Definition of ambassador from Merriam Webster
- 1: an official envoy; especially: a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment She’s the American ambassador to Italy.
- 2a: an authorized representative or messenger b: an unofficial representative traveling abroad as ambassadors of goodwill
When you think of an ambassador, do you picture a U.S. embassy overseas? Do you picture a group of diplomats coming together and striving for world peace at the United Nations? Or do you look in the mirror and picture yourself?
Paul declared himself and us as ambassadors of Christ.
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:18-20, ESV)
We expect our ambassadors to other nations to be familiar with U.S. policies as well as the government of the country they are hosted. They are in a position of high rank and authorized to represent our nation. Their actions reflect on our entire nation and it is important for the safety of our citizens abroad to maintain positive relations.
What does it mean to be an ambassador of the gospel? We must be ready to share the highlights even when we may not have all of the answers. Even though we do not know everything, we should be expected to know more than nonbelievers. Do we take care with non- or new believers to guide them through God’s word or do we expect them to navigate the scriptures on their own? God reveals himself through his word, but as Christ’s ambassadors, we want to make sure they understand Christ’s redeeming love and God’s unchanging character throughout scripture.
Are we familiar with the beliefs we claim and how they differ from other faiths? Are we mindful that our actions do not just reflect on us, but the entire body of Christ? As ambassadors of the gospel we want to draw people to the kingdom. In 2 Corinthians 5:20 Paul tells us that as ambassadors for Christ, God is making his appeal through us. In the Greek, the word translated as appeal also translates as ‘to call for’.
Think about that for a moment.
We are entrusted with God’s message of reconciliation. God is using us to call for others. Are we appealing to people in the call? Yes, the Holy Spirit draws people and we will fail without Him, but we have been given a ministry. Yes, there may be believers seeking a new place to worship, but really, we need to be appealing to new people with God’s message of redemption. We must call to others that they may be reconciled to God just as we have been reconciled. We must be passionate about the gospel! Paul shares his desire to proclaim it boldly… as he ought! Are we bold in our speech? Do people see the glory of God through the way we speak of Him and His kingdom?
Sometimes it may be a struggle. As Paul stated that he was an ambassador in chains, we must remember that even (dare say, especially) when we encounter turmoil, people will be watching us to see how our faith is lived out. Sometimes it is messy. Sometimes it is hard… and that is when we appeal to others to pray on our behalf.
As we live out our lives, we need to remember the honor in the title we have been given. God has entrusted us to make known the mystery of the gospel. Notice in 2 Corinthians 5:19 it says that God was reconciling the world to himself… the world. We must be ambassadors to everyone, everywhere. We would expect our country’s ambassadors to represent our country well in a foreign land – how much more so should be want to represent the Kingdom of God to a broken world!
18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Eph 6:18-20, NAS)
We go out as Christ’s ambassadors, but we don’t go out alone!
Live out your life and faith in the honor of being one of Christ’s ambassadors appealing on His behalf to the world!