2 Corinthians 5:11-21

Download The Compass for the Week of October 5.

Introduction

The world has changed a lot in the last 40 years. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the world was essentially divided between the Communist super powers of the USSR and China, and the non-Communist countries led by the United States and Western Europe. For the most part, those ideological divisions are gone. Today, the world is not divided along ideological lines as much as it is by ethnic and religious lines. Conflict in the Middle East is divided between Sunny Muslims and Shiite Muslims, between Christians and Muslims, and between Arabs and Jews. Division within Africa mirrors many of the divisions in the Middle East, and Central Europe is divided more along ethnic lines.

One thing is clear–the world is just as much of a mess as it ever has been!

In the midst of all of this division we find the never-ending work of diplomats seeking peaceful solutions to age-old problems. Ambassadors have a unique calling in that they represent one country to another country, and their message of reconciliation is at the same time one of firmness and certainty. Those countries aligned against the United States understand that a U.S. ambassador carries the full weight and authority of the U.S. government.

This is the comparison the Apostle Paul uses to draw us into the Lord’s “ministry of reconciliation,” as he describes it. The Lord sent His son, Jesus, as the ultimate representative of His Kingdom with a message of peace and unity (Luke 4:18-19), and before returning to His father, Jesus commissioned us as His ambassadors to a world at war with God. This is a heavy task.

From the world’s perspective, nothing should speak of God’s mercy more than the reality that He has unleased a great cloud of witnesses to serve as His ambassadors of peace. God is seeking peace with mankind, but is mankind listening?

Perhaps you look at the situation and you disagree with the Lord’s choice to use men and women to reach their fellow citizen’s on earth? The truth is, even if God chose to use an army of powerful angels to bring His message of reconciliation, it’s unlikely they would see different results.

The great 19th century preacher, Charles Spurgeon, made this observation about man’s unique calling as ambassadors for Christ:

Would not angels have been better messengers? The probability is that an angel would have been quite unfit for such work as this. When a man, a sinful man who has himself been forgiven, talks to other sinners, he talks very tenderly and sympathetically;—at least, he ought to do so;—and when he meets with any distressed souls, he recollects the time when he was in distress; and when he hears about their doubts and fears, he remembers his own; and when he mourns over their rebellions, he recollects what a rebel he used to be; and therefore he is gentle with them, and longs that, if possible, peace may be made between the rebel and his God. But if an angel had been Christ’s ambassador, after he had preached most earnestly, you would always be able to make this excuse to him, “Ah, you cannot enter into our feelings, for you have never had our temptations and trials.”

When we, who once were enemies to God, tell you, who are still at enmity against him, about our own rebellion, and how it was ended by divine love,—how the Lord melted us down by his infinite pity and abounding condescension,—you will say to one another, “Let us also go unto Jesus; peradventure we shall find him equally kind to us.” You will be thus graciously drawn to the Saviour by the example of another who was in a similar case to your own.

Your Calling As An Ambassador for Christ

As a believer and a member of our Lord’s church, you have a worthy commission in front of you. Paul does not mince words. He states it plainly and emphatically: “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. 5:20).

As you meditate on your role as an ambassador for Christ, let this responsibility weigh heavy upon you. The world in which we live is divided and at war with God. In an effort to bring peace through salvation to many, the Lord Jesus has commissioned you as His royal ambassador. You serve at the pleasure of the King. His will and His command is all that matters to you, and His order is simple: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20).

That is our commission. We serve at the pleasure of the King. May we be faithful to this calling and represent His Kingdom with honor and dignity and determination. – Chris Eller

Download The Compass for the Week of October 5. To learn how to use The Compass, click here.

Listen to the Sermon

Subscribe to receive the complete Compass newsletter (pdf) every Monday morning.