Enduring Spiritual Training
10 November 2019 AM – Hebrews 12:5-11 – Heb19 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Read text. God’s chastening seems out of context here. As I pondered and prayed over why the apostle reminds these Jews of God’s chastening, I discovered that the word translated “chastening” (v.5) actually refers to the whole training and education of children. It includes much more than just discipline. He is speaking of God’s spiritual training, which is always purposeful.
The original recipients of the book of Hebrews were professing Jewish believers. Some were genuine Christians and others were not. Persecution was causing them to think about returning to Judaism and forsaking Christ. However, God was using that persecution as part of their spiritual training. It was for their spiritual benefit. They were forgetting what God had Solomon write for us in Proverbs 3:11-12.
Transition: We too must not forget that God’s spiritual training seeks to fulfil three purposes in our lives.
The first purpose God’s spiritual training seeks to fulfil is …
1. To Assure Christians of Sonship (v.5-8)
a. It shows God’s love for His children (v.6-7)
1) Child training is loving (v.6)
a) We know this because God said so.
b) We also know this from life. Teaching is optional; training is enforced. For the most part, public schools today teach the children, but they do not train them. They may use games or bribery to motivate children to learn, but without discipline, learning is optional.
c) When a parent chooses not to discipline and train his child, that child will grow up making selfish and foolish choices. That is not loving. It is cruel.
2) Loving fathers always train their children (v.7). It ought to be within the hearts of all parents to train their children to avoid the sins, heartaches, and pitfalls they have encountered in life.
3) God is the perfect example of showing love through child training.
b. It confirms our relationship with God (v.7-8)
1) Notice that the apostle states that if we are enduring God’s child training, God is dealing with us as with sons.
2) God is always consistent. He always trains His children. He does this primarily through the work of the Holy Spirit.
a) The Holy Spirit indwells every true believer (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9).
b) The Holy Spirit teaches believers from the Bible (Jn 14:26; 1Co 2:12).
c) The Holy Spirit guides believers in truth (Jn 16:13).
d) The Holy Spirit withholds His fruit, blessings and power when we do not walk with Him (Gal 5:22-25).
e) The Holy Spirit uses the Bible to convict of sin (Heb 4:12).
f) God gives peace when we confess and forsake sin.
3) When God speaks to you through His Word, enables you to make spiritual changes, and uses His word to convict when you do wrong, that indicates that you are His child.
4) However, verse eight presents the other side of the equation. If God is NOT clearly training and disciplining you, it is because you are NOT His child. You may claim to be a Christian, but you are a bastard (i.e. an illegitimate child). God is not truly your Father.
5) The apostle confronts us with this VERY serious statement. He wanted those professing Jews and us to inspect their profession carefully. He gives a similar challenge in (2 Corinthians 13:5) “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
O If God is changing your life, teaching you to live by His Word, and convicting you when you sin, let this comfort your heart.
The second purpose God’s spiritual training seeks to fulfil is …
2. To Call Christians to Submission (v.9)
a. Children ought to submit to their parents
1) Child discipline was the norm in Bible days.
2) Godly parents gave their children Biblical commands and laws to lead them in the way of righteousness and away from foolishness. This is a key message in the book of Proverbs. (Proverbs 6:20) “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:”
3) God commanded children to obey their parents. (Colossians 3:20) “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”
4) The apostle says that children in Bible days gave their fathers reverence. This word means to turn around. In this context, it means to turn way from wrong and respectfully obey their father.
5) Biblical discipline always has the goal of restoration. Child training was always for the child’s benefit. Sometimes the training was difficult and unpleasant, but it was always beneficial.
a) An example of this is David the shepherd boy.
b) Being the youngest son, David received the difficult and often unpleasant job of being the family shepherd. He spend long days in the hot sun, damp days in the rain, and cold days in the winter breeze. He faced dangerous animals and fearful nights. This unpleasant part of David’s child training instilled character in his being.
b. Much more we ought to submit to God
1) Christians are like children, we have much to learn. We often prefer our way to God’s way. We must learn to turn from wrong and respectfully obey God. Sometimes God allows us to endure hardships to improve our character spiritually. That is what the apostle is trying to get the disheartened professing believers to understand.
2) Since it is important and beneficial to submit to fathers of our flesh, it is even more important and beneficial to submit to our heavenly Father.
3) Submitting to a fleshly father will give a child an improved physical life.
4) Submitting to our spiritual Father in heaven will give us eternal life and rewards that will benefit for all eternity.
The third purpose God’s spiritual training seeks to fulfil is …
3. To Produce Profit in Christians’ Lives (v.10-11)
a. Child training is never enjoyable
1) Because foolishness is bound in the heart of every child, no child likes rules, commands and laws. Because their hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, children do not naturally obey. Child training is no fun for child or parent. In fact, it is often grievous or painful.
2) While child training is in process, it never seems to be a joyful experience. School is boring. Rules are restricting. Work is unpleasant and robs free time. Building character seems useless. Discipline is disliked.
3) When the apostle wrote that the fathers of our flesh chastened us after their own pleasure, the word “pleasure” refers to opinion or judgment. He was saying that they did what they thought was good and right. However. Parents are not perfect. God is perfect!
b. Child training produces profit
1) Biblical parental child training does produce profit in this life. There is no question about that.
2) God’s spiritual child training is very profitable.
a) His goal is to make us holy.
b) His training yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
c) Every Christian is declared holy and righteous before God at the moment of salvation, but here he is speaking of holy and righteous living in this life.
3) Take note that holy and righteous living only come as a result of God’s child training. God will never suddenly make your character holy and righteous. These are learned and developed as God exercises the suitable training in our lives. Sometimes that training includes persecution, troubles and trials.
Conclusion: Review the main points. If you can disobey a clear command of the Bible and God’s Spirit does not convict you; you are in danger. Christians must submit to God and His child training.
Song: His Way with Thee – 367