God's Loving Discipline, Part II

Hebrews 12 

I can honestly say to you, that there was never a moment in my life did I doubt my dad loved me. Never once. That is the true. Thinking about this particular message this week, I thought of one of the last times I had come under his chastening hand. From time to time, and I didn’t get it all the time and I certainly didn’t get it as much as I needed it, but when it was delivered my dad in certain occasions give options. “You can choose to be grounded for a week, or you can go to your room.” I would always with great pleading, “Can we please skip both?” Because I was a kid who had ants in his pants and I couldn’t stand the thought of being grounded for a week and I also from time to time though Hell had opened up in my bedroom floor and I was falling into it as my dad would deliver his disciplining hand. The truth is though, the comfort of knowing my dad loved me seriously stayed with me, not only all my life, I thank God for his love for me even know as he is with Jesus. According to the National Center for Fathering, nearly 25 million children in America live in a home without a father. Millions more, this group states, have a physical dad present but are emotionally absent. The NCFF, states this: that nearly every societal ill which children face, stem from homes where dads are gone. There is no picture for a masculine structure for care, love, and discipline. 

We, the church and God’s eternal family can thank God, our heavenly father, that that is not true for us. He consistently loves and cares and disciplines us. He will never desert you ever. He will bring you through to the end. This is true because you and I have a covenant relationship with God. That covenant relationship, that you are comforted by this, rests upon what he promised. It rests upon the things that he does. From time to time when perhaps you find yourself wanting to run wayward we know this to be true, God’s love (as we saw last week) will pursue us no matter where we go, but that love also disciplines us. By faith we can hear his wise and gentle voice urging us along the way. Follow Jesus more closely. Trust Jesus more fully. Love Jesus more deeply. That is the still small voice he gives. Our heavenly father will always perfectly love us and care for us, and discipline us. Yet for some it comes as a shock to them to hear that the heavenly father disciplines us. 

Look at verse 8. You see God disciplines you as a son or a daughter because you belong to him. You have, we have, a heavenly Father. In his case, he refuses to spoil us, he refuses to ignore us, and he won’t allow us to get away with rebellion forever, though we may fall into it for a season. Our heavenly Father’s love is so great that he won’t allow us to live in sin and stupidity perpetually. Our heavenly Father has ways of alerting us, to cause us to pause in life. To cause us to think again perhaps of the direction we are in. To turn in and run and go in the opposite direction, and from time to time just flat getting on your knees and repenting. Because he had struck us in such a way. But I want you to understand this as we move through the text today, our heavenly Father never deals with us in wrath. Though his discipline made by needs needs to be strong, as we will see in some of the cases. God our heavenly Father has his way of gaining our attention and the text tells us it is always for our good. From the moment you entered into a relationship with Christ and to the end God is at work conforming us to the image of Christ. Part of that is his loving discipline because we are in his family. In our heavenly Father’s loving discipline, it is always the perfect answer to meet the specific circumstance. As we begin this morning from the text, I want you to begin with this in your own mind as we move through this. Do you recognize God’s love in your life? Do you recognize his hand of discipline in your life? We all experience it. Now, for the most we experience it and we certainly experience it in a day to day way. Now there are certain things that he prompts us to about our sin and we kind of just make right. But the text here has, if you remember looking at this last week, the instruction here is for this church to endure, to keep pursuing and following after Jesus. It really is written as an assurance so that we would be comforted by God’s hand of discipline.

Now I can honestly tell you from the times my dad disciplined, there wasn’t much comfort going on at the time. I just wanted to escape it. That is literally what he says in verse 11. The pastor writer understand that, and this is true for us. For the moment all discipline seems painful, it is because it is! But ultimately God has a goal that he seeks to attain. It is beyond just the intended goal of living forever with him, even though that is there. God also has intentional goals for our discipline in our life now. Do you recognize God’s love and care? Are you recognizing his hand when he disciplines you? 

Now we are going to see this in two different ways. First of all, I want you to see this in three reasons for his disciplines. There are three reasons the bible gives us for God’s discipline which he does out of love. Then there are three responses that the pastor writer speaks of that we are going to look at as well. Ultimately we want to be one who is being trained by God’s loving discipline. The truth was, in my life, when I received my dad’s discipline it always made me closer to him, every time. It was only maybe when I resisted or persisted and it passed that, that maybe there were other strategies that my dad would bring along the way. But ultimately, I can honestly tell you this, I never doubted his love in all of that. In all of that what was revealed to me in my life was that he cared for me. He genuinely cared for me. Some of you may find this a little difficult to understand as I mentioned last week, because perhaps your home structure was difficult. In fact, your dad was awful. But I want you to be assured in this, from the text, in matter of fact if you just kind of bumped into this perhaps for the first time, “What does that mean that God’s love disciplines?” God doesn’t want to raise spoiled children, he wants to raise healthy, growing, maturing group of believers. We are going to first of all dive into this as mentioned there, obviously there is a struggle against. Look at verse 5. Now the pastor writes that for us, the pastor writer of Hebrews because obviously some were struggling. We will see in just a few moments, those individuals that perhaps had taken lightly the disciplining hand of God. 

But what are the reasons actually for God’s loving discipline? I will try to give you some biblical examples that all of you are aware of that will tie some of these things in because God is our heavenly father and he is consistently disciplining us and he does so out of his love. The first of that we usually think about is correction. Its correction. God provides for us a discipline that is correction. It is a corrective type of judgment. While our earthly father’s exercise those things from time to time imperfectly, God always exercises them perfectly. He does so out of his love. He does so to provide correctly. God righteously corrects us because God loves us. He is going to correct us because he is going to keep us. He is going to teach us and he will never leave you to yourself in that regard. His children again, from verse 8, are always receiving his correction. Just sitting there, undoubtedly the Spirit has prompted your mind to certain circumstances in your life and simply because you belong to him, and no one might even know about this circumstance, you know this is true because God is your heavenly father. You belong to him. Because you are legitimate and not illegitimate you know he is bringing correction to your life. Here is why this is true. God never makes a mistake. He is never ill informed. He never disciplines you ill tempered. None of his discipline is displaced. His discipline is for us to experience his holiness in this life. Because we will enjoy his holiness in the next life. Leviticus 19:2, Matthew 5:48, 1 Peter 1:15-16. Our heavenly Father’s correction will always fit the need. He is disciplining us for our good. 

Now of course, we know Jesus didn’t need correction yet he suffered patiently. Jesus’ suffering was undeserved whereas our suffering, from time to time, is for correction it is for our sin. For some, and certainly all of us have experienced this to some degree, that correction could be difficult. Even a type of stiff correction. It will vary from person to person, depending on how our heavenly father wants to meet out his discipline. Let me give you a couple examples to this. I want you to think about Lot. I want you to think about Lot from Genesis 13. Here is what I want you to know about Lot. We know that Lot was saved because, if you look at Peter’s epistles when he addresses his circumstance he calls him “just Lot” meaning he was just. We are in that sense just because by faith we have been justified by our faith, we have peace with God. We have been made holy by God, and we are going to see this in Hebrews. But Lot starts out well. Abraham is following out having been converted from idolatry, and he starts out well. Abraham is Lot’s uncle. As they are prospering and growing in life, you get to a circumstance in Genesis 13 where Lot, out of his greed, choose the well watered fields of mammary. It is type of expression because of how we can understand this, it is basically relational to money. Their flocks had grown so large that was their material possession, he began to get greedy. Where he should have rightfully told Abraham to have those, he took them. Of course, following after if you continue to follow Lot’s life afterwards, he is ultimately in Sodom and Gomorrah and his own family won’t pay attention to his voice, yet God spares him the wrath by delivering him out of Sodom and Gomorrah as he destroys it. Lot had a struggle with greed and he continued to pursue his greed until it destroyed a great deal of things around him. 

Now in a lesser extent, I will give you another example. In Luke 22, you think of Peter. Peter, out of pride and out of arrogance said, “I will never deny you, Lord.” That was what it was. It was a sense of his own personal pride, yet in the moment as the cock crowed three times his eyes are met with Jesus’ eyes and he is pierced to his heart as the Lord brought him a type of discipline with the correction. Of course Peter would repent. 

We think of David in 2 Samuel 12. David for some time had a lustful heart that he ultimately succumbs to in full adultery, which results in the death of Uriah. Sometimes in life, the stiff correction can bring some harsh circumstances. As it did in David’s life, there were some consequences that came across this because God was bringing a kind of correction to him. Turn with me to Psalm 119. Now while God doesn’t give his children wrath, and he never has, any such thoughts for our calamity sin will bear a consequence. Here is what I want you to get out this: when a child of God willfully rebels, you can rest assured that the loving heavenly Father will discipline them. For the most part we identify what that is because we respond to our heavenly Father’s prompting and the wisdom of his voice and his eternal truth. God is always disciplining us though. In the case of the one’s we just read, particularly for Lot and David, there became a stiffer circumstance. Yet the loving father disciplining those who are their own, for their good because the song we sing is true, we have a good good father. He will always pursue you, and he will always discipline you.
I can honestly tell you that it gives me comfort because I can understand his corrective hand in my life and I have experienced it. It states to me that I belong to him. This is consistently true in the bible. I want you to notice this from the 119th Psalm. The lesson was learned here by the Psalmist who writes this, look at verses 67, 71. Now when a child of God will persist in sin against God, the heavenly Father will intensify his corrective hand. He will always do so to meet the exact lesson that is to be learned. Now I would never try to glorify sin to you. I think you almost have to be careful with that. What I mean by that is, I don’t think because I have lived a certain type of sin that is going to help you live a more Godly life. I will tell you this, when I was in high school I grew up in a small church and I had received Jesus without a doubt I knew Christ in my Junior high years. As I approached high school, long story short, and not to glorify any sin, in my inner I had made this conscious decision, “I am going to live to my sin.” I just want to experience it, and I will keep this life balanced away because I go to a very small church and no one is really going to know what I am doing. To where a year and a half later I was on my back at Roland Wilmot in emergency. I’ll rest assured you, there was a reason for it. My heavenly Father, I heard his voice. It wasn’t audible, but man he invaded that room and I felt his corrective hand. If you have been saved any length of time, you have experienced God’s corrective hand. I praise God for his continual corrective hand when he brings it into my life. So if you are under a type of correction and you know it needs to be, maybe you just need to drop down to your knees and repent. 

Secondly God loves and he loves us and his discipline comes to us for prevention’s sake. For prevention. God sometimes allows hardships to keep us, to prevent us, from falling and from stumbling and to develop strength to stand. Though following Jesus, understand this, is always going to cost you. That is why the prosperity health and wealth gospel is not true. Suffering is a part of your Christian faith because your heavenly Father has deemed it as such and he is doing it out of his love and care and design. In certain cases, it is to prevent certain things around you. You know a type of fence around you, like you have a fence around the little ones to protect your own children in the yard. There are limits, there are restrictions that we have with kids. The same thing is true for us. Turn to 2 Corinthians 12, I will give you an example of this. Paul states it as such in 2 Corinthians 12. 

Let me just says this real quick, as we are flipping over there, if someone feels his corrective hand just yield. Be a first time responder. It is good for you. But sometimes love and discipline is for prevention. We know this to be true Paul was a humble man, wasn’t he? He was genuinely humble, You read through the epistles that he writes, he is always to careful to credit Christ. Because Paul lived for God’s glory. In a sense for us he is a hero of sorts, right? He is a brother of good example that we want to follow his pattern. The bible tells us that God gave him a thorn in his flesh, a messenger of Satan and he describes it to us, Paul understood and saw God’s discipline and loving hand to keep him from being conceited. Look with me at this, in 2 Corinthians 12:7. God had given him a great deal in expanding his ministry and he even recognizes that those are coming from the hand of God, but to keep him from being conceited, he says a thorn was given. He is so perplexed by it as we see in 12:8. God responds in verse 8. It is prevention. God gave that in his life for prevention to keep him from becoming conceited. Nothing worse than a conceited preacher. 

Prevention discipline keeps us from sin. It is the work of a loving Father. When properly understood, we understand that God’s prevention discipline is really a substantial grace. It is to help us to step back and really be reflective as to what is going on in my life so that I am resting in the sufficiency of Christ’s grace and work in my life and in your life. Prevention discipline is a good discipline, why? Because it protects us from certain sinful impulses. When we yield to Jesus, and this is the design of all discipline, when we gracefully accept God’s work in our lives in a providential way, it is also nurturing our hearts because we belong to our heavenly Father to receive Jesus’ Lordship in our lives. Because he is Lord, and he is at work in that for us. Man, that comforts me. Why? Because I want to do what I want to do. I want to run and stride when sometimes those things are even harmful for my life. Christ’s Lordship is at work. Sometimes it is at work in discipline of prevention. It could be in the form of some sickness, it could be a lack of business or financial success, but God has a way, though he has afflicted you with it, to keep it from getting worse. It is a loving discipline that is brought through prevention. 

The last one in this, the reasons for God’s discipline his loving discipline, is for education. Turn to Job 42. As we move along here. Sometimes God provides discipline out of his love for education to learn more about God’s power and the sufficiency of Christ in life. Often times we learn those things in suffering and through affliction. Sometimes there are better teachers for us. Over against blessing and being prosperous. They are there to educate us. To keep us from being dependent from God or being self-satisfied away from God. Sometimes God brings problems to make us aware that we need God. 

Job is an example of that. Because what happens in Job’s life did not happen over sin. He wasn’t afflicted because God was bringing correction in his life over some sin that he had persisted in. It wasn’t a prevention type discipline to protect him. Job’s discipline was for his education. God sent and allowed to educate Job, to teach Job, though he had not sinned. Job went through a period, I want you to understand this, where he was unwilling to accept it. He endured the discipline. He was trudging along, yet he did not accept it until he’ll go through what’s literally two long lectures. You know what happens in Job. He gets three self-righteous friends, “Oh you are going through this because of this and that.” Don’t you love those friends? Job is analyzing his heart but then he listens to two long lectures that God gives him, which really he is educating him. Job finally gets it, and it is found in this prayer offered by Job in Job 42:1-6. Draw your attention to verse 4. That is what we are doing right now. We are hearing about God by the ear. There is a certain type of instruction that is going on that we are embracing, but until we experience it, what does he say? What was he saying? “I get it God. You were bringing me to this place so in humbling me you would make me draw me closer to you.” That there was nothing in of his own life. He finally understands what God is trying to teach him. That is what he means, “Now my eyes see you.” Sometimes discipline in life might not come from doing poorly but because we are doing good. To deepen our walk with Christ, he will bring a type of educational discipline. To grow our knowledge in Christ. As we sit here today, in this room the auditorium, we have people who are at all sorts of spiritual points. Some have been newly born into the family of God. Some have been a little older in the family of God. Some of you have been saved even longer than I have, over 4 decades. Here is what you can rest in. No matter what is going on in your life, God will always, out of his love because you have a heavenly Father (because I have a heavenly Father), he will consistently always discipline us to meet the very need that he is trying to teach us. Passed understanding that God out of his love brings correction, passed out of understanding that God out of his love gives a type of prevention discipline, passed out of understand that out of God’s love he is teaching to educate us, what we want to do is be ultimately trained by God’s disciplining hand. 

Let’s go back to the text and I am going to give you three quick things and then we are going to go to the table, I trust prepared. Depending on the set of circumstances that you have going on in your life. God disciplines us out of his love, it is always perfect, it is never out of his wrath, it is for our good, and it is ultimately because we are going to share in his holiness. He wants us to experience his holiness just now. Because he is a good good Father he won’t let us live perpetually in a state of rebellious sin. Now, we are sinful right? We are sinful, but we are not to take the sinfulness, “Well, I’m sinful, you’re sinful.” and we just keep going on. No! We are at war with our sin. Because our sin ultimately has been conquered and will be conquered. We are at war with it. Look again at what the pastor writes in verse 5. Here is the first response to God’s discipline. That is to receive the things that are going on in your life with disdain. You take it lightly. It is not to consider it. There are many people who experience, I am talking about Christians, that experience discipline in this way and disregard for a season, perhaps too long of a season, they choose to remain indifferent. Failing to learn the lesson, thinking they can go on to some other thing or some other location or whatever else. Instead of meditating upon, what does this mean. What, God, are you trying to do in my life? That is why I believe there are Christians, and they do love Jesus and are following him, but they just stay perpetually shallow. They just don’t move forward with Christ because they aren’t seeing Christ’s sovereign work at hand in their lives. They are holding the discipline in disdain.

Look back again to verse 5. This second group is dismayed. They become wearied, the loves heart, and they become overwhelmed. They get paralyzed. They kind of collapse. They are over weighted with sin and they fail to see God’s grace at work to get them through it. Understand this though, in this type of setting God’s discipline he will always supply this. You know this verse, 1 Corinthians 10:13. That is what he wants you to learn, to not over evaluate the sin and let it keep you down but magnify the grace of Christ, of course repent of it and go on, move forward. It is paralysis by analysis. But God doesn’t want us to take his loving discipline in disdain or dismay, he wants us to be exactly trained by it. That is why he says this, the pastor-writer in verse 11. He wants them to experience a type of peaceable fruit of righteousness that has to do with holiness. Go back to chapter 10. They already know this, this church. You know this as well. Chapter 10:10. This is talking about the sacrifice Christ made and it being better than the Old Testament sacrifices. Let me comfort you with this, you have been made holy. Because you have positionaly been made holy, that is true and it will be made true for you in eternity. Yet more than just that, God wants us to walk in that holiness now. The capability of walking in that holiness is there because Jesus, who has made us holy by his sacrifice and through his sacrifice is the reason why we have been made holy so that we could share in holiness because apart from his sacrifice we could never get near it. We could never get near it nor enjoy it. Are you being trained by God’s love and discipline? Do you see him training you to a type of holiness? This being a sanctifying discipline, a practical holiness so that it yields this wonderful phrase that I am going to try to explain. The peaceful fruit of righteousness. That is what God is going to give you, when you are being trained by it. He wants to give you a peaceful fruit of righteousness. That is God wants to pour into your life a harvest of righteousness, a harvest of peace. He heaven’s peace to be your peace right now in this broken world. 

You can experience a type of Shalom, where things that were separated are being brought together again. Where you are picking up the pieces of your life and your wounds are being healed by your heavenly Father because you are being trained by his corrective hand. By his preventative hand and by his educational hand. Discipline seems painful because it is. It is not pleasant. Some of you have experienced pain and agony, perhaps illness or job loss, economic distress, trouble with your children, trouble with your spouse, and number of other things. I don’t what they all are, I just know a heavenly Father that is pouring into your life and, listen to me, things are not happening to you by accident. If you think things are just kind of happening to you by accident, you are just going to stay shallow. It is not that you are going to over analyze things, judging people around you, I am simply telling you: God out of his love is ss deep, he will always pursue you, and because he loves you so much he is going to never let you go so far off the way that he is not going to bring you back. He is going to bring you back, so that you can be disciplined. So that we will receive his discipline. So that we will be trained by his discipline. Because in our minds where things perhaps fall apart, we can enjoy a harvest of righteousness, a harvest of peace, a type of genuine shalom in our inner being. 

I want to give you four things real quick. Here is God’s purpose to discipline you out of his love. First of all, he is trying to teach you who he is. He is trying to teach you who he is, which is a loving Father. Secondly, he is trying to train us to help us understand who we are. Which is weak and sinful. Listen, without his loving disciplining hand all would run from him. Because the spirit indwells you and Christ is in you and God is at work in you, we can enjoy the peaceable fruit of righteousness. What is God’s purpose? He wants to teach us who he is. Secondly he is going to train us to understand who we are. Thirdly, it will yield Christ, and a joy and a love for the one that has saved us, Jesus. He wants us to be shaped by Jesus because we are going to share in his holiness. My dear friends, we are going to share in it forever. Now there is one instruction of this, perhaps as you have examined your own heart, I want you to look at verse 14. See if you don’t desire holiness, it is probably proof that you don’t know him. That is what the text says anyway. Are you being trained by God’s love and disciplining hand? You know it is never a thing you just fix. You don’t arrive. It is consistent, always because out of his love he is going to bring to pass what he has began. That is what we looked at last week, Philippians 1:5-6. The good work in you that saved you from your sin will be completed; it will be accomplished at the day of Christ. I trust this morning that you are being trained and you are not regarding the Lord’s disciplining hand lightly or being wearied by it.