The Motivation for Mission (2 Corinthians 5)

Often in life when we join a club or organization, we have to consider what are the benefits of the organization versus the responsibilities of membership. For example, in a civic service club you gain community friendships, networks, exposure to what is going on in the town and county, etc. But you also have minimal requirements for attendance, dues, fund-raising obligations, and other duties that require time and attention.   Is it worth it?

But there is nothing so worthwhile as working for Christ and his kingdom. It is living out something that is far, far beyond anything we can imagine in this world. Let your mind go wild: What job would you want to have? Or who would you like to be? A king, a queen, a media personality, professional athlete, pop star, fashion model, successful industrialist or corporate executive?   Whatever you could come up with … How does that compare to you actually being the child of the creator of the universe, serving as his representative in the role of an ambassador to the world?

Here is our fourth and final statement about “Why Mission” this week: Mission is motivated by understanding who we are in Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 5:16-21)

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 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. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

So when you understand the gospel and who you are in Christ, seeing also the mission that he has for you as a member of his body of faith on this planet (the church), I have no insecurity whatsoever in calling you to make our ministry together in the church as a defining value in your life.

I don’t need to feel like I’m dumping something on you or selling you on commitment to the organization of which I just happen to lead the local franchise. No. I’m calling you to fulfill the mission you have from God! I’m just helping you fulfill your eternal purpose.

I often hear from folks who are business owners talking about their workers. When away from the store or shop they might leave a list of tasks that have to be done by employees. When the owners return at a later time, they often find themselves wondering what really happened while they were gone, because not much is visible relative to accomplishment in the time where it well could have been. There are a number of parables in the Gospels about this theme … of Christ returning and not having found faithfulness from those entrusted with the stewardship of a mission to accomplish. Hey, you don’t want that to be your experience with God. Rather, you want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.” So get busy and be on mission for Christ!

<< Note: This ends our “Why Church?” series. On Sunday we will have a one-time service on a remembrance theme, somewhat connected to Memorial Day, but also with communion. The following week begins our next seven-week series called “Rooted,” which talks about the grounding and nourishment of our faith. Chris and I will have some sort of summer reading/devotionals to accompany that. So we’ll see you again in another week or 10 days. >>

 

A Very Cool Assignment from God (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)

Every so often at my Rotary club, we have an ambassador from another country come as a guest speaker.  There are only a few categories of guest speakers that are afforded a standing applause welcome. Ambassadors are one of them. An ambassador is an important person. He stands in representation of the sovereign in his country, and represents all that his native kingdom values and promotes.

The Scriptures say that we are ambassadors for the King of Kings. I have always been so impressed with this concept and honored that God should so regard us in such a light as to give us this incredible title and responsibility.

The Apostle Paul understood that he was an ambassador… and not just when he was preaching in a synagogue or proclaiming Christ in the marketplace. Paul remembered his role even when he was in jail chained to a huge Roman guard. He knew his position of service was a 24/7 kind of thing…

EPH 6:19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Being vitally related to God changes our viewpoint of both ourselves and those around us.  In today’s passage, Paul is saying that the Christian has a new way of looking at people around him. It is not the same way people of the world look at each other. We see others with Kingdom glasses. We see them either as brothers and sisters in Christ, or we see them as enslaved by an alien kingdom – in need of our services as an ambassador of the Kingdom of Light.

So there is no reason for the Christian to be insecure. You are not just an engineer, a nurse, a teacher, a mom or dad… you are an ambassador for the Creator, the One who holds it all together, the great Storyteller. That sure beats anything your unsaved neighbor is able to say he or she has membership within. You represent the sovereign of the universe as an agent of reconciliation and peace.

How well do you serve in this assignment?  Ask God to make you aware and effective as His chosen representative – it is part of your role in The Story that God is writing, along with the adventure and journey of walking in relationship with Him.

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And 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.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 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. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.