. “Behold, I have come — in the volume of the book it is written of Me — To do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7 NKJV). David said, “Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness” (Psalm 143:10 NKJV).
2. An ambassador promotes peace and understanding between his country and his host country. It’s the job of an ambassador to daily work for peace and understanding between his country and the host country. If problems or concerns arise between the two countries, the ambassador acts on behalf of his government and meets with the government of his host country to resolve issues or make clear his country’s stance on any particular issue.
He reconciles his host country with his country whenever there is a dispute. There’s a crisis already between the world and Heaven. Christ’s ambassadors have been given the ministry of reconciliation. We should reconcile the world to God through the preaching of the gospel. “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2Timothy 4:2-3 NKJV).
As Christ’s ambassadors, Christians are in this world, but not of this world (John 17:16). Our homeland is in heaven (Phil 3:20). We’re only on “foreign posting” to this earth. Just as every ambassador has specific tenure for his posting, so Christ’s ambassadors have a definite tenure on earth ordained by God. Death or the rapture (whichever one comes first) will end the tenure of every Christ’s ambassador. Nevertheless, before either of the two comes, Christ’s ambassadors have a mission of reconciling the world to God. We’ve been given the ministry of reconciliation. “But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18 ASV).
Only those who have been reconciled with God are given this ministry of reconciling to God those alienated or estranged from Him (Romans 5:10-11). We’re to speak as “messengers who have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News” (1Thessalonians 2:4 NLT).
3. An ambassador knows he has the backing of his country and enjoys its protection and provision. If an ambassador is treated dishonourably, the sending country (his country) would react in his defence. Any humiliation of an ambassador or envoy is a humiliation of his country and head of that country. That was why the humiliation of David’s envoy by the people of Ammon led to a war between Israel and Ammon (2 Samuel 10).
Jesus takes personal the humiliation, ridicule, persecution, etc. of His ambassadors even if it looks as if He is silent about it. That was why when Jesus encountered Saul on His way to Damascus, He told him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4 NKJV). It wasn’t as if Saul was directly persecuting Jesus. No. But persecuting Jesus’ followers (ambassadors) amounted to persecuting Jesus.
An ambassador for Christ is not living independently of Jesus. He enjoys God’s protection, help, provision, etc. Jesus said, “… I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen” (Matthew 28:20b NKJV). It doesn’t matter what is happening here on earth, Jesus will never desert his ambassadors just as every country stands by its ambassador, except he turns a renegade.
Though outside his country, the needs of an ambassador – his personal needs including that of his immediate family and what he needs to run the embassy are provided for by his country.
God provides for His mission on earth. He provides for Christ’s ambassadors; He doesn’t expect them to go begging here on earth. That would be embarrassing to Him. Paul apostle asked, “Who ever goes to war at his own expense?” (1 Corinthians 9:7a NKJV) The New Living Translation puts it thus: “What soldier has to pay his own expenses?” That can never happen in a professional army. No soldier pays his own expenses except he’s a deserter! God takes care of Christ’s ambassadors because they’re on the King’s business. David had a correct understanding, and said, “The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need” (Psalm 23:1 NLT). If you’re an ambassador for Christ, you should trust God to supply your needs.
4. An ambassador speaks for the government that he represents, stating and projecting its position. An ambassador for Christ should speak for the Kingdom of God and proclaim the message of salvation including healing and deliverance. Paul says, “I am in chains now for preaching this message as God’s ambassador. But pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should” (Ephesians 6:20 NLT). The expressions “Christ’s ambassador” and “God’s ambassador” are the same because the Father and the Son are one (John 10:30, 17:21).
Persecution, affliction, fear, etc. should not discourage Christians from speaking for Jesus. We should not be ashamed of this Good News about Christ because it is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes — Jews first and also Gentiles (Romans 1:16). Persecutions are part of the reward package for the Disciples of Christ! Jesus said his disciples shall “receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:30 NKJV). If we suffer with Jesus, we shall also reign with him (2 Timothy 2:12-13). We should, therefore, be persistent in preaching the gospel whether the time is favourable or not (2 Tim0thy 4:2). Indeed, the gospel is the greatest need of man.
5. An ambassador is faithful to the government that sends him. To be faithful means to be true, loyal, devoted, trustworthy, dependable, etc. An ambassador is a messenger. He doesn’t originate his own message; he delivers the message of his country and indeed the message of the government that sends him. The moment he doesn’t believe in that government, the only moral thing for him to do is to quit. He is expected to be faithful and deliver the message of the government that appoints him. “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?” (Proverbs 20:6 NKJV)
Christians should be faithful to Jesus Christ whose ambassadors we are. “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2 NKJV). The allegiance of an ambassador is first to the sending country. That should be the attitude of every Christ’s ambassador. He should be faithful and loyal to Jesus who appointed him. Hebrews 3:1-2 says to Christ’s ambassadors, “… think about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s Messenger and High Priest. For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully and was entrusted with God’s entire house” (NLT).
6. An ambassador ensures that he conducts himself honourably, not bringing reproach to his country and government. As much as an ambassador enjoys the backing and protection of his country and government and enjoys diplomatic immunity, he isn’t expected to conduct himself in an improper manner that will embarrass his country. For instance, he doesn’t meddle in the internal politics of his host country.
This truth also applies to Christ’s ambassadors. Christians, as ambassadors, should know that there is a limit to our involvement with the things of this world. “And as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army” (2 Timothy 2:3-5 NLT). In our interactions with this world, we must always remember that we’re not citizens of this earth; we’re ambassadors. That’s why 1 Corinthians 7:31 warns, “Those in frequent contact with the things of the world should make good use of them without becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains will pass away” (NLT).
Unfortunately, many Christ’s ambassadors get carried away, lose their focus. They become integrated, assimilated – they begin to think, talk, plan, act and dress like the people of this world, and love the things of this world forgetting that they can’t love the world and love God at the same time; they forget this world is fading away, along with everything it craves (1 John 2:15-17). If Demas had been conscious that though he was in the world he didn’t belong to the world, he wouldn’t have deserted Paul for Thessalonica having loved the things of this life (2 Timothy 4:10). He, most probably, deserted the faith too.
An ambassador for Christ should behave in such a way that the Kingdom of God is not ridiculed. He must not live like unbelievers (Ephesians 4:17-24). He is Christ’s representative. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father” (NLT).
Christ’s ambassadors must not forget that they’re a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own special people, that they may proclaim the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). So they can’t afford to behave just anyhow; they can’t behave in a way that will bring dishonor to their God or give “great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:15 NKJV).
Those who are Christ’s ambassadors must be wary of their behavior because others are watching them. They must let their “conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27 NKJV). Christ’s ambassadors must let their good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise their heavenly Father – the one who appointed them (Matthew 5:16).
Conclusion: Every Christian is an ambassador for Christ. But not all Christians are living as Christ’s ambassadors. It takes the power of God to be an effective Christ’s ambassador. No one will succeed by strength alone (1 Samuel 2:9). That was why Jesus told the disciples not to depart Jerusalem until they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).
In government, there could be reasons for a country to recall an ambassador, even before the end of his tenure. Sometimes, it could be because of unsatisfactory performance, such as misrepresentation, disloyalty, etc. May Heaven not recall you before your time in Jesus’ name. May nobody take your place. I pray that you’ll live up to God’s expectation of you, and He’ll say to you in the end, “Well done, good and faithful servant… Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:23 NKJV). May you not disappoint Heaven. Amen.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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