The words presbeuo in Greek means “we are ambassadors” in English. It’s a verb meaning to travel as a representative. Ambassadors are more than merely messengers. They represent another, and they speak with authority equal with that of the person who sent them. God speaks through the mouths of ambassadors. The focus is on the authority of the message, not the messenger.
The First time Paul uses the word ambassador is in 2nd Corinthians 5:20, but he’s been talking about the responsibility of the believer since chapter 4 when Paul says in verse 7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”, meaning that we have the gospel in us, which is the knowledge of God’s glory. It is by God’s power that people are saved, and those who aren’t changed by God’s saving gospel are perishing, as per verses 3 and 4 of chapter 4.
The ambassador of Jesus has to live their victory out. Chapter 2 verse 15 “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To those who are being saved we represent hope, and to the ones that are perishing, we represent peril. We are epistles of Christ, not literal letters but Spiritual letters written directly by God before the world began, we have to live in that triumph.
The ambassador has to be like the disciples, who went into the cities, and preached the good news.And Jesus told them that if anyone doesn’t welcome you or listen to what you have to say, leave that place and shake the dust from your sandals. Meaning that if they aren’t trying to hear it, you’re in the clear, at least you told them the message. Paul speaks of this also in Chapter 4 verses 3 and 4, so when people don’t receive God’s message with an open heart or ear, leave it to God, no need to worry.
We as believers in Christ are chosen, to preach his word to the lost, we are God’s mouthpiece, His ambassadors. We have to give all the glory to God for all the works we do, because it is only through His strength that we are able to do so. Being an ambassador for Christ is not easy, chapter 4:8-11, lets us know that we are going to go through a lot of things, not to harm us, but to kill the flesh, this is how sanctification happens. And lastly it isn’t the ambassador’s duty to save to people, God will do the saving work, we just deliver the message as per chapter 5:20-21.
Personally I’ve taken 2nd Corinthians 5:20 to heart. I know God chose me to be a mouthpiece to the lost, for His glory. And it hasn’t been the least bit easy, or comfortable. Regardless of how it is that I feel about any situation, my desire is to please God, and to do His will. Like the Apostle Paul, I too have been put in some awkward, dangerous, and uncomfortable positions, all to give God glory for the result.
In the past I was a gang member, drug user, liquor guzzler, fornicator, back biter, and a hater of God. I was crazy, full of unrepentant sin, and uncompromisable pride. You couldn’t tell me anything, and Lord forbid you mention Jesus, or God, we’d have some problems. And even after God began His work in me, I still compromised, and sinned, I wasn’t truly converted. All this evil experience qualified me to be an ambassador for our Lord Jesus.
One day over the summer, I got a phone call. It was from one of the old gang members whom I’ve befriended over the years. He called to tell me that there was a chapter of the gang opening up in Hamilton, and that the leader wanted to meet with me. So, I asked “Why, I’m not part of that anymore”, and the young man said “Well, by our system you’re still one of us”. Needless to say God is still working on my temper and hasn’t perfected it, I went off, and demanded a face to face meeting with whoever wanted to meet up.
In that instant fear came over me and I began to think “what if they kill me” or “what if I become weak and give in” or” What if they jump me, or cut me up” I began to think of all the things I did to former gang members who no longer wanted part in the activities. I called my pastor to let him know the deal, and ask for him to come into agreement with me for God’s protection. I got the answering machine, but he called back, told me not to go. I didn’t listen to him, because by the time he called back I was already at the meeting place.
After I got off the phone with him, a peace came over me, and I felt God telling me who I am in Christ.God told me I’m his ambassador, and not to fear. Everything was ordained by Him, everything I’ve been through was to mold me into the person I’ve become in Christ, especially for situation like these. I waited, and again the enemy tried to put fear in my heart. I started thinking “they’re taking too long they’re going to kill me”.But again peace came over me and God started telling me what to say.
My friend came with two other guys, this was a normal gang practice taken from the bible (2 witnesses). He began to tell me that by gang law I still belonged to the gang, and the only way out was death, or beating. And what happened after he spoke was, to me, a miracle, and worthy of worshiping God for. I began with how much I love them, and how God sent Jesus to atone for sins, and that if they believe in Jesus they would be made new, and have everlasting life.
They resisted, and I just kept speaking from the Word of God, verses I didn’t think I’d knew. I felt like I was preaching to a million people, but the three young men just stood there attentively, as I told them what God did for me, and how God is the reason I’m alive, even in their presence. I let them know that if I’m going to die it will be for Christ sake, and not some worthless bandana that come in packs of four for 2 dollars.I spoke to them with the authority equal to the one who sent me.
About a month later my friend calls me again. I was expecting another meeting, but he called to ask if I could pick him up for service. That day God started His good work in my friend, and I keep him in prayer. I also pray for God to send me to the ones some people in the church overlook, that through God’s power, which is the Gospel, some might be saved.
We are all called to make disciples, not just inviting them to church. Before we make disciples we must go and be God’s mouthpiece, spreading the gospel of Christ, to everyone who will hear it. And when we speak, let’s not do it out of our own power, but let God’s words come out of us. He has given us authority to speak His word, with boldness, not to be confused with arrogance. And lastly, He has given us His love, that we may love others.
- “How God Became King” by N. T. Wright (Indescribable! Brilliant! This is N. T. Wright at his best! (haroldcameron.wordpress.com)
- He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (bummyla.wordpress.com)