February 25, 2015
This world is very familiar to us with all of its hills, streams, forests, deserts, and more. Though we are familiar with it, for a Christian this world isn’t really our home. Heaven is the eternal home of a Christian and that is where our true home is now. Most people think Heaven is just an extension of this world because we haven’t seen the pearly gates, golden streets, or the precious gems that make up the walls of the New Jerusalem, nor have we stood before the throne of God and felt the pure love that flows from Him. The truth is, our home in Heaven will be very different than anything we can comprehend. The sun and the moon light up our world, but in Heaven, Jesus is the light. On earth we are always at war with our sin nature, but in Heaven that war will be over. In Heaven, everyone will love our Lord, but that’s not the case in this life. As we approach the end of days, men’s hearts grow colder. People seem to be angry for no reason and heinous murders happen daily. Following Jesus also has its risks, such as losing friends or sometimes being imprisoned. Christians must remember that our eternal home is in Heaven. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” Philippians 3:20. According to Vines Expository Dictionary, the word “conversation” signifies “the condition, or life, of a citizen, citizenship… it’s the heavenly status of believers”. Though we haven’t seen the wonders of our Heavenly home, that is where our true residence is and we are ambassadors for Christ.
An ambassador is a person who represents the interests of another. As Christians we represent Christ here on earth and like any good ambassador we need to represent our true place of residence properly…we need to represent Christ properly. God made it easy for us to know how we should represent Him by giving us the Holy Bible. From Scripture we know we aren’t to have any god before God Almighty, we aren’t to murder people, we are to honor our father and mother, and so on. The Ten Commandments teach us these things, but what about other ways we behave? We can always turn to Scripture for guidance, but many Christians seem to ignore God’s word. By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote to Titus “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.” Titus 2:2. That doesn’t seem too difficult. The word “aged” comes from the Greek word presbytēs which means aged, but also means ambassador. You don’t have to be an aged man to be an ambassador for Him, but you do need to turn from wild ways. Men, teach your sons to honor God.
Women also have a responsibility to behave in a Christ-honoring manner. “The aged woman likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5. It’s a great responsibility for a woman to honor God in this way. I know women who fit this description and they are a blessing to everyone around them. Young Christian women need to look to older Christian women for an example of how to serve Christ. It doesn’t seem as if it would be necessary to teach a woman to love her husband and children, but as we see the divorce rate and the number of abused children increasing we know there are many women who need to learn to love. The older Christian woman you turn to could be your mother, grandmother, or a friend, but if she is living a godly life then you need to learn from her.
Paul didn’t leave out advice to young men. Many people may wink and chuckle at the sinful escapades of a young man. “Sowing his wild oats”, they quip. No matter how old you are you cannot be an ambassador for Christ if you live opposed to His teachings, and sowing wild oats isn’t Christ-like behavior. “Young men, likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Titus 2:6-8.It isn’t easy to stand against peer pressure, but if you learn to obey Christ in all things when you’re young, then God will be honored throughout your life. You cannot be a good ambassador for God if you dishonor Him.
What about servants? “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” Titus 2:9-10. When we hear of servants and masters we think of slavery. Today slavery isn’t an issue like it was in Biblical times, but do you work for someone? If you do then you need to realize that you have an obligation to your employer. You need to work the full number of hours you are paid to work, otherwise you’re purloining (stealing) from your employer. Your employer may be difficult to work for, but don’t talk back. Show God’s love, grace, and mercy in all you do and you will show Christ living through you. You will be a good ambassador if you follow Scripture.
Christians are residents of Heaven. Even as we live our life on earth day by day our true home is in Heaven. “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:11-12. Peter tells his readers that they are strangers and pilgrims, which metaphorically talks of Christians who are passing through this life and heading to our home in Heaven. We will face many temptations of the flesh that are stumbling blocks along our way, but Peter urges us to abstain from lusts of the flesh. Any pleasure that may be derived from them is temporary and will only cause grief. Your “conversation”, in other words your way of life, should always honor God. People around you are watching you to see if you will give in to sin, but if you stand firm in godly ways then you are acting as a good ambassador for Christ. If you feel yourself slipping into temptation, talk to a mature Christian. We need to encourage our brothers and sisters to walk close to our Lord as we journey through this life. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;” Ephesians 2:19-20. Christians need to walk together on our journey to our home in Heaven. We may be strangers to people who don’t know Christ, but all Christians are of God’s household. We need to help each other to follow that narrow path and honor God.
Study God’s word. Too many who claim to be Christians have no idea how to live a Christian life because they don’t study. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.“2 Timothy 2:15. It’s easy to get off of the narrow road if you don’t keep God’s word fresh in your heart and mind. Reading God’s word is good, but if you study it you will understand so much more about how to be a good ambassador. It will be a part of you and when temptation comes along you can lean on Scripture to keep you from sin. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” 1 Peter 3:15-16. You can’t be a good ambassador if you live like worldly people and you can’t give a good answer to someone if you haven’t studied your Bible. You need to have proper answers to questions that the people around you might ask. Fear will keep you silent and lack of knowledge will keep you fearful.
We all know people who are bold in their witness for Christ and the Apostle Paul was one who never seemed to lack boldness, but even he felt the need to ask for prayer. “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, and to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:19-20. Paul wrote these words while in prison, and as Christianity becomes illegal in more places we may also become ambassadors in bonds . As Christians we need to pray for boldness as we share the Gospel and we need to pray for our brothers and sisters who are also passing through this world. Always remember that we, like Paul, are ambassadors representing God in a hostile land.
Paul knew all too well that following Christ carried risks. At first he persecuted Christians with a vengeance, but once he met Jesus he dedicated his life to Christ’s service; he became an ambassador for Christ. Because of his faith he spent time in prison and suffered beatings but never compromised his service to our Lord. He knew what it meant to be an ambassador of Christ in this life and the risks involved. He also knew that the rewards of service were worth any discomfort he faced. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20. All Christians are ambassadors representing our Lord in this hostile world. If you live in a culture that is hostile towards Christians, you may not be able to speak boldly about Christ, but you can live your life so others will see Christ living through you.
There are many people who need to hear the Gospel. As God’s ambassadors we need to spread the Good News.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.