Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

05/19/2019 A.M.

 

Shaped By God’s Corrective Discipline

Hebrews 12.4-17

 

Why do bad things happen to good people?....

The truth is... They don’t because none of us are good... Only Jesus is good... Yet ugly things happened to Him... Is there an explanation?

 

As Bible students... We catch some interesting insights as to why there is suffering in our world...

 

First and foremost... We live in a fallen world...

There was no suffering until sin entered...

• And now... Sin abounds... Sin is in every life...

• Sin always brings suffering...

• So all suffer!

 

Sometimes suffering is a punishment for our own Wrong behavior...

• Adam & Eve were expelled from the Garden...

• Cain was marked and excluded from his extended family...

• The antediluvian world was punished for their sin behavior...

• Achan and his family lost their lives because of his greedy disobedience...

• Ananias & Sapphira died for their lying to God.

There’s no doubt that sinful behavior brings its own punishment... Suffering.

 

What is going on in the unseen spirit world.

In the Book of Job... The curtain of the spirit world is pulled back and we catch a glimpse of the interaction between God and Satan in Job’s suffering.

 

Listen...We may not understand this interaction... But what we do learn here is that ultimately... Sincere obedience to God results in blessings.

 

We see the Spiritual World’s involvement again… In John chapter nine… We have the suffering of a man born blind… So that The Glory of God might be seen in Jesus’ healing.

 

Again... Beyond our understanding... But suffering was rewarded with a blessing.

 

Sometimes God uses suffering to discipline us.

When we come to the Hebrews’ Letter... We find suffering has a corrective intent as God treats us as a loving father treats a child.

 

The Hebrew church was struggling with their Christian faith… Because of governmental and social persecution... Some were giving up on Christianity… And returning to Judaism.

 

The Writer addresses this in our text from Hebrews chapter twelve.

Access a Bible or your Worship Bulletin… And let’s read together… Beginning with verse numbered four… In your struggle against sin… You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 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… Because the Lord disciplines those he loves… And he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline… God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined… (And everyone undergoes discipline)… Then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 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! 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. 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. Therefore… Strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees! Make level paths for your feet… So that the lame may not be disabled… But rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy… Without holiness no-one will see the Lord. See to it that no-one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no-one is sexually immoral… Or is godless like Esau… Who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterwards… As you know… When he wanted to inherit this blessing… He was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind… Though he sought the blessing with tears.

 

Well... What can we learn?... How are we to view suffering?

What does God have to say when pain and suffering come to our doorstep?

 

Two things we’re being reminded of… Sometimes suffering should be seen as… God’s corrective discipline... And that this is an affirmation of the fact that we are Sons of God.

 

Listen to these other Scriptures indicating that our suffering has a corrective purpose...

 

1 Peter 1.6-7... In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

 

1 Peter 4.12-19... So... Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name... So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

 

1 Corinthians 11.32 says… When we are judged by the Lord… We are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

 

2 Timothy 3.12 reads… Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted

 

Revelations 3.19 reads… Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.

 

Then there’s the voice of Job saying… Blessed is the man whom God corrects… So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

 

Matthew 5.10-12... Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

One more Scripture we must keep in mind is Romans 8.28... And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

The lesson this morning will have no real meaning unless we are ready to accept… Agree… Internalize… And use… This fact… That like a loving earthly father… God uses corrective discipline on those He loves and accepts as faithful children.

 

So... How does God discipline us as His Children?...

 

First… By allowing us to suffer sin’s natural punishment.

I believe the Bible to teach that every sin has its own built in punishment… Its own reward… If you will!

 

Paul tells us there is such a spiritual law at work in the world… We will reap what we sow… Do not be deceived… God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful flesh nature… From that nature will reap destruction… The one who sows to please the Spirit… From the Spirit will reap eternal life.

 

We understand this in the natural realm…

• Drunkenness results in a hangover…

• Drug abuse destroys our health…

• Investing our money with greedy motives results in some severe losses.

 

Indeed… We must understand that sin’s reward is a natural law.

In fact… Scripture tells us that this law can be felt for... two… Three… four… Generations.

 

Sometimes our children & grandchildren suffer for our sin choices… Or We may be suffering today bEcause of the sin choices of those before us..

 

Indeed… Sin carries its own reward... SometimeS for generations… It’s a part of God’s disciplining us as a Father... Allowing us to reap what we sow!

 

Secondly… God allows us to be caught in our sin.

Numbers 32.23 says?... You may be sure of this… You sins will find you out.

 

You know… A surprising number of us continue living under the illusion that… As long as we are not caught in a sin that it’s OK… We’re getting away with it!!

• So… We cheat on our taxes…

• We consistently drive above the speed limit.

• We cheat on our spouses…

• We rob our children of time that is rightfully theirs…

• We involve ourselves in worship and spiritual activities with wrong motives…

• We can think evil thoughts and thus hide our real self...

And all along... We’re thinking… IT’S OK!!... Because nobody knows!!

 

You see… This scripture in Numbers has more to say than… One day we may be publicly caught in our sin… It means EVERY TIME we sin… that sin will have its impact upon our lives...WHETHER anybody knows or not... AMEN?

 

Church… God hates hypocrisy!!! God hates HYPOCRISY… It is a sin!... So hiding our sin is a sin in itself..

 

Thirdly... God disciplines by sin’s REGRET…

For those of us who have faltered in our Christian walk… And then regained our spiritual consciousness… Our spiritual balance… We are not only ashamed of our behavior…

• But we must also deal with the fact that while astray some good works will forever go undone.

• Opportunities that can never be recouped…

• Perhaps some precious soul or souls may be lost because of our failures...

Because… There was a time when our witness was ineffective or even misleading.

 

I’ve had to deal with that in my own life… And it’s indeed a regret...What Patsy Claremont calls… A whipp’en from the Lord.

 

Look at verse sixteen of our reading this morning… The Hebrews’ Writer tells us that Esau sought with tears to change what he had done… But could not… Esau had to live with his failure… His sin.

 

Paul had his regrets... We hear him say... O wretched man that I am... I do those things I do not want to do and leave undone those things I want to do.

 

Of course… Paul has the answer to sin’s regret in Philippians three… Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead… I press on towards the goal.

 

Here is a good place to stop and try to make a distinction between

correction and punishment.

You see... The chastening of God in the life of a Christian is always… Always… Corrective… Not punitive… In nature...

 

Read verse ten of our text… 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.

 

An earthly father means well… His discipline is meant for the child’s own good.

 

But God is The perfect Father… He disciplines us… Chastises us… Corrects us… Providentially moves us… In the direction that we should go in order to share in His holiness… His discipline is always perfect!

 

Listen to James… And Peter again... Consider it pure joy…Brethren… Whenever you face trials of many kinds… Why?... Because you know… KNOW WHAT?... That the Chastising… The correction… The testing of your faith… Develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete… Not lacking anything. Rejoice… Though for a while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These come so that your faith… May be proved genuine and may result in praise… Glory and honor…When Jesus comes… For you are receiving the goal of your faith… The salvation of your souls.

 

Tom Landry used to say… The job of a football coach is to….

• Make men do what they don’t want to do…

• In order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to be.

 

Indeed… This is what this text is about… God nudging us to do what we don’t want to do in order to achieve what we’ve always wanted to be.

 

Listen to me church… I hope you are able to see God’s discipline…

God’s chastening… As loving correction… Not as punishment.

 

I want us to come to David’s realization… Listen to him in Psalm119… Before I was afflicted… I went astray… But now Lord… I obey your Word.

 

One more point before we stop... A warning from the Hebrews’ Writer...

 

Note verse fifteen… See to it that no-one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

 

When God disciplines us… We have two possible reactions… We can become bitter or better... Which will it be for us?

 

Picture this… Paul is imprisoned in Rome… The church in Philippi is disturbed by his incarceration… But he writes to them… And to us this morning… Wanting us to see the hand of God in his situation… Now I want you to know… Brethren… That what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result… It has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains… Most of the brethren have been encouraged to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

 

Indeed… We… Like Paul… Should look for God’s hand in discipline…

And become better people…

Or we can fail to see His hand and become bitter…

The choice is ours.

 

Well... There’s not a one of us that’s not undergoing some sort of discipline from Our Father God... I hope the lesson will prompt us to take Solomon’s advice from Proverbs… My son… Do not make light of the Lord’s discipline… And do not lose heart when he rebukes you.

 

If you are not a child of God this morning… Begin your road to Christian discipline by... Faith… Repentance… And the new birth… Being born again of water and spirit.

 

If we need to adjust our life to God’s corrective discipline in some area… Allow this lesson to prompt our doing so.

 

Let’s all accept the challenge and invitation to place ourselves under God’s will and word… As we stand and sing.