Summary: Spiritual growth
“1 Corinthians 2:14, 3:1-3”
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.”
You know, there are several places that are a good place for the Bible. The home is a good place for the Bible; the hand is a better place for the Bible; the head is a better place for the Bible; the heart is the best place for the Bible. I hope you have yours in all of these places and you bring your Bibles to church.
Let’s begin by looking at chapter two, beginning in verse fourteen.
"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. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
And then chapter three, verse one. "And I brethren could not speak unto you as unto the spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. And I have fed you with milk and not with solid food or not with meat," as some have it, "for to this time ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal, for wherein there is among you envying and strife and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?"
There are three classes of people present in the church. They are described in these verses. You may be a natural man, you may be a spiritual man, or you may be a carnal man, but you are one of these three.
Look in verse fourteen. Underline the words natural man. Then chapter two, verse fifteen, he that is spiritual, underline he that is spiritual and then chapter three, verse one, and I brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual but as unto carnal and there you have it; the natural man, the spiritual man and the carnal man. I’m going to try to deal with the third class that Paul speaks of, the carnal man.
I. The carnal man’s character v. 1
“Carnal” is from a Greek word that refers to a man who is saved but is still greatly influenced by the flesh. He is still controlled by fleshly appetites and attitudes that produce carnal actions.
A. Their relationship to Paul (Notice that Paul refers to them as brethren) If it were not for the fact that Paul calls them brethren you would not think that there is any such thing as a carnal Christian but he does use this terminology so there you have it. Paul calls them his brothers in Christ.
B. Their receptivity to the Word (I could not speak unto you…) Though the apostle was a spiritual man himself, had spiritual gifts, even the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, could judge all things, had the mind of Christ, and was able to speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, yet he felt that he could not speak it to them… Barnes notes
C. Their resistance to the spiritual (He could not speak to them as spiritual but was forced by their lack of growth to treat them like children.
II. The carnal man’s capacity v. 2
A. Their diet (I have fed you with milk)
B. Their difficulty (…for hitherto ye were not able to bear it…)
C. Their digression (neither now are ye able)
III. The carnal man’s conduct v. 3
Paul states that their behavior reveals that they are still governed to a large degree by the principles of this world and walk like the people of this world.
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.
A. Their present condition (For ye are yet carnal…) There has been no progress towards maturity. They are living a runted, stunted Christian life.
B. Their ways prove his charge (…for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions…)
C. They walk like the children of men (They behave like the men of this earth. They are influenced by the spirit of this age, Instead of being filled with love and seeking to be harmonious members of the church as you ought to be you are split into factions