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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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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (chapter 8) Demanding a King!

Looking at I Samuel 8 this morning, we recall that in the previous chapter a great revival broke out among the people of God! The story now fast-forwards to when Samuel is old and he appoints his sons as Israel’s leaders. [I don’t believe we were told in the text about Samuel’s wife or their two sons].

Unfortunately, his two sons — Joel and Abijah — followed the pattern of Eli’s two sons. “They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice” (v. 3).

Israel’s elders have to approach Samuel. They ask for a king as the other nations have, because Samuel’s sons do not follow Samuel’s “ways.” (v. 5). This displeases Samuel and he prays to the Lord.

The Lord tells Samuel to listen to the people, for “they have not rejected you but me as their king. They have a habit of forsaking me and serving other gods — their practice since I rescued them from Egypt. Warn them that a king will claim certain rights.”

Samuel lists the “rights” a king will claim — conscripting their sons to serve his chariots and horses, becoming commanders of Israel’s soldiers, plowing his ground and reaping his harvest, and making weapons of war and equipment for his chariots (vv. 11-12). He will also draft their daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers (v. 13). He’ll take the best of the fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. A tenth of your grain and vintage will be given to his officials. He will take for his own use your servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys (v. 16). He’ll take a tenth of your flocks “and you yourselves will become his slaves” (v. 17). Then the Lord says, “When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day” (v. 18).

The people insist on having a king — “We want a king over us. We want to be like the other nations and have a king who will fight our battles” (v. 20).

Samuel repeats all this to the Lord and the Lord tells him to listen to them and give them a king (v. 22). Then Samuel sent all of them home.

How fickle are the people of God! One moment they repent and experience

“You have made a wise choice!”

a great revival. The next minute they demand a king like the pagan nations around them.  Samuel bears some guilt in this turn of events. He did not discipline his sons, but followed Eli’s example in allowing his sons to live ungodly lives.

Incredibly, the people of Israel no longer want the Lord to be their king! They want a human being to lead them. We see that the Lord acquiesces to their demand, telling Samuel that they have not rejected him but the Lord!

But no human ruler is perfect. And, although they are warned in specific terms of the claims that such a king will make on their families and property, they insist on having a human king to “fight our battles.”

My takeaway today:  I can reject the Lord as my King, becoming persuaded by the world that He should be replaced as the ruler of my life.  But there will be a price to be paid.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2018 in I Samuel 8

 

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Dealing with REJECTION! (Time for a Great Cartoon)

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2018 in rejection

 

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Who Are You, Really, Christian? (Time for a Great Quote)

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2018 in identity

 

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Rejection! (Time for a good cartoon)

KeynoteScreenSnapz124None of us cares for rejection!  I have painful memories of high school girls that I just knew would reject me if I asked them out.  The adolescent insecurity of making that phone call (do kids even use the phone today?) to ask a young lady out is one of the difficult markers of encroaching adulthood.

And it is not easy for the young lady either!  If she is kind and caring, her task is more difficult in politely saying “no” to invitations from young men for whom she has no affection.

Rejection is tough.  When I met my wife-to-be Linda, she was actually named Robin.  No, it wasn’t a case that she was in protective custody by the federal government.  She and her friend Robin decided to switch names at the Freshman retreat.  I immediately “fell in love” with this beautiful young lady from New Jersey and for the next week or so lay in my bunk bed in the men’s dorm moaning, “Robin!  Oh Robin!”

Eventually Linda told me her real name, we got married, and now have four wonderful grandkids.  This June 5th will be 43 years together.  I rejoice in God’s provision for my life and that Robin, I mean Linda, didn’t reject me!

Questions:

1.  What experiences of rejection have you had?  Care to share one?

2.  The sad biblical truth is that for those who turn away from the Lord Jesus, He will reject them.  Take a look at the following texts on the awful reality of rejection for those who don’t come to Christ:

22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Mt. 7)

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, KeynoteScreenSnapz125you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.(Mt. 25)

12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mt. 8)

13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Mt. 22)

30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Mt. 25)

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in eternal lostness

 

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