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Ambassadors For Christ

Race Relations: A Biblical Perspective On Race  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Ambassadors For Christ 2 Corinthians 5:19-21 Late one night, a salesman drove into a strange city and tried to get a room in a hotel. The clerk informed him that there was no vacancy. Disappointed, he started to leave the lobby when a dignified gentleman offered to share his room with him. Gratefully the traveler accepted his kindness. Just before bedtime, the man who had shown such hospitality knelt and prayed aloud. In his petition, he referred to the stranger by name and asked the Lord to bless him. Upon awakening the next morning, he told his guest it was his habit to read the Bible and commune with God at the beginning of each day, and he asked if he would like to join him. The Holy Spirit had been speaking to the heart of this salesman, and when his host kindly confronted him with the claims of Christ, he gladly received Jesus as Savior. As the two were ready to go their separate ways, they exchanged business cards. The new believer was amazed to read, "William Jennings Bryan, Secretary of State." You see, William Jennings Bryan was not only the Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson, but more importantly, he was an ambassador for Christ. An ambassador is a person of authority. They are servants of their own government in a foreign land, and they're not free to set their own policies or develop their own message. In the same way, Christians are called to live under the authority of Christ and the Bible. But sadly, in the world for some people, when they get authority, it goes straight to their head, and all of a sudden, they think they know better. Instead of upholding God's policies and message, they begin developing their own message. They pick and choose what they like and what they don't like from Scripture. Just look at all the religions of the world. But a faithful ambassador is a trusted representative who is authorized to speak in a foreign land on behalf of the country who sent him. We are not to do our will, but Christ's. Remember how in week one I said you were, in a way, stuck in the middle? I want you to think of an American Embassy in a foreign country. It's a government building, usually no bigger than a city block, surrounded by foreign soil. Within that building is everything that's needed because all the power of the U.S. government is within that building, and when that building speaks, it speaks on behalf of the government. Today's Scripture says, "You are Christ's ambassadors." You are the building God is using to speak on His behalf, and everything you need is found in Him. You're a new creation in Christ, twice-born, with the Holy Spirit living within you, providing you all the power of the heavenly host. When you speak, you represent Christ's Kingdom, because when people hear you, they hear God. You are the building God is using, so make sure your foundation is strong. Once you're saved, you're transformed into a "new creation" and given a new mission. You become Christ's ambassador, and your mission is the message of reconciliation. Now, you may be asking the question, "How do I become an ambassador for Christ?" Simple, confess your sin to Christ and place faith in Him, "for all who call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13). Verse 18 says, "God reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." This takes us right back to the Gospel that we talked about last week, which is really the heart of every message we share, that God made us to know Him. As Jesus said in John 17:3, "This is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." Now, Satan will do everything he can to deter us from the message of Scripture, but as ambassadors for Christ, we must stand firm. God has spoken, and we must be faithful to that message and faithfully declare that message. When Jesus was upon the earth, the crowds were captivated by His words. Jesus taught everyone who would listen, including the leaders of His day. And when He spoke, He spoke as one having authority, because it was the authority of God the Father. The great prophets of the past also spoke with authority because they knew their message came straight from God. Open the OT, and you'll find that they would always say something like, "This is what the Lord says" or, "The Word of the Lord came to me saying." Today, if you want to be used of God, if you want people to turn from false messiahs and listen to you, if you want to turn people from darkness into light and from the power of Satan to God, you must speak, work, and live with the authority that our Lord Himself has and has given to you through the Holy Spirit! When the apostle Paul used the word, "ambassador," he used it twice. While in prison, Paul said in Ephesians 6:19-20, "Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I'm an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." To be an ambassador means you're fearless in Christ. It means that you would rather be judged by the world then be judged by God. It means you don't dilute or change God's Word. It means you "declare it fearlessly, as you should," because what this world needs is not more religion or watered down words, but bold ambassador's for Christ who fearlessly live by God's Kingdom rule and not the worlds! Paul also wrote that believers are ambassadors because God "has committed to us the message of reconciliation," as today's Scripture says. Paul called himself an ambassador and urges us to do the same because he knew that when he proclaimed the Gospel and urged sinners to receive the reconciliation effected at Calvary, he was declaring Christ's message to the world. And that message is for sinners to "be reconciled to God," because through the atoning work of Christ, "He is not counting people's sins against them" who place faith in Jesus Christ. There is not a more glorious message to proclaim! The Bible says in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God wants "everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." God wants everyone to hear the Gospel and have life in Christ. The Son of God made this possible by dying on the cross and rising to life, who now sits at the right hand of God the Father. This means that Jesus doesn't do the witnessing, but fills His followers with the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Good News. This means being an ambassador for Christ is a tremendous responsibility and one that we shouldn't take lightly. John Wesley sure didn't take it lightly when he said, "I desire to have both heaven and hell in my eye." As ambassadors, we should be the same way because we know the terrible fate that's ahead for those who don't have life in Christ. When I was younger, I can remember being a passenger on many planes. If the flight were long enough, dinner would be served. The flight attendant would walk around and ask people if they would like dinner. One man asked the flight attendant, "What are my options?" to which the flight attendant replied, "Yes or No." When it comes to having life in Christ, it's either a "yes" or a "no." You're either a follower of Christ, or you're not. You're an ambassador, or you're not. And when people hear the Gospel message, they either believe, or they don't. You're reconciled to God or you're not. That's why the Bible says so firmly in verse 20, "We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." With heaven and hell both in our eyes, ambassadors for Christ implore, beg, and pray for fallen humanity to climb out of the pit of sin by way of the cross! The biblical perspective on our Race Relationship is Christ's message of reconciliation, through grace by faith. That "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" as verse 21 says. Every human being's sin results in a debt that we could never pay. Our sin demands God's eternal judgment, but "because of His great love that He has for us" (Ephesians 2:4-5), God acted on our behalf. The one "who had no sin" became "sin for us," by "bearing our sins on the cross." God not only forgets your sin "as far as the east is from the west," He exchanges your sin for Christ's perfect righteousness. When someone places faith in Christ, He credits our spiritual bank account with His own perfection. It's here that two theological words sum up the entire Gospel message: substitutionary atonement and imputation. We could never atone for our sins, so Christ took our place. Substitutionary atonement is Christ dying as a substitute for sinners. Imputation is Christ taking your sin and giving you His righteousness. Hebrews 12:14 says, "without holiness no one will see the Lord," and imputation makes you holy because Christ is holy so that you can come to God the Father as His redeemed children. But imputation also has a negative and a positive application. Last week we said that Adam was the head of the human race. Now, Adam's sin brought death to all mankind because God charged the sin of Adam to every person's spiritual account. But Jesus is the head of the Redeemed race because when Christ died on the cross to satisfy God's righteous demands, He provided the way whereby those who receive His forgiveness will have His righteousness credited to their accounts. This incredible transfer, the heart of the entire Gospel, is what today's Scripture says, "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." God imputed, or charged, our sin to Christ's account, even though He didn't deserve it. Jesus paid the terrible debt for that sin, and God credited the righteousness of Christ to our account, which used to be so full of sin that we couldn't do anything about it. Some people think this transaction wasn't necessary because they're counting upon their own self-righteousness they've been depositing in their spiritual bank accounts. These are the people who think they can accumulate enough goodness to pass God's bar of judgment. But we don't know our true spiritual condition until God audits our spiritual accounts and declares in Romans 3:10 that "There is none righteous, not even one." Until God imputes or credits the perfect righteousness of Christ to our lives, we are all utterly spiritually bankrupt. That's why the Bible says with such urgency, "We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." And this is the Good News we proclaim as ambassadors. So if you want to see change, it began with Christ and continues through you. Ambassadors are under God's authority in all areas of life. You are not an isolated person but are part of society with all its problems, difficulties, and hopes. Sin affects human society, and all efforts to improve society will always be imperfect and incomplete. Try as they may, people can't build paradise on earth because of their sin. In society's search for hope and reconciliation, fearlessly share the Gospel through both words and actions. To see change, you can't just fight the results of sin; you have to fight sin itself. And the only way to do this is to go into battle wearing the armor of God. Trying to fix the results of sin without Christ will result in nothing because only Christ's righteousness results in reconciliation. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, thousands of people were displaced. Thousands of people had to leave their homes and move to other places. Some moved to another part of Louisiana, while others moved to places like Dallas or Houston, and they all moved not knowing when they could return home. Frustration began to set in after months because they still couldn't return home. Although they had food to eat, clothes on their backs, and a place to sleep, they were not happy. Although they had opportunities for new lives, new jobs, and a new start, they were simply not excited. Although they had the ability send their children to new schools, to do new things, and to see new places, they lacked excitement. No matter how great the new places were, they were still frustrated because it wasn't home. As Christians, we should never be satisfied with the things this world holds. We should never be thrilled with what this world offers because no matter how wonderful this world may be, for the Christian, it's not home. You're ambassadors for Christ with the message of "God reconciling the world to Himself in Christ," not you reconciling the world to yourself. So I beg you, be reconciled to God, because "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." AMEN 2
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