What does an ambassador do? When we’re called to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), what does that mean?

The first thing to note is what ambassadors do in their own context. Ambassadors have unique roles because their governments employ them not to create content but simply to be a mouthpiece and a representative in a foreign land. National leaders hire them to embody government ideals and communicate clearly about the agenda of their nations.

Ambassadors for Christ aren’t tremendously different, other than the fact that they specifically represent Christ the King. Our goal is to represent Jesus well and clearly communicate the good news to those who are not part of the kingdom. Ambassadors for Christ are not responsible to create content or to be clever, but instead to focus on faithfully delivering the message they have received.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:1–8, Paul gives us four guiding principles for ambassadors of Christ:

  1. Confidence in God gives us boldness in proclamation (2:1,2). Because we trust that God is actively at work as we deliver the message, we can freely share, even in contexts where hostility to the Gospel exists. We can be bold regardless of the environment because we trust in God and not in ourselves.
  2. We are to be marked by truth and integrity (2:3, 5). Paul reminds us that we are to speak truth without trying to flatter or improve upon the message. At times, we can be tempted to try to make the message of the Gospel easier to accept through the way we present it, but we do a disservice to our King in those moments. He has given us the message and our call is to share the news with truth and integrity.
  3. Our desire is to please God and not people (2:4, 6). If our primary concern is how others will perceive us or whether they will accept our message, we have taken our eyes off the King who sent us in the first place. We must remember that our role is to communicate clearly the message we have been given to bring honor and pleasure to the King we represent, not to seek approval from others. We must seek to please God and not men (Acts 5:9).
  4. We are to share our very lives with people, not just the message (2:7,8). Our message of hope and love calls us to not only proclaim the good news, but to give of ourselves for those we’re seeking to reach. That means we will have to make sacrifices for the sake of building relationships to spread the Gospel to those who haven’t heard. We will need to lay down our comforts and conveniences to begin regularly rubbing our shoulders with those who don’t know Christ, all because we’re compelled by the Lord to love them well.

If you’re a follower of Jesus, He has given you the privilege of being an ambassador for Him in this fallen world. Now you represent Christ to everyone with whom you have contact: in your neighborhood, in your workplace, at your gym, and within your hobbies. I pray that we, as ambassadors for Christ, will represent Him well and faithfully proclaim the message that He has delivered to us with boldness and in love.

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Dustin Speaks is Grace’s Mobilization & College Pastor. He and his wife, Lauren, arrived in Columbus in the fall of 2012, after several initial ministry experiences. Dustin previously served as an associate pastor in South Dakota and as a missionary to university students in Berlin, Germany. Dustin studied history at Ohio University, where he met Lauren, and was involved in campus ministry with Cru. After graduation, the Speaks went to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Chicago) to complete a degree in Intercultural Studies. He enjoys playing nearly all ball sports: basketball, golf, and soccer are his favorites. Dustin and Lauren have three young children.