[1 Corinthians 3:1-4
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as
unto carnal, even as unto babes
in Christ. 2 I have fed you with
milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able
to bear it, neither yet now are
ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal:
for whereas there is among you
envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and
another, I am of Apollos; are
ye not carnal?]
[The marks of Carnal Christians:]
[A Natural Walk]
[This brings us to our text in James.
Conflict is a natural part of life.
We ought to expect conflict and if we would consider ourselves to be
spiritual Christians then we must learn to properly handle conflict.
Notice that James and Paul both were led to identify the marks of
worldliness and of carnality. They
include envy, strife, and division.
Now, this does not mean that a spiritual Christian does not face conflict. But
when the spiritual Christian faces conflict he has learned how to properly and
effectively handle conflict so that his conflicts are quickly resolved.]
[Locking Horns And Dying - In an old monastery near
Germany, one may
see two pairs of deer horns interlocked. They were found in that position many
years ago. The deer had been fighting; their horns got jammed together and could
not be separated; so they died. Dr. Kerr, who first told the story, added, "I
would like to carry those horns into every house and school." We might add, "And
into every church."—Harold P. Barker]
[Learning to handle conflict is important for your
friendships, for your marriage, for your parenting, for your work relationships,
and for everything else in your life.
Life is about people and to be around people means you must learn to
interact properly with them, especially when there is a disagreement with them.]
[So in addressing our
text lets consider,]
The Reality of Strife (vs 1-5) [- The
Symptoms of Strife]
Desires (vs 1) [– From whence
come wars and fightings among
you? come they not hence,
your lusts that war in
your members? - When
there is strife in our life it is, more often than not, the result of something
that is self inflicted. On many
occasions I have counseled someone with a conflict with another person to
discover that the other person is completely unaware of the problem.
Things that worry us, or cause hate and bitterness within us, or cause
heartfelt issues for one person are often non-existent with their presumed
(Gk) – A limb or member of the body (Matt. 5:29, 30; Rom. 12:4; 1 Cor. 12:12,
14, 18–20, 22, 25, 26; James 3:5, 6). In the pl.
tá mélē, the
members of the body as the seat of the desires and passions (Rom. 6:13, 19; 7:5,
23; 1 Cor. 6:15; Col. 3:5; James 4:1). Used metaphorically, meaning a member of
the Church of which Christ is the head (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 5:30). In Rom. 12:5,
“members one of another” means intimately united in Christian fellowship (Eph.
[Members here is speaking of a part of oneself rather
than speaking of various members of the body of Christ.
The source of the conflict is likely within you.]
(Gk) - delight, enjoyment, which is from
(n.f.), to have sensual pleasure. Pleasure, gratification, enjoyment. In the
NT, used only of physical pleasure
(Luke 8:14; Titus 3:3; James 4:3; 2 Pet. 2:13). Figuratively used as desire,
appetite, lust (James 4:1).
[Our lust or inordinate desire causes us more grief and
conflict than anything else. There
is nothing wrong with having desires.
God has given us emotions and desires, but when our desire mutate and
become so strong within us that they begin to cause fighting and wars among us
then they have become inordinate.]
Blame - Our Lord is letting us know through this passage the likely source
of our conflicts. Invariably when
there is a conflict we hesitate to look at our selves.
We are all adult enough to say, “Oh, I know I have my part in this.”
But the truth is that we have decided that it is someone else’s fault and
we will often defend our position to the end.
James is quick to write,
look in your own heart first.]
Determination (vs 2; 1 John 4.7-11; Matt 5.44-45; Prov 16.7) [–
Ye lust, and have not:
and desire to have,
and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. –
Desire is a powerful thing within people.
It drives us with passion to do things that we normally would not
consider doing. Even to the point
of killing, as James wrote it.]
possible in God's people? Saul,
before he became Paul, was determined to the point of murder.
He thought he was doing a service for God.
As a matter of fact most wars are religious wars in that someone claims
they are doing something for God and they begin killing to accomplish their
[Killing other people in not a mark of godliness it is
the mark of godlessness. Love, on
the other hand, is the mark of spiritual maturity.
The Bible says,]
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for
love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love. 9 In this was
manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten
Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved
God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son
to be the propitiation for our
sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved
us, we ought also to love one another.]
[Matthew 5:44-45 44 But I
say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that
hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your
Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the
good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust].
[Proverbs 16:7 7 When a
man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.]
[Hence, conflict, and the desire to kill or the longing
to see someone die are not marks of godliness and spiritual maturity.
They are marks of selfishness and lust.]
Deception (vs 3) - Ye ask, and
receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume
it upon your lusts. - The
depth of their desires has taken them to the point of actually believing that
their lust is God's will for them.
They actually are pleading with God for their own selfish desires and lusts.]
[The Test Of
Your Conflict – Consider this.
If you are in some conflict and you find strife and division welling up because
of this conflict. If you have been
praying for your desired outcome and God has not answered, perhaps you need to
consider that your desired outcome is not as justified as you would like to
The evidence of right praying is
answered prayer. Your Heavenly
Father clearly states that if your prayers are not being answered then you are
Will you hear God?]
conflict is resulting in bitterness, hatefulness, and a lack of answered prayer,
perhaps you need to start praying in a different way.
Perhaps you need to ask God to help you see this whole thing under a
Dedication (vs 4; 1 Cor 14.33) [-
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is
enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy
of God. – Be careful if the worldly seem to be supporting you in your cause.
The world is not the friend of God and if the world is supporting you in
your battle then perhaps your allegiances are wrong.
By the way the Bible reminds us,]
33 For God is not
the author of confusion, but of
peace, as in all churches of the saints.]
conflict has been raging for some time, and is not persecution, then it is
likely that your battle has little to do with God.]
Digression (vs 5; Luke 22.31-32; 1 Pet 5.8) [-
Do ye think that the scripture saith in
vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
- Digression means to detour of go aside.
Our natural man and our spiritual adversary love to draw us away form our
Heavenly Father, his people, and His lifestyle.
If you have been diverted from your purity and godliness then your
conflict is not worth its fight.]
[Luke 22:31-32 31 And the
Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired
to have you, that he may sift
you as wheat:
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy
faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.]
[1 Peter 5:8 8 Be sober, be
vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about,
seeking whom he may devour:]
The Remedy for Strife (vs 6-9)
[- If you are in the midst of a vicious
conflict, if you find the symptoms listed above marking your life and cause then
you need God’s prescription and cure.
You need an,]
Inoculation of Divine Grace (vs 6;
Psalm 34.18; 51.17) -
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he
saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. – You need
a good boaster shot of grace.]
[Justice is when we get what we deserve.]
[Mercy is when you don't get what you
[Grace is when you get what you don't
like anything else in life. If you
are sick, and the doctor has a cure, you have to go to the doctor and let him
give you whatever that cure is. God
has a cure for conflict, envy, and division in your life and that cure is God’s
[How do you get
a boaster shot of God’s grace? The Bible
18 The LORD is
nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite
[Psalms 51:17 17 The
sacrifices of God are a broken
spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. ]
[The pathway to grace is desire mixed with submission.]
Inauguration of Divine Authority (vs 7, 2 Tim 2.15; Eph 4.30-32; Heb 10.25;
Col 3.8-10; Eph 6.10-11; 1 Pet 5.8-9) -
Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. - To Submit to God you must,]
[Study Gods Word]
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto
God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of
[Surrender to God's Spirit]
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of
God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and
anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath
forgiven you. ]
[Seek out God's people]
25 Not forsaking the assembling of
ourselves together, as the manner of some
is; but exhorting
one another: and so much the
more, as ye see the day approaching. ]
[Put on Jesus.]
8 But now ye also put off all these;
anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye
have put off the old man with his deeds; 10
And have put on the new
man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created
[Resist the devil.]
[When a Moslem makes a religious pilgrimage to Mecca, he kisses the Black
Stone (the stone that came down from heaven), drinks from the well of Hagar, and
throws stones at the three pillars that represent Satan. No doubt Satan is more
amused than offended. Certainly he is not wounded. If we want to do battle with
evil, we will have to do more than throw stones at pillars. We will have to live
holier lives and help others to do the same.]
[Put on the whole armor of God]
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in
the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil. ]
[Be sober and watching
(1 Peter 5.8-9)]
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your
adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may
devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in
the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren
that are in the world. ]
Infusion of Divine Direction (vs 8; James 1.8) [-
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh
to you. Cleanse your hands,
ye sinners; and purify
ye double minded.
[To cleanse your hands deals with repentance,
confession, and cleansing. It seems
clear form our study in this text that if bitterness and hatred have been
marking your conflict that your conflict stands in opposition to God rather than
is the affirmation of God.
Therefore, repent and turn away from your sin.]
[Purify your heart from a double mind - two minded, two
A double minded man is
unstable in all his ways.]
Introspection of our Divine Dependency (vs 9; Rev 3.17) [-
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let
your laughter be turned to mourning, and
your joy to heaviness. –
This speaks to the need of those warring in the conflict to stop defending their
personal positions and agendas and to realize that their division and conflict
are not marks of spiritual maturity, nor are they indications of their standing
with God. They reveal their
distance from God and their spiritual immaturity.
They need to repent and get themselves right with God.]
Church failed to recognize
the depth of their need or the reality of their need.
Maybe they just failed to reckon with the nature of their need, the need
for the presence of God in their lives.
Of them the Bible states,]
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and
increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art
wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: ]
The Reward for Surrender (vs 10; Matt
23.12; Luke 14.11; 1 Pet 5.6) [-
yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. – If you are
currently in a conflict then there is a course of action for you to follow.
If you are not in a conflict today, then rest assured one is on its way.
How will you handle it? Will
you humble yourself to your Heavenly Father?
The Bible says,]
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that
shall humble himself shall be exalted. ]
[Luke 14:11 11 For whosoever
exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
[1 Peter 5:6 6 Humble
yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due