by David Batcheller
I am honored to be counted among a long line of people who have responded to the call to carry the message of Jesus Christ to the world. For two thousand years, the life and teachings of Jesus have had a tremendous impact upon the world. The message of the gospel has transformed countless millions of lives. And despite its imperfections, the Christian faith has brought forgiveness, hope, liberty and salvation to people around the globe.
The Apostle Paul referred to this calling in a collective sense – that as Christians we are ALL called to be “ambassadors for Christ.”
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. – 2 Cor. 5:20
As His ambassadors, we are the representatives of Jesus Christ in a foreign land. The apostles of Jesus frequently reminded the early Christians of this truth:
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. – Heb. 11:13
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ… – Phil. 3:20
Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. – 1 Pet. 2:11
Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. – Col. 3:1-2
For many generations, people have been drawn by the Holy Spirit of God to take the gospel message to other nations. Of course, this was in response to the last commission that Jesus gave to His own disciples:
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. – Matt. 28:18-20
The earliest followers of Christ spread the gospel quickly throughout the Roman Empire. This rapid expansion was fueled by a simple approach, an unharnessed zeal, and intense persecution. As the early church became established, it wasn’t long before tradition and a more formalized religion began to set in. Still, throughout the centuries, there have been strong examples of people who have been willing to lay aside their own interests and pursuits to serve as ambassadors of Christ. Within the larger scope of the Christian faith, people have served faithfully over the years, including Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants. The central message of all has been the life and teachings of Jesus.
Following the Protestant Reformation, there was a renewed focus on extending the gospel to other nations. Over time, this become known as “foreign missions”, or “cross-cultural missions,” meaning efforts to spread the gospel to other nations or people groups. This involved great personal sacrifice and fortitude, because there are many challenges along the way, while adjusting to different languages, cultures and customs. In a future article, I plan to recount in greater detail some of the famous missionaries who have contributed to this cause.
Even more recently, there has been increased interest and development of what is called “short-term missions.” This basically means missionary efforts that are geared towards people who are willing to volunteer for short-range projects in other countries. For many, this provides an excellent initial exposure or experience to what it is like to serve as an ambassador in another culture.
More than ever, today’s world is full of challenges and turmoil. The call to serve as ambassadors for Christ is still relevant and desperately needed. Today, wherever you are, I urge you to respond and take steps in your personal live to become a better ambassador yourself.
How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? But how are they to preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” – Rom. 10:14-15