Embassy: Safe haven behind enemy lines

By Dianne Schroeder

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
— II Corinthians 5:20

 

To Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the United Nation’s General Assembly is enemy territory.

 

Since 1974 its member nations have tried to deny Israel a place among them. 

During the 70th session of the UNGA in the fall of 2015, the assembly adopted 20 resolutions criticizing Israel and only 3 criticizing other member nations. As the prime minister addressed the assembly, he spoke the truth and stayed true to his country’s values, just as he did as its ambassador 31 years before.

This world’s system wants to deny God’s people a place at the national and global table of ideas.

May God grant us grace to imitate the caliber of leadership demonstrated by Prime Minister Netanyahu, John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, and Jesus Himself.

Each of them spoke the truth, remained true to the message they represented, served the mission, and upheld the values of their respective Commander in Chief. We can do no less as ambassadors for the kingdom of God on earth.

An embassy houses an ambassador on a permanent, diplomatic mission in a foreign country.

When a mother church sends out a new work, a beach head is established: a secured initial position from which further advancement is made into enemy territory. 

But we must remember that as individual soldiers in God’s army, each of us is also a walking beach head and ambassador for Christ. You are here to represent your country and deliver its message: the official position sent by God that He wants a relationship with man through His Son, Jesus Christ.

We have our marching orders. As our children sing, “I’m in the Lord’s Ar-my, Yes Sir!”

The balance here lies in the knowledge that we can’t go it alone – that we lose power, visibility, and influence if we don’t gather together with our battle buddies, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

Whether that gathering be in a building, on a beach, or under a tree, together we express a visible, corporate presence of God’s dominion, His message, and His mind to a desperate world.

The corporate gathering of God’s people in the local church presents a very visible, powerful, numerically noticeable expression of Christ in this world, a force to be contended with on the world stage of ideas.

The local church, expressed corporately, is significantly influential as a spiritual, moral, and political participant in this country’s decision making process, as has been evidenced recently in the jockeying of 2016 presidential hopefuls.

Visibility of this caliber gives the church a global pulpit for presentation of the Gospel that individual “lone ranger” Christians can never hope to have.

There are 6 million-plus Jews in Israel, among whom are multiplied numbers of diverse religious factions and ethnicities. In addition, there are 370,000 Arabs, plus Christians and other religious and non-religious residents. If these groups went to war against one another, they’d quickly lose their focus and become a more vulnerable target for terrorism.

Generally, Israeli Jews feel safe in spite of daily attacks from their enemies, because they are united under the Torah and under their Prime Minister, and because they are protected by a superb military force, the IDF (Israeli Defense Force).

If we are to prevail, we, too, must determine to stay safely united under our God and under His Word, the Holy Bible, and under the protection of the local church. Be cautious of spiritual substitutes for the local church, which offer little or no covering or accountability for ministries under their headship.

Embassies are literally a piece of another kingdom. The soil on which the embassy sits is the actual soil of the kingdom that the embassy represents, and therefore the laws of the foreign land do not apply there.

In the same way, each Christian is a walking embassy: we are citizens of heaven, ambassadors sent by God to represent His kingdom. The world we are sent into is enemy territory; thus we are behind enemy lines. We are in the world but not of it.

Jesus said “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). That means you represent a spot in the devil’s territory where his laws don’t apply and over which he has no authority!

You have diplomatic immunity against Satan… unless you allow him to take back territory. Be vigilant!

We must appeal to heaven, the home country, for reinforcement, and so remain the prevailing church.

An ambassador is not in the foreign land on vacation; he is there to make impact for his kingdom.

Ask yourself: what are the unique challenges my generation faces, where is this culture headed, and how do I live to effectively influence it? Ask the Spirit of God to answer these questions for you.

Then proceed to assume your responsibility to speak the truth in love, standing for Christ and against evil, staging a frontal attack by accepting the role God has chosen for you.

Next, ask: how can I align myself with God’s purpose in my local assembly? It is only through the ministry of the local church that the teaching, accountability, and encouragement that provide strength for the believer to stand firm in his convictions can be received.

This is the environment God has ordained where an uncompromising life can thrive and His people can grow spiritually as they find active involvement in the congregation.

Acts 2:42 tells us the Early Church was “continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” They learned God’s Word and the implications of it in their lives, they joined together to carry out acts of love and service to one another, they commemorated the Lord’s death and resurrection through the breaking of bread, and they prayed and found anointing to carry forth the message of Christ.

It is impossible to function effectively as an ambassador for Christ without faithfully aligning yourself under the protective and empowering canopy of the local church. There God sets each Christian under the protection, nurture, and leadership of godly men, to be shepherded with encouraging admonition and teaching (Hebrews 13:7).

Let’s face it: ambassadors do not always have a safe job. Consider the perils faced by the American Ambassador to Benghazi, Christopher Stevens, or the American Ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert. But danger must not stop the ambassador from doing his or her job.

Proverbs 13:17 says: “A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful ambassador brings health.”

Lazy ambassadors, or those who compromise, don’t properly represent the truth, the message, the mission, or the values of their country. They are making a fatal mistake that will bring disgrace to the kingdom they represent.

The more unstable the world becomes, the more vulnerable and confused the church can become in it. Satan attacks at a dark time, a time when spirits are low and when rejection is perceived.

Just when we need to run to the embassy for asylum, and bring others to safety along with us, we may get confused and run away from that place of safety, security and protection.

If we abide in Christ and He abides in us, we need have no fear, for greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world (I John 4:4)!

Times may grow dark and darker, but they will not stop the church if we remember Jesus promised that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18).

Individually and corporately, we must be that place where people can seek asylum from the attack of Satan against their lives, remembering that Satan’s laws cannot touch us.

Acts 1:8 tells us: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses (ambassadors for) Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

No attack on the church can or should dim its light or its message of love toward all peoples, or its stand against all that keeps people from choosing to know their Creator and personally experience His love.

The prevailing church can complete its mission as we find our perspective and power in God, crying out as David did in Psalm 71:18: "O God, do not forsake me until I declare Your strength to this generation, and Your power to everyone who is to come."