2 Corinthians 5:16-21  Me, an Ambassador?

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [NRSA: 2Cor. 5.16-21]

A New Creation: No longer limited by our human point of view. Reconciliation: 4 times in 5 verses. Must be important.

Ambassador: on behalf of Christ, God is making an appeal, to be reconciled to God

  • God making God’s appeal through me.
    • What does it look like when I am doing my own thing
    • What does it sound like when I am singing my own praises

Singing someone else’s tune

  • What does it feel like when I am pleasing my own desires
  • God making God’s appeal through me.
    • What does it look like when I am doing the things of God
    • What does it sound like when I am singing God’s praises
    • What happens when I’m not singing the world’s praise?
    • What does it feel like when I am pleasure God’s call and heart?

When am I on-duty for the kingdom? When am I off-duty?

Some things to try as on-duty, ambassadors, chamber of commerce advocates:

First, making disciples is a task for the long game. It’s about building relationships in Christ… but sometimes we know people well but never talk about our faith in some circles:

Everywhere we travel, we are representing the Kingdom of God.

I have heard from many of you that you don’t typically find yourself around non-Christians.

Remember we may often be around folks who know Christ, but are

  • struggling to trust Christ,
  • stumbling to follow Christ,
  • searching to know Christ.

We need Christ Conversation Starters:

By Far the best is the offer to pray: May I pray for you?

“Dear God, I pray for John, help him find strength to do all that he needs to do today and help him know your saving grace, that he is of value to you and you desire to make him whole. We thank you that your son has died that we might live and know you personally. Amen.”

For those who don’t want to use the maybe over popular John 3:16, try Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace in Jesus Christ.” Do you know that freedom in Jesus Christ?

You know the Billy Graham Method has been tested:

God’s plan is for us to know peace and life through Jesus Christ

Our problem is that we are separated from God, free will we choose what does not please God and we become divided.

God’s Remedy– The cross, Jesus scarified himself to pay the penalty for our sin and separation. Jesus bridges the gap between us and God

Our Response – to Receive Christ, We trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior. John 1:12

There is not a singular method… we must find something that is genuinely ours, even if we learn it from someone else to start.


The calling we share is to serve as AMBASSADORS for the Kingdom.

To that end I have a card, so you can be a card-carrying ambassador

I had a great visit with the Chamber of Commerce this past week, attending one of their events for those new to town or new to the chamber.

If the Chamber of Commerce can be an advocate for those living and those visiting, then certainly the church can be ready to serve

  • The regular,
  • The seekers,
  • The Visitors,
  • The strangers.
  • Whomever…

Asking Questions / Answering Questions – Honestly and directly.

Last week I invited us to being looking for someone to reach out and invite to church.

This week, I’m inviting us to begin some homework in preparation of those persons God will send to cross our paths.

For those who are not yet Christians, or even struggling Christians.

I offer a top ten list of questions we need to be ready to help people answer.

Paul reminds us: because we are made new in Christ

Because we are reconciled through Christ,

We are to be living examples of the body of Christ… Ambassadors for the kingdom.

1 Corinthians 10:1-13 Don’t Fall

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So, if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. [NRSA:1Cor 10:1-13]

The Driest Baptism

Paul makes an interesting edit to the story of the Israelites and interprets God’s people going through the parted waters of the Red Sea as their baptism. It would settle the debate about sprinkling vs immersion in that one need only pass by the waters of baptism to be included. But this is not to the main point of today’s passage.

Baptized but Fallen

Paul’s main point is that even though we are baptized, we also can still forfeit the power and gift of our baptism. Sin continues to be our struggle.

Fallen and Can’t Get Up

  • It now immortal words of confession: “I have fallen, and I can’t get up” are not just for health monitors.
  • We fall for false news and false fact checkers
  • We fall for what is popular and easy
  • We fall in all manors of moral matters.
  • We know the same struggle of Corinth church
  • Bottom line, we fall like everyone else.
  • And the fall wall a Jericho,
  • the fall of David’s Goliath,
  • the fall of the house built upon the sand,
  • the fall of humanity in the garden.

What can we do?

What can we do when we cannot return purity

  • When we leave a trail of consequences
  • When the trust is broken,
  • The walls are crumbled,
  • When the giants fall,
  • When the foundation washes away
  • When sin, selfishness, and evil do not save us….

Before we jump and in taking a stand, remember

Standing is a dangerous place

First, taking a stand is not easy.

Most times unpopular,

Usually demanding,

And always intentional.

Why don’t we admint we fell and lay low and wait for someone else to do the standing?

Or, Where We Once Stood

We think if we can just get back to a safe place in the past…

We hunger for the pandemic to be completely over and desire to get back to the life we had before, but we have given up freedoms, we have placed our trust in corrupt authority, and we have given one another permission to be more distant and divided.

We have lost ground and the new ground on which we stand calls for us to actively become more dependent on God than we were before the pandemic.

The Truth is we are starting anew and can only take our stand in the Savior who can be our eternal foundation!

We find ourselves even more dependent on Christ because we have even more reasons to be the disciple-makers, peacemakers, and witnesses in our lifetimes.

  • Rather than looking for our hope to come in what is popular, easy, we are more like the early church than we dare.
  • Rather than trusting what opinion polls indicate for a given minute.
  • Rather than taking our stand for own self alone, or some cause, we are called to reach out to neighbors and even enemies for Jesus Christ.

Ease of Not Standing

Therefore, we are tempted to not make a stand. We stay in the categories of either falling, sitting, or laying as still. Taking a stand it too dangerous, risky, and makes us far too vulnerable to change our habits and routines.

Contained in this passage is one of the most misused verses. It is usually interpreted as God will not give us more than we can stand when tested when we read that we will “not be tested beyond our strength.”

It is used to blame God for the troubles we endure and with which we wrestle. Instead, it mean that if we are not trusting in Christ, we will fail, we will fall, it is indented to be a word of assurance… so why wait until we are falling or failing to hand the reins over to God?

God promises to come to our aid. We may not find the answers we prayed for, but we can find God working through every situation – often reshaping and making us whole.

Which begs the question for each of us: How strong is our faith?

To which we typically would answer, if pressed or pushed to answer, I don’t want to exactly know the answer. Because I don’t want to be tested.

We think about the servant who feared failure with his talent and chose to not risk it and it was taken away from him.

Would we rather point to sometime in the past where we survived some issue that tempted our tested our faith and we did NOT fall.

When in fact, we need to learn from where we have fallen and see that even in our failures, and see that God continues to love us, call us, and save us.

Finding and Extending Grace

We sing that standard old hymn, “Standing on the Promises”

The hope is that we now will take a stand for the kingdom that cannot fail, and that we will remain firm in trusting God in all things, always.

The first hurdle is to know with more than our head

We know this with our heads, but we are slow to rise, slow to take a stand – to save ourselves from falling.

“If I stay right here, even stagnate, at least I am not falling.

But the truth is like the lepers who know about Jesus and one said to the group, “why do we sit here until we die, let us go and see this Jesus.”

Taking the Stand

So, what does this mean to stand up for Jesus?

It means that if our church is to grow, each of us must take on the task of bringing people into our fellowship and growing our congregation.

The common testimony is our common stand:

There are many causes and issues we might become an advocated, but there is on task that fall to us as a church together, collectively:

  • It means reaching out to people we might not know or be ready to extend
  • It means we lead with grace and forgiveness.
  • It means we reach out to make disciples and share our faith as if we are the only one willing to share.
  • We can’t wait for people to fall into church,
  • We cant’ wait for someone else to do our part, give our gift, teach our lesson, or plant the seeds entrusted to us.

A Challenge for 2022:

  • We have lost members through the pandemic and now it is time to rekindle relationships, make new ones, repair trusts, and mend our fences.
  • We need each member/family/household to bring a new individual or family into the fellowship and life of the church this year.
  • If we do not, we will not be strong enough to weather where God leads us.

We need to be taking part in classes and small groups, it means we need to be adding to Christ’s number daily.

Being a disciple is finding someone to replicate our place so that when we are falling someone can help us stand up again.

  • Taking a stand for Christ is giving witness to the trust we have in our heavenly citizenship, even above all others.
  • Taking a stand is being the voice for those oppressed and unjustly attacked
  • Taking a stand is giving our time, talents, and treasure to the cause of Christ
  • Taking a stand is trying to not fall into the quest for power and meaning offered by society and opinions of the majority, and not lying still avoiding the risk.

Stand Firm under the Wings of Christ

Philippians 3:17-4:1
Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. [NRSA]

Luke 13:31-35
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.‘” [NRSA]

  1. Jesus laments that he wished that he could protect Jerusalem like a mother hen.


  • Long before Yeti coolers we had great grandma Brantley’s quilt.
  • Long before people paid for weighted blanks there was great grandma Brantley’s quilt
  • Long before there were bullet proof jackets,, there was great grandma Brantley’s quilt

But a quilt won’t save us.

 so often pray for protection but it’s more helpful to ask Jesus to be with us. Jesus has not come to make life easy, he came to make eternal life accessible.

We ask for protection for Ukraine. Taiwan and the world to keep us from crossing into wars that engulf us all.

Instead of waving a wand of magic protection, Jesus promises to go with us, into the midst of war, seeking peace.

  • Jesus looks over Jerusalem and is disappointed.

Jesus stands with us even when disappointed

  • Frances with a hand gesture of disappointment instead of anger or blame.
  • Jesus is disappointed that the People of God have allowed leaders to lead them astray, where prophets are killed and those who speak truth are stoned.
  • How often I have wanted to be your mother hen, and God allows us to be unfaithful, unwilling, unavailable.

3. Disappointed but Determined and Diligent

Jesus hears those who warm and caution him to lay low, keep out of the spotlight, save yourself.

  • Jesus’s witness is to continue teaching, healing, and calling for faithfulness
  • Living into the prophetic messiah of being determined to enter Jerusalem,
  • With purpose, choice, determination, and deliberation Jesus moves closer to the cross

Following Jesus will require purposeful and intentional choices that lead us to Jesus

The charge is that the Holy City kills the prophets.

  • Means that becoming prophet is dangerous
  • Means only the faithful are prophets
  • Means It is easier to kill the messenger when we don’t like the message

4. Recognizing Jesus before its too late….

  • Those who lives as enemies of the cross, living only to satisfy hunger, seek glory and power, and set on earthly things.
  • Reminder that we have a heavenly passport…. Commercial asking will you at the end of your life wish you had bought newer technology, a bigger house, or rather where you traveled? What you experienced?

Paul invites future transformation… of our body, power, and heavenly ‘things.

4. Stand firm in Christ.

As we have discussed previously, standing firm “in” Christ, is residing in Christ’s righteousness

In what christ determines is right, just, good, and faithful

It is not standing firm in what we believe but stand firm in Christ.

Romans 10:2-17 MARCH 6, 2022  One in Christ?

I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or “Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.[ NRSA: Romans 10:2-17]

First: Hear the Good News Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, including you and me, and through resurrection, opens eternity to all who believe, for all who confess with their lips, or confirm in their mind.

The passage begins we are all musketeers, “All for One and One for All.”

I’m in Christ > You’re in Christ = We are both in Christ

Just like the Gieco insurance commercial say, “Everyone knows that.”

So, Paul speaks of the joy of sharing the Good News. “ How beautiful are the feet” of the one who brings Good News. Instead of being known as Christians, “I wonder why we are not known as the people with beautiful feet?”

We will have a foot washing service on Maunday Thursday this year and many will avoid this intimate reception of love and service because we think our feet are not beautiful.

Paul gives us a new way to look at feet… those who bring the good news are no longer worried about what the feet look like…. We bring prize of salvation when we share Christ with others and one another.

Paul has a more important than our feet

But there is more than hearing the Good News.

There is hearing and believing the Good News

But there is more than believing

There is hearing, believing, and living in the Good News of Jesus.

Jesus gives witness, instruction, teaching, and even commandments to follow.

We will hear people who proclaim Jesus’s inclusive love without also following the right-living, the righteousness, that Jesus calling us into.

Love without transformation of who we were, means that we didn’t need Jesus in the first place. I know I need to be transformed daily!


Paul’s is reminding us that it is beautiful to know about Jesus, to talk about Jesus, to sing and praise Jesus, but our relationship with Jesus must reflect Jesus and the righteousness of Jesus.

Paul is calling us to obey the good news.

Paul’s lesson to the church at Rome holds the two ends of this rope together.

One end is believing in Christ

The other is believing Christ desire to shape us into kingdom people through faith.

Paul cautions, and says, “We might think we are in Christ, but we might just be stuck at the start of a relationship that is not growing and maturing.

When a couple marries they pledge their faithfulness to God and one another and the words are lovely and true, but have not been tested.

The subsequent relationship has been established in a covenant, but without the following relationship there is no growth, no maturity, no fulfilment of the promised words.

So it is the profession of our faith in Christ, we activate Christ’s invitation when our mind accepts and/or our lips and words confess, but the nature of being in Christ demands our response to have been welcomed in relationship…

Our theological neighbors might lay a heavy hand of guilt to to make sure that every person has uttered the sinner’s prayers and quote, accepted Jesus Christ as their lord and Savior.” Even if they have spent the rest of their days in questionable choices pretending to be TO BE “IN” CHRIST. 

As Wesley would remind us we can forfeit our salvation. Our belief is the beginning of our journey and the growth of our relationship, is our sanctification. What Paul is referring to our hearing and obeying the word.

In the older baptism liturgy used the word, ‘Expiation.’ As a kid I had no idea, not until Mrs Smith, our 5th grade SS teacher, opened the Websters dictionary with us do we learn this word means Atonement… Our recognition that we are broken, sinful, incomplete, and without Christ who transforms us by love, through faith do we ‘become’ the believers we profess.

It means that we also believe

·      Believe Jesus is the one who makes me whole. Implies that I am incomplete without Jesus.

·      Believe Jesus is my salvation implies I acknowledge I am lost without Jesus.

·      Actitation by words, mouth, mind…


This is why we come to the this holy table. For God so loves us, even when we are broken sinful and longs for use to become the people he died and rose to be.