God uses Christians to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere. It spreads like the fragrance of a sweet perfume. Not everyone though, recognizes the same aroma. To some it is a wretched stench. These are people who want nothing to do with Christianity. The Bible tells us how to respond when we are rejected for sharing the gospel.
To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. 2 Corinthians 2:16
One Sunday morning, the men of our church cooked and served a nice pre-service breakfast. I heard some people raving about the scrapple that one of the guys had prepared. I did not have any. The reason? I’ve tried scrapple before.
I have tried some that was supposed to be excellent, and I did not like it. In my mind, I wondered how in the world anyone can like that stuff. There are people of the world that view Christianity with the same attitude that I have about scrapple.
In this portion of scripture, Paul used fragrances to illustrate how the gospel is spread and how Christians are viewed. He started the conversation by saying that God uses Christians to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere. It spreads like the fragrance of a sweet perfume.
Why People Respond the Way They Do
Our verse for today gives two results of the same aroma. Those who are not saved smell the stench of death in us. Those who are being saved smell the unmistakable scent of life from the people who are sharing the gospel.
What makes the difference? Have you ever shared the gospel with someone or even your testimony and they totally brushed you off? You felt personally rejected, didn’t you? They were not however, rejecting you but your message of the Lord.
Read this related post on rejection called, When The Gospel Message Is Rejected.
The Holy Spirit is a gentleman and will not force Himself on anyone. A person who smells the sweet aroma, has allowed to Holy Spirit into their life with the message of Jesus. The person who rejects the message altogether only receives a stench in their spiritual nostrils.
I wrote another post that you maybe interested in reading called Everyone from the Least to the Greatest Will Know the Lord!
Dealing when You’re rejected for sharing the gospel.
So how do we reach people who are perishing when they only get from us a dreadful smell of death and doom? There are at least two ways. The first and the major way is to pray for the person you are trying to reach.
In 2 Corinthians chapter 4 it tells us, Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
When we understand that this is a spiritual battle, we can be more objective in our reaction of the rejection. Because we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
So, it is important that we pray for those we want to see come to the Lord.
Along with the first way, the other major way we can reach an unsaved person is by our lifestyle. If the person won’t hear what you have to say then let them see your Christianity in action. Paul and Silas were locked up when God shook the jail and loosed all the prisoners.
The jailer was going to kill himself because the prisoners were free to escape. Instead of escaping though, Paul told the jailer that they were all still there.
Because of the Christian testimony of Paul and Silas, the jailer instead, scripture tells us, (he) then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30
Our Motive for Sharing the Gospel
Paul ends this chapter talking about our motive for sharing the gospel with others. He says in verse 17, For unlike so many, we are not peddlers of God’s Word who water down the message. We are those sent from God with pure motives, who speak in the sight of God from our union with Christ.
In other words, we are sharing the gospel because that’s what God wants us to do. You can’t get a more pure motive than that. Does that take you out of your comfort zone when rejected for sharing the gospel.
If it does, you might be interested in reading a post called When You’re Out of Your Comfort Zone, Trust God. It’s about when the disciples were put in an uncomfortable spot.
Lord, empower us with the Holy Spirit so our witness we will be effective to win others for the kingdom of God.
More on evangelism can be read at this post called How To Reach Lost People For The Kingdom Of God.
To read the entire second chapter of 2 Corinthians you can go here.
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