Just Because you’re Saved does not mean you’re Spiritual
1 Corinthians 3
Jerry A Collins
What makes a person a babe in Christ?
What are the marks of a fleshly Christian?
What are the results of a godly and spiritual life?
When you consider worldliness you must consider things much deeper than just bad habits or legalistic concerns like no smoking or no dancing. It is an orientation, a way of thinking and believing. It is buying the world’s philosophies, adding human wisdom. It is accepting the world’s definitions, it’s measuring sticks, it’s goals. Our sin nature produces the bridge that the world’s influence uses to impact us. Though we are given a new spirit and are a new creation when we are saved, while we live here on earth, the tendency to evil remains. There is a struggle inside of us. One sin will lead to another while the second sin reinforces the first. Every sin is a combination of sins! So we will struggle with this sin and must fight it with the resources God has supplied. Here in this passage is the best definition of the spiritual life. We never reach a place in this life where sin is not a problem. If we allow sin to influence our lives, then we will yield its fruit and suffer it’s consequences when we are judged by Christ.
1. REMAINING A BABE IN CHRIST PRODUCES FLESHLY XIAN WHO CAUSE DIVISION 1-4
First, at this time Paul could not speak to these believers as spiritual men vs 1. Since they had become believers, they had not been living the kind of life that leads to spiritual maturity. That kind of life is characterized by at least 4 things:
(1) Gradual development. This is
also true of life. When I was 6 could not wait to be ten then 13 then 16 then
finish HS then college then seminary. But if you had
told me at 6 that I would be in school 23 more years I could not have
comprehended that. No one becomes spiritual suddenly. (2) Multi-task
development. Includes prayer but also includes Bible study and also includes
giving and also includes repenting and also includes discipling.
(3) Does not just happen. Have to make a choice. Do you emphasize your
spiritual development or not? You must decide this is what you want and present
yourself for it. (4) Never fully attained. Your goal is to keep on growing
every single day. But so far this was not true for many in
Second, they have become fleshly Christians 2-3. There are 2 marks of a carnal xian. (1) Inability to take in the deeper things of the Word of God when he should be able to vs 2. A new xian may explain salvation as ‘Christ died for my sins’. Growing xian would go into things like justification and the substitution, propitiation. One not truer than the other but the 1st is milk the 2nd solid food. (2) Inability to get along with other xians vs 3. Not getting along is indication your not walking with God. The evidence was jealousy and strife among them. Conflict in their relationships between one another is like behaving as unbelievers.
Third, their carnality produced factions, division, and competition among believers 4. When group of believers develops loyalties around individuals indicates spiritual immaturity and trouble. Determine to have several groups of xians in your life. Avoid the tendency to divide xians up into separate groups with a spirit of exclusion that divides us against one another. Division, factions and competition is always a product of worldly and fleshly action and never a product of the HS.
2. CURE FOR DIVISION IS UNDERSTANDING IT’S GOD’S MINISTRY NOT MAN’S 5-9
First, besides, what then is Apollos or Paul anyway? They were only instruments not source of salvation. Even the opportunities to bring the gospel are God’s doing vs 5. Second, even tho you are faithfully using your gifts and doing ministry well, you are only a tool God uses as means to accomplish His plan vs 6-7. All of God’s work is significant and all honor for accomplishment must go to God. Twice emphasizes it is God who causes the growth. Third, while united in faith and ministry, we are different people with different jobs who will receive individual rewards according to our labor in God’s kingdom 8. Comments on this judgment: (1) It’s for each individual no group judgment. (2) It is a judgment for reward not a condemnation for sin. (3) Reward is according to your own labor not success or results since that is God’s doing. (4) The reward is in heaven not on earth. No person is glorified or made center of special groups or movements here on earth. Fourth, it is God’s ministry not ours 9. We work for Him and those among whom we work (teach, counsel, exhort, help, evangelize) belong to God not us. The privilege of ministry is that we get to participate in what it is God is doing. Carnality sees it as our ministry, our kingdom, our leader. When I see it as God’s ministry then I am free to give myself away in service for Him.
3. THE QUALITY OF OUR SPIRITUAL WORKS WILL BE JUDGED/REWARDED BY CHRIST
This passage refers to the
judgment seat of Christ and the rewards and works here refer only to xians. The metaphor changes from agriculture to architecture.
Using figure of building we learn: (1) We are
carefully building on the foundation of Christ layed
down by the apostles 10-11. Paul did this when he preached for 18 mos in Corinth Acts 18. Every human philosophy, religious
system, code of ethics destined to fail having no foundation in Christ. We are
continuing this work today. (2) There are various degrees of rewards depending
upon the quality of the works 12. These are the materials we are building with.
One is high quality material. The other is inferior material. Every xian is a builder and we all build with these materials.
The endurance, value and usefulness of our works, these materials, will be
determined. For example, Jesus said
beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them
otherwise you have no reward in heaven Mt 6:1. So why we do a thing is as
important as what we are doing. (3) The quality of the spiritual works is
revealed at judgment seat in heaven and not on earth 13. Then and only then
will it become clear which works endured, had value and were useful. All other
works will be burned up. We will sift thru the ashes and see what is left. (4)
The test of good works is if it remains after God tests it 14. The test will do
two things. First reward those who built with quality. Second the evidence will
show that the work of some will be revealed as worthless and be burned up 15.
They will lose a portion of reward they were expecting. Everything will be
revealed then. (5) Our ministry impacts the body of Christ 16-17. We can defile
God’s temple (His people) by dividing
into little groups, competing factions, seeking worldly wisdom, being sexually
immoral, taking xian bro to court, causing weaker xian to sin by being insensitive to using my rites, or
misconduct at Lord’s supper, all
things the Corinthians were doing. God takes
seriously the impact we have on the greater body of Christ. 1. Goal of xian life here not salvation but spiritual man not just
saved carnal xian. 2. Pursuing religious distinctions
is sign of fleshly christianity.
3. Those doing evangelism judged by how they laid that foundation all others by
how they build on it (my trips). 4. The spiritual life should be lived by each
of us seeing selves as holy