Sermon Title: Ambassadors of God’s Kingdom
Text: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (ESV)
Brief summary (what’s the point of this text/sermon?)
Nic took Paul’s use of “ambassadors” in 2 Corinthians 5 and illustrated how Christians are ambassadors of God’s kingdom in the world today. Just as different cultures have different values and different ways of prioritizing their values, so God’s kingdom has a structured value system. Christians go into the kingdom of this world and spread the cultural values of God’s kingdom.
Nic listed three of these values: (1) We value truth. This is a bedrock value—it undergirds the Christian faith. Christianity is based on both historical truths and truths of the mind (virtue, value, compassion, beauty, love, etc.); (2) We value people. God created people, and he loves them. Value is determined by what someone is willing to pay for a thing, and God was willing to give everything for us. As Christians we also value people because God does, and so we honor their autonomy; (3) We value peace. God wants people to live and work together in harmony. As Christians we try our best to live peaceably with all people, while not compromising God’s truth.
How do I live out the implications of this passage? (Discussion starters to help with applying the sermon to our lives)
- What are the responsibilities of an ambassador (such as the American Ambassador to the UK or to Russia)? What are some values that American ambassadors might want to share with other cultures? What happens when we try to force our values on other cultures?
- In view of #1, how might some of an ambassador’s responsibilities overlap with what Paul may have had in mind in 2 Corinthians 5?
- Nic emphasized three things of value in God’s kingdom. The first value is truth:
- Have you heard of the word “truthish”? (If not, Google it) How does its usage reflect our culture’s attitude toward truth?
- How does God’s value of truth create tension with our culture’s thoughts about truth?
- The postmodern spirit is one that is squishy on truth; how does this affect the way we share the gospel?
- The second value is people:
- To an extent value is determined by what someone is willing to pay for a thing (e.g., an antique, a car, etc.). What is the value of a person? How is that value determined?
- How does the worth of people affect the way we treat them? The way we treat our enemies? People we disagree with on political and moral issues? People who hate God?
- Nic emphasized that God’s value of people led him to give them autonomy (free will, etc.). How does our respect for people’s autonomy affect the way we share the gospel with them?
- The third value is peace:
- If a person is constantly having strife with other people, what does that imply? Should that happen with Christians?
- In what scenario might our truth convictions cause us NOT to be at peace with others? (E.g., in Matthew 10:34-35, Jesus said: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”)