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For Heavens Scents!!By Pastor Bobby

Paul uses a different metaphor with regard to the sweet aroma of sacrifice. He speaks of the saints as a sweet fragrance:

2 Cor 2:14-15: "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 [sweet fragrance; Young] of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing."

What an honour it is to be called and chosen to be the vessels through whom God diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge. And this honour has been granted to the saints because Christ is our sacrifice.

2 Corinthians is Paul’s defense of his actions and apostleship. It seems that since his first letter to the Corinthians, what has happened, is that false teachers had come into town and were discrediting Paul and his message. They claimed that he was not a true apostle, and the gospel he was preaching was not true, and that he was not even qualified to preach this gospel. So, Paul has sent Titus to Corinth to take care of these issues. And he does. This letter is Paul’s letter to the Corinthians expressing his gratitude for their change of heart, and to appeal the few who are still not convinced that Paul is not qualified to be an apostle and preach the gospel. This is a deeply personal book. Paul opens up his heart and pours it all out to the Corinthians. Through this book we can see the true heart of an apostle. We can see the heart, attitude, and mind set, that we as Christians must demonstrate. The same things that qualify Paul as a Christ follower, a person to spread the gospel and share God’s Word are the same things that qualify us. We come in at the beginning of his defense…?

?v. 14….??This passage is full of imagery and word-pictures. ??Here Paul alludes to the Roman custom of celebrating a triumph in battle.

??When a Roman general returned victorious from battle, after gaining new lands, obtaining contraband, and capturing its citizens, he would be met with a great procession. The general would ride in a gold chariot. He would be followed by his soldiers, the senate magistrates, musicians, priests, and captives. The priests carried censers. Some commentators suggest that people would throw flowers onto the road, and as the procession trampled over them their scent would be released into the air. This scent, this fragrance, could be smelled throughout the town, the procession was coming! Everyone knew what this scent meant. To the Roman soldiers this scent meant life, victory, celebration. To the captives it meant death and destruction.?

 

 

-During the Renaissance period, perfumes were used by royalty and the wealthy to mask body odors resulting from the sanitary practices of the day (no baths).?

?-Perfumes are created by mixing different scent (scent categories) together. Due to the fact that the undiluted oils are toxic and unstable, they are diluted with a solvent. The concentration of the solvent produces a different level of fragrance (perfume extract, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Cologne). “As the percentage of aromatic compounds increases, so does the intensity and longevity of the scent created.”??

-A lot of fragrances today are synthetic, as opposed to natural/organic. However, the synthetic scents are extracted from the raw material and purified. There are several methods used to accomplish this.?-Maceration: raw materials are submerged in a solvent that can dissolve the desired aromatic compounds.?-Distillation: raw material is heated and the fragrant compounds are re-collected through condensation of the distilled vapor.?-Expression: raw material is squeezed or compressed and the oils are collected.?-Enfleurage: aromatic materials are absorbed in wax and then extracted with ethyl alcohol.??-A perfume’s fragrant oils are then blended with ethyl alcohol and water, aged in tanks for a minimum of 14 days and filtered through processing equipment to remove andy sediment and particles before the solution can be filled into perfume bottles.??-Proper preservation of perfumes involve keeping them away from sources of heat and storing them where they will not be exposed to light. An opened bottle will keep its aroma intact for up to a year, as long as it is full or nearly so, but as the level goes down, the presence of oxygen in the air that is contained in the bottle will alter the perfume’s smell character, eventually distorting them.

 

??By understanding a little about the processes of perfume we can more clearly see why Paul would use this analogy. Perfumes have to go through this great process before we can purchase the finished product. Different items that create the scent have to be collected, then the scent has to be extracted, then the mixture endures an aging and filtering process, then the finished product. Now that we have the finished product,

 it still has to be properly preserved or it will lose its scent.?

I believe we can really grasp this concept of being a fragrance if we look at the Old Testament principles of sacrifice, burnt incense and fragrance.??As the Israelites were on their journey from Egypt to The Promised Land, God desired their worship, so he commanded Moses to build a tabernacle where the people could come and offer sacrifices fro atonement, and worship God. The tabernacle had to be constructed according to specifications given to Moses from God. The tabernacle had several different items inside, one of those items was the Altar of Incense. Everything to do with the Tabernacle and the altars, could be a several week long series, it’s all very interesting. However, I just want to focus, for our purposes this morning, on the Altar of Incense. I think that it will help us to realize the importance and desired impact of Paul’s message to the Corinthians.?

?Exodus 30: 1-10 (description of the Altar of Incense)…??“The altar is especially holy to the Lord.” (v. 10). The incense burned on this altar wasn’t just any scent or fragrance. It wasn’t just anything you can burn that will produce a scent. ??Exodus 30: 34-38??This was a special mixture.

 

a mixture concocted from ingredients commanded by God. The various spices, and extracts, and plants were mixed in a specific way. You see God required this fragrance to be set apart for worship to Him. This fragrance was consecrated for a special purpose. ??[ILL. Construction of the Tabernacle- Outer Court, Inner Court, Holy of Holies (separated by veil)]??It is interesting to note that in the process of creating this fragrance they would mix a type of salt with it that would create a visible cloud (smoke). This fragrant cloud would rise and penetrate the veil, which separated the divine Presence from the ministering priesthood. This would be indicative of human devotion ascending to God’s dwelling place.???In Leviticus (and throughout) God calls the burnt offering an “aroma pleasing to the Lord.” This was such an aroma to God, because the whole burnt offering was an atonement offering, it represented entire consecration to the Lord.??As Christians we are called to be holy. And this is our fragrance. We are consecrated to Christ. We are set apart for a special purpose. We dedicate our lives to be used for only one thing, the Kingdom of Christ.??We see this fragrant cloud rising and penetrating the veil in the Tabernacle. We see the cloud representing devotion ascending to the place where God dwells. This is what God requires of a fragrant Christian. Total devotion and sacrifice. Devotion and sacrifice that reaches to where He dwells. Sacrificing our own plans, ambitions, and desires; for a life of total devotion to Christ. Devoting our live to His plans, His will, His purposes.??We can also see the image of the priest working all day. He’s working in the outer court, offering sacrifices for the people. The people come and lay an animal (representative of their sins) on the altar, the priest kills the animal and lets the blood flow over the altar, then he burns it. What a stench filled place. The constant stink of dead animals, blood, sweat, and burning. However, at the beginning and end of each day the priest would step, out of that death stench outer court, and into the inner court where he would burn sweet smelling fragrant incense.??As fallen and sinful humans, we are covered with the stink of sin and death, however, as we sacrifice our lives to Christ, we step into the inner court of life and sweet fragrance. We step from death into life.???Giorgio Armani, “Subtle and sensual, a fragrance should be an aura that surrounds us.”??Does the fragrance and aura of Christ surround us???“For to God we are the fragrance of Christ….”??v. 16…??There are people in the world who want nothing to do with the fragrance of Christ. To them our sweet fragrance is death, they want to stay away from it. They harden their hearts. Paul was saying that, after all he had preached, and all the effort and work he put in, to evangelize the Corinthians, some want nothing to do with it. To them Paul’s message was death. In our daily walk with Christ we are going to come into contact with these kind of people. No matter how much we talk to them about Christ, or how much we do for them or live out the Christ life in front of them, they are dead. They have hardened their hearts. ??But to the people who hear our message, the Corinthians who took Paul’s message to heart, the scent is an aroma of life. Paul’s question ...

 

 

Christ as Sacrifice

Eph. 5:1-2: "Therefore be followers of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma."

So, Christ has given Himself for the saints, as an offering and a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling aroma.

Conclusion

Peter, in his first letter, speaks of the saints as both a holy priesthood and a royal priesthood. As members of a holy priesthood, they offer up spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to God.

Paul, in his letters, defines spiritual sacrifice. He directs the saints to offer spiritual sacrifices which, he says, are holy, acceptable and well pleasing to God. This is the "reasonable service" of the saints to God, and an analogy of the divine service of the priests of Israel. Also, Paul says he acts as a priest, offering the Gentile saints to God, as a spiritual sacrifice.

Paul depicts the saints as a sacrifice when he speaks of them as "the sweet fragrance of Christ". He speaks of Christ himself as an offering and a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling aroma.

Heb. 13:15: ... "let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."

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