The apostle Paul encouraged the Ephesian church by telling them, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” In a sense, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are like clay in the hands of the Master Potter. He shapes us into vessels of honor in order to be used for His glory. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he makes reference to our good works. What kind of works on our part could Paul be referring to if the work of our salvation is completed in Christ? Jesus also makes reference to our “good works” when He says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” What good works could Jesus be referencing in His proclamation?
The last commandment of Jesus before His ascension was for His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Paul challenged the Corinthian Christians by saying, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” What is the role of an ambassador?
An ambassador knows whom he represents, he knows his commission, and he serves as a leader among leaders to represent the interests of his King. As ambassadors for Christ we have been given a clear commission to represent and communicate the messages from our ruling King, Jesus Christ, to others. How can we effectively accomplish this task?
The Bible tells us that for the message of salvation to be complete, Man must first understand the existence and character of God. Therefore, the road to the salvation of mankind begins with the exploration of the ultimate truth of the existence of God. The beginning of a person’s reconciliation with God is their recognition of God.
Knowing the King
The English author C. S. Lewis wrote, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” The Christian faith is not a simple, private experience of personal interpretations or impressions. It is a serious, public exhibition of a worldview that is based on a belief system which has a foundation of truth that can be examined by an enquiring world. Christianity does not ask its followers to take a blind leap of faith into the intellectual abyss, but rather presents a perfectly rational response to the evidence surrounding us, within the world of science and through insightful discoveries from the Bible.
Knowing God should be the highest pursuit of every person. What could be more important than to discover God and thereby discover the purpose for our lives? How important is it to find out that He is not hidden; to follow the hallmarks of design to the throne room of the Designer; to catch a glimpse of His greatness; to discover that the overarching attribute of God is love; and to arrive at a place where we discover that we are the ultimate object of God’s eternal love?
Paul’s prayer for the saints at Ephesus pretty much sums up the greatness of this quest.
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Serving the King
The Bible tells us that believing in the Gospel requires hearing the Gospel first. The apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians saying, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’” Sadly, today, the percentage of the world that is hearing the Christian Gospel is getting smaller and smaller.
Preaching is one of the simplest forms of verbal communication. Where teaching can be defined as “explanation” thus sometimes requiring substantial preparation, preaching is simply “declaration.” Paul instructed the Corinthian Church, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” For example, if you discovered that your local superstore was having a one-day sale on an item that previously was too expensive to consider, your natural response to the discovery of this good news would be to tell as many of your friends as possible, so they could enjoy the benefit with you. How much more important is the Gospel message before a world lost in darkness and without hope?
The apostle Paul then points out that every Christian has been given the “ministry of reconciliation.” “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” Thus we can fulfill the command of the Great Commission by preaching the “word of reconciliation” to an unbelieving world.
The Message from the King
The message of salvation is clearly laid out in the Bible. The commission for Christ’s ambassadors is great. For salvation, Man must first understand the existence and character of God, then the purpose and power of the Bible, the person of Jesus Christ, and the nature of Man. This awareness prepares Man for the message of the Gospel. Being confronted with a holy and just God should cause sinful Man, who is deserving of God’s judgment, to naturally seek a way of salvation. In subsequent articles I will unpack the message of the ambassador of Christ, thus giving a clear understanding of the message delivered under “The Ambassador’s Mandate.”