Sunday, 14 December 2014


Reading: 2nd Corinthians 5:14~21
14Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
16So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

18And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,e so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

If I were to ask you, as a body of professing believers: what is the one thing you believe people dislike most about Christians, what would you answer?  Just think about it for a moment.  And if I asked you, as a professing Christian, what’s the one thing about believers that drives you craziest, would it be the same thing?
I am going to tell you 2 stories & then we are going to come back to my questions.

When I was in high school we acquired an Egyptian gentleman to teach science.  I went to a rather snooty all girls school that believed girls could do well in the hard sciences if they didn’t feel intimidated by lots of male testosterone. Science wasn’t my subject but so long as I avoided any actual math I did ok & simply plodded along knowing I could ditch it at the end of the year for something more to my liking: you know, art, history, extra English…

However our male Egyptian was a product of his culture & taught with the mindset that higher education, & particularly science, was wasted on girls!  He never actually said that outright but everyone knew what he believed & consequentially he was the most unpopular teacher in the school.  Unpopular teachers are always razzed ~ & he was.  I promptly decided I had an absolutely God~given opportunity to read anything I liked under my desk.  So long as I wasn’t contributing to the mayhem I figured I would be left alone ~ & I was.  I also scored an A in that subject.

My point is simple.  At nearly 60 that one Egyptian male still impacts how I think of Arab men.  I feel my lip curl & disdain rise up inside.  That experience created bigotry in me.  I instinctively dislike Arab men even though logic tells me they do not all think like this one man did.

What if, instead of being Arab, this man said he was a Christian?

I remember when Libby first began working at IGA.  She became very disillusioned very quickly for one reason & one reason only.  Day after day she watched the islanders come in to buy their groceries & day after day she watched as Christians behaved in worse ways than their non~believing neighbours.

Today I am going to talk about being Ambassadors for Christ because how we live & act in the world impacts people, either for Christ or against Christ.  We need to be very conscious of this & make an intentional effort to be the very best we can be every single time we are out in the world.

An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state, or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sovereign or appointed for a temporary assignment.

That is a good working definition.
Colossians 1:13 says: For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son

The bible is very clear that there are 2 distinct kingdoms & the people of each kingdom act according to the one who rules the kingdom they belong to.

John 8:44

For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Acts 13:10
"You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?

But we are not to be like that!!!!  We have changed kingdoms.  We are ruled by love, for God is love.  We have been given a better way & the power of the Holy Spirit to walk in the right way.  This is why it is so dangerous when people profess a form of godliness but deny its power.

Now a citizen has both privileges & responsibilities as a citizen of his kingdom.  Our privileges include Divine protection, healing, provision ~ I don’t have time to teach on each of these today; our subject is ambassadorial. 

We are the resident representative of our own government & sovereign appointed for a special & temporary diplomatic assignment.

Paul, in Corinthians, defines our ambassadorial role: We are to reconcile people to God, pleading with them to come back to God.

Ambassadors represent the one who sent them.  Thus we represent Christ as Christ represented God the Father & we are to do the things Christ would do if He were here [john 20:21 ~ "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you."]which begs the question: what did Christ do?

He preached about God’s kingdom.
He taught how to live reconciled to God.
He healed people.

Here at Harvest Family Church we believe that many of the problems that afflict so many churches can be minimalised if we adhere to God’s word.
Ephesians 4:11~17 says: 11So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Please note, it is the people who are to be equipped for works of service!

Ephesians 2:10 says
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. NLT

The King James Bible puts it this way:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

When we are following Christ rather than men our perspective will be a kingdom perspective.  Our focus will be on doing those things that please our king rather than on satisfying our flesh or pleasing people.  We will have a heart for outreach because that is the heart of God as 2 Peter 3:9 tells us… not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 Our brothers & sisters, as part of the body of Christ, are our co~labourers.  We look after our body.  We don’t gossip about it.  We don’t mistreat it.  We don’t slander it.  We encourage, build up, exhort, come alongside. Whether we act as honourable ambassadors or not affects the entire body. If one is honoured, all share in that honour.  If one dishonours themselves we all share in the shame.

There is another, harder aspect to being an ambassador. 
We ought to be the world’s greatest example of high integrity & the most honourable men & women on the face of God’s earth says Kenneth Copeland in his book Honour.

We are to honour  God..
 & our Parents.
Husbands are to honour their wives.
Parents their children.
Slaves their masters [or workers their bosses]
All those who rule
Why?  Because we are meant to be the salt of the earth ~ & salt is essential for life.  As God’s ambassadors we halt corruption, act as a seasoning, help preserve that which is worth preserving but what good is salt if it has lost its flavour? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. Matt 5:13

We live in a very egalitarian society.  Our understanding of covenant, honour, ambassador is skewed by our cultural understanding of individualism, egalitarianism, democracy but we are not citizens of a democratic kingdom.  We have a reigning king.  If we are truly citizens of Christ’s kingdom it is His standards we will adhere to, His precepts we seek to implement, His values we will hold to, His standard we make our own.

And the world will sit up & take notice!