God created you to be Christ's bold ambassador, not a hermit.
Today's Devotional Scripture -
(The end of the prayer of believers after Peter and John are released by the leaders of Jerusalem)
"'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.' After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." (Acts 4:29-31, New International Version)
Accepting Godly Principles and Concepts
Before we can understand today's devotional scripture, we need to accept certain godly principles and concepts. One of them explains the first sentence of this article and refers to the Apostle Paul's proclamation in 2 Corinthians 5:20.
Now I must apologize, but we need to back up to the 11th verse of 2 Corinthians 5 to truly pull this all together. It's important, because I believe a lot of the actions and efforts being made through initiatives like Everyone A Chance to Hear (EACH) are connected to 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 and Acts 4:29-31.
"Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord," writes Paul in verse 11. "We try to persuade others."
It is a mistake to try to convince people who don't have a personal relationship with Jesus that life will be rosy and profitable once they accept Him as Lord and Savior. The reality is life on earth is not fair. It is full of obstacles. There will be a Day of Judgment when people will understand the full measure of what Paul is saying about the "fear of the Lord."
Jesus Has Equipped Us
The good news is Jesus has equipped us with the truth through the Word of God, the ability to use our talents and the Holy Spirit to win the battles that others would forsake. It would be wonderful if every Christian carried a copy of key scriptures as they seek to serve the Lord.
I plan on carrying 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, which say: "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died, And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again."
What is God's intent?
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them," writes Paul in verses 18-21. "And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 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. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."
The "ministry of reconciliation" and "Christ's ambassadors" may sound a bit "churchy", but they are accurate descriptions of what Christians should be whether it's through efforts connected to EACH or through a personal one-on-one ministry.
Why Reconciliation is Necessary
Internet dictionaries have some interesting definitions of "reconciliation" or "reconcile". Here are a few definitions: "getting two things to correspond", "the act of getting two sides to agree" and "the process of making consistent or compatible."
Let me try this explanation and you can tell me if it works for you. Sin creates a wedge between humanity and God. Sin can be exhibited as selfishness, pride, lust, envy and an assortment of other human attributes.
Jesus Christ removed the wedge by taking on our sins on the cross at Calvary. He defeated sin and death by coming out of the grave. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:14: "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."
But Jesus was raised from the dead. We serve a living Savior who expects us to deliver the message of reconciliation to people who need a savior. And we are called to be Christ's ambassadors.
Being Christ's Ambassadors
An "ambassador" is "a diplomatic official of the highest rank sent by one country as its long-term representative to another country." You are Christ's long-term representative to not only another country, but to your neighbors, community, city and state. Unfortunately, not all ambassadors are welcomed with warm greetings which provides our bridge to Acts 4.
Here are the Apostles Peter and John standing before the most powerful Jewish court, the Sanhedrin, and they have so upset the priests and elders that the two apostles may be facing either long-term imprisonment or execution. Instead, they are freed and they return to their brothers and sisters in Christ.
There is a huge celebration and praise is directed to God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today's devotional scripture serves as reminder that the Holy Spirit gives us the boldness to speak and act in harmony with God and Jesus.
I cannot guarantee there will be ground-shaking experiences during every initiative we undertake, but I am anxious to see what happens up to, on and after Easter Sunday.
I also plan on carrying with me Luke 18:27 where Jesus says: "What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Heavenly Father, I praise you and thank you for the Holy Spirit. He enables me to speak Your Word with all boldness. Help me to yield to Him. In Jesus' name. Amen.