CARNAL CHRISTIANS – Part 2
Jesus sometimes gave teaching illustrations called parables, and he did that for a reason.
Matthew 13:3 – And he spake many things unto them in parables,
His disciples even asked him why he used parables to teach:
Matthew 13:10 – And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Jesus gave them the explanation:
Matthew 13:11-13 – He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
What Jesus said is that the mysteries of the Kingdom need to be diligently sought out by asking, seeking and researching out of a sincere desire to know and understand. The Israelites at that time were so steeped in tradition and ritual that they were not willing or interested in seeking out the things that Jesus was revealing to them.
Matthew 13:14-15 – And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Because his disciples followed him and were seeking to understand, Jesus explained the meaning of the parable:
Matthew 13:18-23 – Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Most Christians today do not understand what the parable of the sower is really about even though Jesus explained it in Matthew 13. The word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ is the seed that is sown. Some people do not accept it and the enemy keeps them in the dark. Some people accept it but do not nurture it by watering that seed, by digging into the Word of God and allowing it to get deep down inside them or taking it to heart. Still others take it to heart and they begin to mature in the Lord, but eventually they are distracted by material things, the cares of life, (making a living, caring for family, and the pursuit of money, career, wealth, etc.) Finally some actually mature and bring forth fruit, the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) which is the character and nature of God and Christ. These are ready for the harvest because a level of Christ has been formed in them; some 30%, some 60% and some 100%. This parable is about being transformed from this carnal world into the image of Christ and being ready for His coming.
Note: carnal Christians can also be referred to as superficial Christians; they are Christian on the outside but not on the inside because the things of the world are still in their heart rather than a love for God and Christ, (1 John 2:15-16).
Matthew 15:8-9 – This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Jesus gave another parable which many Christians fail to comprehend; this is the parable of the ten virgins. This parable illustrates what happens to carnal Christians who are represented by the five foolish virgins.
Matthew 25:1-12 – Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
What is the key factor that identifies the five foolish virgins who represent carnal or superficial Christians? It wasn’t merely the fact that they had no oil; it was the fact that their light went out. This is the light of Jesus Christ that is supposed to shine in them and was no longer, or never was, there, (Matthew 5:14-16). The five foolish virgins knew about the bridegroom and had planned to meet him along with the five wise virgins; but as time drew on their oil burned up and their light went out, (or never really had it as in some who call themselves Christians). Thus they were not qualified to enter the celebration and festivities.
Most Bible scholars understand that the oil is representative of the Holy Spirit, (the Spirit of truth), who reveals Jesus and guides us in all truth:
John 16:13-14 – Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Without the oil of the Holy Spirit, who is spiritual fuel, the fire or light goes out. That light being the revelation, knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ and His life evidenced in the believer.
Jesus gave another parable to illustrate a similar warning in the parable of the marriage feast, (Matthew 22:1-14). To summarize this parable a king prepared a marriage feast for his son and sent out an invitation but none of those invited guests came. Then the king sent his servants to go out and invite in as many strangers as possible; for which the king provided everything for them. Then the king came in to greet the new guests and found one that did not have on a wedding garment even though one was provided for him.
Matthew 22:11-14 – And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.
The wedding garment represents being spiritually clothed with Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 4:24 – and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Colossians 3:10 – and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Note: carnal Christians have not “put on the new man” but are still living according to the dictates of the old man, the carnal flesh.
We get a similar message from what Jesus told the apostle John to write to the church of Laodicea. This church is representative of a very materialistic church that left Jesus Christ outside knocking at the door to get in. He called them poor (spiritually), blind and naked and wanted them to repent. Otherwise He would spew (vomit) them out because they were an offense to Him; their light went out.
Revelation 3:15-18 – I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 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: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
The call to all superficial, carnal Christians is to REPENT of lukewarm-ness, materialism and worldliness!
Revelation 3:19-22 – As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Jesus and the Father want you to join Him in the celebration and festivities that lie ahead for His people.
Romans 13:11-13 – And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof
Please consider that Paul wrote these words to Christians in the Church at Rome – these words also apply to many Christians and churches today! Please consider that knowing who Jesus Christ is cannot compare to actually knowing Jesus Christ and having a personal relationship with Him. Too many who call themselves Christians know who He is but they do not have a genuine personal relationship with Him – there is “no light” of Christ in them!