Ambassadors, Part 1
Our camp theme for this year was “Not of this World,” based on Peter’s description of us as aliens and strangers. Have you ever thought of what that means to you? Once you have become a part of the body of Christ, you are no longer a citizen of this world but you are a citizen of His heavenly kingdom. And the kingdom of heaven will allow no dual citizenship. If you want to be a part of that kingdom you must release your citizenship in the world. You must be a fully devoted follower of Christ, denouncing all ties to the kingdom of this world.
Of course, this has been interpreted in many different ways over time, and some of those interpretations have led to excesses. We might assume, for example, that cutting all allegiance to this world would mean we run to a secret place where only other Christians would be and set up our own kingdom of heaven on earth. We set ourselves apart so we have no contact with the kingdoms of this world. Some have even said that we don’t have to obey any government here on earth because it is not part of the kingdom of heaven. But the truth of the matter is that Jesus did not see it that way.
In his prayer for his disciples recorded in John 17, he describes how his disciples are “not of the world” (v. 16) but in verse 15 he says, “My prayer is not that you would take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.” We are not of the world, but we are still in the world, and that is where we are to stay until our tour of duty is done and we are called home. We don’t isolate ourselves, but instead we represent the kingdom of heaven. We are on assignment as ambassadors.
What is an ambassador and what does he or she do? In 2 Corinthians 5:20 Paul writes, “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.” Our job as an ambassador of the kingdom of heaven is to share the message of the Father with the citizens of this world. The Father’s message is a message of reconciliation, and a message of invitation. A message that there is reconciliation available to repair the rift that occurred when the people of this kingdom chose sin, and a message of invitation that allows all who hear the words of the Father and renounce the kingdom of this world to become citizens of the Father’s kingdom.
(Special thanks to Pastor Brian Galbraith and Pastor Bob Marshall
who contributed to the alien workshops for camp 2003.)
Next time: Important things to know about ambassadors