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"How do we apply “Iron Sharpens Iron” as it is used in scripture?" Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   

My Answer:

The phrase “iron sharpens iron” is found in Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

 There is a mutual benefit in the rubbing of two iron blades together; the edges become sharper, making the knives or swords more efficient in their performing task of cutting and slicing.

 Likewise, since the Word of God is a “double-edged sword,” as Hebrews 4:12 tells us, it is with this (the scripture), that we Christians are to sharpen one another. We can and should do this every time we meet, engage in fellowship, or with any other interaction we might have. The proverb also indicates the need for constant fellowship with one another.

Man was not meant to be alone, for did not the Lord God say this, even before the Fall, described in Genesis 2? So how much more, then, after the Fall of Man, do we need to come together with our brothers and sisters in Christ for seasons of fellowship and prayer? Especially with those who share not only our faith, but also our vocation and training.

 Clearly, this was recognized by the saints of the early church who. “devoted themselves” to teaching, fellowship, communion, and prayer, (Acts 2:42–47), these were all corporate activities that provided opportunities for “sharpening” one another.

There are two points I would like to make about the above proverb.

First, the meeting of two together in the Lord’s name will always guarantee blessing. It is a means of sharing grace that the Lord Himself promise: where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is among them.” (Matthew 18:20).

Also, we see a similar meaning in Malachi, “for those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard” (Malachi 3:16).

When we sharpen one another in real Christian fellowship, the Lord bends an ear from heaven and is pleased. Not one word about Him which brings Him glory escapes His notice. The perfumes of divine unity are best displayed in the relationship of David and Jonathan, son of Saul.

When David was being hotly pursued by Saul, Jonathan sought David out “to help him find strength in God” (1 Samuel 23:16).

Which leads us onto our second point. Iron sharpening iron is an opportunity to fulfill the Law of Christ.

The apostle Paul says that we are to carry and share each other’s issues and burdens daily, to lament over personal sin, advise each other on how best to repent of it, and then to rejoice over the conquest of it.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:2 ESV)

This is the same “royal law” mentioned in James 2:8, where we are exhorted to love one another.

If a knife is dull, it is still a knife, but, it is a less effective knife, and is less useful in its intended purpose. So is there a way to get that razor like edge back? You bet there is.

Let us therefore be exhilarated by spending more time together, exhorting, encouraging, praying, admonishing, sharing God’s Word, praying over God’s Word and the needs of our local fellowship and our individual relationships, so that we become sharper, keener in the ministry that the Lord has assigned to each of us.

All too often what passes for fellowship in the modern church is centered on food and fun, not on sharpening one another with the Word of God. In far too many instances, the only knives being sharpened are the ones used at potlucks and B-B-Qs.

Sharpening requires grinding away the nicks, gouges and dullness of every day life to make each Christian sharper and fore functional. We can all agree that we need to have some of our sins and bad habits and weaknesses ground away. While this may hurt a bit, it is only being done for our own good. Remember, fruit trees and bushes produce best after pruning.

What is conviction from God? It is simply Him pruning us back a little in order to produce better fruit. So when you face trials and hard times, look to see if it is actually God doing the pruning. It could be Him telling us we need a change of “playmates or playgrounds”.

Finally, a knife that has been sharpened will also shine more brightly because all its dullness has been rubbed off its surface. So likewise, we too will shine brighter and become better tools of service for our Lord.

We can maintain that status as good Christian LEO’s or service men and women if we do the things mentioned above consistently, all of which will help to unite us in harmony.

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity” (Psalm 133:1)

Therefore, as the author to the Hebrews says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24–25).

Speaking of unity and harmony I would like to remind folks who have only heard of the “Roman Road to Salvation”, that that Epistle of Paul’s to The Romans. Was really a letter of his to the Roman Jewish and Gentile Christians, who had already accepted Christ as their Messiah (Savior), thus they had their salvation in hand. What they did not was any “Training in true discipleship”, nor did they understand how to harmoniously live together as fellow Christians. So I see it as Paul setting them on the “Road to Christian Unity.” As we sign off for this hopefully encouraging message, don’t forget to start your own small group of like-minded members of your workforce, whatever that vocation may be, and make them your own SWAT Team (Spiritual Weapons And Training) and work on keeping each other as sharp as possible.

Here are some things that you might want to keep in mind:

Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;

Romans 3:23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

To be saved you must pray to God to ask Him to forgive you. This must be FROM THE HEART and you must truly mean it.

GOD KNOWS YOUR HEART and knows if you are truly serious about what you say and do..

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