If you are visiting for the first time, I don’t recommend you read this blog. As a church we are still in dialogue about this tough Biblical subject – discipline. But for the sake of reflection and further dialogue I am posting some evolving thoughts which are edited from a recent sermon…
We all agree, discipline hurts. Nobody wants it for themselves. But discipline also trains us. And if we learn from the LORD’s discipline we will have a harvest, we’ll reap peace and righteousness.
Remember, God has good plans for you! Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
So in getting ready for this talk, I believe God led me to the dictionary. Here is what my research came upon. Oxford Dictionary has experts pick a word of the year. What was the word for 2016? “Post-truth”. They believed post-truth best describes our current culture. People now define truth by feelings and not facts. “Alternative facts” replace actual facts, as feelings and beliefs have more weight than evidence.
Given those observations how do you reach out to this generation as a church? Talking about God’s discipline is a foreign language if we highlight standards. For God to discipline someone for Biblical wrong-doing seems intolerant or vindictive now. Therefore, how do we share our faith? In our post-truth era, we can’t ignore feelings. They drive people’s truth dialogue these days.
So this is where the dialogue about God’s discipline gets tough. It doesn’t seem that long ago that sermons about God’s discipline were tolerated. Times have changed. Sermons about sin have significant pushback. God’s standards are resisted even in the church.
Now step outside into the wider culture. If you were to ask a random person in the community about God’s discipline, what do you think some would say? …To speak of God’s discipline seems intolerant. Times have changed.
Now the Bible is full of stories and teachings about God disciplining his children. What are we to do with the Bible? Blot out? Rip out? Throw out? Selective readings? What is truth now?
I felt God was asking me to share about discipline because sometimes we go through tough times because God is disciplining us (Hebrews 12:7). Not all the time. But sometimes we suffer because we are being disciplined. You may feel your own emotions rising as you read that, so look within before you decide to exit.
God loves us so much that God didn’t leave us to our own impulses (1 Corinthians 3:3). He cares so much about you finding life that he died on the cross, without asking your opinion, without asking you to change before he did it, because God wanted to demonstrate and prove his love to you (Romans 5:8)! God came near to make this possible. He doesn’t judge from afar but with love in his eyes,and blood on his brow, he takes the weight of your sins on himself! And he offers his love to all who will receive it (John 3:16). But don’t be mistaken, love holds hands with discipline.
Hebrews 12:6 says “the Lord disciplines the one he loves.” Jesus says it again in the last book of the Bible, Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” You are loved! Even if you made a decision that you regret, and the consequences are painful, remember God never intended you to carry that weight alone! God loves you!
Hebrews 12:11: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousnessand peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Discipline trains us & develops character. We all know it’s painful. But when God disciplines us, it is driven by love to transform us. Good days of peace and righteousness are coming! Amen?
So if you find yourself in difficult times, don’t get bent out of shape, but embrace it as an opportunity to grow! God may be trying to do a work of character development in you! So be earnest and repent. Change your direction! Learn from your mistakes and enter God’s abundant life (John 10:10)! Love and peace are yours.
1. God disciplines those he loves.
2. Grow in character and your peace will increase.
3. Rediscover the fear of the LORD.
Hebrews 12:28 “Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”