"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Are You Still Carnal? (3:1-4) INTRODUCTION 1. As Paul sought to teach the Christians at Corinth, it was not easy... a. While with them , he could not speak to them as spiritual people - 1Co 3:1-2 b. When he wrote to them, they were still carnal - 1Co 3:3-4 -- Despite the passing of time, they were still "babes in Christ" 2. The example of the Corinthians should challenge our thinking... a. You may have been a Christian for some time now b. But that does not necessarily mean you have become mature -- Despite the passing of time, "Are You Still Carnal?" [Hopefully not. But to be sure, let's make clear what it means to be carnal...] I. CARNALITY DEFINED A. THE WORD "CARNAL"... 1. Comes from the Greek word sarkikos (fleshly, carnal) 2. "having the nature of flesh, i.e. under the control of the animal appetites" - Thayer B. DISTINGUISHED FROM "NATURAL" AND "SPIRITUAL"... 1. The natural man (psuchikos) "refers to one who is unrenewed, and who is wholly under the influence of his sensual or animal nature, and is no where applied to Christians"
- Barnes, cf. 1Co 2:14 2. The carnal man (sarkikos) "is applied here to Christians - but to those who have much of the remains of corruption, and who are imperfectly acquainted with the nature of religion; babes in Christ" - ibid., cf. 1Co 3:1-4 3. The spiritual man (pneumatikos) - is one led by the Spirit (via the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God), capable of understanding spiritual truths and producing the fruit of the Spirit in one's life; i.e., a mature Christian
- cf. 1Co 2:15;Ga 5:22-23; 6:1 [As Christians we are no longer "natural", but we may still be "carnal" and not yet "spiritual". To answer the question "Are You Still Carnal?", it helps to see...] II. CARNALITY DEPICTED A. IN THE LIVES OF THE CORINTHIANS... 1. Their inability to receive solid food - 1Co 3:1-2 a. Paul had to feed them with the milk of the Word b. They were like the Hebrew Christians in this regard
- cf. He 5:11-14 2. Their envy, strife, and divisions - 1Co 3:3-4 a. Their religious division addressed earlier - cf. 1Co 1:10- 13 b. What does this say of the spiritual condition when religious division exists today? B. IN THE WORKS OF THE FLESH... 1. Sins of immorality: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness - cf. Ga 5:19 2. Sins of false religion: idolatry, sorcery - cf. Ga 5:20a 3. Sins contrary to love: hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries - cf. Ga 5:20b-21 [We may not be guilty of immorality, but if we are unable to receive the solid food of God's Word, or if we are given to envy and strife, then we are still carnal! If such be case, what can one do...?] III. CARNALITY DEFEATED A. AS COUNSELED BY JAMES... 1. Lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness - Jm 1:21a 2. Receive with meekness the implanted word - Jm 1:21b 3. Be doers of the word, and not hearers only - Jm 1:22 B. AS COUNSELED BY PETER... 1. Lay aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking - 1Pe 2:1 2. Desire the pure milk of the Word, as newborn babes - 1Pe 2:2 C. AS COUNSELED BY PAUL... 1. Seek those things which are above - Col 3:1-2 2. Put off the old man by crucifying your members on the earth - Col 3:5-9 3. Put on the new man by adorning yourself with Christ-like graces - Col 3:10-14 4. Let peace and gratitude reign in your heart - Col 3:15 5. Let the Word of Christ dwell richly in you through song
- Co 3:16 6. Do all in the name of the Lord - Col 3:17 7. Walk in the Spirit, and be led by the Spirit - Ga 5:16-26 CONCLUSION 1. Those who walk in the Spirit... a. Will not be conceited, provoking others, envious of others - cf. Ga 5:25-26 b. They will not be carnal! - cf. 1Co 3:3 2. Those who produce the fruit of the Spirit... a. Will display a spirit of gentleness in their interaction with others b. They will be truly spiritual! - cf. Ga 6:1 If the apostle Paul were to write to us today, would he say we are still carnal? May the example of the Corinthians motivate us to become more spiritual and mature in our service to the Lord...!