A. Introduction: We have begun a series on the character of God.
1. We must have accurate knowledge of God's character in order to fully commit
to Him. Ps 9:10
2. Our theme is: God is good and good means good.
a. But, that brings us some apparent contradictions.
b. What about the difference between the OT and NT God? What about Job?
trials and tribulation? suffering?
3. We're taking time to clear up some of these things. We have said:
a. God does not bring suffering into our lives.
b. Trials and tribulation do not come from God; they are here because of sin
and satan. Matt 13:19-21; Mark 4:15-17; Luke 8:12,13; Rev 2:10
4. There is confusion in this area because people:
a. Base what they believe on Christian cliches which are not biblical -- God
won't give you more than you can bare. I Cor 10:13
b. Take verses out of context -- God sent these trials to purify you. I Pet 1:7
c. Match scripture to their experience -- I had a car wreck; God is disciplining
me. Heb 12:6
d. Don't begin at the staring point -- Jesus. John 14:9; Heb 1:1-3
5. In this lesson, we want to look at the discipline of God.
a. God does discipline His children, but not with car wrecks, sickness, bad
marriages, and job loss.
b. He disciplines us with His Word.
B. Let's begin with Jesus (will of God in action). How did He discipline people?
1. During His earth ministry, there is not a single example of Jesus disciplining
people the way we say God disciplines:By making anyone sick; by leaving
anyone sick; by causing / allowing disasters or car wrecks, etc.
a. When He was upset with someone's behavior, He told them immediately.
b. He did not send / allow years of endless suffering where they had no idea
what was wrong, but figured God must be chastening them for some
2. Jesus disciplined people with His Word.
a. Matt 16:22,23 -- Peter being influenced by satan.
b. Mark 4:40 -- The disciples showed little faith.
c. Mark 10:17-22 -- A man was not willing to fully commit to Jesus.
d. Luke 9:51-56 -- A whole village rejected His message.
e. Luke 13:11-17 -- Religious hypocrisy
f. Luke 22:24-30 -- Strife among the disciples over who should be greatest.
g. John 8:11 -- A woman caught in the act of adultery.
3. In Rev 2,3 Jesus gave messages to His churches -- some things He was happy
with, some He wasn't.
a. 2:4,5;7; 2:14-17; 2:20-23; 3:2,3;6;13; 3:15-18
b. 3:19 He says: I rebuke and chasten those I love, therefore repent.
c. He had just finished discipling them with His Word.
1. Rebuke = verbal; chasten = PAIDEIA = to train up a child (educate)
2. Translated chasten, instruct, learn, teach.
4. What is discipline? What is the point of discipline?
a. Discipline is training that corrects, molds, or perfects; can involve
punishment for the sake of discipline.
b. The word discipline does not appear in the KJV. It is the word chasten.
1. Look how the word is used: Acts 7:22; 22:3; Eph 6:4; II Tim 2:25;
2. God does discipline us, but, He does so with His Word. II Tim 3:16
c. There are two elements involved in discipline; God's Word does both.
1. Reproof = point out the fault.
2. Correction = tell / show how to change it.
C. The verse everyone turns to when we discuss this subject is Heb 12:5-7.
1. We must read in context; we cannot impose an out side meaning on the verse --
I had a car wreck = the Lord is discipling me.
2. This epistle was written to Hebrew Christians who had grown weary under
a. Some had gone back to Judaism, rejecting Christ; others considering it.
b. The whole purpose of the letter is to encourage them, warn them, give them
reasons not to go back on Jesus.
3. To use this verse the way many Christians use it, we would have to say God is
telling them: I sent this persecution to discipline you because you are my
children and I love you.
a. satan is the source of persecution according to I Thess 3:1-5 and the verses
we read earlier.
b. That would be a house divided -- God persecuting the body of Christ.
4. Notice some key points in this passage.
a. Chasten = PAIDEIA = same word used in II Tim 3:16 = instruction,
b. The word chasten is defined for us in v5 as rebuke = verbal.
c. Hebrews is a letter of discipline (correction and instruction).
1. A number of times in this letter, the writer says: listen to what
God is telling you -- don't fall away.
2. 13:22 = suffer (bear with, endure) the word of exhortation.
3. Exhort = admonish = to advise of a fault; to reprove
d. What about scourging us?MASTIGOO = to flog (lit or fig)
1. God flogs (whips us) with His Word. Jer 23:29; I Cor 4:21.
2. Either that or a big hand / whip must come down from heaven).
e. V7 If ye endure (stay under; persevere) = they have a choice to accept or
reject the discipline (no choice about cancer or car wrecks.)
f. The context of the word is stated for us in v9 as correction.
1. Correction = making or setting right.
2. The purpose of correction is instruction -- to tell you what you are
doing wrong so that you can get it right -- it involves words.
g. God corrects us (disciplines us for the purpose of instruction and training
with His Word). II Cor 7:8-10
5. In context, these verses (Heb 12:5-7):
a. Emphasize the disciplinary, corrective purpose of the letter = stay faithful
or suffer the consequences.
b. Give the Hebrew Christians another suggestion about how to endure their
1. Endure hardship as discipline. (NIV)
2. It is for discipline that you have to endure. (RSV)
c. Discipline = to train or develop by instruction and exercise esp. in self -
D. Consider these points about discipline.
1. The Bible puts some parameters on God's discipline.
2. God disciplines as a Father who loves His child.
a. v9 makes a comparison with natural fathers.
1. What earthly father would discipline his children with cancer?
2. Do earthly fathers punish their children for years without the kids
ever knowing why?
b. To help us understand how our heavenly Father wants to treat us, Jesus
used the example of earthly fathers. Matt 7:9-11
c. In v11 Jesus raises the question: if you know how to treat your kids right,
how much more does God the Father?
3. The Word chasten is used one time in connection with sickness. I Cor 11:32
a. The Corinthians were abusing communion -- gluttony, drunkenness,
division. v 17-22
b. They were missing the whole point -- remembering the Lord's death.
c. By doing this, they were sinning and bringing judgment on themselves in
the form of sickness and death. v27-30
d. God allowed those consequences so that they would not be condemned
with the world. v32
4. Notice these points:
a. This is serious sin.
b. Why would they be condemned with the world? For rejecting Jesus's
death by their actions.
c. These people are being corrected (instructec) by this letter.
1. The goal is an immediate change of behavior.
2. The result of that change would be healing for their bodies.
d. If they had judged their behavior in the first place, this would never have
5. This situation is a whole lot different than:
a. I have cancer; the Lord is chastening me. Why? I don't know; as He sees
fit; for His own purposes.
b. The Lord chastens His choicest servants with sickness -- these people were
in gross sin!!
6. We need to understand that chastisement (punishment) went to Jesus so it
wouldn't have to come to us. Isa 53:5
a. The chastisement He bore is health for us and by His scourging we are
b. Twas for our welfare that He was chastised, the blows that fell to him have
brought us healing. (Moffatt)
c. He was punished so we would have peace. He was beaten so we would be
healed. (New Life)
7. Because they did not discern Christ's sacrifice, that chastisement came on them.
E. Some say we must suffer and be disciplined to learn obedience just as Christ did.
Heb 2:10; 5:8
1. If we take these verses out of context, we get disturbing news: Christ was
neither obedient nor perfect, and suffering was needed to make Him such.
2. One of the main points of chapters 2-5 is that Christ is the perfect High Priest
to represent us before the Father because He understands what we experience
because He experienced it, too. 2:18
3. Heb 2:9-18 talks about Christ's identification with our humanity.
a. He took on flesh and became a man to suffer and die for us.
b. Because He experienced life in the flesh, He is the perfect Savior for us. v9
1. Should make the pioneer of their slavation perfect (that is, should
bring to maturity the human experience necessary for a perfect
equipment for His office as High Priest), through suffering. (Amp)
2. It was right for God to make Jesus a perfect Leader by having Him
suffer for men's sins. (New Life)
c. Perfect = TELEIOO = to complete. (2:10; 5:9)
d. This verse has nothing to do with God's discipline of us.
4. Heb 5:8 tells us Jesus learned what it means to obey the Father even when it
means suffering and great cost.
a. He learned what it feels like for a human, so that He can now help us to
make that same right choice ourselves.
b. He did not learn to obey, He learned what it was like to obey in the same
way we sometimes have to.
1. Thus, Son though He was, He learned by all He suffered how to obey.
2. He found out from what He suffered what it means to obey. (Beck)
c. This verse also has nothing to do with our need for discipline.
1. God does discipline us with His Word.
2. If God is disciplining you, you will know exactly what the problem is, and you
can correct it.
3. If we do not respond to the discipline of the Word, God will allow us to reap
the consequences of our behavior.
a. Why do you tell your kids not to cross the street? For their good! You
know they can get hurt!
b. If they disobey you and get hurt, did you will it?
4. It is so important that we get this sorted out so that we can face life with
the confidence -- God is good and good means good!