Ambassadors of the Good News Mystery
Ephesians 6:10-20 Nov.19/06
- "Must be Jesus' grandmother"
- A little boy came home from Sunday School and told his family that the Sunday School
teacher must be Jesus' grandmother. What made him think that, they wondered. He
explained she had to be Jesus' grandmother because she spent a whole hour just talking
about how wonderful He was and showing them a lot of pictures of Him!
- She wasn't His grandmother, but was definitely being an 'ambassador' - like He
calls each one of us to be!
- Ambassadors: Sent to Represent
- Governors General on a Mission
- Clarkson / Jean: different styles, same intent
- NDP MP (critical in past) GG undertakes "state visits on behalf of
Canada"; Harper - official purpose of the trip is to "reinforce the image
and understanding of Canada abroad"; CUSO exec director - there is a
'strong symbolic value' in Canada's GG visiting Africa
- Gary Cobb asked ambassador their role: "My job is to make friends in a
- Eph 6:19-20: declaring / making known a message
- "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so
that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an
ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."
- 2Cor 5:20: making appeal, imploring
- "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal
through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."
- Ac 26:17: sent to spark a revolution and reception
- "I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to
light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness
of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'"
- What's This Mystery?
- The 'Mystery' of Cody's Magic Trick
- made a paper ball disappear; when repeated, secret revealed
- Col 1:27 "...God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of
this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
- Col 2:2-3: full of hidden treasures (as gift to be unwrapped at appropriate time)
- "My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that
they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may
know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge."
- Col 4:3: to be proclaimed / broadcast
- "And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we
may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains."
- What, then, does our role as Christ's Ambassadors involve? (P's)
- The Ambassador's PERSPECTIVE
- requires an ability to see the invisible, ie supernatural spiritual contest taking place
- V12: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the
spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
- What did Jesus see when He looked at people? Their heart-needs and eternal
- Mt 9:36 "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them,
because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
- Lk 19:41-42 "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept
over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what
would bring you peace-- but now it is hidden from your eyes." Those
who were lost and rejected Him didn't grasp the significance of what
was happening before their very eyes.
- What's really going on 'behind the scenes': 2Cor 4:4 "The god of this age has
blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel
of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." Note the importance of
prayer: we can't come to faith on our own, we need God's enlightenment,
removing the veil.
- People won't be motivated to be Christ's witnesses until we see the gravity of
the situation - and our responsibility
- Ron Hutchcraft's wife walking by ocean one evening heard woman cry
for help: realized if went for a lifeguard, would be too late. "There are
few things as scarey as the ocean at night. But what was worse was
listening to that woman cry for help, and knowing she might drown if I
- everyone has some stretch of beach assigned to them by Jesus!
- The Ambassador's POWER
- authorized to act on behalf of the state that sent him/her: grant refuge, enact trade deals,
- V10: our strength must come from God, not our own wisdom or abilities
- "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power."
- Resurrection-power: Proof - Rom 1:4
- Jesus "...through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of
God by his resurrection from the dead..."
- Early church learned to tap into God's power for witnessing: Acts 4:28-30
- "They [Herod, Pilate, Jewish leaders] did what your power and will had decided
beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your
servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal
and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy
servant Jesus."" ...and meeting place was shaken
- power not our own, not Superman: story about Muhammad Ali (heavyweight boxer not
know for his humility): turbulence, stewardess told to buckle up; "Superman doesn't
need a seat belt." Reply: "Superman doesn't need an airplane - do up your seat belt!"
He did. / We are not Superman, need God's strength.
- The Ambassador's PERMANENCE
- Vv 13-14: stand your ground, anchored in God's truth
- "...so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your
ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then,
with the belt of truth buckled around your waist..."
- Apostles were eyewitnesses of Jesus' life, death, resurrection, so certain as to
die rather than lie
- Paul: 1Cor.15:3-4 "For what I received I passed on to you as of first
importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the
- John: 1Jn 5:6-8,11-13 [water=baptism, blood=certain death] "This is the
one who came by water and blood-- Jesus Christ. He did not come by
water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies,
because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit,
the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement." "And this is the
testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He
who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not
have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son
of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."
- The Ambassador's PROTECTION
- Vv 11,13 "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the
devil's schemes." "Therefore put on the full armor of God..."
- Roman outfit Paul familiar with because closely guarded: Belt, breastplate,
iron-toed shoes, 4.5 foot shield, helmet. Gk 'PANOPLY' = full kit: eg Brenda
timing David putting on Firefighter's gear in living-room
- Need Protection because Precarious / Peculiar: stick out like a sore thumb
- if we just 'blend in' with those who aren't centred on Jesus, something's
drastically wrong: SHOULD stand out like a lightning rod
- asking for attack: v16 "all the flaming arrows of the evil one"
- Christ's cross makes enemies of those who are this-world centred: Php 3:19-20
"Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach [what else is there to
live for but one's appetites?], and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on
earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior
from there, the Lord Jesus Christ..."
- Bill Howson's experience of Billy Graham crusade years ago at Maple
Leaf Gardens: light bulb exploded overhead, Billy dove for cover -
explained that is trained to because of danger: target
- The Ambassador's PRAYER (hotline to home)
- essential for embassies to remain in close communication with home country; may be
recalled, given new direction
- former GovGen Adrienne Clarkson, defending her expensive trip: "the Governor
General never travels except under advice from the government"
- Vv 18-20: "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and
requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray
also for me...Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."
- Col 4:2-3 "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us,
too, that God may open a door for our message..."
- The Ambassador's PRESENTATION
- job is to build relationships and speak for home country in language others will
- Vv15,19-20: "and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the
gospel of peace.... that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so
that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel...Pray that I may
declare it fearlessly, as I should."
- some translation required: visiting Darcie's health / epidemiology workplace:
'Solange' from Rwanda 'uhuh' but understood little until started speaking
- Col 4:5-6: start where the person is at; discern the opportunity, rather than
coming on like a Mack truck.
- "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every
opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned
with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."
- Ron Hutchcraft, "Every Believer a Rescuer"
- It has to be 'show and tell': Mt 5:16 "...let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
- Love them in their language: Ask yourself, "What need does this person
have in their life that would be a language in which they could
experience God's love?"
- Show them a difference they will notice: eg relinquishing overstuffed
chair; doctors offering free health clinic in US for those without health
- Tell your person hope-story: Jn 9:25 Blind man
- "He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One
thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"" Nobody can argue
with your personal hope-story.
- Complete the sentence: "If it weren't for Jesus..."
- Pray the 3-open prayer: "Lord, open a door...Lord, open their
heart...Lord, open my mouth."
- More Memorable than the Presidency
- Ronald Reagan, Alzheimers 10 yrs
- forgot - movie star; governor; president; but until right before the end, knew
what picture of river represented - place where he was a lifeguard and saved 77