Summary: This sermon takes the wise principle of being sharpened by one another and develops what it means to be sharpened? What it takes to be Sharpened? and what are some different models to be Sharpened?

As Iron Sharpens Iron

Proverbs 27:17-19


A. Have you ever tried to use a knife or pair of scissors only to find that they wouldn’t cut?

It was probably frustrating – the problem: They needed to be Sharpened!

B. Our passage today has a Biblical principle that teaches us how to be Sharpened!

Read Proverbs 27: 17 – As Iron Sharpens Iron, so one man Sharpens another.

C. Now Proverbs is a book about Wise sayings and how important it is to be Wise. It is written primarily as a way to guide, instruct and influence Solomon’s Sons, and yet all people to live fully in the Lord.

You will find general sayings of wisdom and truth to live with integrity, honesty, morally and in relationship with your spouse, children, friends, neighbors, your enemies, business associates – and of course the Lord!

In fact, Prov. 1:7; The Fear of the Lord is the beginning o knowledge… Prov. 9:10; The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

So these Wise sayings begin with us being in relationship with the Lord.

D. So what do we learn about this Wise Saying and the Principle of how we can be Sharpened?


A. We learn what it means to be Sharpened!

Just as a knife that is not Sharp isn’t productive, useful, or helpful, ready, - so to be Sharpened as a Man is to be Ready for life, Useful, helpful and productive in life and society.

It reflects the fullness of life: physical, emotional, social, as well as Spiritual.

The Word – Chadah means to make glad, joined together, sharpened, to grow.

So to be Sharpened is to be ready, useful, and productive in life and society – it means to be joined together and grow to meet the challenges in life and even ready for Eternal life, through faith in Jesus Christ.

The Principle is clear: Just as Iron sharpens Iron – so we sharpen or Influence someone to: prepare, make glad, useful, productive and growing in every area of life.

B. We learn the Process of Sharpening in life.

What does it take?

Intention – Just as Iron has the purpose of sharpening Iron, so we must be Intentional about sharpening One Another – Others. We need to seek those who can Sharpen us and we need to intentionally seek those whom we can Sharpen in life too.

Intention also identifies our True Purpose. What is our Intention in Sharpening another person? The Intention according to Scripture is to help a person become complete and ready in every area of Life. Jesus is an example – Luke 2:52; Jesus grew in wisdom, stature and in favor with both God and Man. I.E. He grew (He was Sharpened) in Wisdom, Physically, Spiritually and Socially!

What a great Intention we should have in Sharpening others and being Sharpened.

The problem is that often we only focus on one area or we are just haphazard in seeking the Sharpening Process in life.

In Relationship - If I have a Iron Sword and you have an Iron sword it will never be Sharpened if it isn’t in Relation to one another.

The Sword has to be Present, in Contact with the other sword in order for it to be Sharpened.

So it is with us too. You can’t truly Sharpen another person if you aren’t together – in Contact with each other – in Relationship with one another.

The Bible Calls this – FELLOWSHIP! Communing with One another; coming alongside each other. We need each other. It is essential for us and other in the Sharpening Process!

Influence – Iron sharpens Iron as it is in contact– The process of contact Influences each other and can Sharpen the pieces of Iron.

However, in order to really Sharpen and not damage, ruin or make more dull – the Influence has to be done right.

So it is with us. We Sharpen one another by Influencing each other. But it is also important to Influence one another in a right way.

1Cor. 15:33; “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”

That is why the Bible calls each of us to Teach, Encourage, Set an Example, explain, Exhort, Urge, Spur each other on toward love and good deeds, etc.

The Bible also teaches us to be careful in the words we use the example we set, and what we are Influencing others toward.

The Process of Sharpening one another involves Intention, In Relationship, and Influence.

One thing is for certain is that you can’t Sharpen one another by being Indifferent, Independent, Incognito. We must be Intentional, In Relationship, and Influencing.

C. We learn some Models for Sharpening the lives of others. The example of Iron sharpening Iron is one example but the Scriptures also demonstrate for us the process of Sharpening each other.

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