Christine Caine - What's That Fragrance
Hey, everyone, I'm so glad you're here. I am so grateful that you've joined us today. I know that God has a word for you. And anybody that knows me knows that I am obsessed with nice smells. And if I walk into a room everyone kinda knows. And maybe I'm a little bit overkill, but I love, love beautiful smells beautiful scents. I mean, everyone's got their things. For me it is smells. I just love candles. You come into my home, I've got candles burning all the time. And I love different perfumes.
And a friend of mine recently gave me this perfume called Santal 33. It's my new favorite scent. You're like, "Christine, why are you asking"? I'm like, "Please send me some". No, sorry, it's. But I love any candle that smells like that. I love that scent. And my daughter and I, we had a great time, I was speaking in a church in Paris. I know, it's very difficult, when I said to the Lord, "Here I am, Lord, send me to the nations," it was like, I said, "I'll go to Paris, here I am, send me". But we went, and our whole family had the opportunity last summer to go together. So Sophia and I, my youngest daughter, we decided to do a perfume making class. I mean, what a memory, mommy-daughter memory to create, in Paris, the city of love, making perfume together. It was so awesome because she's as obsessed with smells as I am.
Now, we did a four-hour class. And I learned a lot in those four hours. The woman that was teaching us, she was actually a chemist. And so we were sitting there and I learned that making perfume is both a science and an art. It's not just art, and not just like pick all the smells that you think smell really nice together, but there's a way that smells work together. And I found it fascinating that exactly the same smell on different skin smelt differently. And so I was just wrapped up and absorbed in this whole thing. And of all of our five senses, sight, taste, touch, smell, feel, hear, our most sensitive one is probably our sense of smell. A smell, you can walk into somewhere, smell something, and you're taken back 20 years in a heartbeat, like just in a heartbeat.
My mom had that smell. Since my mom's passed away when every time I go back to Australia and I'm around one of my relatives or her sister that wears the same scent, I mean you're just there, you didn't even have to see the person. You just walk into a room, you smell, and you're, I'm back, I'm back in my mother's arms as a child. I'm back at different moments with my mom. And for her, she loved her 4711 Cologne. I don't know if you like that, but my mom loved that. But her real scent for perfume was her Chanel no. 5. And almost to this day, if I'm walking through a duty-free shop, because I travel so much, I'll always stop and just spray it, and I instantly can smell my mom. I mean, I think you know that feeling, you can smell. My dad was old spice, he was an old spice man, I know.
So to this day every now and again I'll get my husband old spice deodorant. He looks at me like, Chris. But just because it just so reminds me of my dad. I can walk into different kitchens and if I smell something I'll go into a Greek restaurant and I'm back in my kitchen when I was growing up. It's like I can be there in such a heartbeat, it just happens. That's what smells do to us. It can takes, it's also really bad smells that can evoke really kind of bad memories, or just odors. Like I have teenage daughters that play volleyball. And my teenage daughters have not yet realized there's a correlation between the stench in their bedroom and the unwashed volleyball gear from three weeks ago under the bed, and all of the sneak. I don't know if you've ever smelt a teenage girl's room. But Lord have mercy. I think that hades is going to have a little bit of that scent on the way in. It is unbelievable.
So both, as we all love smells that get you all fired up, there's also odors that make you, that just repel you, that are just disgusting, and people need odor eaters. But anyway, that's got nothing to do with anything other than the whole text that we're gonna read today in the word. I want you to go with me to second Corinthians chapter 2 verse 13 to 17. Because I want to argue today from scripture that every one of us has got a smell. Every one of us has got a scent. And my prayer in this series is that you and I are a sweet-smelling incense, and that we are not a really bad odor. That we don't smell like my girls' volleyball gear in the bedroom two weeks later, but that we smell like that beautiful perfume, or we smell like a different odor that is beautiful. Because you and I are walking through this earth as ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ. And there is a scent that we carry.
And I wonder, what do people smell when you walk into a room? What do people smell, do you change the atmosphere that is around you? What kind of scent do you leave in a room when you've left that room? Is it a scent of love and joy and peace and kindness and goodness and self-control? Or is it a scent of anger and division and unforgiveness and bitterness and chaos? What is the scent that you leave? Because we all have a smell. Now, scripture tells us in second Corinthians chapter 2 verse 13 Paul says, "My, when I came to Troas", in verse 12, "When I came to Troas to preach the Gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia".
So his travel plans are already not going how he thought. And scripture says, "But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance of death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ". I mean what a scripture, what a powerful scripture.
So obviously, what happens here is Paul's travel plans, they'd fallen apart. And I could imagine that he was feeling, he says his spirit was distressed, he was feeling dejected, he was feeling stressed out. But I love the turn in verse 14 he says, "But thanks be to God". I thought, imagine how we could change the atmosphere around us when things don't go our way. And I mean, for some of us it's just not like finding the parking spot that we want at the supermarket. It's okay, it's not the end of the world. But some of us, we can have a bad day because things don't go how we want, or we went on Amazon and we wanted to order that new top and it just wasn't in my size and so, oh, drama. Anyway, and at the end of the day what we have to decide to do is we could change our day if we were just like Paul, who says, "But thanks be to God". But thanks be to God.
You know what? Maybe my relationship, maybe my husband and I didn't have the best start to the morning, but thanks be to God, it's going to get better. If we learned to say, instead of murmuring, grumbling, and complaining, instead of texting our friend about how much we didn't like the latest thing that didn't work out our way, we said, "You know what, but thanks be to God. I'm gonna find five things that are going great in my life right now. But thanks be to God". Now, of course I'm preaching to myself because every time that my flights are canceled or delayed, if I tweet something bad you can all tweet back to me, "But thanks be to God, Christine".
And so here Paul talks about the fact that through Christ, in Christ, he always leads us, always leads us in triumphal procession. What a thing to say. In a world that is full of such chaos, in a world that is full of such anguish, in a world that is full of anger, in a time when you know what, there is sadness, and there is grief, and there is loss, and there is so much pain and suffering on the earth, what does Paul mean that God always leads us in triumph? How can you be having bad circumstances and yet still being led in triumph? How can you be feeling negative emotions, yet still be being led in triumph? And that's what we're going to see today.
Now, of course, when Paul was talking to the Corinthians they would have understood the whole image that he was drawing when he was talking about a triumphal procession. So basically to qualify what would have happened that this would have been set really under the image of a Roman victory triumph. That when the Roman army went out, and when they were victorious they would have brought their defeated enemies with them. And then the chariots would have come back, the generals would have been in the front of the triumph. Now, kind of think super bowl party, okay, so a big, but it wasn't really the super bowl, but it was the super bowl of the Roman Empire.
So, they came back, and there was such celebration in the city. And they were showing off the victory of the fact that they had won. The army and the generals are up the front. And all of their enemies that are defeated are kind of tied up and going down there. And of course, all the priests have got all incense burning all around the city, up and down the victory parade. And those censers were filled with sweet-smelling incense. When the people woke up they would have known there's victory in the air. There's victory in the air, we must have won. Because the priests have lit the incense and the smell is permeating the entire city. And then this great procession starts, the chariots are out, the army is out, the generals are out, everyone's cheering, we're awesome, and Paul says, guess what?
I'm using this metaphor for the Christian life. I'm using this metaphor to show you that in Christ there's always a triumphant procession happening. You always have the victory in Christ, even if you're circumstances are challenging, even if there is struggles. We're not denying the reality of our circumstances. But we are saying that Christ's triumph, it never ends. Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead, he defeated hell, he defeated death, he holds the keys to hell and death in his hands, he's had victory over death. So no matter what we are confronting, it's okay, because we're on the winning side. Jesus has already won. That sky is gonna split, he is coming back, "We are on the victorious side".
You can stick that in your pipe and you can smoke it, devil. Not only am I a conqueror in that God saved, redeemed, and healed me, but now I'm turning around and opening the prison doors for those that are bound. We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus who strengthens us. More than! Your pain can have a purpose. Your past can help to give somebody else a future. More than conquerors. Jesus says, I know we're gonna use that thing. We're gonna use that to give someone else a future. And that's what we are. It says Christ through us diffuses the fragrance of the knowledge of God.
Now, for all the chicks, you know what a diffuser is. When you're drying your hair, and some of you have seen the really big ones at the hair dresser, you put the big diffuser, what does that do? That takes the air and that begins to really, woo, it diffuses, it diffuses the air, it concentrates it all in a certain, and God says, "I'm sending you out". Wherever you are, wherever your world is, whether you're a stay-at-home mom, whether you're a single woman and you are just struggling to make ends meet right now, whether you are a corporate executive, whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you're a student, whether you're single or you're married or you're widowed or you're divorced, whatever season of life that you are in, I want you to know that your sphere, your world, wherever God has placed you, he has sent you in to diffuse the fragrance of the knowledge of him into that world.
I can't go into your world. I can come into your living room and talk to you right now. But then send you out and say, "Hey, put your diffuser on. You are a diffuser for Jesus Christ". So take the fragrance of God into your world and diffuse that air. You don't bombard everyone with it. You diffuse it and you say, "We are gonna focus this air, and I'm gonna let the fragrance of the knowledge of God go into my world". How weird that God would pick people to do that. But he says, "Guess what, you're my human hairdryer, and I'm sticking a diffuser on you, and I am sending you out into your world to do".
Some of you, like me, I love to have a diffuser at home. Has anyone got one of these? And you do it, and you put your oils in. And I know some of us are weird and we love our oils, but it's really good for your breathing. And so we have that in our house. My kids love it. And you have just this little diffuser and it just brings out the steam. God says, "That's what I'm sending you out for". So my question to you today is what are you diffusing into the atmosphere of your world? Are you diffusing a stench and an odor that is full of unforgiveness, that is full of bitterness, that is full of anger, that is full of offense, that is full of lust, that is full of greed? 'Cause whatever is in you, honey, that is gonna come out of you. That is the bottom line. Whatever is in you is gonna come out of you. Or are you diffusing a sweet-smelling incense? A beautiful smell? A smell of love wherever you go, a smell of joy wherever, people walk in, I love it when they walk into a home and they go, "It's just so peaceful". They haven't met anyone, they haven't heard anything yet.
And there could be chaos happening around us, but it's like there's something different about this. I mean, even the delivery man delivered a bed the other, it's just, there's something about this house. And then he looks at me and he goes, "You've got this aura". I'm like, "Wow, okay, so". But here is, I'm thinking, "Little do you know, let me make you a cup of coffee, okay"? But here is the deal, that means we're diffusing. Diffusing. You're always diffusing something. And what's in you, it's gonna come out of your pores. It's gonna come out of your skin wherever you go. You can change the atmosphere of a room.
Have you noticed when you put your diffuser on, and especially if there's a foul odor, and I've got teenage girls with gym shoes. And so sometimes it's like, sweetheart, febreze is your friend. It is your friend. I'm going to, sorry, you're gonna choke and go to heaven soon, all right, now? But sometimes you come in and you spray it. And I wonder if you would see yourself instead of just murmuring and grumbling and complaining about, my boss is just this, and everyone at the lunch table just gossips about this, and it's really bad at work.
And God says, "I'm sending you in, how about you go and febreze the atmosphere? How about you come in and you're supposed to change it, you're supposed to change love. You're supposed to spray joy, and some peace, and some kindness, and some goodness, and some self-control". You're supposed to do that. You're supposed to put some patience in there in a world that is just out of control and impatient. And rather than complaining about the odor, how about you start to diffuse the fullness of the knowledge of God wherever you go, full of life and full of hope and full of liberty wherever you go, and make it happen.
It makes me so happy, and I love all of that. You can make sure that you freshen it up without overpowering. Because what some of us do is we don't just like put it through a diffuser, we're like, "I'm dropping all of the oils on top of you". And people are like, "That's just too much God. That's just like too much".
And I remember when I first got saved that's what I was like. My poor family. I mean, please forgive me if you're watching this right now. I was like all zeal, no wisdom, no knowledge. I would walk in, and I mean, from the minute I'd walk in the house, "Did you know that you're all going to hell if you don't know Jesus Christ, you'll go". And my family would look at me like, "Well, if that's where you're not going to be, we'll gladly go there, thanks". And it's like I was, I don't know if you've ever been like that, just all zeal. And then I would just overpower, and just all judgment and critical and negative.
And some of us, that's what we're like. And we think we're doing God a favor. And he's like, "Please don't. I'm really good without that, okay"? How about you diffuse love and grace and mercy and goodness into a lost world. How about you just diffuse, how about you just be it. You don't have to try to, I'm acting like a Christian, don't act like one, just be one. We would change the atmosphere of the world around us if we would stop trying to act and we would just start trying to be. And so the fact is this is only going to diffuse whatever we put in it, whatever oil is in it.
So here is the deal. What is in you will come out of you. A lot of us, we try to bury what's in us. We try to hide what's in us. And then we sort of spray like a little top layer and go, oh, hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to church I go. And I'm gonna put on my little church smile, and I'm a little Christianette, I'm gonna listen to my sermonette, I'm oh yes, I'm a loose Christian. And then you leave church and your evil twin comes out the door like a. And if you have children they're like, "Who are you"?
You're like trying to be the holy lady at church, and you're like praying and fasting and reading the Bible, but like you're the antichrist at home, like seriously. 'Cause what's in you will come out of you. It'll come out of you in your relationships. It'll come out of you in your interactions. It'll come out of you in your social media posts. Oh, yes, it will. Oh, yes, it will. It'll come out somewhere. And you won't really know what's in you until someone pushes and presses and squeezes something.
When I was still working through so much of the pain of the abuse and the abandonment of being left in a hospital unnamed and unwanted, so much of that rejection. I had learned to mask the pain pretty good. And because of my gifts and talents I could kinda hind behind it, but I would go home, and behind the scenes I would be unraveling 'cause you can only project an image for so long. And sometimes that's why people turn to things like drugs or have that extra glass of alcohol 'cause somehow they're realizing the disparity between their inner world and their outer world, they're like, "Man, I can't keep this up", and it's just, "I'm gonna try to numb my pain". It's not that they're bad, they're just trying to survive through life. It's like, "I don't know how I'm gonna deal with this".
And then something happens, a crisis happens, something happens. And then all of that brokenness, you can't hide it anymore because it just triggers something in your life. And you just go, "Whoa, where did that come from"? All that anger, all that unforgiveness, or just this repressed stuff that you were trying to bury. And God says, "I never wanted you to bury it. I wanted you to bring it to me. And that I was gonna do a divine exchange. And that I'm gonna take out that odor, that stench, that sin, that brokenness, that pain that is destroying you, and I'm gonna replace it, there's gonna with the oil of gladness for the spirit of heaviness. I'm gonna do some change on the inside of you".
But if you don't let him come in to do that change, then at some point, even if you can mask it, some of you can mask it for one year, two years, maybe even three years. But now there's cracks in your marriage. There's cracks at work. And you feel like you're unraveling, and you think, "Well, what is going on? I'm losing my mind". You're not losing your mind. God's saying, "Come on, we're gonna deal with the stuff that's deeply on the inside of you. So that you don't have to try to diffuse a good aroma, we're gonna actually put a good aroma on the inside of you so that when the pressed cup, when the press comes, what's in you is just gonna flow out of you". And that's what we want to happen.
And so God had to do a deep work in me. I had to, now, you know when you come in and you've got a gaping wound, and you've got a pustulant scab, excuse the beautiful imagery here, but it stinks and it seeps and it's toxic and it can infect people. And you could put a bandaid on that. But the minute someone squeezes that sore, it's gonna come out the little bits, and all you do is keep putting bandaids on it. So you're never treating the root of the wound. You're just, and everywhere you go you're potentially infecting other people because you, this thing is seeping all the time. And God says, "Look, if you would just let me, I'm gonna rip the bandaid off, it's gonna hurt. I'm gonna squeeze the junk out, and all of that bad, I'm gonna squeeze it, and it's painful". It's painful and you feel very vulnerable, and you feel very exposed, and some of you watching this, you are in this right at this moment.
And you're like, "God, what is going on? It seems everywhere I go I'm being pressed and I'm being pressed and I'm being pressed and I'm being pressed. And all this stuff's coming out of me, and all this stuff's being exposed". And God's saying, "I'm not doing it to harm you, I'm doing it to heal you. And if you would allow me to continue to go deep and work on the inside of you, all of that junk is gonna come out from within you, it's gonna come out of you, and I'm gonna replace it with my beautiful, sweet-smelling incense and aroma and I'm gonna send you back into your world, and you are gonna walk in a victorious, triumphant procession, and you are gonna be the light and the life of the Lord Jesus Christ to your world".
Hey everyone, I am so glad that you've joined us, I'm so grateful that you've tuned in, I know that God has a word for you, and I'm believing that your life's gonna be impacted and transformed. I am loving us talking in this series about what's that fragrance? Because it is always important to stop and ask yourself, you know what? What kinda smell am I letting off in the world that I'm in?
Now, that's dangerous, I'm not gonna say that in front of my husband, but the truth is that we all leave an aroma, and in fact, in scripture, the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 2, that you and I are a sweet smelling incense. I love this, let's just pick it up in verse 14, it says, "But thanks be to God", Paul writes, "Who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere". I mean, what a mandate, that through us, I'm thinking God, didn't you have a better way to diffuse the fragrance of Jesus everywhere? I mean, it's very sobering to go you carry the scent of God to people.
Now, are you emitting a beautiful scent, or are you emitting a bad aroma? Because if it's a bad odor, people are gonna walk away just in the same way we can walk into a room and go I remember that smell when I was a kid, I remember that smell. I want people, once they encounter me somewhere, I'm part of a link in a chain, they're gonna see Jesus, and they're being led to Jesus, I'm just one part of that link. I want all the links of the Christ followers that they meet in that chain to be another link in that, so they meet one and go I've smelled that before, whatever you've got, wow, Christine had that too, and whatever you've got, that person, and eventually it's like it's Jesus, it's Jesus. You and I can lead people literally through a smell trail, we can lead people to Jesus through that.
So verse 15 said, "We are to God the aroma of Christ for we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and those who are perishing". I mean, does that not blow you away? We are to God the aroma of Christ, so to the world, God has sent us to the world, to be his aroma to the world. And not only has God sent us out to be his smell in our world, we, you and I as Christ followers, are the aroma of Christ to God. Have you ever thought about the fact that God can smell? God can smell. If we are the aroma of Christ to God, that must presuppose that God can smell, that he smells his son when he smells us, that he smells his Son.
In Deuteronomy 4:28, the Bible compares the living God to the idols of the world, this is what he says, it says, "Man made Gods of wood and stone," so that's the idols of the world, "Which cannot see or hear or eat or smell". Now, the fact that it says that's the manmade Gods that cannot see or hear or eat or smell, that suggests to me that God can see and hear and eat and smell. The senses are very important to God, smell is very important to God. We see it throughout the Old Testament, after the flood, Noah built an altar in Genesis 8:21, and the scripture says, "And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, 'i will never again curse the ground because of man'". Can you believe that? When the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, God in heaven smells.
In Exodus 30:34-38, there's a recipe for the fragrance that was gonna burn at the golden altar of incense in the holy place. Smoke from the burning of incense represented the prayers of God's people. God's people, their prayers had a smell. "The Lord said to Moses", now here's the recipe, "Take sweet spices, Stacte, and Onycha, and Galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense, of each shall there be an equal part, and make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy. You shall beat some of it very small, and put part of it before the testimony of the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you. It shall be most holy for you. And the incense that you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves. It shall be for you holy to the Lord. Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people".
How wild, Leviticus 16:15, "And one shall take from it a handful of the fine flour of the grain offering, and its oil, and all the frankincense that is on the grain offering and burn this as its memorial portion on the altar, a pleasing aroma to the Lord". Numbers 15:13, again, "Every native Israelite shall do these things in this way, in offering a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord".
The phrase pleasing aroma to the Lord appears 37 times in the book of numbers and Leviticus, a pleasing aroma to the Lord, smell matters to God. It matters to God in the New Testament, in John 12:3, "Mary therefore", you remember the story, "Took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume". Now, this act took place in the home of Lazarus, and remember, just a few days earlier, what had happened? Lazarus had been raised from the dead. And you remember his sister said when the Lord came, but Lord, he stinketh. So there was the stench of death, and now there was the sweet aroma of the oil in the same house, in the same house.
You can be in a position where there's a stench of death and you think Christine, this sickness, this divorce, this breakdown, this tragedy, this hurt, this loss, this betrayal, and you might think that stench of death is gonna frame your life, but I'm here to tell you that you could put a sweet-smelling incense, the oil of God, that can bring mercy and grace and life, and take things that were once dead and make them alive in Christ, that stench of death does not need to be your whole stench, you can have life. What's the fragrance that you're carrying in your home? That you're carrying in your workplace, that you're carrying in your world? You know, Paul calls the sacrificial offering of the Philippians an aroma in Philippians 4:18, he says, "Indeed, I have all and abound, I am full, having received from epaphroditus the a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God".
And of course, of course, Jesus Christ himself is the ultimate sweet-smelling aroma. In Ephesians 5:2, Paul writes, "And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma". How beautiful that God smells his son, and then God has put the scent of his son in us? If we are in Christ, of course, God smells his son.
So what is the fragrance that we are diffusing in the midst of a lost and a broken world around us? Because we are supposed to spread a heavenly fragrance wherever we go.
Now, truth be told, Christians haven't always been known to spread a heavenly fragrance. You could go throughout the last 2.000 years of church history, and the people that were victims in the crusades, or the inquisition, they didn't have a sweet-smelling I think in a lot of what we've seen and the culture wars, and a lot of what we've just seen put out there as Christianity that is as far from Christianity as the Christianity of the Bible, but under the name of God, things done under the name of God, things said under the name of God, the abuses that have been done under the name of God have caused such pain, such suffering, anything but a sweet-smelling fragrance. And so we have a responsibility to be the aroma of Christ to the world. What smell are we letting off? And you know what? Just because there has been a bad stench in some cases doesn't mean it always has to stay like that.
I wonder, do people smell Jesus on you? Can they tell that you've been with him? You go fishing, you can smell the fish, you eat garlic, you can eat the garlic, people go well, I could tell you've been worshiping Jesus, I could tell by your reactions, I could tell by your responses, I could tell by what you carry, you carry love, and you carry grace, and you carry mercy, and you carry goodness, and you carry patience, and you carry self confidence, man, you must've been with Jesus, I could tell where you've been.
Because the fact is, you could tell when someone hasn't been with Jesus, they might call themselves a Christian, but you're like I don't know when you were last with Jesus, but that anger, that bitterness, that lust, that greed, that envy, that lack of self control, that selfishness, that greed, that's not evidence that you've been with Jesus, that you've been in his word, that his spirit is transforming you, that you've been in his presence. Because you should be changed, and you should carry a smell, there should be a smell of mercy, of grace, of love, of goodness, of kindness, it should be a byproduct of being with Jesus.
And not just kind of like where you've tried to just put a little bit of spray to quench a smell that's gonna be there once the little spray wears off, God says no, I want what comes out of you to be what's genuinely in you, I want you to have me at your call, people should smell the Fruit of the Spirit in our life. Not just talk about man, well this is my doctrine, and I know my doctrine. Man, they can hear your doctrine, but if they smell a foul odor, they're not gonna listen to what your doctrine is all about.
There better be a marrying between what you profess to believe and how you live, and who you are, because I'm telling you, a lost and a broken world has got zero tolerance for phony Christians, zero tolerance for hypocrisy and for people saying one thing and living another way, and the only way people will know that we are authentic followers of Jesus Christ is the love that we have for one another, and that if we emit the fragrance, a a sweet-smelling fragrance of God into a lost and a broken world, people are waiting for that.
When you walk into a room, what happens to that room? What happens to that room? That's the truth of it, you're just full of anger and bitterness, do your kids run out of a room when you walk in the room? Does your spouse wish they could run out of the room when you walk in the room? Do your friends dread it when they see your text number come up on their phone? What is it, what kind of aroma are you leaving when you walk into a room? Because whatever is in you is gonna come out of you, and when you are squeezed, I promise you, it's gonna come out of you, it's gonna come out of you.
And the same scent, the scripture says it produces different reactions, to those that are perishing it's a scent of death, a scent of Christ is a scent of death, to those for whom Jesus is life, the smell of Jesus is life, when you're born again, his word, his spirit, his presence, worship, gathering together with believers in the house of God, it brings you joy, it continues to emanate an awesome essence and an awesome scent into the world, but those same things, those same things to a lost and a broken world can be such a turn off, the same incense that burned during the Roman victory parade, it was an aroma of life to the victorious soldiers, but to the defeated army, they were like no, this is an aroma of death, and God's saying hey, basically it's the same thing.
There is a huge resistance in our world, in our culture, of taking the Christian faith to the public square. I could tell this, I know this just even in my own social media following, when I post anything about A21, people love it, when I'm talking about justice, and so they should, and when I'm talking about rescuing slaves. But if I post anything about Jesus Christ being the only way to God, if I post anything about the sanctity of human life, if I post anything about moral absolutes and standards, it's like woo, keep your faith to yourself. I'm like wow, wow, there is like a resistance. If you bring something up at the lunch table at work, it's like what do you mean, what do you mean you're a Christian?
People think we're stupid for being Christians, that we're ignorant, that we're bigoted. What do you mean there's only one way to God? That's a bit exclusive, isn't it? That's a little bit so 20th century. And it's like people kind of almost looked at what do you mean you believe in that particular sexual ethic, or what do you mean that you really believe that Jesus is coming back? What do you mean you believe in a literal resurrection? You believe in an immaculate conception, like are you dumb? Don't you read science books? What do you mean you believe in a creation, like really? What planet are you on? There's that subtle kind of like really, are you that dumb? You're a little bit old fashioned, and it's just like I feel sorry for you, poor little thing, poor little thing.
There is this animosity towards bringing our faith in the public space, so coming in with a full guns loaded approach like I'm here, that's not gonna work, nobody's gonna listen. So God says I know, I've got a plan, diffuser, sweet-smelling incense, you go in through love and joy and peace and kindness, you earn the right to speak to people, make sure that your actions match up with your words, make sure the day of living a double life, honey, that isn't gonna work anymore, make sure that you actually live what you profess to believe, make sure that even if it's not popular and you can't say anything about it, you're still living it, because that's what it's all about, so you will be tempted.
In the day and the age in which we live in, I want you, on the other side of the screen, to hear this, I don't know that there's anything more important that I could say to you right now, but gone are the days where it's just easy to be a Christian in the west. Now, in most of the rest of the world, it never was, ask our Chinese brothers and sisters that have been persecuted, and in the Middle East, our brothers and sisters that've been martyred for their faith for centuries, it has not been cool to be in Christianity, but in the West, we've had rights and freedoms and basically it's just been pretty easy to be a Christian, there hasn't been persecution.
All I'm saying to you is those days are gone, those days are gone where it's just like you're part of the dominant majority and it's really cool and there's a Christian little subculture, most people will look at you like you are from mars, so what this is great is 'cause it's gonna separate the sheep from the goats, it's gonna separate the wheat from the tares, and there is a faithful remnant, because in every generation, there is a faithful remnant, but we were never supposed to be cool, we're supposed to be faithful. Christianity isn't about coolness, it's about faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ.
So we have to stay faithful in the day that we are in, so you are gonna be tempted to dilute the potency of the aroma so that you can smell good to the world. If I just compromise a little bit, I might just compromise on what I really think about sexual ethics, or I might compromise on what I think about the validity of the Old Testament, or the inherency of scripture, it doesn't really matter what I think about a literal resurrection or a virgin birth, it really doesn't matter, and Jesus is sort of like one way to God, it really doesn't matter.
And I'm here to tell you it does matter, it actually does matter, 'cause what I learn in my perfume-making classes is that the minute you change one little ingredient, it's no longer the same perfume, it's no longer the same aroma. And we have a world that's trying to pressure us, and we have other people in the faith that are trying to pressure us, just change that ingredient, you don't have to really believe that ingredient, it's not really important. But all of a sudden, it's no longer the Gospel. It's no longer the Gospel, you start changing ingredients, and it is no longer the Gospel. And the fact is that most of us thought that this message stank as well, til we got born again, and then it became the smell of life, and the smell of hope. And so what we need to do is make sure that we keep sharing and that we keep loving.
Now, it says it's death to those that are perishing, it doesn't mean they perished yet, so a lot of us, we just go oh well, you're just perishing, and we just get arrogant. I'm like no, it means continue to diffuse a sweet-smelling incense until it's no longer a stench because they're no longer perishing. Just 'cause you're perishing doesn't mean perished, they're perishing, so we keep working on our unsaved neighbors and friends, we keep working on building relationships with the lost, and we keep saying I'm not gonna change the potency and I'm not gonna change what is involved in the sweet-smelling aroma, 'cause I don't have the power to change the Gospel, because the Gospel is the Gospel.
It doesn't matter what I say about it, Jesus just rolls his eyes and goes knock yourself out, this is the Gospel, just is what it is, and let me just tell you I am not ashamed of the Gospel of his name, for it is the power of God unto salvation, I am not ashamed of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, it's the power of God. And Paul says who is sufficient? For who is sufficient for this? And you know what? The fact is, none of us. Who can live this life in our own strength? I can't, you can't, none of us are good enough, none of us are strong enough.
He says in 2 Corinthians 3:5, "Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God". He is the one that enables us to get up every day and to continue to live the life that he has called us to live, he is the one that enables us to get back up when we have fallen, he is the one that gives us the grace to go and say I'm sorry when I've failed, he is the one that gives us the grace to say even in our workplaces, you know what? I haven't really lived up to what I've said I've believed, I haven't really lived up, and I am sorry, and please forgive me, I haven't been the best aroma for Christ, but I'm gonna change that
And not here to tell you how I'm gonna do it, I'm just gonna keep doing it, I'm just gonna keep showing up, and I'm gonna keep living this, I'm not gonna allow my history to define my destiny, I'm not gonna be arrogant, I'm not gonna be proud, I wanna be humble, I wanna be a sweet-smelling aroma, I want my life to be a life that is full of grace, a life that is full of mercy, a life that is full of goodness, a life that is full of kindness, a life that is full of peace, a life that is full of joy, a life that bears good fruit for the glory of God. I don't want to be full of chaos and full of anger and full of division and full of hatred, I wanna see the church unified, I wanna see the people of God unified.
By this will all men know that we are his disciples, by the love that we have one for another, but I also do not want to pull back on the truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, I don't wanna be intimidated by a world that says you know what? You keep your beliefs to yourself, you just don't talk about Jesus, don't bring that into the public square, you know what? I wanna do it with love, I wanna do it with grace, I wanna do it with mercy, I don't wanna be full of judgment, I don't wanna be full of condemnation, I don't wanna have a critical spirit, I don't wanna have a negative spirit, but I will refuse to live in fear, I will refuse to not proclaim the goodness of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to our generation.
Jesus said guess what? I'm sending you into the world, I want you to make disciples, I want you to go in there and I want you to be a sweet-smelling aroma to a lost and a broken world, and to Christ, to God, we are the sweet-smelling incense of Jesus to God, and to a lost and a broken world. We are the aroma of Christ, and so what am I saying? Put on your aftershave and put on your perfume, make sure that it smells good, if you've been wearing stuff that does not represent Jesus, change your aftershave, and change your perfume, get rid of the anger and the bitterness, get rid of the judgment and the critical spirit and the negativity, and get rid of all of the stuff that does not represent Jesus in a good way, put on the aroma of Christ, and that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, change your scent, get some fruit into your scent, get some love, get some joy, get some peace, get some kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that will be a sweet-smelling incense of life.