Please put lunch after church on Sunday October 16 in your diary! John Warner from Bush Church Aid will be preaching from 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 which describes Christians as the ‘aroma of Christ’. John and I thought a perfect sermon illustration would be to have the wonderful aroma of curry wafting through the building during church! But more than just smelling curry, let’s enjoy eating it together, which will also be a great opportunity to catch up with John and Geetha too. (For those of you who don’t know the Warner’s history at Brighton: John and Geetha planted our church 16 years ago, so it’s a real treat to have them visiting us)
2 Corinthians 2:14-17 says that we are a pleasing aroma to God, but the reaction that other people have to our ‘eau de gospel’ will vary considerably: “we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.” It’s a vivid way of describing the polarising impact of the gospel. And if you’ve been reading the news in the last 24 hours you might have noticed how that has come up in the public sphere this week. Andrew Thorburn was announced as the new CEO of the Essendon Football Club on Monday, and promptly tended his resignation on Tuesday before he’d even started work. While his corporate leadership credentials are not in question (he was previously CEO of NAB), the Essendon board backtracked on the appointment because they became aware that Thorburn serves on the board of City on a Hill church, which is on the public record as holding a biblical view on issues such as sexuality and abortion. For some context, City on a Hill are an evangelical church planting network very similar to Trinity. Mr Thorburn has reiterated his respect for all people but said that he was being forced to compromise “beyond a level that my conscience allowed.” (see his full statement here)
No doubt there will be plenty of media commentary on this to come, but perhaps it also provides an opportunity to chat with colleagues and friends about what it means to hold different views with grace and respect. This statement by City on a Hill provides a helpful framework for how you might think, pray and speak about this.
Our time in the book of Esther has reminded us that it has always been hard for God’s people to maintain their identity while living in the Empire of the World. 2 Corinthians 2 will challenge us to make sure that if we’re on the nose, it’s not because we’re being rude, but because we stand firm in the gospel truth that Jesus is Lord. For some people that will just stink. And the challenge is not to lose confidence, or withdraw into our shell, or lash out in anger. But the challenge really matters, because for those being saved, the aroma of Christ is the very fragrance of life: life to the full and life for all eternity.
Praise God for Jesus!
Trinity Church Brighton
0401 387 908