SWORD SHARPENERS, NOT SWORD MAKERS
Some think that ‘sword sharpening’, is really ‘sword making’. They spiritually take a person, and beat on them thinking they are going to make them a sharp sword. Actually, it is the Holy Spirit that immerses one into Jesus making a person a new creation, and endowing them with graces and gifts. We are not ‘God’, we are here to buff a shine on others, and on ourselves, but the work of redemption is done by God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
So, the harsh, commanding, lording over, attitudes found in some today, thinking they are doing God’s work, is out of place, and harmful. None of us could qualify to be a condemner.
"Let him that is without sin, cast the first stone."
Since we are not perfect, at whom can we throw stones? There is only one perfect, and God has ordained Him to be the Judge of all.
"For we know Him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
The Bible is plain about the sinfulness of criticizing, trying to be ‘lord’ to anyone. Such attitudes and speaking is definitely to be avoided by saints. Backbiting, speaking evil of others, and talebearing are definitely forbidden.
"Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?... he that backbiteth not with his tongue."
"Likewise these filthy dreamers, defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities."
Such sins are terrible. To condemn others is to put ourselves in the same category as the devil, who is called the "accuser of the brethren." His sin was to try and be like God, and many "so-called" Christians today are trying to take over the Lord's job of being the Judge. We are to be Christ-like, i.e. Christian. To truly be like Jesus, we should be intercessors. He interceded for the disciples who were about to forsake Him, and even deny Him. He interceded for the ones crucifying Him. Are we interceding for those who persecute us, and despitefully use us? Are we sharpening or dulling the blades of another’s sword?
"...who art thou that judgest another man's servant?"
Each saint answers only to God, not to the church, not to a pastor (some assume themselves to be "the Shepherd"), not to a denomination, not to any set of rules or dogma. No! We answer only to the Lord Jesus, our only Lord. We cannot therefore judge another saint. We have no right to criticize or condemn another child of God.
"Who are thou that judges another?"
I Corinthians 4:4
"He that judges me is the Lord."
What kind of person are we to be?
"By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one for another."
If the world judged the church congregations now, how many would be called "disciples"? If the measure was truly "love one to another", how many are guilty of that? Some protest, "I can't love everyone!" Yet, Christ commanded us to do it, so it must be possible.
We are to love -as we love ourselves.
Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV)
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
We are to love - as Christ loved us.
John 15:12 (KJV)
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
We are to be willing to lay down our lives for one another.
John 15:13 (KJV)
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
We are to love - without hypocrisy.
Romans 12:9-10 (KJV)
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
We are to love - in sincerity.
2 Corinthians 8:8 (KJV)
8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
We are to love - with a pure heart fervently.
1 Peter 1:22 (KJV)
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
We are to love - not in word, but deed.
1 John 3:18 (KJV)
18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
If anyone feels called to a ministry of sharpening iron’, the above list of Scriptures on love needs to be written on their heart as their philosophy of ministry.
However, this love and kindness is beyond human capabilities. Before being able to really sharpen another, there is a divine endowment of divine love needed, and we cannot conjure up such love, it is divinely anointed.
The world needs to see it, and our fellow church members also need to see it. We are commanded to have it, and demonstrate it.
It is through miraculous reception of DIVINE LOVE. The LOVE is a FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. Just as you once could have an outburst of temper, now you can ask the Holy Spirit for an outburst of DIVINE LOVE. You once did not have to try to be angry! Events, and circumstances simply created the outburst in you. Now, with the Spirit- you should have outbursts of love, every time you see someone fail, need mercy for sins, or be attacked by the devil.
Peter was told:
"Feed My lambs."
It was not, "feed My perfect lambs." NO! It was to feed even the weak, straying, failing, wayward, and obstinate lambs.
"Feeding" means "to care for the needs and nourishment of..." Too many THINK the Bible says:
"Fleece My sheep!"
"Slaughter My sheep!"
"Scatter My sheep!"
"Abuse My sheep!"
"Condemn My sheep!"
However, Jesus commanded: "Feed My sheep!"
"...pray for them that despitefully use you."
People need love, they need compassion! Most are tired of selfishness, hate, strife, abuse, neglect, and persecution. Often we can meet some who have left the congregations for these very reasons. We need to INTERCEDE and BLESS those who mistreat us, and those who mistreat others. We don't do that by praying judgment on them. We do that by interceding for mercy to be extended to them until they have more time to repent. Perhaps they will never repent, but they can have more time to reveal that.
Christ is preparing the church for its rapture. He wants and is demanding that it be holy at that time. The last days are to have a double portion healing power and help in the preparing of the church for its rapture to heaven. The harvest of tares (Matthew 13) is to help purify the church by removing the apostates and false prophets of the church in the last days.
Christ Jesus wants a powerful church. The church must be purified to reach the power needed for that time. Some argue that the church will always have sin. Does that mean we should tolerate and engender more sin? God forbid! We have been blind to many sins. Some sins we don't want to admit. We have tended to play church - while the fires of hell rage about the church. The gift of exhortation needs to be exercised daily.
Society has organized Alcoholics Anonymous, AL Anon, and therapy groups; it has hired psychiatrists, psychologists; and it has read and recommended ‘self help’ books. These can be, often are, helpful to a world of pain and suffering in their souls. Yet, the church was supposed to also be much more involved in the healing ministry.
The answer is the loving exhortation of ‘iron sharpening iron’. We have dishonored God by neglecting to stir up this gift in the church. The gift of iron sharpening iron exhorting is the supernatural exercising of the ministry of comforting the hurting, encouraging the downcast, correcting the ones in error, guiding the wayward, defending the victims, and rebuking the victimizers. This gift allows the exhorters to get up next to the hurting, falling, troubled saints and help them.
This ‘sharpening process’ is the ministry to a congregation to correct problems of sin, to heal those with pain and scars from their own, or others’ sins against them. Unless someone goes lovingly to the spiritually sick person, with the object of establishing truth, effecting righteousness, bringing reconciliation, exhorting toward restoration, encouraging the pained persons, then the failure of the church is poison to the whole of the congregation.
We are not making swords, we are sharpening others, and buffing our own sword as we do such. Both participants are to come out more shiny, more sharpened, more like our loving Lord.