Releasing together the fragrance of Christ should be the highest aim for a community of believers. The active, living expression of the Person of Christ should be at work whenever and wherever true believers are found. Only the active, living expression of the Lord through His Body in this present age can change lives and release the supernatural while maintaining unity and agreement among us.
As the people of God we must face the truth. If we are not “Releasing Together the Fragrance of Christ,” we are not mature carriers of Christ. When as a community we can release Christ in an atmosphere of love, it will be proof that we have the antidote for this sick world because transformation and healing of our society will be the natural result.
The Right Information
For years we were bombarded with “How-to” sermons and recipes. Even today in the organic, simple-church world, some prefer to lead with the mechanics or methodology, but this is baggage leftover from the religious system.
The perfect recipe will not produce Christ any more than the perfect message or the perfect Gospel will produce the perfect Christian. The Body of Christ is a community of carriers of a Person, not a community of people carrying the right information about a person. The modern church with the “right” information has done little or nothing to transform this society. What the modern church has done well is to divide and weaken itself repeatedly over whose got the right information.
What am I saying, you ask? I am saying that the modern “believer” today knows much more about Christ than their first century counterparts, yet they are ineffective to transform this society. Why did the first century believers turn their world upside down? The answer to that question is found in the fact that the first disciples actually and experientially knew Him better than we do today although they had never seen Him and had no Bibles.
The reason for this disparity is because the Lord Jesus did not leave a “how to” manual, but instead, left us Himself in the Person of the Holy Spirit. We are carriers of His Spirit and of His Person, not of His information. This world is sick and tired of religious babblers claiming to have the right information, but when you get near them, you get the odor of man instead of the Fragrance of Christ.
The perfect theology is a Person.
The centrality of Christ is more than a doctrine; it is a Person.
Now that you understand that I am not pleading for the right information but the right Person, maybe we can look at the process for releasing Christ in this world.
In Search of a Community of Carriers
A community of carrying and caring believers is like a song that reminds you of a person, and that Person is the Lord Jesus Christ. A community is like an orchestra where all are in tune and under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. A community is like a dance where a group of believers are dancing together and in step with one partner, the Lord Jesus Christ. A community is like a fragrance factory where inside all believers are functioning in their gifts and at the end of the assembly line, there is only one product – the aroma of the Lord Jesus Christ.
These things are all beautiful, but why has it been so difficult to reproduce? Why do we repeatedly have to deal with the nasty stench of man to ruin the fragrance? I believe it’s because only His love present in His people can be the intervening substance in which Christ is presented to this world. His love in us is the only carrier of His fragrance. Thus “for God so Loved” has become THE focus and priority to emulate and not just the beginning of John 3:16.
Paul said it best in 2 Cor 2:14-16
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?
Paul is saying, what a huge responsibility to be carriers together in a community of such a powerful and world-changing fragrance. Who feels sufficient for such things?
As the people of God, we have been good with information, but we have been terrible at being carriers of His loving nature. You can have the best vaccine for the cure, but if it isn’t presented properly into the sick host it will be rejected. Sadly, our actions as supposed followers of Christ have not produced much community which in turn has had little or no influence on the culture.
Because of this some have given up and retreated into spiritual isolation. Most of these believers say, “I don’t see real community, so I am just going to focus on prayer and loving Christ.” The problem is Christ has a Body and at best, even fully functioning, we are only one member of that Body.
If we are going to have a greater effect on this society, we are going to have to dig deeper than most institutional church calisthenics and face the man in the mirror.
The Real Problem
How can we say we love God and not others?
How can we say we have spent time in His presence and not have His heartbeat?
How can we say we know His Word but not know the Author and thus be a Living Example of that Word ?
How can we say we have worshiped and gazed into His eyes and not seen the tears and what is breaking his heart?
Why is it easier to go on mission trips than to love those around us?
Why is it easier to write a check to some “successful” ministry than to help the “unsuccessful” brother next to us?
1 John 3:17
17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
How can we be so deceived?
How can we continue in our self-righteousness, selfish, self-centered lifestyle?
How dare we call ourselves lovers of God if we are not lovers of ALL of God’s children?
We don’t need a conference on How to do Organic Church or How to find Community. We need to be honest with ourselves, give up our useless rituals, and relearn to abide in Him. As we abide in Him, the natural result will be to love others and then to learn to abide with each other. Then and only then will we be carriers releasing together the Fragrance of Christ to this dying world.
Engage the Process To release together the Fragrance of Christ
For this to happen we must engage in the process. If you are waiting to find the perfect group that thinks just like you think and has the same priorities, you are doomed before you begin. Our King is a Creator and He enjoys reflecting His diversity.
As Mike Bickle has said when speaking about the church, “In the coming years we must build the ship while at sea”. You can’t learn to love without allowing others near. We must pay the price to love even if in loving others we are betrayed and misunderstood. There is no other way. We mature together as a Body fully functioning in our gifts, or we remain Sunday spectators claiming to know a Christ that we have invented. People will pray with you, they will give to you, and even call you their friend, but will they walk with you in your mess?
For those really wishing for a loving Church, real community, more of Christ resulting in a stronger faith, things in their life, things cannot remain as they have been. Join in with other believers and begin Releasing Together the Fragrance of Christ.
I challenge you to engage the process at all cost, to love and to be loved by His Body.
Jose L. Bosque
5 Reasons why Fellowship with Others eludes us by Chip Brogden
Excellent and essential insights. This will be the substance of our September Gathering.