1 Corinthians 3:1-15 (NIV)
1 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ.
2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?
I understand that there is a trial going on here today. Oh yea, I have it on good authority that someone is on trial here today. And you came here today to be witnesses in this trail. Is that right? Well, there is a trial here today, and if you would permit me, I would like to present, The Case Of The Church vs. Mere Man.
In chapter 3, we find that the consequences of the divisions in the body have led to the stunting of the Corinthian’s spiritual growth. Paul says I could not talk to you as spiritual, but I had to talk to you as worldly. This is because you, Oh Corinthians, were mere infants in Christ. I could not feed you the meat of the Gospel because your stomachs was not ready for it. I had to give you milk, that is, the most elementary understanding of the Gospel.
In verse 3 Paul levels a serious indictment against the Corinthian believers. He charges them with acting like natural men, with acting like mere men. He charges them with acting like men and women who do not even believe in Jesus Christ, yet they carry the name Christian. They met together on a regular basis like Christians and perform many of the same duties as Christians, but something was seriously wrong. It is Mr. and Mrs. “Mere Man” who are on trial today.
First , as I’ve mentioned, Paul charges the Corinthian church with acting like Natural man. Paul says in verse 3 that they are still worldly. The word used here is the Greek word, “sarkeekos.” This word means “fleshly,” under the control of the animal appetites. It means “fleshly,” or “carnal,” one who is more inclined to fulfill the desires of the flesh than deal with spiritual things.
If your 8-month-old child is crawling on the floor with a pacifier in his mouth, and pulls up on a chair or something and tries to walk, and has one or two words that he knows and coos at you when you wave at him, then that’s cute. However, if you come back four or five years later and that same child is still crawling and cooing and saying those same one or two words, then that’s not cute at all. Something is wrong! That child is seriously retarded. He is “developmentally challenged” for the politically correct crowd. And if his parents have not already been to see about that child, then something is seriously wrong with the parents. They keep talking him being a late bloomer, when something is seriously wrong!
There is nothing wrong with loving our leaders. Nevertheless, Mere Man needs to understand that you don’t have to knock down one to build up another. All of our leaders are gifted with certain strengths and talents, and all of them can be beneficial to our growth in whatever stage of development we find ourselves.
In verse 9 Paul says that they, the Christian leaders, are fellow workers with God, working on the same building. But he stresses in verse 11 that no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. It’s not Peter, it’s not Paul, it’s not Apollos, it’s Jesus. It’s not denominations nor organizations, it’s Jesus. It’s not the Greek letters you wear nor your political affiliations, it’s Jesus. It’s not where you were educated nor how many degrees you have, it’s Jesus.
Mere Man doesn’t understand that God loves all of his children, even the ones that you can’t stand, even the ones that get on your last nerve, and even the ones that make you sick. Well, God loves them. God wants to save them, and God wants to use you to help do it!
It seems that Mere Man doesn’t understand that while he’s majoring in the minors, our minors are being taken captive by the insidious lures of this world. It is partly because they don’t see an authentic Christianity being lived in their homes.
Our adversary has been using the divide-and-conquer technique since the beginning. He knows that while there is strife and arguing and petty jealously working in the body, the church becomes less and less effective, the people of God become spiritually weak, and ineffective, or even worse, fail to develop through their normal stages of spiritual development.
You wind up with a bunch of baby chicks sitting on pews waiting for another dose of chewed up, half-digested pablum Sunday after Sunday, with no power to change anything, not even their own minds.
(An excerpt from my brother's, Minister Michael Lee's trial sermon delivered to Joshua Tabernacle Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky, April 23, 2006.)
Remember, it is not Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Ages that saves. Jesus saves!