THE UNSPIRITUAL CORINTHIANS
By Larry White
(Originally delivered in Boise, ID. February 17, 2002)
Text: 1Cor.2:13 – 3:3
...which things also we speak, not in words taught by man’s wisdom but taught by the Holy Spirit, applying spiritual things with spiritual men. But a natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is rightly discerned by no one. For “Who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men but as to carnal, as to infants in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For whereas there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not carnal and walk like mere men?
What would we tell a Corinthian in that church to do, to correct this problem?
I. When we come to Christ we have to die.
Therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
A. We have to leave everything behind and let go of our prejudices, our pride of knowing anything, and receive the word of God with meekness.
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.
B. He requires that we leave our old life behind and totally identify with him. We put off the old-self and put on the new (spiritual) self.
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
C. Putting off the old-man in something the Christian can do because:
1. He can recognize the old-self because he has been made alive in the spirit.
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
He is given new eyes to see in the spiritual realm.
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the
spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power
2. Because he has humbled himself and refuses to walk as the old-self.
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (pre-occupied)
He is trusting in God moment by moment and not relying at all on his own think-so’s or the old common-sense in the flesh. But walking in the spirit, he puts his whole safety and self-esteem into the hands of his creator, and each footstep is in the light of what God is showing him to do.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Each one of you there in Corinth has the potential of this kind of sight and hearing. Listening to God and having him direct you, by faith, in the spirit and having him show you the way, lighting the path before you as you keep his word, so that you won’t stumble.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
So we are brought back to the same fundamental principle of how you first came to Christ.
"Faith and Obedience".
A. So, Corinthian, repent yourself and get the sins out of your life.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
You know what you are hanging onto and comforting yourself with in your mind.
That is what is keeping you from God.
B. Read his word everyday as much as you can, as much as time will allow. Make them wait!
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
C. Pray to God for help in sight and understanding, and then expect God to come near and open your eyes. (per Eph.1:18)
When he opens your eyes, don’t be afraid of it and retreat back into the comfort of the fleshly mind – the common sense. Let the supernatural happen. (LIFE)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
...not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Trust him. He knows you’re not used to flying in faith. He’ll bear you up in his wings and you won’t fall. Don’t feel guilty about what other carnal and legal teachers have told you about keeping your feet on the ground. You have the word of God that you are feeding on every day, and “…it is God who works in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Phil.2:13) With the overwhelming joy you will receive, then love other people who are not so fortunate as you are. And those Corinthians who also have renewed eyes, you will be able to recognize and love them in truth – in the spirit.
If you will not do this, then you will remain frustrated and blind. While others soar above and beyond you, you will keep wondering what they are all talking about. You won't understand the preaching of Paul because it will be something outside of your experience. You won't be able to enter into the thought of Bible classes because it will be spiritually discerned. You won't ask any questions because you won't know how to form the question, or even what to ask.
The reason is because you are not coming to Christ for the light of Life.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
You are not feeding on his word because you don't get anything out of it - you think it's boring. You haven't put Christ first in your life and your carnal old-man to which you are still hanging on, that you have not put off, is keeping you blind. You are still being influenced by the old leaven and what comes of it.
“Contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbiting, whisperings, conceits and tumults.”
--All from the flesh--
Conclusion: Let God change you. Let go!
So, dear Corinthians,
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
~ Invitation ~