Today’s Passage – 1 Corinthians 1 – 5
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 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. (1 Corinthians 3:1 & 2)
The church at Corinth was a church that had many issues which we could sum up into one main category, carnality. They were a very carnal church. Paul says here in the verses above that they were babes. The symptoms of their carnality can be seen throughout these chapters. For instance, they had a problem with unity; they were divided. Some of them were following Paul; some Apollos; some Peter. They ought to have been following the Lord; this way they could also get behind anybody else that was also going the same direction. Man worship seems to be a symptom of the carnality in our churches today as well. We love to pick out a spiritual guru who will do all of the work for us. He will get to know God and study for us, and he will tell us what we need to know. You see, this way we won’t have to get to know God ourselves. I praise God for the many different men that God has used in my life, but they were all just men. I still needed to follow God on my own, just in case one of these men ahead of men decide to take a detour away from God.
Another symptom of the church in Corinth which revealed their lack of spiritual maturity, and their carnality, was immorality. There were many within the body of Christ there that could not control their passions. They were committing some of the worst types of sin including fornication, and unfortunately, it did not appear that the church was dealing with it. They did not seem to be too upset about it. Our churches today are much the same way. It is almost as if we have given up trying to fight immorality anymore. The world we live in has certainly become a cesspool of immorality, so we figure that as long as we are not as bad as they are, we are doing ok. I don’t think God sees it the same way.
How can we reverse this trend? How can we try to conduct our churches in a way where we are still loving and reaching people with problems, yet we are maintaining a mature, separated walk with the Lord. I believe if a church is going to be able to pull its people away from the world, and lead them into a separated lifestyle of service, it will have to have these three ingredients:
1 There must be some shining examples – The leadership of the church, beginning with the pastors, must be men of God that are excited and passionate about serving the Lord. These men and women do not see separation as something to endure, but rather a lifestyle that they enjoy. These people don’t have to do what they do, they love it.
2 There also needs to be strong exhortation – Bible principle must be preached and taught with a conviction that can only come through the power of the Spirit of God. Messages need to be flooded, not with the philosophies of men, but with the principles contained in the Word of God. The people need to hear, “Thus saith the Lord”.
3 There also needs to be service exercise – People need to have a purpose, and they need to be busy serving the Lord. Let’s plug people in to some type of service that enables them to use their gifts for the glory of God.
4 There also needs to be a spiritual excitement – We get beaten down by the world enough. Our people need to see God working. They need to be convinced that this is real, that we are really on the wining team. There needs to be some spiritual victories that will motivate the people to keep going. Nothing is more motivational than seeing people saved, and seeing peoples lives changed.
Carnality will be less of a problem in a healthy, vibrant, excited, motivated, and growing church. People will be able to resist the pull of the world if there is a stronger pull coming from within the walls of the church.
Posted in Devotions, Thoughts from 1 Corinthians by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.