#7 (THE "WITHOUT" SERIES)
"WITHOUT DISCIPLINE, YOU ARE NOT SONS!"
TEXT: Hebrews 12:1-13
INTRO: A woman one day was sitting on a park bench when she noticed two boys engaged in a terrible fight. They were both equally bad, shouting and hitting each other. Suddenly from somewhere nearby a man appeared and he grabbed one of the boys and began to spank him while he ignored the other boy. The observing bystander got up and approached the man indignantly and asked, "Why are you punishing the one boy while ignoring the other one?" The man replied, "This one is my son, the other is not!" The other boy was not his concern, and it was not his hatred that prompted his discipline upon his son, it was his love! If he had truly hated his son he would have done nothing, he would have ignored him! Love challenges wrong, and when we do wrong. God will indeed challenge us or more properly discipline us!
When we are disciplined by a loving heavenly father it is to restore us and to teach us how to walk, it is ALWAYS REDEMPTIVE, never destructive!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that God disciplines those He loves, and that His discipline is always redemptive in nature, discipline from God is a sign of His love for us no matter how painful it is at the moment!
I. SELF DISCIPLINE 12:1-3
A. Excesses 12:1
1. This section begins with an analogy equating the Christian life to that of a race, probably like those in the Greek Olympics.
a. The writer mentions the "great cloud of witnesses" that surrounds us!
b. These are the saints who have left a good testimony for us to follow, their examples serve us well!
c. The fact that they lived well as examples should spur us on to follow their example.
2. The reference to athletes who run in a race requires the reader to understand the call to self discipline!
a. No man who has become an athlete has ignored self discipline, at least no successful ones!
b. The very nature of being a runner requires strict self discipline!
3. Notice the author’s reference here to "throwing off everything that hinders."
a. The original Greek word used here in athletic terms of that day meant, "Bulk body weight or fat!" It was the call to shed excess pounds! (Some things never change!)
b. Any athlete can tell you how your performance can be hurt by having excess fat, it becomes necessary to trim down or change the fat to muscle in order to really compete well!
4. Or the term might refer to the practice of "throwing off excess garments" in order to run unencumbered!
a. Extra clothing would only slow down a runner!
b. Shedding any unnecessary baggage was also important to doing well in a race! Today’s runners wear as little as possible and have outfits that fit tightly to the body and are so slick for the wind to move right around them without resistance.
c. The meaning is clear: “get rid of anything that is unnecessary if you want to win the race!”
5. The "sin that so easily besets us" may be referring to the temptation to slack off of discipline!
a. The vast majority of our failures come from undisciplined responses and undisciplined life choices.
b. We get into trouble every time we respond by impulse rather than by instruction and discipline.
c. How many times have people made promises of weight loss on New Year’s Eve, but through the failure to discipline their life following the New Year never see the reality of those shed pounds?
ILLUS: IT WAS
ALMOST WHEN THE
PHONE RANG IN DR. LEO WINTERS HOME IN
6. Running the race of Christianity requires self discipline, you will note that one of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit is "self-control" (see Gal. )
7. Notice too the reference to "run with perseverance," a clear reference that the race is not a short sprint ... it is the long haul of a "marathon!"
a. This really requires self-discipline!
b. A short sprint might not require as much discipline but a marathon definitely does!
8. A good runner has to know what the excesses are and be prepared to shed them in order to compete well!
a. This is one of the problems with many Christians today, they approach Christianity like entertainment, they think they only have to observe it, not participate in it … they are merely spectators in worship services and not runners in the race!
b. “Couch Potato Christianity” will not work in kingdom building!
B. Endurance 12:2-3
1. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus" continues the “running” metaphor, a runner often "fixed" their gaze on the goal line as they ran so as not to be distracted and thus lose momentum or get drawn off a straight line and thus have to run farther than necessary!
a. We must be careful to keep our focus on the goal too, that goal is Jesus and nothing else!
b. If we get sidetracked by looking at too much around us we might veer off course or lose our pacing … or run side paths that wear us out before we get back on the right path again!
2. Notice here the reference to Christ's example, He kept his eyes on a goal too … He endured the cross knowing the outcome would be our salvation, the goal He had in mind for us … and nothing sidetracked Him from that goal!
3. With your eyes fixed on the goal you will not give up until you arrive there!
a. This is the "endurance" factor!
b. We run toward what we fix our eyes on!
c. We can endure anything that comes our way if we are focused on Christ!
4. Endurance is a product of self-discipline!
5. God will be with those who discipline themselves and not give up ... we will endure the greatest of trials and come through if we don’t lose sight of the goal!
ILLUS: IN THE
HISTORY TEXTBOOKS USED IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM BEFORE 1934 THERE IS A
WONDERFUL STORY RECOUNTED ABOUT GEORGE WASHINGTON'S LEADERSHIP AND TRUST IN
II. SAVIOR'S DISCIPLINE 12:4-11
A. Encouragement 12:4-10
1. No matter how tough the struggle, if we haven't died there is still hope!
2. Even when we sense God's disciplining hand upon us we should be encouraged by this, for it shows our ownership by God that we are His sons and daughters!
a. It means God notices us and loves us, that He is ever watchful and cares!
b. It means He wants something better for us than to just let us live out a selfish life that will leave us empty in the end!
3. Therefore, we should not lose heart or faint when being disciplined, God will never go too far in His discipline as some earthly fathers might do!
a. His action of discipline in our lives is always redemptive!
b. In verse 6 the word "punishes" in the Greek is literally, "to whip!" … discipline can certainly be painful!!!
c. When it is painful however it is still redemptive, it will bring healing IF we submit to it!
4. This really should be encouraging to know, that God will direct us to walk "In paths of righteousness for his name's sake."
a. David experienced God’s discipline but he was not crushed by it, it was used by God to restore David to being the right kind of man and king.
b. Saul might have had a better ending too had he submitted to God's discipline like David … but he refused!
5. We learned to respect our earthly parents when they disciplined us, we knew they cared for us, how much more our attitude toward God should be!
a. God's use of discipline is to bring about good in our lives.
b. He teaches us "self discipline" and promotes godliness in our lives.
6. Though times of discipline seem heavy they are in God's hand a helpful tool!
ILLUS: DR. LAMBIE,
A MEDICAL MISSIONARY WAS MINISTERING IN A PART OF
1. Discipline "trains" us! It teaches us what is proper and what is not!
2. One of the main goals of discipline is to teach!
a. Here the writer says it produces a "harvest of righteousness and peace."
b. Discipline sharpens our focus ... what to do, what not to do!
c. Sometimes the lessons of life are not learned in any other way!
3. Discipline with children is used to teach them what is right and what is wrong, all this designed to protect them later in life, to teach them to make decisions that will add to their life and not destroy it!
4. Discipline is one of the most important educational tools we have in society, any society that removes punishment will quickly become a sick society!
5. No one ever achieved greatness without experiencing discipline!
6. Life choices are full of consequences, good and bad, discipline helps steer someone toward making the right choices that bring life, not death!
7. This is God's primary goal in giving discipline to erring children, to teach and guide! God is never unfair!
8. God tests us and tries us so that the world can have godly examples to notice and so the world can witness the strength of righteousness!
ILLUS: BEFORE A BRIDGE IS BUILT TO CARRY THOUSANDS OF OTHERS THE STEEL "MEMBERS" ARE TESTED, THEY ARE PUT THROUGH ALL KINDS OF TESTS TO CHECK THEIR STRENGTH. THEY ARE PULLED UNTIL THEY SNAP, TO KNOW THE LIMIT OF THEIR STRENGTH THEY ARE TWISTED TO SEE HOW MUCH THEY CAN TAKE BEFORE TWISTING APART. PARTS ARE CRUSHED TO SEE WHAT THE LOAD LIMITS ARE, ALL THIS SO THAT WHEN THEY ARE COMBINED INTO A BRIDGE THOSE WHO TRAVEL OVER IT CAN HAVE CONFIDENCE THAT THE BRIDGE WILL NOT COLLAPSE. GOD DISCIPLINES HIS CHILDREN TO MAKE US STRONG SO THAT IN SOCIETY THERE IS A WITNESS THAT IS SAFE FOR THE WORLD TO TRAVEL OVER! -- Source Unknown
III. SOCIETY & DISCIPLINE -13
A. Examples -13a
1. This brings us to the final two verses here, the need of our example for others!
a. The call is for us to "strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees."
b. Certainly an issue for a runner in a race!!
c. In other words, get stronger, don’t be crushed by discipline, there is a need for our society to have strong examples in it!
2. If we as God's people act undisciplined how can we expect the world to be strong or take our walk with God seriously! The last part of verse 13 gives the reason for “strengthening our feeble arms and weak knees” -- so that others don't stumble!
a. We must demonstrate to the world the right kind of example.
b. We must respond ourselves correctly or we will have no voice in calling the world to repent and be restored!
c. The world will not be won to Christ by just how excited we are about God, it will be by how well we are disciplined examples of Christ!
3. Notice the call here in verse 13: "make level paths for your feet."
a. We would be better off focusing on our crookedness than on the world’s!
b. If we make straight paths for ourselves we will mark out a path for others to follow!
c. Discipline is required to get anywhere in life!
B. Enabled! 12:13b
1. Notice why we are to make level paths for our own feet? …“so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
a. If we don't do it in our own lives we can't expect the world which is sick and lame by sin to be able to do it!
b. If we fail as Christians to live disciplined godly lives we will disable an already lame world from ever being able to walk straight or correctly!
2. Crooked people on a crooked path can't walk a straight line much less run one!!!!
3. God will hold us accountable for the example we give the world, we are His sons and daughters, He expects us to walk straight and to leave a straight path for the lame to see and follow!
ILLUS: WE MUSTN'T BE LIKE THE FATHER WHO CAME HOME AND FOUND OUT HIS WIFE HAD SENT THEIR SON TO HIS ROOM FOR CURSING AND ON THE WAY UP TO PUNISH HIM FURTHER HE TRIPPED ON THE TOP STEP AND BEGAN TO CURSE AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS. BEFORE HE ENTERED HIS SON'S ROOM HIS WIFE CALLED UP AND SAID, "YOU'D BETTER COME DOWN NOW, HE'S HAD ENOUGH FOR HIS LESSON!" -- Source Unknown
4. The best way to help the world is by our example!
CONCLUSION: The goal of spirituality is not just to feel marvelous, it is to foster maturity! Discipline may not be something we feel like shouting "hallelujah" over but it produces more fruit in our lives than a "spine tingling" experience often does! God loves us too much to let us do anything we want! He saved us from sin and also from self! The only time discipline is bad for us is when we reject it and fail to submit to it! Real love corrects, not just caresses! "WITHOUT DISCIPLINE, WE ARE NOT SONS!"