The purpose of the discipline (Hebrew12:7-11)
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Reformed theology and faith reveals the feature of the faithful principles with proclaiming the Word of God and the execution of communion, as three marks of the church.
It is not able to be refused because of several reasons in the church life. And also the situation of Cambodia mission field it should be made sure to plant the reformed faith in their lives.
I treat to three facts of the biblical discipline according to our texts as the following proposition. What is the purpose of biblical discipline? What is the methodology of biblical discipline? What is the influence of biblical discipline? It is the purification of the church.
First, what is the purpose of biblical discipline?
Verse 7 says “7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.” It is the positive sanctification and the restoration of God’s image in the process of Christian life. After we were born again in our lives, we need to sanctify our lives. Then God uses our present situation, trouble, struggles, suffering and diseases relationship troubles for our sanctification. So we admit that the discipline is followed to every Christian because they are the children of God. Job 7:17-18 says ““What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention, that you examine them every morning and test them every moment?” The Lord tested him minute by minute, second by second.
In order to train their children, God uses the suffering and the thorn in their life. Ecclesiastic 7:13-14 says “Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?14 When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.” So it emphasized that God uses the suffering time and the trouble time for the discipline of his children. Later, James 5:13 interpreted it concept as the mention “ Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”
My beloved students, Whenever we meet some discipline that comes out of God, we have to accept them as special chance in order to be lifted up to the mature stage. Even though we are very severe state in vague things, we have to think as Joseph did in the suffering time.
Gen.50:18-21 says “ 18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them”
Second, what is the methodology of biblical discipline?
It is the truth and the prayer, the actual elements that purified them in the Christian life. Only all kinds of sin should be cleaned by Jesus Christ. Because he died on the cross as the offering of substitute, the debts of his own people were passed away by the merit of Christ. We should accept that wonderful promise by confessing our sins with faith. (I John1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.) The confession is the faith that use the truth and the pray. This is the only method to clean our sin.
The Scripture says two things to clean our heart. The truth and the prayer.
What does it mean?
The truth cleans our heart. (Jn17:17) Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. Actually the cleaning is the brightness. When we hold the truth in our heart our heart become the bright state by understanding the truth that is the light and the way. This is the purity before God. So the truth make us to purify our heart.
The prayer cleans our heart (ITim4:5)4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. Without applying the truth, our prayer is empty. Why? In the world of prayer we apply the truth to our detailed situation, our sin, our guilt feeling, our frustration and our problems. Then we experience the purification of our heart.
So the discipline makes us to pray to God and to meditate the Word of God. So we claim that the prayer and the word of God is the useful tool to purify us out of our spiritual dirty state.
Therefore we have to approach to hold prayer and the Word of God in that time. So the church should be filled with the prayer and the preaching by the pastors. The tools of the grace is able to make the church to be sanctified.
Third, and also what is the influence of biblical discipline? (10-11)
10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
It is the purification of the church. Why is the purity of church so important?
Because the purity is the life of the church we have to concentrate on the keeping the purity. In other words the purity, honest and faithfulness is the life of the pastoral ministry. The Holy Spirit works in the church for this purpose. If the pastor or, the Christian lose it then he hall loses the power out of his body as Samson did. He shall live as the servant of Satan. So God uses often the cutting to purify non purified branches to bring up lots of fruit. (John15:2)
Ex: Look at the case of Ananias & Sabra in Acts 5: It was very serious issue At the worship time two person were died suddenly. It was the discipline hand of God to purify the church.
As we know their sins was deceit before God as they offered their property money to the church. Rather, if they confessed frankly their weak points it might be well. But they because of their pride heart to the honor was fallen down into the serious death. Then God disciplined them to set the death in the church. It influenced on the purification of the church. Sometimes God purified his church by permission of serious specific event. This is the discipline of church.
In Cambodia church life, we should learn the sound discipline for the purification of the church. Especially there are lots of the money and the adultery in the relationship among church members. We have to learn through the Apostle Paul. What are they?
Money- We have to like the clean money not black dollars. When we have some relationship to money, we have to be careful. When the carnal desire stays in the center of our relationship, the evil heart can move in the sound relationship. So Paul warned to the man of God as followings. “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”(ITim6:11) What should they avoid out of the carnal desire? It is the desire of the money. In the Christian life ministry we have to make to clean this issue. When we touch the money in the church and in the ministry. We have to treat the issue obviously as Paul said and Jesus said.
When I fall down in the severe state by stroke I had meditated the Ps. 139:. The Psalmist felt the discipline of God. It is very precious, we have to stand firm before God. Then we shall be lifted up the upgrade stage. My lovely students approach to that seat. You shall become the useful man of God.