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The Aroma of a Godly Life, Part 4

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
April 23, 2024 10:00 am

The Aroma of a Godly Life, Part 4

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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April 23, 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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Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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. This is the fourth part of the message, first preached on February 9, 2014 at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem.

To hear the whole message, you can go to delightingrace.com. 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 are 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'm 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.

He's an 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 has 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.

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. There was 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 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 life that is lived for the audience of one and that one is not me. Just being clear on that, meaning you.

Let me close with this illustration. Judy was a party animal, big drinker with a self-contented lifestyle. She was someone everybody loved because she exuded excitement and a thrill for life. When her brother Steve tried to share Jesus with her over the years she would laugh it off and keep partying but at the age of 44 her world caved in. She found out she had breast cancer. She later learned her husband had cancer too. Adding to the devastation of these two blows her husband announced he didn't love her anymore and left her.

That by the way is the definition of a jerk but that's beside the point. It was in that context that she began to ask eternal questions and soon surrendered in faith to Jesus. From that time until her death Jesus and his word and purpose became her priority. With the same gusto she lived life as an unbeliever she now approached her new life in Christ. Her greatest aim was winning others to Christ. She boldly shared her faith even as she was undergoing surgery after surgery praying for a miraculous healing from the Lord. Judy ultimately came to see that the greater miracle would be for her friends and family to know Christ. Even as she struggled for every breath she talked her way out of the hospital about 10 days before her death so she could be baptized and publicly proclaimed Christ is the only way of salvation. Judy invited everyone she knew to come to her baptism service. Under the spirits anointing she powerfully and urgently shared her testimony. Her 84 year old father came to faith in Christ that night and was baptized along with her ex-husband, a number of nieces, a college roommate who was a New Age cultist, her aunt, her sister, and others. Ten days later Judy died even still more people came to know the Savior.

When Steve read the message she had prepared for her own funeral service another 100 people prayed to receive Christ that day. That is the aroma of life, a life lived for the audience of one. To those who will believe that is the aroma of life. Yes there will though there are those who will not believe and to them it is the aroma of death. But the fragrance of his knowledge as Paul says the fragrance of his knowledge is just simply this I communicate his character and purpose as if I'm abiding in his presence. 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 / 2024-04-23 12:06:30 / 2024-04-23 12:11:16 / 5

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