Why Missions?

by Andy Huddleston and Angela Lathrom

Posted on December 16, 2023 (pdf version)

Step 1: Listen to the Podcast

Step 2: Read the Devotional

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself,  not counting their trespasses against them, and He has [j]committed to us the word of reconciliation. 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 Corinthians 5:18-20

An ambassador is commissioned by the leader of a country or organization to go represent its core values to people foreign to its mission. Historically, an ambassador was commissioned to safe-guard and speak for the interests of his homeland to foreign nations. Goodwill ambassadors have evolved to carry the message of a social or charitable organization to the public. Most recently, the job title of “brand ambassador” has arisen to describe a person who publicly promotes a brand or product. In any case a qualified Ambassador will be committed to the message and priorities of the entity he represents.

An ambassador’s authority rests squarely in the dignity and validity of the empire that sent him. Ever aware that his reputation reflects on his commissioner, he will necessarily uphold the highest standard of actions. An ambassador will learn the language, or lingo, of the land to which he is taking the message. He will be willing to give up the comforts and familiarity of his homeland and be willing to sometimes go into hostile territory. He will represent the sending entity’s interests, and never his own. Speaking the message boldly. he will become the mouthpiece of his ruler. The clarity of the ambassador’s message is crucial.

In the case of Christians, we are all ambassadors. 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us that “…we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” Like any ambassador, we are carrying the message of the Commissioner of our post. The core message we carry to the world is that of the one true Lord and God of the universe. In a word, that message is “Reconciliation.”

Reconciliation means “to bring back to a former state of harmony.” Humanity was once in harmony with our Creator. Reconciliation gives us hope that that harmonious, tranquil unity that we formerly had with the King of the universe can once again be our norm. “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:10 NASB) We no longer have to carry an inherited enmity with God and with one another.

To have the ministry of reconciliation means we carry the highest, most esteemed message that can be carried. We are carrying the scandalous message that Jesus, through His sinless life, unjust death, and glorious resurrection, made a way for the citizens of this world to be reconciled to their estranged Ruler, the King of the Universe. We are making an appeal for them to accept this divine peace offering and join the citizenry of Glory.

Pastor and author, John MacArthur, beautifully summed up the ministry of reconciliation: “That is the gospel. That is the good news. It is possible for sinners to be reconciled to God. And it is our calling to preach that reconciliation. It is then the greatest work in the world, for it deals with the greatest issue in the world. It is the greatest calling, it is the greatest privilege to be given the responsibility to preach the message of reconciliation. That’s what we live for. That’s what we die for, that’s what we preach for, that’s what we serve for, that’s what we nurture the saints for, in order that in the end the message of reconciliation might effectively reach sinners……” In our commission God gave us the ministry of reconciliation – that is every believer, giving to others what they have received. The commission took place in the decision of salvation. Believers join our Go-Team as a part of their assignment.

One of the first things that we must be able to explain to a potential member of our Go-Team is the reason we are doing what we’re doing. We must be able to articulate our purpose in order for the potential supporter to get on board and want to be a part of our team. We must be able to convey the gravity and message of our ambassadorship. We, having been found, are going out to carry that sweet message of reconciliation to those souls who are still lost. By definition we will be in foreign territory, among people who are not like us and who do not share our core values. There is challenge inherent in that. It can be lonely. It can be costly. It can be dangerous. That is why it is so essential to have a home-based Go-Team that has our backs. Fellow citizens who are proverbially “holding the rope”. When we tell potential team members of our commission, of our mission, we must communicate the risk and cost, and the critical need for a team. When potential Go-Team members hear our clear message, see our commitment, feel our zeal, and understand our needs, they are likely to sign on as a part of our Go-Team.

As humans, though God’s chosen ambassadors, we will be imperfect representatives. When we live rightly, and preach rightly, we bring the message of reconciliation to the lost. When we mess up, we seek forgiveness and are, as a result, a living example of reconciliation. We can offer the hopeful reminder that “…in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them….” (2 Corinthians 5:19) In other words, in our successes we proclaim that message; in our failures we demonstrate it. And through that process we capitalize on the precious side-effect of being at peace and in harmony with other believers. … We are the peacemakers, the true sons of God (Matthew 5:9).

Step 3: Pray and Reflect

Now, how about you?

  1. In what way do you view the church as part of your mission field?
  2. What misconceptions might members of your Go-Team need to overcome?
  3. Craft a specific response that you can use to correct at least one of these misconceptions.Commit to speaking truth boldly to fellow Christians so that more of the Lost can hear the Gospel and be discipled into full maturity in Christ.

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