Summary: It's not enough to just go to church. Christians need to be there for each other to sharpen the iron that God has placed within us.
OPEN: I love superheroes.
My mom once told of the times I’d go out into the yard with a bath towel tied around my neck and would “fly” around the yard. And when I was a kid I read comic books about superheroes, watched TV shows and cartoons and went to the movies to watch them battle for truth, justice and the American way. In fact, I still do.
So, when a new movie comes out that retells one of those stories, I often buy a ticket, some popcorn, and sit down to enjoy myself.
This past month, there was a movie about a superhero in the theatres. Does anybody know who it was about? That’s right: Iron Man II. And ever since the release of the first of these two movies, I saw some Biblical themes that I wanted to explore for a sermon series.
For those of you not familiar with the “story” about Iron Man, it was a comic book series started by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics back in the 60’s. It was the story of a technological genius who’d been making weapons for the military but who began to realize that some of his weapons were being sold to bad guys.
Iron man’s suit wasn’t made of iron, but the image of an iron suit symbolized the virtual invulnerability of this hero to bullets, rockets and bombs big enough to level New York City. In his suit, Iron Man could fly, generate beams of energy and shoot his own array of bullets and rockets at the bad guys.
But, as with all movies about superheroes, one of the fun things is to watch how they go through the process of learning about their powers. There’s a learning curve they have go through to reach their full potential.
(Video of Iron Man I where he learns to use his suit. We began the presentation about an hour into the movie, where “Stark” suits up for his first flight, and ends where he crashes through 3 floors of his home onto one of his prized vehicles. It last about 3 or 4 minutes).
In Scripture, God uses Iron for a number of images. And amongst those images are the ideas that iron represents strength and endurance. As in our passage this morning:
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
When we became Christians God placed within us the power of iron. Romans 8:11 tells us “… the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you”
The power the Spirit of God revealed when it raised Jesus from the dead is the very same power that lies inside of each of us who belong to Christ. God’s Spirit has placed iron in our souls. And that Spirit gives us the ability to be strong and endure many of the difficulties of life.
But Proverbs 27:17 implies that (even as God’s people) we don’t start out that way. We don’t automatically begin our walk with Christ knowing exactly how to utilize the power His Spirit places within us. We have a learning curve that we need to go thru…
… so that we can be sharpened
… so that we can be honed
… so that we can have all the qualities of iron we need in our lives.
So how do we do that?
How do we take that quality of iron God has placed inside us and make it all that it can be?
Proverbs 27 says that as iron sharpens iron… SO ONE MAN SHARPENS ANOTHER
As Christians we need someone to help us grow in our faith
And God teaches that to us from the outset of our Christianity.
In the Great Commission Jesus commands us to “… go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..." Matthew 28:19-20
Even when we become Christians, God set things up so that we would need another Christian there to guide us through the beginnings of our faith.
ILLUS: Our Southern Gospel Quartet took part in a gospel sing in another part of the state and we headlined for an excellent professional group from Ohio. This group did an excellent job of involving the audience in their singing and then they took a break. The lead singer began to talk to them about salvation and he asked them to all close their eyes and bow their heads and he asked for a show of hands of those who wanted to become Christians. One man raised his hand. The singer then informed the man that he should “ask Jesus into His heart” and led him in a “sinner’s prayer.” It was all very well done and very moving.