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The Fragrance of the Gospel

selective focus photo of bottle with cork lid

I played tennis with my son a few weeks ago. After a good game, where he, unfortunately, beat me, we were both exhausted. Our T-shirts were wet with sweat. All was okay until we got in the car to drive home. The smell of pickled onions filled the air…

We stunk.

It was really bad. We still commented that if anyone else had come near the car they may have passed out because we stink so bad. I am sure no one would have come near us. 

Compare this to my date night with my wife…

She not only looked fabulous, but when I hugged her, she smelled so good. Her sweet-smelling perfume was captivating and the scent permeated the air. It was a memorable moment. 

It reminds me of a scripture found in 2 Corinthians 2 where it tells us that God wants his children to share the good news with those who are lost and on a road to destruction. The scripture tells us that God wants us to be like a sweet perfume as we share Jesus. (2 Corinthians 2:14 NLT)

The Good News

The message of Jesus is incredible news. This good news should fill the air and captivate all who are lost. The message of Jesus should be just like a sweet-smelling perfume as it brings hope, peace, forgiveness, and abundant life. Jesus gave his life for us so that we could be delivered from sin and bondage and be set free for all eternity.

According to 2 Corinthians, it tells us that “Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15 NLT)

The Stench

This scripture continues, To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.” (2 Corinthians 2:16 NLT)

At the cross, there is no middle ground.

The message of the Gospel offends some people. To those who are perishing, they see the Gospel as a message that is dark, depressive, and gloomy. It stinks to them. But nothing could be further from the truth, as the message of Jesus brings peace, hope, and new life.

Those who understand what Jesus has done for them, and accept his saving grace, see it as a sweet, life-giving perfume

I want to encourage you to share the good news with passion. Treat the message like an expensive perfume. 

So many are lost. Many are heading down a road to destruction. Many don’t know the good news of Jesus. He came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

Jesus didn’t come to condemn people. He came to save the world.  

We are told that The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Depending on where you stand with God, the message of Jesus and the cross is either FOOLISH or POWERFUL. It either STINKS or is SWEET. 

The scripture continues, “So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom.” (1 Corinthians 1:20-22)

The message of Jesus and the cross can be highly OFFENSIVE, seem like utter NONSENSE, seem WEAK, or even appear as GARBAGE to those who don’t understand what Jesus did for them. 

“So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25) 

A New Life

I am fully aware that the message of the cross seems crazy and completely foolish, but it can change your life.

We have all sinned and we all fall short of God’s standard. God is holy and he cannot mix with sin. God is also just and therefore must punish sin. We were lost with no hope, yet God, in his love and mercy, sent Jesus, His beloved Son to die in our place. Instead of God pouring out his wrath on us, Jesus died in our place. He was sinless, yet he took all our sins on himself. On the cross, he became the curse so we could be set free from the curse. He literally paid the full price for our wrongdoing, taking the full judgment of sin on his shoulders. And because Jesus paid it all, we can be made right with God.

Jesus is the Savior. He came to rescue us. To receive his free gift of new life, all we need to do is surrender to him. Through the substitute sacrifice of Jesus, you and I can find complete and total forgiveness, eternal life, and God’s all-encompassing peace, and be reconnected to God. 

We are told, “Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-28)

A New Beginning

Jesus can remove the stink, the stains, the offense, and the garbage of sin from our lives.

His love is like a waterfall that can wash you clean. He can make your life sweet. He can empower you. The weak can be made strong.  

Saul, who later became Paul, was a zealous man who saw the message of Jesus and the cross as utter rubbish, as foolishness.

He was strongly opposed to Jesus and the cross. In fact, Jesus and the message of the cross were such a foul stench to him, that he hated anything to do with Jesus – so much so that he violently persecuted everyone who had anything to do with Jesus. But this all changed one day. He was on his way to arrest followers of Jesus, but he had an encounter with Jesus. 

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. Saul fell to the ground and heard the voice of Jesus say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:3-4)  

Saul was struck blind. God instructed Saul to go into town, where God divinely orchestrated Saul to meet a follower of Jesus named Ananias. 

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.” 

Immediately after his encounter with Jesus, Paul was a changed man. 

Suddenly, the message of Jesus and the cross was no longer a foolish offense, but it was a new life-giving, sweet-smelling fragrance. 

We are told that At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” (Acts 9:20-21) 

From that moment with God, Paul went out preaching the good news that all people can be saved instead of persecuting Christians.  

When Paul came to Corinth, he continued to share the good news of Jesus.

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

When Paul shared the good news, all he did was share Jesus and share the message of the cross.

He came in weakness. He spoke plainly. He didn’t try to debate or persuade anyone. He just lifted up Jesus, and the Holy Spirit poured out the sweet-smelling fragrance of heaven on those who listened. The lost found new life. The offended found the Savior. Lives were forever changed. Souls were saved as the fragrance of the gospel permeated the air.

A New Fragrance

Today I need to tell you that Jesus is alive. One touch of the glory of God and your life will never be the same again.

Jesus loves to heal the sick.

He loves to deliver the oppressed and he loves to set captives free.

He offers forgiveness and a peace that surpasses all understanding. He brings life and life more abundantly. He offers eternal life. 

Jesus died on the cross to save sinners. He conquered death and rose victorious, and He wants to touch your life. Open your heart to him. Let Him wash you and cleanse you and renew you. 

Today, may your spirit be refreshed. Jesus is calling you to be his hands and feet. It is your time. God has empowered you and anointed you to carry the fragrance of the gospel to the lost, dying, broken, and confused. It is your time! 

If you want to start or restart your walk with God, click here to pray a simple prayer we have for you.

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