Summary: A sermon for Father's Day on the Lord's Discipline from Hebrews 12:4-11
When we look for Father’s Day cards we see two general types. There is the classic card variety with some general thanks to dad and an inspiration poem. Then, there are the humorous types that usually poke fun at a father’s lack of abilities or some humorous quality. The one quality that we never see on a Father’s Day card is the one thanking dad for his discipline. This is because disciple is such a despised quality today and it is hard to both do and receive.
As we look at these Scriptures this morning from Hebrews 12 we cannot help but notice the many times that the word discipline is used- over 10 times.
The word is used here to describe the training of a child. Yes, it can involve punishment (vs. 6) and the King James uses the word chastisement (more negative today- tend to think of a whipping). However, that is not all that is being talked about here.
The main emphasis is upon preparation for life. Chastening or punishment is only a small part of preparation. Discipline is that process by which we are taught and by which we learn.
Children in one way or another will let us know that they do not enjoy discipline. Children would rather play video games or watch television instead of doing things to better themselves. Discipline is not meant to be a trip to Disney World or a day at the beach. Discipline is costly but discipline is a priceless and precious gift.
Tom Landry, legendary coach of the Dallas Cowboys, once said, "The job of a coach is to make men do what they do not want to do, in order that they can be what they’ve always wanted to be." What is true for football is true for every arena of life where people pursue excellence. People who are respected and appreciated by society are men and women from all walks of life who welcome discipline’s exacting correction and counsel. Discipline is not only beneficial for artists and athletes; discipline is much needed in all of our lives if we are to live this life in a way that will bring glory to God and peace to our own hearts.
In this passage of Scripture there are two life situations discussed. The human relationship helps us to understand the other relationship that is from God.
Thesis: Let’s talk about these two life situations: 1) Parents to children 2) God the Father to his children
I. Parents to children
Children are to be disciplined.
A. Vs. 7- For what son is not disciplined by his father?
Proverbs 22:15: Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
Proverbs 13:24: He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
It is sadly true that many parents spoil their children- yield to their pleadings and desires- for things which the parents know, in their hearts, are not best for them. Then they wonder why their children wilt, why they fail- when they get into the world on their own.
Notice here that the father is to be the main one in the discipline. Now this is tough. When we get home from work, men, we can see that our wife is frustrated and discouraged. The children have pushed her buttons. She says to you, “You need to deal with your son.” The temptation is to walk into that room with our son and say something like this, “Son, your mama is having a bad day. You just need to stay in your room and give her a little space. Everything will be fine.” That’s not right. That is putting all the discipline on her. My wife needs me to wear the black hat sometimes.
Vs. 8- If you are not disciplined, then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
“Illegitimate children” were those born of a slave or concubine. In NT, illegitimate children received no discipline, attention, or education. Under Roman law, illegitimate children also did not receive any inheritance or recognition that came with being a genuine child.
How many illegitimate children do we have today? Have some through the original meaning but many more because the parents refuse to discipline and educate them.
When children are not disciplined, everyone suffers. We might want to discipline the neighbor’s children, but we are rarely effective. Why? Because they are not our children.
Proverbs 29:15: The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.
We must respect the fathers who disciplined us. Vs. 9- Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.