Summary: Sermon 24 in a study in HEBREWS
“and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; 6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” NASB
There are some things that have to be considered and understood before we go into the verses of our text today, otherwise we will not begin on the correct path and we will miss the point altogether.
The first thing that must be considered is that the author has been encouraging his readers to follow the example of manifested faith that those who have gone before left for us. He has called us to run this faith race, as it were, with endurance, looking always to Jesus. Remember that we talked about the implication of the wording which was that we were to look away from all else. Look away! Look away and do not be distracted. Fix your eyes on Jesus, and put your faith into action in your life.
The next thing to consider and the most important thing, really, is that Jesus has gone before us all. He comes before all of these people listed in the eleventh chapter; before anyone who has ever lived. He is preeminent.
And the writer says that this Jesus who, again according to verse 3 of chapter 12 we are to consider carefully, has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself that he endured the cross despising its shame and has sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
What I want to highlight for you here, is that he is telling us to do this – to consider Jesus in this regard, in light of all that He endured, all that He suffered, as a source of encouragement for ourselves so that we too will endure and not lose heart.
Now we have to keep this in mind as we go on because we’re going to be talking about discipline that comes to us from God, and it is when we forget that we are following the One who suffered so much for us, more really than He will ever ask any one of us to suffer, it is when we forget that that we begin to think our trials are too difficult and God too harsh, and we turn back to the sin of accusing Him of not caring enough for us – whether that accusation is made with words or just in our responses and reactions to life.
This is why the author of this letter reminds us that we have not yet resisted sin to the point of shedding blood. What does he mean by that? He means that no one of Adam’s race has ever resisted temptation with such resolve and such holy vigor that they have actually shed blood as Christ did in the garden on the night He was betrayed.
No one has ever fought that hard against the temptation to disobey God that they’ve strained out sweat drops of blood. Therefore the writer is saying, look carefully at this example of Christ your head, and continue to endure.
His message here is complemented by Peter’s words in his first letter, and although it’s a long passage to include which is not our primary text, I want to read it for you prior to going farther down our road.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” 1 Pet 4:12-19
Peter is saying that we should not be surprised that we need the fire of trials in our life to continue the sanctifying process in us. And he is saying that judgment must begin at the household of God, and his message to us there, in brief, is that God will make His own house holy before He passes judgment on those who rejected holiness. Then he ends by saying that those who suffer according to the will of God have entrusted their souls to Him as their Creator, to do what is right and best for them.