The Fragrance of the Gospel

The Fragrance of the Gospel
April 3, 2022
Passage: 2 Corinthians 2:14-16
Service Type:

Open your Bibles to our text which is going to be 2 Corinthians chapter two, verses 14 through 16.

  • 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

You know, the sense of smell, you know, in many ways, the sense of smell is a blessing and a curse. You know, that smell of bacon, that's a blessing to be able to smell bacon that, that bacon frying just smell so good. So it's a blessing.

But you know, sometimes it's a curse... that dead skunk in the middle of the road. You know, there's an interesting thing about, fragrances and aromas are that they are pervasive like that skunk smell, it just kind of surrounds you completely permeates and penetrates every.

I was looking on the internet on and there was an article that I thought was very interesting. It talks about how the sense of smell leads to memories and emotion more than any other of the senses. And so, the thing about smell is that it does evoke memories and emotions.

So you smell that apple pie, cooking, you smell this, and smell that, and it brings back your memories of things that, you know, maybe were pleasant in your mind. Also, it might bring back memories that were not quite so pleasant. Like the time when the, uh, the septic tank backed up into the house.

God, Doesn't have a physical body, knows because He is a Spirit. And the Spirit hath not flesh and blood, but he does have a sense of smell.

  • Genesis 8:20-21

Here, we read of Noah after the ark landed and after they were on dry ground, it says Noah built an altar.

"And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savor; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground anymore for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."

When He smelled Noah's sacrifice, it was a sweet-smelling savor unto him.

I have a note from The Pulpit Commentary that says,

The Lord smelled a sweet savor, an odor of satisfaction, acquiescence, or rest. The meeting is at the sacrifice of the patriarch was as acceptable to God as refreshing odors are to the sense of mankind.

We read in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, 39 times we read that God smelled a sweet-smelling savor.

  • Exodus 29:18, 25, 41

Uh, three types of sacrifices were made to consecrate the priests and the smell of each burnt offering was a sweet savor unto the Lord.

And so in the context, as we're looking in, in second Corinthians chapter two, there are two words translated, either savor or sweet-smelling, savor, and verses 14 and 16.

The Greek word there is osmḗ, which is found six times in the New Testament. It's basically a general word for smell or odor. According to Strong's Dictionary, it is a fragrance literally, or figuratively, an odor. Thayer just defines it as a smell or odor.

  • John 12:3

The smell of the ointment, not necessarily saying it was a sweet smell though. It probably was, it was a costly type of perfume, but it's just talking about the smell that it filled the entire house. The Hebrew equivalent to that is the word, is rei·ach.

  • Genesis 27:26-27

Here, it just talks about the smell. The smell of Esau was upon Jacob. When he tricked his father, it says he came near and kissed him and he smelled the smell of his raiment and blessed him.

And so it is that just general odor, but in verse 15 of 2 Corinthians chapter two, it says we are unto God, a sweet savor. Again, it's the word savor or sweet savor that we're examining here. The word here comes from the Greek word, euōdia, which is a sweet smell or fragrance, a fragrance of a sweet-smelling thing, incense or odor, or something sweet-smelling. Metaphorically, it is a thing well, pleasing to God.

And so, it is literally a beautiful smell. It is a good smell.

  • Philippians 4:18

He actually uses both words there, an odor and of a sweet smell.

  • Ephesians 5:2

And so again, both words are used there. The sweet-smelling is the euōdia and the savor is the osmḗ. Jesus himself became our sacrifice in our stead and he became that sweet-smelling odor that God smelled as a, of an acceptable sacrifice.

  • Leviticus 26:31
  • Exodus 8:13-14

And so that is, it might say the opposite of a sweet-smelling odor, that smell of those rotting frogs, that smell of death. And so those are the Hebrew and Greek terms that apply to what we're talking about.

The Aroma of the Gospel?

But as we get back to the text, we see the aroma of the gospel.

  • 2 Corinthians 2:14

It is to make it manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place, the savor of His knowledge, the knowledge of God, the word of God, the gospel. He's talking about the savor of the gospel. The gospel brings triumph over sin and death. It says there, thanks be to God was causes up the triumph in Christ.

And so basically, what it is the saying is, thanks be to God for always leading us in triumph and for making manifest the aroma of his knowledge through us in every place.

In second Corinthians chapter two, verse 14, the, the New King James, words this a little different says now, thanks be to God who always leading us in triumph in Christ. And through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. And the English standard version says, but thanks be to God who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession. And through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

And so the thing about smells and aromas and fragrances is that they are pervasive. They surround, they suffused and they penetrate everywhere and they also linger. They take a while to fade away.

The gospel is like that the knowledge of God is also like that the beauty of the gospel is fragrant.

It is pervasive. It surrounds, it penetrates. It's the suffuses, all who receive it with an honest and good hearts and it lingers in their hearts and minds.

How is the Gospel Like a Fragrance?

And so how is the gospel like a fragrance or aroma? Again, as we said, it's it is pervasive or widespread. It is found in every place.

  • Titus 2:11-12
  • Matthew 28:19
  • Mark 16:15

You think about, the profound effect that the gospel, the influence of the gospel, has upon our world. Now you talked to the people today in our modern society and, and they say, well, everything bad is because of the Christian. Everything that is bad in our society, they try to blame on the Christian faith.

They fail to understand what the world would be like if the Christian faith had not appeared in this world. It has had a great influence upon the world of positive influence on everyone. When the gospel is spread influences the world. The gospel will never fade. It remains unchanged.

  • Matthew 24:35

The fragrance of the gospel leads one to faith and to righteousness and thus, to be pleasing to God as is to be, a sweet-smelling, savor unto the Lord.

The Sweet Scent of Faith

  • 2 Corinthians 2:15

We are in God's sweet savor of Christ. You know, as were the burnt offerings of the Old Testament, our offerings today, please God, our offering of faith today, pleases G.

When we bring our lives to God and faith, our living sacrifices, are a sweet savor.

  • Psalms 4:5
  • Romans 12:1
  • Psalm 51:17-19

King David, of course, after his sin and his repentance from his sin with Bathsheba, made this statement in Psalms.

God wants us to sacrifice ourselves, a living sacrifice. The sacrifice he wants is a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

He wants our will surrendered to his will.

  • James 4:13

We are to do everything that we do. And according to God's will to surrender our will to his, even as Jesus said in the garden, not what I will, but as thou will. He wants a surrendered life.

Our offering itself must be sincere and from the heart must be without hypocrisy. 

  • Matthew 15:7-8

We're to be without hypocrisy. You know, what we do and sacrifice to God is not to be done, to be seen by men.

  • Matthew 6:1

Notice the motive was to be seen to them. Otherwise, you have no reward from your father, which is in Heaven. He goes on and talks about it in verse five in the context of giving and in verse 16 or the context of fasting. 

We're not to do what we do just to be seen by men. You know, we must have our hearts right.

  • Acts 8:21

Peter rebukes that one formerly known as Simon the Sorcerer, he says he, now has neither part nor lot in this matter for the heart is not right in the sight of the Lord.

You know, everything we do must be motivated with the right attitude. Just as God's faithful ones smell sweet in his nostrils the lack of faithfulness among his children has an awful stink to him. When God's people turned away from him, their sweet savor turned bitter. 

Amos wrote to the Northern kingdom of Israel.

  • Amos 5:21-22
  • Jeremiah 6:10-12, 13-15, 16-20

Their apostasy made it so that they could not worship God in an appropriate way. They could not worship God in a way that He would accept. When you add unto, or you take away from God's word, when you stray from the path of God's righteousness, your worship is unacceptable to God. They're no longer a sweet savor unto the Lord.

We live in a world like that today. Don't we? We live in a world that is characterized by all of these things. The word of God is a reproach. People are driven by materialism and greed. There is no sense of shame. There is false teaching rapidly everywhere, and people just flat refuse to walk in God's way.

That's the world we live in today.

But what about my faith? What about your faith? Will our faith shine forth?

  • Philippians 2:15-16

Is our sense, our fragrance, a sweet-smelling, savor, unto God? 

  • 2 Corinthians 2:16

 You know, if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then surely fragrance is in the nose of the smeller.

And so, you know, isn't it funny how, how something that smells good to one person stinks as far as another is concerned. I love the smell of coffee. But, some people hate it. I lived in Hawaii. I had some Korean neighbors and they were always cooking kimchi. I hate the smell of kimchi. That stuff is horrible smelling, but my neighbors in Hawaii thought it was a heavenly scent. And so a fragrance is in the nose of the smeller.

With our lives lived before others, lived in the gospel before others, it is the same way. To some people., , the message of God is not a sweet savor. To some it is a blessing to others it is a curse. 

In Deuteronomy 28, he pronounced the blessings of obedience, versus the cursing for disobedience.

You know, the gospel though, it convicts, it leads some to repentance and it leads some to eternal life.

  • Acts 2:37

It says now when they heard this, they heard the gospel message. It says they were pricked in the heart and they said men and brethren, what shall we do?

It leads some to repentance and eternal life.

Peter said, repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. And you shall receive the gift of the holy ghost. And in verse 41, it says that 3000 and on that day, obeyed the gospel. To them, it was the sin of life. To others, it is rejection and eternal damnation.

"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord." — Romans 6:23

So to reject the gospel is to judge oneself unworthy.

  • Acts 13:14-16

He goes on to preach the gospel, and many responded to the gospel. The Jews were filled with envy, in verse 45. In verses 46 to 48, Paul makes this pronouncement upon them. 

He said they had judged himself unworthy of eternal life in rejecting the gospel. And so, the only remedy for the problem of sin is the gospel. To reject the gospel is to embrace death. To the spiritually dead who reject the gospel, it becomes the savor of eternal damnation. And so that is the gospel to some is a sweet smell of life to others it is the scent of death.

You know, with some people though, their only exposure to the gospel may be through you. Your life, maybe the only gospel sermon they ever hear. And so what kind of sermon would it be? How would the gospel of your life smell to those around you? Would it be the sweet scent of faith or would it leave a stink in their nostrils? That's the question.

  •  Genesis 34:30

He says, and I being few in number. They shall gather themselves together against me and slay me. And I shall be destroyed. I and my house. he says you cause me to be a stink among the inhabitants of the land.

You think about the influence that they could have had for God in that area, uh, certainly is now dead because they stunk in the nostrils of those people.

And so your influence in this world can either be detrimental to the spiritual being of others, or it can have a positive impact on the life of many.

So let us strive to be the embodiment of what Jesus describes.

  • Matthew 5:13-16 

And so let us be salt and light. Let us show others the way. Let us help them to have the sweet scent of faith. Then, and only then can we truly be a sweet savor unto God?

Today, we urge you to put on Christ in baptism. If you're not a Christian, we urge you, we implore you to be baptized for the remission of your sins and be added to the body of Christ.

If you're here today, as one who has been a Christian but has not been faithfully walking that path, we urge you to repent also. 

If we can assist you in being a sweet-smelling savor unto the Lord, by acting in faithful obedience, we invite you to contact us

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