Summary: Proposition: God disciplines everyone He accepts as His own children.
God’s True Children
Rev. Sean D. Lester
October 12, 2003
Text: Hebrews 12: 4-11
A. The heroes of the faith inspire me to want to follow Jesus Christ because I know that what these men and women did was good and that they proved that God is real and faithful. Something inside me feels an eager warmth that says, “I want to do that, too.”
I want to stare down a giant with only a sling. I want to follow the Lord into the unknown so that my descendants would bless the whole world.
I want to proclaim God’s righteousness to my country while shouting through the bars of a jail cell meant to keep me quiet.
I want to preach the good news that Jesus saves while godless men and women in power seethe with anger.
I want to lead the people of God into the promised land.
B. The introductions that open this chapter build my faith by telling me what to do in order to live by faith in Jesus Christ.
I can live for Jesus Christ if I will put aside my sin that entangles and complicates my life, and that if I am willing to simplify my life so that I have the time and energy to devote to Jesus.
I can live by faith in Jesus Christ if I keep my thoughts on Jesus Christ. He is the one who authored the faith and was the first to be perfected in obeying it.
I can live by faith in Jesus Christ if I am willing to endure the opposition sure to come from hurtful people.
C. But even though I know that it is possible to live by faith in the Lord, and even if I know how to live by faith, I have just one problem that confronts me, I am not always sure that I want to. I have read the accounts of what the people of faith have done, and I have come to the conclusion that:
Walking the life of faith in Jesus Christ is hard.
I don’t want it to be hard. Jesus said “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ I took that to mean that the life lived by faith in Christ would be easy. But a few persecution and a few hardships have caused me to rethink what Jesus said. Now, I know that Jesus meant that He doesn’t load people down with baggage. No runner carries anything extra, but that doesn’t mean that a race is easy.
D. There are two forces that work against your willingness to live by faith in Christ. One force is external, it is the opposition by people who don’t have faith in Christ, and will act to prevent you from sharing it. The other force is internal, it is your own will that has no desire to submit to the will of God. That internal resistance says two things whenever it is confronted by the Will of God:
1. “I don’t feel like it.”
2. “I don’t want to.”
That internal force also speaks up when something self-gratifying becomes available:
“I want to, I need to…”
That internal voice will never lead you into God’s will for you until it has been tamed. That voice that personal will cannot be tamed unless someone brings it under control. We call the process of taming the will and bringing it under God’s control “discipline.”
All people need godly discipline. If anyone didn’t need it, children wouldn’t need parents because they would have the ability to bring themselves under control. But, you know that they can’t. They need a disciplined upbringing.
E. Believers need Godly discipline, too. When we speak of discipline, we meant (from verses 5 & 6):
1. Tutelage or mentorship: The discipline of being taught and trained on an individual basis. Sunday School, Royal Rangers, Missionettes, etc.
2. Rebuke: That part of discipline where someone of recognized wisdom and authority that points out where you are wrong. It is not, “I rebuke you…”
3. Punishment: The traditional spanking or other non-destructive form of trauma. It is used to associate willful with rebellion with pain.
God uses all three forms of discipline to conform His followers to His will. Discipline is rarely easy, but it is always for your own good.
Proposition: God disciplines everyone He accepts as His own children.
Interrogative: What is Godly discipline supposed to do for the people the Lord has saved?
Transition: First of all, Godly discipline establishes the proper relationship between God and those He has saved.
I. God uses discipline to make people true children.
A. It is God’s purpose to adopt people as His own daughters and sons.
“Yet to all who received Him (Jesus), to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God---children born not of natural descent nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1: 12-13, NIV)