1 Corinthians 3:1-3
1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Before we can talk about being carnal we need to know what carnal means.
The word carnal was translated from a Greek word Sarkikos (sar-kee-kos). It means fleshly, carnal having the nature of flesh, under the control of the animal appetites, governed by mere human nature not by the Spirit of God.
If we let something like hurt feelings keep us out of church then we are being carnal,and being carnal will stunt your growth spiritually. That's why there are so many Powerless churches and powerless Christians.
I want us to look back and see who Paul is speaking to in I Corinthians 1:2:
* Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth
* Unto the sanctified in Christ
* Unto those called to be saints
Don't think because you are saved, sanctified, and called to be saints that you won't have to deal with these things that come to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus said in John10-10, The thief cometh. He is going
to show up no matter who you are or what position you hold.
Paul named some things here that can choke off growth in Spirit-filled people, and can bring Christians that have been walking in the supernatural realm of God back to a place of babes where they walk only as men.
Carnal Christians may be truely saved but they live like a lost person. They are hoping for the things of this world to meet their needs and never really being able to rest in the Lord.
Paul names 3 forces that block spiritural growth: ENVY - STRIFE - DIVISIONS.
Envy and strife always lead to division if they are not checked.
Did you know that Satan is constantly working to divide, because he knows the power of division and the power of unity.
Jesus taught about the power of these 2 important spiritual forces in Matthew 12:25: Jesus said,Every kingdom, every city, every house that is divided against itself shall not stand. Jesus warned us of the force of division, and told us of the power of unity and agreement.
I am going to talk more today about division because there has been a spirit of division sent forth by Satan:
* Sent where you work
* Sent to your home
* Sent to your church
You can believe what I am telling you. Satan is using division to bring destruction; to bring spiritual warriors, who have power over him, back where they walk as men: defeated and powerless.
Please listen, this part is very important. Satan cannot come and just slap this on a Spirit-filled child of God. As a born again, Holy Ghost-filled child of God you have the power to refuse.
Remember Jesus in the wilderness? He spoke the Word and refused. You can too. Angels came after
He stood fast on the Word.
Satan knows that, so he must get you to step into the chain. You can't wreck the strong man's house until you bind him.
The devil is using envyings and strife to bring about division because the formula is:
Envy + Strife + Division = Destruction.
You may say, "Dave, you are spending too much time talking about Satan and his devices."
I am hoping to expose him and cause you to mark this as an enemy. You can't fight an enemy that you don't recognize.
In our text, Paul revealed 2 important traps that the devil uses to take Christian people captive, and bring into chains of division.
James warned us again about these 2 in James 3:16.
Where envying and strife is there is confusion and every evil work.
Confusion will cause you to make the wrong choice.
Eve got enticed and became confused about what God had said.
Hey! You won't enter into envy or strife until you give an ear to the evil one. If you want to stop progress add confusion.
Genesis 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
God confounded their language and the building stopped.
Jesus taught on the power of agreement in Matthew 18:19-20.
If any 2 shall agree
If 2 or 3 gather in My name
Two or three in unity have more power than 200 in confusion and division.
In Acts 2:1, on the day of Pentecost they were all in one accord in one place. In verse 14, they continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.
I want to share something that I believe the Lord Jesus has spoken to me.
At times we have failed in our Christian endeavors because we have tried to be a servant to the head of Jesus, but not to the body of Jesus. In order to minister to His body we must minister to one another.
Ephesians 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
Friend, strife, envy, and division are as uncomfortable to the body of Christ as disease and sickness are
to your body. His body will rid itself of these things.
Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
27 ...that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries.
I believe that God is calling to His people in this time to look away from the world’s system of looking at things, and the world’s system of operation, and be willing to begin operating by spiritual principles that express the wisdom of God, and be on our way to maturing beyond carnality.
Let's be on the lookout for the things that can stop or rob us of spiritual growth: envy, strife, and division; that we might be called the children of our Father.
3 DESTRUCTIVE FORCES
THAT BLOCK SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Envy + Strife + Division = Destruction