Sermon: Who are you? Natural, Spiritual or Fleshly?
Bible Passage: I Corinthians 2:14-3:4
I. Paul’s categorization of People in this world (2:14-3:3)
1. 1st Category – The Natural Person (vs. 14)
a. This person has a physical birth, but does not experience a spiritual rebirth.
b. although spiritually dead, he grows up to live life, gets a job, has a family, may even attend church for societal acceptance, give to charity to make himself feel good, read his bible and pray – but he does all of this out of his own strength, piling up his good works, hoping to be justified by them and not by Christ
c. Offer him the true Gospel; call him to repentance telling him he is a sinner in need of Christ the saviour – and he will not embrace it
d. Because vs. 14, “A natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him”; all that we say just doesn’t make sense to a natural man
e. the rest of the verse says “he cannot (ability) understand the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned/understood”
f. Sadly, the natural man’s end is destruction. Without Christ, every man must pay the penalty for his owns sins and suffer the wrath of God
2. 2nd Category – The Spiritual Person (vs. 15)
a. As opposed to the “natural person” or “unspiritual person”, the Spiritual person is one who has been made alive spiritually by the regenerating work of God
b. He is also one who has positively responded to the Gospel call for repentance and faith in Christ Jesus.
c. And in vs. 15 Paul tells us, he is able to understand and evaluate/discern spiritual things unlike the natural person, because he has the Spirit of God in him. His has spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear things did not formerly comprehend.
d. The “spiritual person” is not a special category of super spiritual christians who are singing, praying, fasting and reading the bible 24/7
e. In other words. They are growing Christians. Those who over time mature in their faith.
3. Lastly, The Fleshly Person (Ch.3 vs. 1 and 3)
a. This group will be our point of focus
b. Older translations use the word “carnal”, based on which a doctrine was formed called “Carnal Christianity”
c. This is the “problem group”; the ones that seem to be Paul’s cause for concern in the Corinthian church
II. Paul’s words of comfort/consolation cum concern
1. Paul’s Words of comfort
a. At the first glance, when you see Paul calling the Corinthians “fleshly” in Ch3 vs.1, you will wonder, “Is he equating them to unbelievers?”
b. Notice towards the end of verse 1, very pastorally, he balances out the “fleshly” by calling them “infants/babes in Christ” – In other words, he considers them to be genuine Christians but baby Christians
i. He begins verse 1 by addressing them as “Brothers and sisters”, which he usually reserves for the faith family
ii. Even in Ch 1. vs 2 he describes them as “those who have been set apart/sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling.
2. Paul’s Words of concern
Paul here addresses them as genuine believers, but he is at the same time concerned for them. We see evidence for that when he first shows his disappointment by saying:
a. “I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but only as fleshly (vs 1.)”
b. vs.2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food (the last time); for you were not yet able to consume it. But even now you are not yet able, vs.3 for you are still fleshly
III. Paul’s call to maturity in Christian life and faith
1. To kill pride – the root of all sin – by considering how they were weak, unwise, and despised when God had called them. This would leave them with nothing to boast about except the grace of God (Ch1. vs.26-31)
2. To not exalt any man of God but to instead remember that they too are men at best. To remember rather that it is God who gives the increase, while we His servants may simply sow and reap. (Ch3vs.6,7)
3. To be content even when humbled by the hand of God just as the apostle Paul did when he went through hunger, poverty and homelessness than to desire superiority (Ch.4vs.10-16); in which regards Paul calls them to be imitators of him.
4. To deal with sin strictly and purge the church of unrepentant people than tolerate it. In other words, to hate what God hates and love what He loves. (Ch.5 vs.1-2)
5. To rather be defrauded and be wronged instead of taking another believer to the court to be judged by unbelievers (Chp 6)
6. To consistently and sincerely make war with sexual temptations so you can remain faithful in your marriage or honour the Lord by patiently waiting if you’re unmarried. (Ch 6,7). “For you have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body. (6vs.20)
1. With God as my witness, in all honest, if I were to assess my spiritual state, which group do I belong to?
2. If I am just a natural person, “How can I be saved”, If I am Fleshly, how exactly must I pursue maturity in my walk with Christ? If I am “Spiritual”, praise God and continue to run the race of faith sincerely