The Problem Of Carnal Immaturity
1 Corinthians 3
The English word “carnal” comes from the Greek word “sarkikos” and it means “as pertaining to the flesh”.
The Webster dictionary describes “carnal” as pertaining to the flesh, sensual; opposed to spiritual; as a carnal pleasure.
The Bible says:
Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Rom 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
It is obvious that those who do not know the Lord Jesus as their Savior are indeed carnal and follow the ways of the world or are led by their own desires.
It is also a fact that one who has just accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.” is just one step from where they once were” and still possess a carnal mind.
The reality of Christian life is that there will always be a process of spiritual maturing that follows salvation of each individual!
Each individual must realize that they are a three part being made up of a fleshly body, a carnal mind, and an eternal spirit.
Upon salvation it is only that eternal spirit that is “Born Again”!
Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
So let’s continue with the Apostle Paul and the Church at Corinth.
*****1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
We must all realize the distinction between the “spiritual” believer and the “carnal” believer!
The “spiritual” believer is under the control of the Holy Spirit!
The “carnal” believer is still under the control of his own flesh!
A Christian can be carnal and still be saved but they need to examine themselves and make their salvation sure.
This is sometimes the problem with “babes in Christ” who have not “grown in Grace” and “the knowledge” of the Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ!
God expects us all to grow in the ways of the Lord!
When Paul established this church in Corinth, he, himself had stayed for at least 6 months and had taught them.
Apollos had since come and spent some time to help them mature but they had not grown in the Lord and this was the main problem in this church, they had remained as “babes in Christ”.
And a baby requires milk rather than meat!
*****1Co 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
What is the milk of the Scriptures?
Heb 5:12 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.
It is a fact that all Christians differ in their measure of understanding and strength, as well as the gifts of God but every Christian should grow, striving to reach maturity throughout their remaining days.
Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
Heb 5:14 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.
Every new child of God is a blessing to God and to the Church but if they remain babes indefinitely they are of no use to God and they will drag down the Church rather than help it grow!
When we allow our old nature to take control of our actions then we are still acting the way the world does and the world will see no difference in the Christian and the lost.
The way we lead our life, the way the world sees us, is our most important witnessing tool.
Today here in these United States we see the Church looking more like the world every day!
The modern day Church have rejected the meat of the Word of God calling it old fashioned and not ready for the modern times and the Church is sinking and unproductive in the things of God!
The Church can no longer discern between whats good and whats evil!
This was a problem in the days of Paul and the same problem exist today!
How can we tell, the same way the Apostle Paul could tell!
*****1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
These things are all manifestations of the flesh!
Envying is also jealousy and rivalry.
These are the same sins that have disgraced the Church from it’s early beginning!
Every Church that displays these things to the world is walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit nor
walking in the Lord!
The truth of salvation rests solely upon the completed work of the Lord Jesus Christ, but rewards are to be earned by “our spiritual service for God” and will be according to the quality of our works and not the quantity!
A carnal Christian has only a fleshly service that is perishable and will suffer a loss of reward at the “judgment seat of Christ”!
The doctrine of Jesus Christ and His becoming our Mediator between us and God are the principle doctrines of Christianity!
How do we know we are in the last of the Church Ages?
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
If Jesus is standing at the door and He is knocking, then He is trying to get back on the inside of the Church, no one knockes to go outside!
Take a serious look and you will see that Our Lord And Savior is being kicked out of the modern day Church!
The Church is walking as men “who have made no confession of faith” and not walking with the Holy Spirit!
The carnality of the Church can be seen as it allows the views of the world to mix with the elements of the new life it has received by Jesus Christ!
*****1Co 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
The question Paul is asking is “are you not influenced by mere human passions”?
ALL those that are influenced by men rather than the Word of God are truly carnal in their behavior!
This happens when we do not take the Word of God literal!
Jesus says this about those that bring the Word of God to us:
Mat 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
Mat 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
A minister is then, no more than the chief servant of the Lord.
It is the Word of God itself that we are to live by and not the words of any man and not some commentary written by some man!
*****1Co 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
1Co 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
1Co 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
It is not easy to learn that the planter or the waterer are nothing but the messengers of God but the absolute truth is that once saved we must become instruments in the hands of God for His use!
We are simply God’s fellow workers and under a higher authority than we ourselves!
Paul clearly understood this and the Church must understand this also!
Again Jesus had these words:
Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: “for without me ye can do nothing”.
Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and “my words abide in you”, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
When we think of ourselves as some one mighty in the work of God or we think of other men as some one mighty in the work of the Lord we are only deceiving ourselves!
Gal 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
We are simply laborers together with God!
*****1Co 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
Husbandry refers to a farmer and the principles of farming.
As God’s husbandry, we are simple farmers who till the soil of that one who is lost or we are the ones who water the field to that one who needs to grow in Christ!
This lost world is God’s field to bring forth His harvest and we are but workers in God’s field!
We are God’s building, means that after our salvation, we are being constructed for God’s use and He does this by filling us with His own Holy Spirit!
2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people”.
When we think of ourselves or some preacher as something greater than these things we are ignoring the plan of God!
The Apostle Paul says it takes a master builder to be smart enough to lay a proper foundation!
And there is only one foundation that is the proper foundation of the Church!
*****1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
This means not some mere abstract doctrine of Jesus Christ but “that Jesus Christ Himself, His person, His deity”, must be the foundation of every church, and every group of believers!
God has laid this foundation of His Son and mankind cannot lay a better foundation than God!
Gal 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Those that pervert the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” are cursed of the God they say they serve!
2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ “depart from iniquity”.
No part of any structure can be built without a solid foundation and be expected to stand!
God’s created world is the foundation of life of the cosmos!
Jesus Christ was the Creator before He became our Savior!
The record of our created world back in the Book of Genesis is the foundation of the revelation of God!
Jesus Christ, first our Creator, then our Redeemer, is the only foundation of any true and Lasting Christian Life!
1Pe 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
It is only after the foundation of Jesus Christ has been laid that the house of God can be built!
*****1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
Gold and silver can go through the fire and come out purer.
Precious stones can go through the fire and the fire will have no effect on them. Granite and natural stone, actual building materials can withstand the hottest of fires.
That fire that is to be revealed is God’s judgment!
2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
It is a fact that wood, hay, and stubble will not withstand any fire at all!
The Apostle Paul had laid the proper foundation in every church he had established but if those that came behind him or those in that church did not properly build onto that foundation then their work would fail.
Jesus said these things:
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Any church not built upon the knowledge of Jesus Christ as the Son of the Living God, will not be able to stand against the gates of Hell!
If Jesus Christ is only a man then the Church will one day fall from existence!
Jesus Christ must our Prophet who proclaims the truth of God!
Jesus Christ must be our High Priest who stands between us and God and provide the proper sacrifice.
Jesus Christ must be our King who claims our love, our loyal obedience and our thanksgivings and our worship.
It is the Divine presence of the Lord Jesus Christ that must dwell in our hearts!
There is good teaching about Christ and there is bad teaching about Christ.
Good teaching is the showing forth of Christ Jesus and His Word and in His Life in our own lives and it is these things that will be rewarded at the “Judgment seat of Christ”!
*****1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Many things go on in the modern day church called the outreach of the church.
If we consider the outreach of the church as the walls of the building, then we can be sure that fire will destroy walls that are built of shoddy material, such as wood, hay, and stubble!
At the “judgment seat of Christ”, Christ will reveal the worthlessness of some of the church work that is being done and that has been done since it’s beginning.
All those that are responsible for these things will suffer a loss of rewards but as one who escapes a burning building they will escape with their lives!
All those that build on anything other than Jesus Christ will suffer loss!
We already know that it is God that controls the increase of the church so quantity is in His hands.
Therefore these Scriptures are referring to the “quality of the work” and “the motivation of the church” and also each individual believer.
It is very important that we assemble as the “Body Of Christ” but of as great an importance “we will be judged for what we do outside the walls of the church”.
The reward for attending church is becoming a better disciple of Christ for the work outside the church!
The rewards at the “judgment seat of Christ” is taking that knowledge and teaching all who cross our path of the love of God and His Redeemer!
We are called of God to contribute our share, to the building of saved souls to become a place that God dwells through the Holy Spirit!
Eph 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Eph 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
In addition to this main thing we must not neglect the building of our character on the “one foundation” of Jesus Christ!
It is a fact that all are saved who have made Jesus Christ the foundation of their lives!
It is also a fact that they remained saved, though the work that have done has accomplished nothing in the building of the “Body of Christ”!
And it is a fact the God will judge the work of His Church before He will judge this world!
1Pe 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
1Pe 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that “judgment must begin at the house of God”: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
We must consider that no matter what we do and no matter where we go, we are carrying with us the Holy Spirit of God!
*****1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
Every believer on the things of Jesus Christ will certainly come face to face with Jesus one day, therefore it is vital that we live in daily obedience to the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit.
We must die daily to our own wishes and pick up our own cross and follow the Lord!
There are many who say that God speaks to them!
That “still small voice” comes from within each believer is the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will never go against the Word of God and will always lead us in the ways of Jesus Christ!
Anything that goes against the Word of God is not following the lead of the Holy Spirit!
We must be especially respectful of our bodies and what we do with them for we that are saved house the “Glory of the Lord”!
Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, “among whom ye shine as lights in the world”;
Php 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
If we are not rejoicing in the day of the Lord now, we certainly will not be rejoicing in the Lord on our own day of judgment and we are deceiving ourselves if we think so!
*****1Co 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
1Co 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
God says it takes a fool to reject the Lord Jesus Christ as the One and Only Redeemer!
We are not to reject the knowledge of this world because we still live in this world, but God says we are not to glory in that knowledge.
The truth is that God’s way of thinking goes far beyond our own way of thinking!
What is the truth?
All the things of God’s creation will serve each man and woman who serves Jesus Christ!
The Lord Jesus Christ came down to this earth to do the will of His Father in Heaven!
Luk 22:27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but “I am among you as he that serveth”.
When we are serving the Lord Jesus we are serving the great purposes of God!
God will then allow His entire creation to serve the individual believer who place their trust in Him.
This includes the extremes of our own existence, the extremes of His creation and the extremes of the duration of our own lifetime!
Rom 8:28 And we know that “all things work together for good to them that love God”, to “them who are the called according to his purpose”.
Those that depend on the wisdom of this world will find out that the extremes of this world will not serve them.
The preaching of the cross may be foolishness to all those that are unsaved but their own wisdom is even more foolishness with God!
Psa 7:14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.
Psa 7:15 He made a pit, and digged it, “and is fallen into the ditch which he made”.
Psa 7:16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.
*****1Co 3:20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
God knows “the plans” of those that think they rule this world but only God’s plan will be fulfilled!
God knows “the purposes” of those that think the wisdom will prevail but only God’s purpose will remain in the end!
God knows “the designs” of those that think they are so wise but we know that Moses got the complete design of the Tabernacle from God. The design of the Temple came from God.
The most important design here on earth is the plan of salvation which came down from Heaven!
One day soon we will see God’s design of the New Jerusalem and the New Heaven!
It is only God’s designs that will prevail!
The thoughts of those who are wise in the ways of the world are vain things in the plan of God because they truly lack real wisdom because real wisdom comes only from the Lord!
*****1Co 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1Co 3:22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
1Co 3:23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.
God says everything belongs to the Church!
We have a great pastor here at Gethsemane but sent him to serve the Church and not the Church to serve him.
There are now and have always been great men of God that have been sent to the Church but they were sent to serve the body of Christ and not for the Body of Christ to serve them!
All the things of this world, all God’s creation unfolds to serve the Church in some way!
All things pertaining to life and death belong to the Church because we can begin life eternal while we still are alive!
All things in this present life and all things to come, belong to the Body of Christ!
Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
When we believe all these things, then those few things we suffer in this world cannot compare to the Glory of Christ on the day we will be glorified with Him!
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Those that belong to the Lord Jesus Christ then also belong to God!