1 Corinthians 3:1-17
Guys? What about gals? Not politically correct? Well, how about this? Guys can do anything gals can these days. [Even give birth?] As of this year, guys can compete in female weightlifting and track and field. They can even be the first female governor of California! Don’t believe me? You’re not woke! But neither is the Bible, that talks about us all as ‘mankind.’ Some of the gals might be offended right now, but in the words of the President: “C’mon man!”
Today, I’m talking to all you guys!
There’s 3 kinds of people in this world. All 3 are probably in the room. There is the natural man, the supernatural [Spirit filled] man, and the unnatural [carnal] man. The natural man is incomplete with a dead spirit. But when he gets saved he gets the Spirit of God, but does the Spirit have all of him? He still has a flesh [carne] and it battles w/ the spirit. Which guy are you? Natural, supernatural, or unnatural?
If you’ve been born once, you have to die twice. But if you’ve been born twice, then you only have to die once...at most!
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Ill.—our fraternal twins aren’t identical [egg splits in 2], but are 2 separate pregnancies which occurred at the same time. Technically, they could have been conceived at different times…with different fathers!
And they warred against each other in utero...and still now! Baby A hogged more nutrition from Baby B, and was bigger and stronger.
So our 2 natures are very different from one another, and are in a war.
2 natures beat within my breast. One is cursed, one is blessed. One I love and one I hate. And the one I feed will dominate!
After death, what happens to our soul? It goes somewhere forever. [location, location, location!] Our body goes nowhere. And it’s all determined by the state of our spirit. Has it been resurrected or not? When our flesh dies, if saved, we go to heaven. All that separates us from that life of bliss and eternity of joy is the death of our flesh...so why not let it die here on earth!? If we die to self, and die to the flesh, we can live a more heavenly life before going to heaven.
Salvation has a present tense.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Eternity begins for the believer at the moment of salvation [the everlasting life clock starts ticking and will never stop!] But here on earth we can live our everlasting life in the flesh or in the Spirit, or both!
We have 2 natures to contend with...fraternal twins residing inside us. And one of them is trouble and picks fights w/ the other. My wife said sometimes it was like a WWF match in her womb, w/ 8 limbs and 40 digits...like an octopus on speed!
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
What to do with the flesh:
1. Put if off.
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth... 8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
2. Crucify it.
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
3. Pronounce it dead.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ill.—when I first killed a chicken [PETA] I learned what it means to run around like a chicken w/ your head cut off. It was dead...its flesh just didn’t know it.
NOW, DON’T RESURRECT IT!
4. Make no provision for it.
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
You can’t keep stray dogs from entering your yard, but you don’t have to pet and feed them. And if you do, they’ll stick around!
5. Have no confidence in it
we … worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Satan is so shrewd and takes opportunity when we have experienced a victory. He tempts us to think it was WE who were victorious.
1 Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
6. Walk away. [flee!]
Now, according to our text, winning this flesh/spirit battle is what brings us to maturity...not years of being saved.
Remember how it felt to be young? I’m quickly forgetting. I can remember as a child how badly I wanted to be grown up. I wanted to be one of those “cool” teenagers. When I became a teenager I wanted to be one of those college-aged guys.
I wanted to grow up but I found that growing up is not so easy. When I look at a baby I think, “Wouldn’t that be nice to be a baby again? I wouldn’t have to do anything but eat, play, and sleep. No decisions.” But, a baby doesn’t stay a baby for very long. They begin to feed themselves. They learn how to walk. There’s some pain along the way. That baby makes big messes learning how to feed itself. That baby gets cuts and bruises from falling. But, they keep on trying until they figure it out. As life continues on, we continue to learn more and more and grow more and more.
Growing up spiritually is hard to do, but we must continue in our growth. Do you want to grow spiritually? Our text gives us four ways to grow spiritually.
Stop Acting Like Babies.
Finally, we come to our text…
1 Corinthians 3:1-4
Act your age. Only babies should act like babies, but there are many Christians that refuse to grow up. The natural [lost] man has no spirit, and thus no spiritual maturity. But when it’s a believer…well, that’s unnatural. The carnal Christian is the third guy…the unnatural man.
Babies cannot eat solid food, they must have milk. If they eat solid food they will choke. A spiritual baby can only handle the milk of the Word. The basics of the Bible are wonderful, but there is much more that God has for us.
11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Babies fight for their way. Take their rattle away from them and see what happens. When a baby is hungry or wet or bored or tired, etc… what do they do? They cry! Baby Christians do the same. If they don’t get their way, they fight and fuss. Is that characteristic of your life?
Stop Worshipping Leaders.
1 Corinthians 3:4-9
Babies are usually particular in who they want to hold them and take care of them. I love holding babies, but usually they let me hold them for about 2 minutes and then they begin to cry. They want their mother, or someone not scary looking.
Baby Christians are the same way. They become very attached to certain people. Maybe their Pastor, Assistant Pastor, Sunday School Teacher, Deacon, etc… and what you end up with if you are not careful is a bunch of clubs with a bunch of leaders. Paul is telling them to stop letting this happen.
God is the One that puts the people and leaders you need before you. God is the One that will guide those leaders in a way that will help you grow. You need to worship God not man. Leaders are like farmers. They can plant and water, but only God can grow produce. Notice in verse 9 that there are three examples given of what we are as Christians and whose name is in front of each example? God’s Name. We are God’s fellow workers. We are God’s field. We are God’s building.
Stop Building On The Wrong Things.
1 Corinthians 3:10-12
As a baby grows, they start interacting with other children. The older you get the more you search for people to imitate. It is a proven fact that children are a lot more like their parents, (or whoever they are around the most) than we might think. Those children build their beliefs and attitudes around the influence of other people.
Christians must be cautious about what they build their spiritual life upon. If it is built upon anything or anyone besides Jesus, It will fall down.
Understand that though some believers never grow up spiritually, they are still Christians, and still go to Heaven. You cannot lose your salvation, but look at verse 13-15. You can lose rewards!
Ill.—J. Vernon McGee: “Some will be in heaven but may smell like they were bought at a fire sale!”
Stop And Remember Who You Are
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
As a child grows, they sometimes forget who is in charge. The older a child gets the dumber their parents get. When I was 12 to about 17 my parents just got more stupid every year; but today I believe my parents are some of the smartest and wisest people I know. What happened? Did I get more stupid? That’s obvious! Did my parents get smarter? What happened is I grew up.
Verse 16 asks us a question: “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” As a Christian, God’s Spirit resides within you. God cares so much about you and wants you to grow up that He put His Spirit in you so you would be able to grow.
Do you live your life in a way that reflects the fact that God lives in you?
3 guys ... which are you? Natural, supernatural, or unnatural?
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