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Bible verses about Ambassadors for Christ
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 7:6-11

Since God is holy, the people He chooses for Himself must also be holy, a principle that continues under the New Covenant. As God lives by high standards, so must His people keep those same high standards as an example to the rest of the world. Just as a human government sends out ambassadors to other nations to represent it in its affairs within those nations, God chose Israel to represent Him. What were His reasons?

» He chose Israel to be His own people, a special treasure for His own purposes.

» He chose them to demonstrate His love for them. He simply loved them. When God loves someone, He puts a great deal of responsibility on him.

» He chose them to keep His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with whom He also had a special relationship.

» He chose them to make a covenant with them, under which they were to keep His commandments and obey Him in everything. In return, He would bless them immensely.

God's choice of Israel was an act of love for them, even though He knew from the start that they would ultimately fail. God knew from the foundation of the world that all mankind would need a Savior (I Peter 1:19-20; Revelation 13:8), including Israelites. Yet, if any people were to succeed as God's model nation, it would be the children of Abraham. This is not because they were better, but because they of all people had a relationship with God, which had begun with Abraham. They had examples in their own ancestry that they could study to see that it could be done if they remained close to God.

To help them to succeed, God gave them His laws, another act of love. Moses writes:

Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people." For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day? (Deuteronomy 4:5-8)

Even in their laws they were to be a model nation for the rest of the world, not just for the Gentiles to notice, but to emulate. The Israelites should have made a great impression on the Canaanites, Philistines, Edomites, and all the nearby nations. This respect and admiration should have then spread beyond them to other nations.

Yet, because they failed to live by those good and righteous laws and to take advantage of God's nearness to them - in reality, they failed in just about everything He asked of them - their influence as a model nation rarely stretched beyond their borders. Too often, Israel was instead outright pagan!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Why Israel? (Part Two)


 

Proverbs 13:17

As faithful ambassadors of Christ, we ought to bring health, refreshment, and comfort to the people with whom we come into contact.

David F. Maas
How to Conduct Ourselves as Ambassadors for Christ


 

Matthew 13:11

Jesus' frequently uses the words "Kingdom of Heaven," especially in Matthew 13, as in "The Kingdom of Heaven is like..." We should be careful not to be fooled by this. It does not mean "the Kingdom of God when Jesus Christ returns." That is not what Jesus means.

The Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven is not just a future matter, but also a present reality. It is not on earth right now as a government, in the form of a nation or a kingdom, but the Kingdom of God exists. Colossians 1:13 says that we have already been translated into the Kingdom of the Son of His love. The word translated is better rendered as "transferred." This is not the Protestant idea of "the Kingdom of God is within you," but the Kingdom of God does exist. Notice Matthew 12:28: "But if I cast out demons by the spirit of God, surely the Kingdom of God has come upon you." It was present then in the person of Jesus Christ and working.

Mark 12:34 contains another example: "So when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, 'You are not far from the Kingdom of God.' And after that no one dared question Him." In Luke 10, Jesus uses the term in a present-tense situation. The Kingdom of Heaven is something that happens now or can happen now. Jesus is speaking to His disciples, telling them what they are to do when they go out preaching the gospel: "And heal the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The Kingdom of God has come near to you'" (Luke 10:9). This is similar to what He says to the scribe in Luke 17:21: "Nor will they say, 'See here!' Or 'See there!' For indeed the Kingdom of God is among [as it is better translated] you."

These examples show that Jesus taught His disciples that the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven exists now, but it is in a different form from what it will be when Jesus returns and sets up His government. When we yield to God, and when we are accepted by Him as His sons and daughters, as it were, we become citizens of the Kingdom of God. In a sense, then, we all are in the Kingdom of God now.

Nevertheless, we are aiming for that future reality when Jesus Christ comes back and sets His throne upon this earth—when all people will stream to Jerusalem to become part of God's Kingdom. The entire Bible looks forward to this time, but there is a present reality of the Kingdom among His sons and daughters. Paul concurs: "Our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20); "We are ambassadors for Christ" (II Corinthians 5:20; our allegiance is to Christ, the King of the Kingdom of God); we are "strangers and pilgrims" in a foreign land (I Peter 2:11). Our land is the Kingdom of God. The country we live in is an alien nation. In true members of God's church, the Kingdom of God is already ruling in them. This is what Jesus means when He speaks of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Some scholars want to throw out the word kingdom when it is used this way, feeling that it is a misleading translation. Of course, many of them are Protestants, who look at it from the understanding of "the Kingdom of God is within you." Nonetheless, they believe that the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13 should be rendered the realm, dominion, or reign of God. He is already our King, reigning over us right now.

Another rendering is a word we should all be familiar with—the sovereignty of God. Have we come under the sovereignty of God? Yes, indeed. We did it voluntarily when we accepted Christ as our Savior. So in this sense, we are in the Kingdom of God, and its rules apply to us.

This is what Jesus means in Matthew 13. He is not doing away with the idea that He will return to this earth and set up His government here after putting down all other government's rule, but He is saying, "Those of you whom I have called out are in the Kingdom of Heaven right now—in a spiritual sense—and you have to live by its rules and fight its enemies. So beware! This is what your life in My Kingdom now will be like."

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Parables of Matthew 13 (Part 1): The Mustard Seed


 

John 17:16

What would Jesus do in a time of political election? He would not take part. He would warn true Christians, “Come out of her [this world], My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:1-4). Jesus calls Christians out of the ways of this world, including its political systems.

Just as Jesus did, we are expected to provide a true witness of God's way of life. We are to support what God is doing on earth so that the good news of Christ's return to establish God's Kingdom is proclaimed. Our focus needs to be on God's plan and His gift of salvation and eternal life so that we and all those He has called are prepared to participate in God's government on earth when it is established (Daniel 7:18, 22; Revelation 2:26-27; 5:10).

An ambassador of Christ is not to involve himself in the politics of this present evil world. Human governments, corrupted by the ruler of this world, are doomed to be replaced by the benevolent rule of the Kingdom of God. Though we are in the world, we are not of it.

Our mission—as advance emissaries of His Kingdom—is to give a true witness of God's way of life (Proverbs 14:25; Isaiah 43:10-12; Matthew 5:13-16; Acts 1:8; Revelation 20:4) and to warn the world of its predicament and present danger, proclaiming to all nations the good news of the Kingdom of God.

Martin G. Collins
Would Jesus Christ Vote? (Part Three)


 

John 18:36-37

Pilate was concerned that Jesus was interfering in the politics of his day, but Jesus told him that, even though He was born to be King, His Kingdom was not of this world. Christ will establish His rule on earth as King of the world at the appointed time He returns.

While Jesus did preach to the world by warning it (Matthew 4:25; 5:1), He remained separate from its politics. His primary audience was His disciples, whom He taught God's way of life. He called them out of this present, evil age—out of its customs, philosophies, and ways—to a life of separation from the world (II Corinthians 6:17). He told them, “Follow Me.”

He did not mean for Christians to leave the world physically. He knew they must live in it, but He taught that they should not be of it. In His final prayer, He requests, “I do not pray that you should take [My disciples] out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:15-16). Thus, Christ's disciples live in this present world as if they were foreigners, guests of the nations where they reside, as ambassadors for Christ and His coming Kingdom.

When God calls a person to repentance and conversion, He summons them to forsake former allegiances and transfer all loyalty to Christ. As Paul writes in II Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Martin G. Collins
Would Jesus Christ Vote? (Part Two)


 

Acts 17:22

If we were to read between the lines, Paul might be saying, "You Athenians are to be commended for your devotion to spiritual things." The King James' rendering of "religious" as "superstitious" exposes the latter word as having undergone what linguists call semantic drift. In Shakespeare's day and King James' time, this word did not have the negative connotation as it does now.

From the context of this account, it is plain that the apostle Paul was not, as some theologians like to characterize him, a feisty, wrangling, argumentative hothead. The men of Athens, who vastly outnumbered Paul and loved a good philosophical debate, could have made short work out of any know-it-all smart aleck. The apostle Paul was thus lavish in his compliments.

Throughout his ministry, he frequently resorted to diplomatic language. At one point, he acknowledged a cultural debt both to the Greeks and to barbarians (Romans 1:14). In addition to complimenting strangers, Paul continually sought out similarities he shared between him and other groups. In a conflict in which both the Sadducees and the Pharisees were breathing fire down his neck, Paul masterfully ingratiated himself to the Pharisees, reminding them that he and they shared the same view on the resurrection (Acts 23:6-8). Paul, to the right people, let it be known that he was a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37-39; 22:25-29).

We also need to find common ground, not only with people in the other groups of the church of God, but with the world at large, emphasizing (like mountains) the things we agree upon and de-emphasizing (like molehills) the things we disagree upon.

In the process of finding common ground, we dare not compromise our core values or syncretize them with the world. We should instead practice more of what one late church of God minister counseled, "You don't have to tell all you know." Oftentimes, keeping our traps shut is the most diplomatic behavior of all (Ecclesiastes 3:7; Lamentations 3:28-29; Amos 5:13).

David F. Maas
How to Conduct Ourselves as Ambassadors for Christ


 

Acts 17:23

In Acts 17:23, the apostle Paul deliberately builds a bridge of common understanding and similarity, referring to something the Athenians already understood. Later, in verse 28, Paul again seeks common ground by quoting from their own literature: "For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'"

The important thing to remember is that the apostle Paul started at the Athenians' current level of understanding, continually finding commonalities between himself and his audience upon which to build mutual understanding and foster growth. An ambassador skillfully demonstrates how his country and another's country share similar interests. As the late Rabbi Meir Kahane pointed out, an alliance is not so much built on friendship as on common interests.

David F. Maas
How to Conduct Ourselves as Ambassadors for Christ


 

2 Corinthians 5:17-20

In verse 18, Paul explains that he, and by implication other Christians, have a "ministry of reconciliation" to serve as "ambassadors for Christ" (verse 20). It is, the apostle continues in verse 20, as if God is "pleading through us" to "be reconciled to God." Jesus Christ brings this reconciliation about, and the new man is the result.

Charles Whitaker
Choosing the New Man (Part Two)


 

2 Corinthians 5:17-20

Though they live in a foreign nation, ambassadors take no part of their host nation's political or military institutions, yet the ambassador is expected to adhere to the laws of the foreign land. An American ambassador to China knows well that his host government is seriously opposed to his own. He does not serve the Chinese government, enter into its politics, try to eradicate the evils of its system, vote in its elections, join its army, or advocate for its causes. Yet he subjects himself to Chinese laws that concern him while there, endeavoring to behave in a way that will best represent the interests of the U.S. government.

In the same way, Christian's are ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. We are called to become part of a totally different society, and while living in this world, we must represent God and abide by His laws and standards, which supersede those of men when they conflict. Like the worldly ambassador, a Christian should not involve himself in the affairs of an opposing government but must abide by its rules as best he can. He must live as a citizen of heaven and an ambassador for Jesus Christ first and foremost.

Martin G. Collins
Would Jesus Christ Vote? (Part Three)


 

2 Corinthians 5:20

II Corinthians 5:20, like John 18:36-37 and Philippians 3:20, defines our position by showing that we are not only citizens but also ambassadors of that heavenly Kingdom. We may love the nation we live in and be subject to its laws and authority, but we must reserve our fullest allegiance for God in heaven and His Kingdom. As ambassadors and sojourners, we do not have the legal authority to involve ourselves in the affairs of the human nation in which we reside.

The issue of war is not as complicated as it might first appear. The central fact is that God has said we must not kill. We will either be obedient to that or we will not. What determines our choice is the measure of our faith in the Bible's clear statements and examples. If we will obey God's commandments and exercise our faith in His promise, He will intervene to fight our battles for us. We never have to resort to killing.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sixth Commandment (Part 2): War! (1997)


 

2 Corinthians 10:13-16

Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. It was his province, his area of authority, his area of influence. Paul says that he lived within it and worked within it. He did not go into other men's areas to extend his influence beyond what was given to him. Peter was made preeminent over them all, and then as the work grew, God divided it up, saying in effect, "Paul, concentrate on this. Peter, concentrate on that." They had leadership in those areas, and it was almost as though the two shall never meet.

The picture that appears from all of this is that, not only did Paul adhere to the sphere of influence that God had given him, but so did the other twelve apostles. They divided up the world, went to their areas, and conducted their spiritual and governmental responsibilities only within their regions. That is the only way God could keep order over a worldwide work at the time.

The people who responded to the teaching of those men in those areas were not confused by other voices speaking to them. Each stayed within his own sphere of influence, the one that had been given by God. In that area, he was the top authority, as far as the doctrines that were to be followed, and in this way, God could keep order. Quite likely, the apostles were all speaking the same thing, yet by this method, confusion in terms of government was kept to a minimum. The people were not confused about whom they were to look to in their region for authority in matters pertaining to their relationship with God. It is a wonderful system.

God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33). Doctrine was put into the church as the work expanded in the way that He has always done it - as He did through Moses, through whom He gave the first five books; as He did through Samuel, who may very well have been the author or main editor of all the books from Joshua to II Samuel; then through others whom God used to add to the scriptures so that we might have the complete Bible today.

So, it is God who puts doctrine into His church by the man He chooses to be His ambassador, His representative to those who have been called. That keeps matters in order. Our job is to have faith in God's decision and in the pattern that He reveals in His Word. That will keep us on track if we choose to make the right choices.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 2): God's Pattern of Leadership


 

2 Corinthians 10:13

An apostle has a measure of rule or authority within the church. In another place, Paul refers to himself as an ambassador. An ambassador is a high governmental personage who represents a yet higher authority—his government—and he is in that position to carry out the dictates of his nation in its relationship with another nation—a foreign nation. The ambassador resides in the foreign nation while representing his own nation, and he has authority, for example, over those who are under him at the consulate.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 3): Ephesians 4 (A)


 

Philippians 3:20

While some may spiritualize this fact away, Paul's words come across as literal and real to those who understand that God has called us out of this world (John 15:19) and transferred us into His Kingdom (Colossians 1:13).

Having our citizenship (conversation, KJV) in the Kingdom of God by definition makes us aliens in the physical country in which we live. Like ambassadors of a foreign government, we cannot participate in the politics of another country, a practice that would distract us from our real spiritual goal. However, we realize that the apostle Paul has challenged us to be ambassadors for Christ: "Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God" (II Corinthians 5:20).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Persistent Friend


 

1 Peter 2:11

Under the New Covenant we, too, should consider ourselves aliens and pilgrims in relation to this world. We live here as co-heirs of the earth with Christ, but we are to live our lives as if we are just passing through on the way to our inheritance. A pilgrim is a person out of his own country, in a foreign land. He does not intend to put down roots there but is heading elsewhere toward a definite goal. Thus, his life is always in transition. He should not view himself as permanently anchored to the society in which he lives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing for the Feast


 

 




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