Getting sharp, Staying sharp-06/17/18 (Father’s Day-2018)

Message: ‘Getting sharp, Staying sharp’         Text: Various

Introduction: When Kathy and I were dating, I managed a store at the Quakerbridge Mall called ‘Herder’s Cutlery’. While we sold a lot of items, we sold knives… of all kinds,

  • kitchen, hunting, fishing, and collectors knives.

We also had a sharpening service and many of the area chefs would bring their kitchen knives in to be professionally sharpened. I went weekly to our main store in Malvern, Pa. to restock our shelves and while there, I would often talk to the man who sharpened the knives.

  • I learned a lot about the different kinds of steel used in knives and how to best sharpen and keep them sharp.

(Show steel) And this is your kitchen knives best friend… a sharpening steel.

  • All knives when you buy them are sharp. But after time, they begin to develop small burrs on the blade, you can’t see them but they’re there making your knife dull. (use fingers to show burrs)
  • Actually a sharpening steel is a misnomer. It doesn’t really sharpen the knife. It hones it.

That means it takes the very small burrs and straightens them out w/o actually removing much, if any, of the steel. (Show with your hands and fingers)

  • You get your edge back and the knife… is sharper.

But eventually, just using a sharpening steel won’t be enough to get the edge back, to make it sharp again… you need help…

  • For home use, that’s where something like this for kitchen knives comes in (show the electric knife sharpener)
  • and something like this (sharpening stone) if your shop tool is just a bit dull
  • and this (take cover off bench grinder) if your tool has lost its edge completely.

You see, the electric knife sharpener, the sharpening stone and the bench grinder actually remove steel from the blade and reshape the edge.This morning I’m going to be addressing our men, since it’s Father’s Day, specifically the married men and those who want to be married someday. I’ll talk about how men are a lot like kitchen knives and shop tools, in that we easily become spiritually dull and we need help to remove the burrs in our lives and get our edge back… in other words, we need to get sharp and stay sharp!God’s CommandSo, men, let’s start with a command of God, that He wants us to obey, as husbands.Read: Ephesians 5:25-27

  • 1. Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands love your wife\

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

I didn’t read the whole context here. It actually extends from 5:22-5:33.

  • Verses 22-24, 3 verses are God’s command to wives to submit to their husband.
  • 25-33, 8 verses are God’s command to husbands to love their wife.

What do you think that says?

  • It tells me, the greater responsibility in the marriage relationship is shouldered by the husband.
  • It tells me, men just don’t get it, so God has to explain it in great detail. In other words, men, our edge tends to be dull, when it comes to loving our wives.
  • It tells me, that God has placed the highest honor on the marriage relationship, by comparing it to Jesus’ love for the church.
  • Finally, it tells us men, that the command of God to love our wives as Christ loved the church, is not optional.

So, men, does God have your attention?OK, what does God’s command look like? Well, it should resemble Jesus’ love for us.

First, Jesus’ love for the church was active, not a warm fuzzy feeling. He DID something, to show, to demonstrate, His love for us and we read it together a bit earlier in Romans 5:8:

  • but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Ephesians 5:25 says Jesus gave Himself up for her… same thing.

Jesus acted in a way that was beneficial to the church, to us. Look, with Jesus, it was all about serving us and not being served by us. In fact Jesus said that in Mark 10:45.

  • For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.

Second, notice that His service to us went all the way to giving His life for us. That’s sacrifice guys. Jesus sacrificed Himself for the church, for us!

Men, loving our wives as Christ loved the church

  • Means we act towards them in a way that’s beneficial to them.
  • It means we serve our wives and not expect them to serve us.
  • It means we make sacrifices; to our wants & to our agendas.

There should be nothing so precious to us, men, that we’re not willing to give it up, for our wife. And men, that’s romance. When you sacrifice for you wife

  • It tells her that she’s important to you.
  • It says that her wants and needs are more important to you than your own.
  • It demonstrates that you love her.
  • And it will change everything!

Third, Jesus’ love for the church was edifying, it builds us up, it makes us strong, it makes us holy. Men, your love for your wife, should be elevating!

  • God has given you the assignment to help your wife be a stronger, more godly woman.
  • That means, next to her, you have the greatest responsibility to see that she grows in her walk with Jesus. Not her pastor, not her BFF, not the Women’s Walk leader…
  • You… are responsible to elevate your wife’s walk with Jesus!

The bar’s rather high isn’t it guys? Think that you can’t do it? Well, you’re right, you can’t, at least not alone. We need help and God gives it to us. Our ResponseRead: John 15:1-2, 4

2. John 15:1-2,4 Abide in & be pruned by God

  • I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
  • Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

Let me say this is not a salvation text, it’s not talking about losing your salvation if you don’t obey God and bear fruit.

  • Jesus’ point here is that He will soon be leaving His disciples and they’ll face some very difficult circumstances that they won’t know how to handle.
  • They needed to understand the necessity of staying connected to Him… always, in every situation.
  • He’ll even tell them, and us, that apart from Me, you can do nothing.

That’s also true in our marriage relationship. Men, service, sacrifice, and edification are not a natural part of our makeup.

If we hope to obey God’s command to love our wives as Christ loved the church,

  • Then we need to make Jesus our highest priority.
  • And our daily walk with Him, our dearest treasure…

In other words, we need to abide, to remain, to make our home, to find our source… in Jesus.  When we do, we’ll bear fruit. And in the context of our marriage relationship; the fruits of service, sacrifice, and edifying our wife.  But… your wife and God won’t be content with an occasional act of selfless love, your wife deserves and God demands more.

  • So, God starts the process of pruning off the ego, the pride, all that gets in the way of an abundant harvest the fruits of service, sacrifice, and edification.

 ILL: I read about the wife of the gardener of one of the famous vineyards in England. She spends about three months a year scraping branches with a knife in order to remove loose flakes of bark. She does this because grapevines have numerous parasites. Pruning must take place in order for grapes to grow. Dead wood must be ruthlessly removed and live wood must be cut back drastically. (Brian Bill)

 

And men…to help you love your wife as Christ loved the church, God will begin to prune your life.

 

  • Yes, the pruning knife is sharp.
  • Yes, it will be painful.
  • And the pruning God does in our lives can take a long time… we men are rather dull, remember?

But, when we surrender to His pruning knife; fruit, abundant fruit will come… The fruit of Christlikeness; demonstrated in our service, sacrifice, and edifying our wives.Men, because we tend to be so dull, God gives us another verbal picture to help us get sharp and stay sharp in our love for our wives.

3. Ecclesiastes 10:10 Being sharp

  • Read: Ecclesiastes 10:10
  • If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success. (NASB95)

Here, God’s Word changes the picture from branches and pruning, to sharpening iron.

  • Someone using an axe or hatchet to cut down a tree needs to use more strength and time to cut through the wood, when the edge is dull.

The problem is, if he continues to use the dull axe, he increases the chance that he’ll hurt himself in the process.

  • So, the wise man sharpens his axe before he uses it.

The problem is sharpening the axe takes time and often the man doesn’t want to take the time… and that’s when accidents happen.So men, what’s the point for us?

  • When we fail to sharpen our spiritual edge, fail to remove the burrs, the sin that dulls our relationship with our wife, we’re headed for trouble in our relationship.(Use Bench grinder and axe)
  • Change is hard, putting the axe to the bench grinder is hard and sparks fly… getting rid of the ego, the pride, the self… is hard.
  • But in time the edge returns and your axe is sharp once again… you become more like Jesus in how He displays His love for the church.

Ecclesiastes 10:10 ends by saying wisdom has the advantage of giving success. What kind of success? In our context this morning, it’s a loving, maturing and godly marriage relationship. One last way God helps us to remove the burrs of sin dulling the relationship with our wives.

4. Proverbs 27:17 We can’t do it alone

Read: Proverbs 27:17

  • Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

 

Men, God gives us each other to help keep our spiritual edge sharp.

  • Look, we have no problem getting together to watch a ball game, to go out for Happy Hour after work, or to build or fix something.

But getting together with other men to talk about God, our walk with Jesus or how to improve our relationship with our wife… well, not so much!Yet, Christian men are one of the ways God helps us to love our wives as Christ loved the church. Now please don’t misunderstand. I’m not suggesting that when men get together, we get all gushy and emotional. If we’re going to be of any real help, some of what we say to each other might hurt.

  • Sin, when addressed usually does.

(Go back to the axe and the grinder. Show sparks)

This is the picture and sound of godly friendship between two men.

  • By submitting to the admonition and encouragement of a brother in Christ, we both, sharpen our spiritual edge.
  • We make each other more Christlike.
  • We help each other to love our wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.

Conclusion: I’ve included an insert in the bulletin. It’s a text from Scripture that I believe is essential to all marriages because it looks beyond the marriage vows, beyond the ceremony, and beyond the license and cuts straight to the heart, to the central issue many married couples forget.

  • Not only are you husband and wife,
  • you have been and will continue to be a brother and Sister in Christ
  • who have chosen to walk together, on the road to Christlikeness.

 

I believe that text is one of the keys to longevity and depth in your marriage relationship. I hope it will be a verse that will guide your married life.

OK, let me close with this last thought.

ILL: The authors of the book titled Love & Respect, prepared by asking 7,000 people this question: When you’re in a conflict with your spouse do you feel unloved or disrespected? 72% of the women said, “unloved.” 83% of the men said “disrespected.”

Their research revealed that during marital conflict a wife most often reacts when feeling unloved and a husband reacts when feeling disrespected. (Scot Bayles)

It’s not a coincidence that the Apostle Paul ends his teaching to husbands and wives with verse 33 in Ephesians 5.

  • …let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

 

That’s the reality of marriage. Neither is easy to do for husbands or for wives. Yet, that is God’s command. Now,

  • I’m not saying that a husband’s love for his wife, is conditioned upon his wife showing him respect.
  • And I’m not saying that a wife showing respect to her husband, is conditioned upon him showing her love.

Look… making it conditional, comes from a heart of selfishness. But… knowing it exists, can help us be better spouses, help us relate to our husband or wife in a way that we can both resonate with.

Well, that was a lot to remember… So I have something for each guy, 18 yrs or older.

It’s in the red toolbox as you leave, please stop by and take one packet to remember to

  • get sharp and stay sharp.