Summary: You can’t truly understand God’s purpose for you and a church unless you understand what it means to be God’s ambassadors. Ambassadors of earthly kingdoms have responsibilities that mirror those of ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, of which every Christian is designed to be. Those responsibilities clue us in to our life purpose.
I’ve got a simple riddle for you. The man below is an American and he doesn’t live in China, but he lives within the borders of China. How can this be?
OK, so it may not be a difficult riddle for you the reader of this post since the answer’s in the title. He’s the United States Ambassador to China.
To continue developing an understanding of God’s Kingdom, we’re going to talk about the concept of being God’s ambassadors. You can’t truly understand God’s purpose for you and a church unless you understand this concept.
Who an ambassador is
An ambassador is a political appointee whose job it is to represent his or her home government before the rulers of other countries. They are sent to a foreign nation to live inside its borders, but not as a part of the foreign territory. They live in what is called an “embassy” in the capital city of that nation.
The thing about an embassy is that even though it’s located in the foreign nation’s capital city, the land on which it sits is considered to be the sovereign territory of the nation whose embassy it is. This is part of the criteria of having the embassy in the host nation; that their sovereignty would be respected by the host nation and all other nations.
You may have seen scenes in movies where people who are being chased by police in a foreign nation are trying to get to their country’s embassy before being caught. This is why. They will be considered as having left the country and will be given protection.
An ambassador’s responsibilities
While the ambassador is appointed to the host nation, they have specific responsibilities to follow as they fulfill their ambassadorial duties. Myles Monroe lays these out for us in his book Rediscovering the Kingdom. They include…
- Maintaining connection and communication with their government
- Understanding the policies of their government
- Carrying out the policies of their government
- Speaking the words of their government
- Being only concerned with the interests of their government
Because these are their responsibilities, being in the presence of an ambassador is equated to being in the presence of their nation itself. The words of an ambassador are equated with the words of the government they represent. With so much at stake, you can see why being perfectly aligned with the home government is so important.
If the ambassador isn’t, they may communicate something that isn’t truly the words or policies of their government. This creates misconceptions and can lead to all sorts of diplomatic problems.
One thing you’ll notice is a common thread throughout these responsibilities…
Good ambassadors are never concerned with their own personal interests or opinions. Their only concern is aligning with their government’s will and influencing the host nation for their home government.
Because they have completely lost themselves in their position and have vowed to simply be a vessel through which their government flows, their government takes care of them by offering them total protection and access to their government’s resources.
As you might guess, if the ambassador DOES decide to look out for their own personal interests or opinions rather than their home government’s, they’ll get relieved of their duties, lose connection with the government and forfeit the government’s protection and resources. Their position is only as viable as their relationship with their government is.
How ambassadors relate to the Kingdom
You may already be noticing the parallels to the Kingdom of God, but let’s dive a little deeper.
In the first post in this series, we already established that God’s eternal purpose in creating the Kingdom of Heaven was to establish Himself as the King that He is. Kings have to have territories to rule over, or they’re really no king at all.
And because He is Love, He wanted to share that Kingship with another. So He created a new being (us!) and another territory for them to rule over (earth).
So we were created to rule the earthly kingdom, but our relationship to it is ambassadorial. This means we rule it as representatives of our home government. We don’t own it, God does. We were just designed to rule it.
Our home government is the Kingdom of Heaven and ultimately its King. If you look closely, you’ll find this relationship mentioned all over Scripture. For example, in the Lord’s prayer Jesus says…
Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
This is Jesus communicating His (and our) purpose, expressing that prayer is really just aligning with Heaven’s government to express that government in the foreign land in which He lives in.
That’s right, prayer isn’t really a helpline. Not that we can’t ask for help, but the primary function of prayer is alignment. It’s to communicate about what the home government desires in the host territory in which we live.
He also says other things during His ministry like…
I only do what I see my Father doing (John 5:17)
For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it. (John 12:49).
Notice how these are ambassadorial statements. He’s saying that He’s not giving His human opinion or doing things in His human interests. He’s saying exactly what a good ambassador says – “Here’s what my home government (the King) is thinking and wants me to do in this situation.”
He was the perfect ambassador.
Who’s will be done?
But the first man Adam chose to do what the 2nd Adam didn’t. Instead of being an ambassador-king like he was created to be, he chose to defect and set up his own government.
This is what Satan was tempting them to do in the Garden by saying they could “be like God.” It was deeper than a right vs. wrong issue. He was pointing out to them that they could choose to be their own King instead of an ambassador-king, and rule by their own choices and opinions.
This is what it means to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It means you chose to independently decide for yourself how you will govern your life and the territory in which you live.
Your goal is not to align with your home government, but to establish your own government. Instead of saying “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” you say “My will be done.”
When humanity made their choice, they didn’t just fall out of favor with God. They lost their position in God’s government and all of the benefits and responsibilities that came along with it. Because they no longer connected with His government, they became disqualified for representing it because you can’t have ambassadors that doesn’t know the will or mind of the government for which they work.
The communication lines (the Holy Spirit) were cut off. But, Jesus established them once again by becoming our Secretary of State, the Chief Ambassador of Heaven.
Because He was the perfect ambassador, the Father exalted Him to the highest position of diplomatic relations. Now, we can once again assume our rightful position as God’s ambassadors on the earth.
But to truly do so, we must accept our responsibilities. This involves making sure we’re connected to our King in such a way that we can know and understand what He says, and then speak and act accordingly.
Understanding God’s Kingdom
Understanding what it means to be God’s ambassadors has several practical repercussions. I’ll end this post with 3 major ones…
It’s essential that you understand the Kingdom’s positions, policies and principles.
How can you represent your heavenly government on earth if you don’t know what its positions and policies are?
You can see why it’s important that you understand more than just the message of salvation, but the message of the Kingdom as well.
If all you received was the message of salvation, you will likely relegate yourself to coasting through life on earth with your ticket to heaven.
But if you’ve received the message of the Kingdom, you will make it your life’s work to represent and expand the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
But to be good at being God’s ambassador, you can’t just run around spewing your own thoughts and opinions on everything. Again, your responsibility is to communicate only your King’s thoughts, feelings and actions.
When you look at it this way, it makes a lot more sense for why the early Christians did what they did. Acts 2:42 says…
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
They were consumed with understanding and expressing their heavenly government.
Arguments and divisions on debatable matters have no place in the Kingdom.
If it’s an important matter to the King, He’s made it perfectly clear what He thinks about it. If He hasn’t made it perfectly clear, it means it’s not important for our representative work on earth that we know it.
Because we’re God’s ambassadors, He wouldn’t leave us without proper communication of His government positions and policies if we are diligent to find out what that is.
He keeps it simple, not complicated.
If there’s an issue where He hasn’t clearly communicated His position on it, that is a signal to us that we need not worry about it. If asked, it’s OK (and surely wise) for us to say “we have no official position on the matter.”
Now, this doesn’t mean it can’t be fun to have theological discussions. But as God’s ambassadors, if our government hasn’t given an officially clear position on a matter, then we don’t stick our foot in the ground on it. And we certainly don’t condemn another for their views on such a matter. To do so would be to step outside of our roles and responsibilities.
Unfortunately, Christians have slandered, divided, and even killed each other over these issues. This is not endorsed by the King and has no place in the Kingdom.
The Apostle Paul said his mission was to “preach the boundless riches of Christ,” of which there are enough to explore in this life without getting hung up on petty theological arguments.
A true Kingdom community is heaven’s territory in a foreign land.
If a group of believers meets as a true Kingdom community, the place where they meet is heaven’s territory. This means that it doesn’t operate by the world’s system.
When they gather, they form an “embassy” where the world’s system has no place or authority. They operate by heaven’s government and the King takes care of them with all of His resources.
Seeing life and the church this way makes concepts you’ve read in Scripture make a lot more sense, like…
So do not worry, saying “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33)
The rest of the posts in the Understanding God’s Government series are here.