1Corinthians 2:14 – 3:7
DATE: 16 Oct, 2005 AM
PLACE: BBC Ballincollig
I. Introduction – (1 Corinthians 2 and Ephesians 2)
A. We are all the time categorizing people. We label them according to economics, careers, gender, race, etc. The Bible is a book that also categorizes people. It groups everyone into three categories: Natural, Spiritual, and Carnal. Everyone in this building today falls into one of these three categories. Believe it or not - You are in one of the three, and no more.
B. But that only matters when we understand that God desires to reveal Himself to fallen men so that He might enter into a personal relationship with them. His desire is that people will come to know Him through His Son Jesus Christ, and that after they are born again, they will grow up in him into mature Christians.
C. Sadly, not everyone is saved, and not all saved people are mature and growing in Christ.
D. But the Bible offers a plan for growing into maturity. That’s what Christianity is all about – growing up and being like Jesus!
E. That’s what we have been looking at all this year – how to be more like Jesus
F. But you must know where you are before you can ever hope to grow.
G. My desire in this message is to help you see which of these 3 Biblical categories you fit into, and to help you go on from there.
A. The Natural Man (2:14) - Lives Naturally
1. He Is Depraved – (Psa. 58:3; Isa 53:6; 64:6; Jn 8:44a; Eph. 2:3a) - Ruined
a. He is a sinner by nature
b. It means that what he does, no matter how God, can NEVER measure up to the perfection required by the God of heaven and earth!
c. We say it this way - A natural man is prone to sin. His nature is bent toward evil, and not toward God.
1) Water and electricity – They follow the course of least resistance!
2) There is just none good - Rom. 3:10-12; Mt 12:34
d. We are corrupt, wicked, evil, immoral, degenerate – depraved!
e. Not a nice category to be in!
2. He Is Dominated - Eph. 2:1-3
a. The natural man’s life is out of his hands.
b. He is under the control of Satan and like a mindless puppet, he carries out every whim of his flesh and of the devil! (John 8:44b)
c. Romans 6 says before the new birth we yielded over the running of our life to the power of Sin and Satan
d. And believe me – Sin will take you where you did not want to go!
3. He Is In Darkness - 2 Cor. 4:4
a. Nicodemus - A teacher among the Jews, but still in the depths of darkness. “How can these things be?”
b. The natural man does not see his problem, nor does he understand the things of God. (“Receiveth” = “to welcome” He may appreciate some things about the church and worship, but spiritual things will be pure foolishness to him; he just won’t accept them as true (1 Cor. 1:18)
c. The natural man doesn’t understand the people of God and he will criticize the things he doesn’t understand because they bother him and he won’t be able to tell you why!
d. It is like a deaf man criticizing music or a blind man ridiculing art!
e. The natural man is spiritually in the dark, but Jesus can change all that (John 9:25)!
4. He Is Dead - While he lives and breathes, the natural man is in a perpetual state of death.
a. What death is! Not really alive – at least not spiritually
b. See God’s warning to Adam (Gen 2:17) passed down to us (Ro 5:12)
c. We are like a car with a dead battery! Looks pretty and can roll as long as someone pushes or pulls it
d. We are dead like a dead radio – can’t receive anything from God - worthless
5. He Is Doomed (Eph 2:12) - Hell is his certain future! Heaven is made for people who want to be there!
a. He who is born once, dies twice. If born twice, dies only once!
b. No matter how hard you may try and fight God, and do your own thing religiously, and no matter how sincere you may be, there is no escaping the judgment of God (Heb 9:27)
6. But that does NOT have to be the end of it – his life can be re-written; he can be born all over again (Eph 2:13; John 3:1-3)
B. The Spiritual Man (v.15-16) - Lives Supernaturally – beyond the flesh
1. There is a vast difference between the natural man and the spiritual man.
a. The Natural man
1) Has only been born once
2) Is living the only way he knows how
3) And without intervention by God in his life, will end up in a devil’s hell for all eternity
b. The spiritual man
1) Has been born twice.
2) Lives differently than he used to – not perfectly, but definitely differently!
3) He is in a living, growing, vibrant, personal relationship with Jesus Christ – not a religious view-point, or philosophy. As a result, he has the God-given capacity to live differently now, from the inside-out.
2. He Lives By The Spirit - The spiritual man lives his life governed by the rule of the Holy Spirit in his heart. He gets into the Word and allows it to transform his life and he is different because of it – (Psa. 119:105). His very life is empowered by the infinite power and life of the Holy Spirit!
3. He is Led by the Spirit – directed and led each step of his life by the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit of God! One warning though: The Spirit will only lead if we will allow Him to (John 16:13; Gal. 5:16)
4. He Learns From The Spirit
a. The spiritual man is able to receive the truths of the Word of God. He is not numb to the words like he used to be when unsaved. He is able to grasp spiritual things, he can understand the Bible, he can enjoy the presence of the Lord.
b. God’s truths are not foolishness to him - they are his necessary food - Job 23:12
c. When the medicine cabinet of God’s Word is opened, he gathers all he can and then he applies it to the blemishes of his life and grows from it as he is healed!
5. He Is Liberated By The Spirit
a. The spiritual man is liberated from the bondage to the flesh, the world and the devil – I mean, the Christian has been made free from everything that used to dominate you – you have been really freed!
b. But instead of just “doing your own thing” now, you carefully watch where you step so that you don’t get snared again in sin
c. A Christian is able to discern dangers and even the will of God by “judging” or “examining” everything by the truth of the Word!
d. This doesn’t mean that people will be impressed though – we will always be misunderstood and thought to be crazy by the world!
6. The spiritual man is literally “filled” with the Spirit of God.
a. That’s what it means to be “filled with the Spirit”
b. It is where God controls your mind, your heart, your hands, your feet, your tongue, your flesh - everything in your life is yielded to the control of the Spirit of the Lord! Nothing is held back from the Lord!
c. Let’s compare it to:
1) Filled with joy
2) Filled with anger
3) Filled with wine and strong drink
4) Filled with bitterness
5) All of these take over our lives – some are good, some are awful
7. Because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual man is able to even comprehend the spiritual things of God and it shows in the way he lives now his life – (1 Cor 2:12-13)
8. Not many achieve this level of Christianity, but it should be the goal for every sincere Christian! Are you there yet?
a. It is not for only an elite group
b. It is intended to be for all believers
c. The Holy Spirit is given for that one, perfect goal
d. To make us spiritually minded and spiritually driven!
9. But there is a third P – a third person – a third category of people in this room
C. The Carnal Man (3:1) - Lives Unnaturally
1. This type person is saved, yet mostly unchanged. He has never grown in the Lord. He is always being defeated by the flesh, by the world and by the devil. Sadly, it is possible to be a Christian and be very carnal!
2. To be carnal means to be fleshly motivated instead of Spiritually motivated! So he becomes:
a. Dependent - 3:2 (Ill. Must always be spoon fed)
1) The carnal Christian is totally dependent on others for any spiritual nourishment he receives. He can’t teach, he must always be taught, (Ill. Heb. 5:12-14!) He cannot serve, but must be served. He cannot glean spiritual truth for himself, the pastor must spoon feed him when he shows up for church. He is helpless. Spiritually speaking, he is a baby! (Ill. The monstrosity of not growing!)
b. Divisive - 1 Cor. 3:3-7) (Ill. The troubles at Corinth!)
1) The carnal Christian is always looking for a fight. They are willing to tear the church to pieces over any silly, immature issue that comes to mind. They are easily offended and quick to defend rights that they have never earned for themselves.
2) This type of person is to be watched very, very closely!
3) Carnal Christians ruin churches, and entire nations I believe FASTER than the most sinful unsaved people – why?
a) Because Christians are what is holding back sin in the world
b) If Christians wimp-out and fade, and water-down their life, their effect on the world will be disastrous!
4) So beware of carnal Christians who think they are so spiritual and yet tear up churches over disagreements with interpretations and standards and godliness and emphasis on preaching
c. Defeated - There are three areas where his carnality continually shows up.
1) He Can’t Walk Spiritually - Constantly losing the battle to the flesh, the world and the devil.
2) He Can’t War Spiritually - He isn’t able to dress up in the “whole” armour of God - Eph. 6:10-17. Some of the pieces are missing and the ones he does have, he doesn’t know how to use! Because he is carnal, he can’t fight evil! So, he is always beaten!
3) He Can’t Work Spiritually - This type person is not much use to the Kingdom of God. The carnal Christian doesn’t win souls, support the church with his offerings or even his presence, he doesn’t teach, and never becomes actively involved! He is always riding around on the effort of others.
3. So sad isn’t it?
4. There are many, many carnal Christians in churches today.
a. If you are one, please let me remind you that Jesus did not save you to stagnate. He saved you to serve Him, to glorify Him, to please Him, to reflect Him in this dark world.
b. Today would be a very good time for you to throw off the works of the flesh, the old carnal attitudes, the laziness, or whatever it is that has caused you to become carnal and get right with the Lord.
5. If this category fits your life like it does mine sometimes, we need to take a serious step of faith in begging God for a revival in our hearts and a return to godliness and submission to the word of God! The more this Book has of you, the less the world will have of you!
A. What type of person are you?
B. Do you know now what do you need to do?
1. If you are living naturally, you need to repent and be saved.
2. If you are living spiritually, you need to keep growing, and becoming more and more like your Lord.
3. If you are carnal, you need to some serious repenting, and allow the Holy Spirit of God change you for His glory.