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

For instances:

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.

This is Father’s Day.

Ephesians 6:1-3: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Parents, we want it to go well for our children on this earth so we can help in this process. If we discipline our children, there is a good chance they will honor us. If we don’t there is a good chance they will not honor us or anyone in authority.

A child who does not learn subjection to authority will never become a useful, mature adult. If they don’t respect us, then who will they respect?

Parents disciplined the best they could. Vs. 10- Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best.

The best thing we can do this Father’s Day is to forgive our fathers. They did the best they could. Earthly parents are imperfect! Being human, they let their humanity get in the way.

Ephesians 6:4: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

God the Father to His Children

God disciplines us as His children. Vs. 7- Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.

1 John 3:1: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

John 1:12-13: Yet to all who received him, 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. Give Plan of salvation

This being the case, God disciplines His children. God does correct His own children. God does teach his own children through a various ways.

Revelation 3:19: Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

We must respect and submit to the Father because of His discipline and in the midst of His discipline. Vs. 9- How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!

If we submitted to earthly parents, how much more, Christian, should we submit to our Heavenly Father. When we submit to Him and accept his discipline, we have life!

When a man praises discipline, 9 times out of 10 this means he is prepared to administer it rather than submit to it.

God is in charge. We can look at our situations and conclude that God simply doesn’t care. If we will only take the time to reflect on how our own parents disciplined us then we can see that discipline is not fun, but it does serve a purpose in shaping us.

Want to make life miserable, just complain, “I don’t deserve this, I’m better than this, there is nothing profitable to learn from these trails.”

Someone once said that when God disciplines, He speaks through our conscience, but if we won't listen He uses people - and if we still won't listen He uses the circumstances of life - usually unpleasant ones.

Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.

God’s discipline is perfect. Vs. 10- But God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.

Unlike our parents, God the Father’s discipline is perfect.

James 1:2-4: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. “Holiness”

So What?

Everyone undergoes discipline- Vs. 8. Don’t think that we have moved beyond this.

Many ways to view life here as a Christian:

1) Some view it as a cruise ship. Our every whim is going to be supplied. The captain will make sure of it. If this is our view of the Christian life we are going to be disappointed.

2) Some view the Christian life as basic training or boot camp. God is our drill instructor and he is constantly in our face telling us to drop and do 20. Not quite the way it is. Will not have as much disappointment as #1 but all of life is not designed to be so hard.

3) As we look at these verses, we need to think of life the way it was when we were teenagers. While we were teens, we couldn't wait to move out from our parent's house and doing our own thing. However, in God’s eyes, we are under his discipline our whole life. We are his children. We will never be removed from his care and direction. Not a bad thing.

We don’t endure these things without feeling or compassion. Vs. 11- No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.

Need to be with those who are suffering- Romans 12:15: Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

God does see and is touched by our suffering. Exodus 3:7: The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.

Vs. 11- Later on... Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.