FEAR GOD  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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I was never spanked as a child… can you tell? Instead I was threatened, I’d have my xbox turned off in the middle of a game. When I was really little I’d slam my head on the floor until I got my way. It was bad… I have a baby coming in 2 weeks and discipline has been a BIG conversation with me and my wife. So naturally we took to google to see what tactics the WORLD suggests.
Creative NEW WAYS to discipline a child
“Time In”
“Throw Fits”
“Role Reversal”
“No Fight Zones”
“Code Words”
Transition: Discipline WE KNOW is a good thing, necessary thing and effective thing. Though we are all out from the discipline of our parents - we are still often under the discipline of the Lord. BUT if we don’t recognize it and don’t understand it - we miss the point entirely.
NEED: Are there difficulties in your life RIGHT NOW? Are those difficulties a result of God’s providence? Why did he do those things? Is it merely for you to TRUST Him? or might it be to show you your sin, correct you and grow you in sanctification?
We find answers to our questions and PROFOUND life altering truth about God’s discipline towards His children in Hebrews chapter 12 specifically verse 4-17
CONTEXT: Now we find ourselves near the end of a THEOLOGICALLY DEEP book written to the Hebrews (jewish Christians) who were likely facing persecution for identification with Christ and were tempted to abandon alliance to Him. and lest they become even more downcast when it feels like God deals firmly with them, the author in our passage writes to bring clarification and exhortation in rgeards to God’s discipline and ...
for our purposes today, we will look at 2 aspects of discipline the author lays out NATURE & RESULT.

1. The Nature of Discipline (v.4-8)

o Deserved (v.4)

Hebrews 12:4 “4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;
Every good father knows that the first thing children often say when getting disciplined is “THATS NOT FAIR”
Verse 4 makes clear - the Hebrews (though suffering) were not suffering in the same way Christ had suffered. His suffering was for the sake of the gospel - but there suffering was not necessarily for the gospel sake but for their own sake.
We need to remember that when we find ourselves under the discipline of the Lord, it is right - we deserve it & need it.
What might be the wrong in your life right now that has resulted in your discipline? Is there sin festering in you that might be bringing discipline?

o Laughed At (v.5a)

Hebrews 12:5 “5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord...”
“Isn’t this great”
“Just my luck”
App: When discipline comes IT CANNOT BE AVOIDED by making less of it. In fact, your missing out on the purposes of God when you don’t take it seriously!
BUT be careful to say simply - God is ONLY trying to teach me a lesson - yes teaching is an element of God’s discipline BUT we must remember that it is in fact PUNISHMENT.
God punishes His children - not in the same way He punishes unbelievers for their sin in Hell - the eternal punishment for the sin of God’s people has been dealt with on the cross.
But the temporal, earthly consequences for sin ARE REAL & God ordained. They are meant to show you the seriousness of sin and WARN you from ever doing it again.

o Fainted Over (v.5b)

Hebrews 12:5 “… Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;”
ALT translation = “give up”
God’s discipline is not meant to send you to your room, cry and mope around. Discipline is meant to bring about correct living.

o Shows God’s Love towards us (v.6a)

Heb 12:6 “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines..
Theologically this is a simple truth - Romans 8:28 “28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
So when God disciplines His children it is for their good and therefore an expression of His love
Just think about how changing your prespective WOULD CHANGE EVERYTHING! If you were to no longer look at your trials for the trouble they cause BUT as an act of LOVE from God.
This may be why Paul says Ephesians 3:17 “17 ...being rooted and grounded in love,”
We need a deep conviction that God ALWAYS AND ONLY DEALS with us out of love. No matter how we feel we must remember God is good towards us.

o Shows God’s Relationship with us (v.6b-8)

Heb 12:6-8 “And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”
illus: spanking another’s kid
Part of our salvation is our adoption - where we enter a COVENANT relationship with God as our father and us as His sons.
Though we fail to uphold our end of obedience as sons, God NEVER fails to hold up His end as father.
So as sons we can expect that God will (BY OBLIGATION) discipline us if we are His children. It’s part of what He promised to do when He adopted us AND GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES.
if you don’t receive discipline than you have reason to question your standing before God.
the act of discipline is intimate IT IS A PRIVELEDGE RESERVED FOR GOD’s children - the closeness you feel to your Heavenly Father after discipline is sweet. We should desire It.

The Result of Discipline (v.9-11)

o Life (v.9)

Heb 12:9 “Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?”
The point: if we respceted and responded to the disicpline from our earthly fathers which was imperfect - how much more should we soak up and value the discipline from our heavenly father WHO IS PERFECT.
and what does it mean - that if we respond to the disicpline of the Lord we will live. Does that mean if we continue in rebellion we die? YES
Last time we looked at Acts 5 - and I left the question “Does God KILL people for their disobedience?” unanswered - that was because the text deals with it directly here.
In the old covenant, what was the punishment for a reblious son? DEATH BY STONING
Why? BC God takes serioulsy the obedience of a child to a father
So God still does take the obedience of His children serioulsy.
This is why Paul tells us that some of those IN the corinthian church “fell asleep” or died because they took communion in an unworthy manner
1 John 5 refers to a sin LEADING TO DEATH
J MAC “A Christian who continually rejects God’s discipline, who refuses to profit from divine correction, can lose his life because of his stubbornness.”
My Pastor says “God SPANKS you or TAKES you”
So LET THIS TRUTH drive you to OBEDIENCE RIGHT AWAY, ALL THE WAY -with a happy heart!

o Holiness (v.10-11)

Heb 12:10-11 “For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
What we find here is that God’s disicpline accomplishes our sanctification
I think we just sang today “SHAPE AND FASHION US IN YOUR LIKENESS” - do you realize what youre prayin for?
One of the ways in which God conforms us to the image of His Son - is through unpleasant BUT perfect discipline
We see here it is not joyful in the moment (what good disicpline is joyful) - but it results in a longer lasting, life time of joy.

o Endurance (v.12-13)

Heb 12:12-13 “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”
Now this is a critical transitional moment in the text because the author now shows us the result of discipline is an exhortive manner. He lays out 3 commands for us as a result of God’s discipline and specifically in v 12 seems to now be calling back to an illustration he employed in verses 1-3, a illustration you are familiar with - that of a runner
Hebrews 12:1 “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” fixing our eyes on Jesus
So here in verse 12 we bounce back to this illustrative language - looking at the body that is growing weak.
Remember the original audience here - Hebrews who are under trial and persectution - a struggling people who are given the oppurtunity to renounce Christ every single day - the author here EXHORTS them and us today to strengthen the weak, make stright teh path and heal the joint out of socket.
Notice these commands on not primarly slef focused but others oriented.
We are meant to Hebrews 10:25 “encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
So we see it is true that one of the BEST ways for you to get through TRIALS is to consider others as more important than yourselves.
But how PRCTICALLY are we to help and encourage those around us STRUGGLING in the race?
Hebrews 12:2 “2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Our life should be one of LOOKING at & POINTING TO JESUS.
Where do you look when you question God’s love?
Where do you look for an example of endurance?
Where do you find how serious God takes sin?
Where do you find strength to overcome sin?
Where can we go when we are defeated by sin?
Where can we find purpose in the trials of life?
Where can we go to become CHILDREN OF GOD?
It is ONLY at the CROSS OF CHRIST - so our life should be one of LOOKING & POINTING TO JESUS.
That is the only way we can obey the command of endurance and NEXT

o Diligence (v.14)

Heb 12:14 “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”
We are to be diligently pursuing PEACE with all men (saved or unsaved) because we are at peace with God through Christ.
We are to be diligently pursuing sanctification NOT positionally but practically growing in holiness. We often look at holy men throughout church history as examples we want to emulate BUT that will not come simply by waiting. AGE does not equal holiness - we must pursue it - AND WHEN WE DONT TRUST THAT GOD WILL BRING ABOUT DISCIPLINE TO HELP.
Like slapping a childs hand that reaches for the stove - so God will slap the hand that reaches for sin.
We must be diligent

o Alertness (v.15)

Heb 12:15-17 “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.”
Comes short = unsaved coming too late - we should be on the ALERT, the LOOKOUT for those who have not come to TRUE salvation throigh repentnace and faith in Christ.
We must do all within our power to bring the unregenrate, decieved & ignorant to Christ - so that they can face God’s loving discipline now and not His righteous wrath LATER.
We also must be on the alert against those BITTER within the congregation who cause trouble.
Those who are poisenous and influential. The unsaved, arrogant, defiant one in the mix of God’s people must be dealt with seriously - listen to How God says He will treat this man
Deuteronomy 29:18–20 “18 so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood. 19 “It shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will boast, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land with the dry.’ 20 “The Lord shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven.”
Yet too often in 2023 this man is a pastor...
Let us check our own hearts - and beg the Lord to remove any root of bitterness far from us, through the structest and harshets discipline if thats what it takes
and lastly let us stay alert towards pride and selfishness
We are given an illustration of that in Esau who was an immoral and Godless man who Hebrews 10:26 “26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,”
Remember that repentnace is not a 1 time deal but a daly duty of the christian life.
Where there is no repentance, there is no faith and therfore NO forgiveness
So as we land, might we remember that though we are long out of our parents hosuehold we are still being disciplined by our PERFECT FATHER
and look out for others in response to the discipline.
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