Ambassadors represent their home country while working and living in the country to which they’ve been appointed. For U.S. Ambassadors, government experience and a familiarity with your country’s policies are two of the most important requirements; ability to adapt to other cultures is also important. There aren’t any official education requirements, but undergraduate and advanced degrees are common. You increase your chances of gaining an ambassadorship if you work in government or serve in a political capacity.
In the strictest sense, U.S. ambassadors represent the President of the United States in an official capacity in foreign nations and communities. They are charged with protecting and promoting national interests, maintaining diplomacy, organizing visits, welcoming visitors, and supporting resolutions. While to casual observers it may seem like an ambassador’s work day is filled with giving speeches and glad-handing at cocktail parties, these social engineering opportunities are actually an important part of strengthening international relationships.
I. Specifics Regarding Ambassadors
A. They Represent The One Who Sends Them
1. We are ambassadors for Christ.
2. We are not called to represent ourselves, or anything other than what God tells us to do.
3. Guzik- An ambassador is more than a messenger; he is also a representative, and the honor and reputation of his country are in his hands.
B. They Live Interactively In A Foreign Land
1. Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven…
2. 1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims…
3. Ambassadors can find themselves living in a land where they are not only uncomfortable, but where they are offended at the local culture. They have to battle through this.
4. If you find yourself never quite feeling at home in this world, that is to be expected.
5. If you find yourself completely at home in this world, you may have forgotten that this world is not your home, and that your citizenship is in Heaven.
6. More than that, an ambassador needs to intentionally interact with the people of the foreign land where he is assigned.
a. He/she cannot be effective if they are secluded, and avoid the outside world.
b. They cannot stay behind high walls until they are called home.
c. If they live in isolation, they will not be a successful ambassador.
C. They Learn How To Be Effective In A Foreign Land
1. An ambassador is most effective when he understands the culture in which he serves.
2. When serving his sovereign, an ambassador realizes that he will do whatever is appropriate and right to serve his sovereign.
3. 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 19For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
4. Acts 17:22-23 22Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:
5. An ambassador doesn’t show up in a foreign land and insist on being accepted “for who he is”. He never says, “This is who I am, if you don’t like it, too bad”.
6. The ambassador never allows his adapting to a culture to change his message.
7. But a good ambassador does whatever it takes to communicate that message.
8. Sandy Adams- “We have to be articulate in the truths of Heaven, while also being fluent in the language of Earth. Fluency in the language of Heaven doesn’t mean you can speak the language of Earth”.
9. Sandy Adams Video- 15:15-20:09
10. Question- How willing are you to learn about another culture or way of life, in order to effectively communicate the Gospel message? How willing are you to set your own lifestyle aside (as God directs), and learn about the foreign cultures around you, so that you can be an effective ambassador?
a. This applies to our visits or residencies in foreign lands, i.e. missions trips
b. This applies to what is “foreign” among us.
i. Political foreignness.
ii. Racial & ethnic foreignness.
iii. Age and culture foreignness.
iv. Personality foreignness.
E. Their Message Is Not Their Own
1. His own opinion isn’t important.
2. He needs to stay in close contact with the one who sends him.
3. He pays attention to any nuanced changes about how the message is to be delivered.
4. The ambassador needs to share the same urgency as the one who sends him.
a. “As if God were pleading through us…”
b. Pleading- parakaleo– to come alongside to speak to, to beg, to exhort, to instruct.
c. The work of an ambassador is up close and personal.
d. Not shouting from an ivory tower, but talking over a cup of coffee, or thru an email.
5. Be reconciled to God- That is the message we have been given.
a. Are you known for that message, or for a different message?
b. When someone sees you coming, what message are they anticipating?
6. Reconciled- to return to a favorable relationship.
a. Guzik-Be reconciled: We are not commanded to do the work of reconciliation between man and God. He has done the work; it is merely ours to embrace & receive.
b. Spurgeon-“It is not so much reconcile yourselves as ‘be reconciled.’
c. Sin separates people from God. It puts us outside of a favorable relationship w/ God.
d. Jesus paid for our sins by His death. He has made possible the conditions for reconciliation. We need to admit the separation caused by our sins, and accept the remedy that has been offered.
The Follow Through
1. Do you understand that as a Christian, you have been called to be an ambassador?
2. You are on assignment to represent the Kingdom of God to people around you.
3. Are you knowledgeable and articulate in the truths of Heaven?
4. Are you fluent in the language of Earth? Do non-Christians find you relatable in any way?
5. Are you familiar enough with the affairs of Earth to be able to build a bridge with people?
6. Are you being mindful to not live in seclusion until Jesus comes?
7. Are you learning how to relate culturally, so that you can reach out spiritually?
8. Do you have the same heart for people as does the One who sent you?
9. Jesus was God in the flesh, and yet He was the Friend of Sinners. The Perfect Ambassador.