Good morning friends and family and thank you for joining us this morning. We're about to start part 7 of this series on "Who Are We In Christ" and we have been basing this study around the book of 1 Corinthians.
Before we get started, I want to thank all of you joining us here on Paltalk, for those who read and watch on both of the Cross Roads Fellowship sites., Mylook Online, Lokey Sisters, The Far From Normal Faith Ministries site, J and L Ministries, u-tube, and the list goes on and on. Thank you all for your support.
I also want to thank Leanna for sharing the scriptures in the chat box and thank her and Tim for keeping an eye on this room as administrators should. It makes my job so much easier.
Please open your Bibles to 1 Corinthians and we'll start this morning with Chapter 3. As we read this chapter, we're going to see where Apostle Paul discusses hindrance of a carnal state to spiritual growth, and also Christian service and its reward. Praise God.
1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
What was Paul saying here? For those who have been following along in this series, there were many key scriptures that I believe shows what he was trying to get across. The first was:
1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
As we'll see in the next verses, many of them in the Corinth church were not ready for meat. They were baby Christians as a pastor that Leanna and I were under at one point would say. And then like now, there were most likely those who thought they were saved and were not. Amen someone? Paul couldn't share the real meat of the Gospel with these Corinthians. So someone might be thinking to themselves, "What is a spiritual Christian"? Anyone? Very simply put, spiritual Christians are believers who are being led and obeying the Holy Spirit. Amen?
1 Corinthians 2:15-16 KJV But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (16) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Glory to God. Amen everyone? Lets look at another passage explaining this.
Romans 7:18-22 KJV For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (19) For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. (20) Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (21) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.
Through these verses, we can see that spiritual people are the opposite of carnal people. Carnal people are living their lives (whether good or bad) through their own ability. Amen someone? Spiritual people would be the ones who are depending on God's ability instead of their own understanding. Yet, we can see even in many religious circles, and the key word is religious, that they teach of their own understanding and not being led by the Holy Spirit. Amen? Do we get this friends? Our salvation and walk with God are not based on religion. "Oh boy brother Jim, you just confused me." My friends, it's based on a personal relationship with Jesus.
We looked at this last week. You and I are not saved because of a church building, a pastor, or someone who may have shared the gospel with you and may have led you to pray for salvation. Yes, these people may have helped you get to that decision, but it's the relationship that you now have with Christ the moment you asked Him into your life.
When you admitted you were a sinner and you believed that He came as a sinless man to die a sinless man for you and me. Shedding His sinless blood to cleanse you from your sin. And that He was resurrected from the dead on the 3rd day and now is in Heaven at the right side of God almighty and now is your defense council, if you will . Glory to King Jesus. Salvation isn't about religion, my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Wow, as I'm preparing this message, it's evident to me we could study just this one verse through this mornings service. I don't think we'll do that, but there are some more key points that I think we should get an understanding of. Praise God!
Let's look at carnal. Being carnal are those who are dominated by their physical senses. Everyone understand this? It's those who base everything on what they can see, taste, hear, smell, and feel, and their own understanding. Spiritual people are more dominated by God's Word than by their own feelings.
Church, true spirituality will eventually affect every area of our lives, but we must be sure that we're not using our personal convictions to judge anothers spirituality.
The issue that Paul was using to evaluate spirituality is people's ability to discern spiritual truth as we looked at in 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 and what their relationships with others are like as we'll see in the next verses. It doesn't matter how often people go to church or what their dress code is. If they're contentious and not able to discern spiritual truth, they aren't spiritual.
Please turn to John 6:53. I know we read this last week, but I think it'll bring a better understanding to some of you. Let's see what Jesus said.
John 6:53-58 KJV Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (54) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (55) For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (56) He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. (57) As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (58) This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
Leanna, can you post 1 Corinthians verse 1 again, please? I want us to look at the last part of 1 Corinthians 1 and we will move to verse 2. Notice what was said here. even as unto babes in Christ.
To me, I think this has led some people to believe that our born-again spirits start out as infants and must grow or mature in Christ. Do you understand what I'm saying here? For those who think this way, I think you may have an incorrect understanding, and I hope what I share next will help. I used to think this, and scriptures showed me differently. Amen someone?
Colossians 2:8-10 KJV Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (9) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
As brother Jeff from A Far From Normal Faith Ministry would say, "Boom boom." Do we see this, church?
As Christians, our spirits are completely mature at the time of salvation. Praise Jesus.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we're not to try to mature our spirits, but mature our souls through the renewing of our minds so that they will allow our born-again spirits to function. Glory! I do pray you're all understanding.
Romans 12:2 KJV And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Friends, our new spirits already have the mind of Christ. We're now in the process of educating our minds to the truths of God's Word that are already present in our spirits.
If we look at Romans 12:3, you and I have the same measure of faith that Christ has. This faith is in our spirits. We don't need more faith; we just need to renew our minds with the Word of God so that we can use the faith of Christ that is already present in us.
Romans 12:3 KJV For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Let's get back to 1 Corinthians chapter 3 and go to verse 2. We kind of looked at this with what we read in verse 1. I know we spent a lot of time on verse 1, but I felt there were things that we all needed to understand to carry on by rightly dividing scriptures, and there were many others we could have looked at, but I hope we all got this.
1 Corinthians 3:2 KJV I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
1 Corinthians 3:2 Amp However, brethren, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [[a]unable to talk yet!]
1 Corinthians 3:2-3 GW I gave you milk to drink. I didn't give you solid food because you weren't ready for it. Even now you aren't ready for it (3) because you're still influenced by your corrupt nature. When you are jealous and quarrel among yourselves, aren't you influenced by your corrupt nature and living by human standards?
Wow! And friends, this is a major issue today. All of Paul's teaching about unity isn't deep teaching. It wasn't meant for just the spiritually mature. He was saying this was "milk," not "meat." Therefore, those who think that unity among the believers is impossible because we're too immature are wrong. Paul made it very clear that these Corinthians were "babes in Christ," but also notice he commanded them to be of the same mind and judgment and to be perfectly joined together.
1 Corinthians 3:3 KJV For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Are we beginning to see where Paul was going in this chapter? Are these things that Jesus taught us through His Word to be part of? Absolutely not. They were following their own understanding. They were acting in the flesh, and this is what I see happening in the world today. We see it in denominations today, or at least I've seen it, and it should not be if we are operating in the Spirit. Glory to God.
Paul mentions envy, strife and divisions as signs of carnality. Friends, what I notice happening in churches, and even on some of the Christian websites, is the church today has focused its attention on the sins of immorality and many ignore things like unity among the believers.
Romans 8:5-8 KJV For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
As we'll see as we get further into this study, the church at Corinth had the wide range of sins present among its members. Apostle Paul mentioned some of the sins of immorality in 1 Corinthians 7, but here we see his emphasis was on the division among the believers.
James 3:14-18 KJV But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. (15) This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. (16) For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (18) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Friends, strife opens a door to every evil work that the enemy wants to do in people's lives. Envy, strife and division within the body of believers can be even deadlier than the sins of immorality. And what did we just read in verse 18? (18) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Let's read the next few verses and we'll finish up for today.
1 Corinthians 3:4-9 KJV (4) For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? (5) Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? (6) I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. (7) So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. (8) Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. (9) For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
What was Paul trying to get across in theses verses? He kind of started this in the first chapter of this epistle. It should also be a warning to the church today. Amen someone? As long as people promote one denominational persuasion over another, the body of Christ as a whole is still carnal. Do we see this?
Many believers don't understand what I'm going to say next. All Christians are ministers. You and I and all believers are called to share their faith with others.
1 Peter 3:15-17 KJV But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (16) Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. (17) For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
Now in saying that all Christians are ministers, not all Christians are called to one of the five ministries listed in Eph 4:11, where it becomes their vocation to minister the Gospel. Let's look at what's said in Ephesians 4 and starting with verse 9.
Ephesians 4:9-13 KJV (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (10) He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) (11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
I love these scriptures. As members of His Body (Christ Jesus), the Holy Spirit will endue us with spiritual gifts for His service that we might confirm and build up others in the faith and that we might dispense the saving doctrines of His grace to the unsaved. Praise Jesus!
We also see in Corinthians verse 7 that Paul was saying that God is the one who used Apollos and him to touch these Corinthians lives, and God should get the glory. Amen? That's an important message for the Corinthian church at that time and for you and me to get, even today. We, my friends, are nothing without God. Yes, we can do great and wondrous things, but can you bring them to Heaven when our time is through here? We can preach a message that sounds all religious, but if it didn't come from God, what good does it do? Who does it touch? Oh, it might puff up the person preaching it. They may think to themselves, 'Look at me, I'm a godly man. I preached a message." No, my friends.
When we do something good, we're proud of what we've done, but this passage says that even our best, most noble works are like "dirty rags" when it comes to earning us a place in heaven--they're useless and good for nothing. They're certainly not enough to bring us into a right relationship with God. For that my friends, we need Christ.
So in ending this message today, I ask you my friends to ponder on what you've heard, or read today. Chew on it during the week and not let it just go in one ear and out the other, as I believe Paul was acutely aware that it was God working through him. This is a important lesson that I and every true minister of the Gospel must learn.
We see in John 15:5 KJV I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
I hope that this message has blessed you today. I hope that there was something that each of us can use to further God's Kingdom. For those who joined us on Paltak, thank you for your support and we look forward to having you join next week.
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We love you, and may the Lord bless you this week.