Praise the Lord.
Finally, we are done with the issue on whether the Apostle Paul’s ministry and teachings are one’s we should consider today.
If you still have questions or issues, well, you have an issue with the Bible as a whole and well, I don’t think I can help you.
2 Cor. 2:14-17: “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.”
God speaks of our prayers as incense in the Old Testament, and the sacrifices as a sweet smelling aroma unto Him. We are His ambassadors to the world and we are a family, His body on earth. Though we may not all meet together, we are united in the Spirit as we worship Him in spirit and in truth.
If this is what the church is supposed to be united in both the spirit and truth why do we disagree-why are there conflicts in the church? The answer to this question is simple yet weighty- It is written that, “My people perish from a lack of knowledge.” It should be apparent to people who are observing what is taking place in the church and understanding it from Biblical perspective that there is a lot of garbage coming inside our doors. The smell is permeating God’s house and there are only a few that notice it and even fewer that want to say or do something about it. Our indifference and lack of will is what is preventing us from a God sent revival.
In 2 Cor. 2:14-17 the fragrance Paul is speaking of is one of knowledge; we are the ones who bring this knowledge of God’s grace and the truth to people. If they accept the gospel of salvation it is a sweet smell to them. It they reject the gospel, it becomes odious to them. If your life is not being a sacrifice for Christ it may not smell so good. This is why we have only a small influence in society.
We should all follow the example of Mary, Lazarus’ sister who sacrificed her costly perfume for Jesus’ burial and it says “the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil” (John 12:3). The oil was a type of the anointing on Jesus who was to be crucified. The more we are dead to our self the more alive Christ is in us. But this is the more difficult part, where knowledge becomes wisdom as it is applied in our lives.
Have you ever had a cold where you could not smell or taste what you are eating? Well the church has got a cold that is affecting her taste for good food and she is ready to eat any bland food served on the platter. In fact, too many drink the skim milk of men-they do not know what the pure milk of the word tastes like anymore.
The Bible tells us that we were all like sheep that have gone astray. We are sheep that are to be led by the good Shepherd. The Lord used sheep in a number of illustrations and for good reason, because as sheep we can still go astray after we believe. There are other illustrations that are used as well:
Proverbs 27:8: “Like a bird that wanders from its nest is a man who wanders from his place.” Some teachers that were once grounded in Scripture have been influenced away from their place called home.
Many think they are immune to bad influences and leave themselves wide open to them. We are to have discretion with whom we associate with, who we learn from and submit ourselves to. No true minister is to befriend false teachers, defend them or contribute to their ministry. The simple reason is that once you begin to compromise in this area, you have nothing to say, you have lost your salt. It won’t take long before you become one with them and blinded to what you once knew. One of the best examples is found in the New Testament, Barnabas; he was carried away with Peter’s hypocrisy that compromised him and others (Gal.2). Leaven never affects a few but the many.
Chasing down trends has become a trend in itself. People sit and wait for the newest thing they can introduce to their church for church improvement or the real reason- for church growth. Growing attendance and growing spiritually are two different matters. Super-size is in and it is beneath the notice of today’s Mega leaders if you do not have this kind of attendance. So they desire more and follow the one who wanders from its nest. Like birds, they chirp whatever is said and follow the bird droppings of big bird.
Till next week,
Elder Dr. Robert L. Harrison