Jesus often noted the contrast between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of men. Once Jesus exclaimed, “Why can’t you understand My speaking? It is because My Word has no place in you.” Jesus amazed Pontius Pilate when He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Peter on Pentecost (Acts 2) and Paul in Athens (Acts 17) provide rich narratives of an ambassador’s skill-set, which comes from Jesus Himself. An ambassador learns the language, customs, and ways of the foreign nation he lives in so that he might be insightful and perceptive.
In as much as we share a corrupt human nature with everyone else, we already know the language and ways of this world, but it is our regenerate soul that gives us a new perspective as an ambassador from a different kingdom. As Jesus is a sympathetic advocate for us (Hebrews) so we too can sympathize with anyone who is struggling with or trapped in the ways of this world.
The challenge is being in the world but not of the world—that is, ambassadors need to be fully loyal and effective on behalf of their own country, while serving in a foreign country, without being swept away by the ways of that country that threaten our life. For example, in all of history God’s called people before and after Christ reveal that our human nature works relentlessly to replace God’s kingdom with our own. Israel was forever returning to the captivity of idolatry and indulgence of our corrupt human nature. The Christian church, even during the time of the apostles, was threatened with the same pursuit of human ego and materialism. Yet God has always provided prophets (Old Testament), apostles (New Testament), and Christians who remained faithful to their ambassadorial work—alert to people’s cries for help.
In the weeks to come we will consider more closely the ways of the kingdom of men (Red Pyramid world) and then, in contrast, the kingdom of God/Heaven (Green V world) and how to serve effectively as ambassadors of God’s kingdom in the kingdom of men.