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Summary: Part 12 of our Hebrews series

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Hebrews – Encouragement for a life of faith

Part 12

“That’s three”

Bring kids us and give them play-do

Ask them to make something – animals, people etc…

Talk about molding the clay

The topic of today’s message as we continue with our study of Hebrews is discipline and how God uses discipline in our lives in order to mold us into what he wants us to be

Let me start out with a story

There was a man named Johnson who lived high up in the mountains

He had lived there many years alone

He made his living as a logger

And had a really nice team of matched black geldings that he would transport his logs out of the woods with

These horses were known far and wide as the best of the best

One year the town down in the valley had a contest to see who had the best work horses in the area

The man after much prodding by his friends and neighbors decided to go down into town and give it a try

The team of blacks lived up to their reputation

There we no other teams at the contest that day that could hold a candle to Johnsons

After the contest

Johnson collected the prize money and decided to stick around town for a few days to celebrate

While eating at a local restaurant he met a woman and after many hours of talking

They fell in love

They were quickly married

And in a few days

They loaded all of her possessions into his wagon and began making the trip back into the mountains to start their new life together

After a short time on the trail

The horse on the right stumbled

He calmly said “That’s one”

A while later

The same horse stumbled again

Less calmly this time

He said

“That’s two”

A while later the same horse stumbled again and he said

“That’s three”

And took his Winchester out of its scabbard and promptly shot the horse

Killing him dead right there in the road

As he was getting down to unhitch the dead horse

His new wife was beside herself

She said

Are you crazy?

Are you insane?

You have the best matched team in the whole area

They just won you prize money and notoriety

Everyone would love to own a team like this

And you shot him for stumbling

He calmly looked at his new wife

Place the rifle back in it’s scabbard

And said

“That’s one”

-----Pause

I would have to say

The man in this story dished out punishment

Not discipline

He was not molding the horse

Punishment according to Webster’s dictionary is

“The infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense.”

I feel safe in saying that Johnson imposed a penalty on the horse”

Many in our world today want to think of the discipline of God as the punishment of God for wrong doing

Let me clarify this

We all deserve punishment

We are all sinners

And the punishment for sin

All sin is death

That is eternal separation from God

In common terms that means the punishment for sin is Hell

But

If we are believers in Christ

He took the punishment for our sins

He gave his life on the cross to forgive us

So if discipline is not punishment

What is it?

Let’s go back to Webster’s and see what he says about discipline

One of a few definitions is

“training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character”

Does discipline sometime involve punishment?

Yes

But the purpose of discipline is to teach – train

Improve

Mold us into the image of Christ

We been studying Hebrews for several weeks now

Our writer has given us a rundown of just a few of the great names of faith in our lineage as Christians

He has shown us how we

Like they

Can be great men and women of faith when we keep our eyes on Jesus

He showed us how these men and women

And all the believers who have come before us

Are witnesses to us

By the fact that

He shows us How by the fact that

They finished the race

That they kept the faith

Sometimes

In the face of sometimes harsh opposition

In spite of times of despair

Often in times of fear, uncertainty and sorrow

That if they can do it

We can do it

Let me read Hebrews 12:1-4 for you again today

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[a] Because of the joy[b] awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;[c] then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

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