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Are you Spiritual or Carnal?

Romans 8:5-14



Romans 7:14
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Our answer to the question in our title is usually the opposite of the truth!


The question might be best answered by someone who knows us best.


Are you traveling coach or first class thru your spiritual journey.  Both the spiritual and the carnal will arrive at our heavenly destination, but how will we get there?


The carnal is saved, but still lives by the dictates of the old nature.  Not walking with God, and living in victory.


1 Corinthians 3:1
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

Perpetual spiritual babies never grow up in the Lord...never grow in grace.  The rest of that letter is a scathing rebuke of petty dealings.


Many pastors spend valuable time pampering and diapering little offended ones when they should be moving the church forward for the Lord!


Our spirituality fluctuates...we all have spiritual moments and carnal ones. 


ill.--Peter was commended of the Lord for a great spiritual moment, and a few moments later he is in the flesh, making a carnal statement, and the Lord called him on it.


1.     Who decides in your life?

vv. 5-7     Who is running the show in your life?  How are your decisions processed?


Notice the word 'mind' in each verse.  Think of the word 'pursue'.  What do you pursue?  The things of the old nature or the new?


Galatians 5 spells out the things of the old nature.

Galatians 5:19-21
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

That covers it!  All our sins are robed in those verses.  What do you spend your time thinking about, reading, watching, listening to?


Murder is hatred, Jesus said, but ask it another way:  Do you take pleasure in murder?  It bothers me that the slasher movies are so popular.  Adultery and fornication are in the mind as well, but do you take pleasure in watching someone else do it?


The greatest curse in the church today is not drugs, abortion, or is carnal Christianity!  Putting on a spiritual face at church when all week we don't walk w/ God in the Spirit.


What are you pursuing?


Next, what are you producing?

v. 6          There's a difference between true ministry and entertainment.  Talent cannot compare w/ the touch of God!  Carnality produces a dead service, a dead special music number, a dead sermon, a dead s.s. lesson.  Spirituality brings true life, and it is real, not manufactured.


ill.--when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea it was a picture of salvation.  The next 40 years of wilderness wanderings were a picture of carnality...and nothing was left of them than dry bones, bleached in the desert!  When they crossed into the Promised Land it was a picture of spirituality. 


Carnality produces death.


It also produces rebellion.

v. 7          ...against authority.  We no longer recognize authority.  We make ourselves the authority.  Kids that didn't respect their parents/teachers are now adults who don't respect their boss, their leaders, their pastors, their spouse, etc. 


Over the years it has been actually a delightful thing when someone has criticized me for something and it was truly something I had done wrong.  Why?  Because of how often when criticized it is something I was doing right, and they just didn't like it because they did not recognize me as having any authority over them whatsoever.  "Who does he think he is?"  I don't like to think of myself as some powerful figure, rather, just another church member, a Christian, a brother in Christ...but on paper, who do I think I am?  I think I am who the Bible says I am...who God says I am!  Who do YOU think I am?


But what will it produce if you decide to be spiritual?  Not death and rebellion...but life and peace!  Eternity will be affected, and so will the nasty now and now!

v. 6


The word peace is the opposite of worry.  It is tranquility.  Worry means to pull apart.  Peace means bringing together.  And churches w/ spiritual people has unity and harmony.  But carnality brings factions and divisions and disagreements and rebellion!  [home / workplace]


Who decides in your life?


2.     Who resides in your life?

vv. 8-11   Three times it says 'dwells in you'.  The third person of the Godhead dwells in you!


He's a personal dweller.  Not just a force or an influence...but a person!  Not an it, but a He.

v. 27        Mind = intellectual capacity.

v. 26        emotional capacity = feelings

v. 14        volitional capacity = He can do things


He lives in me, and He is a personal dweller!


He's a permanent dweller.  He can be quenched and grieved, but never driven away!  We are sealed unto the day of redemption.


ill.--an English lady was a sweet Christian, and the queen came to visit her home.  She talked about it for weeks.  Her friends teased her, "Who is the most important person who ever has visited you?"  She replied, "The queen!"  They scoffed, "You are a Christian, you should say, the Holy Spirit."  "You asked who was the most important visitor.  He doesn't just visit me, He is with me all the time!"


He's a powerful dweller.

v. 11        our bodies will be raised from the dead!  Nobody can do that but God.  Thank God for doctors...but they only delay death.  God reverses the process.  This is why Jesus said Lazarus is dead and I am glad.  Because He knew what He was going to do!


Who decides, who resides?...


3.     Who presides in your life?

vv. 12-13         In every Christian He is resident, but He wants to be president.  In all of us He is present...but He wants to be prominent!  We all have Him, but does He have us...does He have all of us?


v. 12        We are not in debt to the flesh...we don't owe it anything...we don't have to answer to it!


We are used to immediate give our flesh what it wants, whenever it calls for it.  When your flesh calls out for something say, "Shut up, I don't owe you anything!"



ill.--replace your carton of cigs w/ a NT about the same size, and when you have a craving, reach into that same pocket and light up from the Word, and take a long draw off v. 12, blow some spiritual smoke rings, and it really satisfies!


The lost person has no choice w/ the flesh, but you do!


We are dead to the flesh.

v. 13        mortify = put to death [mortician!]

Galatians 5:24
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

You can't crucify yourself, so who will do it for you?


v. 13        'through the Spirit.'


Again, we can't do this in our own strength.  Sanctification is a work of God like justification.  Are you spiritual or carnal?


It takes your mind, your heart, and your will to do this right.


For the mind, God has given us a book, and we need to be in it daily.

For the heart, God has given us a person to love...Jesus Christ!  We need to fellowship w/ Him.

For the will, God has given us a Spirit to yield to, daily!  Die to the flesh, and live to the Spirit!

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