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Summary: God's discipline is a incredible blessing, not a negative but proof of His love!

Concordia Lutheran Church

August 22, 2010

His Presence Provides Stability

Hebrews 12:4-29

† In Jesus Name †

May the grace, the merciful love and peace of God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ be poured out on you, as the Holy Spirit guides your daily walk in God’s kingdom!!

The Parable of the Museum Journey

We start our look at the reading from Hebrews this morning, I would start with a pastor parker parable. This one compares the Kingdom of God and specifically our relationship with God, to a Day at the Museum, shared by a Father and a son.

The young man, age 8 or 9, is woken up by his father on a Saturday morning with the news – its time- we need to get going! The young man looks at his clock, groans, and rolls over. The dad’s voice echoes down the hall – come on – let’s go – the museum opens at 10.

Museum? Really dad? We are getting up at 830 on a Saturday so we can go to a museum? Can’t I just stay home? It’s going to be so boring, I hate museums, their boring and full of old people and weird paintings and… and… and..

Being as minimally obedient as possible, the boy starts to get dressed, and then gets distract by his set of toy soldiers, or perhaps grabs his ball and glove, and dreams of the soon coming day when the local field is clear of snow. Any idea of museum is completely gone from the daydreaming mind, until the steps are heard coming down the hall…

If you get moving, we’ll have a good time, I promise, and on the way home we’ll stop at the ice cream place…

Reluctantly, lethargically, the boy gets up, and gets in the car, moping the entire way. But the day will be a phenomenal day, for the boy overlooks something very simple. His dad knows him, and loves him.

Here ends the parable! Except of course, like all parables, it needs some explanation. The simple part is who is who. God is the Father, each of and every person is the son. The parable will demonstrate that being in the presence of God provides and incredible amount of stability, and indeed, the kind of awe found in museums of all types.

The Sinai Museum Assumption

Place of Awe and Inspiration

Don’t ask

Discipline is harsh and prevents damage

High level penalties

But the Assumption is wrong!

As we think about a museum, we think things like the words applied to Israel on Mount Zion, as told in our Hebrews reading. As I read them, it sounded like the warnings I would get if I were a child visiting the Getty. Look at the description in verse 18.

18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”

The place is a place you cannot touch anything, if you do loud alarms will go off and the officers will come and get you and with voices louder than a trumpet they will make you wish you never touched anything, or heard of the place! Stoning might be preferable if I knocked over that fancy looking statue without arms, or if I spilled my strawberry shake over that funny blurry painting. I can still imagine the words, “Wait til your get home, young man!”

I think we sometimes view our lives as Christians in the same way. As if the commandments are don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t touch this, don’t eat that, as if the problem is that we will somehow destroy God’s creation. When we hear the word “discipline”, we come to think of it as the Drill Sergeant or mean Martial Art’s instructor who beats us into submission. In that mode of discipline, salvation is reduced from being God’s artwork, to a mass production line of the same item, or perhaps 12 different items that form a package.

I think this is a lot of how non-Christians perceive God, and those of us who claim to follow him. In that mode, God is someone to be in awe of, but that awe is based in seeing Him as the taskmaster, as the disciplinarian, as the wielder of the great paddle of life. But that is not who God has revealed himself to be, it is a conception of mankind, that wasn’t even true at Sinai. We have created another god, and worship him in fear of retribution. We become reactionary and defensive, like the child whose waiting to get scolded. Our view of who we really are in relationship with God is warped, because we aren’t looking to God as He revealed himself, but as though his goal was to produce perfect, holy, righteous clones. The god we create replaces the God of the Old Testament, who refers to Himself continually as I AM Who loves you.

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