The Ambassador's Message
Community Questions Discussion Guide

Sermon summary - This sermon is based on a portion of Scripture from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian Church. Paul was defending his apostleship from attacks leveled at him by his detractors. He was accused of not being a very spiritual man because he very rarely exercised certain spiritual gifts in public. Paul tells his readers the love of Christ compelled him to restrain from a selfish way of living and to spend his time sharing God’s message of redemption and reconciliation. Paul states that followers of Jesus are ambassadors for Christ and that God makes His appeal through them. This sermon discusses seven details of the ambassador’s message to the world: Restraint, redemption, redirection, rethinking, recreation, reconciliation, restoration.

1. What was the major take home for you from Sunday’s message?

2. Paul was a powerful ambassador for Christ and there were many opportunities to become prideful, but Christ's love restrained him and compelled him to put the glory of God and the needs of people ahead of his own personal agenda.
Paul's motive was the Cross and what was done on that Cross by the very One Paul  represented. Does Christ's love restrain you and compel you to put self aside and let the message of the Cross motivate your very life? Explain

2 Corinthians 5:14 (NIV) 14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

Gal 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

3. An ambassador for Christ knows and shares the message that Jesus died to redeem us from the curse of the law. Once a person is set free from the curse of the law their lives will be redirected from living for self to living for the One who died for them. What are some ways Christ has redirected your life?

Ephesians 4:22 (NIV) 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
Ephesians 4:23 (NIV) 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

4. Another important part of the Ambassador’s message is how he or she looks at others. Instead of just seeing them as they are, we should see them for what they could be once Christ has set them free. Why is this such a hard task? What are some ways you’ve been able to accomplish this?

2 Corinthians 5:16 (NIV) 16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

5. Remember, reconciliation is the process where we are made right with God. Our overdrawn account is put into balance. Our sin debt is paid in full. This debt is not paid by the ambassadors, it is paid by the One whom the ambassadors represent! An ambassador for Christ is grateful to have been reconciled and wants others to know they too can be reconciled. Can you think of someone in your life who needs to experience this reconciliation with God? Take a moment to pray for them and to ask God to help you be a good ambassador to them!

2 Cor 5:18  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
2 Cor 5:19  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Cor 5:20  We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.




The Ambassador's Message

2 Corinthians 5:14-21

 Today we begin a series of messages that speaks to the core of a follower of Christ's purpose for living. In these messages we will begin to understand the clarion call of the Body of Christ, the Church, you and me, the people who are the church.

I'll never tire of saying it…
The church is not a building it is a people!
A people who have been redeemed from a way of life that was no life at all!

A people who have been cleansed from the guilt and filth of sin. A people who are not perfect, but very much forgiven! A people with much to learn, but who know their amazing Savior was also a wonderful Teacher!

 A people who have been given a whole new purpose and reason for existence!
A people who've chosen to work together as brothers and sisters in Christ to share a message of hope with a world in desperate need of the message and the hope!

Today we will read from Paul's 2nd letter to the Corinthian Church. So powerful are the verses we will read they prompted one Biblical Scholar to say...

"These few verses constitute one of the most important expositions of the message of Christianity in the Bible, and they demand closest attention."

G.R. Beasley-Murray
Broadman Commentary

With these words in mind, we begin today a detailed look at what it means to be Ambassadors for Christ!

Let's pray and ask our Lord to teach us these most important truths by way of His precious Spirit!

PRAY!!

Our text today is found in
2 Corinthians 5:14-21.

This is found in about the middle of the New Testament.
Let's read ...

14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
2 Corinthians 5:14 (NIV)

15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:15 (NIV)

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
2 Corinthians 5:16 (NIV)

17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
2 Corinthians 5:18 (NIV)

19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:19 (NIV)

20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)

21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

 So we are to be Ambassador's for Christ!

What is an ambassador?

 Ambassador - an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country

An ambassador for Christ is sent by God and is accredited by God to be His representative in this world.

If an ambassador is a representative that can only mean the ambassador has been given a message to carry.

Our text gives us some important details about the message of an Ambassador of Christ.

 Detail #1

A message of restraint!

14For Christ’s love compels us...
2 Corinthians 5:14 (NIV)

Now I know some of you might be scratching your head on this one. Let me explain.
Several versions use the word compel, but several use the words constrain, or control.
Which one is right? They all are!

An ambassador for Christ will be motivated by love. His message compels, constrains, and even restrains. To understand this we must look at the context. Let's go back a few verses to verse 11...

11Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.
2 Corinthians 5:11 (NIV)

12We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.
2 Corinthians 5:12 (NIV)

13If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.
2 Corinthians 5:13 (NIV)

14For Christ’s love compels us...
2 Corinthians 5:14 (NIV)

What was going on here, was Paul had been roundly criticized and accused of not being a very spiritual person. Can you imagine that? The reason?
He was not big on displaying his spiritual gifts publicly. He was more about teaching God's message than showing off his spirituality!  

He had addressed this in his first letter to the Corinthian church...

18I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
1 Corinthians 14:18 (NIV)

19But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
1 Corinthians 14:19 (NIV)

Paul was a powerful ambassador for Christ and there were many opportunities to become prideful, but Christ's love restrained him and compelled him to put the glory of God and the needs of people ahead of his own personal agenda.

Now that's a good ambassador!!
Paul's motive was the Cross and what was done on that Cross by the very One Paul represented.

Does Christ's love restrain you and compel you to put self aside and let the message of the Cross motivate your very life?

What kind of ambassador are you and what's your message?

 Detail #2

A message of redemption!

14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
2 Corinthians 5:14 (NIV)

Jesus was the second Adam. The first Adam brought about the fall of human nature into sin, but Jesus did what the first Adam couldn't do. He lived a sinless life and then gave that sinless life on the Cross for you and me!  

21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
1 Corinthians 15:21 (NIV)

22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:22 (NIV)

In fact the Word tells us here and many other places that Jesus died for everyone! There's no one He didn't die for, but there are those who will reject the gift He died to give them.

Jesus gave His life so we could live. He died so we could be redeemed from the power of sin and the law.

13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
Galatians 3:13 (NIV)

14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Galatians 3:14 (NIV)

 Have you allowed Jesus to redeem you from the curse of the law?
If you have, I have a question for you...

What kind of ambassador are you? Are you sharing the message of redemption with those who are perishing?

There's more details to the ambassador for Christ's message…
Let's see…..

 Detail #3

A message of redirection!

15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:15 (NIV)

An ambassador lives his or her life to share the message. Ironically, the message the ambassador shares with those to whom he or she has been sent is a message to stop living for themselves and to start living for the One who died for them!!!

You might be thinking…"But Pastor Larry I don't really want to be an ambassador for Christ. It's just too much trouble to live under the pressure and I would just rather live my life and not get involved in all that ambassador stuff!"

I read the following statement in a book written by Tim Hansel, who suffers from constant pain from a tragic climbing accident. It speaks volumes...

"One of the greatest tragedies of our modern civilizations is that you and I can live a trivial life and get away with it!"

Okay, I don't want you to get mad at me so I'm just gonna let Paul talk you…


17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
Ephesians 4:17 (NIV)

18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
Ephesians 4:18 (NIV)

19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
Ephesians 4:19 (NIV)

20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.
Ephesians 4:20 (NIV)

21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
Ephesians 4:21 (NIV)

22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
Ephesians 4:22 (NIV)

23to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
Ephesians 4:23 (NIV)

24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:24 (NIV)

If you've accepted Christ, you are an ambassador. Question is this, what kind of ambassador are you? In this series there will be a whole sermon on the life of the ambassador. Stay tuned!!

On to the next detail of the ambassador's message...



Detail #4

A message of rethinking!

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
2 Corinthians 5:16 (NIV)

Ambassador's for Christ cannot look at people the same way they used to.
This detail is going to make some of you squirm in you chairs.

I don't care how bad someone gets on your nerves, or how they've hurt you, or how insensitive they are, or whatever, you've got to look at them through the eyes of Jesus. After all you are His ambassador.

He has sent you to be an ambassador to the lost, the broken, the mean spirited, the messed up, the selfish, the cold hearted, the unforgiven, and the unredeemed!

Don't get me wrong, if you are in a situation of serious physical or emotional abuse, I'm not telling you to ignore that. You may need to take action to remove yourself from that situation.
But don't ever stop praying they will change before it's eternally to late!
Never stop caring!

What I am saying is this, we can't regard people the way the world does. If the world doesn't like you, or you've hurt them, their response is one of total withdrawal or all out attack. Our response as ambassadors for Christ must be different.

We know what it's like to be lost and trapped in sin. We must never forget that we are sinners save by God's grace. We are no better than anybody else, just better off because we've been forgiven, redeemed, and given a new reason and way to live!

Here's how Paul put it...

13Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.
1 Timothy 1:13 (NIV)

14The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 1:14 (NIV)

15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners —of whom I am the worst.
1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV)

16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:16 (NIV)

An ambassador for Christ reaches out to everyone. He understands the One he represents cares about and desires to reach out to all people regardless of their issues.

 Detail #5

A message of re creation!

17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

 What a powerful message of hope for a lost world. Not only can you be forgiven, you can be made brand new! The old ways that brought about destruction, depression, despair, and disgust, can be defeated and done away with!

4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Romans 6:4 (NIV)

5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
Romans 6:5 (NIV)

6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin —
Romans 6:6 (NIV)

7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Romans 6:7 (NIV)

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Romans 6:8 (NIV)

This is where the ambassador's own story really comes to play! This is why you were selected to be an ambassador. You've experienced the new creation! You know what it's like to be made brand new! You know what it's like to have the old washed away and forgiven forever!!

You're an ambassador. People want to hear your story. Especially if your life is a strong example of the message.

 Detail #6

A message of reconciliation!

18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
2 Corinthians 5:18 (NIV)

19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:19 (NIV)

20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)

The first thing God does is reconcile the ambassadors!

18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ:
2 Corinthians 5:18 (NIV)

Remember, reconciliation is the process where we are made right with God. Our over drawn account is put into balance. Our sin debt is paid in full. This debt is not paid by the ambassadors, it is paid by the One whom the ambassadors represent!

And make no mistake about it, the price that was paid was not cheap. It was astronomical! The price was an innocent life! The price was the death of that innocent life represented in the life blood that flowed from His hands, His feet, His side, His head!

11When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.
Hebrews 9:11 (NIV)

12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
Hebrews 9:12 (NIV)

13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.
Hebrews 9:13 (NIV)

14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Hebrews 9:14 (NIV)

What an amazing thing God did for us by allowing His One and Only Son to shed His precious blood for us. But then God does something else totally amazing, and very surprising!

18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
2 Corinthians 5:18 (NIV)

19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:19 (NIV)

20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)

God makes us His representatives on this earth. God makes His appeal to humankind through humans. Why would He entrust such a task to a weak and imperfect people?

Maybe it's because He loves us so much and desires to be in fellowship with us and to partner with us. Let me give you a practical example.
I love projects! I love building things! I love fixing things!

But the most joyful projects are those I have done with my kids. My daughter may not remember this, but we bought a construction set years ago at one of the youth garage sales.
Leah and I built a helicopter. I've never disassembled it. It was a project we did together.

 God's got a project He wants His kids to work on with Him! The redemption and reconciliation of the hearts of those who are not yet His children! Just as God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, He now wants to work with us to get that message out. It was part of the plan.


Listen to the words Jesus said as He was praying for His disciples, just before His death...

20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
John 17:20 (NIV)

21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
John 17:21 (NIV)

22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:
John 17:22 (NIV)

23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:23 (NIV)

This story is almost overwhelming to me! That we have been invited by God to be Ambassadors for Christ! To be His representatives in this world. What a responsibility, what a privilege!

And the final detail of the Ambassador's message is this...

 Detail #7

A message of restoration!

21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

We commit the sin, Jesus became the sin! Jesus was perfect, we are anything but perfect, but Jesus made it possible for us to become the righteousness of God!

Think about that!!!!

There are those today who would say that your response to God matters not, because the decision of your salvation was made before you were ever born. The Bible tells us plainly that God did choose us before we were ever born, but after we are born and reach an age understanding, we have a choice to make.

If this is not so, why would our text say "God is making His appeal through us?"

20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)

Listen to the words of Paul, "we implore you!"
I will end with these words from the Bible Scholar I mentioned earlier.
Listen carefully...

 "No graver issue can be set before man than for him to learn of the reconciliation achieved by Christ and the necessity for him to end his rebellion against God...

 And the reason for this gravity is clear: the reconciliation between God and the individual is incomplete so long as the individual withholds repentance, maintains his resistance to God, and declines to acknowledge Christ as Savior and Lord...

 A gospel proclamation therefore which does not include God's appeal to men, 'Be reconciled to God,' is only half the gospel; and since the omission is so serious, it must be viewed as a misrepresentation of the gospel."
G.R. Beasley-Murray
Broadman Commentary

 Let's pray!