Smell Ya Later!

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My dear friend Kathleen always signs off her e-mails with “Smell ya later”.  I love her sense of humor and I think that is hysterical.  Believe it or not, this holds a tremendous lesson for those of us who are IN Christ!  Let me explain.

I had someone in my life that was very near and dear to me, and whom I cared for very much.  She wore a particular perfume that I liked.  Although I have not seen her for a few years, as soon as I come across that aroma, I am reminded of this person.  I will then often simply pray for her.  On the flip side, sometimes the odor and memory may not be so pleasant.  Amazing how an aroma can bring us back to a person, a place, etc.

This is why I love 2 Corinthians 2:14-15.  It says:   “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;” In context, Paul was referring to their ministry in Troas and Macedonia and the surrounding area.

This is true of YOU as well.  As you go about your day, living in dependence on Him, God will manifest (and probably has many, many times) THROUGH YOU the wonderfully sweet aroma of JESUS.  It is God doing the triumphing, and it is also God doing the manifesting.  Notice there is no mention of “being obedient” or “getting right with God” or any other Christian catch phrase. NO!  As we walk in a dependent love relationship with Jesus, others will catch a whiff of Him.

I can hear some of you asking, “We won’t give off a heavenly aroma if we just live like the devil.”  Interesting how we always want to go there.  It’s not about behavior but rather about identity.  First of all, to God, you ARE a sweet aroma…period! And the aroma is Jesus!!!

Those who are IN Christ (saved) have Christ IN them.  Thus the aroma of His presence will be released.  It is HIS work not ours.  Therefore, like cologne, I too can enjoy this wonderful heavenly fragrance of Jesus being manifested through me…..wow what a blessing!

In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul says that we HAVE become the righteousness of God IN Jesus.  So, when He sees me, He sees Jesus’ righteousness.  Therefore, when He gets a “whiff” of you, He (and the world) is actually smelling the sweet aroma of Jesus.  My dear friend, chew on that awhile.  We no longer have to work real hard trying to get ourselves “smellin good”.  We ARE the aroma of Jesus.  Enjoy it along with those being touched by it as well.

Rest in this truth!!!

So then, how can this wonderful fragrance be manifested more and more?  As we are being broken more and more, this sweet aroma of Jesus is released for more to enjoy.  It reminds me of the woman in Bethany who broke a vial of costly perfume.  The room was filled with this sweet perfume only AFTER it was broken.  Paul said in Romans 7:18, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh;” Let’s stop trying to clean up our “flesh”, and simply allow God to do His work in us (break us) and thereby manifesting HIS aroma through us.

Finally, there is another application I need to share.  When you are with your brother or sister in Christ, what do YOU smell?  Are you always focusing on their behavior and the outward appearance?  Or, like God, do you “smell” the sweet aroma of Jesus who dwells IN them?  Again, I am merely speaking of identity here.  There is always some aroma there….. take your time to get a whiff of it!

Gott go………SMELL YA LATER!!!!!

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Our Clarion Call!

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As we discovered last week, being a slave of Christ is probably the best way to define a Christian.  As believers, we truly are slaves of Jesus! Yet, you would never know it by the way many believers speak about their life in Christ.  We like to couch it in nice phrases to make it a bit more “palatable” to the world….but why?

When sharing our faith we often talk about the wonderful things that are in store for them (& it’s all true)…the blessings… having a plan for there life…spending eternity in heaven…it’s all about what’s in it for them…how about having a personal relationship with Jesus?  We always talk about the necessity of “having a relationship with Jesus.”  But wait, what kind of relationship do we have?

Our relationship with Jesus is that of Master (or Lord) and slave. The word that is translated as bond-servant is the word “doulos”.  Literally it means slave.  The word “doulos” ALWAYS refers to literal slavery or being enslaved to something inanimate (slave of sin, slave to greed, etc.).  It has lost its power & significance in scripture though, because translators have substituted other words like servant and bondservant.  I believe this was done because of lack of courage & conviction.  We must begin using the proper word when reading the Bible….slaves!

The reality is that we as believers in Jesus are defined by this word – doulos.  We saw last week a list of 10 people in the Bible who were referred to as douloi of the Lord Jesus.  We further saw how common this word was in the early church as it was used to describe Christians.

Therefore, as I said last week, when you tell someone about Jesus & ask them to make a decision, what are you really asking?  Folks you are asking them to become–a-slave.  Rom. 10:9 “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” It is clear that a person can not be saved unless they are surrendered to Jesus as Lord!  This automatically assumes there is a slave doesn’t it?

Does that make you a bit uncomfortable?  Well it shouldn’t! Why? Because the master of the slave is what makes the difference, and my friends we have an amazingly wonderful & precious Master in Jesus!!!

Do you see the contrast? It all depends on WHO your master is.  Not IF you are a slave, but rather to whom! Everyone in the world is either a slave of sin & death or of righteousness & life which leads to freedom!  In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said, “No man can be a slave to two masters.”

 

The Phrase “Jesus is Lord” is truly our clarion call & identity of our lives!

 

 

THE BEST TITLE FOR A CHRISTIAN!

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In the book of Galatians, Paul clearly and passionately defends the gospel and his ministry as an apostle.  The overall message of the book is LIBERTY!

In my last post we discovered that Paul spoke with so much conviction because he saw himself as a bond-servant of Christ.  Well, I wanted to clarify this point.

The Greek word for “bond-servant” is doulos.  Whenever this word is used in both the bible and in secular writing it is unequivocally used to refer to a literal SLAVE!  We use words like “servant”, “bond-servant”, “bond-slave, etc. to translate doulos, and I think this is tragic.

My dear friend if you are IN Christ, then you ARE a slave of Christ.  The bible also calls us slaves of righteousness (Rom. 6:18-19.)  Therefore, when telling others about Jesus, shouldn’t we be asking, “So, do you want to be a slave of Christ?”  Or if we are talking to someone and want to find out there spiritual condition, couldn’t we ask, “So, are you a slave of Christ?”

I know it sounds funny, but I’m making a point.  I believe we’ve distorted and white-washed the truth of what it means to be a Christian. 

As a slave of Christ, my identity IS Him; my desires ARE His desires (literally); my interests ARE His interests; my will is His will.  Do you get the picture?  A slave is CONSUMED with the master, and is ready to obey…(obedience born out of love for the masterJ).

When a person who is truly born again lives like this, then and only then will they experience His life, His power, His fruit!  May we today live the Normal Christian Life by living as a slave of Jesus!!!