Summary: A message to show Christians how they are sweet smelling to the Lord because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross, and encourage them to be a good witness to those around them.
The gospel of Jesus Christ works on different people in different ways. The gospel itself always has a sweet fragrance. To some the fragrance becomes a pleasant aroma of life, but to others that same fragrance becomes a vile smell of death. Let’s break down this passage of scripture and see what it has to say to us.
I. 2 Corinthians 2:14a – Now thanks be unto God
A. We are instructed to give thanks to God.
1. Give thanks for salvation
2. Give thanks for our jobs
3. Give thanks for our families
4. Give thanks for everything that has happened to us, both good and bad - Romans 8:28
II. 2 Corinthians 2:14b – which always causeth us to triumph in Christ
A. ALWAYS – Not sometimes, or every once in a while. We always triumph in Christ.
1. Because of what was done for us by Jesus Christ, we now have the ability to triumph over every situation.
a. Triumph over financial situations
b. Triumph over emotional situations
c. Triumph over physical situations
d. Triumph over situations that we don’t have the sense to pray about
B. TRIUMPH – the act or fact of being victorious; a procession in honor of a general of ancient Rome for an important victory over an enemy.
1. In the Roman times a procession would sometimes be prepared for a conquering general. This procession, or parade, would include important leaders from the city, musicians, spoil the general had gathered in battle, servants swinging incense, captured enemy soldiers (who would possibly be executed after the procession), the general’s army, and finally the general himself along with his family. There could also be others who took part, but I think you can see that it was quite a big deal.
2. We can compare the conquering general to Jesus Christ.
a. Jesus Christ conquered Satan – Hebrews 2:14
b. Jesus Christ conquered sin and death – 1 Corinthians 15:54-57
c. As the children of God, we are in a procession with Jesus Christ, the conquering general!
III. 2 Corinthians 2:14c – and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place
A. Why does God want us to give off his savor, or fragrance?
1. So that we can be a sound testimony to those around us by spreading the knowledge of God through our actions and responses to life’s situations.
B. Where is the savor of God’s knowledge made manifest by us?
1. IN EVERY PLACE
IV. 2 Corinthians 2:15a – For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ
A. To God we are always a sweet savor, but only because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. If it weren’t for that, the smell of our sin would keep us far from the presence of a sinless God. We can look back in the Old Testament and see where God was pleased by the smell of the sacrifice.
Leviticus 1:9 – But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord.
In this instance a male without blemish was chosen from a herd of cattle and offered up as an offering of atonement to the Lord. It says that the Lord found the burnt offering to be sweet in his nostrils. He accepted it with pleasure. If we look through the first 8 chapters of Leviticus we find that God found the burnt offerings to be a “sweet savor” eleven times (Leviticus 1:9, 1:13, 1:17, 2:2, 2:9, 3:5, 4:31, 6:15, 6:21, 8:21, 8:28).
B. Does this mean that we can do anything we want to do?
1. Ecclesiastes 10:1 – Dead flies causeth the ointment of the apothecary to bring forth a stinking savor.
a. We are a sweet savor to God because we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, but just as the fly causes the ointment to begin to stink, so does our sin cause our relationship with God to bring forth a stinking savor.
We can’t taint the blood of Jesus Christ, but we can damage our relationship with God.
V. 2 Corinthians 2:15b through 16a - in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life
A. Look back at the triumphant procession. Compare the smell of the incense between the conquering army and the defeated army.
1. To the conquering army it was a sweet smell of victory.
2. To the defeated army it was a smell of death.
B. Christians and non-Christians will act differently around those who have accepted Christ.