Fervent Prayer: Outreach

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 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."  2 Corinthians 5:17-20

Second Corinthians 5 provides Christians with a framework for their interaction with the world around us. A framework that quite often we don’t think about. Paul’s claim to the title ‘presbeutes’ or ambassador, when taken in context of his culture, established a rich responsibility for all of us who are called to be ministers in our world.

Roman provinces were divided into two types. One was under the direct control of the senate, the other under the direct control of the Emperor. The distinction was made on this basis; provinces which were peaceful and had no troops in them were senatorial provinces; provinces which were turbulent and had troops stationed in them were imperial provinces. In the imperial provinces, the man who administered the province on behalf of the Emperor, was the ‘legatus presbeutai’. By using this word he paints a picture of a man who has a direct commission from the Emperor. He does this because Paul regarded himself as commissioned by Jesus Christ for the work of the Church.  Just as an ambassador represents his country Paul represented his Lord. Just as an ambassador spoke for his country Paul spoke for Christ. 

It is this way we must all regard ourselves. We have been commissioned by Jesus Christ. This is the essence of Christ’s statement in His pastoral prayer found in John 17 when he says ‘As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world’ and it’s confirmed by His instruction to the church when he says, ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.’

We have been called to be ambassadors for Christ and when we as individuals or as the church reach out to our world we must understand that this is what we are doing. We must reach out in the love of Christ, we must reach out in the truth of Jesus, we must reach out in His compassion, His grace and His holiness. We represent Him. In the decisions and the counsels of the world we must be the voice which brings the message of Christ to the human situation. It is this biblical reality that governs the outreach efforts as Mercy Hill.  

Dear Jesus, Grant us the courage to speak with your voice, grant us the compassion to heal with your hands and grant us the strength to love with your commitment. Help us, by your Holy Spirit leading, to do that which you are calling us to do in service to mankind and  anoint and bless those that take up that calling. In your power and strength we pray. Amen.