AMBASSADORS

AMBASSADORS

AMBASSADORS

Pr Edi Giudetti

16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespassesunto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Cor 5:16-21

The Title of the message this morning is simply AMBASSADORS. 

It is a sermon that is based on the text that we have before us and it is one that brings to us an understanding of WHO we are in Christ and WHAT our place is in the world!

Last week was a message that should have convicted the heart and also should have brought us BACK to reality respecting where it is we are to gain our hope. We have made this world a graven image, we have fallen down before it and we have pleaded with the world to deliver us from the trials in the world that were created by the world.

We are mocked by the very false gods we have worshiped, we have cried to it and there was no answer, we have doubled our efforts is doing all we can to placate the world, even offering ourselves up to it in the hope that the world might hear our plea, might try our case, might listen to our cry but “there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded”. 

That was what the 450 Prophets of Baal discovered, and that is what we discover, and if the choice was not made before last week, then last week we were charged to choose, it was a Time to Choose….

We hear even today the cry of Elijah, “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21)

If you are born again, if you are saved through the blood of Christ by your faith in him, then you made that choice already long ago, you made the choice already to be a people of “an holy nation” says the apostle Peter. 

You are the very ones that the Bible says “desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God:” (Heb 11:16)

You, who made that Choice are officially Citizens of Heaven whom Peter said;

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

1 Pet 2:9

This is NOT your HOME, But far too many whom long ago made such a choice to obtain this heavenly citizenship have too long desired to make THIS WORLD HOME.

Being called by God to be an AMBASSADOR to this world to bring the news of Salvation to a lost world, they act as if DEFECTION is an option

Last week it was put to you that it was again time to choose.

  • If you are born again you cannot defect.
  • If you are saved by Christ, defection is not possible, while you are here in this world you have at best, a Dual Citizenship, but one in which you are to make the choice of service.

Start living “for the hope which is laid up for you I heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” (Col 1:3

You are an Ambassador For Christ and the time of your sojourning here is coming to a close. 

But what is an Ambassador? What is the role of the work that we might fulfill it with joy?

Through the scriptures we will answer this question. It appears 12 times in 12 verses and so we have gain for ourselves a wonderful understanding of both its meaning and its purpose.

(Josh 9:36)

3 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, 4 They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; 5 And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy. 6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.

Joshua and the captains of Israel were deceived very early on by these men who claimed to be from a far country. They claim to be “Ambassadors” sent to Joshua for peace and to join together in league.

It’s the first time the word is used in the Bible and, as usual, the first mention is most often very important.

An ambassador is from a foreign land, another nation, and most evident in the passage, a nation that is not near.

We see the same in 2 Chron 32:31, when Hezekiah receives men from the nation of Babylon, far away from Jerusalem. The text refers to them as “the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon

The same again in 2 Chron 35:21, these were ambassadors of the king of Egypt.

An ambassador is from another nation.

We have the very same today. In Australia we have ambassadors from most of the nations around the world. They are here to speak to us of their own land and to bring tidings back to that land of this nation.

There have been times when some ambassadors have lived in the foreign land longer than in the land of their birth, yet they remain ambassadors nonetheless.

What seems different for you and I is that we have never even seen heaven

These ambassadors are people who at least have lived in the nation from which they are sent, yet we are still described as Ambassadors.

Paul uses the word to describe himself in Ephesians saying, in Ephesians 6:19-20; “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak

Paul here writing from a prison cell still claiming to be that ambassador sent by God for the sake of the mystery of the gospel.

So how can it be that we are called ambassadors from heaven when we have never seen it?

The answer lies in that which was spoke by Jesus Christ concerning the Kingdom of God.

Turn to Luke 17:20-21

20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you

Beloved, yes, there is a real and physical place called heaven  to which we yearn for. The Bible speaks of our internal longing for home that occurs in every person who is born again.

It is a longing that identifies the truth of what Jesus spoke of here.

the kingdom of God is within you

We have within each one of us an experience of the kingdom of God within that can never be taken away. It is that knowledge imparted by the Spirit of God that is more than memory. It is at this time a feeling of homesickness.

You may have experienced that before if you have ever been away from your family home for any period of time. Though you may enjoy the place in which you sojourn, there is certainly times when you feel homesick.

Its one that often occurs when the place you sojourn loses its luster, when it no longer much to hold you there. 

Its what may be occurring now to many.

So first of all we understand that,  An Ambassador Is From Another Nation

Secondly, 

An Ambassador is a Messenger: 

Now Paul wrote of Christ saying that he hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

What is clear is that an Ambassador is a Messenger. One who is sent by its King to bring news, tiding, a message, to the land in which he is sent.

Prov 13:17 says 

A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health

We are called by God to be ambassadors to this world having for this world a message of reconciliation. 

Benjamin Franklin was one of the most famous ambassadors in the world, and his role came at the most pivotal time in the history of the United States as the American Revolution against Great Britain began. 

His work was as an envoy for peace and he placed himself in the nation of France to court them for an alliance that would bring security and peace to the new colonies of America. His work resulted in the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which formally ended the American War for Independence.

Benjamin Franklin was skilled in this work but it was his gifts in other areas that best suited him for that particular role. Ben Franklin was a printer, a writer, an inventor, politician, scientist and philosopher and all these skills put together made him the most ideal man set for the purpose of securing peace between England and America.

In a very real way YOU are the most perfect person God has set as an ambassador to bring the message of peace, the message of reconciliation to someone to secure the union for which Christ died.

2 Cor 5:18

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

You first qualify for the role having yourself been first reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. The verse before says;

if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Your background, your life, your testimony, your personality, your love for Christ and for the lost of this world, sets you up as the most ideal person through whom SOMEONE will hear the message of reconciliation and will one day respond.

Just as everything about Ben Franklin qualified him for his role, so too God will use EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU as perfectly suited to bring the message of ETERNITY to the life of someone else.

Oh but Pastor, I am not eloquent, I am slow of speech and of a slow tonge, I am not learned, I am not suited to this work as an abassador….!”

How many of you have thought this within yourselves? How many people have thought that you needed more education, more knowledge, more wisdom, more might and passion to share the Gospel of Christ?

  • How many of you have ever thought that the very opposite might be true?
  • How many of you have ever thought that it is through your very foolishness and lack of ability that God has chosen you to be his ambassador to this world?

The world looks to the wise man to lead him in life, but does God use the foolish to lead the world to eternal life?

Could that be true?

Turn to 1 Cor 1:26-29

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

The call is to be faithful and to leave the rest to the Lord.

Beloved, it is a faithful ambassador is health according to Proverbs 13:17, not a knowlagable person with a golden tongue.

If you are born again and have received to yourself the spirit of the living God, you are perfectly suited to the role, you are Gods ambassador and as such you are the single most important person in the life of someone who will ONLY ever hear the message of salvation from YOUR lips.

An Ambassador is A MESSENGER

It important also to realize that you are only a messenger, you cannot convert a single soul, that’s not your job, your role as an ambassador of Christ is to present the kingdom of God to the lost of the world.

Ahh but I am too young

So was Jeremiah.

God told Jeremiah “I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth” Jer 1:5-9

Forty years he preached to the people of Israel and we know of not a single convert in the Bible.

Ahh but I am too unwilling to go

So was Jonah

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 

5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. Jon 3:4-5

It took a whale to retrieve Jonah from the depths and to spit him onto dry land before he would go to the godless Ninevites. He preached for three days and 120,000 people, unable to tell between their right and left hand, repented in sackcloth and ashes.

Ahh but I am not smart, I can’t even read

So too was the Apostle Peter, yet to him was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven(Mt 16:19)

I got you Pastor, but I am too smart and experienced, too learned

Well yes, that might be a challenge the bible does say, Knowledge puffeth up, but it goes on to say “but charity edifieth”.

That was written by the very man who could stand above you in intellect and experience, the apostle Paul.

But pastor, the last days are here now, we don’t have enough time

Neither did the thief on the cross, how many have been saved by his testimony?

An Ambassador Is a Messenger, and all who are his is gainfully employed, and if employed, then equipped, and if equipped, then sent.

An Ambassadors Message Is Warning

Our text in 2 Cor 5 says;

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Cor 5:16-21

Within this passage is embedded a warning which forms a large part of the message. It is one that tells of a need of reconciliation, it tells of sin and its danger to condemn man.

As it is a book written to the Corinthian Church, it also tells us that it was a message sent to the heathen of the world. This is the gentile world that did not believe in God or even think God exists. 

An Ambassadors Message is One of Warning.

(Obadiah 1-4) (b/w Amos and Jonah: Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos…)

1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. 2 Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. 3 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? 4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD

The people of Edom are the children of Jacobs older brother Esau. He is a picture of the heathen world in this passage and, like all the heathen of the world, needs to be warned of the danger that will come upon them for sin.

The Bible says the wages of Sin is death. It tells us that “all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God”. That “we all like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way”.

If the Lord should mark iniquities, who shall stand? (Ps 130:3)

Pagan religions all tell us that you only need to be 51% good and heaven is home, drop only a percent and you are doomed, but the Bible says the opposite, it says that we are all 100% doomed to a lake of fire with the devil and his angels because our sin has marked us as enemies of God.

It is what is known as ‘Original Sin’, that is the sin that came down through history from Adams transgression. 

It is the sin that we were born in that causes us to sin. WE SIN BECAUSE WE ARE SINNERS, not sinners because we sin. 

And before you blame Adam just know that a more perfect representative of mankind could never be found. 

The message is first the bad news.

That bad news is that our sin placed us in the same condemnation as the Devil. God cannot dwell with sin, the fellowship in heaven can never be with sinners, “what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness” (2 Cor 6:14)

  • Your sin damns you.
  • The longer you live, the more you sin.
  • The less you sleep the more you sin.

Turn to 1 Cor 6:9-10

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

You are identified by your sin and cast into hell with your sin.

  • It is your sin that has separated you from God.
  • It is sin that grieves you through your guilt. 
  • It is that guilt that causes most of your life’s pains, struggles, depression and fears. 
  • You feel guilty because you are guilty and there is no remedy….But God….

(I don’t want to tell you yet what God has done, we will talk to the “But God” verses in the last point. God has made a way, he made a way for his righteousness and his love to be reconciled. )

BUT Suffice to understand that as an ambassador of God you have a duty to warn the world of that which is to come upon them, the judgment of the day of vengeance and that which comes to every man at death.

The message is one of warning to the heathen of the world. (Which we must remember, was you and I at one point)

Ps 9:15-20

15 The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. 16 The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah. 17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. 18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever. 19 Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight. 20 Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.

If there was ever a time when that message is important to be shared it is now.

But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away. (1 Cor 7:29-31)

  • The judgement of God is very soon coming to this world, but not until man makes a complete mess of it through sin.
    • It will be his sin that condemns him to hell, but not before he makes hell in this world because of his sin….but God

An Ambassadors Message Is Salvation

2 Cor 5:16-21

16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

With all that is written in this passage there is one items that stands out above them all, that is that our ambassadorship is one of a message of reconciliation.

The point before this highlighted the infinite importance to first demonstrate the REASON FOR RECONSILIATION, that is that our sin has eternally separated us from God.

BUT, the message for the messenger to bring from Heaven to Earth is one of reconciliation to ALL who desire it.

Hell licks at the feet of sinners who are held over it by the thinnest of threads. It is Gods mercy alone that does not see them all now fall into it. The weight of their own sin piles upon their shoulders straining desperately against the thread that keeps them from falling.

If sleep didn’t come upon them, the weight of sin would already have been too much to bare. If their years didn’t shorten their lives, the weight of sin would have already torn that thread and they’d be cast into that lake of fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.

BUT GOD

There are 44 “But God” passages in the Bible and they make for us the most fascinating of studies.

All of them speak of Gods intervention against the natural flow of man and evil in one way or another.

But God = 19 occurrences in the Old Testament and 25 in the New and we see them all in their dealing with man, either to condemn the wicked, to deliver the innocent or to intervene against the natural flow of the sin that threatens to destroy mankind.

Our Role as Ambassadors of Heaven is to bring these messages of reconciliation to the world.

Lets consider only a handful of those passages;

Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us

This verse answers the question of another BUT GOD passage in Mark 2:7, “Who can forgive sins BUT GOD only?

  • While you blasphemed God, ‘Christ died for us”
    • While you lied to your mum, “Christ died for us”
    • While you stole from your employer, “Christ died for us”
    • While you crossed the street to avoid a meeting, “Christ died for us”
    • While you took sides against the innocent, “Christ died for us”

Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us

The death of Christ paid for the sin of the world. The shedding of his blood accomplished the work for which he was sent to complete.

and without the shedding of blood there is no remission” of sin (Heb 9:22)

But just as the wages of sin is death, there can be no sign of life without victory over death.

The resurrection of Christ was that sign.

Turn to Acts 13:28

As an Ambassador, Paul certainly is the principal example of a messenger, a herald of Good News everywhere he went, and to the Jews first he tells of Christ. 

To the Jews he reminds of all that was written aforetime concerning Christ.

He tells then of the coming of John as the Scriptures also foretold.

And he tells then of the death of Christ at their own hand.

Acts 13:28 he begins the summary of the Gospel.

28 “And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. 29And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. 30 But God raised him from the dead.”

Death now has lost its sting, the grave now has lost its victory, Jesus Christ has claimed our sin as his to bear, nailing it to his cross, and has now gained the victory over death as proof that death no longer has a claim against those who have believed the Gospel of Christ.

If you believe that Jesus died for your sin, then you have a claim of eternal life. You are even now “seated in heavenly places”. Your name is NOW “Written in the lambs book of Life”, you are NOW and FOREVER to lay claim of that victory.

Paul writes of the emphatic victory in Romans 8:37-39 saying;

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A final observation of the last BUT GOD passages for todays message.

As the AMBASSADOR of heaven, yours is only to deliver the message of heaven. The Ambassador  is not charged to bring about the increase in the heart of man, his role is ONLY to plant and water, his is ONLY to speak the message of the hope that is in him.

Paul made that point clear as he wrote to the Corinthian Church

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. (1 Cor 3:6)

This is the extent of our responsibility, this is why we are here and it is NOT until we finish the work that God will bring us home.

UNTIL THEN, know of a certainty that it is;

  • GOD WHO WILL KEEP YOU
  • GOD WHO WILL PRESERVE YOU
  • GOD WHO WILL SUSTAIN YOU
  • GOD WHO WILL USE YOU TO WHATEVER END

If it is to preserve us to a long life as it did the Apostle John, OR if it is to die in the preaching of it as it did to ALL the other Apostles, know of a certainty that the Lord will keep you UNTIL he calls you home.

Throughout history when tensions rise in nations around the world, when the nations of the world are at risk of hostility and war, when relationships between nations decay to the point they seem irreconcilable, the Ambassadors are recalled home.

Sending nation have never willfully left their ambassadors in foreign lands when relationships break down. 

Having preached the Gospel to the world for two thousand years, the Lord has had Ambassadors in every nation of the world. While there were nations friendly to the King of Heaven, ambassadors remained to continue their work.

But there will come a time, a time when the fullness of the gentiles be come in, that the world will become hostile to the King of Glory, and his ambassadors will be recalled from around the world.

That time is near

Ours is a message we are to preach to the lost heathen world till “the fullness of the gentiles be come in”. God has a goal, we are charged to fulfill it until comes to claim his harvest.

We are HIS AMBASSADORS

Maranatha

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