Ephesians 3:7; 2 Corinthians 5:20
I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me, by the effectual working of his power.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): What a privilege is it to be a believer! They are comparatively few, and we by nature were no nearer than others: it was grace, free grace, that made the difference. What an honour to be a minister of the everlasting Gospel! These upon comparison are perhaps fewer still.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): I count it the highest honour that God can confer on any man to call him to be a herald of the gospel…Any true definition of preaching must say that that man is there to deliver the message of God, a message from God to those people. If you prefer the language of Paul, he is an ambassador for Christ. That is what he is. He has been sent, he is a commissioned person, and he is standing there as the mouthpiece of God and of Christ to address those people. In other words he is not there merely to talk to them, he is not there to entertain them…An ambassador is not a man who voices his own thoughts or his own opinions or views, or his own desires. The very essence of the position of the ambassador is that he is a man who has been “sent” to speak for somebody else. He is the speaker for his Government or his President or his King or Emperor, or whatever form of government his country may have.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Ambassadors have their respect according to the rank of their master that sends them; the greater the prince, the more honourable is his messenger. Now, the ministers of the gospel come from the great God, who is “King of kings, and Lord of lords”—by whom they reign, and of whom they hold all their principalities. This is their Master in whose name they come.
WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): They plead the cause of Him who is the God of the whole earth, yes, the God of heaven.
JOHN WYCLIFFE (1330-1384): The highest service that men may attain to on earth is to preach the Word of God.
JOHN NEWTON: On the day when the Lord admitted me into the ministry, and I received ordination, I thought He had then ennobled me, and raised me to greater honour and preferment than any earthly king could have bestowed; and, blessed be His name, I think so still, and had rather be [a minister] than in any situation the world can afford, if detached from the privilege of preaching the gospel.
GENERAL THOMAS (STONEWALL) JACKSON (1824-1863): Oh, it is a glorious privilege to be a minister of the gospel of the Prince of Peace! There is no equal position in this world.
JOHN NEWTON: A minister of Jesus Christ is as high a style as a mortal man can attain. His department is much more important than that of a first Lord of the Treasury, or Admiralty, a Chancellor, or a mere Archbishop…Allow me to say, that it excites both my wonder and concern, that a minister should think it worth his while to appear in the line of a political writer, or expect to amend our constitution or situation, by proposals of political reform.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Am I a minister? Let me be a minister wholly, and not spend my energies upon secondary concerns.
WILLIAM S. PLUMER: To forsake it for any other office, however exalted, is a sad fall from honour. To one who solicited a civil appointment at his hand, President Andrew Jackson said: “As a minister of the Gospel you already hold an office much higher than any in my gift or in my possession. If you shall be able to give a good account of that, it will be as much as could be expected of any man.” The old President was right.
C. H. SPURGEON: To be a minister of Christ is in my estimation an infinitely higher honour than the world can bestow. My pulpit is to me more desirable than a throne, and my congregation is an empire more than large enough; an empire before which the empires of the earth dwindle into nothing in everlasting importance.
WILLIAM GREENHILL (1591-1677): Ministers and watchmen in Zion are to act in the name and authority of God. “Thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me, ” Ezekiel 33:7.
C. H. SPURGEON: The message we are to deliver is not ours, but His.
A. P. GIBBS (1890-1967): This, in turn, gives a joyous confidence and a holy boldness to the preacher, as he realizes the authority that lies behind the message and the messenger.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The preacher should never be apologetic, he should never give the impression that he is speaking by their leave as it were; he should not be tentatively putting forward certain suggestions and ideas. That is not to be his attitude at all. He is a man who is there to “declare” certain things; he is a man under commission and under authority. He is an ambassador, and he should be aware of his authority. He should always know that he comes to the congregation as a sent messenger.
JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): If men did but consider that it is God that speaketh unto them by the mouth of His ministers, they would hear and heed much better.
WILLIAM GURNALL: We cannot despise the messenger and honour his master that sends him, Luke 10:16. Few are so bold as to say with that proud king, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice? Exodus 5:2. But too many dare say, Who is the minister, that I should obey his message?—repent at his summons, tremble at the words he delivers? forgetting, alas! they have God’s authority for what they say; and so, by a slanting blow, they hit God Himself in condemning his ambassador.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): I was little more than sixteen when I began [preaching] and I remember soon after I had begun my early career, I went to supply for a Sabbath at Melksham. At this time was residing there an old gentleman from London, a very wise man―at least, in his own conceit. I called upon him on the Monday morning. He received me rather uncourteously. He did not, indeed, censure my preaching, but rudely said, he had no notion of beardless boys being employed as preachers. “Pray, sir,” said I, “does not Paul say to Timothy, Let no man despise thy youth? And sir, you remind me of what I have read of a French monarch, who had received a young ambassador, and, complaining, said, ‘Your master should not have sent me a beardless stripling.’ ‘Sir,’ said the youthful ambassador, ‘had my master supposed you wanted a beard, he would have sent you a goat.’”
JOHN NEWTON: The faithful ministers of the Gospel are all the servants and ambassadors of Christ―they speak in His name.