HEBREWS 12: 5-11 “A TRIP TO GOD’S WOODSHED”
A) I heard about a young boy that went off to one of these extremely expensive universities.
* The bills were coming in monthly to these parents, & they were struggling to keep their head
above water. * One day his mother received a letter from him that read like this:
* Dear Mom: I’m writing to inform you that I have flunked all of my courses.
* I had an accident and totally wrecked my car, I owe the clothing store in town $2000,
* And I have been suspended for the next semester because of misconduct.
* I am coming home, prepare Dad! * His mother wrote a one line letter back to him that just said
this: Dear son: Dad is prepared, prepare yourself.
B) God is prepared to deal with his children when they sin!
* God has a woodshed, and if you are one of his children, before you get through this life you will
make more than one trip to it.
* You see, there are three ways God could deal with us when we sin.
C) First of all, God could condemn us.
* Even after a person is saved, the first time they sin God could just go ahead and send them to
hell. * But God wont do that, for the Bible says in Rom.8:1 "There is therefore now no ......."
D) Then again God could condone us!
* God could just stick his head in the sand and ignore our sin and overlook it.
* But God cannot and will not do that because He is a holy, a righteous, and a just God that lets
no sin go unpunished! * God always has to deal with sin because of His character!
* But the third way that God could deal with us, and the way he does deal with us is,
E) He can correct us! * You see, if God condemned us after we sinned,
* Then that would be pure legalism; that is, if you sin you go to hell!
* If God condoned our sin, that would be liberalism, where God would just simply say that sin is
no big deal and let it go. * But the third way, God’s way is love!
* The Lord Himself said in Rev. 3:19 "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous ......."
F) Here in this passage before us we have described for us a trip to God’s woodshed!
* We find here the doctrine of divine discipline.
G) The powerful reasons for discipline!
* We need to understand immediately that the purpose of discipline is not to discourage us, it is to
encourage us. The word "exhortation" in v.5 literally means "encouragement."
* Now how could the discipline of God possibly encourage His children?
* It confirms our identity - v.6-7 "For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth ......."
* One of the marks that you are a child of God, is the discipline of God on your life when you sin!
H) Now God whips His children, but God whips only His children!
* If your kids are playing in the yard with the neighbors’ kids, and they begin to misbehave and
get into a fight, whose kids do you discipline? * Well, you certainly not the neighbor’s kids!
* At least if you’re smart, you discipline your own.
* I know some parents are like the mother who brought her little boy to school one time, & she
said to the teacher: "Now Johnny is a little bit nervous and slightly hyperactive,
* If he misbehaves, you just slap the boy next to him and he’ll straighten up."
I) Well, God does not whip the devil’s children, he only whips His!
* But He does whip His, and He does so because they are His children.
* Now you may be sitting there thinking, "Well, I’m a Christian, God never whips me.
* I’m living just like I want to and it doesn’t bother me one bit.
* I don’t believe I’ve ever been to God’s woodshed. How do you explain that?"
* There’s a very simply explanation ... You’re not a Christian!
J) If you have never been to God’s woodshed, you are not a child of God!
* I can tell you right now with complete confidence, if there is unrevealed, unrecognized,
unrepented sin in your life that has caused you neither guilt nor grief,
* You are lost and you need to be saved!
* v.8 "But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye ......."
* The word "bastards" there literally means illegitimate.
* You know there are some people who claim to be saved, who think they are saved, but it is
obvious they are not saved, not because they are sinning, because even Christians sin,
K) But because their sinning does not bother them!
* The church today has single Christians who are sleeping around, and married Christians who are
running around; they’re wallowing in sin like a pig in slop!
* You try to talk to some of them and they’ll just smile and say, "Well, I’m just backslidden."
* Did you know, a lot of these so-called backsliders are going to slide right into hell when they die
because they have never been saved!
* There’s a thin line between being backslidden & being lost & that thin line is the discipline of
* If you are truly backslidden, you’re miserable, and God will take you to his woodshed and whip
you until you slide back into place.
L) It corrects our iniquity! * You had better learn this lesson and learn it well:
* Nobody gets away with sin, whether it is a saint or a sinner, whether it is a saved person or a lost
person, you may get away from your sin, but you’ll not get away with your sin.
* Please understand that discipline is not a sign that God does not love you, it’s a sign that He
* v.6 "For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth."
* I heard one time about a family of wayward members of a church, who at one time were very
active in their church, but they had fallen away and lost interest.
* They were true backsliders, that is, they were saved, but they had just gotten away from the
* Well, some deacons went and talked to the father and his three sons, Jim, John, and Sam, about
their condition, but they had no success. * Then the preacher went to visit with them.
M) They didn’t listen to him either! * Some of the other brethren went and visited with them,
and tried to get them back into the church, but they were rejected.
* One day when all of the boys were out in the pasture, a large rattlesnake bit John.
* He became very sick. * They called the doctor, and after an examination he said to the family:
* "There is nothing that I can do! About all you can do now is just pray." * The doctor left.
N) Well, this father immediately called for the preacher, and asked him to come.
* He told him of John’s condition. He said, "Preacher, would you please pray for my boy that he
would be healed." * I want you to listen to how this preacher prayed:
* Oh wise and righteous Father, we thank Thee that in Thy wisdom thou hast sent this rattlesnake
to bite John in order to bring him to his senses.
* He has not been inside the church house for years, and it is doubtful that in all of this time he has
even felt the need of prayer. * Now we trust that this will be a valuable lesson to him,
* And that it will lead him to genuine repentance.
* So now, Oh Father, wilt thou send another snake to bite Sam, and another one to bite Jim, and a
big one to bite the old man.
O) We’ve been doing everything we know for years to restore them, but to no avail.
* It seems that all of our combined efforts could not do what this one snake has done.
* Thus we conclude that the only thing left that will do this family any good, is more rattlesnakes.
* So Lord, send us bigger and better rattlesnakes we pray in Jesus name. Amen!
P) That story is humorous, but it does illustrate a point!
* God will use anything from snakes to scorpions to discipline His children and to bring them
back to a place of repentance and holiness and love.
(1) THE PERSONAL ROUTE OF DISCIPLINE!
* Now I have shown you why God disciplines us, but how does God discipline us?
* We are told very plainly here that there are three ways that God can discipline His children, and
each one is more severe than the next.
A) One: Internal Conviction - The first thing God will do is to rebuke us - v.5!
* Now when God rebukes us, He convicts us through the Holy Spirit that we are wrong .......
* If you are truly saved, you have had the experience of having done something wrong or said
something wrong, and immediately you felt that little twinge of guilt!
* You felt that little prick of your conscience, and immediately you knew that you had done
something you should not have done, and that God was not pleased.
B) Well, that is internal conviction! * God has a way of speaking to us in that still small voice to
our heart to let us know when we fall out of fellowship and sin against Him.
* I believe that is the way that God prefers to discipline His children.
* As a matter of fact, that is the way any good parent likes to discipline their children.
* Wouldn’t you much rather use a word than you had a whip?
* Isn’t it great when you can just speak to a child and see that child straightened up, and to know
that, that child has been properly disciplined?
* But as you well know, the problem is many times children won’t listen, they won’t hear you.
* You tell them not to do something, and then they will make up their minds to do it no matter
* They just won’t listen. * That’s when you have to take the next step.
C) External Affliction! * After the rebuke of the Lord, there is the chastening of the Lord - v.6
* Now the word chasten there literally means "to discipline." * It refers to training a child.
* Now this is when God spanks! * First God speaks, and then God spanks.
* Now God has all kinds of ways He can spank us when we sin!
D) For example: He can refuse to listen to our prayers! * Ps. 66:18 "If I regard iniquity in ..."
* Or God could also use his presence by removing his presence from us!
* Evidently that is what happened to David, for when he finally came to God and confessed his sin
with Bathsheba, he said to God in Ps. 51:11a "Cast me not away from thy presence."
E) Another way that God can punish us is by taking away our power!
* Again David said to the Lord in Ps. 51:11b "And take not thy Holy Spirit from me."
* Sometimes God takes away our privileges! * God can spank us through sickness, through
causing us to lose our job, by bringing trouble into our business, by allowing discord into our
F) Did you know that what a lot of people call bad luck is really good discipline!
* Now that is not to say that every time something bad happens to you, God is disciplining you or
God is trying to punish you! * On the other hand, keep in mind that when you are punished,
* When you are spanked, you feel it and you know it!
* I never received a whipping from my Mom that somebody had to tell me I was getting one!
* The same thing is true of God.
C) Three: Eternal Infliction! * Now after the speaking & the spanking, comes the scourging - v.6
* The word "scourge" literally means to "flog with a whip."
* It refers to a very severe and painful beating!
* This is the most serious type of discipline that God inflicts.
* There comes a point when God realizes that his discipline is of no affect, and the only other step
is death! * Do you know that you can rebel against God to the point that death is the only
* That is why v.9 says, "Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of .......?"
D) The Apostle John tells in 1Jn.5:16 that there is "sin unto death."
* There were people in the church at Corinth who were dying right & left because they were
abusing and misusing the Lord’s supper.
* Some church members must be lost, because if they were saved God would kill them the way
they are living! * Our God is a jealous God, and He is jealous over His children!
E) God will beat you to death if you keep on refusing His call to get your heart right with Him!
* I want to say it again, as plainly as I know how, if you are a child of God, you cannot sin without
experiencing the rod of His discipline.
(2) THE PROPER RESPONSES TO DISCIPLINE!
* Now I say again, nobody is going to escape God’s woodshed, because nobody is perfect!
* As God’s children, you cannot escape discipline.
* v.7 tells us that as children of God we are to "endure chastening."
* So the question now is asked: How will you respond to God’s discipline?
A) You can resent it - v.5a! "My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord,"
* Now the word despise means "to treat lightly."
* You see, you can get bitter when God disciplines you.
* You can get mad at God when He takes you to His woodshed.
B) I heard about a little girl who was disobedient to her mother!
* And her mother put her in the closet to discipline her.
* Well, it got very quiet, so the mother went to check on the little girl.
* She opened up the door and she said, "what are you doing?" * She said, "Well, I spit on your
shoes, spit on your coat, spit on your dress, and I’m just waiting on more spit."
* Well when God disciplines us, we can gripe about it and complain about it!
* But I want to tell you that resenting it is not going to remove it!
B) You can reject it - v.5b! "Nor faint when thou art rebuked of him."
* That is, you can just quit, you can just give up!
* When God disciplines you and life gets a little tough, you can just totally desert God’s army and
drop out of God’s school! * You can say:
* "Well God, if this is the way you are going to treat me, I’m just not going to serve You any
* But I want to remind you of something that the great Nazarene preacher, Uncle Buddy Robinson
said. * He said: "If the Lord is your Shepherd, then you are the Lord’s sheep,
* And he has a perfect right to shear you any time he needs wool and you have no right to bleat.”
C) You can receive it - v.7! * The word endure literally means "to accept" or "to receive."
* You see, when trouble comes into your life, you need to ask the question:
* "Why is this happening to me?" Or, "Lord, what are you trying to teach me?"
* For the purpose of discipline is to train us and to teach us!
D) In v.11 we are told that we are to be "trained" by the chastening of God!
* The word train is the Greek word that gives us our English word "gymnasium."
* A gymnasium is a place of training! * You see, the discipline of God is not to make you mad or
sad, it really is to make you glad!
* Job 5:17 reminds us: "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not
thou the chastening of the Almighty:"
E) Now discipline may be a bitter pill to swallow at first!
* Because "no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous , but grievous:" v.11
* But like bitter medicine it will be good for you in the end.
(3) THE POSITIVE RESULTS OF DISCIPLINE!
* The wonderful thing is, what happens to you when God does discipline you!
* Because the result, if you will allow it to be, is always positive! * Look at the results!
A) One: Peace v.11! * "nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness ..."
* The first result of God’s discipline is peace.
* The most miserable man in the world is not the man who is lost and does not know God!
* The most miserable man in the world is the man who is saved and does know God, but is out of
fellowship with him.
B) You remember that the fruit of Spirit is love, joy, and peace.
* I do not believe it is a coincidence that it comes in that order.
* For when your love for God cools, and you backslide, and you fall into sin, the first thing to go
is your joy! * When joy walks out the door, peace goes out the window!
C) Two: Productivity - v.11! * Discipline allows us once again to "bear the fruit of
* You see, God uses discipline to prune us, that we might be more productive.
* He does it for two reasons: (1) To make us stop doing what we ought not to be doing,
* But also: (2) to help us start doing what we ought to be doing.
* The Psalmist said in Ps.119:67, "Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept ..."
* He went on to say in v.71, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I may learn thy ..."
D) Three: Purity - v.10! * God disciplines us "For our profit, that we may be partakers ......."
* God is not primarily interested in your health.
* He is not overly concerned with your happiness. * He is totally preoccupied with your holiness.
* You see, if you can be healthy and happy, without being holy, you’re not saved!
* But if you are saved, being holy is the only thing that will truly make you healthy and happy.
E) Jesus did not die to save us from hell, he died to save us from sin!
* We are told in Titus 2:14 that Jesus is the One "who gave Himself for us, that he might redeem
us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
* I heard about a little boy who was floating his boat on a pond, when the boat floated away.
* A man came by and saw the boat out on the pond and began throwing stones on the far side of
the boat. * The boy said, "What are you doing?"
* Without a word, the man just kept throwing those stones on the other side of that boat.
F) Then something very interesting happened!
* As the stones hit the water beyond the boat, they created ripples which pushed the boat back
toward that boy.
* Even though the stones disturbed the smooth water, they achieved the desired result.
G) That is exactly the way God’s discipline operates!
* When we drift away from him on the "sea of sin" or "the pond of unrighteousness,"
* He throws out the disturbing stones of his loving discipline, sending out ripples of love, pushing
us back to where we ought to be!
* We are to be holy as He is holy, and He will discipline us when we are not,
* And He will discipline us until we are!
H) Is God going to have to take you to His woodshed to get you straightened out?
* He will if He has to! * Come to Jesus!