Summary: We are quick to ‘fly off the handle’. But God has a way of sharpening dull Christians…and good things ‘surface’ when we return to where we lost our cutting edge and reclaim it! Link included to formatted text, audio & video, & PowerPoint Presentation.
When You’ve Lost Your Cutting Edge
We are so quick to ‘fly off the handle’ these days. But God has a way of sharpening dull Christians…and good things will ‘surface’ if we will return to where we lost our cutting edge and reach out and reclaim it!
Even more amazing than a swimming axe head is the spiritual truths found in these 7 short verses. Let’s check out one at a time:
vs. 1—Elisha Baptist Church and Theological Seminary.
We’d like to call this church Shirley Temple!
Elisha is an effective missionary—planting both a church and Bible institute…teaching nationals to reach their own people.
*It’s time for a building project
They saw the need
We can relate!
Vs. 2—“every man a beam”
It’s not a bake sale or a car wash that will build the church, but personal sacrifice.
Want to build God’s church? Make a personal sacrifice:
Labor / Finances / Prayer
Vs. 3—It was a very wise man who prayed here that the master would go with them thru this big project!
“Prayer moves the hand that moves the world!”
Vs. 4 –Elisha was with them, and they made progress.
God is with us, and we are making progress.
This is the crossroads of the story…exactly where GBC is.
…and perhaps, precisely where you are in your life.
Look what happened next…
Vs. 5—He lost his power for service!
What’s worse is that it was borrowed. (All of the Christian’s power is!)
The Holy Spirit: our cutting edge for service!
He was whacking away, and got into a rhythm, like the ax was an extension of his body, he had the hang of it, yeah, I’m doin’ a number on this tree, then suddenly, ploop!
We get to thinkin’ we’re somethin’ and then we fly off the handle!
The big trees they needed for this project grew along the edge of the Jordan river—which is very muddy!
He must’ve assumed he would never get it back.
And how would he repay the lender? He cried out to his master, Elisha.
That’s Satan’s goal for every Christian, to make him act independently from God.
This man was working for the Lord, but his power source was gradually slipping away!
Evidently, the problem he encountered was common in those days…
Deuteronomy 19:4 And this is the case of the slayer, which shall flee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past; As when a man goeth into the wood with his
neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live:
He needed to keep in touch w/ the condition of the relationship. (between head/handle). Like we used to say as teens, “We’re tight, man!”
Many preachers have lost their edge, but keep swinging away in the power of the flesh, like the disciples in Mk. 9:18, wondering why they couldn’t get anything done.
Ill.—Samson in Judges 16:20—didn’t know the power was gone!
He needed to sharpen his ax. (More work, less vibration)
Ill.—as a teen in NM, skinning bark off pine branches to make fence posts. Hitting ankles, expletives flying. Then I stopped, went to the garage, and sharpened my ax on dad’s grinder. Now it had a bite to it. Now it was effective!
Ecclesiastes 10:10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
He would have saved time by stopping to sharpen.
(we have a daily responsibility to be in the Word and in prayer.)
He also would’ve noticed the head was slipping off!
Jn. 15:5—Jesus said, without Me, ye can do nothing!
*suddenly this man was accomplishing nothing.
He wasn’t lazy. He was chopping away. So are many of us today!
He had a mind to work, but not a mind to “watch.”
“Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall!”
Many times we allow our axe-head to be dulled by pride or self-interest.
“Pride is like a beard…always growing.
The solution?… shave it every day.”
Sometimes Satan deceives us into thinking that we can serve God at times and still live a life of sin at other times, and then suddenly…ploop!
*Despite what just happened, this man had wisdom: He had the sense to stop trying and get back to trusting!
As humans, we try many times to “make things happen”.
(we need to let go, and let God!)
How many Christians are still whacking away, powerlessly, making no progress, seeing no souls saved, never bringing visitors to church, never taking opportunities to minister to others or serve God in a church ministry?!