Paul explains this concept in one sentence in 2 Corinthians 5:20: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” The United States Embassy is sovereign U.S. soil in a foreign country. It is as if U.S.A. sovereignty is in the middle of another country. That’s why people take asylum in our embassy; not because of the physical protection it offers but the inherit protection that comes from being “in the U.S.A.”
The ambassador doesn’t speak on his own authority; only what the President tells him to say. The ambassador doesn’t make policy, only carries it out. The ambassador communicates the President’s message to the country where he is physically located but is an alien there. An ambassador is an empowered U.S. citizen living in a domain where someone else rules. That’s us - aliens in this world, ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven, and wherever we stand is sovereign, holy ground.
It is a false dichotomy to force the church to choose between preaching the Gospel and being the Gospel, between what we believe and what we do, between doctrine and love. We need to be plugged not only into the Christian faith but also into the Christian life.
So what does this mean to the church today? We need to move the majority of ministry and fellowship activities to neutral sites in our neighborhood. The work of the church must increasingly move from the facilities that appear as sacred into the marketplace of life where unchurched people live and interact. All church activities should have a mission perspective and members should see their primary sphere of ministry as their home, workplace, neighborhood, school – wherever they develop relationships. Of course, we want to be real neighbors loving like Jesus; not only on His mission but we are all missionaries! A missionary is not someone who goes to people far from home but someone who goes to people far from God. The report that the devil most fears hearing is that the Church has left the building!
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