by Paul Briggs
"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." (2 Corinthians 2:14-15, ESV)
The gospel demands a response of the heart to the work the Lord has done on behalf of his people. A response must be given; the quesion is not whether or not we will respond, but how. Countering negatively, apathetically, or creatively is, in fact, a response, but not a fitting one for "those who are being saved." What sort of response ought we to have to this good news of the coming of Jesus to save his people from their sin?
"Spread[ing] the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere…" This is the immense privilege of the individual who has trusted in Christ: to respond to the work he initiated in our lives by making him known in the world. But this is not an individual assignment! As members of the body of Christ, we gather as the church to collectively live this privilege of knowing him and making him known where he has placed us and beyond.
Great joy comes from being part of a body of believers characterized by its responsiveness. What a blessing to not have to think hard about illustrating what it means to be a "Responsive Church." A responsive church is one that, out of hearts transformed by the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ, reacts willingly and joyfully to needs and opportunities that arise. Kossuth Street Baptist Church is a church like this! Time and again it has been a joy to witness, hear about, and tell stories of God’s people at Kossuth who, when they hear about a need, eagerly and cheerfully seek to be involved in meeting that need!
Here are a few recent examples:
- As usually happens every year, we hear of incoming Purdue students who need temporary housing. The need for host families was made known in the church bulletin on a Sunday. Before the service had even begun, a family had volunteered their home to host a student who was arriving from the other side of the world ten days before his apartment would be available. Guess what happened?! During the course of those ten days of gracious and generous hospitality, the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus was spread!
- Early last month, Kossuth held the Great Giveaway event. This event is an opportunity to invite people from our community into our lives through the provision of donated household goods and clothing. In addition to those who donated items, a number of volunteers set up, were on hand to assist those coming to the event, and cleaned up afterward. Guess what happened at this event?! The fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus was spread some more!
- In the middle of last month, in the course of the announcements prior to the worship service, the KSBC family heard for the first time about an effort to raise money for brothers in Christ who had recently been evacuated from their home country due to political and religious unrest. Through Gospel partners who have been ministry friends for many years, this seemingly unconventional but sincere need was made known. A cup of cold water was needed immediately, and there was no time to dig a well to supply the water. Immediately following the worship service, people began asking, "What can I do?" and "Where can I send my check?" In the weeks since then, it has been a joy to receive texts like these from our ministry friends who are coordinating this effort:
"Many generous gifts coming in from KSBC folks… A blessing to see this outpouring of care and love for our [name of country] brothers."
"The KSBC checks just won’t stop! AMAZING!!! What a response!"
Guess what is happening as a result of the response to this need?! The fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus is being spread further!
- Salt & Light Christian Fellowship held its annual Harvest Party last Friday. This event includes having cookies and brownies on hand for the participants to enjoy throughout the evening of fun. Because the need for this had been made known at a community group, it was great to receive phone calls and text messages on the day of the event telling of the arrival of cookies and brownies! Guess what happened that evening with the help of these home-baked goodies? The fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus was spread even more!
These are only a few stories I could tell you from the past couple of months of responses I have personally experienced. Imagine how many other stories like this there are!
So how is the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus spread? Notice the two words in 2 Corinthians 2:14, “through us.” In his kindness, the Lord is pleased to use people like you and me to spread the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus as we respond to his patient and gracious work in our lives for his glory.
If after reading this you know you have been responsive to God’s work in your life, praise God for those opportunities and keep it up! If you are thinking that you wish you could be part of the action described above, take to heart the words of Hebrews 10:24, "Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works."
It is indeed a real blessing to be a part of Kossuth Street Baptist Church: a church characterized by responsiveness for God’s glory.