PARADE OF VICTORY

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2 Cor. 2:14-16 ¶ 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, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

You ever wonder about this verse in the Bible, what is Paul talking about? Actually he is comparing Christ’s triumph in our lives to the practice of the Roman armies after a great victory. The conquering Roman general would be the honored guest, much like a king in a Mardi Gras parade, and would be celebrated through the streets of vanquished city. Here is a description of this parade of triumph from Adam Clarke.

“On such occasions the general was usually clad in a rich purple robe, interwoven with figures of gold, setting forth the grandeur of his achievements; his buskins were beset with pearls, and he wore a crown, which at first was of laurel, but was afterwards of pure gold. In one hand he had a branch of laurel, the emblem of victory; and in the other, his truncheon. He was carried in a magnificent chariot, adorned with ivory and plates of gold, and usually drawn by two white horses… Musicians led up the procession, and played triumphal pieces in praise of the general; and these which were to be sacrificed on the occasion, with their horns gilded, and their heads and necks adorned with ribbons and garlands. Next followed carts loaded with the spoils taken from the enemy, with their horses, chariots, &c. These were followed by the kings, princes, or generals taken in the war, loaded with chains. Immediately after these came the triumphal chariot, before which, as it passed, the people strewed flowers, and shouted Io, triumphe! The triumphal chariot was followed by the senate; and the procession was closed by the priests and their attendants, with the different sacrificial utensils, and a white ox, which was to be the chief victim…During this time all the temples were opened, and every altar smoked with offerings and incense.”
Today, we are part of the Victory Parade. Christ is the conquering general, the devil and his minions are the vanquished foe, and we are the liberated people. We are also the fragrant aroma, our lives have the fragrance of Christ being released into our city as we join in His Victory parade. A parade speaks of celebration and victory. What kind of parade are you involved in? What victory are you celebrating? I am happy to be singing and dancing in Christ’s joyful procession.

ALWAYS VICTORY

2Cor. 2:14 ¶ 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.

 

 

Victory is the name of the church I have pastored since 1979. At this writing that has been over thirty six years. I don’t have room to tell the story today, but let’s just say God gave our church that name. Over these thirty six years I have come to appreciate and come to some different conclusions to what victory looks like. Think about Jesus for a moment; did it look like victory when he was betrayed by one of his disciples and forsaken by the rest? How about when He was drug by the temple guards to be tried by the Sanhedrin. Did it look like Victory when He was mocked by the foul Herod? And then there was the scene before Pilate, did Jesus look victorious when Pilate ridiculed Him, had Him beaten and mocked by the soldiers and then nailed to a cross. Jesus looked like an utter failure. When His cold, dead body was carried to the tomb, Christ appeared as the embodiment of defeat.

Then there was the Apostle Paul, surely he looked victorious. Let’s listen to his own words describing what his story looked like.  2Cor. 11:24-27 “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness”

 

So how is any of this victory and how does it relate to us? Christ clearly said His kingdom was not of this world. It was His suffering that purchased eternal victory for us. As for Paul, his suffering is a picture of how the world despises who we really are. What was his victory? His message was changing thousands of lives in his generation and his words are changing millions of lives today. So victory doesn’t like like man’s normal definition of victory. Paul has influenced more people than anyone in history; he spent the last few years of his life in a Roman prison. He was then beheaded for his faith. Don’t get so down on yourself for your so called little accomplishments. You are making more of a difference than you know.

 

 

MARDI GRAS PARADE

MARDI GRAS PARADE

2Cor. 2:14 ¶ 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.

Christians have a smell about them. To some, it is a sweet fragrance of life. It is the fragrance of resurrection and growth. It is comparable to spring time, everything is green and blossoming, new life is in the air. For others, christians seem to have a foul smell about them, it could be compared to the stink of death. It is all a matter of perspective. What are you smelling like today? Adam Clarke spoke about the Roman victory parades after a great Roman conquest. It makes me think of the Mardi Gras parades going on today in NOLA.
“A triumph, among the Romans, to which the apostle here alludes,
was a public and solemn honor conferred by them on a victorious
general, by allowing him a magnificent procession. He was
carried in a magnificent chariot, adorned with ivory and plates of
gold, and usually drawn by two white horses. Musicians led up the procession, and played triumphal pieces in praise of the general; and these were followed by young men, who led the victims which were to be sacrificed on the occasion, with their
horns gilded, and their heads and necks adorned with ribbons and garlands. Next followed carts loaded with the spoils taken from the enemy, with their horses, chariots, by the kings, princes, or generals taken in the war, loaded with chains. Immediately after these came the triumphal chariot, before which, as it passed, the people strewed flowers, and shouted lo le triumphe; the procession was followed by the priests and their attendants, with the different sacrificial utensils, and a white ox, which was to
be the chief victim. The people at Corinth were sufficiently acquainted with the
nature of a triumph: St. Paul had now a triumph (but of a widely different kind); his triumph was in Christ, and to Christ he gives all the glory; his sacrifice was that of thanksgiving to his Lord; and the incense offered on the occasion caused the savor of the knowledge of Christ to be manifested in every place. As the smoke of the
victims and incense offered on such an occasion would fill the whole city with their perfume, so the odor of the name and doctrine of Christ filled the whole of Corinth and the neighboring regions; and the apostles appeared as triumphing in
and through Christ, over devils, idols, superstition, ignorance, and vice, wherever they came.”

So all of us carry a fragrance on us. We tend to smell like the things we hang around. Some may have the smell of cigarettes, alcohol, or pot wafting around them. Others have a different kind of smell on them. Paul called it the fragrance of Christ. What an amazing thing, we have never seen Him but He effects every part of our lives. He even effects the way we smell. So today we are all “parading” through our city. The question that begs to be answered is this; what kind of fragrance are you spreading throughout the city?

THE GREATEST OF ALL PARADES

THE GREATEST OF ALL PARADES

In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance.
2 Cor.2:14 The Message

What is the greatest of all parades? Could it be a Rose Bowl parade, or maybe The Orange Bowl parade, or possible Carnival in Rio or maybe one of the Mardi Gras parades? None of those are even a close second to the greatest of all parades that is rolling right now! What is this spectacular parade? Of course it is the triumphal procession spoken of by Christ in today’s verse. It is the procession of His victorious sons and daughters on display for all of the world to see. This passage is a descriptive picture, painted by the Apostle Paul. He is using a scene very familiar to the people of Corinth, actually to the whole region that had come under the influence of the Roman Empire. The Romans would have a giant victory parade after conquering a new area. They would parade through the streets honoring the victorious general and his triumphant soldiers. They would also put on a display with the trophies, the slaves of the conquest. This is a picture of our victorious general, Jesus Christ. He is parading through the streets of the world in His celebration of victory over sin and it’s dominion over mankind. The trophies of His conquests are the liberated slaves of the former kingdom. Who are these trophies, those who have been born again, liberated from the lusts and sinful behavior of this present world. We were once slaves of this evil generation, but now we have been liberated, we are marching and dancing with Jesus in the greatest parade of all time, celebrating our liberation from the power of sin.
One of the greatest features of the Roman parade were the smells. The streets were filled with the special fragrance of victory. There were the sweet smells of the flowers, the incense, and the incredible aroma of the sacrifices offered in the streets. To those who rejoiced at the Roman conquest it was a smell of victory, to those who were not rejoicing, it was the horrible smell of defeat and death. This “Jesus parade” also features a fragrant aroma, it is the smell of Christ radiating from the lives of those who have been freed from sin. To those who rejoice in Christ’s victory over our sinful lifestyles, it is the smell of life, to those who continue in the ways of this world, it is the fragrance of death. What are you smelling today?