Thursday, July 6, 2017

Proclaim the good news . . .



Throughout Scripture, God’s people are told to share the gospel with others, making disciples and bringing people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Each Christian may be gifted to do specific tasks, but all of us share one job description . . .

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Ambassadors live in a foreign country representing their homeland. For instance, David MacNaughton is the Canadian ambassador to the United States. He lives in the US and represents the interests of Canada to the American government. In that same way, the people of God are citizens of heaven and we live here on earth to represent the interests of God’s kingdom to the people of this world.

This is an enormous task. People groups number in the thousands. A huge percentage have never heard the good news of how to be reconciled to God. Many of them cannot read or write, and certainly do not have the Scriptures. Translation work is tedious. Learning a new language is a great challenge for those who are taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to other lands. Not everyone can go. Not everyone is even called to preach in their own land . . .

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” (Romans 10:14–15)

While preachers need to be “sent” or called to this special task, God designates everyone in His family to be ambassadors wherever they are. I live in a small condo complex of fifteen bungalows. Heaven is my home, but God put me here to share Christ with my neighbors, friends, and family. On occasion, He can prompt me to share with strangers. This is part of His plan to glorify Christ as He seeks and saves the lost.

Not only are God’s people to be engaged in this task, God is not limited by our limitations. He does not need a pulpit or a television broadcast. Sometimes His “preacher” is the Holy Spirit who can whisper truth into human hearts, even Scripture and faith can happen by hearing God in this most direct way. I’ve heard from reliable witnesses that He is doing this in the Middle East and many have responded in faith, even though their faith means great persecution and even though they cannot attend any Christian meetings.

While I deeply care for and respect our pastor, if I relied on only him to hear from God, my theology would have holes in it. Not only that, Sunday’s message would have to fit every spiritual need all week, which is ridiculous. God calls me to read and study His Word, to gather my own daily bread. He uses it to build my faith, inform me of His plans, and encourage me as I seek to obey Him. My pastor cannot hold my hand like the Holy Spirit does, nor can I take a radio or television preacher with me wherever I go.

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Jesus, I am so grateful that You said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) Sometimes this role of sheep/ambassador seems too challenging, yet hearing Your voice and having the guidance You give is precious and vital. Please keep refining my ability to hear and obey, to represent You well in the daily situations of life. I want to glorify You, tell others about You, and bring heaven into the lives of others.

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