Christine Caine - What's That Fragrance, Part 2
What I learned 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. Of all our senses, scent is one of the most sensitive. People are drawn to beautiful aromas and repelled by stinky odors. But did you know, God's word says that our lives have a particular fragrance? When we're living like Jesus, we draw people closer to him, they can smell the Jesus on us. As believers, our goal should be to keep the world asking what's that fragrance? I'm Christine Caine, and I have a personal mission to equip and empower people like you to connect with your God-given purpose and potential. I am so glad that you're joining us today.
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 man-made 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, 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 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.
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, or 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, you're 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 inerrency 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 learnt 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.