When we consider all of the people in the world we could find many differences. Basically there is really only two classes of individuals. Those who are saved and those who are lost. But, the apostle Paul gives us another way to consider the human race. By the Spirit of God, he has given us three divisions of people. The "natural" man, the "carnal" man, and the "spiritual" man. These groups are classified according to their ability to understand and receive a certain body of Truth, which is of the things revealed unto us by the Spirit.
Read text: 1Co. 2:9-3:4
I. The Natural Man. 2:14
A. Note his limitations.
1. He cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God.
2. This is not so much an indictment against him, but simply a statement of fact.
3. He can only know "the things of a man".
4. He may, with man's wisdom, be able to read the words, but he cannot "know them".
5. The things of the God are revealed by the Spirit of God through the Word of God.
6. He is without spiritual discernment and makes his evaluation according to his wisdom, which is limited.
B. His evaluation of God's Word.
1. It is foolishness to him.
2. If we cannot understand something, often we will call it foolish or silly.
3. Notice what Paul said that men were calling foolish: 1 Co. 1:18, 23
4. The unsaved or natural man can only under- stand things with their natural minds.
5. That is why, although they accept the crucifixion of Christ as an historical fact, they simply can't see the importance of that event for all eternity.
C. His destination.
1. Paul said that they would perish!
2. Some have said that he is just spiritually sick and needs help or else he will die.
3. God's Word says that he is already dead, and needs a resurrection! Note: Ep. 2:1
4. The natural man is without God and he is without hope.
5. He may be highly educated and deeply religious, but he is headed for hell!
II. The Carnal Man. 3:1-4
A. He is a "babe in Christ".
1. That means that he isn't a natural man.
2. He is saved! He has the Spirit of God within him.
3. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:" 2 Co. 5:17a
4. A new life in Christ, but something is wrong.
a. There's nothing wrong with being a babe in Christ.
b. Everyone of us who have been born again has been a babe in Christ.
c. The problem is when we remain as a babe.
B. Note his characteristics.
1. He needs to be bottle-fed when it comes to the Word of God.
a. That isn't unusual for a babe...but in time we ought to develop an appetite for the meat of the Word.
b. Meat has to be chewed on for a while in order for it to be digested, but milk takes little or no effort on the part of an individual.
c. It is a sign of immaturity for a believer to not have an appetite for God's Word.
d. When we don't eat right we are subject to all sorts of problems.
2. He can't get along with others.
a. When a believer fusses and fights with other Christians it indicates carnality.
b. In reality, it is simply a problem with selfishness!
c. There is no more selfish an individual than a little baby!
d. These Corinthian believers were selfish, they all wanted their way!
e. The result was envying, strife, and division in the church.
f. That is the very source of every church split or problem since then as well.
g. Churches do not split over doctrine...but over personalities!
3. They walked as men...like the unsaved!
a. God's Word instructs the believer to "walk in the Spirit".
b. He commands us to "walk in love".
c. And we are to "keep the unity of the Spirit".
III. The Spiritual Man. 2:15
A. His spirituality is evident in his character.
1. Spirituality involves control by the Spirit of God. cf Eph. 5:18
2. The Spirit has come to glorify Christ according to John 16:14, so a spiritual person will manifest Christ in his character and actions.
3. Note: Gal. 5:22-23
4. A spiritual person will imitate Christ in their conduct.
B. He is spiritual in his knowledge.
1. Note: Heb. 5:14
2. After four or five years Paul expected the believers in Corinth to be able to receive strong meat of the Word.
3. A person's advancement in the knowledge of the Word of God is an essential characteristic of genuine spirituality.
4. "He that is spiritual judgeth all things..."
5. There is no limitation upon him in the realm of the things of God.
C. He is spiritual in his attitude.
1. The church at Corinth was an example of "disunity". cf 1Co. 1:10-17
2. The spiritual man will have the mind of Christ...and will be more concerned for others than for self.
3. He will have an attitude of service.
4. A spiritual man will want to exercise their spiritual gifts within the body of Christ, their local church.
5. The local church is a place of activity and ministry, those who come only to sit and observe are not spiritual.
6. Those church members who are creating problems and demanding constant attention are not spiritual!
7. Church members who do not positively contribute to the welfare of the body are not spiritual!
The question tonight is (1) are you saved? and (2) if you are saved, are you spiritual? You never have to tell someone that you are spiritual, they will be able to see it in your life. In your character, your knowledge, and your attitude.
If you are not saved, you can be by accepting the gracious offer of God who loved you and died for you on Calvary. If you are not spiritual, or as spiritual as you would like to be, you can be. Yield yourself to God tonight and be filled with the Spirit of Christ instead of the spirit of self. Commit yourself to study His Word faithfully and purposefully. Get involved in the ministry of this church for the glory of God.