Series on the Tough Love of God For His people
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
May 15, 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 growing up 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 they placed restrictions upon us we jumped hastily to the conclusion that they didn't love us.
3. We could understand 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
D. And it is for a great purpose and design… (Job 23:8-10) Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
A. What does the word chastening mean?
1. Teaching, training, having clear expectations, and carrying out corrective measures when a child is not doing something right
2. It is NOT punishment – but rather Correction
3. To 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!
4. Farmers call in Pruning
5. Sports Trainers call it Training
6. Jewellers call it Cutting
7. Animal Trainers call it Training
8. God simply calls it Chastening
9. And it is all good!
10. Just realise this… If we don’t change, God increases the pain, the pressure, the trouble
B. HOW Does God Correct Us?
1. By the words of rebuke in this Bible, or from our parents, or any authority – that’s where He starts (Prov 6:23) For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.
2. By Uncomfortable Preaching about Uncomfortable Subjects (2Tim 3:16) – this book was not written to tell you what you already know (Heb 4:12)
3. Holy Spirit causes GRIEVING on our inside when we attempt to do our own thing and disregard God’s commandments, and wilfully sin
4. God often goes quiet in our life – a form of chastening
a. Doesn’t answer your prayers
b. Lets you remain in need
c. Withholds His promises and blessings
d. Backs away and leaves us alone - to ourselves and our own devices
e. Waiting for us to miss His presence and power in our lives!
5. God actually works against you – even when you are doing good things
a. External Troubles, Pressures as you go against God and His ways
b. The Bible says God actually RESISTS the proud
c. God starts dropping small problems and pressures into your life
d. Sometimes lays upon you a heavy hand (Job 19:21)
e. Taking everything you have gained, and dumping it in the rubbish – starting over with you – very humiliating
6. Just remember, every time of chastening comes FROM God’s hand, and is always good!
C. Why Does God Chasten His People? How can it be good?
1. To PUNISH us? No. Not His children. Just to correct us and get us doing right and make us like Jesus
2. To Prove that He Loves Us
a. “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6).
b. If God DIDN’T intensely love us, He would leave us alone!
c. It would not be an indication of a father's love to allow a child to do whatever he pleases.
d. The discipline of God is always motivated by love. It confirms, and proves, God's love for us. There is a tender, parental love behind the disciplines of our heavenly Father. God is not acting as a JUDGE when He corrects us, but as a FATHER with our well-being in view.
e. Even the most dreadful disappointments, the most terrible trials are appointed by God’s perfect wisdom and sent by His pure love.
f. We may think this a strange way to convey love, but then we must keep in mind the fact that the love of God is a strange kind of love, foreign and alien to us as sinful people.
g. Regardless of how we may feel, chastisement does convey the love of God.
3. To Awaken Our Sorrow for Sin - humbles us, and brings grief and sorrow to us so we look to God again, and depend upon Him, and focus mainly on HIM!
4. To Give Wisdom – God’s chastening teaches us! Shows us the consequences for wrong choices
5. To Produce Holiness in us – biggest goal!
D. Get online and listen to last week’s message if you missed it!
A. Troubles are Normal for Everyone (Job 14:1)
1. Whether you are a Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, Agnostic, Evolutionist, Male, Female, Young, Old – all have troubles, sorrows, disappointments, problems, reasons to quit!
2. Four Sources of Troubles
a. Reaping what Adam sowed – reaping the consequences of Adam’s sin
1) We all experience afflictions, troubles, sorrows, failures from Adam’s fall
2) It is part of the curse that God placed on everything in life when Adam decided to do his own thing and go his own way and tried to live without God
3) Plant a crop, and a storm washes it all away
4) Get a good job, and then the company closes down!
b. Reaping what we have sown. We all also reap the consequences of our own actions, sins. (Galatians 6:7-8).
c. Persecution and spiritual warfare
1) Christians experience specific persecutions and attacks by the world, and the devil
2) Just because you are trying to do things right
3) Minding your own business, not looking for a fight – BAM! Satan comes at you because he hates you
4) For MANY Christians all over the world, persecution is a way of life
5) During the Dark Ages, Christians all over Europe experienced it unbelievably
6) So, don’t be so upset when people mock you, and mistreat you as a Christian
7) And don’t be so surprised that God is behind it all, forging a true Christian out of you – not just a Good Time Charlie that has no problems!
d. God Pruning Us – THIS is the most important part
1) GOD actually working against us, and causing pain and troubles in our lives when we have done nothing wrong
2) As He chips away at everything that is not like Christ!
3) The Bible uses another word to help us understand it – conforming – fashioning
a) Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
b) Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. [CHRIST’S WAY OF LIVING AND HIS WAY OF DYING]
4) It is HIGH TIME every Christian takes a good look at themselves and starts to see all that is NOT like Christ
a) Our attitudes
b) Our entertainments
c) Our tongues – how we speak
d) Our hearts – what we love and don’t love
e) Our prayers – so selfish and only self-centred
B. Don’t Confuse Chastening for Punishment
1. The work of chastening is different than punishment
a. Two different Goals, Purposes
b. Sometimes, the same pain
2. The difference between punishment, and discipline lies not in the nature of the pain, but in the purpose of the pain.
a. In other words, the suffering of an unbeliever and the suffering of a believer may not be too much different.
1) Both can get cancer...
2) both can have loved ones that die
3) both can lose their jobs...
4) But in one sense, a man is being punished for his sins. In the other sense, he is being disciplined, taught, conformed by God.
5) The pain may be the same but the purpose is different...
6) And the result is eternal (Romans 8:18)
b. In punishment, God is the judge.
c. In discipline, He is the Father.
d. In punishment, the object is His enemy.
e. In discipline, the object is His child.
f. In punishment, the goal is condemnation.
g. In discipline, the goal is holiness.
h. Whew! That’s wild, man!
C. Examples of God’s Judgment – Punishment
1. The World-wide flood of Noah’s
2. Saul losing his kingdom – was a fatal and final judgment and punishment
3. The coming great deception – because people don’t want God or the truth
4. Sodom and Gomorrah – punishment for their vile sinful lifestyle
5. Ananias and Saphira – for blatantly living a lie as Christians – died under the judgment of God
6. Moses’ sin unto death – for not bringing his anger under control
7. Israel being punished by God and sent away into captivity for 70 years for their rebellion and idolatry
8. Jesus, being abandoned on the cross – judged and condemned in your and my place!
D. Examples of God Chastening – correcting faults, and training us to live and react like Jesus
1. David – Chastening had many faces in his life (Psalm 94:12)
a. David was chastened because of his sin with Bathsheba – serious correction in his life
b. King Saul was a constant form of chastening – for over 7 years!!!
c. His oldest son Absalom constantly hurt David (2Sam 15:12)
d. Shimei was such a hurtful pain in David’s humiliation (2Sam 16:5-14)
e. When David numbered the people out of pride, God had to chasten again
f. Very painful each time (Psalm 41:9; 55:12-14)
g. But it made David into a better man, a better king along the way
2. When the Corinthian Christians made light of the Remembrance Supper – many were sick
3. When Paul got proud – God gave him a thorn – it kept him humble and grateful
4. Samson – when he ignored his own walk with God and was defeated by a woman named Delilah – it taught him to only rely upon God for his strength
a. The loss of his wealth
b. The loss of his children
c. And then his own wife turning against him and against God (Job 19:19) – very painful
d. It taught him to trust in God, and taught him great patience
6. Israel was afflicted and chastened as a nation while in Egypt for 400 years (Genesis 15:13; Ex 1:11). It prepared them for living as God’s people in their Promised Land
E. More Truths About God’s Chastening
1. Both Punishment and Chastening are good and necessary (Psalm 94:12) – are not to be despised!
a. Job 5:17
b. Psalm 119:71,72
c. Pruning is necessary
d. God’s hammer and chisel works to cut away everything in our lives that is not like Jesus Christ
2. Every Believer Experiences God’s Chastening
a. No exceptions
b. Every believer throughout the Bible, throughout history has experienced times of great affliction and troubles from the hand of God, the devil, enemies, and because of their own sinful ways!
c. The best of believers experienced affliction and chastening by God (Psalm 34:19)
d. Even the holiest of the Old Testament prophets (James 5:10)
e. If You Have No Chastening, You Don’t Belong to God (Heb 12:6-8)
1) If you do, then that shows you are saved!
3. God is the One To Worry About
a. HE is in charge of what happens in our lives
b. Part of our Christian training is Chastening
c. GOD Chastens, Afflicts, and Corrects His Children
d. It is what He does most often in our lives
e. He does it not because He enjoys it, but because it is for our benefit
f. So, when the devil is at you, GO TO GOD!
g. So, when your friends or loved ones forsake you, GO TO GOD
h. So, when your heart is aching under the stress of hurt and trial… GO TO GOD
i. He not only KNOWS all about it, but is actively working it out for good (Rom 8:28)!
4. Expect Pain, Hardships if You Want to Grow
a. Chastening is Painful by Design
1) Psalm 118:18
2) Hebrews 12:11
b. Same with Olympic Trainings
c. Same with Fruit Bearing Trees and Plants – must be pruned
d. God is the Potter, we are the clay
e. God is the Jeweller, and we are the diamond in the rough – only GOD sees what we CAN be – so we need precise cutting
f. God is the refiner, and we are the silver or gold full of dross
g. Each object needs pressure, heat, pruning, cutting away of everything that is not in its design
h. A man who was seen chiselling a rock into a beautiful horse was asked, "How do you make a sculpture of a horse?" The artist responded, "I simply start with a block of marble and chisel away everything that doesn't look like a horse."
i. It is all the pieces that are chipped off that are painful
j. But the end product is worth it
5. Most People Reject God’s Chastening – don’t despise 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) Prov 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) Prov 1:25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would [RECEIVE] none of my reproof:
3) Prov 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. Ahab and Micaiah (1Kings 22:13-28)
A. Troubles are Normal for Everyone
B. Don’t Confuse Chastening for Punishment – God probably is not angry at you like you think!
C. I gave you Examples of God Chastening His People – correcting faults, and training us to live and react like Jesus
D. I showed you Five More Truths About God’s Chastening
E. Are you finding God’s chastening difficult? Painful?
F. It is how it is
G. But it is not wasted, when yielded to, and seen for what it is – God forging, and pruning, and correcting, and guiding, and developing Christ-likeness in each believer
H. It is that “good work” that Jesus began in each of us when we got saved!
I. If it is NOT actively going on in YOUR life, then there is something wrong. You belong to a different family than the family of God, because EVERYONE in this family is constantly being chastened!
J. Would you like to be saved today? Would you like to be born into God’s family?
K. Don’t let me scare you by the chastening – let me scare you by the coming judgment and punishment on this wicked world! Don’t remain on the wrong side with God! Be saved TODAY!