1 Corinthians 3 

  • 1Corintians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

There are carnal Christians and spiritual Christians. The carnal may be those that haven't yet learned to walk in the spirit or may be holding back and have not yet yielded themselves to God entirely. This is why we see so many struggle in the flesh and have one problem after another in the fleshly realm. They just can't seem to get victory and walk a spirit filled life. They are carnal.

The meaning of carnal is that which pertains to the flesh. sensual, opposed to spiritual as carnal pleasure. Some may call this type a worldly Christian. In other words those that still love this present world and are wrapped up in the things of this life as opposed to the things of God. In other instances, it could just be those that are new Christians and have not learned the ways of God in depth. Then some believe they are not Christian at all but Christian in name only. No matter the correct meaning though, it is vital that we strive to avoid being one.

Paul felt like he was still speaking to carnal Christians when they were divided by saying, I'm of Apollo and I'm of Paul. We can do the same thing if we start pushing our own denominations forward and think within ourselves that the only ones going to heaven is my particular group and if all don't join my group, we are not going to make it. This takes away from faith in Jesus as the only way to salvation if we add to this by saying someone has to join the Catholic Church, Mormon Church or Church of God in order to be saved. NONSENSE.

By grace are we saved through faith in Christ. In Jesus are we saved, not through any earthly organization.

  • 1Corintians 3:2 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.

Carnal Christians are not able to bear the deep things of the scripture because they are still at base one and can't seem to get any further. They have to keep being reminded of the simple things of the gospel before going on to deeper things. There are so much gold nuggets just waiting to be learned from God's word.

  • 1Corintians 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

A mature Christian will realize that anger and fighting gets us no where. They are steadfast in their walk enough so that if someone disagrees with them, they don't feel threatened and lash out. 

  • 1Corintians 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
  • 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
  • 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

We should not be fighting one another. If the Roman church of the middle ages would have grasped this truth, they would not have burned at the stake anyone that seemed to be a threat to them. If our faith is in Christ, then nothing can threaten us. Our faith stands in Christ and in His love. Naturally we must warn against false doctrine but in a way that will not cause hate toward the one bringing the false doctrine but rather a desire to turn him back to the truth in love. We are always to walk in the spirit of meekness among those that err. We are never to threaten, lord over and persecute a dissenter. The true gospel, the true word of God and true salvation can never be forced upon anyone.

Warring and fighting among fellow Christians is a carnal spirit.

Then too, we must consider we all have different gifts and callings.  Not all of us are teachers, preachers, or have the same obligation in the body. We are all different yet alike in the fact that we love Jesus and desire to work toward what God has called us to do for Him. 

  • 1Corintians 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
  • 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.

Our labor in the word and in the truth will be rewarded.

  • 1Corintians 3:9 For we are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
  • 10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

We see here that the apostle Paul was not giving us a license to have a unity which forsakes sound doctrine. Thus we see his words, "Take heed how he builds thereupon."

How good is the word of God but we have to take all of it and not just part. We can't take the first part of this chapter to stress unity unless we take the warnings also to make sure the unity is in the spirit and in truth. Take heed how we build upon the original foundation.

  • 1Corintians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Christ is the foundation, the head, the center of all that we are to do for His name. Not Joseph Smith, the Pope, Moon, or any person we see popping up from time to time.

  • 1Corintians 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
  • 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

Our work for the gospel will be judged and examined. I don't believe it will be judged by how many numbers we attract but how faithful we were in what we were given to do and whether our work lines up with the word of God.

  • 1Corintians 3:14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
  • 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

We are save by faith in Christ, not on the good works we do in the name of Christ although that will affect our reward.

This doesn't give us a license to return to sin. If we sin again willfully without repentance it can result in the loss of our soul but we are not saved by the good deeds that we do after becoming a Christian. We may fail miserably in all we accomplish yet still be saved. In other words, salvation can't be earned by doing great works. We do good works because of our salvation, not to earn it.

  • 1Corintians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
  • 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Defiling the temple is defiling ourselves by returning to sin and the corruption that we were saved from. For instance if we insisted on living in open adultery after being saved from sin and we did not repent, we would no longer be saved. Repentance would naturally restore us to the right relationship with God. Since this chapter is talking of the error of separation into groups and claiming God as being exclusive to only our group then that also seems to be defiling the temple by making another foundation other than Jesus. We've seen this throughout all history. Many start out right by preaching the gospel and majoring on Jesus Christ but soon get exalted in themselves and they become the head of their particular group. We've seen this so many times. People begin to look to the person rather than Jesus.

I remember riding in a bus headed toward a Jimmy Swaggart meeting once and one woman was so excited and couldn't stop talking about Jimmy. If her excitement was in anticipation of the spirit of God being present in the upcoming meeting that is one thing, but if her excitement was in Jimmy as a person, that it is misplaced. I may desire to hear a great bible teacher but it should be because God has anointed him to explain the scriptures, not because of the man himself. The minute the man stopped explaining the scriptures correctly my desire to hear should stop. Christ is the foundation.

  • 1Corintians 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

We see in today's world many of our fellow Christians returning to the wisdom of the world in their ministry. I question that somewhat because the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God.

I do not cast them down as unbelievers, or judge them less than myself but I do wonder whether this new marketing system of building churches is right. It seems like a departure from trusting God for the increase and trusting the Holy Spirit for leadership. Nevertheless I don't want to say too much on that subject since I'm not a partaker of that type of system and do not want to assume anything or be an accuser of the brethren. However, I do not want to support or be part of anything I think is a departure from the authority of the word or the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • 1Corintians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
  • 20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
  • 21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

I cringe when I see individual men or women exalted in the church world. We may see one exalted because so many are healed through their ministry. When we look too much to one individual it gets dangerous. They have nothing that we all couldn't have. The gospel and all the benefits of the word and the spirit are available to all of us. The gifts of the spirit are to edify the church, bring souls to Jesus Christ and teach the word of God. They are never given as a side show or to exalt one particular individual above the others. All of us are the same.

Separating clergy from the laity is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans also. The pastors have a greater responsibility and we are to love them but we are never to limit the work of God to them alone or allow them to block our vision of Christ or what Christ wants to do in our own lives. The gifts of the spirit are given to all to profit with all. All of us have a responsibility to spread the gospel and do good things, not just the clergy. All of us can lay hands on the sick and pray for healing for instance.

  • 1Corintians 3:22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
  • 23 And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.

Actually it is great to be partaker of all this but it brings responsibility to continue in the faith once delivered to the saints and to be faithful in our calling.

1 Corinthians 4


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