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Summary: How we can create "a little slice of heaven" in our Christian community as we learn to live governed by truth AND love.

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A Little Slice of Heaven Nestled Between Truth and Love

Don’t you just love the smells of Thanksgiving?

 the delectable golden brown turkey basting and baking away

 tasty russet potatoes being mashed to fluffy perfection, topped off by melting butter, salt and pepper

 golden brown turkey gravy simmering on the stove top

 the sweet/tart aroma of fresh, juicy, cranberries

 dark orange yams smothered with all the brown sugar C&H could produce and blanket by all the Jet-puffed marshmallows that can be arranged on the top of a 9x13 pan

 warm, smooth and spicy pumpkin pie waiting to be topped off with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or cool whip or real whipped cream topping

 fresh coffee brewing in the corner

 and on and on we could go—that covers about a 1/3 of what is served on Thanksgiving

These smells all waft together making our mouths water and our tummies rumble and our anxiety rise as we ask that all important question: when can we eat?

The smells are great, but the eating is better. We want to experience the benefits of what those smells are a reminder of: there is food to be eaten and bellies to be filled so full we could just pop as we lay in front of the television while the women clean up . . . NO! did I just say that? But you get the point. The smells are terrific, but the eatin’ is even better.

Fragrant offering: what Christ has done for us

There is a smell that is even better. Better than my mom’s homemade rolls. Better than Angie’s mashed potatoes. Sweeter than grandma’s pumpkin pie: that aroma is none other than the fragrance of our Lord’s sacrifice.

Ephesians 5:2b Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Paul is talking about Jesus’ sacrifice—his death—on the cross. It wasn’t a pretty sight. And Paul is not being macabre. He is drawing a parallel with the OT sacrifices that were made to God with lambs and doves and grain for the forgiveness of sins and for offering thanks. If done properly, the sacrifices were pleasing to God, and became “a pleasing aroma” as they burned on the altar.

Christ’s death—his handing himself over to die for the sins of the world in complete obedience to the Father, and as the perfect sacrifice (more perfect than any lamb or other could be) was a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. And we are the beneficiaries.

It is this death of Jesus that teaches us how to really love

It is this death of Jesus that shows us the extent we go to love others

It is this death of Jesus that reminds us of the depth of our own sin and faults

It is this death of Jesus that keeps our pride and self-righteousness in check toward the sins or others, instead learning to bear with them in love, to OFFER them love even at the moment they may not “deserve it.”

By his death we learn to love others. We are able to love others

But as you would have found out last week during Craig’s sermon, in Jesus’ life, in his very person, we find he is full of truth, in fact, he IS truth. And so we are taught to put off the “old self”, the way people (we) think without Christ, learn to live lives far from deceit and full of truth. And so we pick up the beginning line of our passage today


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