A real child needs discipline for growth (Hebrews 12:5-11)
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A real child needs discipline for growth
Hebrews 12:5-11 (Pastor Heo)
12:5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Today’s message is a little solid food for adult children of God. God bless us with this solid food.
Here’s one simple question: very important. Are you a child of God? Are you a daughter / son of God?
Before receiving this passage, we must be clear in this matter – because today’s passage is for the children of God.
If you are sure of your sonship / daughtership of God, then today’s passage is just for you. One keyword: “children / son” this word is repeated 7x.
v. 5 “The word of encouragement that addresses you as sons…”
We must be children of God to receive today’s passage. How can we become children of God. It is very simple, but only in one way. By believing in Christ as Savior and Lord can we become children of God.
John 1:12-13 “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to be call children of God…”
Only Jesus is the source of our faith – the ground, object, foundation, author, perfecter, pioneer, finisher of our faith. If we are really children of God, he will provide what we need – both in this world and the world that comes next.
However, we must also realize that discipline is essential.
Another keyword: “discipline.” In these 7 verses, the word “discipline” is repeated. The root of “discipline” and “disciple” are the same etymologically. This may have many meanings: punish, rebuke, train, teach, instruct. If we are really children of God, then discipline is essential for our growth and maturity.
Think about your personal experience between father / son, parents / children. Once, we were all children to our fathers and mothers. Today we may be fathers or mothers to our own children today.
v. 9 “moreover we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it… “
If our human fathers are normal and faithful to their human children, they will discipline them. Without discipline, our children may become tyrants. If I let my son do whatever he wants all the time, with no rules, he will become a bad boy, and I will be a bad father.
Sometimes we may feel like spanking our neighbor’s children, and they may feel like spanking our children, but we do not do that. Human fathers only discipline their own children, this shows that the children are their own.
Yes, sometimes human parents discipline children when they should not, or in the wrong way. And sometimes they do not discipline when they should. No human fathers are perfect but they do their best in the time the have with their children. And this human imperfection reminds us of the perfection of our heavenly father.
v. 8 “If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.”
At that time: “illegitimate children” were from slave girls or concubines. They received no recognition from their fathers, no discipline, no inheritance.
So, if we are disciplined by God, we can be encouraged that we really are children of God. “…if indeed we share in his sufferings that we may share in his glory. We know that our current sufferings cannot compare to the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans)
God disciplines only adult children, those he loves.
Also, as parents, we do not discipline infants – we only care for them.
And so if we are disciplined by God, it shows that we are growing and maturing and given adult standing in God’s family.
In our personal experience, there are many kinds of discipline, but let me say according to the Bible, roughly speaking, there are three kinds of discipline:
1. Corrective discipline
When we sin or do wrong we can receive corrective discipline – because he is our father and loves us.
When he disciplines us, he is not happy, he doesn’t enjoy it, he feels pain. But he disciplines us when we do wrong, when we sin, because he wants us to grow and mature.
King David is a good example of this. We know some of his stories.
He committed adultery with Bathsheba, then had her husband Uriah killed in the battlefield to hide his sin. But God knew, and like this we can hide nothing from God.
Then, his son Amnon raped his half sister. Absolom killed him, then rebelled against David to become king.
This was STEEP correction – but through this, David learned much and grew in grace. He confessed, “My God, my God, have mercy on me according to your unfailing love, and cleanse me from my sin. I know my sin. I was sinful at birth from the moment my mother conceived me.”
Yes, through this terrible experience, David grew in knowing God more. God disciplined David because he loved him so much, he was a son to God.
2. Preventative discipline
The apostle Paul is a good example of this. We know he was very dedicated and committed for his whole life to preaching the gospel. He was humble. Nevertheless, God gave him a thorn in his body to keep him from becoming conceited due to the great revelations he had from God. God allowed him to have weakness and sickness to keep him humble. Paul prayed 3 times to remove this weakness, but God answered, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul confessed, “For Christ’s sake, I rejoice in my weakness, in my difficulties, in my persecutions, for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Through his physical weakness, he experienced the power of Jesus Christ manifested and demonstrated through his weakness.
3. Educational discipline
Job is a good example of this. God gave him to us as a good example of patience, perseverance, and endurance. Recently, today, we need these more than ever.
Job was blameless, upright, feared God, worshiped God sincerely, shunned evil. God was so proud of him even before Satan. But Satan challenged this, “Does Job fear you for nothing? If you take away all the blessings you’ve given him, then he will stop worshiping you.”
God said, “OK, strike him, but spare his life.” So Satan afflicted him.
Usually, discipline comes because we are doing poorly. But also sometimes, discipline can come because we are doing so well.
Job was a spiritual athlete. Because of his excellence, God brought a greater challenge to him so that he might rise to higher levels of spirituality.
In the later chapters of Job, “God knows the levels he is testing me, and when I come out of the fire, I will come out as gold.”
When God disciplines us, Satan tempts us to believe, “God doesn’t care for me, he has left me.” Actually, the very opposite is true. He disciplines us because he is with us, loves us, cares for us, and he wants us to grow and grow and grow until we are like Jesus in our character and attitude.
What are the benefits of discipline? There are many, but we should remember God’s right discipline in the right time, in the right way.
God’s discipline is always for our good, for our highest good. “God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good.”
God’s discipline is always to our advantage. Here are some advantages to our discipline, sufferings, and difficulties, and problems. In this world, we cannot escape these things, but we must be able to respond positively by faith.
1. Helps us to look upward and forward instead of inward
God provides patience, endurance, good character, hope, love in our suffering.
Romans “Therefore, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have gained access to this grace in which we now stand. We rejoice in the glory of God and also in our sufferings, which produces patience, endurance, character, and hope, which does not disappoint us because God has poured his love into our hearts.”
2. We can trust in God’s sovereignty for our lives
Romans 8:28 “In all things, God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.”
3. Sufferings enable us to help others who are suffering
2 Cor 1:4 “God comforts us in all our troubles so that we may comfort others in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
For children, remember, discipline is essential. But discipline is not the purpose, it is only the means.
What is the purpose of God? Let’s see the last two verses:
v. 10-12 “but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
God’s plan for us is righteousness, peace, joy and holiness, sharing in his nature.
So, what about this world around us? Why do we need discipline? To live a righteous life in this unrighteous world; to live peaceful; to live holy; to live godly life in this ungodly world. So, we must continually focus our eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Let us continue running with patience this race set before us. God loves you so much and desires we grow and grow and grow without stop until we become like our example, Jesus Christ.
God bless you to be victorious in living a Christian life in this world.