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A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17) Part 6 (Conclusion)

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 olfactory impact on others! 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.

We then recognized 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 last post we observed that, apart from God as our primary audience, we believers are “smelled” by two groups. Verse 15 describes one group as “those who are being saved” and the second group as “those who are perishing.” The Bible is quite clear that the wages of sin is death. We begin to die the moment we enter the world. And, while physical death is awful, spiritual (or eternal) death is the worst possible situation one might encounter. Those who have not trusted Christ are presently dying. This bifurcation of all of humanity into two groups is incredibly offensive to those who are not yet believers, but it is still true.

As we conclude our study of this amazing text, let’s notice that the believer’s aroma brings something with it. For those who are perishing, it brings DEATH. For those who are being saved, it brings LIFE. One would not think that a mere smell would produce such dramatic results, but our aroma stands for a personal, saving relationship with the Lord Jesus. Believers find that image fragrant and pleasing; unbelievers react to that image as some odorous and repugnant.

The logical question that Paul asks is “And who is equal to such a task?” (v. 16). What task? The task of representing Christ in this world and recognizing that some will literally and figuratively turn up their noses at the gospel of our Savior.

Today’s Challenge: What an image! As you move through today, ask yourself if you are faithfully representing your Savior — and don’t be discouraged when some turn up their noses at you!

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 2

 

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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 2

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)

We’ve noticed, 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!

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 read in Acts 4:13 that when the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees “saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” We carry with us “the aroma of the knowledge of him.” And please notice — this is not an aroma that fades or dissipates. We carry that aroma “everywhere.” We are permanently affected by this knowledge of Him.

How’s it going, believer? Do others smell Jesus on you? Or do you and I try to cover up that aroma with the perfumes of this world and its pleasures? Just a thought.

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 2

 

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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (chapter 27) A Fragrance or a Stench?

Yesterday we read in I Samuel 26 – “25Then Saul said to David, ‘May you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.’ So David went on his way, and Saul returned home. There was no reason for David to trust Saul — and he doesn’t!

David makes plans to escape from Saul, convinced that one day Saul will destroy him. So he and his 600 men go over to Achish son of Maok king of Gath. David had already fled to Achish back in chapter 21 (when he had pretended to be insane). Gath, of course, was the hometown of Goliath!

David’s plan worked. He and his men settled with their families in Gath with Achish. David had his two wives (Ahinoam and Abigail). And Saul stopped searching for David (v. 4).

David humbly asks Achish for a country town to live in, saying, “Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?” (v. 5). Achish gave David Ziklag and David lived in that Philistine territory a year and four months.

Raiding various people groups, David and his men killed all the men and women but took the plunder of their victories (vv. 8-9). Upon request David would report to Achish where he had raided, being careful not to leave a man or woman alive who could report to Achish what David did. This was David’s practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. Achish trusted David (sounds like he should not have!) and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life” (v. 12).

What’s going on here? It appears to me that David asked for a country town to live in, away from the royal city, so he and his men could raid various people groups without Achish knowing about it. David describes the groups they raided as if they were Israelite areas (“the Negev of Judah”, etc.). This causes Achish to say that David has become obnoxious to his people.

Some takeaways for me:
1. Spirituality does not equal gullibility. David makes plans to get away from the murderous efforts of Saul to separate his head from his body!
2. In a broad sense, church leaders are to have a good reputation with those who are “outside” the church. David is on good terms with Achish and that relationship provides David and his men somewhere safe to live.
3. The believer in Jesus is both a fragrance and a stench. The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians2: “14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”  This is an amazing passage, for all of us would prefer to be a fragrance, rather than a stench!  We will have an olfactory impact on all we meet today — to some as a fragrance of life, to others as a stench of death!

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2018 in I Samuel 27

 

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What Are Animals Thinking? #22 (scroll down)

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Posted by on August 17, 2014 in funny animals

 

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