On the way in this morning, most of us were asked, “What time is it?” We all answered in different ways, but the real answer is this: It is time to worship God. This serves as an illustration to a point made back in our studies on Corinth on how we are products of our society and how it is easier to think carnally than it is to do so spiritually.
In John 17, Jesus prays for Himself, for the apostles, and for all believers. John 17:15 illustrates a saying some of us have: “In the world; not of the world.” I Corinthians 2:12-15 reinforces this point, and this is a challenge we face every day – to remember that we are in the world but not of the world.
The Ideal of Spirituality
In I Peter 2:5, Christians are described as living stones of a spiritual house. Romans 12:1 (like the previous verse) speaks of our spiritual sacrifice, and Galatians 2:20 speaks of Christ living in us, demonstrated in our faith and conduct. This calls to our spiritual character, service, and sacrifice, and this spirituality should be what defines us at all times – not just on Sundays.
The Struggle with Worldliness
Romans 7:18-21 describes the inward struggle each one of us goes through, desiring the worldly and sinful when what we need is the righteous and the spiritual. Romans 8:5-8 goes on to support the fact that worldly pursuits cannot please God. We may call ourselves “Christian,” but our thoughts, our priorities, and our conduct may say otherwise. I Corinthians 3:1-3 illustrates this struggle on a congregational level, and we have to be on guard against such entering our worship.
The Side Effects of Carnality
- Immaturity. I Corinthians 3 demonstrates spiritual immaturity as a result of worldliness. Hebrews 5:11-14 is another location where carnality leads to immaturity, and the writer also refers to dullness of hearing. In other words, they could not understand spiritual topics due to their worldly focus.
- Strife. Returning to I Corinthians 3, jealousy and strife are additional side effects of carnality.
- Spiritual Weakness.I Corinthians 2:5 warns us about placing our faith in man. I Corinthians 11:30 refers to individuals that are spiritually sick and weak as a result of a worldly focus.
- Destruction of God’s Church.I Corinthians 3:16-17 speaks of the destruction of God’s temple. Carnality can tear a church and its members apart.
- Destruction of the Soul. Galatians 6:8 contrasts the results of spiritual thinking and carnal thinking. The spiritual mind results in life and peace. The carnal mind brings about corruption and destruction.
Our Application: How Do We Develop Spiritual Minds?
- We need to put self to death. In Galatians 2:20, Paul states that he has crucifies his self interests in favor of Christ. Colossians 3:5-8 also calls us to put carnality to death along with the conduct it encourages. Our worldly self is not something to just hide away. It has to be eliminated.
- Staying in the same verse of Galatians 2:20, we have to replace self with Christ. If we don’t fill ourself with the goodness of Christ, evil and carnality will come and fill us back up. Colossians 3:12-15 speaks to those qualities with which we can replace sinfulness.
- Change your mind. Romans 12:1-2 tells us to be transformed with the renewing of our minds. Philippians 2:5 tells us to change our mind to match up with Christ’s. We cannot be unwilling to change our mind in the light of God’s word if we are going to be acceptable Christians. Christ emptied Himself of glory to please God. How much are we willing to follow that example?
- Study the Word. II Timothy 2:15 tells us to “give diligence” to rightly divide God’s word. This is something that take work to achieve. We can’t claim to be New Testament Christians if we don’t know what the New Testament actually says. knowledge comes from studying.
- We have to get to work. Philippians 2:4 tells us to look after others. Romans 15:2-7 reminds us that this mindset was also in Christ. He took on the burdens of others as we should also do. Being a Christian is not an inactive task.
lesson by Tim Smelser