UNIFYING A SPLINTERED CHURCH
A Bible Study Series
Do you know that your spiritual friends are not all the same? I mean that they are all at different levels of spiritual maturity. If you forget or ignore the level of spiritual maturity, then you will scratch your head and wonder what is going on. Each believer has to grow up in Christ, but it takes time and the blessing of God. Jesus wants each one of us to grow up in Him, but we each make decisions every day about how much we really want to grow. Today, we will see that you must be careful to distinguish your mature Christian friends from immature Christian friends. We will study 1 Corinthians 3:1-4 to learn about the difference between mature believers and fleshly believers.
Notice the Spiritual Maturity of Your Friends
Spiritual Christians will always be sensitive to the maturity level of their friends. In this case, Paul quickly summarizes the spiritual level of his audience, the church at Corinth. He described them as men of the flesh (“σαρκίνοις”) and as infants (“νηπίοις”) in Christ. If you do not evaluate the spiritual maturity of your friends, then you will not be able to communicate with them effectively. You may even offend them. You must learn to speak to your friends at the right spiritual level.
What Are Fleshly Friends?
In 1 Corinthians 3:1, page 1784, Paul shows us that you can always tell fleshly friends by what they do, but not necessarily by what they say. Of course, some of your friends will say things that let you know right away that they are not even Christians. For example, they may deny that Christ is really God in the flesh. Other unmarried friends may tell you stories about the great sex they have had, or the drugs they have taken, or the scams they have pulled, or how drunk they got partying with their friends. We should be careful to listen to and evaluate what our friends tell us. If we can see that someone is not really living for Christ, we should be careful about what we say to them. Paul described some believers as men of the flesh. He meant that they do not live under the control of the Holy Spirit. They live to please themselves. They tend to ignore God. They do the things that please their bodies and satisfy their own desires. Paul said that the Corinthians were fleshly men. He also called the Corinthians infants in Christ.