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Summary: God has given us friendships as gifts.

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"Friends Sharpen Friends"

(Originally preached by Frank Lewis, FBC Nashville, TN)

March 16, 2003 Chester’s FBC, Chester, IL Mike Fogerson, Speaker

Items needed: Anvil, Blacksmith’s Hammer, Sheep Sheers, Steele, Knife, piece of metal, channel locks, metal file/rasp, table for props.

Introduction:

A Pick up metal, hammer and hit it on anvil

HIT "As iron sharpens iron" HIT "so one man" HIT "sharpens another"

a Centuries before the birth of Christ, Solomon gathered the wisdom sayings that make up the Book of Proverbs and one of those sayings is "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."

b The original reader knew exactly what Solomon meant.

B In the ANE the town blacksmith was one of the most important individuals in the town. (Worked with metal, fire, smoke)

a He was a potter, weaver, carpenter, fix-it man!

*Every year you would take your plows and axe heads to the smitty to get you hooked up!

*The knew the sounds and smells of the blacksmith shop.

b They knew exactly what Solomon meant when he said, "Iron sharpens iron."

C They had also seen friends "sharpen" each other.

a Seen friendships forged out of many experiences.

(Stories turn to laughter, forged out of hardships/difficulties. Friends don’t let each other down, face challenge together.)

b God has given us friendships as gifts. (Like any gift God gives us, we must use it to its fullest.)

T.S. It’s easier to remember to sharpen knives/lawn mower blades than it is to remember to sharpen each other. This morning we’re going to look at two friendship facts that can help us sharpen one another as friends.

I The first friendship fact is that developing friendships are crucial in life.

A Jackie Robinson was the first black player in major league baseball.

a By breaking the color barrier, he faced jeering crowds in every stadium he played at. (While playing in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he committed an error. He stood on second base, humiliated as the crowed booed.)

b Then, shortstop Pew Wee Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robins and faced the crowd.

*The crowed grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.

* "YOUR FACE MIRRORS YOUR HEART You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another." Prov. 27:27 The Message

B We get word "face" from the Hebrew word "paniym" and it has several shades of meaning.

1 Paniyms first meaning is....How a person looks.

*If your in pain, sad, happy, joyful....it shows up on your face.

*Good friendships help us look better. (If you want to have better looks, choose better friends.)

2 Paniyms second meaning is...How a person looks at things.

*friends help us see a clearer perspective in issues that may concern/confuse us.

*Have you ever become oblivious to the obvious? Friends help you see what’s in front of your face.

3 Paniyms third meaning is...That which goes in front of.

*In hard times, difficult decisions, even in personal failures, friends help us see out in front of them/beyond them.


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