Living Like Christ: Fragrance of Christ

2 Corinthians 2:14-17; Ephesians 5:1-2

I want you to close your eyes and take in the smell
that surrounds you. What does this smell remind
you of?

When I was in college my mom would send me care
packages frequently and she would almost always
include a variety of cookies. It would immediately
remind me of coming down the stairs from my
room and seeing the kitchen table full of delicious
homemade cookies.

Experts say that memories triggered by smells are
clearer, more intense and more emotional.

Today we continue our Living Like Christ series.
Our topic for today is how we should be the fragrance of
Christ in the world.
We have two key texts this morning.
2 Corinthians 2:14-17 and Ephesians 5:1-2

Let’s begin with prayer.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17

Paul is thankful to God for the transformation that
happened in Corinth. The believers there had been
transformed. They were once disobedient and
destructive, but now they have been renewed through
their repentance because of Christ.
In chapter 7 Paul mentions how Titus delivered the good
news to him about the believers at Corinth.

Here in chapter 2 he thanks God for leading them in
triumph in Christ. He explains that the triumph is
displayed through the sweet aroma of the knowledge of
Him in every place.

To understand what he is writing about we have to
understand a Roman victory parade.

When a king would come back from war he would enter
the city on his horse with a chariot following and behind
that he would have the captured men bound in chains.
These men would either be forced to fight animals or
killed. The parade would also include a fragrant smelling

People responded to this aroma very differently.

To those who were with the conquering king, it was the
Aroma of Salvation
They saw the king, smelled the incense and were
reminded that the king was their king and he took care of
them. He loved them and wanted them to have
everything good and healthy.

Now think of how people view us when we talk about God
For those of us who have already been saved by grace
through faith in Christ, the gospel is a sweet thing for
them to hear. It is a great reminder of God’s love and His
forgiveness. When believers hear it they often think of
the moment of their salvation and how grateful they are
that He saved a wretch like them.
It’s the aroma of life.
We have new life in Christ. Hearing the gospel is the
reminder that Christ has conquered the grave and He is
alive seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven.

And He’s coming back one day!!

To those who were against the conquering king, it was the
Aroma of Separation
They smelled the incense and thought of how terrible
things were for them. They had been captured, taken
from their home and brought to a foreign place to be put
to death. It was the aroma of death to them!

Now, think about how some people respond when we
share Christ with them.

To some, it is a hideous smell.
They know they have sinned, but aren’t at a place where
they are willing to turn from their sin. They are either
comfortable in their sin or they don’t believe they are
worthy of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

For them they smell death and eternal separation from
God. What a sad thought that good news could cause
such a reaction in people.

It’s interesting how the same smell can cause two
completely different reactions.

In v.17 Paul compares those who preach the gospel with
sincerity with those who preach it for Selfish gain.

Sadly, there are people who preach the word improperly.
NASB translates it, peddling the word, with a footnote
that peddling could also be translated as corrupting.
That’s a great way to think of it. If we don’t preach the
whole Bible or if we don’t preach verses in context we are
corrupting the word. It’s dangerous and deceitful. Those
who do it will be judged for their actions.

Aroma of Sincerity
God desires for the gospel to be preached from sincerity.

God’s desire is for all to come to repentance. He is loving
and kind and doesn’t want anyone to be separated from
Him. However, He is just and will not allow those who
reject Him to enter His presence.

Now, let’s turn to the 5th chapter of Ephesians
Ephesians 5:1-2

Here Paul is exhorting his reader to imitate God who
showed His love through the offering and sacrifice of
Christ on the cross, as a fragrant aroma.

Aroma of Sacrifice
As always, Christ is our perfect model.
He came to earth to show us how to give our life as a

He sacrificed His comfort to serve others. He washed the
feet of the disciples. He helped the least of these with
their various maladies: leprosy, blindness, demons,
deafness, lameness, and many others.

Christ came to fulfill the OT law of sacrifice and offerings.
There were many different types of offerings.
Some required blood, others didn’t
1st fruits, meat and drink, incense – no blood
Burnt offering, peace offering, sin and trespass offering –
blood required

Jesus came to be the full and final sacrificial offering.
He was the spotless lamb that was slain to cover the sin
of mankind. Thankfully, because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the
cross, we don’t have to slaughter animals every time we
sin. His blood covers all of our sin.

But that doesn’t mean that we get to live however we
want to. Paul writes in Romans 12:1 that we are to be a
living sacrifice. That means we have to take up our cross
each and every day and die to ourselves and live for Him.


Both of the Scriptures we studied this morning were
wrapped around the theme of love.

Our application this morning is to
be the Aroma of Love in the world.

God has given us the Holy Spirit so that we can live like
As we imitate Him we will be displaying the attributes of
God that we have already talked about throughout this
We will love like Him
We will be holy like Him
We will forgive like Him
We will evangelize like Him
We will be humble like Him