1 Cor. 15:44
As a Believer, you have two natures which is your spiritual nature or your new nature and your physical nature or your natural or carnal nature. Being spiritual is much more than a surface appearances. This must be the desire, determination and direction of every child of God. We see this in the writings of David in
Psalm 42:1-2 "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?"
Singing, Praying, speaking in tongues or praising the loudest is not a mark of spirituality. But many people outside the church and many inside the church really think that it is.
These seven marks are not steps. A mark is identifying characteristic of something. For example, a little animal that looks a little like a cat but has a real wide white stripe down its back. He is black in color and has a bushy tail is usually a skunk. But what really marks this little critter beside his smell is the white stripe.
Also these marks must be worked on continually. These marks are not listed in the order of importance.
I. A SPIRITUAL MAN DESIRES TO BE HOLY RATHER THAN HAPPY.
1 Peter 1:15-16 "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
Before I go any further, I want to say that holiness is a Bible word. It is not a concept thought up by our Pentecostal friends. It is defined in Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary this way: in the highest sense belongs to God (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 15:4), and to Christians as consecrated to God's service, and in so far as they are conformed in all things to the will of God.
Rom. 6:19, 22 "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."
Eph. 1:4 "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love"
Titus 1:8 "But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate"
Personal holiness is a work of gradual development. It is carried on under many hindrances, hence the frequent admonitions to watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance.
1 Cor. 1:30 "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption"
2 Cor. 7:1 "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
Eph. 4:23, 24 "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
Everyone is obsessed with being happy. There was even a song called: "Don’t worry, be happy." There is nothing sinful about being happy but when it becomes your number one goal in life, that is when that becomes sin. Happiness for some people is a new car, or new clothes or new girl friend or boy friend. Some people find happiness in drugs or booze. Some people find happiness in a host of things that are usually temporal at best.
2 Corinthians 4:18 "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
So if we want to be spiritual, then there is a higher form of life that must be in our lives. That is the life of holiness.
A. Holiness must be seen in our lives.
A life characterized by God's ways. That means a life that is full of this blessed Book. I am not talking of lips services to the Book. It may mean making seemingly hard choices but the results is a life that pleases God. One reason why the Lord was pleased with Stephen and was standing when he died at the hands of his enemies was that his life was one marked with holiness.
B. Holiness must be seen in our lips.
A life characterized by God's words. Words that cut, curse or are curt are not holy words. It is important what you say. One of the nice results of growing up in a Christian home is that curse words were tolerated. When you don’t learn them, you will not have to ask the Lord to help you unlearn them. The same is seen in words like "lucky" as an example. This word has Old English origin in the word "Lucifer." When we say we are lucky, we are robbing God of "the Glory due unto His Name." We are attributing the events of our life to blind chance and the tender mercies of Lucifer. How exquisitely stupid! You are not "lucky."
Rom 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
C. Holiness must be seen in our longings.
A life characterized by God's wishes. What you long for the most will be what you are in life. Are you longing for the Lord to have complete control of your life? If so, then you are trying to live the life of holiness.
What do you long for? Things or the Lord A personal illustration can be found in a Pregnant woman with a craving. Wanda was craving a hamburger @ 2 AM when she was pregnant with Benjamin. So she got up and made hamburgers at 2 AM. I was not interested in hamburgers that time of night. A pregnant woman will agonize over her cravings , anticipate and accept it when she gets it.
II. A SPIRITUAL MAN WANTS TO SEE THE HONOR OF GOD ADVANCED THROUGH HIS LIFE EVEN IF IT MEANS THAT HE HIMSELF MUST SUFFER TEMPORARY DISHONOR OR LOSS.
Col. 3:23,24 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."
Mt. 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
A. Our prayer should be "Hallowed be thy name at any cost to me, Lord."
Instead, our prayers are "Hallowed be thy name at any cost to the preacher or the missionary or someone else."
B. Our purpose is already made when God's glory is present.
In the Puritan Catechism, this is the first question with its answer: What is the chief end of man? ANSWER- Man's chief end is to glorify God, (1 Cor. 10:31) and to enjoy him for ever. (Psa. 73:25,26)
C. Our priorities are right when we practice this.
What is your priority in life? Is the cry that we heard from the lips of our Saviour in the Garden "not my will, but thine, be done."
III. A SPIRITUAL MAN WANTS TO CARRY HIS CROSS.
Mt. 10:38,39 "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
A. Carrying your cross is not ordinary adversity or tribulation that can be accepted with a sigh.
Some people think that their mate is the cross that they are to bear. No way is that possible. Some think that it is their disease or age. All these can be accepted with a sigh including cancer. These things are shouldered by the lost world as well as us.
B. Carrying your cross is receiving extra adversity as result of our obedience to Christ.
This cross is not forced upon us. We voluntarily take it up knowing fully its consequences. The cross is an instrument of death. If my diabetes is my cross, then He forced me to take it up. I had no choice in this matter of diabetes.
Carry my cross means to be attached to the Person of Christ, committed to the Lordship of Christ and obedience to the commands of Christ. The person who is so attached to Christ, so committed, so obedient is a spiritual person.
IV. A SPIRITUAL MAN VIEWS EVERYTHING FROM GOD'S VIEWPOINT.
Isa. 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Our Lord can do something that is not always available to us. He can look at and through at the same time. Usually we look at some thing but cannot see through to the obvious end which is spiritual.
A. Carnal Believers looks at an object or situation.
That is all they see which nothing but the here and now. Spiritual Believers looks beyond the obvious. They can see the hand of God in objects and situations.
B. Carnal Believers thinks on the natural plane;
Spiritual Believers thinks with the scriptures even if it causes him pain. If we look through eyes of the Bible, then we know that God is in control. What we see in the Bible may humble us and cause us to do something that causes us pain but it is always the right thing to do.
Let me give you a Bible principle here to try to tie this seemingly loose end. Suppose you wrong a fellow believer. What the right thing to do is go to that fellow believer and make amends in the Bible way. But it is humbling to admit we are wrong especially for men. It is sometimes easier for ladies. But men are more stubborn and proud.
I think about the three Hebrew Children before they are going to be placed in the fiery furnace. I see no thoughts of worry in their words but see the hand of God protecting them as they stood true for God.
1 Cor 2:13-16 "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
V. A SPIRITUAL MAN DESIRES TO DIE RIGHT RATHER TO LIVE WRONG.
Phil. 1:21 "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." This world needs to see Christ working in us. If your religion does not affect your everyday life, you better get the kind that will take you to Heaven. Salvation affects every part of our lives.
One preacher said this: "If your religion is not enough to get you to church may not be enough to get you to heaven." I do not know all about you but I want to live right. A believer wants to pay his debts. A believer wants to love his neighbor even if he is a cat killer or wicked bootlegger. This world needs to see Jesus in you.
A. Death is something to work toward with a careful, consecrated living.
Our lives may be shortened with the ministry but look who is doing the holding of life: Our Lord and Saviour.
B. Duty decides to be all God wants him to be which right living.
Ecc.12:13 "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." C. Decisions must be based upon this plane of living which stabilizes our thoughts and actions.
We should be constantly conscious of the thought of dying. Death is much part of life as birth is. But what we do in that span between birth and death is what will looked in that Judgment Day. If we are constantly life conscious, we will be look at death with a horror instead of the release from our labors and problems.
We must want the right if we want to be truly spiritual. A spiritual man knows that he afford to die now that he is in Christ. On the other hand, he knows that he can not afford to do wrong in that at any moment he may be in the presence of his Lord.
VI. A SPIRITUAL MAN DESIRES TO SEE OTHERS ADVANCE AT HIS EXPENSE.
Phil. 2:3-4 "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
A. You want others to be promoted.
B. You want others to be praised.
C. You want others to be prospered.
How can you do this and not allow envy to come into your life? Paul gives us the answer.
Phil. 4:11-13 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." This is too easier preached that practiced. Some never learn this lesson.
VII. A SPIRITUAL MAN HABITUALLY MAKES ETERNITY JUDGMENTS INSTEAD OF TIME JUDGMENTS.
1 Cor. 3:12-15 "Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
2 Cor. 4:16-18 "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Cor. 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." A. What do I really want to be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ? B. What have I worked for that will be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ? C. My real motives will be revealed.
Were they for the praise of men or God.
By faith a spiritual man rises about the tug of earth and the flow of time and learns and feels as one who has already left the world and gone to join the innumerable company of angels and the church who has gone before us. Such a man would rather be useful than famous and rather serve than be served.
All these are marks of a spiritual man. All these must be done by the operation of the Holy Spirit that lives within us. No man can become spiritual by himself. Only the Spirit of God make a man spiritual.
Anything else nothing less than the energy of the flesh which nothing less than sin.
Pastor Mike Walls
Freedom Baptist Church Smithfield, NC
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