The Ambassador’s Life

Message Summary - This message delves into the life of an ambassador for Christ. The world is more apt to hear our message when they can see an example of our message through the life we live. There are no perfect ambassadors, but God does provide everything we need to live a life that will bring honor and glory to Him. This fact is brought out in the first point as we discuss the ambassador’s resources. The second point shows how the Ambassador for Christ is motivated by Christ! His message is motivated by Christ, his life is motivated by Christ!! It is precisely because of this motivation the ambassador has a list of things he or she is to avoid at all cost. These things would damage or destroy their mission, their calling, their very life. So the Ambassador for Christ is told to take drastic action when confronted with certain temptations. This list of things to get rid of forms our third point for the day. The final point is a to do list filled with wonderful attitudes and actions that should be a daily part of an ambassador’s life.

Discussion Guide

1. Is there someone in your life who has been a good ambassador for Christ in the way they live their life? What are some of the traits they exhibit?

2. If we were to look at the things not to do list and the things to do list as a job description for an ambassador for Christ, we might consider ourselves disqualified for service. However, a part of our motivation to serve is the fact that Jesus died on the Cross so He could forgive our failures, and He promises to provide everything we will need to serve Him. What are your thoughts on these statements? Agree? Disagree? Why?

Col 1:9  For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Col 1:10  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
Col 1:11  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully
Col 1:12  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Col 1:13  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
Col 1:14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

3. As mentioned in the previous statements, the ambassador of Christ is motivated to live like Him because of who he is and what he has done for us (He is love; He provides salvation by grace alone). In what ways are you serving as Christ's ambassador?  Are you motivated more by his grace or what your works will gain for you?

Eph 2:8  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
Eph 2:9  not by works, so that no one can boast.
Eph 2:10  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


4. Colossians 3:11-12 says to put on the new self (cloth yourselves in the character of Christ).  Pastor Larry used the Men's Wearhouse slogan, "You'll like the way you look, I guarantee it."  How do you think God looks at you?  How do you think others perceive you?  Do you like the way you look as a Christ follower?

Col 3:10  ... put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Col 3:11  Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Col 3:12  Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.


 
The Ambassador's Life

Colossians 3:1- 25



 We learned last week that we are ambassadors for Christ. Let me read to you the focal verse for this series...

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)

Last week we talked about our call to be Ambassadors for Christ. We specifically focused on the ambassador's message. The message we've been given by God to share with the world is powerful in and of itself because it is a message from God.

However, the transmission of this message is most clear when it comes through an ambassador whose life backs up his message!

There's an old saying that put it this way...

"What you're doing speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying!"

I hope people never say that of you and me! We are ambassadors for Christ! It is my prayer we will understand how critical it is to live a life that backs up our message, and exemplifies our message!

Now I understand, there are no perfect ambassadors! I also realize some people like to nit pic and are just waiting for us to make a mistake, large or small, so they can cry hypocrisy and make that their excuse for rejecting the ambassadors message.

However, I'm equally convinced, God wants His ambassadors to live their lives in a way that will honor the One who has sent them. I'm also convinced God will give us exactly what we need to live this life! God provides for His ambassadors!

In fact, Paul talks about this provision in his letter to the Colossians and then talks about the life we're to live. Let's pray and then we're going to dive into some of the most amazing and exciting spiritual truths in all of Scripture. So powerful and at the same time, so practical!!
Let's PRAY!

The Ambassador's Resources

9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Colossians 1:9 (NIV)

10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
Colossians 1:10 (NIV)

11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully
Colossians 1:11 (NIV)

12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:12 (NIV)

13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
Colossians 1:13 (NIV)

14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:14 (NIV)

Wow!! When you go to work as an Ambassador for Christ, you've got perks!


Knowledge of His Will
Spiritual Wisdom
Spiritual Understanding

Ability to live a life worthy of the Lord!
Ability to please Him in every way!
Ability to bear fruit in every good work!
Ability to grow in the knowledge of God!


Strengthened with power according to His glorious might!
Great endurance!
Patience!
Joy!

Qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints!
Rescued from the dominion of darkness!
Brought into the Kingdom of the Son!
Redeemed!
Forgiven!

Now that's an amazing list of perks!!

These things are given to us for a reason. They are the tools we'll need to serve as an ambassador for Christ. They are the resources you will need in order to live the life of an Ambassador for Christ.

 You see, an ambassador lives under a microscope.
 He lives in a glass house! The host country watches his every move. If the ambassador's message is going to be heard, then he or she must live their life in such a way that it is backed up by the message and in such a way that it backs the message up!

Sometimes people ask me how it feels to have your every move examined and scrutinized. It's not so bad, it really keeps you on your toes!!

 But it's not just the preacher!! It's all of us!! Everyone of us!! We are the body of Christ and as such we are Ambassadors for Christ. People are watching our lives and rightfully so!

Is it fair for the world to expect more of us?
Yes it is!!

Why?

 We wear the name of Jesus…
Christian!
If we're going to call ourselves Christians, Christ followers, disciples, then it stands to reason people should expect more from us.


 In our text today, we find a unique set of instructions for those who have been called by God to be His ambassadors.

It is basically a set of do's and don'ts.

 It's not what we do to earn our salvation. We can't earn it! Salvation is by grace. It's not what we do to keep our salvation. We are kept in Christ, again, by His grace!
If we're saved by grace we stay saved by grace!!!

 The list of dos and don'ts is the way we live our lives in response to our salvation.
It's the way we work out our salvation into every area of our lives. We live our lives differently because we have been saved from the old ways.

It's not what we do to become an ambassador for Christ, but what we do because we are ambassadors for Christ!

The Ambassador's Motivation

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:1 (NIV)

2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:2 (NIV)

3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:3 (NIV)

 Does this remind you of anything we read and studied last week?
I'll refresh your memory...

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)

So our motive is this…


"Jesus died for me so I'll live for Him!"

Another way to put it would be...

 "Christ is my life! I live for His glory, not my own! I am His ambassador!"

Paul put it this way in our text...

4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:4 (NIV)

The Ambassador for Christ is motivated by Christ! His message is motivated by Christ, his life is motivated by Christ!!
Because of this motivation the ambassador has a list of things he or she is to avoid at all cost. A list of things to get rid of.

These things would damage or destroy their mission, their calling, their very life. So the Ambassador for Christ is told to take drastic action when confronted with certain temptations.

The Ambassador's Don't Do List

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Colossians 3:5 (NIV)

6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
Colossians 3:6 (NIV)

7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
Colossians 3:7 (NIV)

This sheds light on why Jesus said the following words...

23Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Luke 9:23 (NIV)

 I may not carry a literal cross with me, but we are all called to bear a cross. One of the reasons we carry a cross in our hearts is to remind ourselves of the supreme cost Jesus paid for our sin and the extreme suffering He endured to win our salvation!

When I'm tempted and I see Jesus, the innocent, perfect, pure, Lamb of God, scourged, ridiculed, and shedding His life blood for me, it gives me the strength to put to death the evil that would otherwise overtake me!

"The Christ-filled life obviously cannot at the same time be filled with Christless things!"

R.E.O. White

Paul reminds his readers that they used to do these terrible things in the lives they used to live! Emphasis, "Used to!" Paul, continues the "don't do list" but begins using the analogy of getting rid of something. Like throwing out the garbage!

8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Colossians 3:8 (NIV)

9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
Colossians 3:9 (NIV)

Taking off the dirty cloths to wash them, or, if they are stained beyond cleaning, getting rid of them. This could have been an illusion to the symbol of baptism.  

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)

9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
Romans 6:9 (NIV)

10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
Romans 6:10 (NIV)

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11 (NIV)

12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
Romans 6:12 (NIV)

13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
Romans 6:13 (NIV)

 This takes us to the ambassador's to do list, the put on list, the new clothes list!

 The Ambassador's To Do List

This is exciting! How many of you like new clothes? Clean, new, neat, stylish, nice!
The first thing on the ambassador's things to do list is put on a new spiritual wardrobe.

You're gonna like the way you look, I guarantee it!!

10...put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Colossians 3:10 (NIV)

11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Colossians 3:11 (NIV)

 When Paul says here, he's talking about in the church, the Body of Christ. No matter what your position in life, from God's viewpoint we're all ambassadors for Christ!! We've all been appointed to represent Christ no matter our lot in life.

 Our honor in life does not come from our worldly position, but from our calling from God! Our spiritual wardrobe complements that calling!
Paul then gives a list of things we are to put on and wear...

12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

 I don't care who you are, if you wear these things, you're going to look really good! If you wear these things you're going to look like Jesus!!
Hey, isn't that the goal?

I'm only going to touch the hem of the garment today. In January we're going to begin a series entitled, "Do You Know Who You're Following?" that will be an in-depth look at how Jesus dealt with everyday issues of life and its implications for Christ followers! Getting to know the man we claim to follow!

 I don't want to push this analogy to far, but if you're wearing compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience you'll be ready for your work as an ambassador and you'll be ready for the rest of the to do list...

13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

 This verse reminds the ambassador that he or she is to follow the example of Christ in every thing they do!

The next thing on our list should be highlighted!

14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:14 (NIV)

 If we are truly representing Christ, love must be the most prominent part of our apparel. We must wear this everyday!

 Love is the credential an ambassador for Christ cannot be without. This is the credential that gets you into places you would otherwise be denied access.


34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34 (NIV)

35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:35 (NIV)

If the world looks at us and they don't see love, they will scoff at everything we say or do. 
The love of Christ shows up time and time again in the ambassador's manual!

Speaking of the manual, let's look the last few verses of our text for today...

15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15 (NIV)

16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16 (NIV)

17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

One theologian summed up the things to do list, or the things to put on list like this...

Put on the…
Character of Jesus (kind/compassion)
Example of Jesus (forgive)
Law of Jesus (love)
Peace of Jesus
Word of Jesus
Name of Jesus

Let's Pray!!

End of sermon!