Lecture 12 Exposition of Hebrews 12

Submitting to Discipline

Turn to Hebrews 12:5-11

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Set out to work on the book, saw page 5 on Hebrews 12. Decided just do Heb. 12, since I’m teaching Hebrews this summer for the college. And it’ll feel like we’re not talking about chastisement for sin. Bottom of pg.4. So this lesson will be more of a contextual exercise, then a huge blessing on confession! Sorry!

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Major Question Today: Is the chastening of Heb. 12 a consequence of your individual sinning against the Lord? What is the chastening of Heb. 12?

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I had every intention getting into this passage and believing that my personal sin is the reason for the chastening; I always assumed that it was. But is it?!?!?

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Read Hebrews 12:1-11

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Introduction: One of the great purposes of the book is to encourage believers to persevere. They were tempted to revert back to Judaism due to persecution.

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(first show them the persecution, then the faith/endurance)

Look at 10:32-39 into Heb. 11, then into ch. 12:1 (Jesus is considered, then vv.3-4). So the main struggle under discussion is persecution. What was the author’s concern about how they respond, ch. 10:36, 39 (faith which is the endurance, it seems)

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To encourage their perseverance, the author of Hebrews forces them to take a long look at men and women of faith in the previous chapter. Those in Hebrews 11 had to endure chastening to get to the level of maturity that they reached (see 11:32-40). Now the recipients of this letter must endure, too. The heroes of faith from Hebrews 11 are their mentors of patient endurance during persecution.

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Now, ch. 12:1, you endure like they did. So the historical context and the literary context of the book is one of persecution for their faith.

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So, what is the chastening/discipline of this chapter? Well, let’s just look at it.

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Lesson Proper

Chasten or similar terminology is used several times from verses 5 to 11. Note them together.

5: chastening, rebuked (pointing out someone’s error)

6: chasteneth, scourgeth (whipping, Jesus, John 19:1 –discipline is painful.)

7: chastening, chasteneth

8: chastisement,

9: corrected (lit., “we had our earthly fathers as discipliners”, a noun. So, one who tweaks someone’s course)

10: chastened

11: chastening, exercised?

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*What do you think of when you think of chastening?

It’s not punishment just for the sake of treating someone harshly b/c they did something wrong, but rather it’s discipline for the purpose of further training or for correcting wrong behaviour and attempting to make it right. We see this in child-rearing.

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In fact, the term ‘chastening’ in this passage has as its root word, child.  It means to train someone into a mature person, to bring them up with training and instruction in righteousness, as well as correction, discipline and punishment of wrongs.

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The term does not just refer to getting a spanking, either. It describes the whole process of raising up a child. It refers to the upbringing and handling of the child, to raise their level of maturity. The child needs direction, teaching, instruction and a certain measure of compulsion at times.

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And it’s not just in the term itself, it’s also in the context. Notice how the Lord compares spiritual growth to child training:

verse 5: “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children …” And then he quotes from Proverbs 3:11-12. And what are the first two words in that text? “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth (and how does God do that?); even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Verse 7: “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons.”

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So this chastening or discipline is spiritual child-training for believers.

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******So, if it’s not just spanking, what are we talking about when we talk about the discipline of the Lord?  Apart from the context, what can discipline from the Lord include? If it is spanking?  

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*******What’s the difference between my difficult circumstance and the difficult circumstance of the atheist? If I lose $1000 in a foolish business transaction and he does too, we both ‘won’t do that again.’

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Do I gain something that he doesn’t (of course!)? What makes it discipline for me and not him? What is the author saying in vv. 7-8, that unbelievers don’t have difficult times?

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That leads us to investigate the nature of the discipline…

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Nature of the Discipline in Hebrews 12:5-11

In order to determine what the discipline is, we need to examine the immediate context. We already noted the broader context.

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Note all the terminology that may relate to discipline in some way (painful, not pleasant, etc.).

v. 2: cross, shame,

v. 3: causes weariness, endured from sinners such hostility against himself; they are tempted to grow weary or fainthearted.

v. 4: struggle against sin

[[[***see if they get this, vv.7-8, the discipline must distinguish believers/unbelievers]]]

v.10: discuss the contrast, result is sharing in the Father’s holiness.

v.11: painful, not pleasant, it results in “the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by disciplined.”

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Context: Describe Jesus’ suffering (vv. 1-4).

v.7, you are enduring for the purpose of discipline.

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***how would you describe the discipline?

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To the author here, then, the discipline refers to opposition when doing God’s will[1] and b/c it distinguishes believers and unbelievers, it cannot refer to common suffering, but must be Christian suffering. Now, does God use common suffering to make you like Christ? Sure! But does this passage address that? It does if you think that common suffering proves you are a true believer.

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******Scenarios from today of opposition when doing God’s will.

  1. Death for believing in Jesus.
  2. Opposition from your own children when attempting to discipline them.
  3. Work, not going to bar, get made fun of
  4. ???

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So, going back through the passage, what benefits ought we to consider when experiencing opposition when doing God’s will?

  1. It’s not as bad as what Jesus went through. He went all the way.
  2. That it’s from God “I’m taking this as from the Lord”
  3. Not to forget God brings opportunities for training to you out of love vv.5-6
  4. If truly a believer, it proves you are a child of God
  5. Holiness v.10
  6. Peaceful fruits, v. 11

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What are we to do with reference to opposition when doing God’s will, or when experiencing discipline?

  1. Endure, v.7. Lit, “You are enduring [this suffering] for the purpose of discipline.” Jesus endured, v.2-3. You are expected to do the same in the face of opposition. [Jesus was tempted not to endure in the garden, tempted in all points, 4:15, but Jesus endured here, so you endure when tempted not to]
  2. Reverence, v.9. As a child to his father (this passage assumes what?).
  3. Submit, v.9. “Father of our spirits and live.”
    1. This idea is drawn from Proverbs, where the Lord’s discipline brings life, while resistance to it leads to death (cf. Pro 4:13; 6:23; 10:17; 16:17).
  4. If a child kicks, screams, and does not modify his behaviour when you discipline them, did they submit? If someone experiences opposition, will they be angry at God, questioning God, doubting, and in the context totally relinquish faith b/c of opposition? Faith, ch.11!

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Not to do?

  1. V.5a: regard lightly/despise/loathe it. To become more frustrated at the experience than to greatly value the benefits of such an experience.
  2. V5b: Faint, give up, lose heart, be discouraged. (remember, Hebrews was written to those about to give up on Christ. They wanted to just quit, take the easy way out.).

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Capsulize our response to suffering: When opposition comes when in the Lord’s service, do not to despise it, or faint under it. Rather, patiently endure by subjecting yourself to Him and respecting His authority to chasten.

Capsulize our motivation during suffering: Consider Jesus’ endurance of opposition and know that this is from a loving heavenly Father. Understand suffering from opposition is a sign of your sonship and that it will result in holiness and righteousness.

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  1. Or “suffering in the service of the LORD is a sign of membership in the covenant community.”

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