Summary: Carnality is the cancer of the soul. Surgery by the Great Physician is the preferred treatment.
1 Cor. 2:11-16
11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
Illus.: “Doctor Who Operated on Himself”
Dr. Evan O’Neil Kane was the chief surgeon at Kane Summit Hospital in New York City. He was 60 years old and had been practicing surgery for 37 years. He was especially interested in anesthetic. You see, he practiced back in the early part of the 20th century, when the only kind of anesthetic used was general in nature—and it had its complications. Patients were sometimes left paralyzed and on occasion, they died. Dr. Kane wanted to somehow prove his point by finding a guinea pig and try using local anesthetic. Finally he did discover a person who was willing to help him experiment. The patient needed his appendix removed, so he was scheduled for surgery. It was February 15, 1921, a Tuesday morning. The patient was prepared and rolled into the operating room. Kane had performed over 4,000 appendectomies. He performed the initial cut. He clamped the blood vessels on the way in while he located the appendix. He then skillfully removed it as he had done many times before. Through it all the patient experienced minor pain, recuperated quickly and was released from the hospital two days later.
Dr, Kane had proved his point. It was a milestone in medical history that a person could be operated on under local anesthetic while still awake. Oh, by the way, did I tell you the surgeon and the patient were one and the same? Dr. Kane operated on himself!
And in the next few minutes I want you to do exactly what the doctor did, spiritually. I want you to be wide awake when you do it. This is major surgery.
I don’t have to tell you how dreaded cancer is. All of us are touched by it these days. Someone in our family has struggled with it. It begins when one cell no longer wants to go along with the body’s program and decides to go solo—to do it’s own thing.
Not only does this cell begin to act independently, it also begins to reproduce it’s own kind! It metastasizes, spreading it’s influence to other parts of the body. Silently, yet violently, they penetrate vital organs to establish their own cronies and sabotage each organ’s effectiveness. If left undiagnosed or left untreated, this army of rebels brings death and destruction to the whole body!
Carnality is also a dreaded disease—a disease of the soul—a spiritual cancer, if you will.
And just as cancer is abnormal for the body, so carnality is abnormal in the life of a Christian. It cannot go untreated without causing great destruction to the Body of Christ. Carnal Christians influence weaker members of the Body. Like cancer, they reproduce after their own kind.
I’m sure you are aware of the many different classifications of cancer, according to body location, type, and stages of development. Let me share with you four spiritual classifications.
1. The Natural Man
1 Cor. 2:14: The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Doesn’t accept the things of God—thinks they are foolish
Has a darkened mind
Unsaved, lost, blind, under a sentence of death
In short, like a dead man walking! As a dead man, he has no appetite for God, no activity, spiritually speaking, and awareness of his need.
Vance Havner: “You may as well try to explain nuclear physics to a wooden Indian as to describe salvation to a natural man.
Illus. “Cable Ready”
It’s as if your next-door neighbor bought an expensive big-screen colored TV and after it was delivered came over to your house to brag about his new acquisition. While he’s bragging he notices his favorite program coming in on your little black and white TV. He says, “Oh, no! They’ve got my favorite program on and all you’ve got is that crummy little black and white job. I’ve got to go see it on my new color set.” So he runs home and turns on his expensive set, only to find out that he can’t that channel. He didn’t give you time to tell him that you just subscribed to cable. He may have the better equipment but you’re “cable ready” for the best shows.