|Missions: God’s Heart for the World
Ambassadors for Christ
|October 12, 2014|
For the Week of October 12, 2014
Purpose: To demonstrate that we serve as Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation to the world based on all that Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross.
General note: This passage finds us in the midst of Paul’s discussion of what motivates us to minister to others. Everything we do is in the context of a heavenly vision (2 Cor 5:2, 6), and our compelling motivation is to be pleasing to Jesus (2 Cor 5:9). In these verses, Paul describes what motivates such absolute devotion to the Lord.
Sermon in a Sentence: “With the eyes of the Lord upon us, we are motivated to carry his message to a hostile people at war with God. The message is simple and clear—be reconciled to God.”
This Week’s Resources:
- The Compass Bible Study
- Word Search Answer Key
- Sermon Notes & Discussion Guide FFCA | FFCB
- Passage Guide (all the Scripture referenced in this lesson)
- Lighthouse Leader Study Guide
In this passage Paul describes our motive for witness in the world by remembering the work that Christ has done and the ministry that he has given us. We now serve as Christ’s ambassadors. The Corinthian readers, many of whom were slaves or impoverished, had to go through a paradigm shift to think of themselves as ambassadors. From their perspective an ambassador spoke on behalf of the Roman emperor, delivering his message to the people. An ambassador therefore carried great authority and great responsibility. God could have communicated his love to the world through any means he desired. For reasons that are unfathomable to us, he chooses to do his work through us. We are his method. We serve as his ambassadors communicating the message of reconciliation through Jesus Christ to the world.
- Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
- What images from daily life, history or the Bible does the word reconciliation bring to mind?
Read the Text (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
Who served as “Christ’s ambassador” to you, telling you the good news that God wanted a restored relationship with you through Jesus Christ? Spend a few minutes thanking God for that person. Paul wrote to the Corinthians to teach them about their newfound faith and to serve as an example to them—to the point that he tells them to “follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). In this passage he exemplifies the motive and method for carrying Christ’s message to the world. Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21.
What were Paul’s motives for ministry (vv. 11, 14, 21)?
How do such diverse motives fit together?
In specific ways, how might a person’s life look when he or she is living according to Paul’s description in 5:15?
What does it mean to regard others “from a worldly point of view” (v. 16)?
How does this passage (especially v. 21) describe the reconciliation that God has provided for us?
How do our reconciliation to God (v. 18) and our transformation in Christ (v. 17) relate to our outward ministry (vv. 18-20)?
Consider your daily life. How does being reconciled to God (v. 21) relate to the ministry of reconciliation (v. 18) and the message of reconciliation (v. 19)?
What do you see as your role and your responsibility as an “ambassador” for Christ?
How can the combined motives of the fear of God and the love of Christ affect your incentive for sharing Christ with others?
If God “makes his appeal” for reconciliation with others through us (v. 20), what responsibility do we have for the conversion of others?
What will it mean for you to enter the next week with a transformed self-image (v. 17), living as one becoming “the righteousness of God” (v. 21), especially as it pertains to seeing yourself as Christ’s “ambassador” (v. 20) to your world?
Invite God to show you a new opportunity to be his ambassador in the year ahead.
Read Isaiah 6:1-8 as an example of God reconciling someone (Isaiah) by confronting that person with
- God’s awesome character (the “fear” of the Lord)
- the person’s own sin (therefore the need for reconciliation)
- God’s solution (to forgive sin) • God’s inquiry (who will go?) •
- the person’s willingness to serve as God’s ambassador (“Here am I; send me”)