Ambassadorship and Spiritual Health

I have written many posts on other blogs about the fact that we are not intended to get entwined in the world’s affairs. Rather, our mission is to represent the King to those people in the world who are not yet reconciled to Him. As Paul described it, we are Ambassadors.

But, since most of us have never served as Ambassadors in any other setting, we don’t always know what that means. What exactly is an Ambassador, and how does that relate to discipleship and the essentials of spiritual health?

In Matthew 28 Jesus gave what has come to be known as “The Great Commission”: “Having gone out, you (plural) disciple all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to keep all that I have commanded you.” The Greek text actually uses the verb “disciple”, though we usually translate it “make disciples” because it sounds better to our ears.

Jesus commanded us to disciple all nations (people). He even told us how: baptizing them (in the early church, this was done at conversion and represented the old person dying and the new follower of the King coming to life) and continually teaching them. In other words, discipling entailed BOTH bringing someone into the Kingdom and teaching them Jesus’ commands from that time on. In today’s terms, to disciple includes both evangelism and mentoring.

This is why sharing our faith is one of the essentials of spiritual health. It isn’t optional. It isn’t what some specially gifted people do. It is essential to the spiritual health of all disciples—all who claim to serve the King.

As Jesus’ Ambassadors, our mission is to share our faith with those who aren’t reconciled to Him. We are to be witnesses of His grace and forgiveness, allowing others to see what Jesus has done in our lives as an illustration of what He can and will do in theirs if they respond to the gospel.

Sharing our faith isn’t a program. It isn’t a rehearsed sales pitch. It is our testimony—a description of our experience with the grace of God–accompanied by an explanation of how the listener can respond to Jesus.

Why then are so many who claim the name of Jesus so befuddled by this?

I suspect there are several reasons:

–They are afraid. They are under the false impression that they are responsible for the other’s response to their testimony. In reality, we are only responsible to give our testimony—not to make someone believe it.

They are ignorant. Unable to answer all the questions another might ask in response to their testimony, they simply decide not to talk about it. This way they aren’t put on the spot. The problem is, they are in essence saying “I’m not sure I can fulfill my mission perfectly, so I won’t even try.” This is disobedience to the King and not an option for any who follow Him. The good news is, we aren’t called to know everything. “I don’t know” is a great response when asked a question to which we don’t know the answer! Even better is, “I don’t know, but I will find out and get back to you.” This doesn’t diminish our credibility—it increases it since no one believes we know everything anyway!

They don’t know their testimony. This can be for two reasons: 1) they are under the false impression that a “testimony” has to be dramatic and fit a certain mold. This is true for many who come to the Lord without a dramatic conversion, or 2) they don’t have a testimony. This happens when people who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord think, for various reasons, that they are Christian (I “go to church”, my parents are Christian, I am American…). This is very common and highlights the reality of what Jesus referred to as the sheep and the goats in the Church.

In the early days of the Church, sharing faith was natural. There were no programs or brochures or tracts. Most didn’t need to be told this was important, because we talk about what is important in our lives, and becoming part of the Kingdom of God is about as important as it gets!

Maybe that is the answer for the Church today. We need to focus more on our relationship with Jesus and less on programs. We need to encourage our people to simply share what God is doing in their lives. We need to ensure that our people understand the basic facts of the gospel so that they are able, as Peter says, to give an account of the hope that they have. As we do this we find ourselves growing in ways that simply won’t happen when we hold on to the gospel as though it is private and personal.

Spiritually healthy people share their faith with others. If this doesn’t describe you, contact your church leadership and ask for their help, or contact us at www.essentialfaithproject.org!

Know Jesus and be Faithful.

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