Summary: This sermon is the last in a series which considers the five senses and how our senses help us in our relationship with God. In this message we see that we can be a pleasing aroma to God and the calling we have to be an aroma to the world.
You can listen to the sermon here:-
The sense of smell is a powerful sense.
If you are like me, as an example, the smell of a coffee especially in the morning, is a reviving smell. You can be asleep and then, if someone loves you enough to make it for you, the smell is able to wake you up.
This is fantastic. What a great way to wake up.
When you are put camping or caravanning. It is the morning and you are out in the middle of nowhere and the smell of coffee is just wonderful.
It revives our sense and it creates in us these pleasant memories.
Those of you who enjoy coffee will be able to say, “I remember when we sat at that certain place and we had a coffee”.
Smell and memory go together.
Of all of the senses the sense of smell in our relationship with God, initially, seemed to be the one which would be the most difficult to put in place.
How do you talk about a God who “smells”?
Yet, in the Scripture, we also see that God puts smell and pleasant memories together.
We see this happening in a number of examples in Scripture.
We start in Genesis 8. The context is after the flood.
Noah and his family have built the ark and, in obedience to God, they went into the ark and they were preserved.
The flood has now gone and the family are able to come out of the ark onto dry ground.
Then the Scriptures record what Noah does in response to this event.
Genesis 8:18-22 (read)
The Lord smelt the pleasing aroma!
The smell has created in God a memory. So everything God smells the sacrifices he is reminded of the promises he made.
Further on in Exodus 30 we have another example.
In this context we are talking about the provisions for the tabernacle.
What is to be built in the tabernacle. How the tabernacle is to be set up. And how the various components of the tabernacle are to function.
Among the furniture is the alter of incense - Exodus 30:34-38 describes the nature and purpose of this alter (read)
This is God’s special perfume that is given to the people. God says, “I want you to make this and put in on the alter. The reason I want you to do this is because I want this pleasant smell to be a reminder of my connection with you.
We also know that as this mixture is lit it creates a vapour which is a pointer to the prayers which we rise up to God and which he hears.
“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 141:2)
The lifting up of the prayers of Israel is a pleasant aroma to God.
God is creating a pleasant memory of the times when the prayers
In your own time later sit down and have a look for yourself. Particularly at the sacrifices in Exodus and Leviticus. Regularly you will find that the idea that the sacrifice was a “pleasing aroma” to the Lord.
There is this definite picture in the Scriptures of God, “smelling”. Of these sacrifices creating in God a pleasant memory.
Just on the basis of the aroma.
Just on the basis of the smell.
So think about that for a moment. Our actions produce in God a pleasant memory. The way that we respond to God and the way we interact with God is a pleasant interaction.
Such being the case we should see this as an encouragement to interact more and more with God.
I can be a person who creates in God a pleasant memory.
How great is that!
Me with all my shortcomings and weakness and failing and sin … I can make a sacrifice and live a life of sacrifice and God sees that and says, “This is pleasant. I am so thankful that you have created this memory for me.”
So how do we put this into action?
Again we go back to the Scripture and we gain our directions from Scripture.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (read)
Christ brings the offering and it is a pleasing aroma.
You see here Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament sacrificial system in every way … even to the point of offering a pleasing aroma. Then we are called to walk in the same way.. That our lives are a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
In the context of these verses, both before and after, is a whole list of ways that we can live which is pleasing to God.
Making a pleasing aroma impacts our speech. Be people who have wholesome speech.
Paul talks about putting off sexual immorality. Paul talks about avoiding greed. There is a whole range of actions which are pleasing.