•I Corinthians 3:1-4
•The Spirit or your flesh?
1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
(I Corinthians 3:1-4, ESV)
• They have claimed to be spiritual…but in all truth they are walking in step with the world
• They are acting as mere humans
• They are willing to substitute the Truth for a lie
• The Spirit or flesh?
– Paul continues the dichotomy between two concepts
– 1). The person of the Spirit of God
– 2). The person of the flesh
– We will want to deal with a few misconceptions
– 1). These verses are not dealing with eternal salvation
– Paul provides the dichotomy necessary for them to understand their flawed behavior
– 2). The idea that flesh” means physical and Spirit of God means “spiritual” in some kind of platonic dualism
– “flesh” means adherence to the ways of the world
– Whereas spiritual means adhering to the Spirit of God
• The Spirit or flesh? (2)
– 3). Justification of the “carnal Christian.”
– People who claim to be Christian but living in a way contrary to the claim
– Paul does not justify their folly
– He is seeking to turn them from their false pattern toward following Jesus
– What then is the point?
– The point is that there are two ways to act
– Our actions show which we are aligned with
– The best explanation of all these things is found in Galatians
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
(Galatians 5:16-26, ESV)
• The Spirit or flesh? (3)
– Paul understands that this world will offer us dueling understandings when it comes to what is good and right
– The ways of the world will lead to a selfish understanding
– When we rely on ourselves in order to provide our truth and live according to what we want to be true rather than what is true it always leads to misery
– We are far too prone to want to be god ourselves
– It leads to us not wanting to be told the truth but what we want to hear
– Far to often we can do this when it comes to teachers and preachers
– Is it more important to be entertained or is it more important to be fed?
– Is it more important to hear the truth or have your ears tickled?
– If we are answering the questions “it is more important to be entertained than fed”
– or “It is more important to have our ears tickled than to know the truth”
– Then we are acting in step with the world than God
• The Spirit or flesh? (4)
– What is Sunday for you?
– Are you asking if God is being glorified through your worship?
– Are you asking if you were satisfied because you got what you wanted or what you needed?
– Do not be deceived by this world which will tell you to follow it to death
– Nail your selfishness to the cross of Christ
– The way of the flesh will only ever lead to death
– In contrast is the way of the Spirit
– By emptying ourselves to God, living according to His will, walking in step with His Spirit…we show we are not slaves to our own desires
– This is the way of Christ Himself
– He took on human flesh, lived as a man of Sorrow, and was nailed to the cross
– We have the example in Christ, truth is greater than false belief, and to empty ourselves for the glory of God will lead to glory
• The Spirit or flesh? (5)
– We must ask ourselves this question
– Are we living in accordance with the Spirit of God or the flesh?
– God will not be mocked by us
– He knows us
– He knows when we are seeking what we want, and when we are seeking what we need
– He knows when we are being merely human
– Seek to be a person of the Spirit
– Seek to understand the truth and live according to the truth
– Know the mask of life this world paints on the face of death
– Seek to be fed rather than entertained, seek what is true above what is a lie
– Continue to ask…“Am I living according to the Spirit, or according to my flesh?”
•The Gospel of Christ
–Where we began
–What went wrong
–How it is fixed
–Where it at leads