Summary: Most of what we do in the church can be done without the agency or the power of the Holy Spirit!
Text: 2 Kings 6:5
5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
The school of the prophets had grown to the point that they needed to provide new facilities. As they are in the process of cutting down trees to build their new home, one of the prophets loses his axe head in the Jordan River.
He becomes distraught because the axe head was borrowed. He cries out to Elisha and the great prophet performs a miracle and the axe head floats to the surface and the man puts out his hand and picks it up.
Now, lest we be too harsh on this poor man who lost the axe head, let us remember that he is engaged in a great work. He is busy! Yet, if there is a flaw in his activity, it is found in this: he was working, but he was not watching! As a consequence, he lost the axe head and was unable to continue his work. He had lost the cutting edge.
We may look at this story and wonder if there is anything here for the modern church. I believe there is plenty here for us to learn.
You see, the axe head represents the power to get the job done! No man can chop down tress by flailing at them with an axe handle! It takes the sharp, cutting power of the axe head to cut through the wood and fell the tree.
In the church, we need to realize that without our cutting edge, that is the power of the Holy Spirit, we will never be able to serve the Lord properly, nor will we be able to make a dent in this world. We need God and His power to get the job done for His glory!
Sadly, the modern church has become so tied to its traditions and its programs that, for the most part, the cutting edge has been lost. As a result, there is no power in the church, in the lives of the saints, or in anything we do. We have lost the cutting edge!
Most of what we do in the church can be done without the agency or the power of the Holy Spirit! We are so good at what we do that we can operate in the power of the flesh and no one notices the absence of God! However, while we may be able to operate our churches, our programs and our lives apart from the power of God, we will never make inroads into the world apart from the power of God. We will never be able to serve the Lord in an effective manner until we perform that service in His power alone!
As we take a few minutes to look at how this situation was handled that day, we can learn some valuable lessons about how the church should handle the situation in which she finds herself today. God help us to recover the cutting edge. This passage tells us how!
Notice the steps involved in recovering the cutting edge.
1. IT INVOLVES CONCERN
A. As soon as this man feels the axe head fly off, he cries out in despair. He knows that he cannot continue what he is doing until he recovers the axe head.
B. The first step in recovering the power of the Spirit is coming to the place where we know we do not have it.
I am convinced that many people walk through this life thinking they are filled with the Spirit, when they have lost His power and do not even know it.
They are trying to live for God and to do His work in power of the flesh and do not even realize that He is nowhere around.
This condition of many modern churches, and modern church people, rivals that of ancient Laodicea, Rev. 3:14-20.
C. I wonder whether we care enough to search our hearts, our lives and the life of our church and discover whether or not what we are doing is of man or of the Spirit.
Are we concerned about the presence and power of God being in the midst of His church?
We are always congratulating ourselves on the fact that “where two or three are gathered together, He is in the midst.”
The Spirit of the Lord is in us. When we show up at church, He shows up at church! I am not talking about His mere presence. I am talking about His manifest presence. Where God not only shows up, but when He also shows out!
D. May the Lord help us to settle for nothing less than the best God can give us!