[SW092] 05/19/2013 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2013
My heart is opened wide to you, O church and O world! Open wide to me also, and hear Christ’s heart, for I am His ambassador!
Ambassador – an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country; a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.
The Lord has made me — and He wants all His children to be — His ambassadors.
What is the heart of Christ’s ambassadors, official representatives of the kingdom of God?
2 Corinthians 5:9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11a Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord [5401, respect and reverence and awe toward the Lord], we persuade men . . .” [we convince them, we assure them of God’s truth, we act as a mediator for them].
We know that we will appear before Christ to account for what we have done, good or bad.
So we persuade men!
2Corinthians 5:11b . . . but we are made manifest to God [5319, we appear before God]; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.
We act as a mediator for men, we convince them of God’s truth, but we are made manifest we appear before God! And He is the One we answer to! And we hope that we appear in the consciences of those who hear our words, that our words ring in their ears and penetrate their hearts.
Go to verse 13:
2Corinthians 5:13 For if we are beside ourselves [1839, considered to be insane, to have lost our senses], it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us . . . [4912 controls us, grips us, holds us in custody, compels us, takes us prisoner]
Our detractors say we are insane, beside ourselves, and have lost our senses.
But if we were, it would be for God, because He is the One we aim to please.
But we are of sound mind, so you may be convinced of God’s truth.
The very love of Christ, the love of God, agape, the same love the Father has for the Son — THIS love controls us, grips us, holds us in custody, compels us, takes us prisoner!
That is the heart of Christ’s ambassadors!
What do Christ’s ambassadors say?
2Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us . . . having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
Ambassadors of Christ say that One died — Jesus Christ.
Therefore, all died.
God would not have sent Christ had we not been condemned ones.
His death proves our hearts’ condition. We are “dead men walking” without Him,
death row prisoners.
But because He died for all, those who turn to Him and away from their sin
no longer live for themselves but for Him who died and rose again FOR THEM.
2Corinthians 5:16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ [according to the flesh [1097, we have knowledge, of Him, but not full knowledge], yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature [2537, new as to form or quality, of different nature from what is contrasted as old]; the old things passed away [3928, perished, is dead, has come forth out of us]; behold, new things have come.
We knew Christ, we knew He lived and died and rose for us, say Christ’s ambassadors. We knew Him as the disciples knew Him when He walked the earth in the flesh.
But now we don’t know Him that way. We know Him as far more — we know Him as the One who made us new creatures, say Christ’s ambassadors.
New creatures, new as to form or quality, of different nature from what is contrasted as old!
The old things, our old nature, the flesh has passed away, has perished, is dead, has come forth out of us, and has been replaced by a new nature!
Behold! See! This is what Christ’s ambassadors say!
New things have come, IF we are in Christ.
Have new things come in you?
Has the old nature in you perished, replaced by a new nature, even Christ’s?
If the old has not perished, you are not in Christ, and Christ is not in you!
Christ’s ambassadors continue –
2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
We cannot reconcile ourselves to God,
We cannot make our natures new.
This comes from God. This is what it is to be reconciled to Him, through Christ.
And as ambassadors, we have a ministry of reconciliation, announcing God’s reconciliation of you and the whole world to Him, through Christ, changing everyone who will come to Christ from being hostile toward God to being full of God’s actual love — when we are filled with His Spirit!
To whom are we ambassadors of Christ? To the world, certainly. But also to the church at Corinth, and today’s church, today’s Christians.
This letter from Paul is addressed to the Corinthians/ This message today is addressed to you, today’s Christians.
What do I say to the church, as Christ’s ambassador to her?
2Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us [3870 I am exhorting you, I am beseeching you, I am urging you,I am begging you] ; we beg you on behalf of Christ [1189, I bind myself to a post and petition to you, beseeching you], be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
On whose behalf do I do this? Christ’s!
God makes His appeal to you through me, and I beseech you, I exhort you, I urge you with great passion!
What appeal is God making through me? Be reconciled to God, O church of today!
Remember that God made Christ carry our sin, though He did not sin. And He bore the punishment we deserve.
He did it so we BECOME [not “might become” -- there’s no “might” in the original Greek]!
Become what? Something new — a new creature with God’s righteous nature in us,
because we are in Christ, and Christ is in us, ruling and reigning!
2Corinthians 6:1 And working together with Him, we also urge [3870 in verse 20] you not to receive the grace of God in vain [2756 and end up empty-handed when you stand before Christ] — 2 for He says,
“ AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU,
AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.”
Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION” —
God gave you great grace, O church of today. Do not receive it and throw it away, so you stand before Him empty-handed!
NOW is the acceptable time – the year of the Lord’s favor (Isaiah 61:2) –
NOW is the day of salvation, even for you, O church!
2Corinthians 6:11 Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide. 12 You are not restrained [4729 crushed, compressed, placed in a narrow space] [47by us, but you are restrained in your own affections [i.e., you crush, compress, and place yourselves in a narrow space by what your hearts love]. 13 Now in a like exchange — I speak as to children — open wide to us also.
As an ambassador, my mouth has spoken freely to you, my heart is opened wide!
I do not crush you, I do not compress you, I do not place you in a narrow space.
But you crush and compress and put yourselves in a narrow space, because of what your hearts love.
Open wide your hearts to me, O church!
What your hearts love, O church:
2Corinthians 6:14 Do not be bound together [2086, unequally yoked] with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial [955, “lord of the forest,” Beliar, a name of Satan] , or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God . . .
As Christ’s ambassador to you, I tell you that you are yoked with unbelievers.
But what intercourse, what fellowship, what binding can a righteous one have
to a lawless one, to a sinning one?
You are to go out among them, but not be of them (1Corinthians 5:10).
What fellowship has the light in you with the darkness of sin?
What harmony (4857), what agreement, what accord can Christ have with Satan?
What agreement has the temple of God – you, if you are in Christ and He is in you — with idols?
What are your idols? Everything you place above God and Christ, O church.
2Corinthians 5:16b . . . For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“ I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
17 “ Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
“AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you.
18 “ And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty.
Does God dwell in you? Then you are His — His temple, His abode, His sons and daughters.
God’s command is this, and this is what I exhort you to do, as an ambassador of Christ:
Come out from their midst and be separate, and don’t touch that which is evil,
that which is not holy, that which is vile and godless and against God!
Be among them, but not of them.
1John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
If you will come out from among them, and become separate from them, so you no longer look and act like them, and go after what they go after, here is what will happen!
Isaiah 49:8 Thus says the LORD,
“In a favorable time I have answered You,
And in a day of salvation I have helped You;
And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people,
To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;
9 Saying to those who are bound, ‘Go forth,’
To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’
Along the roads they will feed,
And their pasture will be on all bare heights.
10 “They will not hunger or thirst,
Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down;
For He who has compassion on them will lead them
And will guide them to springs of water.
You’ll be guided by Him to the Fountain Who will purify your heart! He goes on:
11 “I will make all My mountains a road,
And My highways will be raised up.
12 “Behold, these will come from afar;
And lo, these will come from the north and from the west,
And these from the land of Sinim [5515, a distant Oriental region].”
13 Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth!
Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains!
For the LORD has comforted His people
[5612 He has breathed strongly, He has sighed, He has pitied, He has consoled, He has caused you to turn to Him]
And will have compassion
[7355, He has been merciful, and has loved and restored you]
on His afflicted [6041, humbled, needy, oppressed, poor].
Many will come to Christ because you will have come to Christ.
O the heavens will shout for joy, and the earth, and the mountains!
Why? Because you have come out from their midst, and the Lord has comforted you, O church!
He will have compassion on you, O church, He will be merciful, He has loved you,
He will restore you.
He will comfort and have compassion on you, O church, WHEN you come out from among them, and are separate.
All heaven and earth will rejoice, O church, when you have come out and be separate when you have become afflicted,when you have humbled yourself,
when you see that you are needy and oppressed, a poor and wretched one.
All heaven and earth will rejoice, and I will rejoice, because by the power of the Holy Spirit, your hearts have opened wide to the words the Lord has given me today!