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Regaining The Sharp Edge!
2 Kings 6:1-7
There are some great spiritual lessons in this passage that relate to our lives today.
This passage of Scripture illustrates how spiritual power can be lost, but it doesn't end there.
It also tells us how spiritual power can be recovered.
What about your life?
Have you lost power?
Is your testimony as fresh today as it was in the past?
Are you a consistent witness for the Lord?
Does your life exude the freshness of God's power?
Have you lost the power?
This is a simple story.
It's about a young man with an axe.
"And he cried and said, alas master! For it was borrowed." (Vs. 5)
We read of the beginning of the theological training of young prophets.
Elisha, the prophet of God, was their professor.
They had a problem.
The building had become too small for the number of students.
So they decided to enlarge the building, and they began the work.
They went to the Jordan River where the trees grew, and they began cutting down the trees.
The students could not afford the needed equipment, so someone had loaned them
the equipment to do the work.
The axe was borrowed.
There is nothing that you or I have, that isn't borrowed.
Our time, talents, energy, material assets, everything -- all borrowed!
They are the gracious gifts that have been entrusted to us by our Divine Benefactor.
Think about these things!
What have we done with them?
What are we doing with them?
Nothing that we have is ours!
God gave us everything!
He loaned us these things!
He is trusting us with these things!
The axe was a conditional trust!
Listen to the pathos and the agony in the voice of that young man!
He is on the riverbank cutting wood.
He is working hard.
Suddenly, the axehead flies off, and falls into the water.
He cries, "Alas, master! It was borrowed."
God gives us our directions for service, and He supplies us with the tools to do that service.
- This young man realized that he had an obligation.
- This young man realized that he had been entrusted with that axehead.
- This young man realized that the owner expected it to be returned in good condition.
God has a plan for every life!
- We are responsible unto God for the service.
- We are also accountable unto God for the tools.
Ephesians 2: 10 says, "We are his workmanship."
We are His special creation.
The greatest adventure that anyone could know in life is to find, and to follow God's plan for his life.
God has a plan for your life.
God will supply you with the tools for you to accomplish the work that God has for you to do.
We are accountable for the work, and we are accountable for the tools.
This young man knew it.
He had to return the axe, handle, and head.
One day you will stand before the Lord, and you will say,
- "Master, you gave me this talent, and this is how I used it."
- "Master, you gave me this voice, and this is how I used it."
- "Master, you gave me this memory, and this is how I used it."
- "Master, you gave me this time, and this is how I used it."
- "Master, you gave me this money, and this is how I used it."
It was a trust and it was also a conditional trust.
It was borrowed! "Alas, master! It was borrowed."
The tragedy of losing the axehead!
"But as one was felling a beam, the axehead fell into the water: and he cried,
and said, alas, master! For it was borrowed." (Verse 5)
The young prophet lost the axehead while he was busy working.
He was not lazy or idle.
He was busy cutting wood.
The axe was swinging, the chips were flying, and the sweat was streaming down his face.
He is working hard -- cutting the wood, but he lost the axehead.
Many pastors, church leaders, and churches are busy, busy, busy.
Maybe, too busy!
It could be that the harder you work, and the busier you are that you could be:
The axehead was lost, while the young prophet was busy in his daily work.
- Making noise without progress.
- Making motion without direction.
- Making a show without success -- all because of a loss of spiritual power.
Anyone who has ever used an axe knows when it becomes loose.
The head rattles.
The hand receives a sting.
The young prophet was busy, and was working hard, and was not aware
that the axehead was becoming loose.
It is entirely possible to be so busy in your work that you have not been aware
that you have lost your axehead!
You have lost your power!
I believe that most pastors who become cold, and drift off into heresy,
or drop-off into immoral disaster, and lose the joy of their salvation,
and leave their ministry have not been watching or alert.
- They have not been watching their personal Bible study.
- They've not been active in their prayer life.
- They have become loose in their living.
He was busy working for God, but he was not watching what was important.
He became loose with a loose woman.
She cut his hair while he slept, and Samson lost his strength, his sight, and his service for God.
There have been so many pastors, staff members, missionaries, deacons, and church leaders
who became loose in their living, and lost their strength in the Lord,
lost their sight from the Lord, and their service for the Lord.
This young prophet lost the axehead while he was busy, but he was not watching,
- Have you been negligent in watching and waiting upon God?
- Have you neglected your private time with God?
and was not aware of what was happening.
It is entirely possible for you to be busy in the work of God,
and be negligent of not watching your life, your time, your words, and your actions.
Your axehead is getting looser, and before you know it you have lost it
in the muddy waters of despair and depression.
The tragedy of losing the axehead is lost power!
The victory in restoring the axe.
How can you recover it?
- Have you lost power in your spiritual life?
- Have you lost power in your personal life?
How can you locate it?
This passage of Scripture tells us two simple things.
There was an explanation for the human problem.
Elisha asked, "Where fell it?"
They were looking at a fast, moving, muddy river.
The young prophet was cutting the tree with the axe.
The axehead slipped off the handle, and flew into the muddy water.
It didn't fall on the grass, or on the sand or in the muddy edge of the water.
It fell into the waters of the fast, moving river.
The man of God is asking, "Where fell it?"
The most difficult thing for a Christian to do, who has lost spiritual power,
is to go back to the scene of failure and confess it.
God requires it!
Ecclesiastes 3:17 says, "God requireth that which is past."
1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us
and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness."
As church leaders, we sometimes forget that we must also confess our sin.
The word "confess" means to "acknowledge
the point at which I lost my power."
- We must confess where we departed from God's direction.
- We must confess where we forsook the fellowship of God.
- We must agree with God that there is sin in our life.
1 John 1:7 says,
"For if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another
and the blood of Jesus keeps on cleansing us from all sin."
The place of recovery is the place where I left the path of God's will.
- Where did I fall?
- Where did I lose my power?
- Where did I lose my purpose?
The Divine Answer
Verses 6 and 7 say, "And the man of God said, where fell it?
And he showed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.
Therefore said he, take it up to thee, and he put out his hand, and took it."
When he confessed where he had lost the axehead, the prophet of God
reached up into a tree and "cut a stick."
In the book of Isaiah, the prophet speaks of the man of God as the Branch.
Notice, the prophet cut the branch, which points prophetically to the cross of Christ.
At the moment the branch was laid on the water, the axehead came to the surface.
- Tell God where sin entered in.
- Tell God where you began to drift.
- Tell God where you lost your power, and apply the cross of the Lord Jesus to your life.
"The iron did swim."
Have you ever seen an iron swim?
Have you ever seen an axehead swim?
It didn't float!
That was a miracle of God.
Iron does not rise against the pull of gravity.
Iron cannot swim against the current of a stream.
The axehead did!
"The iron did swim."
I believe it!
Only a miracle of God can overcome sin in our lives.
Paul said, "The spirit of life in Christ Jesus, sets me free from the law of sin and death."
The law of sin is a downward pull, and the law of death is the current
that would take us away from God.
The axehead was released by the water, and was returned to the young prophet to be used again.
"And he reached out his hand and he took it up."
The prophet of God said, "Take it up to thee."
The young man reached out his hand and took it.
He put it back on the axe handle, and once again he had the cutting-edge
and the sharpness of the power to serve God.
Open your hands -- open your life -- open your heart to the cleansing power of Jesus Christ,
- Do you need to restore the cutting-edge in your life?
- Do you want to recover your spiritual power?
and He will flood your life anew with joy, and peace, and power in which to serve the Lord
and be your very best.
Is that what you want?
Then ask God for it -- now?
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at hleewhite@AOL.com