Merriam Webster defines an ambassador as “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”. It even includes as an additional definition, “an authorized representative or messenger”. It is not a new revelation for many of us that we are ambassadors of Christ on this earth. You may have heard that you are “Christ's representative” or “Jesus's hands and feet”. The greatest confusions, I believe, lie in what exactly it looks like to be an ambassador and where our mission field is.
We are going to spend the month of June looking with fresh eyes at the ambassadorial mandate placed on us. From the time we gave our lives to Christ, we became His body. This was the very moment we became an ambassador. Christ is a resident of Heaven. We know from God's word that He is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.
Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Romans 8:34
We also have begun our citizenship in heaven by becoming eternal beings. His word says that we are seated with Him in heavenly places.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-6
It does not say we will be seated with Him in heavenly places but that we were (past tense) raised up and ARE seated there currently. Through Christ we gain citizenship in heaven and become heaven’s representatives on earth now. By making us His ambassadors, we are (reflecting on the definition), given the HIGHEST spiritual rank in our foreign land (earth) in order than we may be the resident representative of our sovereign (God) for a special and temporary diplomatic assignment.
A foreigner may live in a new culture, but there will always be pieces of his or her worldview, experiences, mannerisms, ways of thinking, routine, etc. that will reflect his or her native culture. In the same way, when we die to self and become alive again in Christ, our way of life becomes distinguishable from that around us. We carry the culture of heaven. The way of doing things in heaven- the logic of heaven- is very backwards from that of earth. The greatest is the least, the last is first, the humble are exalted, and the master comes to serve, the poor are rich, we pray for our enemies, and we know the impossibly miraculous is possible. Even though we live in the world, the way we live reveals our foreignness.
They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4:5-6
We are given God’s authorization as messengers. What is our message?
In the same way a foreigner, when asked about his or her culture, would respond both with overarching facts about the way of life as well as personal anecdotes to illustrate them, our message to those around them is the gospel preached to us in the Biblical word of God but ALSO the illustrations of that gospel in our personal testimonies of experiencing the gospel and saving power of God in our individual stories. In the subsequent weeks, we are going to look closer at the culture of heaven, the ambassadorial message, and those we are called as ambassadors to through examining ambassadors in scripture. Until then, be asking yourself…am I reflecting heavenly culture? What ambassadorial acts and messages are being delivered through my own life?