God Sees Three Men





Scripture references for this topic are as follows:




1 Cor 2 v14-15   14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.15 But he who is spiritual, appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man.




1 Cor 3 v1 And I brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ.




John 9 v 31 We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing, and does His will, He hears him.




Prov 15 v 29 (The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous)




James 5 v 16 The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much)




1 John 1 v 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness




Job 35 12-13 There they cry out, but He does not answer. Because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not listen to an empty cry nor will the Almighty regard it.




Isaiah 59 1-2  Behold the Lords hand is not so short that it cannot save, neither is his ear so dull that it cannot hear, but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.




The aim of this lesson is to show through the scripture that God only sees three types of men (women implied also) and that the prayers of each type of man are affected accordingly.




The three types of men we see in the Corinthian passages are as follows:




NATURAL MAN.  – The Greek word for this type of man is Suukykus. It means “the soulish man or the man with body and soul but no spirit.” It is the unregenerate man or in simple terms “an unbeliever”




MEN OF FLESH or CARNAL MAN. – The Greek word for this type of man is Sarkykus. It means “the carnal believer” or the believer who is out of fellowship with the Holy Spirit through personal sin or a lifestyle of sin.




SPIRITUAL MEN – the Greek word for this type of man is Pnumateka. It means the believer who is “walking by means of the Spirit” rightly related to the Holy Spirit by means of confession of personal sins, a yieldedness to the Spirit of God and applying all the Truth he knows to his life.




As we can see, God sees three types of men, the unsaved, the carnal believer and the spiritual believer. As to what God hears in the way of prayer and what God responds to in the way of prayer is the next thing that will be dealt with. Bear in mind that God is an omnisciencent God. He knows everything and hears everything we say regardless of what type of man we are but it is his response to what he hears is the issue.














NATURAL MAN – John 9 v 31 says that God does not hear sinners. This must be interpreted in the context that it was written in. Sinners in this passage are referring to the unsaved man. This statement then begs the question, “How then can an unbeliever be saved?” The answer is simple, salvation does not require prayer. Volition is the issue in salvation, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”(Acts 16 v 31) However, more often than not, prayer is used to communicate to God your belief, but it is the belief that God sees and not the prayer that He hears.




SPIRITUAL MAN – in the same verse we read that “if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears them.” Again we must interpret this in the context of who it was spoken to. It was spoken to Jews who were under the Law so we must interpret it to the Church Age who are not under the Law but under Grace. So we read it like this, “if any man is saved (God-fearing) and fulfilling Gods will (which is to be conformed to the image of His Son by means of the power of the Holy Spirit) then He hears him.




CARNAL MAN – it follows on then by logic that if a believer is not doing Gods will, being conformed to the image of His son by means of the Holy Spirit, then God does not hear him. We know that in 1 John 1 v 9, if we confess our sins He will forgive us, so from this we can deduce that God only hears the prayers of confession from carnal believers. We see in the Isaiah passage that Israel’s iniquities had made a separation between them and God, and God was not hearing them. The same is true for church age believers who sin. Their sin separates them from God (not loss of salvation). It puts them out of fellowship into carnality.


When we take a look at the passage in Job 35, we see that God is not listening to these people because of their pride. Pride is one of God’s top 7 sins that He hates. (Proverbs 6 v 16) They are crying out to Him but He does not hear.


























From what we have just studied we can conclude as follows:




God only hears and responds to the spiritual man, He only hears the prayer of confession of personal sins of the carnal man and He does not hear the prayers of the natural man.




James tells us “the fervent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” This would be talking specifically about the spiritual man and not the carnal man. Even though we know that all who are saved are made righteous, this is a positional righteousness, which never changes, and not conditional (experiential) righteousness, which we have been dealing with in this study. Another way of expressing these two view-points is UNION and COMMUNION. Our UNION never changes in Gods eyes but our COMMUNION with Him, specifically the Holy Spirit, does change through grieving (sinning) and quenching (knowing the right thing to do but not doing it) the Spirit and an unwillingness to yield to the Spirit. When we are not in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, God does not respond to our prayers. Therefore it is of utmost importance that each time we pray, we are sure that we are on “praying ground”, by being clean before the Lord through the confession of our own personal sins, (“Lord I lied, I stole, I cheated…. Whatever it is we have done that our conscience is convicting us of, we are to name it), being yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit to allow Him to produce in us the 9 fold fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5 v 22) and doing (applying) all the Truth we know. (Walking in the Light as He is in the Light. 1 John 1v7)















Prayer is the believer’s supply line.  The Bible is God’s communication to us; prayer is our response to Him.  From His Word we receive instructions and encouragement.  From our prayers, He receives our thanks and our requests.  Until the line of communication with God is open two ways, our relationship with Him will never be what it is intended to be.




1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


16                Rejoice always;


17                pray without ceasing;


18                in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.   (NAS)




“Pray without ceasing” does not mean that we are to pray non-stop 24 hours a day.  The phrase literally says that prayer should be like a hacking cough.  Anyone who has ever had a severe cold knows that a hacking cough seems to be always right below the surface, ready to erupt.




We should pray to God throughout the day in the same way that we would talk with a close friend.  When two people who know each other well work together, they start a conversation in the morning that lasts all day.  The talk will not be continuous; there may be long periods of silence during which they may communicate with only looks or gestures.  In the course of a day, their conversation may cover a hundred topics – politics, the meaning of life, what to have for lunch, the colors in a beautiful sunset.




When we finally realize that God is the best friend we have, our prayer life starts to take on this kind of flavor.  We come to understand that there is nothing in our lives that we should not pray about.  The more we listen to God by studying the Word, the better we understand His character; the better we understand His character, the more clearly we realize that there is nothing that we cannot rejoice in and give thanks about.




Communication is the key to a healthy relationship in the physical realm.  Even so, our verbal exchanges with other people are never quite what we want them to be.  Not one of us is able to fully express what we think or how we feel.  Not one of us is able to fully understand or appreciate the thoughts and feelings that others try to explain to us.  So in the physical realm there is always a certain amount of frustration and unfulfillment in relationships.




In the spiritual realm we have potential for clear and fulfilling communication, for both understanding and being understood.  God’s Word to us is perfect.  Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit it was perfectly communicated in exactly the form that we need.  When we study, the Holy Spirit will enlighten the eyes of our heart so that we can understand what God is saying to us from this passage on this day.




When we pray, the Holy Spirit will intercede on our behalf to the Father, expressing those things for which we cannot find words.


Romans 8:26


26                And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for {us} with groanings too deep for words;   (NAS)




And, if we have stored Scripture in our hearts, the Spirit will be able to recall to our minds the words of God that we need at just the moment we need them.  We have in the Christian way of life a perfect system.  As long as we rely on remaining yielded to the Holy Spirit, that system cannot fail.


It has been said that prayer is the gymnasium of the soul.  The fourth-century church father Augustine said:  “Pray as if everything depended on God, and then work as if everything depended on you.”  His dictum is a summary of the Lord’s instructions to the disciples in Matthew 7.


Matthew 7:7-11


7                “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.


8                “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.


9                “Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone?


10                “Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?


11                “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!   (NAS)




The Lord gives three commands and three promises:  If we ask, God will answer; if we seek, we will find; if we knock, God will open the door.




God wants to answer prayer.  To illustrate that point, Jesus uses the analogy of a hungry child asking his father for food.  The child makes a request.  The parent is evil, but out of the evil parent comes a good gift.  Why?  The parent loves the child and love can bring even from those who are evil, relative good.




Now think of God, who is absolute good.  Why is it that we think that the God who is righteous, just and perfect in every way would give us anything less than the best?  How could we imagine that He would be less concerned and less gracious with us than we are with our children?




Each of the three promises Jesus makes in regard to prayer is conditional.  Each is based on our obeying an imperative, a command from the Lord Himself.




1.   Ask.  Asking is the expression of the desire of the soul.  “Be anxious for nothing,” Paul wrote to the Philippian believers, “but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.”


Philippians 4:6-7


6                Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.


7                And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.   (NAS)




Sometimes naming our requests to God is easy; sometimes it is impossible.  In those times when we do not know what to say, God the Holy Spirit steps in to communicate for us. (Romans 8:26)




“Ask” here is in present tense, referring to continuous action in the present time.  This means that we are to keep on asking, we are to be persistent.  But when God answers, will we be listening?  When we ask, it should be because we want answers.  If we really want answers, we must study.  We should always listen for a correlation between the things we pray for and the things that God talks to us about from the Word.  When we study, when we sit in Bible class, we should be alert to the fact that the information we are receiving may in fact be the answer to the things we have asked in prayer.



2.   Seek.  Seeking is a step beyond asking.  Once we ask, we go looking for the answer.  We go in confidence because Jesus Christ Himself promised that God answers and that if we seek we will find.  When we have made a request of God, we must maintain the spiritual desire to obtain the answer.  Sometimes, after we pray, the situation we are praying about worsens; it begins to look impossible.  God lets that happen often because He wants to know if we believe His promise and are going to follow through.




If we pray for someone else, do we really want that person to obtain what we have asked for?  If so, are we willing to seek to fulfill that request ourselves?  God does answer prayer, but He most often does it – like all of the other miraculous things He performs – through human flesh, through believers, the hands and feet of Jesus Christ on earth.




When we pray that someone else will be strengthened and then we do not go to strengthen that person, or write a letter, or make a phone call, then we have not sought and our prayer is lazy.  When we pray that God will provide for a needy family and we do not give from our store of food or money, then we have not sought and our prayer is lazy.  God may answer our prayer, but He will do it through someone else, and we will not be able to enter into the joy and reward of being part of the answer.




A person who wrestles in prayer will never be inactive in life.  He will always be involved to the maximum, because he believes in the power of prayer and in the power of God.  He believes that if he asks for something, God may choose to use him as the vessel for fulfilling his own prayer.




3.   Knock.  Knocking means that we labor to see our prayer fulfilled.  We can knock in a number of ways.  For example, we knock by way of preparation.  Are we willing to keep knocking in preparing for God’s plan for our life?  We knock in regard to pursuit.  Do we pursue the fulfillment for what we have asked for and sought?  We knock in the area of practical application.  We keep knocking and knock more forcefully.  Why?  Because we really want what we are asking for.  Anything in life that comes without persistence is not worth very much.


Matthew 26:36-45


36                Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”


37                And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.


38                Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”


39                And He went a little beyond {them,} and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”


40                And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you {men} could not keep watch with Me for one hour?


41                “Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”


42                He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done.”


43                And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.


44                And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more.


45                Then He came to the disciples, and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.   (NAS)



All of us have probably at some point in life said, “The pain is so great I feel like I am dying.”  That is exactly how the Lord Jesus Christ felt on this night in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He felt unspeakable grief and distress.  What did He do in response to the feelings?  He did two things that should be an example to us.  First, He prayed about His own situation.  Second, He asked other people to pray in His behalf.




Think about the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself asked for prayer support.  And after He had opened His heart to His friends and asked them to watch and pray for just a while, He went aside to talk to the Father Himself.  When He returned to the disciples, He found them fervently praying.  Is that what Matthew says?  NO.  Three times Jesus went aside to pray, and three times He returned to find them sleeping.




When He first found them asleep, He warned them to pray for themselves, that they would not enter into temptation.  But they didn’t listen.  And because Peter, James and John did not wrestle in their prayer, their rest was soon to be interrupted.  If we rest before we wrestle, we will never be rested enough.




When we cannot pray anything else, there are two prayers that are always right and always fitting and always honoring to God.




One is “Thank you.”


Psalms 50:23


23                “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me; and to him who orders {his} way {aright} I shall show the salvation of God.”   (NAS)




1 Thessalonians 5:18


18                in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.   (NAS)




Ephesians 5:20


20                always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;   (NAS)




The other is “Thy will be done.”


Matthew 26:39


39                And He went a little beyond {them,} and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”   (NAS)



Energized Prayer




Prayer is like a lamp.  We can turn it on and off, on and off, but if it is not plugged in to the power source, if it is not energized, nothing will happen.  Every prayer we pray is either energized or it is not.  When it is, we are letting loose an earthshaking power.




James 5:16 tells us that “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”  A better translation of that would be :  “the energized prayer of any believer has great power.”  The word “effective” comes from energeo, the root of the English word “energy;” it means “to energize.”  The word “accomplish” is ischuos, the strongest of five Greek words for power.  It means “applied power, demonstrated power,”  God will demonstrate His power through the energized prayer of His children.




The “righteous man” is anyone who has been imputed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  Because we are in Christ, we have access to God 24 hours a day for the rest of our lives.


Hebrews 4:16


16        Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.   (NAS)




In James 5:17, the Lord’s brother reinforces the principle that anyone’s prayers can be powerful when he says that “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.”  That is an extremely important little statement.  It tells us that the prophet Elijah, known among the Jews for his phenomenal prayer power and prayer ministry, was a natural human being.  He had a sin nature; he struggled with areas of weakness; he knew what it was like to sin and to fail.  But his prayer power was not based on anything in Elijah; it was based on God.




So how can we “energize” our prayers?  Every time we stop to pray, we should ask ourselves two questions:




1.            Am I in fellowship?


Ephesians 6:18


18                With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,   (NAS)




Sin throws up a barrier between God and us and short-circuits our prayer.


Isaiah 59:2


2                But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden {His} face from you, so that He does not hear.   (NAS)




Self-examination and confession removes the barrier and restores us to fellowship.


1 John 1:9


9                If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   (NAS)




1 John 3:21-22


21                Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;


22                and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.   (NAS)




If we have unconfessed sins in our lives, if we are not yielded to the Holy Spirit, our prayers are works of the flesh and have absolutely no power.




2.            Am I praying according to the will of God?


John 15:7


7                “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.   (NAS)




1 John 5:14-15


14                And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.


15                And if we know that He hears us {in} whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.   (NAS)




How do we pray according to His will?  We have to know His Word.  Lack of study will rob us of the ability to pray effectively.  Jesus said that whatever we ask in faith, we will receive.  But what is “faith?”  It is a response to God’s Word.


We cannot ask for something in faith unless the Word of God declares that what we ask is the will of God.  When we know the Word and our will is in line with His will, then our prayer will be powerful prayer.




Paul tells us in Colossians 4:2 to devote ourselves to prayer, “keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”  There are five dangers to which we should be alert:




1.            Failure to confess.


Isaiah 59:2


2                But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden {His} face from you, so that He does not hear.   (NAS)




2.            Failure to study.


John 15:7


7                “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.   (NAS)




3.            Failure to obey.


1 John 3:22


22                and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.   (NAS)




1 Peter 3:7


7                You husbands likewise, live with {your wives} in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.   (NAS)




4.            Failure to ask according to God’s will.


1 John 5:14-15


14                And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.


15                And if we know that He hears us {in} whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.   (NAS)




5.            Infiltration of personal lusts.


James 4:2-3


2                You lust and do not have; {so} you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; {so} you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.


3                You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend {it} on your pleasures.   (NAS)




If we are alert to those dangers and can say “yes” to those two questions, we can pray in faith-rest, knowing that what we ask will be done in God’s perfect time.  Jesus Himself said in John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”


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