Corinthians 2:14-3:1 (NKJV)
"But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. 1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ."
Intro: Have you ever driven down a particular road for years and notice something new and you can’t believe you have never seen that before? 1 Corinthians chapter 2:14 to the beginning of chapter 3 is just like that. You might want to take a good look at this road and see if you notice something new for the first time.
Mankind is very good at categorizing. We label ourselves according to status; it could be our careers, talents, successes… The Bible is also a book that categorizes people. You will notice in our text today there are three categories, everyone in this room today or anyone watching this message on you-tube is in one of these categories. There is bad news, good news, and not so good news. You’ve got the Natural, Spiritual, and Carnal man. The primary purpose of the Bible is that God desires to reveal Himself to fallen man so that He might enter into a relationship with them. His desire is that man will come to know Him through His Son Jesus Christ and after they are saved, they will grow up in Him into mature Christians. I mentioned a minute ago there was bad news. The bad news - not everyone is saved. The not so good news not all saved people are growing in Christ. The Bible offers a plan for growing into maturity. However, you must know where you are before you can go any further, the good news or spiritual connection works when your GPS works.
Application: The good news is, God helps with your road map to maturity.
Let’s start with the bad news:
1. The Natural Man: “Worldly!”
Vs.14 “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
He is Depraved: The natural man is inclined to sin. There is a bent in his nature toward evil; they follow the path of least resistance, no good: “As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." Romans 3:10-12
He Is Directed: The natural man's life is out of his hands. He is under the control of Satan and like a mindless puppet he carries out every whim of the flesh and the devil! “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” Ephesians 2:1-3
He Is in Darkness: The natural man does not see his problem, nor does he understand the things of God. “Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:4. Spiritual things will be pure foolishness to him. He doesn't understand the people of God and he will criticize the things he doesn't understand because they bother him and he doesn't know why!
He Is Doomed: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Psalm 9:17
He Is Dead: A car with no battery!
Next is the good news:
2. The Spiritual Man: “Is living!”
Vs.15-16 “But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.”
Big difference between the natural and spiritual, the spiritual man has been born twice. He is in a living, growing, vibrant, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As a result, he has the God given capacity to live differently. Because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual man is able to comprehend the spiritual things of God and it tells in the way he lives his life: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:12-13
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.
He Learns From the Spirit: The spiritual man is able to receive the truths of the Word. He is able to grasp spiritual things, he can understand the Bible, and he can enjoy the presence of the Lord. God's truths are not foolishness, they are food.
He Is Liberated by the Spirit: The spiritual man is liberated from the bondage to the flesh, the world and the devil because he is able to discern the will of God by "judging” or "examining” everything by the truth of the Word! Therefore, he is not easily squeezed into the world's mold: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The spiritual man is literally “filled” with the Spirit of God. God controls his mind, his heart, his hands, his feet, his tongue, his flesh; everything is yielded to the control of the Spirit of the Lord! Nothing is held back from the Lord! Not many achieve this level of Christianity, but it should be the goal for every sincere Christian! Are you here yet?
Finally the not so good news:
3. The Carnal Man: “lives unnaturally!”
Vs. 3:1 “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.” This type person is saved, yet mostly unchanged. He has never grown in the Lord. He is always being defeated by the flesh, the world and the devil. It is possible to be a Christian and be very carnal!
He Is 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” armor of God. Some of the pieces are missing and the ones he does have, he doesn't know how to use! He can't fight evil! He is always beaten! 3. He Can't Work Spiritually - This type person is not much use to the Kingdom. The carnal Christian doesn't win souls, support the church with his presents or his presence, doesn't teach, and never becomes actively involved! He is always riding around on the effort of others.
He Is Dependent: Must always be spoon fed, the carnal Christian is totally dependent on others for any spiritual nourishment he receives. He can't teach, he must always be taught, 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!
He Is Divisive: “For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” 1 Corinthians 3:3. 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. This type of person is to be watched very, very closely!
There are many, carnal Christians in churches today. If you are one, please let me remind you that Jesus did not save you to stagnate. He saved you to serve Him. Today would be a very good time for you to throw off the works of the flesh, old carnal attitudes, laziness, or whatever it is that has caused you to become carnal and get right with the Lord.
What type of person are you? You know, now what do you need to do? If natural, be saved. If spiritual, keep growing. If carnal, repent and change for His glory.
In : Sermon
Tags: "spiritual maturity"
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