16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
II Cor. 5:15-20
Anyone here like a good donut? There is a donut place I had never been to before until I moved down to Mississippi for Seminary. It’s a wonderful place. A golden place. A place where you can watch the donuts all the way from the oven to your mouth, where they melt into pure donut bliss. A place called “Krispy Kreme.”
I’m not kidding when I say that this might be the greatest donut place in the world. I fancy myself to be somewhat of a donut connoisseur. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it! Now, I’ve eaten Dunkin’ Donuts, Day Light Donuts, and a host of others as well. You may not be able to tell, but I’ve eaten a lot of donuts in my time. Then one day I stopped in at Krispy Kreme.
Have you ever filled up a big bowl with water and ice and then stuck your face in it? It’s an eye-opening experience! It shocks you into complete wakefulness. You may not believe it, but it can be the same way with donuts. That day I stopped at Krispy Kreme was an eye-opening experience. The taste of a hot, fresh glazed donut changed the way I look at donuts. It was the greatest donut I had ever tasted. No other donut compared to a Krispy Kreme donut! Krispy Kreme changed my donut world-view!
What exactly, you may be asking, is a world-view, and, do I have one? We all have world-views. They are ways of looking at the world. Perspectives on life. These perspectives color everything we see and do. It’s like looking at the sun through a pair of dark sunglasses. It makes the world around you look different.
Have you ever had an experience that changed the way you look at things? An eye-opening experience? A Krispy Kreme experience?
The Apostle Paul had a Krispy Kreme experience and he tells us about it in this morning’s scripture. Let’s look at Paul for a second. He is a great example of a guy who was going one way and then turned completely the opposite way. You know the story. One day he and a few servants are on their way to Damascus to persecute some Christians. Those filthy rebels who are going against the true faith. Why, they should all be locked up or even killed!
But then something remarkable happens. A bright light shines forth and Paul is thrown from his horse. He hears the voice of Jesus asking him why he’s on the wrong side. Paul never knew that what he was doing was so wrong. He thought he was on the right side all along. He thought wrong.
So what did Paul do? Curl up in a ball and die? Nope. He got up and began following Christ. He accepted Christ that day on the Damascus road and became a new creation. His world-view changed drastically. Everything he had once known had been wrong. Misguided. He had been barking up the wrong tree.
Did his view change? Once, Christ was just another rabble-rouser – a misguided teacher with some crazy followers. Now? Christ was Lord. He was God Incarnate. And what about those filthy nasty Christians? Well, now he was one.
We are new creations. We have been re-created in Christ. We have put on the eyes of Christ and we now see things as they really are. Once we viewed the world from an earthly point of view. Now, we view the world from a heavenly point of view. Things are different now. We are different now. And so, too, the desires of our hearts are different.
Paul is now compelled to live for Christ. And, for Paul, this means sharing the message of Christ with everyone. He wants others to find this world changing Christ.
When God reconciles, we are changed and the message of reconciliation is given to us. What do we do with it? What Paul is doing here in II Corinthians – take it to the world!
We are ambassadors. What a fantastic illustration! Just what exactly is an ambassador? An ambassador, simply put, is one who delivers messages for his king. He is a messenger. When a king wanted to deliver a message to another king, he would send someone in his stead – a messenger to carry his message to the other king.
I have to admit that I now make a pretty good ambassador for Krispy Kreme. I’ve already delivered the message of the greatest donuts ever known to Man.
Paul is an ambassador. In Ephesians 6:19-20 he says, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
Paul is a true ambassador. He shares the desire of the king and his message. He wishes to truly see this message delivered and its effects seen. Paul is making an appeal for the sake of Christ. He is “imploring” men to accept this message he is delivering. Be reconciled to God!
What about you? Has your world-view been changed? Does the love of Christ now compel you? Do you realize that you are a changed person? Do you know that God has entrusted you with a message to be delivered to all the world? You are an ambassador for Christ.