1Cor . 3:1-4 It is time to grow up


Intro: In 1 Cor. We see where Paul separates men into three classifications starting in chapter 2:14  with the natural man,

A) The natural man is the unregenerate man, the man who knows not Jesus Christ.


B) And concerning him, Paul explained that he couldn’t receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.


C) So the natural man is in darkness, not able to see, not able to know the things of God. - Blinded

           1)Paul said the god of this world, has blinded their eyes that they cannot

              see the truth.


D) Now it is important to realize in praying for those who are not saved, that

1)So the direction of our prayers for the natural man would be that    

    God would open their eyes to the truth


B) Now in contrast to the natural man, you have the spiritual man, and Paul says he that is spiritual understands or discerns all things though he is not understood by men. "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him, but we have the mind of Christ."


C) So the spiritual man is a man whose mind is now controlled by the Spirit - he is a man who seeking to be led by the spirit!

          1) Living after the spirit Mindful of Spiritual things



Now as we get into chapter 3, Paul introduces us to a third classification,

the carnal man! Carnal = fleshly 3 classifications -found in word

A) 1st man living after the flesh - worldly


B) Seed sown among the thorns - Mark 4: 18  "Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,

19  "and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.


C) In Luke 12:22 Jesus described the person who is living to please his flesh as one who was only interested in what eat / what wear / what hobby enjoy

1)  Mainly How can I satisfy my body



2nd there are those who are Carnal in that they are living by the flesh

A) In other words they are trying to live the Christian life & walk the Christian walk in the energy of the flesh.


D)  Problem Paul describes w/ the Church in Gal.

3:1  O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 3  Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?


E) the Church in Galatia was  considered Carnal - but they were not living after their flesh but by their flesh -

1)  Trying to please God in the energy of the flesh / so Paul wrote to them


F) The Characteristic of an individual who is functioning in that type of way is that they are always striving They are always trying to force things

1)  - make things happen - ( Finagle their way into ministry) tell how gifted they are - instead of allowing the Lord to work.


G) It is also seen in those who are always trying to do so much - but they are not being led ( Pastors Conf. )



Now the 3rd aspect of carnality  is the one we see mentioned here -

A) Carnal in the sense that they were living for the flesh! - which is generally characterized by being focused on themselves


B) It wasn’t that they were caught up in worldly pursuits - that wasn’t in general their form of Carnality

1)  Although it was manifested in that way by some of them.


C) No the aspect of their carnality was such that they were just focused on themselves! Selfishness at the core

1)  Seen in their envy strife & divisions / mere men = fleshly men


D) James said James 4: 4:1  Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?

2  You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.


E) So James saying The basic problem here is self - I am bummed because I am not getting my way!  Paul says that is a form of Carnality

1)  Ex. Husband - carnal in that way - he is not worldly - out chasing other women - or partying


F) But he is carnal because his focus is on himself - his needs & not his wife or families.



Paul really gives the best analogy of all here in 1Cor. 3 when he said in v.1 3:1  And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.  (Carnality seen in immaturity )


A) Now Paul was talking about them as being babes in the sense that they were new in the Lord - that wasn’t the case

1)They were just acting like babies spiritually - how does a baby act?


C) Selfish to the core - hungry - feed me - thirsty - I need something to drink

1)  Diaper - change me - ( Mine )   Me Me Me


D) That's where the Corinthians were at - the division that they were experiencing - was due to the selfishness rampant among them

1)  Seen in the Division


E) Mentioned in Chapter 1 that they were focused on men & not on Christ and really at the root of their problem of being focused on men was they were focused on themselves.


F) I am of Paul & I am of Apollos

1)  The key word in those expressions is the word I -



They were acting like Babies so Paul addressed them as babies

2  I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;


Paul is saying that there are two things that are marks of maturity in a believers life & actually they are inter -connected

A) One  is how they act the other is what they eat!



Now what Paul is really making reference to here is maturity vs. immaturity 

A) There is a natural development and growth physically in our bodies & there is and should be a natural development and growth spiritually.


B) There is a time when being a babe in Christ is a beautiful glorious thing. I love to see natural babes in Christ.

          1) New Believer


C) It is awesome thing when a person has just come to the realization that Jesus is Lord and their sins are washed away and that enthusiasm,

1)  that love, that excitement that they have for the things of the Spirit, it's just something that's glorious to behold,


D) they're just fun to be around because the things of the Lord are just to exciting to them at that point, babes in Christ.

1)  But there is also a necessity of growing up into a fully matured




In the same way a new born Baby is a beautiful, lovely sight.

A) first words of a baby are always so exciting.


B) Amanda - mommy or daddy - Papa - Didn’t matter talking ( everyday growing)


C) If my 8 yr. was still saying daddy - that's all - concerned - 20 grieved !


D) You want to see growth in their lives - the Lord desires to see them become less selfish & more self less

1)  Father’s goal is to conform us into the image of His own dear son.


E) Work of sanctification -  



Now an important part of how we grow - physically is connected to how we eat & what we eat

A) Certain foods - strength & growth - bones & mind


B) Same is true spiritually - Paul says that I fed you w/ milk & not w/ solid food! because they are not able to endure the meat of the word of God. Spirit.


C) What is the difference? The usual answer is that “milk” represents the easy things in the Word, while “meat” represents the hard doctrines.

1)I disagree w/ that for two reasons :


D) 1st is because There is no difference at all between the truths of a spiritual milk diet and a spiritual solid food diet, except in detail and depth.

1)  We teach the exact same things for the most part in children's ministry as we do in High School Jr. High / Adults - ( Bible )


E) The only difference is the depth at which we get into it !



Think of it this way All doctrine may have both milk and meat elements. A) It is not that we are to be continually learning new doctrines in order to grow,

1)  but that we are to be learning more about the doctrines we have known for years.


B) for example A new Christian might explain the atonement as, “Christ died for my sins.”


C) But A long–time student of the Word, on the other hand, would go into such things as regeneration, justification, substitution, and propitiation.

1)  One explanation would not be truer than the other; but the first would

    be milk and the second, solid food.


D) We all know that Jesus loves us - yet in Eph. 3 Paul prayed for the Church in Eph. that they would know the Ht. / Width/ Length/ depth of His love !



E) Depth - going deeper in that love

1)  Really the maturity is seen in a deeper understanding Christ work & the appropriating of that work in our lives



Which is the second reason why I believe that this passage was not talking about diff. Doctrines - turn to Heb. 5

A) Paul is here talking about the High priestly ministry of Jesus


9  And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,

10  called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek,"

11  of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

12  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

13  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.

14  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

6:1  Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

2  of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

3  And this we will do if God permits.


This passage seems to teach that “milk” represents what Jesus Christ did on earth, while “meat” concerns what He is doing now in heaven.

A) The writer of Hebrews wanted to teach his readers about the present heavenly priesthood of Jesus Christ, but his readers were so immature, he could not do it (note Heb. 6:1-4).


B) Reason of use - maturity comes w/ use applying God’s word to our lives

          1) Living like we are really set free


C) The Word of God is our spiritual food: milk (1 Peter 2:2), bread (Matt. 4:4), meat (Heb. 5:11-14), and even honey (Ps. 119:103).

          1) Physical man needs to progress in his diet - so does spiritual


D) It is not difficult to determine a believer’s spiritual maturity, or immaturity, if you discover what kind of “diet” he enjoys.

1)  green beans hard to swallow - ice cream -


E) The immature believer knows little about the present ministry of Christ in heaven.

1)  He knows the facts about our Lord’s life and ministry on earth, but not the truths about His present ministry in heaven.



Growth comes by use - doesn’t matter how much you know - what matters is what you apply -



15yrs saved - much knowledge - struggling in same things 10yrs ago problem


Carnal - after / by / for self at the core -




Romans carnally minded is death

Death in this connotation is means barrenness, fruitlessness, spiritual poverty which is a stench in the nostrils of God; it is hostile to God.

A) Solomon found that living after his flesh - seeking to please his flesh - resulted in death / barrenness - All Vanity


B) Had everything yet he was barren in his soul


C) Paul found that living by the flesh - trying to please God in the energy of the flesh resulted in barrenness as well






Have you received the Spirit?