Wednesday, May 30, 2018

(2 Part) Recovering The Lost/Locating The Ax Head

2 Kings 6:1-7
 King James Version (KJV)
"And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed 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."

"The Prophet Elisha had gathered around him a school of prophets.  The present quarters had become over crowded.  So, Elisha took some of the students down to Jordan to build a new school by the river.  They set out with their axes, every man taking a beam.  
We know from the above scripture that at least one of them had a "borrowed" ax. It is this young man and his borrowed ax that we want to center our attention on this morning.  I would like to speak on the subject:  
Recovering The Lost.

It is the cutting edge of the ax head that especially demands our attention.  The ax head speaks of the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon our lives; the penetrating power of God, the effectiveness of a a spirit filled life, testimony and service.  It speaks of lively worship and witness.
When you lose the ax head - the cutting edge of the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit you don't have much left! 
When you lose the power and the anointing you lose the joy of salvation.   Friends, your education, your personality, your enthusiasm and zeal can never substitute for the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  When you lose the power and the anointing ....the cutting edge, you are not cutting or trimming but just scratching up the bush.

You may say "it is just a handle."  It is just a stick of wood. 
Sadly, today there are many ministers of the Gospel preaching with just a handle.  They are whittling away with just an old dry stick.  The Bible says that it's the anointing that breaketh the yoke...the anointing power of the Holy Spirit.  "It is not by might and it's not by power but by my spirit says the Lord."  (Zechariah 4:6)  

Notice with me the "Loaning" of the ax head.  We read that it was "borrowed."  It was owned and loaned by another person.  This meant that this man using it had to give an account of it.  We are not our own.  Everything we are and everything we have is loaned to us from God.  One day we must give account to God for those things.  Those gifts and tools He has placed in our hands.  What are we doing with the time, talents, treasures, things and tools that God has blessed us with?  We are responsible!  We must give account!

Next, notice the "Losing" of the ax head.
But, before we consider that.....let's think for a moment of the "Loosening" of the ax head.  
Because you see....before you can lose the ax head and before it can "fly off the handle" it has to become loose.   
I don't have to tell you or remind you that "loose living" will rob you of the Holy Spirits anointing.  You may shake yourself like a shorn Samson and swing away with just a handle and not even realize that the Holy Spirit has departed.

                 The ax head always gets loose before you lose it!

No Christian backslides all at once.  They get loose little by little.  Somebody says they committed "such and such" sin and backslide.  No - they backslid and then went out and did "such and such".  It gets in your head, in your heart and then in to your hands.

The ax head first gets loose and dull.  
Because of neglect.  

Out there in this world we come in contact with all sorts of things.  We hit hard knots of persecution, discontentment, and discouragement.  There are old nails of fear, doubt...and much more.  
Unless we keep that cutting edge honed and sharpened on the grindstone and whetstone of prayer and The Word of God, it will get dull!  
Some ax heads get loose and are lost simply 
                                                      because they "dry out".  
They shrink and slip right off.  Some just dry up because they won't worship and praise the Lord.  I don't mean just some dry Amens now and then.  I mean some good ole juicy Healleluyahs, Glory to Gods and Thank you Jesus!

When I was growing up we used to burn a lot of wood.  And, yes, we had to cut our own wood.  My Dad was real particular about our axes.  Every now and then he would have us soak the ax head in oil or water.  That ax handle would swell up and get good and tight.  Let me remind you that oil and water are types of the Holy Spirit.  
So - you want to know the remedy for dry or loose ax heads?  A good old soaking in the Holy Spirit.....a fresh refilling and a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit!

It is easy to get dull.  It is easy to get dry.  It is easy to get loose.  The Bible says, "be ye filled with the Spirit".  Be ye "being" filled.  It is not, " I was filled 15 years ago or even 1 year ago.  
But, are you filled and full right now?  Otherwise, we get loose.

And, then comes the "Losing" of the ax head.
The man in the scripture above was feeling a beam and that ax head had gotten dull, dry ad loose.  It flew off and into the water.  
Oh, the tragedy of lost power, 
 A lost anointing..... 
A lost effectiveness for God.
This is the picture of many churches and many christians.  Even in the midst of a diligent work for God we can lose the cutting edge anointing if we don't pray and stay in The Word.  If we don't worship, witness and keep the ax head in good shape.....keeping the Holy Spirits power in our lives.

Do we have the dynamite of God or are we just lighting off fire crackers?  
Why should we be content with fire crackers when God has given us dynamite?

Have we gotten a little dull?
A little dry?
A little loose?

Perhaps what we all need is a good soaking in the oil and water of the Holy Spirit!
Perhaps we need a good tightening and sharpening so we can go out and feel some more beams for Jesus.  Amen?

Tonight we will conclude with 
The Locating of The Ax Head 
or Steps to Recovery.

Scripture:  2 Kings 6: 1-7
This morning we saw how the ax head was "Loaned", how it was "Loosened" and how it was "Lost".  Tonight we want to preach on -
Locating The Lost

Power restored
The Anointing Renewed

Praise God the story does not end with LOSS.  
There is Recovery!
There is power lost but praise God there is power regained.

We have likened the ax head to the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  The effectiveness of a Spirit filled life and testimony.
The penetrating power of God, lively worship and witness.

The man in the scripture was a man in the midst of diligent service to God lost his ax head.  But, before he lost it, it became loose.  Loose living robs us of the anointing of God.  
One doesn't backslide all at once.  It begins with neglect.  
Neglect in prayer, in worship, in witness and in reading and studying The Word of God.

Locating the ax head......
Notice that first of all, when the man lost his ax head he confessed it.  He said "Alas Master it was borrowed".  
We said this morning that the ax was owned and loaned by another person which meant that made this man responsible.  He must give an account.  
What are we doing with those things God has entrusted to our hands?
But, he confessed his loss.  We will never regain our loss regardless what it is unless we are honest with God and confess our need and our loss.
We can keep on whittling away with just a handle...going through the motions..just skinning the bark..with no penetration and no power.
Thankfully, this man had sense enough to stop swinging until the ax head was recovered.

When we are willing to cry out to God and confess that we have lost it, then we are on our way to recovery.

#1 Step to recovery is Confession.

Elisha, the man of God said to this young man who lost his ax head, "where did you lose it"?  The man said, "right there".  
He showed him the place.  
He knew where he lost it .....and so do you.  
People who lose out know when and where they lost it!  
You know when you gave up praying and seeking God and His Word.....when you quit being faithful to the house of God.  You know when you stopped your time of worship.... where and when you allowed the matters of this world to lead you astray.

Confess it!

Go back there and show God the place. 
Restore that altar.  Give up that habit.  
Get back in to His Word again.  Be faithful to worship.  
Praise God again.  Get right with your earthly relationships.  
You know where you lost it.  
Confess it and tell God you want your ax head back.

Step #2 is Intercession.

He appealed to his master.  "Alas Master".   He was confident his master could help him.  Thank God we have our master whom we can call on!  We are confident He can help us!  We can confess our need to Him and He will hear us.

When we intercede He intervenes!

Step #3 is Supernatural Intervention.

The man of God cut down a stick and threw it in the water over the spot where the ax head fell and the iron did swim. 

The "recovery" wasn't affected by natural means but by      Divine Intervention.  
The iron did swim.  It did not just float.  It swam.  It swam over to where the man could pick it up.  It defied the laws of gravity. It overcame the current.  Let me tell you......God knows how to defy the laws of nature and overcome the currents to bring us deliverance!

Step #4 is Appropriation (to take possession of)

And the man of God said, "pick it up - take it up to thee - reach out and get it".

God has promised you.....It's yours - claim it - take it - thank and praise God for it!

And he put out his hand and took it.  He confessed his loss. He prayed and interceded and the Master intervened.  A miracle was wrought.  He appropriated the promise and recovered what he had lost.

  You can do the same!