Upon receiving feedback on my first article about “Is God a Brand?” I have written a follow-up article. The first article aimed at explaining “Yahweh and a basic definition of branding in today’s world. Jesus and Paul were wearing the full armor of God so must Christians and the church assess what they are wearing and how their clothing (or actions) represents God’s brand. God has a brand that Christians and the church uphold and representing.
What did Jesus do?
I’m going to assume that my readers agree upon Jesus as the Son of God, fully human, and the savior of the world prophesied about in the Old Testament. Jesus’ ministry aimed to foretell the kingdom of God, show the power of God, and explain that mankind needs to confess and believe.
Matthew 21:28-32 is the parable of two sons where Jesus gives us a glimpse into the workings of the kingdom of God. In context, Jesus has been confronted by the religious leaders many times up to this point. In Matthew chapter 21 is one of the longest sections where Jesus is denouncing the religious leaders. Jesus explains that in order for anyone to enter the kingdom of God one must believe with a changed heart. Again in Mark 10, Jesus explains one must accept the kingdom of God with the heart of a child. When Jesus refers to the kingdom of God he is referring to the eternal kingdom which waits for his children who believe with changed hearts.
The Foundation: The Kingdom of God, His Power, and the Gospel
Matthew 4:23-24 explains that as soon as Jesus gathered his disciples he immediately started proclaiming the kingdom of God and healing those who had various diseases. Jesus wanted to show humanity that he was indeed the Son of God. When the Jews were under Roman rule, the Jews continually pleaded with the Lord to send help. Jesus came with almighty power to show that God had not abandoned them just as God the Father showed his love in the Old Testament. The story of the healing at the pool on the Sabbath ( John 5:1-18) is where Jesus reveals again that He is indeed the Son of God.
Verse 17 is crucial in understanding that the work of Jesus was to continue the work of the Father. John 5 explains that Jesus loves humanity and wants to make God and His ways known. Verse 17
“But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” (John 5:17)
Up until this point in history, God the Father had been doing all the work on earth. The Father passed judgment, the Father loved, and the Father received all of the glory. In this passage, Jesus explains that authority has now been passed on to Him. Not only does the Father bring glory to himself but Jesus brings glory to the Father.
How Jesus was God’s Brand Ambassador
The brand of God is how God is represented and the messaging behind who he is. If God is “Yahweh” then Jesus is his brand ambassador (John 5:17) but also an embodiment of God’s brand (John 5:18-47). How can Christians today pursue the embodiment of God’s brand and recognize themselves as brand ambassadors?
The embodiment of God’s brand is the Holy Spirit. Right before Jesus ascended into heaven, he said: “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) Jesus instructs his disciples that they must wait for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Jesus understood that He was already clothed with the Spirit during his time on Earth, outside of the crucifixion (Mark 15), and knew that the spirit needed to come and fulfill his role.
The Holy Spirit
If we are to be ambassadors for God’s brand, then we must be clothed with the spirit just as Jesus was. The fruit of the spirit is essential for understanding our actions as brand ambassadors for God. (Galatians 5:22) There are a lot of fruits that come from the spirit. Avoid getting too bogged down by the sheer impossibility of possessing all the fruits of the spirit. Jesus lived a perfect life, therefore He always possessed the fruit of the spirit 24/7, 365 days a year. Obviously, as humans, we are fallen and can never attain such perfection. Yet, Paul writes to the Galatian church we must pursue the fruit of the spirit in order that we may preserve God’s brand.
How can one represent God’s brand as an ambassador and embody Him? Well, as stated above the Holy Spirit intercedes on Christians’ behalf giving access to God, taking the complete embodiment of God, and living in the soul. (Acts 2:17-21) Peter talks about how the holy spirit intercedes on our behalf.
Peter immediately after Pentecost gave a sermon quoting the prophet Joel. Peter explains that if the Jews only knew their Bibles well enough, they would have seen that the Holy Spirit is coming for those who believe. (Acts 2) In order for us to represent God as brand ambassadors, we must understand who God is and the power of the Holy Spirit. Once Christians can understand who God is, why Jesus came, and the power of the Holy Spirit, one can be a true brand ambassador for God.
A Case Study: Paul
Paul is radically converted and filled with the Holy Spirit to be a brand ambassador for Christ. (Acts 26) Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit are one (the Trinity), so Paul’s work embodied the complete Trinity and sought to make them famous. Paul understood the Holy Spirit very well as he gave the Galatian church the guidelines for being one with the spirit. (Galatians 5:22)
Paul writes to the Ephesian church and explains how they can fight against those who continue to harass them. Paul instructs the Ephesian church to put on the full armor of God and be alert. (Ephesians 6) Paul uses the imagery of armor, arrows, and an enemy constantly at war with Christians. Paul uses literary devices to explain the importance of scripture and how Christians can understand and use what they know about God. (verses 11-17) Paul explains one must remain alert, otherwise, the fiery darts will pierce our flesh and bone. (verse 18)
Paul states he is an ambassador for the gospel (and in the gospel, he includes the trinity) (verse 20) Paul was a brand ambassador in chains as he wrote the Ephesians while in prison. What lengths do you go through to disciple others? You may not need to go to prison to uphold God’s brand and make him famous. Jesus and Paul were wearing the full armor of God so must Christians and the church assess what they are wearing and how their clothing (or actions) represents God’s brand.
God has a brand that Christians and the church uphold and representing. Through all of this, I hope that I have granted you a fresh perspective on the name of God, an understanding of how your brand could be unreflective of the fruit of the spirit, and an understanding of the complexity of missions.