Series on the Tough Love of God For His people
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
May 22, 2016 AM BBC Ballincollig
I. Introduction (Hebrews 12:6-11)
A. Chastening doesn’t make sense to people today
B. The very thought of a God of love constantly at work chastening His children is not acceptable to most of us.
1. As children we all had the idea in our minds that our parents showed love to us when they gave us those things we wanted and enjoyed.
2. But when our parents placed restrictions upon us, and didn’t give us what we wanted, we jumped hastily to the conclusion that they didn't love us.
3. We could easily understand a love that coddled and comforted us, but we could not reconcile love with chastening and correction.
C. But chastening us, and correcting us, is what God does – and what He is most actively doing in every believer
II. Review The Past Two Weeks
A. What does the word chastening mean? (Job 5:17)
1. Chastening and correction are interchangeable
2. It is NOT punishment – but rather Correction
3. Overall, it is the Teaching, and training of someone, having clear expectations of them, and then carrying out corrective measures when they are not doing something right
4. Chastening… get us to do things right, by telling us what we are doing wrong, then instructing us on how to do it right, and troubling us when we won’t do things right!
B. The FACT of God Chastening
1. It is not unusual, whatever you are going through
2. It is not unusual, whatever other people are going through
3. Every believer experiences the chastening of God in their lives
4. There is no boasting in God’s kingdom – we ALL get in trouble with God and all get chastened
C. The NEED for God’s Chastening in Our Lives
1. Farmers call in Pruning. Without pruning, dead leaves, branches, fruit will kill the whole plant
2. Sports Trainers call it Training. Without the training, the athlete will crumble under the real pressures of the competition
3. Jewellers call it Cutting. Without the precise chipping away of excess, there will be no beauty in the gem
4. Animal Trainers call it Training. Without training, the dog will always do their business in the house, and will usually tear up the furniture.
5. God simply calls it Chastening. Without it, believers will never be different than the culture we live in
6. And it is all good!
7. And Parents need to do more of it with their children!
D. How God Chastens Us
1. Rebukes us – shows us where we are doing wrong, and makes us uncomfortable doing the wrong. Gives us someone who confronts us and tells us we are wrong, and need to get right!
2. Brings pressures, troubles, pain into our lives when we don’t listen.
3. We tend to think a loving God wouldn’t do such, or even allow such
4. It is NOT in God’s mind or heart to hurt us
5. BUT, it is in our NATURE that we go against Him
a. Like riding a bike up a steep hill – against gravity
b. So, as we do things that just come naturally, God is against us, trying to turn us around!
E. The Purpose and Pain of Chastening
1. To PUNISH us? No. Not His children.
2. But simply to correct us and get us doing right and make us like Jesus
3. If God DIDN’T intensely love us, He would leave us alone!
F. How To Know It is Chastening
1. Sometimes, if not most of the time, God has to chasten us because of our own sinful attitudes and actions. We reap what we sow. But it is not always because of sin
2. Sometimes is demonic, spiritual attack by our enemy, the devil
3. Sometimes, it is a product of Adam’s sin – just a hard life
4. Sometimes it is hard to tell
5. Just remember, it all came from the hand of God, and should humble us to cling strongly to Him
G. How to Escape God’s Chastening
1. You can’t
2. You can only be in a position to get it less, or at least get it in an easier form
3. Chasten yourself quickly
a. Psalm 69:10
b. Dan 10:12
c. 1Cor 11:31,32
4. Agree with God quickly
5. Learn patience as He works – remember Job? (Job 23:8-10)!
6. More about this next week!
H. So the question is, How do I respond to God’s work on me? Or, How do I respond BETTER than I usually do? Ten of the most important ways to respond to chastening…
III. Message - Right Responses to Chastening (Hebrews 12)
A. 1 - Consider Jesus (Hebrews 12:3,4)
1. The BEST Example of Endurance
2. Jesus endured the cross
a. The injustice of it
b. The pain of it
c. The abandonment by men and God
3. Jesus endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself
4. Accepted it ALL as from the hand of God (John 18:11; Act 2:22,23; 4:26-28)
5. Despised the shame – did not accept the shame of what He was experiencing!
a. Instead of despising the hand of God at work (which is what WE usually do)…
b. Jesus rejected and refused to be affected by the shame of what was happening to Him
6. Raised up to the right hand of the throne of God
7. YOU never have had to wrestle until blood dropped from your pores!
8. If you won’t start with focusing on the life of Jesus, you WILL quit!
B. 2 - Don't Despise Chastening (Hebrews 12:5)
1. Most People Reject God’s Chastening – they despise it! Hate it!
a. Usually because it is painful, hard, unpleasant, discouraging!
b. It is the cause of the majority of anger and fierce wrath today
c. They NEVER accept correction – especially from God
1) Pro 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
2) Pro 1:25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would [RECEIVE] none of my reproof:
3) Pro 1:30 They would [RECEIVE] none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
d. Hate straight preaching
e. Get offended at everything
f. Never take responsibility for their own wrongdoing
g. Hate anyone who tells them they are doing something wrong
h. They spend most of their lives fighting God
1) Digging your heels in deeper only dig a deeper hole
2) Anger at God doesn’t help
3) Ignoring God won’t help – expecting Him to just go away
4) Going deeper into sin won’t help – can’t runaway
5) NOT so smart
6) Satan tried and tries
7) King Saul responded wrong
8) The Pharisees responded wrong
9) Saul of Tarsus found out how stupid it was
10) Not just fighting God as unsaved, but as hard-hearted towards His fiery trials!
2. So, Don't make light of, to treat with contempt, resent it.
3. We should never consider the chastening of the Lord as a thing of no account or no value.
a. Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.
b. Prov 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction.
c. Prov 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
C. 3 - Expect Chastening (Hebrews 12:5,6) “every son…”
1. Everyone in God’s family experiences chastening, suffering, troubles
2. 1 John 3:13
3. John 15:18-20
4. 1Peter 4:12
5. 2Tim 3:12
6. We who attempt to live godly lives are offensive to this world
D. 4 - Don’t Quit (Hebrews 12:5)
1. Quitting on God – running from guilt, from preaching, from other Christians
2. The Bible word is “faint” – as in collapse, quit the race
a. When the Bible goes against you, don’t close it
b. When the preaching is all about you – don’t get offended and shut your ears
c. When you are troubled on every side (2Cor 4:8,9; 2Cor 12:7-10)
d. Stand (Eph 6:13)
e. Continue, stay, complete, finish, persevere, and remain on course all the way to then end!
f. Never quit.
3. God asks if you are willing to do all you can to just stay standing? (Eph 6:12)
4. Where are the MEN who are supposed to be standing today? Most are sitting on their couches, atching TV while the world debates transgender bathrooms, euthanasia, same sex marriage, perverts adopting children, and socialism!
5. By the way, Quitting is the most addictive habit there is!
a. Once you start quitting, and are not forced to stay at something until it is finished, you will usually quit at everything
b. That’s why diets don’t work
c. That’s why marriages last only 1 or 2 years
d. That’s why people keep changing jobs
e. That’s why friendships are so flimsy and shallow
f. And THAT’S why churches don’t grow…
g. Because marriages, companies, and churches are filled with QUITTERS!
E. 5 - Accept Chastening (Hebrews 12:6)
1. Receive chastening from the hand of God (Job 2:10)
a. Accept chastening as tough love by God, on such a mess like you and I truly are
b. The troubles, the walls, the obstacles, the pain, the embarrassments, the hardships, the disasters, the losses
c. As a matter of fact, accept everything as given by God (Philp 1:19)
2. Too many Christian people think WAY too highly of themselves
a. Like they are above chastening. Like they are not needing any correction at all
b. Stop stiffening up, and humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God
c. I can’t tell you how many times as an pastor, teacher, a husband, as a Dad I’ve been corrected.
1) Sometimes from your wife
2) Sometimes from your children
3) Sometimes by other Christians, and pastors
4) It is a mortifying experience hearing about all the things you ae doing wrong.
5) It was never pleasant when I was corrected by my managers at the Telephone company.
6) It is never pleasant when your pastor tells you, you aren’t doing right.
7) It is never enjoyable to have a Garda pull you over and give you a ticket!
3. Such an illogical truth, but, The secret to speeding up our spiritual growth is to ACCEPT CORRECTION regardless of how awkward, painful, or humiliating it might be.
4. I read this last night… You’re only as mature as the number of times you’ve been corrected. (Prov 9:8) “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”
5. I’ve learned that the pain of knowing my flaws always outweighs the pain of not knowing them.
F. 6 - Endure it (Hebrews 12:7)
1. Put up with it. Every day if you have to. It is your training – to go against your old nature
2. Don't faint under it - don't grow weary, to lose heart.
3. Endurance is a very important part of life
a. In sports – you won’t be able to stay in a match without it
b. In marriage – you won’t stay married without it
c. In business – you won’t manage the hard times without it
d. In the military – Navy pilots by nature faint when “pulling G-forces” and have to learn how to endure it, or else THEY die and a 50 million euro airplane smashes into a billion pieces!
e. Hebrews 10:36
4. Endurance is ESPECIALLY a very important part of the Christian life – look at what we are supposed to endure…
a. Endure Loneliness (1Tim 3:15)
b. Endure Despising (1Tim 4:12) put up with it – keep going! Like a slow runner in a mocking crowd
c. Endure Lack and Necessities (1Tim 6:5-8) – we are called to do without things
d. Endure the Good Fight (1Tim 6:12) – stay in it, no matter how hard it gets
e. Endure Hardness (2Tim 2:3) of the enemy – put up with whatever Satan throws at you!
f. Endure Persecutions (2Tim 3:12)
g. Endure Sound Doctrine (2Tim 4:3) – boring, unpopular, so little emphasis on yourself, but on God and truth, and eternity
h. Endure Physical Troubles/Ailments (1Tim 5:23; 2Tim 4:5)
i. Endure the work of the Ministry (Ex 18:23) – not always a thrill a minute
j. Endure Correction (Psalm 30:5 Heb 12:5-7) – a constant thing – so rarely ever appreciated, or praised – usually just more to work on
k. Endure Temptations (James 1:12) – testings, and more testings, and failings, and trying again
l. Endure Grief (1Peter 2:19) and sorrows and discouragements
m. Ours is NOT a life of blessing, and ease, and no troubles! But a life of endurance!
5. This is all God’s Handiwork, fashioning us, bettering us (Psalm 138:8). Maybe you believe you don’t need any work on you, but GOD says we all get chastening, scourging even because we ALL need it!
6. Unfortunately, most endure only a short time, and are gone (Mark 4:17)
G. 7 - Examine Yourself During Chastening (Hebrews 12:7,8)
1. Take a good look at what YOU are like? What you are like especially under pressure.
a. Your attitudes
b. Your actions
c. Your goals
d. Your faith - “where is your faith?”
2. It is HOT water that reveals what is INSIDE
3. What is just below YOUR surface?
a. Fierce anger? Sharp tongue? Harsh words?
H. 8 - Learn from it – GROW – Change (Hebrews 12:10)
1. THE purpose of chastening is NOT punishment, but change!
a. Jesus warned Peter that Satan would try to tear him apart (Luke 22:31,32)
b. But Jesus did not say He would protect him from Satan’s attacks – only that He would PRAY for Peter
c. And in the end, Peter would be stronger, and better able to strengthen his brethren – other believers
2. How long have you been born again? And how is your growth?
a. Still like a baby wanting pastor to spoon feed you every Sunday?
b. Still only willing to come on a Sunday morning, and only when you feel like it?
c. Still griping and complaining about everything – like a BABY?
d. Never yet gone out soul-winning, nor won a soul yet? Still too scared?
e. Still constantly falling, and giving into temptations, or are you standing, and walking straight and even running to do the will of God for your life?
3. And you wonder why troubles come into your life?
I. 9 - Help Each Other – be a family (Hebrews 12:12,13)
1. Lift up each other’s drooping hands
2. Carry each other
3. Stop closing our eyes to the pains going on around us
4. Help one another THROUGH the times of affliction and suffering and chastening
5. Make things easy
6. This is what Job’s friends did NOT do for him (Job 16:2)!
J. 10 - Beware of Bitterness (Hebrews 12:14,15)
1. If you are bitter, it shows you have been fighting God’s chastening hand in your life for too long
2. Be at peace with how many people? ALL men. Even the ones that hurt you. That’s a commandment!
3. And be holy – godly, like Christ through the chastening
4. Otherwise, you are not a Christian. True Christians want to be like Jesus! True Christians endure to the end!
5. So, Thank God for everything!
a. For God’s Son enduring the cross
b. For God loving you enough to NOT leave you alone
c. For God’s purpose in making you a better man or woman that you are naturally
d. Start to thank God for all the heart-aches, the trials, the afflictions, the pains – knowing that He loves you more than you can ever comprehend, and is doing a good work in you!
A. I hope you have learned
1. What the word chastening means
2. That every Christian NEEDS God’s Chastening in their Lives
3. How God Chastens Us
4. The Purpose and Pain of Chastening
5. How To Know It is Chastening
B. But more importantly, I hope you have learned
1. To Consider Jesus
2. To No Longer Despise Chastening
3. To Expect Chastening
4. To Never Quit – no matter how hard it gets
5. To Start to Accept Chastening
6. To Endure it
7. To Examine Yourself During Chastening
8. To Learn from it – GROW – Change
9. To Help Each Other Go Through It
10. Finally, To Beware of Bitterness