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More Than Human

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Call To Worship Scripture

1 Corinthians 1:
1 Corinthians 1:4–8 ESV
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sermon Scripture

1 Corinthians 3:1 ESV
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

More Than Human

1 Corinthians 3:1 ESV
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
From this verse we induce that there are two types of people to be addressed (within/or without) of the church, while there is hoped for, within the church a seperation wherein there shall be a certain type of person to be addressed within the church and a completly differerent to be addressed without the church.
So then, according to the Word of God, there are two types of people to be addressed.
The first is Spiritual.
The second is Flesh or Carnal.
Our first challenge in this is to identify what is meant and understand the attributes of these two types of people.
Let us begin with the latter.
Flesh/Carnal
Having the nature of flesh, i.e. under the control of the animal appetites
governed by mere human nature not by the Spirit of God
having its seat in the animal nature or aroused by the animal nature
Human: with the included idea of depravity.
Pertaining to the flesh
to the body: related to birth, linage, etc
Human: [a form of species]
Belonging to man or mankind; pertaining or relating to the race of man; as a human voice; human shape; human nature; human knowledge; human life.
Having the qualities of a man
Profane; not sacred or divine; as a human author.
Spiritual: (This word does not appear in scripture until after Pentecost)
Relating to the human spirit, or rational soul. This is the part of man which is akin (related by blood or allied by nature) to God and thus serves as his instrument or organ.
Belonging to a spirit, or a being higher than man but inferior to God.
The ‘spiritual’ state of soul is normal for the believer, but not all believers attain or maintain it. There is a contrast between a ‘spiritual’ state and that of the babe in Christ (the one who because of immaturity and inexperience has not yet reached spirituality)
Spirituality is not a fixed or absolute condition. Thus is demands a constant growth and steady feeding as one of its strongest evidences.
If one is discussing living or order of operation, as in the way that one recieves information, rationalizes decisions and thus applies their life then you begin with the source of operation or that area of self where rationalization takes place. That is to say the first stop, the organic realm of decision making. When you do this you only have two areas to begin from. It is either from the appetites of the flesh or the service of God (ie. carnal or spiritual)
This is very theologically distinctive:
A spiritual (meaning healthy and related to the service of God) decision can never be made from the flesh…or simply put one who operates from the flesh is not spiritual. This means that the human rationalization of good is not of service to God, or is not spiritual.
Now, onto Paul and his desire to address the church as spiritual rather than people of the flesh.
Note, that people of the flesh are connected to infancy in Christ. That is those who have not yet matured or garnered the spiritual stregnth necessary to walk by the leading of the Spirit rather than the cravings of the flesh.
In other words we are descussing a reality check for the church. Spirtual and Carnal is different than saying Christian and non-christian and is yet no less crucial to our understanding and walking/living in trueness of life.
The problem is that if one is of the flesh (yet in the church) though the teacher desires to address them as spiritual, meaning the desire of the teacher is to address their relation to God and how God will use them in His divine service, he cannot.
Listen friends, we can see here that carnal living amoungst the people of God is the greatest cause of stagnation in the church. Paul wants to rally the church, he wants to proclaim the work of God within the church but the church is not oporating from their relation to God but rather to their relation to the world. The church cannot recieve the message of God, the mission of her Lord if her rationing in life is rooted in human reasoning.
1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 3:1 ESV
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:1–3 ESV
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 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?
Paul fed them with milk. This does not mean that Paul watered down the message. This is why I don’t like skim milk or 2%…or whatever you have it…it’s just not biblical…give the baby whole milk…100% pure thick creamy milk. I say that so that you understand Paul did not give them less of a message but rather fed them the fullness of the message in the form that they needed for nurishment and growth at the time. Milk in the nutrients that it has is a meal. Paul had fed them fully. He had given them the full, pure, nourishment of the gospel in a form made for the infants easy digesting of it. It is if you would, the elementary teaching of grace. Those wonderful truths purposed not to be less than but rather foundational to the mature truths of grace. It is those simple truths of the gospel that Paul had given to the Corinthians. Those truths of man’s sinfulness, God’s mercy, repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet the carnality of the church gave Paul clear evidence that though those truths had been preached they were not being practiced. The hoped for muscle and growth that the milk was to cause had not come.
What is the evidence of this?
The church is opporating from the carnal.
What is the evidence of this?
Jealousy (envy), strife, and divisions
Jealousy (envy)
A contentious rivalry
Strife
quarrel. The expression of enmity.
Divisions
Dissension. A standing apart.
This description shows their pattern of spiritual immaturity. The maturity of the church is rooted in expressions of the gospel which is love, grace and unity. These expressions shine through a long suffering nature with each other, a patience, a forgivness and repentance. But the carnal church, rather than love is jealous, and rather than exercising grace it practices strife, and rather than a unity of spirit, it stands apart, divided and the divided church can never serve the perfectly unified God.
1 Corinthians 3:4–15 ESV
For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
1 Corinthians 3:4-
The church has acted carnally in seeking to serve God. I will say that again: What has stifled the maturation of the church in Corinth is their own rationalizing as to how to serve God. Not because there are so many different way’s to serve God, for indeed their is only one, and that is humble obedience, but rather because the are seeking another way in seeking their own fame.
How often in the ministry is the “success” of a church or mission described by saying something like “here is what we did”. There are entire books, seminars and college corses on strategies and buisness models for church growth. We have become so carnal that the first question of church health isn’t what do you believe, or do you follow the Word of Christ, but is rather “how many?” or “where is your builiding located at?” or “what ministries do you have?”… “what do you offer, how can you serve me, how do you serve the community....”
We each have our own carnal rationalization for what the church is and therefore what “church” we are a part of, but this divisive rationing has blinded us from true spiritual service to Christ as a unified church.
Paul attempts here to further streghthen “the milk” teaching. He goes back to the grace of God. Notice it was not Paul’s reasoning that caused him to lay a foundation of faith in others, it wasn’t Pauls strategy that caused the success of that foundation. Rather it was the grace of God. Whenever our efforts, our strategy or our reasoning begins somewhere other than the grace of God, then we attempt to lay a different foundation than that which is laid in Jesus Christ.
Here is the thing, someone can build upon a different strategy. You can grow a church by building an attractive building, by having multiple programs, by being “commuity involved” or whatever the popular movement of the day is, but what is made clear is that will not survive. The life of the church is the grace of Christ made manifest in and through the church. This is the foundation, it is the seed and it is the seed which is to be watered. Now I go back and remind us all that wether a seed is laid or watered it is God alone who gives life and causes growth.
1 Corinthians 3:18–23 ESV
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
So then how do we opperate?
1 Corinthians 3:18-23
You see displays to us the carnal, it is the self rationalizing of good works that proves success or acceptance by being better or more successful than another. It is results driven, self-dependant, King of the Hill type of operation.
However chapter 4 describes how the Spiritual church should be regarded:
1 Corinthians 4:1–6 ESV
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
Two things church that I believe we have by the grace of God sought to demonstrate before you and even been encouraged by you in, in regard to being spiritually minded servants of Christ:
1 Corinthians 4:1-
Stewards
We are managers. We are not owners or ontroponourers. We are managers, and the requirement of a manager is faithfulness to the instruction of the owner.
And second is a very important element to stewardship or managment:
Don’t go beyond what is written
Again we are not ontroponouers. Life is from Christ, the church has been purchased by Christ. It is not up to me or anyone as to how the church should look or what she should do. That my friends belongs to Christ and our ministry, our service to Christ is to be faithful to what he has said, to be faithful to all of it and to no more than it.
Now I give you a very important contrast that is highlighted by Paul between himself (the spiritual christian) and the Corinthian church (the carnal church)
1 Corinthians 4:8–13 ESV
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.
1 Corinthians 4:8–21 ESV
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
1 Corinthians 4:8-
1 Corinthians 4:8
A church cannot and must not ever be judged by wether or not it appears to be dynamic. Nothing of earthly blessing proves the faithfulness or success of the church and nothing of gradour, recognition or the praise of many gives evidence of spiritual maturity or service to Christ.
The same is true of the individual Christian (those who make up the church).
Your financial status and how the world sees you does not equate to your faithful service of Christ and your spiritual maturity.
This morning church we need to be challenged, not to get caught in this race to the top. Rather we need to strive to be more than merely human in our living. Rather than being stuffed with the carnality of man, we must feed upon the Word of God. How can a servant be faithful to the master if they do not heed the words of the master. We must be admonished to live as those who belong to Christ.
I love what this chapter closes with:
1 Corinthians 4:14–21 ESV
I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
1 Corinthians 4:14
The kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.
It’s not what your saying but what your doing. It’s not what your claiming to be but what who you are. It’s not about what you’ve got, but whose power your opperating from.
Arrogance loves to talk, but the question is what is the source of ones stregnth.
Arrogance is evidence of weakness, jealousy of insecurity and all of this is the breeding ground for sin rooted in the reasoning of the flesh,
But we are of the spirit, we are more than human, more than appetite driven animals. By the grace of God, we are united with God and abide in the power of God.
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