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The Glory of the Gospel, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
April 17, 2024 1:26 pm

The Glory of the Gospel, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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April 17, 2024 1:26 pm

Author Kay Warren recalls her visit to Rwanda not long after the horrific 1995 genocide that left 1 million dead.  She expected to find monsters there- men and women with leering menacing faces.  Instead she found people smiling, chatting, caring for their children, living life.  Upon her return she wrote, “There were no monsters in Rwanda, just people like you and me.” She writes, You might as well face the shameful truth:

You and I, put in the right situation, will do absolutely anything.

Given the right circumstances, I am capable of any sin. 

 All of mankind is broken- the beautiful image of God in each of us is distorted and marred by our sin nature.  The world offers a thousand fixes, but we find ourselves irreparable.  So the question is, “Can anything make a difference?Is there a remedy for broken souls?  In today’s message, Pastor Rich addresses this question from our text in 2 Corinthians 2.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Author Kay Warren recalls her visit to Rwanda not long after the horrific 1995 genocide that left one million dead, she expected to find monsters there, men and women with leering, menacing faces. Instead, she found people much like herself, smiling, chatting, caring for their children, living their lives. Upon her return, she wrote, There were no monsters in Rwanda, just people like you and me.

She continues, You might as well face the shameful truth. You and I, put in the right situation, will do absolutely anything. Given the right circumstances, I am capable of any sin. All of mankind is broken. The beautiful image of God in each of us is distorted and marred by our sinful nature. The world offers a thousand fixes, but we find ourselves irreparable.

So the question is, can anything really make a difference? Is there a remedy for broken souls? In today's message, Pastor Rich addresses this question using our text in 2 Corinthians 2.

Let's listen in. The glory of the gospel is the regenerating Spirit of God with the illuminating Word of God transforms the redeemed people of God based on the reconciling Son of God, pointing to the righteous goodness of God, and overcomes the distracting enemy of God. That is the glory of the gospel. And today's focus in 2 15-17 is the aroma of a God-ward life. Look with me at the passage of Scripture.

It follows right after 14, where the Apostle Paul paints the picture of a Roman triumphal parade. And we pick up in verse 15. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved, and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as so many peddling the Word of God, but as of sincerity, but as from God we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

The aroma of a God-ward life. It begins with a life that is lived to God and in the sight of God. We find that as the book ends of this text today. In verse 15, we are to God.

At the end of verse 17, we speak in the sight of God, meaning in the presence of God. This speaks of one who is living for the audience of one. The one whose opinion matters. When it's all said and done, there's only one opinion that matters. And what is very common for us as human beings is to live for the audience of the many.

It has been researched and understood that one of the key motivators for human behavior is what you think others think of you, or what you want others to think of you. But when we live for the audience of one, it means that we are living to God and in the sight of God. In this imagery that is presented in these verses, beginning in the verse, prior to verse 15, it is a victor's parade. We are marching in the victor's parade. The victor is Christ. And we are captives to Christ. Why am I a captive to Christ? Because he oppressed me and took me as his, no, because I surrendered to him in faith. I am therefore his captive. I am his servant.

And as I've surrendered myself to him in faith, I am now reconciled to God. Like the branch grafted back into the tree. If a branch is by itself lying on the ground, there's only one thing it can do, die. But if that branch gets grafted back into the tree, the branch lives and is productive.

It is fully alive. And so, as I am reconciled to God, I become a follower of Jesus Christ and I'm becoming more like him as I follow him. I'm living life according to design because I have been grafted back into the tree.

I have God now as my source. It's a sweet aroma that is related to sacrifices in the Scriptures because of the fact that we are called to, for example, in Romans chapter 12 by the same author to live our lives as living sacrifices. That is a sweet aroma to God.

For example, in Ephesians 5, 2, look what Paul says here, 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. This is the idea of a fragrance. A fragrance is pleasant. It is attractive.

It is acceptable. Fragrance is a huge industry around the world today, and particularly in the Middle East. And there's fragrances everywhere. And oftentimes we pursue fragrances sometimes because we've got something to cover up.

But fragrance is a huge industry because we want to have the fragrance of attractiveness, of pleasantness. And so when it speaks here of a sweet aroma before God, it means this is something that God delights in. A life that is lived for the audience of one is a life in which God delights. Because I am surrendered to him marching in his victory parade. Irenaeus, church father of the second century, said the glory of God is man fully alive.

Think about that. Go back to the tree branch illustration. When that branch is once again grafted into the tree and drawing life from the tree, the glory of God is man fully alive. Now, as I am one who is captive to Christ and surrendered to him, I then live for the audience of one.

I understand then that as I live for the audience of one, I do so in the context of two kinds of people. We find them in verse 15. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. These two kinds of people sense the aroma.

In the victory parade, the Roman triumphal parade, there was incense burning and people would always identify that with that particular victory or those who were captives bound for capital punishment would sense it as the aroma of death. And there are two kinds of people that observe that sense the aroma of a life that is lived for the audience of one. And those two kinds of people right here in verse 15. Number one, those who are being saved.

Notice the present tense there. Those who are being saved. That includes those of us who do already believe but it also particularly includes those who will believe. Those who will believe. God is drawing them to himself.

As the scriptures say, God gives grace to the humble. The seeds of truth being planted in their lives and watered. You might be a significant part of that. Those of us who are living for the audience of one.

That aroma of living for the audience of one is a significant part in God drawing to himself those who will believe. The second group of people is those who are perishing. This is those who will not believe. You see, we don't know who they are but God does.

We don't know who they are. We live the same aroma before both groups of people but they receive that aroma and it means something different to each group of people. But for those who will not believe, there is no act or amount of evidence that will overcome their unbelief because they will not surrender their self-preeminent pride. The scriptures say God gives grace to the humble. It also says God resists the proud. And for those who will not believe, they are the ones who will not surrender their self-preeminent pride and God resists the proud. And so we find then that when the natural man is reminded of God, it is a stinging confrontation.

The natural man meaning the person with the Adamic sinful nature. When that nature is reminded of God, it is a stinging confrontation. And so as we live as the aroma of Christ to God, we live for the audience of one, that aroma to the natural man is a reminder of God and therefore a stinging confrontation. And the man who senses that aroma will respond in one of two ways. He will either repent or he will resist.

He will either surrender or he will stiffen like the NFL stiff arm, right in the face mask. When the natural man is reminded of God, it is a stinging confrontation. And the aroma of the life lived for the audience of one can be perceived in two different ways, making it two kinds of aroma.

Two kinds of aroma. First Peter chapter two, verses seven and eight. Therefore, to you who believe he is precious, but to those who are disobedient, the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone and a stone of stumbling in a rock of offense.

They stumble being disobedient to the word to which they also were appointed. See, as Kent Edwards says, Jesus is the great polarizer. It's as if all of humanity were iron filings laid out on a sheet of paper, and Jesus is the magnet.

Every single filing lines up either with the North Pole or the South Pole. Every person is either attracted to or repelled by the person of Jesus Christ, because he's a magnet. The power and influence of his very being cannot be ignored. You've been listening to Rich Powell, the lead pastor at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. The Delight in Grace mission is to help you know that God designed you to realize your highest good and your deepest satisfaction in him, the one who is infinitely good. We hope you'll join us again on weekdays at 10am.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-17 14:44:00 / 2024-04-17 14:48:13 / 4

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