Jesus is Better: Hebrews 12 (Part 2)
This portion of Hebrews is about discipline. When we are suffering, it is easy to think that God does not love us, but we see in verses 5-11 that the discipline we go through in life is proving our relationship as sons and daughters. Discipline equals sonship. We also learn here that God disciplines with an eternal perspective that leads us to holiness. This discipline from our heavenly Father is for our benefit, it proves our sonship, and it requires perseverance.
Punishment/Judgement - being paid back for a wrong you've done. You must pay.
Consequence - natural results from bad decisions
Discipline - a loving attempt to mold character. It might involve pain, but for formation
Believers suffer consequences for their sin, and sometimes God uses those consequences to discipline them, but they never suffer punishment because Jesus was punished fully in our place so all that is left for us is mercy. God is molding your character in love, not punishing you in judgement.
Verse 12 starts with "THEREFORE: lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed." We can think of this from the example of a winding road. Winding roads typically avoid hard places. A road of discipline take you through the hard places, and is there to make you more sanctified.
We must do this together in relationship by:
STRIVING - pursuing, persecuting (to hunt it down)
For PEACE with everyone - you are fast to offer forgiveness, even when you were wronged. (Psalm 34:14; Romans 12:18)
And for the HOLINESS - "We must agonize to be holy. We will never gain holiness by standing still" - Spurgeon
and we must SEE TO IT:
1. that no one fails to obtain the grace of God
2. that no ROOT OF BITTERNESS springs up and causes trouble - bitterness is contagious and it always occurs when in the hard circumstances of our lives we stop believing in the goodness and the kindness of God's providence.
3. that no one is sexually immoral or unholy
Jesus is the better way (18-24). The final warning in verse 25 says, "See that you do not refuse him who is speaking, but (28) let us be grateful and let us worship!
To Discuss Today:
1. Can you name a time where you were disciplined by God? How did you respond?
2. Do you hold a root of bitterness for someone? How does that impact your life? Will you commit to pray for them and for God to bless them?
3. What are the ways that He is a Good Father to you? Choose to be grateful and choose to worship. Think about the character of God and that He wants you to be sanctified and holy. Thank Him for being a Good Father.