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Ambassadors for Christ

(II Cor. 5:16-21)

 

Introduction: Today, I would like to invite all of you to a place where you can see the past, the present, and the future. I will try to pick up the thoughts that are contained in this passage and also travel/survey with you from Genesis through Revelation. When we read this passage (II Cor. 5:16-21), we see that Apostle Paul says in 5:20, “Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ”.  (Ambassador means “a diplomatic minister sent by one supreme in power to another). So, when you read this verse, you are forced to read the preceding verses in order to understand the meaning of the word “therefore”. The word “therefore” lead us to the previous verses, that is in summary, God reconciled us to Himself through Christ (II Cor. 5:18); and He gave us the ministry of reconciliation (II Cor. 5:19). Paul says all this and concludes with, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ”.

What is reconciliation? As you read this passage, a word that leaps (to jump) from the passage is “reconciliation”. New the question is, “what is reconciliation”? So, we need to find out what is the meaning of Apostle Paul, when he says, “God gave us the ministry of reconciliation”, and “He has committed to us the word of reconciliation”. Reconciliation presupposes the absence of unity and absence of harmony. Its mean, that there was something wrong in the relationship between God and man, and also among people. So, reconciliation means to have good relationships with someone again after arguing with him or them. Apostle Paul is saying in this passage that something has gone wrong that is caused of this disharmony and disunity. Bible tells us that disharmony was brought into the world, because of the first man Adam and Eve sinned against God. So, disharmony and disunity did not originate from God. When we read Genesis Chapters 1, 2 and 3, it is very clear; the main and most painful disunity was the disunity of man from God; the separation of man from God. The Holy Bible tells us that in the Garden of Eden, there were perfect harmony and there was intimate relationship between God and man, because God made everything perfect. Adam was able to talk with God freely; Adam enjoyed exercising his dominion over other creatures. But after he committed sin, there was a distance between God and man. After he sinned, they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, when Adam and his wife (Eve) heard the voice/sound of the God; they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden (Gen. 3:10). Then God called to Adam, where you are? And he replied to God “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself” (Gen. 3:10). Why did Adam and Even hide themselves from God? It was because of the sin they had committed. It was sin that separated them from the sweet, intimate and perfect relationship with God. Disunity was not God’s purpose, but sin brought this disunity and disharmony.

What is around us? Let us look around us for a while! We can choose any media form to describe the disunity in this world because of Adam’s sin. The newspaper, TV, radio, and many others constantly inform us the facts that we are surrounded by disunity and disharmony, we are surrounded by violations. In this world due to sin people are separated from God, they have their broken relationship with God, that’s why many people often say that there is no God. Some say God is sleeping. Some say God created the world and then let the world run by itself. In Christ, my dear brothers and sisters, all these statements indicated that the fellowship of man with God is broken. If you observe closely, you can see that God is ignored in the classrooms of the schools and universities; God does not seem to be honored in the millions of homes; God has lost His place even in many churches. Through all these, we are seeing the breach between God and man because of Adam’s sin. It is not God, who created all these problems, but it is sin that affects the whole world. This phrase “I heard you in the garden, so I hid myself” is a cry from a sinner, and this is the picture we can draw even in the present time. Now as a result of the broken fellowship between God and man, the Scripture tells us that we have more breaches between God and man, between man and his neighbor, and between man and nature.

First of all, the first breach/violation is between man and nature. Bible describes when God created male and female; God blessed them and said to them. “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food” (Gen. 1:27-30). And God saw all He has made, it was very good. Imagine the Garden of Eden! Every tree manifesting the glory of God; every bird praising the work of God; every flower smiled in their face, revealing the joyful atmosphere of the Garden of Eden; every beast lived gently; acknowledging man’s dominion over them; above all, Adam and Eve had good intimate fellowship with God and with other creatures. This was the picture God intended to preserve. But because of Adam’s sin, this wonder fellowship was no longer to be. God drove them out from the Garden of Eden, and God stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword, which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen.3:24). Because of Adam’s sin, the ground was cursed. Man no longer was able to enjoy the fruit of the ground without pain and sorrow. Strong and powerful beasts no longer acknowledge man’s dominion over them. The all ecological/social problems that we are facing today are a result of man’s sin and because of man’s sin, creation was subjected to corruption. As the result of Adam’s sin, there is a breach between man and nature.

Secondly, because of the disharmony between God and man, man is not able to have harmony even within himself. God created man that he would praise His name and worship him. But because of Adam’s sin, our body does not cooperate well. There is one good example is Paul’s lamentation in Roman chapter 7. In verse 15, Paul says “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” So, it is clear that the total person of man is not willing to do good at all times. My brothers and sisters, we see many counseling centers in our society, many people visit the counseling centers, hopping to get some help for spiritual satisfaction, but these non-biblical counselors cannot help them to find the true meaning and purpose of their life. All this resulted from the breach between God and man because of sin.

Thirdly, the disunity between God and man brings not only conflict between man and himself but also a breach between man and other human beings. In this world, all the wars, all the fights all the conflicts, backbiting, enmity, all kind of jealously and anger is the resulted from disharmony of man with God. Our disharmony with neighbors, our disharmony with other people, and our disharmony even within families resulted from disharmony between God and man. Why do we have so many family problems and problems among our friends? Many times, mother-in law do not like the way of act and speak of daughters-in-law; daughters-in-law are not willing to accept the suggestions of mothers-in-law. Fathers are not satisfied by their sons’ behavior; and sons do not obey their fathers; conflicts even exist between husbands and wives, who are known to be very close. According to a recent statistic/survey, one out of two couples in the United States is divorced. Even in Korea, divorce rate is very high, and people are very upset due to these problems. This is one barometer that indicates disharmony between man with other men.

            You may recall the time when fences/boundary walls were not necessary between houses. In some places, you can sill find unfenced yards between houses. But look around big cities like Seoul. The fences between houses have become higher and higher; the walls between apartments have become thicker and thicker. People are isolating themselves from other people. Some time they lived ten years in the neighborhood but still don’t know each other. They are afraid of strangers. Even sometime people have grudge in their hearts for their friends, some time we feel jealous about other’s good reputation without any cause. All this distance, all this disharmony, all this violation, and separation is resulted from disharmony between God and man because Adam sinned against God, and we also have sin in our lives.

Promising and positive aspects: My brothers and sisters! I have described all the negative results due to man’s sin, which created disharmony between God and man. But today’s Scripture is not negative at all. It is positive and promising, and it gives us confidence and a great hope. The Apostle Paul recognizes all these disunities, and disharmony between man and nature, man and himself, and man and other men, which surrounds us, and he gives us the solution to these problems. Which as human being we all are facing today? He gives us good news. He says that Jesus Christ demolished the breach between God and man by the virtue/strength of His death and resurrection. He bridged the gap between God and man which had caused of all the problems. It is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that reconciled man with God, also birding the gap between man and nature, man and himself, and among man and his neighbors. The world is now being consummated/completed by the preaching of the cross and of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Bible tells us that when Jesus will come again, the new heaven and new earth will be realized. And we are going to live in it. There shall be no death, no mourning, no crying, and no pain.

Conclusion: Bible tells us good news that believing in Jesus Christ goes beyond personal salvation. We should have perfect harmony with God. We should enjoy eternal life. As believer in Christ, we all are the ambassadors for Christ. Now, as ambassador it’s our duty to proclaim the good news throughout the world, that “Jesus Christ is the Savior of the whole world”. It doesn’t matter what country they belong, what kind of people they are, what kind of social culture is there, and what kind of color of those people, what kind of language are speaking, because its commandment of Our Lord Jesus Chat, and we all people are one in Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus said “Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of eternal life (Rev. 2:10). As true believers, we need to obey our Lord’s command, we need to go and preach them that Jesus Christ has bridged the gap between God and man. It is our job to tell people, to proclaim that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ. Through believe in Jesus Christ as personal savior, he or she can enjoy peace in himself. He or she can enjoy this nature more in Christ than outside of Him. Man can have a wonderful fellowship with other people in Christ. This is message that the ambassadors for Christ should preach unto death.

            May Lord bless all of you, use you and encourage you to preach the Good News to the nations unto death. Amen!

 

Rev. Emanuel Khokhar

Candidate: Ph D in Missiology

Kukje Theological University & Seminary

Delievered at All Nations Church (Outlet 2001)

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Copyright @ 2005, Rev.Emanuel Khokhar.
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