Followers of Christ were first called Christians at Antioch following Pentecost.
What does Christianity look like?
Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34 NIV The Disciple’s Study Bible footnote states the lack of love for one another raises confusing questions for others about Christian discipleship. Such things as hatred, fighting, jealousy, and snobbery have no place among disciples. Love overcomes such feelings.
“Paul wrote, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore, Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-20a NIV
What is a Christian’s role as Christ’s ambassador?
Bible scholar William Barclay wrote about ambassadors: 1) The Greek word Paul used for ambassador indicated one who was directly commissioned by the Emperor. In that sense, Paul regarded himself as commissioned by Jesus Christ for the work of the Church. 2) This Greek word also implied an ambassador was responsible for bringing others into the family of the Roman Empire; Paul’s saw his duty as bringing the good news of God’s reconciliation through Jesus to others so they might become citizens of God’s kingdom and members of His family. 3) An ambassador lives among people who speak a different language, have different traditions, and follow a different way of life. As Christ’s ambassador, Paul was willing to speak differently and live a different way of life from those he met each day. 4) The honor of an ambassador’s country is in the ambassador’s hands. Paul knew his witness and the perception of Christianity would be judged by his words and deeds.
God, help me develop the type of love and compassion for others which was modeled by Christ. Help me have the courage to be an effective ambassador in all areas of my life.
Verse 1 -We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord and we pray that all unity may one day be restored. Verse 2 -We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand; and together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land. Verse 3 -We will work with each other, we will work side by side; and we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride. Verse 4 -Praise to the Father from whom all things come, and praise to Christ Jesus, His only Son; praise to the Spirit who makes us one. God’s Spirit makes us one. Chorus: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
Hymn spotlight: #547 – O Church of God, United.
The hymn’s words were written by Frederick B. Morley (1884-1969) who was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1915 and served churches in New Jersey and New York. The hymn comes from a time of prosperity and optimism following the World WarII. Written in 1953, the hymn draws upon the energy of a nascent church in Acts 2 and transplants the enthusiasm of the early church to the middle of post-war twentieth-century North America with all of its confidence in the future. No organization symbolized the hope for Christian unity in that day more than the World Council of Churches, established in 1948. from - www.umcdiscipleship.org
Anthem Devotional by Ann Miller, FUMC Chancel Choir
Anthem Words/Music by Peter Scholtes / Arranged by Lloyd Larson