So welcome to the gathering of sinners who are in different stages of sanctification. He loves us the way we are. He takes us the way we are. Now He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.
That's the holiness process, but we come as we are, and that gets pretty messy from time to time. There were a lot of problems in the early church. The apostle Paul addressed them in his letters, speaking admonition and encouragement to believers.
Today on Connect with Skip Heitig, Skip explores some of those problems as he shares important insight with you about spiritual growth. Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that will help you discover the Bible's extraordinary relevance and transforming power. Guinness World Records has again confirmed that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time.
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Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connecttheskip.com slash offer. Now we're in 1 Corinthians Chapter 2 as we join Skip Heitig for today's teaching. Well, from time to time, I hear well-meaning folks that will talk about how good it would be if we could go back to things like they were in the early church. And when I hear that, and I get the sentiment because I remember saying that myself, gosh, it'd be great to be living life like in the early church.
When somebody says that, I want to probe a little bit because I want to say, so how early are you talking about? They'll say, well, you know, like New Testament. Okay, so the church of Corinth is a New Testament church.
Do you want to be like them? Now, if they know 1 Corinthians at all, they go, well, not so much like them. And so they go usually, well, no, you know, like the earliest church, like the church in Jerusalem. But again, if you know your Bible, you know that the early church in Jerusalem had its own share of issues and problems. There was a problem of hypocrisy, and God demonstrated how he felt about it by killing a couple of church members because of their hypocrisy. That's a problem.
I don't want to go back to that, do you? Every time we sing a song and we don't really mean it, there's hypocrisy in our hearts, bam, we'd have an undertaker at every service. Or in the sixth chapter, when there was a problem between one group and another group over the daily distribution that was or was not taking place with a group of widows, there were problems even back then. So I just want to frame this, and I think it's important that we grasp this. Is it realistic to think that you could ever find a church that doesn't have its share of problems? We have had our share of problems at this church through the years.
My mind can land as I go back to several different issues that we have had, and rocky times we have had. Every assembly will and does have issues, has problems, simply because Jesus saves sinners. So welcome to the gathering of sinners who are in different stages of sanctification. He loves us the way we are. He takes us the way we are.
Now he loves us too much to leave us the way we are. That's the holiness process, but we come as we are, and that gets pretty messy from time to time. So that's important to realize because 1 Corinthians is largely a letter written to a church dealing with not one, not two, but several problems one after the other.
And we have sort of laid that out before you in the past few weeks. A church member named Chloe informed Paul, who is in Ephesus, about an issue with divisions. So Paul writes about that at the beginning of 1 Corinthians. That was sort of the first problem he dealt with, the problem of one group in the church against another group in the church. One would say, I'm of Paul. Another would say, I'm of Apollos. He was the pastor that came after Paul. Some say, I'm of Cephas. That is Peter, the apostle. We have no record of him coming to Corinth, but maybe they were influenced by his teachings.
Maybe he did come true. We're not sure. And then another group just sort of saying, yeah, I'm really not tied to any human leader.
I'm of Christ. And the point is they drew off into subgroups and created more disunity by being unified over one leader over another leader. It wasn't the leader's fault. Paul, Peter, Apollos never insisted, hey, I demand loyalty to me.
It wasn't their fault. It was the people's fault who were attracted to those personalities and thought it was important enough to divide over. So that was an issue that he deals with. Another issue that Paul is dealing with, and it sort of bleeds into the first issue, the first issue is that influence of Greek philosophy. They were attracted by the worldly wisdom of the Greeks.
The Greeks, of course, were known for their philosophical postulates and for their philosophers that were well renowned and well spoken of and could articulate matters of life beautifully. And so with that as a background, they were attracted to being chic and being respectable and wanting worldly, wise people to like them. So, yeah, they wanted to follow Christ, but they wanted to have kind of the backslapping of the world at the same time. And so Paul talks about worldly wisdom.
God hasn't chosen the wise or the noble, but the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, the weak things of this world, to put to shame the mighty. And then those two problems of division and respectability or worldly wisdom led to a third problem, and that was carnality. And it's all tied together. He just sort of deals with the issue in different ways leading up to it.
And that's sort of where we left off. It's the problem of stunted spiritual growth. All of us should be growing in our faith. I've been a Christian a while. I should still be growing in my faith. You may have been a Christian just a few months. You're growing in your faith or a few years. You're growing in your faith. I remember when I was a four-year-old Christian, not four years old as a human, but an adult human being who had been born again for four years. And I just thought, man, I've been a Christian a long time. And when I started dating this young girl who'd been a Christian a few weeks, this girl named Lenya, I thought, oh my goodness, she's just so immature.
I'm so mature. And as the years pass, as the years go on, it's why I have that life verse. God has chosen the foolish things of this world.
I realize how foolish I was and am. But then I quickly rejoice that God selects those people. So in chapter two, toward the end, I made a statement as I closed last week that Paul identifies not two different groups of people, but three different groups of people in the world. One is the natural person or the natural man, he will call him. Second is the spiritual man, and the third is the carnal man.
That's in chapter three. But toward the end of chapter two, he speaks about those first two categories, the natural person or the natural man. And it doesn't mean engender, just the person, the natural person versus the spiritual person. So in verse 14, he says, but the natural man does not receive the things of the spirit. Now, just again for context, he talks about the fact that the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and has revealed the mind of God to us. Who knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? Same it is with God. The Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and reveals things to us.
So we are recipients of God's revelation through the Holy Spirit. But, verse 14, but the natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned. That's the first category, the natural man, the natural person.
The Greek word is psukikos, and it means somebody who is governed by human nature. That's the natural man, the natural woman. It's not like, I am a natural woman.
Not that idea of that song, although it does fit. If you're unregenerate, if you are an unsaved person, if you are a person simply governed by human nature, appetites of human nature, then that's what you are, a natural man, a natural woman. Now, this natural man, mentioned in verse 14, might be a very charming, handsome, beautiful, charismatic, intelligent, even religious person, and yet unsaved.
And as an unsaved person, as a natural person, even if he or she is all of those things, they don't understand spiritual matters, real spiritual truth. I used to get so frustrated when I would witness to people, and I would make the argument so logical, my presentation, so airtight in its understanding, logically and theologically. And yet I'd have people look at me like, huh? And I would say to them, can't you see it? Don't you understand it? Don't you get it?
And the answer to my questions were, no. How can you expect somebody who can't see or understand spiritually to get a spiritual truth you're trying to convey? It's as much folly as telling a blind person, look at the beautiful sunset we've had today. Look at those colors. Excuse me, Skip, but I don't know if you've noticed, I'm carrying a walking cane. I can't see. Oh, but look at those colors.
I'm carrying a walking cane. I can't see. Oh, but look at it. Can't you get it?
Don't you, isn't that beautiful? I don't, I lack the capacity, I don't have the capability to appreciate it. Or somebody who's either deaf or tone deaf, they listen, you play a bit of music that is your favorite music, listen to those violins or that cello or listen to that, those harmonies, and they go, I can't appreciate it.
I lack the capability. So it is with the natural person. They lack the capability because, Paul says, they are spiritually discerned. God has to open their hearts.
The Holy Spirit has to enable them to discern, to get it, to understand it. In Ephesians chapter 2, Paul says that you were dead in trespasses and sins. If you're dead, you lack the capacity to feel. If you go up to a casket and there's a dead person lying there and you nudge him or talk to him or try to hug him, they can't appreciate it. They're insensate. They have no sensations toward you.
They lack any kind of ability to have apprehend stimuli whatsoever. So Paul said you were dead in times past. You walked according to the course of this world, he continues. According to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience and you were, listen, by nature the children of wrath, even as others, even as other unbelievers. So this is the unregenerate man, the unregenerate woman, the natural man, the sukikos. Verse 15 introduces us to a second category of person. But he who is spiritual, the Greek word here is pneumatikos, judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him, but we have the mind of Christ. So we have the natural man, now we have the spiritual man. Or if you don't mind, the natural man and the supernatural man. Because God has awakened his or her spirit to the things of God. They're thinking now not just in the natural world, but in the supernatural world.
They're interested in supernatural things, spiritual things. I was amazed when I came to Christ. One of the indications to me that I was saved was not that I was perfect, because that still hasn't happened.
Ask anybody who knows me well, especially my wife. But one of the indications that I was saved is that I had a change of appetite. The things I used to hate, I started to like. The things that I loved, I didn't have the same taste for.
Skip, let's go party, let's go do this. That doesn't sound interesting to me. Oh, come on, what's wrong with you?
No, no, no, wrong question. What's right with me? And those things I never had an interest in, like reading the Bible, praying, being around other Christians. I hate, I thought Christians were weird. I still have my doubts about some, but it's God's family and I love them. I love being around them. I love his word. I love his church.
I love his plan. I don't understand it, but I love it. I have new appetites. I'm spiritually inclined, as are you, supernaturally inclined. And I love it in verse 15, he who is spiritual judges all things. That is, he gets it, he understands, he apprehends all things. I once was lost, but now I'm found. I was blind, but now I see. Now I understand the darkness I was in. Now I understand the meaning of life. Now I understand where the future is going. Now I understand who's really in control of the universe and who is at war and odds with each other. I see all that now.
I didn't see it before. Now I judge all things. I discern it. I understand it. I get it.
But watch this. Though you get it, it says, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. You understand, but they don't understand you. You get it, but the world doesn't get you. They think, what's wrong with you? Like my friends. Skip, what's wrong with you? Well, Jesus, and oh, that's weird. They're blind to it.
Again, they're the natural man. So you get it, but they don't get you. I used to drive my co-workers nuts. Not because I tried to be obnoxious. I tried purposely not to be obnoxious, but to be gracious. But I remember it was Monday, and it was toward the later part of the morning I was working at a hospital in Orange County, California, at St. Joseph's in Orange, California.
At St. Joseph's in Orange, California. And I'm doing my work, and I'm whistling. And my supervisor, she was kind of ornery. I never really saw her happy or lit up about anything good. And so she just looked at me, and she goes, why are you always whistling? You seem so, listen, and she said all you could, you seem so happy. I said, well, I am happy. Well, I don't get it.
I mean, we have so much work, and then the listing all the things that I should be unhappy about. Those are true, but I've got something deeper inside of me going on that goes above and beyond that. That's irrespective and unrelated to that. I don't get it, I understand, because of this. You get it, they don't get you. They don't understand you. You're spiritual.
They're natural. But now we get to a third category in chapter three, verse one. And I mentioned last week the chapter breaks and verse numbers are not in the original manuscripts.
We just have the letter of Paul to the Corinthians. He didn't write chapter three, verse one. He didn't do that. That came later on, and the guy who did it was well-intentioned, but he got it wrong. He's not inspired of God. He just came up, and it's very handy to be able to say turn to chapter three, verse one of a certain book. It's very handy to do that.
But sometimes I think chapter breaks are better served contextually in different places than at others, but that's for another study. Let's just get into it. And I'm not going to do that. And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people. He just talked about the natural versus the spiritual. I couldn't talk to you as spiritual, but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.
That's the third category. You have natural, spiritual, carnal. Succachas, if you know the word carnal, it's a natural language. Pneumatikos, and then this word carnal. Sarchikos, or fleshly, or the NIV translates it worldly.
You are worldly. Sometimes Christians, scholars, commentators, will say there's no such thing as a carnal Christian. Christians and non-Christians, there's natural and spiritual. Well, I do believe there are carnal Christians for a number of textual reasons, and we'll just confine ourselves to the remarks of this text. Because notice what he says, I'm speaking to you not as spiritual, but as carnal. And then he defines it as to babes in Christ. They're still in Christ. They're Christians. They're related to Jesus Christ, but they're immature. They're babies. They're spiritually immature. They're carnal. They're worldly. They're between two natures, the old nature, the new nature, the world, the flesh, versus the spirit. They're in between two kingdoms.
You might think of it this way. They have enough of Christ to be saved. All you need is to believe in Jesus Christ. You really trust that He died for you on the cross.
You believed that. He took your sins on the cross. If you believe in your heart that and that God raised Him from the dead, Paul said in Romans, you will be saved. They have enough of Christ to be saved, but they also have enough of the world to be miserable in Christ. They're not really satisfied in Christ. They're not maturing as to babes in Christ. Think of it this way. They're saved, but they're stunted in their growth.
They're not as far along as they should be. I love evangelism. I do. I love seeing people get saved. I love calling people to faith in Christ, but so many of us just sort of make that the best thing in the world. So many of us just sort of make that the big event, the big deal, the culmination at a service. If you were to ask me, Skip, is evangelism your biggest joy?
As much as I love it, and I should say probably yes because I do want to see people go to heaven and not hell, but I think my greatest joy, I would echo the words of John the Apostle in 3 John who said, I have no greater joy than to see that my children walk in truth. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series Expound 1 Corinthians. Right now, we want to let you know about a special opportunity you have to pursue biblical studies in a way that works with your schedule. If you're ready to study God's word beyond going to church and personal Bible study, you're ready for Calvary College.
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The Bible helps you grow spiritually, guides your life, and brings joy to your soul so you can live fully for Christ. That's why we connect friends like you to God's word through this broadcast. And it's your financial support that makes it all possible. So please consider giving today to help keep these teachings you love available and going out to others around the world. Just call 800-922-1888 to give now. That's 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares why it's vital for you to work cooperatively with fellow believers to do God's work. . Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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