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1 Corinthians 2:14-3:5



Intro:  Many of us were raised under the misconception that our world is filled with many races of people.  We were taught that there were differences between the whites, the blacks, the asians, the indians, etc.  Some were even taught to hate those of a different “racial extraction”. Yet, if one will honestly read the pages of the Scriptures, it will be clearly seen that there is but one race of people on this planet we call earth.  That race is the human race!  Regardless of our skin color, or ethnic background, we are all just human beings.  Now, I know that doesn’t set well with some of you, but you will either accept it here, or you will face it when you stand before the Lord!

      Within the human race, there are only two kinds of people.  According to the Bible, a person is either saved or he is lost.  There are only the saints and ain’ts.  As you sit in this room today, you are all members of the human race.  Of that, there is no question.  However, where you stand in regard to salvation is what marks the real difference between some of us today.  Regardless of our ethnic background, one day, all that will matter is whether we are a saint or an ain’t.  Which are you this morning?

      Thankfully, the Bible gives us some insights into each of these possibilities.  This morning, I would like to take a few minutes and talk about The Saints And The Ain’ts.  I want you to which group you fall into today.  If you see that you are an ain’t and you want to become a saint, then today is the day when that came happen to you.  If you are a saint, but you ain’t all you should be, then this is the day when that change can be made in your life as well.  So, let’s take a few minutes to look into the Word of God and talk for a while about The Saints And The Ain’ts.


  I.  2:15-3:5                              LET’S CONSIDER THE SAINTS

      A.  We Share A Common Salvation – Jude 3 speaks of what the saints have experienced

as a “common salvation”.  By common, be does not mean that it is unclean, or profane.  He means that it is something that every saint has experienced.  He is, of course, referring to the New Birth, John 3:3, 7.  If you are saved this morning, you got saved the very same way that everyone else has for 2,000 years.

      First, you were convicted of your sins by the Spirit of God, John 16:7-11.  Then, you were called to come to Jesus Christ for salvation, John 6:44.  When you came to Him, and believed in Him by faith, Eph. 2:8-9, John 6:47; Acts 16:31; John 3:16, you were saved.

      The surroundings may have differed.  The prayers we prayed may have differed.  The experiences we have had since that time may have differed, but there is only one way for all men to be saved and that is something we all have in common!  Our testimonies may be poles apart, but our salvation experience is exactly the same.  It is something we all have in common!

      B.  We Share A Common Sovereign – Another thing we share in common is the fact that

we are all saved by faith in “the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Now, I know some people believe that when you are saved, you receive Jesus the Savior, then at a later date, when you finally get consecrated and get all your sins under control, you make Jesus the Lord of your life.  However, such a concept is foreign to the Bible!  For one thing, you cannot make Jesus Lord, God the Father has already done that, Acts 2:36.  For another, you cannot divorce His Lordship from His role as Savior.  He is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Not Jesus now and Lord later.  It’s all or nothing!

      When a sinner comes to the Lord for salvation, he must be sufficiently humbled and willing to submit his all to the Lord Jesus.  He may not understand all this entails, and as he grows by faith, he will yield more and more of his life to the Lord’s control, but when a person is saved by grace, Jesus Christ comes into that life and takes up residence on the throne of that heart.  He comes in as Savior, but He enters as Sovereign as well.

      So, to anyone who would say, “Well, I’m saved, but I control what I do.  I am my own boss.”, I would say, “My friend, you need to be saved!”  Whether we act like it or not, whether we believe it no not, Jesus Christ is Lord, Acts 10:36.

      Since this is true, and Jesus is Lord, every believer in this room, and in this world, ought to be under His absolute control.  The question I want to ask you before I leave this thought is this, “Are you living like Jesus is the Lord of your life?  Or, are you living like you are in control?”  That is the question you need to deal with today!

      C.  We Share A Common Struggle – Another thing we share as believers is a common

struggle.  This struggle is what Paul is dealing with in the Scriptures we have before us this morning.  As Paul writes to the Corinthian church, he is writing to a group of saved people, 1 Cor. 1:2.  Yet, in this passage, he calls them “carnal”.  This is a word that means “that which pertains to the flesh, or the physical appetites.”  Paul is telling the Corinthian believers that at this point in their lives, they are carnal.  They are living lives that are controlled by the appetites of the flesh.  Instead of living under the control of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are living under the control of the flesh.  As such, Paul tells them that they are acting like babies.

      How does a baby act?  Well, they are consumed with self.  Everything is about them!  They want to be number one on everyone’s agenda, and when they aren’t, they make sure that everyone knows about it!  A baby is easily injured, and when he is, he screams to let everyone else know that he has a problem.  A baby is only concerned about what affects him.  He does not care about the rest of the household.  He doesn’t care whether mom and dad get enough sleep, so long as they come running when he cries.  He doesn’t care if everyone else in the house starves to death so long as his needs are met.  Nothing matters to him, but getting what he wants, when he wants it.  Babies are self-centered, self-absorbed and they are doing just what they are supposed to do! 

      Babies come into this world dependent on those who are more mature than they are to see that their needs are met.  That is natural and that is right.  It isn’t easy having a baby around, but the hard work is worth every ounce of the effort put into it.  You see, there will come a day when that child will learn to hold his own bottle.  He will learn to feed himself.  He will learn to talk and walk and use the bathroom.  He will be able to bathe himself, dress himself and take care of himself.  He matures and leaves the baby stage behind.  If you have a six month old baby lying in a crib, sucking a bottle, totally helpless, self-centered and dependent, that is perfectly normal.  But, if you have a twenty year old in the same situation, something is wrong!  That baby did not mature as he should have.  There is a problem!  This is abnormal!  There should be maturity.  There should be growth!

      Now, let’s try to bring this into the arena of the church.  Paul tells us that there spiritual Christians and there are carnal Christians.  Please do not try to make these into two separate types of believers.  There is only one kind of believer: those saved by grace!  Now, please get this: “There is no such thing as a believer who is carnal all the time.  And, there is no such thing as a believer who is not carnal some of the time.”  Let me break that down to make it make more sense.

·        First: “There is no such thing as a believer who is carnal all the time”.  By this I mean that a person who says that he or she is saved and lives everyday of their life as a sinner is not saved but is deceived and is, in fact, lost!  People who will not go to church, who hate spiritual things and who live like the rest of the world are simply living a lie.  They are not saved.  Why? Because Jesus is Lord!  When a person is converted, Jesus is enthroned in their hearts and they become a new creature, 2 Cor. 5:17.  There will be a change in every life that is redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:24.  If you, or someone you know lives everyday of their lives just as they did before they made their profession of faith, then you or that person is still lost and in need of salvation.  You cannot meet Jesus and remain as you were before meeting Him!  As a rule, our church membership roles are filled with people who do not live for God.  As a result, the church wastes enormous amounts of energy to hold on to people who have never been converted.  Let’s just clear the smoke away this morning.  If you have never changed, then you are not a carnal Christian.  You are a lost sinner!   There is no such thing as a believer who is carnal all the time!

·        The second statement I made was this: “There is no such thing as a believer who is not carnal some of the time.”  Whether we like it or not, the redeemed are destined to live out their earthly lives in bodies that still have an appetite for the world.  Regardless of what you may have been taught, you flesh is still alive and well today!  This is made clear by what Paul writes in Gal. 5:17.  It is also clearly seen in Paul’s own personal struggle with the flesh as it is detailed in Romans 7:18-25.  As we pass through its world, we are locked in mortal combat. Christ, in our hearts, is determined to rule our lives through the power of the Spirit of God.  The flesh is determined to control the life so that it can satisfy its own lusts.  Which one wins is determined by the choices we make individually, Rom. 6:11-16.  The problem is, we will all fail from time to time.  There will be times when we will give into the flesh.  We will act carnally.  We will act like babies.  There will be times when we will hurt others and we will allow ourselves to experience hurt.  There will be times when we will sin and we will wallow in those wins.  However, the genuine child of God cannot be happy in such a condition!  No true believer can hurt another believer and live with that, Matt. 5:23-24.  He will have to make it right!  No true believer can be hurt by another and allow that hurt to come between them and the Lord, but they will have to forgive their offender and leave the matter in the hand of God, Matt. 18:21-22; Luke 17:3-5; Eph. 4:27.  In other words, the believer who falls into carnality and childlike behavior cannot continue in that estate!  He must make it right and when he does, he will find forgiveness in the Lord, 1 John 1:9.  There is no shame in falling, everyone does.  However, the real shame comes from wallowing in the mud when you do fall!


(Ill. The old hymn "Come, Thou Fount" was written by Robert Robinson when he was just twenty-three years old. The third verse contains a phrase, "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love." Unfortunately, this phrase was prophetic for Robinson: in his later life, he lapsed into sin. While riding a stagecoach, Robinson heard a woman humming his hymn. She later engaged him in conversation and asked what he thought of the hymn. Overcome with emotion, he said, "Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then." Since we are all "prone to wander" we need to hold each other up from the clutches of sin and the unhappiness of backsliding.)


·        I would ask every saint of God today to look carefully at your life.  Is everything right between you and God?  Is everything right between you and your fellow believer?  Have you been guilty of acting like a little baby?  Have you, or are you, guilty of being a carnal Christian?

·        Friend, if you are saved, Jesus is on the throne of your life!  If you obey him, you will enjoy His blessings, His peace and His joy.  If you disobey Him, you will have pain, sorrow and chaos in your life.  The choice is yours to make.  What will it be?


 II.  2:14                                    LET’S CONSIDER THE AIN’TS

      A.  They Share A Common Description – Paul calls those who do not know the Lord

“natural” men.  That is, they are men who are exactly the same as they were when they were born into the world.  The kinds of men are also called “lost”, Luke 19:10; 2 Cor. 4:3, and “sinner”, Rom. 5:8; 1 Tim. 1:15.  These aren’t very flattering names, but they describe the person who is outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ perfectly.

      While a person has to come to Jesus by faith to be saved, a person has to do absolutely nothing to be lost.  Every person who enters this world comes here that way, Rom. 3:23; Rom. 3:10; Gal. 3:22.  So, the saints are those who have received Jesus.  That is one of the two groups of people who populate the earth.  The rest are the natural men, those who are lost in sin and who are ruled by their natural lusts and desires.

      B.  They Share A Common Domination – Paul tells us that these natural men do grasp

spiritual things.  They are not capable of doing so, because they do not possess the Spirit of God.  Only He can make the spiritual truths of the Word of God clear to mankind.

                  While the saint has a Lord, the natural man does too.  Paul speaks of this in Eph.

2:1-3. The natural man is living a life that is controlled by the devil.  He lives like a child of the devil, John 8:44.  As a result, we should not be shocked by anything the lost man does!  He is merely doing what dead men do, corrupting!  When you see sinners living their lives under the control of their flesh, do not be surprised.  When you see the moral condition of the world continue its slide into the gutter, do not be shocked!  When men continually strive to surpass themselves in their pursuit of evil indulgences, we need not be amazed.  They are merely acting like natural man acts.  They are doing what comes naturally to them!

      What is sad is that they think they are living life on their own terms.  They are free from the control of the Lord.  They don’t have to live by that stuff in the Bible.  Those rules don’t apply to them.  What they don’t realize is that they are merely puppets on a string.  They aren’t doing as they please, no; they are doing as they are led by the devil and by the lusts of their flesh.  They are prisoners of the most pitiful sort.  They are chained and don’t even realize it!  They are captives and don’t even know it.  Just as surely as they are blinded to the things of God, they are also blinded to their own condition.

      Some of you are in that shape right now!  You are trapped in your sins and think all is well. I want you to know that you are lost and that you are headed for a rude awakening one day.  If you have ever listened to the Word of God, do so today!  Turn to Jesus while there is still hope for you!  Because, friends, it only get worse for the natural man!

      C.  They Share A Common Destination – Paul doesn’t address it here, but the Bible does

in many places.  The natural man is headed to a place called Hell, where he will spend eternity in torment.  This isn’t a pleasant thought, but it is as true and anything you have ever heard in your life.  Every person who passes through this world and does not receive Jesus Christ as their Savior will go to Hell when they die.  This is what the Bible teaches, Psalm 9:17; 2 Thes. 1:8-9; Mark 9:43-48; Matt. 10:28.  There is no way to adequately describe this place of torment.  The Bible tells us that it is a place of memory, of pain, of fire, intense, unending torment and suffering.  It is described as a place that has no end.  It is pictured as a place of separation from the very presence of God.  In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus allowed us to get a glimpse of that awful place.  Friend, you do not want to go there!  To go to Hell would be unspeakably awful.  That is why I tell you about it this morning.  If you are lost in sin, you do not have to go to that place!  Jesus Christ died to save your soul from Hell.  If you will respond to His call, He will redeem you and deliver you from an endless eternity of torment!


Conc:  As I look about the room this morning, I am convinced that you are in the human race.  That much is a given.  But, are you a saint or an ain’t? Have you been saved by grace?  If so, are you walking in spiritual victory?  Are you a spiritual man?  Or, would you have to admit that lately you have been acting kind of carnal?  If there is a problem between you and the Lord, or between you and your brother, today is the day to get it settled!  If you haven’t been saved, friend, you are headed to Hell!  You need to flee to Jesus this morning and trust Him to deliver you from your bondage and into His family.

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