The Blessing of God's Discipline Hebrews 12: 3-11 (NKJV)

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1 Message for THE LORD'S DAY EVENING, November 15, 2015 Christian Hope Church of Christ, Plymouth, North Carolina by Reggie A. Braziel, Minister TOPIC: God's Discipline, Christian Living The Blessing of God's Discipline Hebrews 12: 3-11 (NKJV) Please turn with me in your Bibles to Hebrews chapter twelve, and let's read verses Hebrews 12:3-11 (NKJV) 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. P R A Y E R

2 I N T R O D U C T I O N The Bible has a great deal to say about the importance of disciplining children. Proverbs 19:18 (NKJV) Chasten your son while there is hope, And do not set your heart on his destruction. Proverbs 22:15 (NKJV) Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him. Proverbs 29:15 (NKJV) The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. I don't know how it was in your home, but when I was growing up I certainly got my share of DISCIPLINE. Mom always used a fly swatter, while dad always used a 38...(chuckle- not a pistol ) his 38 belt. As a young, foolish child I could not understand the connection between my father's love and my father's discipline. In my young, foolish mind I thought If my father really loves me, he wouldn't spank me. But in fact, his discipline was proof of just how much he did love me. My father didn't want me to grow up to be a stubborn, rebellious, misguided teenager and adult. And so he disciplined me, and sometimes that discipline was very painful, but it was always done out of love. In a spiritual sense we are all the children of GOD. You may be seventy or eighty or ninety years old, but in your relationship with GOD, you and I will always be one of His children. And as we are going to see in tonight's message, our heavenly Father's discipline is a necessary part of our spiritual growth and development. And for that reason I have entitled tonight's message: The Blessing of God's Loving Discipline.

3 First of all, let's consider... I. The REMINDER of God's Discipline (v. 5) 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 1. We must remember the original recipients of this Hebrew letter were the Hebrew Christians who had converted from Judaism to Christianity. 2. After they became Christians they immediately suffered hardships and persecution at the hands of of their fellow Jews, as well as the Romans. They had their land taken away from them and many of them lost their livelihood. And as a result, a lot of them were feeling pressured to abandon Christianity and to go back to Judaism. 3. This is why the Hebrew writer reminds them of an Old Testament exhortation they had forgotten from Proverbs 3:11, 12 which reads: Proverbs 3:11,12 (NKJV) My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD ORD,, nor detest His correction; for whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights. 4. Evidently these Hebrew Christians interpreted the hardships and persecution they were experiencing to mean that GOD didn't love them, when in reality it was evidence He did love them.

4 5. Perhaps you and I need this reminder as much as the Hebrew Christians needed it. How often do we interpret trials and troubles and hardships to mean that God doesn't love us or that God is punishing us, when in reality it is evidence of His loving discipline. 6. It is very important to note that the word discipline or chastening is used throughout our text, and not the word punishment. 7. There is a HUGE DIFFERENCE between God's discipline and God's punishment. - God's discipline is for His children.. While God's punishment is for His enemies. - In discipline, GOD is a loving FATHER.. While in punishment, GOD is a wrathful JUDGE. - In discipline, God's aim is to train us and build us up, while in punishment God's aim is to pour out wrath, and vengeance and retribution. - God's discipline is for a season, while God's punishment is eternal. 8. If you and I could ever grasp this truth it would completely transform how we view the trials, and troubles, and hardships that we experience in life.

5 Secondly, let's consider... II. The REASON For God's Discipline (v.6) 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. 1. Why do trials, and troubles, and testing, and sickness, and pain, and sorrow, and even loss come into the lives of every believer? Are they signs of God's anger or His displeasure with us? 2. In this sixth verse we see two reasons for God's discipline: (A) He disciplines us to prove His LOVE for us. v. 6a For whom the LORD loves He chastens. Think of your human father for just a moment. If your father let you do everything you pleased and never disciplined you for anything, would that prove he loved you or that he hated you? Proverbs 13:24 (NKJV) He who spares the rod HATES his son. When God disciplines you and me it is not from His anger or from His hardness towards us, but rather it is because He loves us. Satan would have us to believe that if God truly loved us He wouldn't allow us to experience the pain and suffering of hardships and trials. He would have us to believe our hardships and trials are proof that God is a cruel, unloving GOD.

6 But listen again to the word of God. Verse 6a says, For whom the LORD LOVES (not hates)... for whom the LORD LOVES He chastens. LOVES Behind every hardship, every trial, and every trouble you and I experience in life is the tender correction of a Father who loves us so much He allowed His only begotten Son to die for us. ILLUSTRATION: The story is told about an old Quaker farmer who had a weather-vane on the roof of his barn with a sign on it which read, GOD IS LOVE. Well one day a preacher happen to be driving down the road when he spotted the sign on the weather-vane. He stopped at the farmer's house and the preacher said, I saw the sign on your weather-vane and I want you to know I don't like it; it misrepresents God. God's love doesn't change like the wind. The old farmer said, Preacher, I am afraid you have misinterpreted the meaning. That sign on the weather-vane is to remind me that no matter which way the wind is blowing, no matter what storms may come my way, still GOD IS LOVE. When God permits painful trials and hardships to come into our lives we need to remind ourselves it isn't because God is angry with us or because He hates us, but because He loves us! Another reason God disciplines us is...

7 (B) He disciplines us to prove we are His SONS. (v.6b) v.6b And scourges every son whom He receives. ILLUSTRATION: We have all seen that unruly child in the grocery store or restaurant and thought to ourselves, If I could just have five minutes with that little brat in the woodshed I would straighten him out. But instead we stand back and watch that unruly child act up and talk back to his mom or dad, because he or she is not our child. Likewise, our heavenly Father doesn't discipline those who are NOT His sons and daughters. He only disciplines those who are truly His. One day He will punish those who are not His children, but He does not discipline them. This truth should change the whole way we look at hardships and trials. If there is sin in your life, or you are grieving the Holy Spirit by your refusal to obey God's commands, you can be sure GOD is going to discipline you, because you are one of His children. You will sense the heavy hand of God upon your life. He may not answer your prayers for a period of time, or He may allow you to go through a series of setbacks and hardships in order to correct what needs correcting in your life. Now let me make it clear that the presence of trials and hardships isn't always because of sin. Sometimes our Heavenly Father disciplines us to strengthen our faith. Sometimes He disciplines us to get us moving forward in our spiritual life. Sometimes He disciplines us to move us in a new direction. Sometimes to change an attitude.

8 Thirdly, let's consider... That is why we should rejoice and take comfort when trials and hardships come into our lives, because it proves we are truly a son or daughter of God. On the other hand, if we profess to be a Christian and we are living in sin and there is an absence of God's discipline, that is NOT A GOOD THING! In fact, it should be cause for great alarm! It should cause us to do some deep soulsearching! God doesn't discipline those who are NOT His children; He only disciplines those who are His. III. The REACTION To God's Discipline 1. In our text we see three ways we can react to God's discipline. (A) We can DESPISE God's discipline bitterly. (v.5a) v.5a My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord. Have you ever noticed how an unruly child reacts to his or her parent's discipline? They sass back. they smart off. They accuse the parent of being mean and unloving. They stomp the floor. They may even kick or hit the parent who is disciplining them. That child DESPISES their parent's discipline bitterly.

9 That is one way some people react to God's discipline. When God disciplines them by allowing trials and hardships to come into their life they resent it...they despise it...they become bitter and angry...their heart grows hard towards God...and they accuse God of being unloving and uncaring. And when a Christian reacts to God's discipline in this manner their spirit turns sour instead of sweet. (B) A second way we can react is We can RESIGN ourselves to God's discipline grudgingly. v. 5 My son, do not DESPISE the chastening of the LORD, (now listen carefully) nor be DISCOURAGED when you are rebuked by Him. Sadly, this is how many of us react when God disciplines us with trials and hardships. We get deeply discouraged and even depressed. Its like we submit to God's discipline because we have to not because we want to. Ok God, I give up, I quit, have it Your way. If you want me to be miserable and unhappy, so be it. Typically when we react to God's discipline in this way it is because we are more concerned with God, why is this happening to me instead of God, what are You trying to teach me?

10 (C) The third way, and correct way to react is We can ENDURE God's discipline faithfully. v.7 If you ENDURE chastening. God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? If we could see that God's discipline is His way of preparing us for His blessings we could joyfully embrace His discipline. When God allows us to go through trials and hardships, we can take great comfort in knowing God is allowing this for my good. My circumstances may not be pleasant, and this time of trial is very painful, but I have faith that God is going to bring good out of it. GOD'S LOVING DISCIPLINE WILL EITHER MAKE YOU BITTER OR IT WILL MAKE YOU BETTER.. THE CHOICE IS YOURS'! Finally, let's consider...

11 IV. The REWARDS of God's Discipline (vs. 10,11) 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 1. When I think back to those times when my dad spanked me as a boy, I don't ever recall it being a pleasant or joyful experience. Never once did I say, Wow dad, I love this, spank me harder, don't stop! No, it was very, very unpleasant while I was going through it. But I know this. After I endured my father's discipline I was a changed young man afterwards. 2. The same is true when it comes to enduring our heavenly Father's discipline. It isn't pleasant when we go through trials and hardships and feel the sting of God's discipline. But when we faithfully endure His discipline we experience the joy and peace that comes from being holier and more righteous than before. 3. Because of our sinful nature, it is doubtful that any of us would ever become what God wants us to be without enduring the affliction of hardships. -Hardships drive us to our knees in prayer. -Hardships direct us towards God's word for comfort and peace. -Hardships purge us of sinful attitudes and sinful behavior that hinders our relationship with God. -Hardships wean us away from worldly things and causes us to focus more attention on spiritual things. And the end result is more holiness and righteousness in our lives!

12 Conclusion One of the great passages in HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY tells of the flogging of Huw (Hugh) Morgan by his schoolmaster, Elijah-Jonas-Sessions. Young Huw Morgan had been fighting at school and was made to bend over in such a way that his back was stretched to receive the rod. The rod swished twice as the bullying schoolmaster limbered up for his task, and the sound of the rod swishing through the air struck fear in young Morgan as he anticipated the coming pain. Soon Morgan felt the sting of the rod across his back, and as he saw the shadow of his schoolmaster with the rod raised above his head, he felt the sharp, stinging blows again and again and again. Without mercy the schoolmaster laid heavy blows across young Morgan's back. Finally the schoolmaster delivered such a harsh blow it broke the rod in two. The breathless schoolmaster said to young Morgan, Fight again... That was just a taste!... Back to your place! No more nonsense... I will teach you manners. Young Huw Morgan staggered to his feet and made his way to his desk with tears streaming down his cheeks. The rest of his classmates struggled to hold back tears over the terrible beating they had just witnessed. God is not like that brutal schoolmaster. Out of His mercy and love, God carefully weighs each and every blow of discipline. He doesn't render a single blow more or a single blow less than necessary to accomplish His will in our lives. My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves he chastens, and scourges every son who He receives.

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