2 Corinthians 5:20


I. Intro.

A. our text speaks of an undeniable truth:  there is war between man and God

1. it seems preposterous that man would be at war against his God, but it is sadly true

a) will the gnat contend with the flame, or will an insect fight against a car going 60 mph

b) even this is not as absurd as man, who is utterly insignificant, to make war with God who is Infinite

2. accursed was that hour in which our first mother put forth her hand to take the forbidden fruit

a) from that moment, war began between man and his Maker

b) from the Garden of Eden right on until now, man has been an enemy of God

c) though God has constantly returned good for evil, and is still the God of love, yet has man continued to fight against Him

d) there is still war between Heaven and earth; otherwise, there would be no need for ambassadors between God and men

3. this should be proof enough that a state of war prevails, but we also see in ourselves and in our fellow men, ten thousand sorrowful reasons that prove we are not the friends of the great Friend of man

B. our text tells us that we are sent by God to preach the Gospel; we are “ambassadors for Christ”

II. Our Text Implies A Great Mercy [we are ambassadors for Christ]

A. this shows us that there is some hope of peace

1. when an ambassador comes upon the stage of action, it is evident that at least one party does not want war to be waged to the bitter end

2. we must notice that the ambassador is not an ambassador from man to God, but an ambassador from God to man

B. from this we learn that the peace proposed is one unsought by man

1. man has revolted against his Maker, and is determined to continue in that revolt

a) man was evil, and would remained evil, if God had not been willing to intervene

b) men go astray from God by nature, but they only return to God through Grace

c) until God comes in, man is unwilling and unable to make peace with his God

2. if man knew the dread nature of sin, the first thing Adam and Eve would have done after their transgression, would have been to cast themselves down at God's feet and beg for forgiveness

a) instead of doing so, they ran away and tried to hide themselves from Him

b) when they were compelled to face Him, instead of confessing their sin, the evil juice of that forbidden fruit had so poisoned their nature that they both began to make excuses

c) from this account there is clear evidence that man had become a rebel against his God, and would not return to his God, and confess that he had done wrong and beg for mercy

3. never did a prodigal say, “I will arise and go to my Father,” until the Grace of God touches the prodigal’s heart

a) until God draws us, no one will run after Him, we will remain afar off from Him

b) the sending of an ambassador from God, shows clearly that it is not man who seeks peace

C. the sending of ambassadors shows that God Himself is desirous of peace

1. it really makes no difference to God whether man is His enemy or not

a) what difference can such poor creatures as man, make to God

b) the blasphemer's curse will not diminished God's glory, nor tarnished His holiness

c) God's glory will be just as great if He condemns all to Hell, His Justice will be honored, for we richly deserve our doom

2. there is no reason for sending man an ambassador of peace, except God’s Grace

a) generally in war, it is the less who sends to the greater to entreat for peace

b) seldom does the stronger and more superior, suddenly pause amid the battle and send an ambassador to say to the defeated, “Let there be peace between us”

c) when a commander-in-chief sees with absolute certainty that he could utterly destroy his enemy, he does not hurry to put his sword back into its sheath; but God does

d) we, His servants, are sent forth as “ambassadors for Christ” because God desires to be at peace with man

D. why does God behave in this manner

1. certainly not because He fears man, nor because He cannot do without man, nor because He cannot crush Him as an adversary

2. simply because He is very tender, and full of pity and compassion - Ezekiel 33:11

3. He is a God who is terrible in His justice, but yet “he delighteth in mercy” - Micah 7:18

4. to bless men and make them happy is His continual joy; judgment is not that which He delights to do

5. because He is a God full of tenderness, compassion and pity, He sends His servants to be “ambassadors for Christ”

E. since God desires peace, peace is possible

1. sin has caused a very great breach between God and man; God has been insulted not just once or twice, but thousands and millions of times

2. the sin of men would, if it could, kill God; and this it did, when it slew the Son of God on Calvary

3. every sinner is guilty of high treason, for he has sought to snatch the scepter of God’s Sovereignty, and take the crown of His universal dominion

4. as long as God is God, He cannot trifle with sin

a) we may act as if it is nothing, but only at imminent peril to ourselves

b) God, the Omnipotent King, the Maker and Judge of All, must crush rebellion and punish iniquity

F. how can there be hope of peace, if the Law’s sentence must be carried out

1. this is the great reason for which we are ambassadors for Christ

2. in Christ, God is able show the fullest mercy to sinners, without any violation to the demands of justice - Romans 3:25-26

a) through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God’s justice will suffer no blot, if we come to Him and confess our iniquities and believing in His Son

b) then we shall be completely pardoned and accepted

c) salvation by Substitution was the grand invention of Omniscience; that Christ should bear on His back the stripes that were due to us

d) Christ was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities; and now all our sins are blotted out and forever cease to be, because Jesus Christ bore the full penalty of them

e) the Believer’s debt is paid, and it cannot be demanded again, from any soul for whom Jesus died

G. the terms of peace is laid out in the blessed Gospel of Peace - 2 Corinthians 5:19

1. this is the Gospel that we preach:  that whoever believes in Jesus Christ is reconciled to God through the death of His Son

2. peace is possible; blessed are the people that know and believe this joyful news

III. Our Text Mentions A Great Office [we are ambassadors for Christ]

A. the word, “ambassadors,” suggests several things to us

1. the servants of Christ are engaged in a royal business; we are doing business for the King of Kings

a) we do not come in our own name, nor in the name of any earthly potentate, but we come in the name of Him who made Heaven and earth, and who governs all things by His power

b) even though we may be illiterate, we are the servant of God

c) if someone hears the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, does it matter if they heard if from lips that spoke with the tones of a golden-mouthed orator, or in the rugged language of Simon Peter

2. as it is royal business, it is important business

a) if we are unfaithful, many souls will perish

b) immortal souls are far more precious than silver or gold

c) our business is with souls, and once they are lost, they are lost forever

d) it is our business to speak and plead with all offenders, to be at peace with our great King and Lord

B. all ambassadors have to act in accordance with their commission

1. an ambassador must never go beyond his commission

a) his power comes from his king; he has no power of his own

b) if a man who professes to be Christ’s ambassador, says that he has authority in himself; do not believe him

c) we have authority when we speak according to this blessed Book, but we have none at all if we wander from it

d) no one should regard a single syllable of any man or angel, if what they say is not according to Scripture

2. an ambassador has no power to make terms with men on his own account

a) some people would be pleased, if we would alter this Truth of God, just a little

b) if a man gets angry at the messenger, it is not really the messenger they are angry with, but the one who sent the message

c) if we speak God’s Word and they object to it, their objection is against our Master, not us

3. the ambassador needs to be careful at all points, and he needs to be very faithful - Ezekiel 3:17-19

a) we will have to give an account of how we do our business: how we prayed, what spirit we spoke with, any times of neglect

b) if we are unfaithful, surely there must be some woe

(1) for the murderer of men there is woe, but what will be done to the man who is the murderer of souls by his unfaithfulness
(2) as “ambassadors for Christ,” we must give to our King an account of how we have done our work; let it be with joy and not with grief