The Necessity of Proclaiming God’s Word in Biblical Times By Jonathan C. Brentner Why do…
Who We Are In Christ
By Jack Kelley
As I’ve said earlier in this series, I am not part of the “word of faith” movement and I am not a charismatic faith healer. I am an evangelical Christian who takes the Bible very seriously, believing it means just what it says.
My goal in writing this series was to see what the Bible actually says about healing, as opposed to what people think it says, and to see if I could find any reasons for the disconnect between what it says our experience should be and what it actually is. My research identified several reasons, which I described in the previous three segments.
In this concluding segment, I want to explore what the Bible says about who we are in Christ, and by that I mean what is the extent of our authority in Him.
We all know our destiny is to be Kings and Priests in the Lord’s Kingdom, but what are we between now and then? Let’s find out.
Ambassadors Of Christ
The fact that we’re destined to be Kings and Priests makes us a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) and having been adopted as God’s own children (Galatians 4:4-7) confirms that we’re part of the ultimate royal family.
In royal families the princes often serve as ambassadors and that’s exactly what Paul called us. Using a Greek word he only applied to us (2 Cor. 5:20) and himself (Ephes. 6:20), he called us ambassadors (representatives) of Christ sent with the ministry of reconciliation to reconcile men to God (2 Cor. 5:18-20). Through the cross, God has made peace with His creation (Colossians 1:19) and as His ambassadors we are called to explain the terms of His peace to all the nations, in other words to share the gospel with them.
When an ambassador is appointed to the country where he will serve, he presents his credentials to the host country. His credentials show he has the authority to act on behalf of his home country’s leaders.
When Jesus sent His original 12 disciples out to minister to the people, He gave them credentials to show they had the authority to act on His behalf. He said, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons” (Matt. 10:8).
Later He sent out 72 others telling them to heal the sick in every town that welcomed them (Luke 10:9). And just before He left, after reminding them that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him, He told His followers of that day and ours, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:18-19).
To show that we have the authority to act as His ambassadors today, we have also been given the ability to do the things Jesus did. He said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing” (John 14:12). Notice He didn’t say, “whoever in this generation” or “whoever until the New Testament is complete” but “whoever believes in me.” Prefacing His statement with the phrase “Very truly I tell you” indicates He was being as honest and direct as He could possibly be. That means whether you know it or not, you have the authority as the Lord’s ambassador to do the things Jesus did.
We who believe in Jesus have been authorized to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, preach the gospel, and make disciples of all men, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We don’t need anyone’s permission to do these things, they are part of our job, even part of our responsibility. They are what we’ve been sent to do, just as they are what Jesus was sent to do.
Jesus didn’t pray to His Father, asking Him to heal someone if it be His will, He commanded the person to be healed. He commanded demons to depart. He commanded dead people to come to life. He did this because He had the authority to do so.
The disciples didn’t pray to Jesus or the Father, asking for healing on behalf of someone. In Jesus’ name they commanded the sick to be healed, the lame to walk, the demons to depart, the dead to rise. They also had the authority to do so.
What Can I Do For You, Lord?
So many times I’ve received emails from people who say, “I’ve prayed for God to show me what He wants me to do with my life. I keep listening, but I never hear any thing back. What’s missing?”
What’s missing is that He’s waiting for us to do what He’s already commissioned us to do as one of His ambassadors.
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, preach the gospel, and make disciples of all men, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Why do we expect Him to give us another job when we’ve yet to begin the one he’s already given us?
It doesn’t matter how busy you are or how important your job is, you could find at least a little time to begin acting as an ambassador of the Lord by doing some of the things He has commissioned you to do. Even if you could only commit a few hours a week to this, you would be serving the One who gave His life to redeem yours.
Imagine, if you can, how different the world would be if each of us spent just a little time each week in our role as an ambassador of Christ. Instead of being known primarily for what we hate, wouldn’t the Church be better known for Who we love? Isn’t that what the Lord wants? (John 13:34-35).
One final word about ambassadors. They don’t try to impose their country’s culture or values on the country they’ve been sent to. And they certainly don’t try to take it over. They know they are guests who serve a special purpose.
In the same way it’s not the Church’s job to take over the world or impose the Christian culture upon it. We are also guests who serve a special purpose. Jesus told the 72 that if they entered a town and were not made to feel welcome, they should leave, shaking the dust from their feet as they did (Luke 10:10-11). And Paul said it’s not our responsibility to judge those outside the Church (1 Cor. 5:12). Our job is to show them something better by our actions.
Now before you say that to be an ambassador for Christ you would have to leave your home and become a missionary in a foreign land, consider this. Our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20). No matter where you live on earth, you are only a visitor here, so you could start right where you are.
Our purpose is to introduce the very special benefits of our home country (heaven) to those who live on earth and influence them to change their citizenship. And how do we do that? The way Jesus told us to.
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, preach the gospel, and make disciples of all men, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
If you’ve never done anything like his before, you shouldn’t expect to do all these things successfully right out of the box. For example, just as it takes faith to be healed, it takes faith to heal others. Most of us don’t have that kind of faith because we’ve never developed it, and we’ve never developed it because it has never occurred to us that we could.
But there are thousands of ways to show the Gospel to people. All it takes to get started is to make a commitment to do something. And with prayer, study, and practice, we can all learn to do all these things because we have all been given the authority to do them. It’s who we are in Christ.