Date: April 15, 2018
Pastor Matthew Burt
Title: Antidote for Weariness
Text: Psalm 18: 1-30, 2 Corinthians 4: 7-18, Hebrews 12:3-11
Wellspring Church, Springfield, Mass.
SCRIPTURES: Hebrews 12:3-11
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
BIG IDEA: Antidote for weariness is found by considering Christ and knowing who holds the rod of our discipline. Always remember that when the Lord brings a rod of discipline, there is honey at the end of the rod.
Given a choice would you rather suffer in obedience to God or sin in disobedience to God? You know the right answer but the right answer is not always the action of our lives. We have often chosen to disobey our conscience and God rather than suffer depravations that come from obedience. We have often determined we would rather not suffer. Every Christian has to face the question – am I willing to suffer or am I going to sin? Will I choose to obey God and live with the consequences?
Last week we came to Hebrews 12:3 and read that we are called to consider Jesus. We all have times of pain, grief, confusion in our lives. We might have enemies – external or internal. We all need to have this passage because we grow weary, because we are tired and we are ready to throw in the towel. The apostle Paul says WAIT – consider Him – look at your suffering in proportion to the suffering of Jesus on your behalf. Consider Him before you give up. His whole life was a contradiction to the world he came to save. They spoke against who He claimed to be.
Listen to this from the 18th Century Scottish pastor, John Brown,
“The whole of our Lord’s history is a commentary of these words. They ridiculed him as a low-born, low-bred, fanatical madman; they branded him as a glutton and a wine-bobber (drunkard)—“a friend of publicans and sinners”—an imposter—a seditious person—and impious usurper of divine honors—a person in league with apostate spirits; and their conduct corresponded with their language. They laid snares for is life; and when after, through the treachery of our of his disciples, He was put into their hands, they treated him with the most contumely outs scorn and bavarois cruelty.”
Your suffering is nothing compared to this so hang on! Proportionately your suffering is small.
We were also challenged to consider his resistance to sin and sinners compared to our resistance to sin and sinners. He resisted to the point of shedding blood; you and I have not – we might yet but so far we haven’t. The Christian life must be understood as an ongoing conflict against sin. Always in this struggle, there’s a temptation to give up, to quit, to surrender, to renounce our loyalty to our captain and leave the field of battle.
Again, John Brown writes:
“Now what sort of solider are you, if the minor hardship of warfare dispirited you as to make yo think of abandoning your standard before you have received a wound, a cause of which you are not worthy to be defenders if you are not ready to shed the last drop of your blood! To use Dr. Owen’s words, ‘whatever befalls us on this side of blood is to be looked on as a fruit of divine tenderness and mercy.’”
Lastly, in review, our author referred back to Proverbs 3:12 with these words, “My Son do not regard lightly the Lord’s discipline, for every so he loves he disciplines and he chastens every son he receives.” He says don’t forget how the Bible speaks directly to you.
When we looked at this we said don’t think lightly of the discipline of the Lord. It is a sign of God’s acceptance of you for Jesus Christ’s sake and that He loves you and cares for you.
OUTLINE FOR TODAY:
Point 1: Exhortation in verses 5 and 6 is both a warning and a teaching
Point 2: Fatherhood implies discipline; the character of the Father defines discipline, the purpose of the Father describes the fruit of discipline.
Point 3: So what do we do?
Point 1: Exhortation: A Warning and a Teaching
A) Don’t treat the hardships in your life lightly. Don’t treat them as nothing. Take time to consider them in relationship to the discipline of the Lord. How might I think lightly of the discipline of the Lord?
1) When I don’t consider that the good trustworthy God is the author of everything that comes into our lives. It is so easy for us to say this is just the natural order of things. We say “it snowed yesterday” when rather we ought to say “God sent snow yesterday”. Or I got a headache yesterday rather than “God sent a headache yesterday”. We disregard the discipline of the Lord when we relegate it to “it-ness” rather than recognize that all comes to pass from the hand of God.
2) Another way we might despise the discipline of the Lord is that we don’t even think why God might be doing this in my life: consequence, correction, or discipline. He washes out the bridge over the river of our destruction!
B) Warns us not to become fainthearted.
1) Don’t be discouraged. One of the way we can be discouraged is that we don’t see the fruits of our labors as we would like to see them. All of us have things in our lives that we have prayed for different results in our lives. As a parent, you think I’ve invested so much in the lives of my children and I am just not seeing the results –I am going to give up. It could be as an employee or employer. I am trying so hard and I am ready to give up. We despise the discipline of the Lord when we give up.
2) We proclaim that Jesus came to save sinners; we proclaim that there is hell and judgement and the world says NO there is not. Who needs a Jesus? We get so tired of contend for the gospel. He says don’t get weary – even that contradiction is part of the discipline in your life. Through ourselves back into Isiah 40 – renew their strength and mount up as on wings of eagles.
C) Don’t give up – He disciplines the one He loves. In the context of parenting we have heard “this hurts me more than it hurts you”. The road you are going down right now is killing me. Because I love you I want to stop you. Do not think this discipline is judgmental punishment.
Point 2: Three points of amplification: Fatherhood implies discipline; the character of the Father defines discipline, the purpose of the Father describes the fruit of discipline.
A) Fatherhood implies discipline: this is found in verses 7 and 8. If I call God my heavenly Father the very implication of that is Father’s discipline their children. SO if you call Him Father then we know there would be discipline and we should be grateful for that discipline. IF there is no discipline, there is no Father. It is so easy for us to look at someone who seems to have a pain free life. If discipline or hardship does not mean God’s disfavor then it follows that a life of seeming happiness doesn’t imply God’s favor. Instead of asking if I am truly one of God’s children because I am having so much trouble. A father who truly loves will guide, teach and discipline their children. The child has restrictions – don’t go there or do this. That child would look at an orphan and see that that child has no rules, no chores – what a wonderful life he has since he has no dad to tell him what to do. That child doesn’t know that the lack of discipline is a curse. Liberty will produce ruin and heartache. In the same way when you see someone in your life who seems to have no heartache, no hardship don’t envy them – ruin is their only future. Pity them that they are fatherless. Care for them. This flies in the face of those who say just have enough faith!
B) Character of the Father defines that discipline. We can see this in verses 9-10. The character of our heavenly father is meant to encourage us. So it is important for us to know the character of our heavenly father. We can get an insight into the discipline in our lives when we understand His character. When you understand that He is a God of infinite power and strength, infinite mercy and love, infinite wisdom and He is doing what is good for you because He is totally good. The author here makes a couple of assumptions that aren’t necessarily our experience. One is that every father disciplines – we know this is not the case. The second assumption is that every father disciplines for the good of his child. We often act out if irritation, anger or selfish interests even when we are trying to do our best. He also assumes that every child respects his father for his discipline. Hopefully those of us that are grown-ups can look back and say I can see that our parents did the best they could. I am glad that they cautioned me. With these assumptions, he makes this point: If our earthly father discipline us and we disciplined our kids – how much more will our heavenly father discipline us without defects and without a misunderstanding of what is good for us. Real life comes out of this. We don’t always see that God who is a holy God in order that we might be partakers of His character – bringing us to a place where we are like Him- perfect and holy! It’s not just that he is trying to keep us out of trouble. He disciplines us so that we might be like Him. What is holiness in a person? Surely, it is moral rectitude. But it is also to think like God thinks. To love as He loves. To will what God wills; to desire and to want and then to do the kinds of things God does. What if we began to evaluate the hardships in our life in these terms? That changes everything! We ask how long – until you are perfect! He wants us to be sharers in His holiness. Then we will have arrived.
C) The yield that will come of this discipline. The purpose of the Father describes the fruit of discipline. At the end of verse 9 is the word “live”. We will have true life when we submit ourselves under the disciplining hand of God and we are approaching holiness. Real life is being like God. A beautiful and luscious fruit is going to come out of this discipline. You keep on because you are being disciplined. You have to endure. The advantages of discipline far outweigh the pain of discipline. How does he describe the fruit? The pain yields righteousness. Discipline will bring us to a place where the combat is over. You won’t have to be on your guard because you will have yielded the peaceful fruit of righteousness. You will have no more of this fight. The discipline of God is meant to burst for the peaceful fruit of righteousness. There’s no more need for discipline – you have arrived!
Point 3: So What Do we do?
A) When hard times come, acknowledge and remember your sins. Acknowledge that you have given into temptations. We still seek this world’s substance for satisfaction. Say yup, I am not there yet. I still need discipline
B) Take the time to ask yourself what’s going on here? Where is my weakness? Admit – look again. Thank God I have a God who cares about me.
C) Humbly, thankfully, fearfully recognize that you have not yet nor will you ever get what you deserve by the discipline of God. Every day that you are out of the judgment of God, you are getting better than we deserve. Let us not take this for granted. He has withdrawn that which we deserve no matter how hard the rod beats. Ask God to pull back the curtain of your heart so that you might see the vermin and then close the curtain quickly.
D) Remember how tightly sin clings to us. It’s almost like we have bands on a barrel. The rod of God is beating upon the bands of sin in my life to break it down.
E) Don’t see your troubles as the will of the devil. Give glory to God. Give glory to your tender and loving Father. Don’t give glory to Satan in all this. Think about the length of time you have gone without this pain, this trouble, this hostility. Thank God for not bringing the discipline before now. God owes us nothing in terms of a pain free, trouble free life.
F) Remember always that all this is out of our God’s mere good pleasure. All of this is meant to bring us eternal wealth and real and true life. He wants to beat to death sin.
So we do not give up. We continue to endure until God tells us it is over. Let us kiss the rod and taste the honey at the end and let that honey be an encouragement for us to always choose to suffer rather than to sin.