• We live in a thirsty Land, We are thirsty People, we are thirsty Souls, we also need Spiritual repairs So, what's the solution to our spiritual problem, as God's people? The answer ought to be perfectly obvious: Keep the cistern in good repair! Faithful disciples must maintain a reserve of spiritual confidence, to get through times of suffering and trial. But how do we do that?
Stephen Covey's bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, contains a memorable illustration called "Sharpening the Saw." Covey tells of two lumberjacks who are laboring hard to cut down a mighty tree using an old-fashioned cross-cut saw. Back and forth they pull the saw, their motions synchronized in perfect rhythm. Yet the longer they work, the less effective their labors appear to be. Each stroke of the saw seems to be taking less of a bite out of the tree trunk. But still the men keep sawing.
What they need to do is to stop and sharpen the saw. Yet there's something soothing, even hypnotic, about the rhythm of the sawing. The more exhausted they become, the easier it is to imagine that if they just keep going, they'll finish the job. "Who's got time to stop and sharpen the saw?" they think to themselves.
Yet, the irony is that if they would but stop and perform this essential maintenance, they'd be done in half the time -- and without the agony of aching muscles that comes of pulling a dull saw blade back and forth.
• Worship is like sharpening the saw.
• Day after day, week in and week out, we saw away at our individual vocations.
• Without a regular pause for worship -- for "being still and knowing that the Lord is God," for devoting time to prayer and contemplation, for hearing the Word read and proclaimed -- the bite of our labors becomes dull, and we become exhausted, stressed out, detached from the wellspring of all meaning.
• It's not enough simply to confess Christ as Lord and Savior -- once -- and leave it at that.
• The saw needs to be kept sharp; the cistern needs to be kept in good repair.
1. How do we Keep the saw Sharpe by Remembering?
• One way is to remember where I came from? God freed their ancestors from Bondage
• I once was bound but he set we free yes He set me free He broke the chains
• Paul and Silas remember the midnight Hour when their chains were gone
2. We keep the saw Sharpe by knowing that God is adequate
• "Vs. 5 What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. These are things that are empty These were of no use
3. We keep the saw Sharpe by searching
• 6They did not ask, `Where is the LORD, who brought us up out of Egypt They were s thirsty they could not find God they did nt search The Bible says, “ for God is not very far from any of us” .
4. We keep the saw Sharpe by consulting with God No one consulted the Lord (see v. 6).
• 8The priests did not ask, `Where is the LORD?' Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols. Those that dealt with the law were the Priests they never consulted, Those that were the Leaders never consulted and the Prophets
5. We keep the saw Sharpe by letting God lead us vs 6 The text says God led us through the barren wilderness,
• through a land of deserts and rifts, a land of drought and darkness,A a land where no one travels and no one lives?' 7God says, I led you or I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce.
• Israel’s redeemer leads As a shepherd leads his sheep ( Ps 23:2-3). 2He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
6. How do we keep the saw Sharpe? By living the contemplative life
• Richard Foster shared with us a ginormous theological idea about this He said, We must fall in love with God Over and Over, and Over, and over again.
7. We keep the saw Sharpe by Keeping the Faith
• And so God says:"For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the spring of living waters, and cut them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (2:13).
• If The Cistern cannot hold water it needs repaired. Rev Dave Crow said “Every cistern will hold something. If not water, then what is in there? One parsonage we lived in had a cistern. It did not hold water any longer. When you looked in, what you found was green and black slime and huge toads. Not much good for drinking! If our spiritual cistern is not holding living water, what is it holding?”
• Our Lands are Thirsty, Our People are Thirsty, Our Souls are thirsty, our spiritual cistern need water
• There is an old song Come to the Fountain There is a fountain filled with blood
• drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains. Come to the fount and repair your spiritual life.