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The individuals that I will speak about today are considered agents, deputies, envoys, and ministers. Their official definition is the following: An accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country.

We call them Ambassadors.

These individuals are placed in foreign countries because relationships between countries can depend on the ability for one country to be in communication with the other, or at least with a person who is fully authorized to represent his government. And that is why many nations have embassies in foreign countries.

Therefore at the embassy of a foreign country, there usually exists at least one person who is titled as an ambassador, and stands as a representative of his or her country. Should problems or concerns arise between the two countries, the ambassador acts on behalf of his or her government, and meets with heads of state to try to resolve the problems and make clear his or her country’s position (or stance) on a particular issue.

As representative of another country, one of the ambassador’s main goals is to promote diplomatic relationships between the two countries. Even though this diplomat is authorized to act for their country and may have full powers to do so, they are instructed by their head of state as to what terms or deals will be acceptable, and still needs to seek approval from his or her head of state before any deals between countries are finalized.

This is a very interesting position. I have always wanted to know what those people do. They seem so important and valuable assets to their home countries, operating in their own little country on foreign soil.

There are many elected and non-elected positions in the government that have a shadow of mystery and intrigue about them, but this one, in my opinion, is the most interesting and special.

Why is it special? Well, just imagine for a moment that you are the ambassador of Canada. And you are called to serve your country by moving all your belongings and family to Panama. Now to every Panamanian Province, to every Panamanian city, to every Panamanian citizen, you are Canada. You represent and exemplify Canada’s values, manners, culture, conduct, opinions, laws, and freedoms. You literally have the weight of a country on your shoulders. Your fellow citizens are depending on you to represent them well. The hopes of a nation, the desire not to fail them and make them proud are always present. They are depending on you to give them a good name while in the Republic of Panama. What an amazing honor to be placed or bestowed upon someone — you can imagine the mixed feelings of pride and pressure.

Well just the other month I got an up close impression of what that pride and pressure looked like. The directors at my workplace escorted the Ambassador of Canada stationed in Panama through the center. It just so happened on that day I was wearing a T-shirt that said Canada on it. The ambassador took notice of my shirt, stopped, and chatted with me for a moment. She asked me what my name was, and what province and city I was from in Canada. She welcomed me to Panama, while letting me know if I had any questions or inquiries — the embassy was there as a support.

I studied her carefully, her mannerisms, her vocabulary, her posture, her meekness, her attire. She was the official flag bearer for Canada, so I needed to see that professionalism in her. On every other day my co-workers may see me as Mr. Canada, but I am not the gold standard: she is and she is getting paid to be it. And thankfully, she didn’t disappoint.

Unfortunately, my study of her was not extensive, as she couldn’t stay with me for too long, but I was able to read some of her statements and thoughts via an email which was sent to all of the employees. From what I read she seemed to be a very intelligent — and she possessed a high level of knowledge concerning the relations between Canada and Panama. Through her words (both verbally and written) I got the impression that she was very patriotic.

But

what I found most impressive is that she never used the words ‘in my opinion’ or ‘I believe’ or ‘I think’. It was always ‘Canada believes’ or it was ‘it is Canada’s position that’, and this is where we find the most important qualities of an ambassador.

Ambassadors never speak in the personal form: it doesn’t matter what they believe, think, or feel, it only matters what the country in which they are representing stands for and affirms. And it’s interesting to note then that the effectiveness of the ambassador depends on how much they have absorbed of their countries ideology, how much they have been persuaded by and accepted their countries interests, and how capable they are in verbalizing or confessing their country’s constitution.This is an interesting subject where politics are concerned as I have outlined so far, but it is even more interesting from a Biblical perspective.

Biblical Ambassadors

The word Ambassador(s) is mentioned 12 times in the Bible. The various Hebrew and Greek words translating it in the KJV, usually mean an envoy, or a messenger.

We do not encounter the word Ambassadors in the Bible until Joshua chapter 9, but the idea of what an Ambassador represents and what his duties are supposed to be, we see very early in the Bible.

“And God saith, `Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, and let them rule over fish of the sea, and over fowl of the heavens, and over cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that is creeping on the earth’ ” (Gen 1:26).

Take special notice of the phrase ‘and let them have dominion’ then further along ‘over all the earth’.

We have our Heavenly Father operating and ruling in the heavenly realm — the celestial world. And here in this verse, he is giving mankind the earth and everything in it. However, not too get things confused here: the Lord as we know is the ultimate ruler of both the heavens and the earth since he is the creator.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psa 24:1).

But we couple this verse with:

“The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men” (Psa 115:16).

So there’s our Bible cross reference to what we read in Genesis. Now what does all this mean? What is the purpose of these verses with the regards to the exhortation today?

It’s simple. Adam was the first ambassador to the world. Adam was given a domain, a country (which was earth), and his embassy was the Garden of Eden. He reported to a higher authority, his president was the Almighty God. God basically said my will is being accomplished in the heavens; now make the same happen in the earth.

Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10) … or another verse … “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord” (Num 14:21). That mandate existed from the very foundation of the world. That mandate was supposed to be accomplished through Adam.

He was the first ambassador commissioned from Heaven to serve on the earth. He was given a law, he was given a commandment, and he was given a constitution. Adam needed to have a thorough understanding of this constitution, while always being ready to vocalize, teach, and implement it where necessary.

Remember what I said earlier about why Ambassadors exist: it is because relationships between two countries can depend on the ability for one country to be in communication with the other, or at least with a person who is fully authorized to represent his government. Adam was given the authorization to represent the heaven on earth. But how did he do?

Well, one of the main roles of an Ambassador is to make clear his or her country’s position (or stance) on issues which arise. Adam encountered an issue, which desperately needed the skills of an ambassador.

There was a conflict, another country, a foreign interest entered into his embassy and promoted a change of values, norms, and beliefs. In analyzing what happened in the Garden of Eden, we can now come to the conclusion that one of the most important functions of an ambassador went missing.

Adam didn’t speak. He went from being the spokesperson, to being the listener. He went from being the captain, to being the apprentice. Review Gen 3:1-7: this was the pinnacle of the crisis, and we don’t hear from the Ambassador. He failed to represent his heavenly government. He failed to declare the Spirit word — his constitution.

The perfect Ambassador

Because of this failure mankind became prone to accept and believe the alternative, the alternative opinion, interest, and position of the world, resulting in death. It wasn’t until around 4000 years later when the perfect Ambassador would arrive to correct the situation.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16).

The will of God had never changed; God was determined to make it happen

“thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:19). “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord” (Num 14:21).  

All others failed to represent the kingdom of heaven here on earth to perfection. Therefore a Saviour was needed to reconcile the two worlds, and to reconcile us again to the Father.

It was only fitting then, for Jesus to be presented with the same conflict as Adam. In order to correct a horrible mistake, it makes sense to address the source of the problem. All conflicts, temptations, and sins of this world can be placed in one of the three categories which we know from the Garden of Eden — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (mentioned again for us in 1John 2:16 ) .

Let’s turn to Matthew 4, to see how Jesus — the perfect Ambassador — was able to resolve the conflict. The story between verses 1 — 11 reveal the skill set of a perfect ambassador. I mentioned earlier that the effectiveness of an ambassador depends on how much they have bought in to their countries ideology … how much they have accepted their countries interests, and how capable they are in verbalizing their country’s constitution.

Keep your finger in Mathew chapter 4, but with the other hand turn to John 5. It’s important to fully understand why Jesus answered the way he did during the temptations. There can be no doubt that he was completing his role as the perfect Ambassador — which eventually led to him to be the perfect Savior for mankind. It is clear that there is our ideal model of an Ambassador.

Matthew 4 (among other places in the Bible) shows us these thoughts in action.

The first temptation in verse 3 … lust of flesh

. The tempter appeals to Jesus directly, “if thou be the Son of God …”, but Jesus changes the direction of the appeal, and answers according to his constitution (the Scriptures).

The second temptation in verse 6 is the pride of life

Again the tempter directs his appeal to Jesus, “If thou be the Son”, and once again Jesus changes the direction of the appeal (as if to say … don’t ask me … ask the Bible), and answered according to his constitution.

The third temptation in verse 8 is the lust of the eyes.

The result is no different from the first two. There’s a direct appeal and Jesus changes the direction, and answers according to his constitution.

Our Lord, Jesus Christ was able to answer in this manner throughout his whole life. Even with his life on the line … and a full understanding that a painful death was approaching he said, “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Through those words, the great Ambassador also became the great reconciler. Through his blood on the cross, he has provided a way of reconciliation to the Heavenly Father.

Our response

So what does that mean for those who are baptized here, who have accepted the message of reconciliation? What does that mean for those who are thinking about accepting the message of salvation, the message of reconciliation?

In 2Cor 5, Paul is basically saying here that the love of Christ has constrained him and his fellow believers, which means the love of Christ was so profound that he feels compelled, trapped even, and has no other choice but to live only for Jesus. Jesus, being a perfect man, died for sinners. Through the righteousness of God, in completing his promise to send a savior — to save us from our sins and not count our sins against us — Paul says he has received a precious gift. And that gift is called the word of reconciliation.

With this message, this word of reconciliation, Paul says he is an Ambassador for Christ. He is an Ambassador to everything that Christ represents, determined to follow his commandments, and determined to walk, live and breathe Christ, by forgetting everything that he left behind. As an Ambassador for Christ, he will speak his God’s constitution, the same constitution that Christ spoke, and share that message to all who has ears to hear.

We here in this room, and the rest of those who believe and understand the truth of the Gospel, have also received this special gift. Jesus received the message from his Father, Paul received the message from Jesus, and we have received the message through the Spirit Word written by the apostles of Christ.

“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (2Cor 6:1).

Part of that instruction is to take up the cross and follow him, and another part is to look at yourself in the mirror every morning and say “I am an Ambassador for Christ as well”.

Let us also consider Heb 11, the “faith” chapter. Being Ambassadors of Christ “we look for that city which hath foundations”, meaning we receive it, we accept it. Again, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Heb 11:13). They were persuaded, they embraced them, and most importantly they confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. These people of faith were excellent ambassadors. You see, that confession happens in our life when our embassy is invaded, and we are questioned about our values, our norms, our opinions, and our beliefs.

In those situations we will do well to remember our God-given constitution, follow the example of our Lord, and represent our heavenly country.

Ian Neblett (Colon, Panama)

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