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God Expresses Love Through Discipline

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God Expresses Love Through Discipline

Hebrews 12:5-11

I. Convince

Context of chap 11 / start in vs 1 / vs 5 tells us something we forgot - that will help run the race

exhortation – “alongside to help”  another runner that will pull us along, cheer us, give us courage

“as sons” a fatherly encouragement (from someone who cares about us, and has traveled the road ahead of us, and has no reason to hinder us but genuinely wants our best)

We all want that right?  We all feel a need of a strong fatherly hand of love helping us in our struggles –right?  What is the encouragement He offers?  What is this support we need, but have forgotten was available to us?  Please – let me rediscover it!

“My son…  [end of vs 5]” – chastening and rebuke?!  That’s the forgotten encouragement that’s going to help see me through this marathon of the Christian life?  Now I see why the Hebrew Christian’s forgot it – how are chastening and rebuke a help?

The only way I can honestly say these are my help, my encouragement is if I say what God says about sin. reread vs1  Sin is a cruel slavemaster, it is the cancer of my soul, it is foul toxic fumes that choke out my spiritual breath.  Sin in my life destroys me, and every good thing God has freely given to me is obscured and out of reach when sin runs my life. 

“Lord I can’t run my race, I don’t have life, or joy, or peace because sin has rotted my bones, atrophied my muscles, and left me gasping for air.”  “I thought my selfish pleasures and foolish pride were serving me, but I’m serving them.  They ruin my relationships, poison my speech, lead me to foolish and destructive actions and reactions.  They have chained me and I can’t escape – I feel as if I can’t take another step”  “I need help – give me your chastening and rebuke.  Please, this time I won’t despise it – I won’t plug my ears – I need to know the truth about my sin so I can be free”

chastening – child rearing

rebuke – a warranted accusation

vs 6 This is love, this is being accepted by God.  Do you see it?  The Hebrews forgot it entirely – we are certainly capable of forgetting this.  Especially if preachers and teachers don’t remind us.  It’s not merely something He has to do because He loves us, it is His love in action – it’s motivated by love and it is love.  It shows ownership, it’s “I have not written you off” its “I care about what you are doing – you are Mine”

Is there any encouragement in that for you this morning?

vs7-8 Be concerned if there is nothing in your life holding you back from sin, no trials, no rebuking friends or family, no guilty conscience – if you are freely enjoying the pleasures of what God calls sin – be afraid!

“endure” – really cool word in Scripture,  used of the man who endures testing and is stamped by God as “Approved”, used in I Cor 11:19 to describe those who get on God’s side of a conflict in the church and are displayed as “Approved”  ---reread vs 2 (Can we endure?)

vs9-10 We can understand how this worked with our parents (or our children), though human father’s motives are not always pure.

“be in subjection”  - get under His control, want His complete control over your life – and live (really live)

“but He for our profit” – his chastening and rebuke and scourging are precise, calculated, custom designed for our good – what good?

“that we may be partakers of His holiness” parallel to Rom 8:28-29 (part of the all things He’s working together for our good – namely being conformed to the image of Christ or partaking of His holiness)

vs11 – no mystery here – chastening stings, it’s really hard to surrender sometimes

“yields” - here’s more info about that benefit He gives to us through discipline – peaceable fruit of righteousness – to who?

“those who have been trained by it” – make yourself obey

II. Rebuke

Have I despised His chastening?  Have I been discouraged by His rebuke?  Have I failed to endure the chastening?  When He applies loving correction to my life – do I throw a fit, do I go into a meltdown, do I hide, or get angry, or make excuses, or put my hands over my ears and close my eyes?

Yes – every time I spoke a harsh or foolish word, every time I wasted one minute because of discouragement, every time I complained in my heart about my circumstances, every time

He was giving me custom designed conversations and circumstances to refine my heart and expose the unChristlike parts.  I never had to sin in response, but each time I did I despised His chastening.  I said “Don’t tell me what to do.”  “You’re wrong and I’m right!” I didn’t get under His control, I didn’t make myself obey.  I said, “NO!” with a hardened will, hatred in my eyes, and fists clenched in total defiance. “No God, I refuse to obey!” “You can’t make me overcome evil with good, You can’t make me love that person”

What does God say in response, “I love you” “I’ll be gentle as I correct you” “I’ll wait for you to humble yourself, and come back to me” “As I let you reap the fruit of your choices, it is in love, and I will even be mercifully restrained in that”

Any time I ever repent of sin and respond correctly to circumstances it is because of His grace, and I get His grace by humbling myself under His mighty hand.  What is humility, it’s saying, “You are right”  “You are the Perfect One, the Holy Father”  “I want to be in line under Your authority” “In every way I know how – I give you control” “I WILL do it Your way” “I will make myself obey”

III. Exhort

We receive discipline (child rearing) instead of punishment (eternal torment) because Jesus bore our punishment.  Gospel

Be renewed in mind: Think of chastening like this- track full of 1st graders –huge reward for any (and only) those who run well – some take off, some eat pieces of track and dirt, some try to drag the bleachers with them –clock is running, some throwing rocks at each other, others just sit down and pout – what does love do?  Chastening is love, discipline is love

Give up your pride, give up the illusion that you are better than others, give up the lie that you don’t need any training or correction on how to run your race.  Memorize James 1:2-4 or Romans 5:1-4.  Start reacting to every trial with humble submission to God.  Thank you Father for loving me through this trial.  Please help me endure this trial well so I can run more like Jesus, the author and finisher.  I surrender to your plan for this moment, please help me obey.  I will make myself obey.

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