All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
Nothing has changed. And everything has changed. We live in a world so desperately broken, sinful and in rebellion against God. A world just as much in need as the world of the Corinthian church. A world in need of a Savior – who has come – a redeemer – who has and is redeeming. But everything has changed.
I admit, I have changed. I have forgotten. I am the product of a self-gratifying generation that was built up in a world of programs – you take karate and you can earn this black belt. You can play soccer – you aren’t good, heres a million community teams. Find a place where you don’t suck and you can be the best. Here – you can be whomever you want to be. Heres a story of a 12 year old who achieved this – buy this book. Learn how you can do it. YouTube – you can be famous too.
Everything has changed. And nothing has changed.
Everything has changed in that our culture thinks differently. Nothing has changed in that our identity as followers of Christ is this: sinful people, who in an of themselves could do nothing to save themselves, have been reconciled to God through Jesus death on the cross, resurrection from the dead and ascension back on high. And now we are to bring this message of reconciliation to the world around us.
So how are we bringing this message? How do we engage a culture so saturated with stuff, with ideals, with no truth/all truth, with a travel team for every age and grade, with a generation who is adults and kids at the same time?
A building won’t cut it because it was never about a building. A program won’t cut it because it was never about the program. But the people – not the people who sat for hours in seminary. Not the people who took classes on Youth Ministry. Not the people who have stood in a pulpit for decades. This people all have been used by God in powerful ways – but the reality, at our core, is that we – the barista at Starbucks. The principal at the Elementary school. The traveling salesman – we are ambassadors for Christ.
Because the pulpit doesn’t always reach Washington Square Starbucks. The pulpit doesn’t always reach the family at Edison Middle School. The pulpit doesn’t always reach the Akron-Canton Airport. But Jesus – through those he has reconciled – he does reach these spaces.
You don’t need a program to make disciples. You don’t need a class to bring reconciliation to a hurting world. The Spirit of God dwells inside of you – you who have claimed Jesus as Lord and Savior. And while we will still gather on Sunday and in communities to study, encourage and grow – that is not our finish line. Our race continues as we go out as ambassadors, as sent ones – for the sake of the Gospel. To see a hurting world reconciled to God for His glory and His kingdom.