This evening I will be teaching out of 1 Corinthians 3, which speaks of what has been called, "carnal Christians."
One of the principles we are learning is that there are three types of people. There is the "natural man" (which includes women as well), the "spiritual man" and the "carnal man".
All three of them exist in our world.
The natural man (or to use the word that Paul uses - the "soul man" - Greek psyche) is a man who is unable to understand spiritual matters. He goes by his feelings, his ability to think and make decision. His spirit is empty, dead to God, for it is filled with only the things of this world. The "flesh". He desire that which is material, physical, and sensual.
He is a man controlled by the flesh. As the Blues Brothers used to sing, "I'm a soul man," they live by their instincts.
Debbie and I used to have a cocker spaniel, Mickey. If Mickey wanted to get up and eat, he got up and ate. If he wanted to sleep, he would plop down and sleep. He lived by his soul.
Then there is the spiritual man or that person who has the mind and attitude of Jesus Christ. He looks at life, not from a temporary perspective but from an eternal perspective. He walks according to the spirit, specifically the fruit of the spirit. While he may operate in the gifts of the Spirit, his main focus are the fruit, love, joy, peace, etc.
He walks in the spirit which implies a moving forward, a moving of one step at a time and a moving in a definite direction. There is intentional forward motion. He is not floundering, or stagnant, but filled with God's Spirit.
Sin and Satan are still around, they are appealing but by virtue of the crucifixion of the old self at conversion and on a daily basis, sin's power over him is broken.
He is capable of discernment, of being able to budget all things. That is not to say that he knows all things but is able to discern all things, specifically things pertaining to spiritual, moral and ethical issues.
Then there is the carnal man. They are Christians, but they walk in the flesh. Their minds are full of carnal, negative thoughts. They look like a Christian, but they act and talk and think like a non believer.
A carnal man insists on his own way. He is like a baby crying out for someone to meet his needs and meet them immediately.
A baby is cute, even beautiful, but very demanding. A baby drinks milk. It's cute. But a baby sucking on a bottle is cute at 6 months but is kind creepy if seen of a 40year old man!
Carnal Christian should be eating steak and potatoes but they are still sucking on a milk bottle.
A baby constantly needs its diaper changed.
With a carnal Christian the flesh is calling the shots or self.
Here are some of the characteristics of a carnal Christian:
They stubbornly hold on to their opinions. They never give in.
They live by fear.
They are obsessed with control
They are bitter, resentful
They are distrustful of people
They show up late
They are cliquish
They are unable to spend personal time with God
They occasionally acts and speak indecently
They are unwilling to give away money for God's purposes
They walk in the gifts but not the fruit
They are easily influenced by the opinions of others
They are combative
They are apathetic
The flesh can be like a ball and chain that we carry around with us on a daily basis. Paul says it this way, "that which I do, I don't want to do, that which I don't want to do, I do."
A carnal Christian doesn't hate God, they just ignore God. They are insensitive to spiritual matters. Sin bothers them less and less.
They are hard to please. Nothing ever satisfies them.
If that describes you today....and we all fall into some of those categories, let's be realistic and real about it....here are four steps you can take.
1. Realize your need. That you are walking in the flesh (I Cor. 13:11)
2. Repent of your ways (Revelation 2:5)
3. Release your rights (Romans 12:1,2)
4. Receive God's power (Acts 1:8)
Hope that helps......
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