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   Fragrance of Christ    
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
   1 Corinthians2:15


[1 Corinthians 2: 15]
"For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;"


It is said that the most fragrant original essence for perfumes of the rose is extracted from the roses that bloom in the Balkan[] Mountains in Bulgaria.
It is said that the coldest place where roses are still able to survive is in the Balkan Mountains.
The time when the roses are collected is very interesting. They collect the roses in the early morning, which is the coldest time of the day.
It's because the fragrance of the original essence is the strongest when the roses are collected at this time.
It means the strongest fragrance is produced during the coldest and most difficult hours.
The title of today's message is 'The Fragrance of Christ,' and this fragrance was also made while Jesus went through the most difficult and painful times in a physical sense.
The roses of the Balkans are the best for their fragrance, and likewise Jesus is the original essence of the fragrance of Christ.
The original solution of perfumes is very strong even with a small amount. To give out the fragrance of Christ is required of those of us who believe in the Lord.
Through this message, I would like you to check how thick and strong is the aroma of Christ you are giving out.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, then, what kind of fragrance is the fragrance of Christ? First, it is the fragrance of humbleness and service.
Jesus performed countless signs and wonders with the power of the Holy Spirit.
He healed people with various sicknesses and restored fullness to the blind, mute, lame, and demon-possessed.
In order to experience this power of God there were some people who would run to wherever Jesus was whenever they heard of his whereabouts, and Jesus showed that He is the Son of God through manifestation of the powerful works of God.
That is why He said in John 14:11, "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves."
Jesus came to this earth with the duty to become the Savior. That is why He had to show that He is the Son of God and the Savior, so people could believe Him.
When people heard about Jesus, what kind of person did they think He was?
Some of them thought that they would be able to feel the strong power and authority that came from Him since He was manifesting such amazing works that were impossible by men.

Of course, Jesus had spiritual authority and dignity, but what people actually felt when they met Him was His humbleness and service.
It is just as Matthew 20:28 says, "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Jesus treated everyone who came to Him with His true heart.
Because so many people came to Him, He sometimes couldn't eat or sleep.
One time people brought their children to Jesus with a hope that He might pray for them, but His disciples stopped them.
But then Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Though He performed wondrous works, He did not exalt himself but served others humbly.
Those who met this Jesus felt the deep fragrance of the heart of Jesus. The aroma of the humbleness and the service moved and changed the hearts of men.
Namely, they received the strength to practice the word of life that Jesus was preaching.
Brothers and sisters, we've never met Jesus in person.
But we know very well how He humbled Himself and served even the sinners.
He is God in origin, but to become the Savior and to save sinners, He came down to this earth and put on human flesh.
He served the poor souls and He served to the point of giving His life as the atoning sacrifice. We gained eternal life through this humbleness and service.
So, when we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and have become united with Him, we should also give out His fragrance.
Since we have become one with the Lord, who has shown us the example of the greatest humbleness and service, we ought to give out this fragrance of humbleness and service.
We must be able to let the others feel that we are humble and we serve them very well.
It shouldn't be done by force, or from good education, but we have to give out the fragrance of humbleness and service naturally from our hearts.
Only then can we cause the hearts of others to open and gain trust from them.
Only when we gain the heart of others can we also plant the gospel in their hearts.
Once they put their trust in us, it is no longer easy for them to deny or ignore what we preach to them and they will keep it in mind.
If we give out the fragrance of Christ with humbleness and service, even the unbelievers whom you meet in your work or other places will respect you.
We have humbled ourselves and served others, and as a result we are respected and served. This is in the truth and the justice of God.
Even before I came to believe in God, I put this kind of truth in my heart through the teachings of my parents.
My parents used to live in the town of Muan in Jeonnam province. Later they moved to Jangsung when I was three.
The village they moved to was a place where only people with the family name 'Chun' lived.
Since we moved there with the family name 'Lee', it wasn't easy to get along with them well.
However, as I was growing up, a rich family that was running an orchard there was very nice to my family.
When they had some fruit, they would just give them to us. When my mother or I went to the orchard, they were very nice to us.
When I was in the elementary school, I asked my mother the reason why. "Mom, they are not even our relatives, and why are they so nice to us?"
Then my mother told me a story.
In the countryside people need the power of manual labor, and since they had an orchard, they needed many workers.
My mother also worked there sometimes, and once she was a little late to the work.
Then the owner of the orchard was very angry and he even spoke foul language.
He was saying that all other people showed up on time for work, but it was a person who came from another place who came to the work late. He told my mother to go away.
But even after hearing that, she just kept quiet and worked. She worked a little harder than others who came to work on time.
She actually did more work than others and her work was a better quality.
Then, the anger of the owner toward my mother changed into favorable attitude.
When the work was finished, along with his apology, he praised my mother.
He said, "I made a mistake in the morning. I said bad things to you since I was angry at the moment when you were late. But I want to be on good terms with you."
From that time on when my mother went to that house, they welcomed her warmly and gave her fruit and so on. A very good relationship developed between them.
When I heard this story, I remembered it. "Oh, I should not give any excuses when I have done something wrong. I have to just endure it with a smile, then the unfavorable situation will become favorable."
But there are some people who, even though they have done something wrong, get offended and think their feelings are hurt when they hear some reprimanding.
Also, if people cannot just accept the advice given to them with good feelings, it is because they did not humble their hearts.
Because they want to be acknowledged and served, they don't want to hear a rebuke nor do they want any shortcomings brought to their attention.
Jesus was mocked, ridiculed and was treated contemptuously even though he was completely innocent.
He received the punishment of the cross in the place of sinners.
We have to resemble this Jesus. To humble ourselves when we have done something wrong is something we ought to do.
And Christians should always serve others with a humble heart. Then we will give out the fragrance of Christ.
Suppose your husband, wife, children, friends, neighbors, or colleagues are saying something that you cannot understand at all.
Then, in most cases, you will make the judgment on the basis of your standpoint and reply.
This is the case in which you put yourself higher than others, not humbling yourself.
If you make a judgment this way, most of the time it is wrong. That is why feelings are hurt and quarrels may rise.
If we humble ourselves and try to understand the hearts of others, then we will not have any conflicts. Also, to understand others well, it is very important to listen until the end of what they are saying.
Then we will be able to understand not just the words spoken by others but also understand the heart behind the words spoken.
If we can feel their desire to be loved, to be recognized, and their desire to do better, then we can give them the right answer.
The mothers will understand their babies very well even though the babies cannot speak.
New born babies cannot really speak.
Their expressions are limited to just some mumbling and crying.
But the mothers understand what their babies want when they hear the sound of the voice of their babies.
They understand whether they are hungry, or they want their mother to hug them, or they want the diapers changed, or they want to play.
It's because the mothers only want to serve and care for their babies.
The mothers do not insist that their babies understand their thinking. They don't try to be served as mothers by their babies. They only try to serve.
Why don't you just serve your husband, wife, and children with this kind of attitude? Then, you will feel they are lovely even when they complain, fret, or even get angry at you.
You might have had conflicts before, but now the heart of your family members will change because of your service and acceptance.
It's the same with the family members in faith. If you think you have greater and better faith than other family members, then serve those who have weaker faith with the generous heart of a mother.
If you serve others that way, you will give out the fragrance of Christ, and this fragrance will touch the heart of others.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the fragrance of the Christ gives out the fragrance of love.
What is the biggest reason that the apostles Paul and Peter could change?
Peter denied Jesus three times, but Jesus never forsook Peter.
But rather, He understood his weaknesses, forgave him, and strengthened him again.
This love of the Lord changed and renewed Peter completely.
Paul at one time pursued and persecuted those who believed in the Lord Jesus.
But the Lord Himself met him, forgave him, and made him His apostle. This love of the Lord changed the heart of Paul.
It's the same with us. Wasn't it the love of the cross of the Lord that melted our heart when we first met the Lord?
The Lord sacrificed Himself completely for us when we didn't even know Him or believe in Him. But now we shed so many tears with the thanks for His love.
If this love of the Lord is shown through you, other people will sense the fragrance of Christ coming from you.
It's the love that doesn't want anything in return. It is the love that continually gives without sparing and that has no envy or jealousy when others are well-off. It is the love that rejoices completely with the truth and forgives even those who harm us. It is the love of the Lord who has forgiven our sins and iniquities.
Through you believers who give out this kind of aroma, others can be touched and changed.
Spiritual love can melt even the hearts that are as cold as ice. It can melt down hardened hearts.
Those who give out this kind of spiritual love will be loved by others, too.
Is there anyone among you who thinks, "Why am I not loved by others? Is it because my physical appearance or my social status is not good enough?"
For example, if you think you are not loved by others because you are not pretty, you are not rich, or you are not talented, then, it is not right.
On the other hand, if you are loved by others only because your physical attributes are good, it is not good either. Those conditions are only shells.
How foolish it is to expect others to love you seeing you only physically!
You should want them to love your soul, which is your essence.
Also, if you are loved by others because of physical attributes, it is meaningless love.
That love cannot last for a long time.
If the conditions change, or when they see somebody else who looks better, then, their mind can change very easily.

Now, then, what do we have to do to receive unchanging and true love?
Our spirit, which is the essence of our being, has to change to become lovely.
If we have good hearts that have no evilness, hearts of spirit that have no fleshly character, and we have hearts that give out the fragrance of Christ, we will definitely be loved by others.
The aroma of love that comes out from the heart of spirit touches everybody.
Because they feel the gentleness, warmth, and the truthfulness, they will naturally open their heart towards those who give out such an aroma.
Then, they will also give the love from the depth of their heart.
True love is to care for even the physical things of the other person because you love the spirit of that person so much.
God the Father too loves not our appearances but our spirits.
It's the same with the shepherd who loves his flock and does not see the physical natures of each of the members.
He loves them because they are precious souls who are sent by God the Father.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in this message, I talked to you about the aroma of Christ in two aspects.
First is the fragrance of humbleness and service, and the second is the fragrance of love.
Today's reading passage 2 Corinthians 2:15 says, "For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;"
How touched we were and how happy we were when we could smell the fragrance of humbleness and service of Jesus and the deep aroma of His love!
Our hearts are touched even now and tears begin to well up when we think of His love and service.
Because that fragrance was so strong, it has not been changed even for 2,000 years, and it will never change forever.
We should be able to give out this kind of fragrance of Christ. We should give it out to the families in faith and especially to the unbelievers in the world.
We should lead them to have the eternal happiness along with us.
Tomorrow is the Lunar New Year. It's a good chance to give out the fragrance of Christ.
I urge you to give out the thick aroma of Christ in humbleness and service and true love.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be loved by God the Father even more and also be loved by many people.

I wish you happy holidays and happy Lunar New Year!