| Iron Sharpens Iron |
Iron & Iron
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
Iron by itself is cold, very cold.
Indeed, iron sitting alone will rust and is no hotter than the temperature in the room.
Iron that is not sharpening iron is a cold, lifeless, ugly form of Christianity that the world and worldly easily mock. Long gone is the love of the first church that resembled the blazing heat of iron, and long gone is the connection of the congregation that was united in heart and mind. As recorded in Acts 4:32, “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.”
God desires to arrange fellowship in the church in such a way that iron sharpens iron, His Holy Spirit applying the friction, which is the opposite of how ministries and religious men arrange their church unity. This is why there is so much sin in the church.
Unfortunately, most who claim the name become stiff-necked, cold, or, at best, lukewarm about the idea of God arranging and empowering the church to fellowship as He sees fit because it is the way of the offensive message of the cross. Church fellowship has a cosmetic design intended to feel good and look good to the world, whereas God seeks to dig deeper by heating up the zeal, purity, and sharpness of every cold piece of iron surrendered to His will.
While God seeks to arrange the members of the church in such a way that each person is sharpened by the other according to His will, we, in our sin, seek out those who will either flatter us or those we can look down upon and assume we are “helping.”
Iron sharpening iron is pride shattered by the creation of friction between church members as the Holy Spirit moves until all are sharp, hot, pure, and equal as one body in the humility of Jesus.
When we speak of red-hot, sharp iron, we are not just talking about rebukes, corrections, and strong guidance. Those that have endured holy heat become soft and pliable, ready to be hammered into lives of humility, gentleness, and meekness. Under the friction of godly manifested love, all are filled with sharp truth, overflowing joy, and abundant energy to lay down their lives for others. Please have a serious heart, for it requires the endurance of Jesus to become hot enough from holy friction for such things to be present.
As Jesus said, this fellowship of iron sharpening iron is how His joy is made complete in our lives, but few are willing to pay the cost to be blessed. It is recorded in the book of John that Jesus said:
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:11–13).
Remember, we are talking about the love of Jesus working through each willing disciple that hates their lives and falls to the ground to die to the self. Anything different from that is a religious lie that, in the end, will be condemned by God.
This godly love from holy friction will show itself in ways that are not accepted by the religious norm. From calling a brother “Satan” as Jesus did to Peter, to refusing to visit someone who is sick as Jesus did with Lazarus, to washing other’s feet by being a slave to them as Jesus did, the love of the Holy Spirit will flow in such a way that is best, and always best, for the other person.
This is a type of love where you get nothing in return. Such selfless love does not come easily, and this is why you can expect the disciplining hand of God to be strong in your life. Self and selfishness must die if you are to have the abundant life hidden within Jesus.
The heat of iron sharpening iron will burn off the fragments of metal that are useless in you so that all that is left is selfless love. Most are completely unwilling to allow the love of the Holy Spirit to burn off the dross and heat things up so they become sharp enough to love as Jesus loved. This is why there is so much sin and disobedience in the church. Only those who obey iron sharpening iron have the true love of God that is seen by others as they live with overwhelming obedience to all the commands of God.
“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands” (1 John 5:2).
Iron & Glass
If iron attempts to be sharpened against glass, the glass will shatter in an instant.
The glass represents the current state of most who sit in the pews or claim Jesus as Lord today.
The barest hint of any rubbing from God’s hot iron against a person’s glass-like spiritual walk in Jesus will end with that glass falling apart and shattering. Indeed, glass Christians will first ignore and then seek to run off those in their church who are hot iron in the Lord’s hands.
The glass Christian often shatters in anger and will always shatter while touting self-righteous huffing and puffing. The glass Christian always shatters with screaming calls for their bucket of whitewash to paint over their exposed sins and lies that they lived for the self.
Glass Christians would not last through one 45-minute sermon preached by the power, fire, and love from the Holy Spirit because they are self-righteously fragile. During such a sermon, one could hear these individuals break into hundreds of pieces while all who walk in their direction get pieces of glass stuck in their feet or hands from their whining, grumbling, and complaining. The bottom line is this: the average church member is merely a glass Christian that shatters when the love of Jesus looks in their direction.
It hardly needs to be stated, but these individuals do not go near someone who is red-hot iron in the Lord, and those that are sharp and hot iron in the Lord stay far, far, far away for safety’s sake from glass Christians if they can avoid them.
Iron & Paper
Ah, the Bible student, the sound preacher, the big-time Christian author, the song leader, the learned Christian, they have it all down until they meet a red-hot-sparking-selfless-love-for-God piece of iron in the hands of Jesus.
Not only are their Bible Diploma, Christian book, Correct Doctrines, Bible theology, songs, and Bible studies torn to shreds when encountering such holy rods of iron, but paper Christians attempt two things when such iron meets paper Christianity.
Paper Christians seek out flattery that will reaffirm their paper Christianity to ease their guilty conscience.
They will often persecute, even prosecute if they can, those who are red-hot-iron-in-love with Jesus because they are bullied by their own sins.
These are the Pharisees, Sadducees, and mob of Christians today who think they are doing God a favor by opposing His Son.
Baptism of Fire & Holiness
You better harden your resolve like iron because there is only one way to walk in the Holy Spirit on the narrow road, and that is by letting God heat things up. Remember, we are told in the Good Book that Jesus will attempt to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and holy fire. God is going to attempt to apply Holy Spirit and fire into your solid iron way of living, so get ready for some heated discipline. This is why, in God’s Word, we are told to strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees because such discipline is not pleasant but painful (Hebrews 12:11–12).
Blessed are two brothers or two sisters in the Lord that are willing, no matter the cost, to become two pieces of hot iron in the Lord’s hands. After such a painful discipline, they will become heated, ever-sharp lovers of the living God and their fellow man. God will use the surrendered two pieces of iron to make things heavenly hot and holy sharp.
Their love will become unfathomably deep-seated in God while being filled with selfless love, joy, and purity. Indeed, those who have never allowed God to do this will not be able to comprehend what such lovers of God are talking about. This is one reason it is not difficult to spot a Wanna-Be-A-Big-Baby-Christian from a true disciple of Jesus.
You have a choice to make. You can listen to the fiery preaching of John the Baptist who called his preaching water compared to the baptism of fire Jesus will attempt to bring on all who call upon His name, or you can turn away from the iron sharpening iron fellowship and go back to your normal church fellowship.
Pay attention to this warning because we are talking about a baptism of holiness and a baptism of fire that no person or church should attempt to reproduce. Truly, all who would attempt this by man’s religious efforts are doomed to destroy their church and cause much destruction. The iron sharpening iron fellowship cannot be marketed or mocked without the worst results taking place. The iron sharpening iron fellowship requires learning in order to appreciate the fear and trembling that is associated with one’s salvation while letting God both work and will the holy friction. As Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, so it must be said of your fellowship: “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12–13).
It is a work of God and it shakes to the core any church congregation down to each individual’s soul if they are blessed enough for the Holy Spirit to begin the friction. It is an all-encompassing baptism that leaves nothing and no one untouched from its cleansing and life-giving power. It will drive the unrepentant away as it empowers the few who remain to keep following Jesus. As John the Baptist preached in the book of Matthew:
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).
Is such fellowship costly and risky?
Yes, of course, it is, and you are going to have to walk remarkably close to Jesus to receive this gift and remain safe.
Is this the kind of church fellowship where people are afraid to become members? Yes, naturally. As it was said of the first church, it will be said of you: “No one else dared join them” (Acts 5:13).
Is this iron-hot love sharp, full of wisdom, and overflowing with joy and the persecutions in Jesus? Ah, yes.
All the persecution is “yes” because it is the love of Jesus manifesting itself in a sinful world, and they find it revolting.
All the sufferings of Jesus are “yes” because the natural Christian is unwilling to pay the cost of discipleship, and their whitewash excuses are exposed and, to put it mildly, they do not like such revelations of knowledge. There will be many a “Christian” that opposes you if you give yourself in faith to God in such a way as to allow the iron sharpening iron fellowship.
It is the power of love through the Holy Spirit attempting to work itself out through flawed human beings like you and me. Such a fellowship can get messy at times.
As written in the book of Corinthians we are frail human beings that God is attempting to work His holiness in us while we are still in a state of weakness and dishonor. This holiness is sown in dishonor, yet it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, yet it is raised in power; (1 Corinthians 15:43)
However, despite of all your weaknesses, the dangers, and oppositions, if you endure to the end, it will be declared on the great Judgement Day how you loved others and God through the power of the Holy Spirit. See Colossians 1:8.
Blessed are those disciples of Jesus that are granted the iron sharpening iron fellowship.
Finally, to the unrepentant “Christians” that are glass and paper, get out of my way. Go away, and may a curse be on you.
See, I told you that iron sharpening iron is a red-hot love for the living God.
“If anyone does not love the Lord—a curse be on him. Come, O Lord! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen” (1 Corinthians 16:22–24).
Do I hear any “Amens”?
This short message brought to you by www.luke1425.org because Jesus said to sit down and count the cost before attempting to follow Him.