Hebrews is written to a bunch of second generation, Jewish-background believers in Jesus, who all have a pushy Jewish grandmother.And the clear, radical, exciting days of their community of Jewish Christian converts has passed away.These people learned their Christianity from their parents, being raised in (Jewish) Christian homes, and now stoked by their grannies and their aunties the old ways in Judaism have a very strong appeal and are threatening to draw them back to a less godly past.And in that setting the author of the letter to the Hebrews has been trying for 10 chapters to show them Jesus is ‘better’ and then (for two probably chapters now) to show them that the old ways were actually faith saved ways.But what is faith?He started with that!
A lot of man-made religion relies on things you can see, touch and eat … eat ALWAYS goes down well, doesn’t it?!But faith is (like Abraham did as he set out from Ur at the beginning of the history of the OT people of God) being confident about what we HOPE for (but do not hold in our hands) and assured about what we do not see.THAT, says Hebrews, is what the ancients … Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses … Yes, THAT is what THEY were commended for.And worse than not having all the visible ‘in your hand’, ‘before your eyes’ stuff from the old ways in the old religion of Judaism … worse than that what they DO see in their current experience of following Jesus, the crucified Messiah, is that life following the despised and rejected figure of Isaiah 53 is leaving them also feeling battered, bruised and crushed.If they just turned back life would be more comfortable.Against THAT setting and context Hebrews teaches a far better way … the experience of sons and daughters of the Living God.What does it look like?Less wilderness and more cakes and ice cream?All cakes and ice cream is utterly neglectful parenting … the hallmark of the parent that DOESN’T love you!No, it was to the Wilderness that God took Israel to bless her and to draw her to Himself.Under the good hand of God it is PRECISELY the Valley of Achor that becomes the door of hope …
There are four basic things being said here:Resisting sin hasn’t cost YOU blood … the way Hebrews (e.g. ch. 10) has been telling us that it cost Jesus, v. 4bThe Bible says discipline is privilege, vv. 5-8 (but don’t waste the experience by not paying it proper attention or by losing heart because of it)We loved our fathers for giving us this privilege, vv. 9-10 (but God does it better!)It just (realistically) isn’t nice at the time (v. 11)That leaves us with the big question:v) How do we make sure that we will grow in it not be crushed by it?But underlying this is the assumption we need discipline!
‘Discipline’ is a word that definitely means different things in different contexts … across the full sweep of the moral spectrum.What is Hebrews getting at here?The Greek word being used here is παιδεία …There are three contexts in which this word gets used Biblically:
‘Discipline’ is a word that definitely means different things in different contexts … across the full sweep of the moral spectrum.What is Hebrews getting at here?The Greek word being used here is παιδεία …There are three contexts in which this word gets used Biblically:To provide instruction with the intention of forming proper habits of behaviour.The νουθετεω word group focuses on instruction as to what constitutes correct behaviour.The εντρεφω word group appears to focus on more continuous instruction and training in areas of skill and practical knowledge.But THIS word here focuses on FORMING proper habits of behaviour.
When it’s used in this context this word is about training someone in accordance with proper rules of conduct … with the emphasis on training them up into right conduct.In Eph. 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”It’s that idea of taking a young life and making something good of it by firm handling and direction into right ways of living.It’s not necessarily hard beatings and tickings off … but as we’ll see they are there if they’re needed!
“… to punish for the purpose of improved behaviour” (Louw & Nida).This is clearly the way the word is used in 12:11 … “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”Here’s the thing.If your assessment of your own human nature is that you are a sinful human being who does Not make the right choices naturally … and that is the Christian position (Romans 1-3 is all about that, and it comes to a head in 3:23 “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”) … then you don’t have a problem with this use of the word!We do wrong stuff.So punishment is not a taboo subject!Now, MINDLESS punishment would be an outrage.Punishment with no thought of the interests of its subject … mere violence against the person.Punishment without wisdom, punishment without LOVE is really, really counter-productive.But this use of Παιδείαis not that.If it were we’d have something to complain about.This is the sort of punishment of that which is wilful and harmful that is administered by a loving father in the interests of the growth into maturity of his imperfect, naturally wayward and disorderly son.So here’s the first thing to learn from this passage, then …
When we take them to God, the hardships we encounter are the means towards our (non-natural) perfection.There is nothing like walking with God through real tough times (awkward and uncomfortable as that feels) to learn to walk really closely with Him.And we need to learn to do that because the way we were born is not perfect!
We need instructing and training because we’re not born like we ought to be.We need work.And it doesn’t just automatically get better with the passage of time.
Experience on its own is not what automatically improves us.Firstly, wisdom grows OUT of experience but isn’t it’s automatic outcome.It’s been said frequently that there’s a great deal of difference between having 30 yrs. experience and having one years experience thirty times over.Secondly, wisdom to live for God finds its ultimate source in God, so if we’re to have our experience lead us into that wisdom, we need it to take us to God if we’re to find it!We need Biblically to get this wisdom for life from outside us … not least because …
Our gut reactions don’t always do the best of jobs for us.Now, it’s a good job (being like this) we have guidance!
This is not some impersonal process here …
Some of the godliest people that I’ve ever known are the people who’ve had hard times … But it isn’t just that.They’ve had hard times and taken them to Jesus.More than that.It’s living those hard times through looking for God’s way to get through it.How does this work?Following Christ isn’t intuitive.‘Yeah, I’m a Christian, I believe … I’m just so busy’Or ‘I’ve got s lot on at the moment’.‘I ought to take more time to read my Bible, but my bus goes so early, my work is so demanding, the children are young …’We find it easy to take our eye off the ball … don’t we?We lose our focus.We lose our sense of our human weakness and inability, the importance and the urgency of prioritising our relationship with Christ … our walk with God.Life gets comfortable – even easy - other things barge in, take up the time and demand priority.And sometimes only hard experience brings us back to our senses, renews our dependence on the Lord, gets us back into training for godliness.With a little temporary affliction needed to rekindle our relationship with God, and eternity hanging upon its renewal … a loving Heavenly Father doesn’t flunk out on discipline.So here comes the conclusion Hebrews draws for those of us who are feeling the impact of such discipline …
The discipline of a loving heavenly Father that comes along as hardship doesn’t do its job unless you use it as its intended to get stronger through letting it take you to renewed spiritual exercise.How do you strengthen weak arms and knees?Exercise!Now, I’m getting to the point where physical exercise needs to be fairly gentle, and greater care needs to be taken that it doesn’t get disabling.I’ve been carrying a lot more because it’s lambing time, in and out of the sheds carrying stuff, over fences and gates … gradually strengthening up and managing more … and it’s a time of year to be sure you get breakfast, and stop for lunch, and eat enough protein and good carbohydrate.You’ve got to STRENGTHEN those arms and those knees … you need to be working the muscle to do that, but you also need to be looking after yourself and feeding them properly.Then working hard and fast one morning I went over a gate at the start of the week the way I used to do the job when I was twenty.Mistake.The knee had been feeling the pressure, but when the pressure got too much … well, I’ve been nursing it for the rest of the week!Hardship strengthens if we’re renewing ourselves in relationship with God, but you have to determinedly, consciously use that experience to do that … STRENGTHEN those weaknesses.CLEAR your path in a disciplined, prayerful, thoughtful pattern … otherwise the pain of that hard experience is wasted, and the benefit that it should bring us is lost.Worse.You could be spiritually maimed by it … a complete frustration of its proper purpose.
Discipline hebrews 12 v 7
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for … Hebrews 11:1
Hebrews 12:4-11In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point ofshedding your blood.5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement thataddresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are notdisciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are notlegitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all hadhuman fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How muchmore should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplinedus for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for ourgood, in order that we may share in his holiness.11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however,it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have beentrained by it.
What is THIS discipline?Παιδεία1. Instruction2. Discipline
What is THIS discipline?Παιδεία1. Instruction2. Discipline3. Punishment
Hebrews 12:7• Introduction• WE NEED discipline
Hebrews 12:7• Introduction• WE NEED discipline – NOT born perfect
Hebrews 12:7• Introduction• WE NEED discipline – NOT born perfect – EXPERIENCE doesn’t automatically improve
Hebrews 12:7• Introduction• WE NEED discipline – NOT born perfect – EXPERIENCE doesn’t automatically improve – Gut reactions don’t do many favours
Hebrews 12:7• Introduction• WE NEED discipline• We have a PROPER Father
Hebrews 12:7• Introduction• WE NEED discipline• We have a PROPER Father – Loves
Hebrews 12:7• Introduction• WE NEED discipline• We have a PROPER Father – Loves – Disciplines (corrects and trains)
Hebrews 12:7• Introduction• WE NEED discipline• We have a PROPER Father – Loves – Disciplines (corrects and trains) – Wisely
Hebrews 12:7• Introduction• WE NEED discipline• We have a PROPER Father – Loves – Disciplines (corrects and trains) – Wisely – In our interest
Hebrews 12:7• Introduction• WE NEED discipline• We have a PROPER Father• Hard experience chastens us
Hebrews 12:7• Introduction• WE NEED discipline• We have a PROPER Father• Hard experience can IMPROVE us• Conclusion:“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weakknees.13 “Make level paths for your feet,”so that the lame may not be disabled, but ratherhealed.”