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IF THE GOSPEL REALLY IS TRUE . . . We Have a MESSAGE! (Part 2)

We began this series with a quote from Karl Barth who said that people come to church out of the expectancy that they could find the answer to the question ‘IS IT TRUE? IS IT REALLY TRUE?”

If the gospel of Jesus Christ is really TRUE, then certain conclusions follow. The conclusion we want to look at today is . .

IF THE GOSPEL IS TRUE, THEN . . .

We have a message for the world, a message which is both good news and bad news.

The “gospel” means good news. Is the gospel good news to you? IF the gospel is true, then it is the best news anyone could ever hear — forgiveness from the Triune God! A place in God’s family! A reason to live! A confidence about the afterlife! But the gospel isn’t only good news. [The first book I wrote is entitled The Other Side of the Good News].

What’s the bad news of the gospel? Eternal judgment. Separation from God and God’s people forever. Righteous condemnation. Eternity in hell. There is no worse news than that!

One biblical text has always gripped my attention. It’s found in 2 Corinthians 2 —

Please notice the olfactory emphasis in this text. We are an aroma. We smell. To some we smell great. To others, not so much. Our job is to “spread the aroma” of Christ everywhere.

Just a few observations:

1. We are to be aroma-spreaders . . . everywhere (v. 14).
2. This aroma is “of the knowledge of Him” (v. 14).
3. Our primary audience isn’t the human race, but God Himself. We read, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ” (v. 15).
4. There are two groups who catch our aroma: (1) “those who are being saved” and (2) “those who are perishing” (v. 15).
5. The aroma we are spreading isn’t benign. To those who are perishing we are “an aroma that brings death.” To those who are being saved we are “an aroma that brings life” (v. 16).
6. Our aromatic duty is overwhelming and should cause us to exclaim with the Apostle Paul “who is equal to such a task?” (v. 16).

Today’s Challenge:  Because the gospel is true, we have no choice as Jesus-followers but to bring the aroma of Him to the world. Everywhere. To everyone. Don’t be shocked when some turn up their spiritual noses at you or me. It comes with the package. Because the gospel is true.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2021 in gospel

 

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A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17) Part 4

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now working our way through 2 Corinthians. We continue our study of several verses in Chapter 2:

A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17)

We’ve noticed, first of all, the image of a triumphal procession (v. 14). We have been conquered by Christ! Oh, glorious defeat!

Please notice, second, that Christ not only leads us as captives but uses us to have an impact on others! What is that impact? It is not just visual. There is an olfactory impact — we smell! If Paul is staying with the triumphal procession metaphor, those captured and defeated enemies most likely smelled like battle. The spectators would hiss and boo them — and turn up their noses at their stench!

We believers are carrying with us, on us, in us, “the aroma of the knowledge of him.” We smell like Christ. We carry with us “the aroma of the knowledge of him.”

We also saw, third, that our primary audience is GOD! We read, “For we are to GOD the pleasing aroma of Christ . . .” (v. 15). HE is our “audience of one.” We smell like God’s own Son.

Let’s continue our study this morning as we see that “we are a pleasing aroma of Christ” to two human audiences (v. 15). Amazingly we are told that we are a “pleasing aroma” to both (1) those who are being saved and (2) those who are perishing. Wow. Those “who are perishing” might not think that our aroma is pleasing, but if our primary audience is God, it is HIS opinion that matters the most! What “those who are perishing” may regard as a terrible stench, God says is a “pleasing aroma” to Him.

In our next post we will think about the bifurcation of the human race. The what?!

 

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 2

 

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A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17) Part 1

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now working our way through 2 Corinthians. Here’s my outline for several verses at the end of chapter two:

A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17)

For regular readers of my blog, this will be the third time I’ve touched on these verses! Way back on Dec. 23, 2018 we looked at I Samuel 27 and how David had become “obnoxious to his people” (v. 12). We looked briefly at 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, noticing that sometimes we Christians are a stench to others. On February 29, 2020 we talked about a couple of online friends who hate Christianity and how we are either a fragrance to those who believe or an odor to those who don’t.

Now, because we are working our way through 2 Corinthians, we get to look at this passage again! And I will be taking my time doing so. There is so much here!

Notice, first of all, the image of a triumphal procession (v. 14). We have been conquered by Christ! Oh, glorious defeat! He has won our hearts and we are now captive to Him. And therein is true freedom! No wonder Paul says, “But thanks be to God”!

Notice also that God “always leads us as captives” in this procession. It is as if His parade is going on all the time. And we are lined up in it, letting the spectators gawk at us — vanquished and defeated enemies of God who are being shown to the world. We are captives on display — and should rejoice in our publicly-displayed defeat!

Today’s Challenge: Have you been defeated by Christ? Do you see yourself as a vanquished foe, eternally grateful for the victory of His grace over your sin? Then don’t be embarrassed to be on display! Don’t duck the spotlight, but live this day as a joyful captive of Christ!

 

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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