Summary: To challenge people to become a sweet aroma of God within our community by seeing the spiritual interest of people, loving them and sacrificing for them.
This morning I want us to answer a very important question together. It is not a particularly difficult intellectual question. Instead, this question is more personal. In fact, how each of us answers this question will significantly impact our leadership in the community. In reality, it just may determine the eternal destiny of those in our community. So here is my question………How do you ‘smell’ today? Yes you heard me correctly. How do you ‘smell’ today?
In the book of 2 Corinthians the writer Paul tells that we are to be the aroma of Christ among people. He tells us that our personal relationship with Christ and our followership of Him express themselves to others in the same way an aroma fills a room and affects people. Well as I read that passage it spurred me to do a little research about the power of smell that I want to share with you.
I googled the word ‘smell’ a couple weeks ago and discovered that there is actually a real research organization called the Sense of Smell Institute. This is no joke. This place really exists and there front page boasted of a researcher who had won a Nobel Prize for smell research. Anyway, one of the links on their website was Fun Facts About The Sense of Smell with Professor Nosetradamus. Really. I’m not kidding. I even have a picture. So here are a few fun facts about our sense of smell.
1. The average human being is able to recognize approximately 10,000 different odors. Dogs can recognize about 200,000 different odors. I have learned that little boys can make about 300,000 different odors.
2. A woman’s sense of smell is keener than a man’s. This answered one of the great mysteries of life for me. It explained why my wife changed most of the diapers when our children were young.
3. Everyone has his or her own unique odor-identity or “smell fingerprint”. I don’t think that needs further explanation.
4. Our sense of taste is greatly influenced by our sense of smell. Our sense of smell in responsible for about 80% of what we taste. Without our sense of smell, our sense of taste is limited to the taste sensations of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. All other flavors that we experience come from smell. This would seem to say that we smell before we taste. That we choose to taste something because it smells good to us. That we smell our food and wine before we taste and drink. This reminds me of what Psalm writer David said in Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
So when we think about our community I believe we need to think about how we smell to them? Are our lives so saturated with the person of Jesus Christ that our “aroma” causes people to want to discover for themselves how good the Lord is? Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 2 verses 14-17 and let’s see how Paul put this. READ PASSAGE.
Paul is drawing on a common experience that many of his readers would understand. He uses the phrase “triumphal procession” to draw us toward the event of a victorious general coming home from battle leading his soldiers and their captives through the city streets. These ancient processions or parades were spectacular events that could last for days. Let you imagination run wild for a minute as I describe a Roman victory parade.
Imagine a conquering general in his chariot slowly riding through the streets of Rome as the parade winds its way from the dusty outskirts of the city toward the center of the city and the temple. The city was massive and the streets are lined with thousands of people. People are lined up 4,5,6,7 deep. The parade moved slowly because celebration is meant to be enjoyed and not rushed.
At the head of the parade came the city politicians: senators and magistrates wearing full ceremonial regalia accompanied by a large number of trumpeters announcing the parade. Then followed the spoils of war carried on the backs of men or in wagons. The wagons moved slowly under the weight of silver plates and cups and gold tables and lamp stands that had been plundered from his defeated foes. Other carts carried weapons and armor. Still others were filled with treasures such as sculptures, scrolls and banners. A group of big burly men come along with gold statues and local gods from the defeated country on their backs. A host of musicians accompanied this part of the parade playing local fights songs stirring the crowds to celebration.
The spoils of war were followed by prisoners of war; usually the royal family or conquered general or other important prisons. These came bound in chains to demonstrate their defeat.