Pray for Revival, Spread the Aroma
By Rev Arnold Chow
October 8, 2023
Different places often give out different scents. Hospitals have the smell of disinfectants. Libraries have the smell of books. Swimming pools have the smell of chlorine. Your home also has its distinct smell. The church, too, has its unique, yet familiar, scent.
The second half of our yearly theme this year is “Spread the Aroma.” It comes from 2 Corinthians 2:14: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.”
When we have truly experienced the great power of the gospel, the gospel of Christ the Lord will be present in our lives like an outflow of aroma, which other people can feel.
I still remember that years ago, just inside the entrance to Side Hall 2 of the Main Church, the church used to put up a real Christmas tree behind the glass doors in December every year. Today, most churches do not do this anymore because of more understanding of environmental protection.
At that time, as soon as we entered through the glass doors from the podium, we would smell the natural scent of wood from the Christmas tree that filled the air. The fragrance seemed to remind us of the goodness of the gospel that Christ the Lord has come to earth. It also formed a sort of collective memory for believers of that generation about our church. Those were good days of the church’s growth.
Today, what kind of scent do our lives give out?
2 Corinthians 13:5a goes like this: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.” I believe there is no way we can spread the aroma of Christ when we are not in the faith.
At that time, Paul was worried about the ethics, faith and personnel issues surrounding the Corinthian church. He wrote epistles and also travelled to the Corinthian church in person to help out the congregation, hoping that their faith would be restored to the right path. But difficulties abounded. Later, Paul heard from Titus that the Corinthian church had repented, which filled him with joy.
Of course, the NPAC family is not the Corinthian church. Thank God for leading the NPAC family through 71 years. Through pastors, staff, leaders and brothers and sisters who are faithful, who love the church, who have lived in this family in harmony with mutual respect, the NPAC family has gradually developed the temperament we know today.
We are certainly unlike the believers in Corinth. Still, we can heed the message in 2 Corinthians together and pray the same prayer that Paul prayed for NPAC on our 71st anniversary: “this we also pray for, that you be made complete” (2 Corinthians 13:9b, NASB). In the original language, “be made complete” also means “be restored” and “be revived.” The abnormality of the external world in the past few years has covered up the issues in our inner lives. Now, besides resuming normalcy for our faith life, we indeed need the Lord to revive us once again.
In this quarter, let us examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith through the word of God. Let us act before it gets too late so that our aroma will not turn bad. Let us spread the aroma of the knowledge of Christ everywhere. Let us lift up Christ our Lord alone.