Text: 1 Corinthians
3 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not carnal?”
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Colossians 3:8-13
Illustration: Who is packing your parachute?
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.
Charles Plumb, a US Naval Academy graduate, was a jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy lands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!" "How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb. "I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!" Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."
Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: A white hat, a bib in the back, and bell bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said good morning, how are you or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot, and he was just a sailor." Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety. His experience reminds us all to prepare ourselves to weather whatever storms lie ahead. As you go through this week, this month, this year ... recognize people who pack your parachute!
Intro: Jesus in the book of John speaks to Nicodemus about the necessity of the new birth and how one could receive eternal life. For the church or an individual to succeed they must go through God’s plan for birth, growth, and maturity. Now that’s where the rut in the road is, the speed bump, the pot hole, Growing is so hard! We recognize this immediately in the physical realm, this was even true of Christ. We see it in our children. We expect growth and development. Vitamins … utmost care … trips to the doctor.
But and this is a BIG BUT! Spiritual growth is often neglected, much attention until conversion … then neglect. Some remain infants for many years. Our text today shows us that the Corinthian church had not grown. How Can we Recognize Spiritual Infancy?
1. The Spiritual Infant is Concerned with Self Rather than Service:
There is a great rejoicing at birth physically & spiritually - do you remember? In the spiritual sense; heaven rejoices every time someone is saved and snatched from the fiery pits of hell! Delivered from destruction.
Physically or spiritually there is a lot of attention the person gets during this stage. For the new born baby: (their so cute!) all eyes on the baby. For the new believer the other Christians treat them differently. The new born baby gets accustomed to the attention. The newborn puts the parents to the test: the test of patience, crying all hours of the night and all the pampering, walking the floors night after night… An infant is upset over the smallest things, and in the spiritual realm some Christians have to be handled with kid gloves, they wear their feelings on their sleeves they are like bombs… always ready to explode:
- At church extra nice, but at home explosive.
- At church she’s ideal, but at home impossible.
- At church he’s always praising, but at home pouting.
- At church he’s Mr. Good, but at home Mr. Grouch.
- At church she’s an example, but at home exasperating.
Paul had to speak to the Corinthian church as if they were spiritual babes, babes in Christ, diaper stages. The infant is a receiver … not a giver. The spiritual infant examines everything as a receiver, fussing over rights. It is all about me!
Let’s not forget there are many in the churches that aren’t infants anymore but their carnal. The carnal person is not spiritually mature; their as a babe in Christ. These are true believers, but babes in Christ, there deformed just like a deformed baby. They should be more mature; more developed spiritually, but have not grown in Christ. The carnal person does not know Christ and the things of God like they should. Their mind and behavior are not focused upon Christ like they should be. They have been a believer for years, but know little about Christ and God.
The spiritual believer knows and experiences more of the depth of spiritual things than the carnal believer, much more. Therefore, the carnal believer has to be fed the very basics and not the depths of God's Word.
The Church must pray for maturity! We cannot grow a church if it is more concerned with self rather than to be of service for God.
2. The Spiritual Infant is Concerned with Argument Rather than Action:
“For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you.” Envying, strife, divisions are part of the occupation for the infant! Perhaps the most underestimated sin in our lives is strife.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 Have you ever watched children fight? It is always easier to be part of the faction than to get into the action, easier to grumble than to go, easier to argue than to act. We are taught we must be more than just hearer’s of the word we must be doers.
“But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Colossians 3:8-13 The scripture explains the problem with the spiritual infant, as well as the action that is required to fix immaturity. The infant must take off their training wheels, put off the old man with his deeds and put on new Christ with His strength.
3. The Spiritual Infant Looks to People Rather than to the Master:
“For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not carnal?”
Why do you come to church, who do you come to see? Do you come to hear the pastor and his message or do you come to experience God? The Corinthians were fighting over Paul and Apollos, they place these men in front of God. In an infant’s world it is all about mom or dad. If the mother or fathers do not respond the infant cries and screams wanting their way. The spiritual infant isn’t much different, they look for human resources. The person who led him to Christ the evangelist who preached a special sermon.
Let me carry this a little farther, the spiritual infant allows the others members of the church to control them, which can be a blessing as well as a curse if the people their following are also immature.
What Does the Spiritual Infant Need?
- To look to Christ.
- To begin building.
- To remember the judgment seat of Christ Isn’t it Time to Grow Up?
- Have you packed someone’s parachute lately!
In : Sermon
Tags: "spiritual infancy"
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