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The Aroma of a Godly Life, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
April 22, 2024 10:00 am

The Aroma of a Godly Life, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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April 22, 2024 10:00 am

When we surrender our lives to the Master, our Messiah, God does a work that others will notice.  Our lives can be a pleasing aroma of Christ to all who see.  In today’s message titled The Aroma of a Godward Life,  Pastor RIch digs into 2 Corinthians 2:15-17 to show how His transformative work in His people proclaims Him to be worthy of worship.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. When we surrender our lives to the Master, our Messiah, God does a work that others will notice. Our lives can be a pleasing aroma of Christ to all who see. In today's message, titled The Aroma of a Godward Life, Pastor Rich digs into 2 Corinthians 2, 15-17, to show how God's transformative work in His people proclaims Him to be worthy of worship.

Let's listen in. This is the third part of a message first preached on February 9, 2014 at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the term of 1929, I gave in and admitted that God was God and knelt and prayed, perhaps that night the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing, the divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms.

The prodigal son at least walked home on his own two feet. But who can duly adore that love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in, kicking and struggling, resentful and darting his eyes from every direction for a chance of escape. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men and His compassion is our liberation.

You see, Lewis in his natural self was certain that there was something out there better than what God had to offer. And yet God uses the aroma of lives lived for the audience of one to draw those people to Himself. Some people are desperate, some are dissatisfied, some are distracted, some people just don't know.

They just don't know. And here's an example of Kirsten Powers. She is a reporter on the Fox News Network. I don't think reporter is the right word.

I'm not finding the word right now. Contributor on the Fox News Network. She wrote for Christianity Today, an article entitled, Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower. Subtitle, Of All People Surprised That I Became an Evangelical Christian, I Am the Most Surprised. Kirsten grew up in a very liberal family. She was a democratic consultant. And she said this, If there was one thing in which I was completely secure is that I would never adhere to any religion, especially to evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt.

Because her only idea of evangelical Christianity is what she sees and reads in the news. And that's not a pretty picture. Sometimes justifiably. I sometimes hear Christians talk about how terrible life must be for atheists. But our lives were not terrible. Life actually seemed pretty wonderful, filled with opportunity and good conversation and privilege. I know now that it was not as wonderful as it could have been, but you don't know what you don't know.

How could I have missed something I didn't think existed? But you see, she was confronted by an aroma. There was a young man that took interest in her, and the interest was mutual. This young man was a Christian. And he asked her one day, because he was getting on in age, and he was looking to find a wife. And he asked Kirsten, he says, Do you believe in Jesus Christ?

And her first reaction was, Oh, man, I got a crazy one. And then he said this, because she affirmed to him that she would never be able to be a follower of Jesus Christ. And then he said this, he's an evangelical Christian saying this to a liberal. Do you think you could keep an open mind about it? Well, of course, I'm very open minded, even though I wasn't at all.

I derided Christians as anti-intellectual bigots who were too weak to face the reality that there is no rhyme or reason to the world. I had found that this man's church attendance an oddity to overlook, not a point in his favor. So she goes to church with him. She remembers thinking, what if this is true, and I am not even willing to consider it? She goes to Tim Keller's church in New York, and she listens to his messages. She began reading the Bible, and after listening to Tim Keller for eight months, she says this, I concluded that the weight of evidence was on the side of Christianity.

Then she was given an assignment in Syria for several months, and she says, then when I got back to New York a few days later, I was lost. I suddenly felt God everywhere, and it was terrifying. More important, it was unwelcome.

It felt like an invasion. I started to fear I was going crazy. I didn't know what to do, so I spoke with Eric Metaxas.

Some of us have read some of his books, and he's the author I recommend. He had talked with me quite a bit about God, and he said, you need to be in a Bible study. And he said, Kathy Keller's Bible study is the one you need to be in.

I didn't like the sound of that, but I was desperate. My world was imploding. I remember walking into the Bible study.

I had a knot in my stomach. In my mind, only weirdos and zealots went to Bible studies. I don't remember what was said that day. All I know is that when I left, everything had changed. I'll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, it's all true.

It's absolutely true. The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off. I had not an iota of doubt. I was filled with indescribable joy. The aroma of life. That's what a life that is lived for the audience of one. It is an aroma of life to those who will believe. You and I live in the context of two kinds of people, those who will not believe and those who will. To the one, you are the fragrance, the aroma of death. To the other, you are the fragrance of life, because God is drawing them.

Now, that can be a challenge, can it? You might be thinking, oh, man, every day I go out, people are looking at me and I'm representing Christ. And this is why Paul asks the very next question, who is sufficient for these things?

Verse 16, the end of verse 16. And who is sufficient for these things? Who is sufficient to represent Christ to a watching world?

Now, listen, this is a rhetorical question, because the answer obviously is no one is. But the answer actually comes later, and that is part of the glory of the gospel. Who is sufficient for these things? The answer to that is the glory of the gospel, and we will get to that at a later time. Meanwhile, we have a living truth. Paul says, okay, I recognize I represent Christ, but you know what? I'm not going to try to change things. I'm not going to manipulate things to get out of people the kind of response that I want. Do you think maybe there's a little bit of that going on in religion today?

I think God's sick of it, frankly. Paul says, I am not going to manipulate truth to get out of you the response that I want. We are not peddlers of God's word, and a peddler is one who is trading for profit.

It is a self-centered motive. It is the idea of changing and limiting God's truth to make it more attractive or more palatable, easier to swallow. We water down truth. We only talk of God's love and His grace, and we never mention His holiness or the fact that He is a God who will judge, because those things are offensive to people. And if we mention those, we won't get the response out of people that we want.

What are you doing? What are we doing when we do that? And it happens often in the teaching of the church.

It also happens in our transactions in the marketplace. We water down the word of God. We declaw the scriptures. We make the word, we try to make Christianity, we try to make Christ popular. Listen to me, church. Jesus does not want to be popular. Read the Gospels sometime.

He had no interest in being popular. What happens to someone when they become popular? They become common. And when Christianity, any element of Christianity, Christianity, any element of Christianity that tries to become popular makes the faith common, like it's just another part of everyday life, even for the non-believer. God's truth is liberating and transforming truth.

To diminish it is to limit its power. There is a testimony of an Egyptian who came over here to graduate. Her husband actually was graduating with a master's degree from National Theological College and Seminary, Ministry of Baptist Equipping Nationals.

I've taught over there in Egypt back in 2007. He came over here for his master's graduation, and his wife came over. And after the graduation, they were speaking with the directors and the professors and staff and all of that, and she stood up and she said, thank you for teaching the word of God so clearly. My husband is a different man. Speaking of her husband, who was a pastor, he is a different man.

I am a different wife. My children are different because the word of God has been taught so clearly. He says in verse 15, not peddling the word of God, but as of sincerity, sincerity, meaning I love God and therefore the outflow of that is a desire to please God.

I live for the audience of one. We speak in the sight of God in Christ. Blaise Pascal is considered one of history's greatest scientists, but Pascal's conversion was not through his scientific queries. When his carriage was once suspended on a bridge hanging between life and death, the only thing Pascal could think of was the Christian conviction of his sister and the witness of Christ she had. In his life, he was the inventor of the barometer. He was tremendously brilliant as a philosophical scientist, but the one thing that kept piercing his heart was not the scientific laws.

It was the Christian witness of his sister. You see, that is the aroma of life to those who will believe. The aroma of life is that of is that life of the world. The aroma of life is that of is that life that is lived for the audience of one. 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 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-22 12:06:44 / 2024-04-22 12:11:29 / 5

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