The Book of Hebrews #62 chapter 12:4-11 pt. 2
The Book of Hebrews
God’s Faithful Discipline
Hebrews 12:4-11
 
Hebrews 12:4-11
 
Last time we met we began looking at verses 4-11 of Hebrews 12.  Just a quick review and then we’ll get into the meat of this text.
 
The author is writing to Jews, many of whom are suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ.  And he is reminding them there is a difference between judgment and discipline.  Judgment is for the lost; discipline is for God’s children.  Paul reminds us in Romans 8:1 there is no condemnation, no judgment; no punishment for the child of God.
 
However, there is very often discipline in the life of a believer.  Sometimes it brings correction; sometimes it offers prevention and sometimes it provides education.  But regardless of its purpose it is always initiated by a God Who loves us and is determined to see that we are conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
 
And by the way, it is always a painful process.  In fact, the opening verses of chapter 12 encourage us to look to Jesus and consider what He was willing to suffer in order to be obedient to God.  Somewhere along the line we began to preach and teach and believe that God’s primary purpose is to protect us from pain and heartache and trouble. But that is absolutely inconsistent with what the Bible teaches us.
In fact, verse 5 suggest that as we are remembering Jesus and what He endured, we should keep in mind that we’ve not gone nearly as far as did He.  And while you’re thinking about that, just keep in mind this shouldn’t be a shock to you.  You should have been expecting this to happen.
 
Our legitimacy as saints is demonstrated by our suffering. Listen:  your problems are the validation that you are a child of God.  Have you ever said or heard someone say, “Old so-an-so lives like the devil and has everything they want while those who serve the Lord are barely making it and sick all the time!  Why is it like that?”
 
Here’s why!  It’s not random suffering; it’s not bad luck or circumstances.  It’s not Satan doing it.  We have a loving heavenly father who is doing the discipline for his own purposes.  And this Jewish audience should have known that.  That’s why he asks if they have forgotten the exhortation.
 
He’s saying, “Look, you’re Jewish people. Did somehow you forget Proverbs 3:11 and 12, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord nor faint when you are reproved by Him? For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines and He scourges every son He receives.”
 
How important is it to quote to these Jewish people from the familiar Proverbs that say you should expect it, my son, and not regard it lightly and not faint under it, but understand the Lord loves and therefore disciplines. The Lord receives and therefore scourges. It’s the nature of being your loving Father.
 
So with that in mind, let’s look at this text.
First, in regard to discipline, there are
 
1. Two Perils
 
When it comes to discipline, there are to dangers or risks that we run in how we respond to that discipline.  One of them is the danger of
 
  • not taking lightly the discipline of God
 
It expresses itself in two ways.  We might just ignore it.  We see that in verse 5 and the idea is that of taking lightly or ignoring the discipline of the Lord.  Some people treat it as if it’s a minor thing.
 
You think it’s no big deal, but obviously it’s a big deal to God or He wouldn’t be messing with it.   Don’t regard the discipline of the Lord lightly. Don’t misjudge its urgency.  It’s important, be it for correction, protection, or education.
 
Listen to the voice of God, examine your heart , stay away from sin, learn your lessons and become an example and teacher to others who suffer. But do not treat it lightly.
 
Whatever troubles come into your life, whatever trials come into your live, view them as the discipline of God. You can treat them lightly by ignoring them and not thinking spiritually about them.
 
There’s another way to treat God’s discipline lightly and that is
 
  • complaining and becoming sour and bitter
 
 Some people, like Israel in the wilderness, complain all the time. Arthur Pink said, “God always chastens twice if we’re not humbled by the first.”
 
I’ll tell you what will keep you from becoming bitter and mad about God’s discipline.  Just remind yourself how much more you deserve than what you’ve received.  Think about how much God could discipline you for if He so desired.  I’ll tell you what I think:  I’m amazed that God has not dealt with me even more severely and more often than He has!
 
Form the habit of heeding the disciplines that come.
Don’t treat them lightly.  Don’t ignore them.  Don’t get mad.  Instead, take a deep spiritual look at your life.
 
The second danger is on the other end of the spectrum and it is the danger of
 
  • becoming weary and discouraged
 
verse 3
 
The idea is that of sinking down into depression and despondency.  Some people get so discouraged and so low they’re going to the medicine cabinet all the time just to cope.  Listen to them talk and it’s “poor me” story.  They are always seeking sympathy rather than learning and growing from the discipline.
 
Psalm 34:19 says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” Don’t be defeated by them; expect them.
 
In fact, I’m going to make a statement that you are going to be tempted to disagree with and I will admit it is good preaching and tough living.
But here it is:  We should never despair about the trouble that comes to your life.  If it is the discipline of God, then we should rejoice in it.
 
So those are the two perils. You can treat it lightly or be defeated by it.
 
There are also
 
2. Two Proofs
 
In other words, discipline proves two things.  Listen for them as I read
 
verses 6 through 8
 
Did you hear them there? There are two things that are proven by discipline. One is God’s love; the other is your sonship.
 
First, whom the Lord loves He disciplines. That’s why we shouldn’t treat lightly or ignore what is happening.  It’s also why we don’t have to be discouraged and defeated.  Everything that comes our way flows from God’s love for us.
 
I’ve lived long enough to know and watched enough to understand that it’s the pains of life that drive us to Him. It’s the difficulties and struggles that clean up our life and purge our soul. They are the very things that make us a better believer and more sympathetic Christian.
 
A man one day was walking up to a stranger and he said, “Why are you looking over the wall?” And the man said, “Because I can’t see through it.”
We should learn from that.  There are lots of things in life you can’t see through.  So how do we face them?  We look up.  God loves us.  We are chosen and saved because of that love.   It was love that redeemed us.  And discipline is to be seen through the same lens. 
 
Any father who really loves his child disciplines that child because he wants the best from that child and he knows that in the heart of that child as in his own heart resides the worst. A loving father disciplines for correction, for protection, for education because he loves the child.   That’s what we’re being told here.   God’s discipline is a proof of God’s love.
 
And at the same time, it is proof that we belong to Him. 
 
Verses 6-8
 
All of our Father’s children are going to experience discipline. You have all these people running around preaching this false notion that God wants you to be happy all the time and free of problems and trial.  But these verses teach just the opposite.
 
God disciplines every child He has.  If you don’t have any, then you’re hot His.   If you do have it, then it just proves you are His.  It’s just that simple.
 
Two perils; two proofs. Then notice the
 
3. Two Products
 
 There are two things that God seeks to produce from His discipline and they are very obvious.
 
Verse 9
 
If we respect our earthly fathers, then shouldn’t we respect our spiritual Father?  We give honor to our earthly father for the discipline that he gives to us out of love and because we’re sons.
 
In like manner, we should do the same with our heavenly Father, especially in light of what His discipline produces.  First of all, it produces
 
  • life
 
Verse 9b
 
By the way, this is in contrast to Deuteronomy 21:18 to 21 where you have a child that’s disobedient and rebellious and a dishonor to the parents and the law provided for the child to be killed.  The Mosaic law stipulated capital punishment for a rebellious, disobedient child.
 
Parents had a legitimate, God-given reason to have their child executed if that child was not an obedient, responsive, respectful child. In contrast to that, our spiritual Father wants to subject us to discipline to provide life, not death.  And it’s not just physical life, but eternal life.  And it’s not just eternal life, it is abundant life. It’s that we’ll really live and we live forever!.
 
Think about it like this:  the believer who is most obedient is living the Christian life at its max.  The more rebellious you are, the more undisciplined you are, the more disobedient you are, the less you enjoy life.
 
Second thing is not only life, but according to verse 10, it produces
 
  • holiness
 
verse 10
 
Because God disciplines us, we get the benefit of a full, rich, enjoyable life and holiness. And this is talking about right now.  Obviously we get eternal life and eternal holiness but this is talking about here and now.
 
We receive the promise of eternal holiness when we get saved.  Discipline doesn’t contribute to that. Discipline contributes to how much you enjoy this life and all its riches in Christ and how you progress down the path of godliness and holiness and the two are inseparable.  Really living is connected to living a life of virtue and the Lord keeps up the discipline throughout our lives to accomplish these ends.
 
One final word. To some people, discipline is a little hard to digest because we don’t usually connect becoming a Christian with coming under God’s discipline.
 
So verse 11 deals with that.
 
Verse 11
 
When you’re going through the agony and the pain, whether it’s an illness or a job loss or an economic stress, or trouble with your children, or trouble with your spouse, or who knows what it is, a myriad of things, it doesn’t seem joyful at the time.  In fact, it seems downright sorrowful.
But to those who have been trained by it, if you’ll see it for what it is, training, correction, protection, education, and you learn your lessons, it will yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness. In other words, your life will be filled with the products that righteousness produces.
 
Our human nature reacts negatively.  Natural reason reacts negatively. In fact, the flesh recoils away from any problem or distress.  We find no joy in the cancer diagnosis. We find no joy in the unresolved conflicts that come into our relationships. We go through a terrible time grieving over them and feeling the pain and the sorrow.
 
But “afterward” is the key word.  For the moment it’s not joyful but afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Righteousness and peace go together.  When you’re righteous, you’re at peace.
 
Now, keep in mind, the author is talking about living a life of faith and discipline is the thing that completes the picture.  The life of faith is a life of challenges and trials and suffering.  Obviously it is according to chapter 11.  And that is true for anyone who’s ever lived by faith. 
 
But we triumph over those trials by focusing on Jesus who also triumphed in the midst of the most horrendous suffering anyone would ever or could ever even conceive of.   It is the discipline of God that is building us up to righteousness so that we can live lives that are marked by peace.
 
Let’s pray.
 

 

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