Program Air Date - 9-8-02



What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We welcome you to our program and we thank God that you have chosen to be with us today. We are excited about this opportunity we have together this morning to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.


What a wonderful privilege we have as Christians to lift up our voices in praise to God. How encouraging it is to have this avenue of worship to our Creator! So, this morning won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together our first hymn of the morning. The name of the song "Is Thy Heart Right With God!"

(SONG # 1)


The Psalmist David always had a wonderful way of reminding us of just how great our God is. In fact, in Psalm 94 we see that he helps us to remember that it is only through God that we are able to bear the things of this life. In verses 17 through 19 we read, "Unless the LORD had been my help, My soul would soon have settled in silence. If I say, "My foot slips," Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." Think of all the wonderful things David reminds us of here.

He said without God's help his soul would have already been silenced. How true this is. If we don't have God, our soul is empty, because it is the soul of man that houses the very essence of God. God fills us as his children and guides us through the soul.

He also reminds us that we can count on God to help us when we fall. He said if his foot slipped, God was always there to catch him. You see, we have the same privilege in Jesus Christ. He is always with us to help us and care for us when we have needs.

The final thing David mentions is in relationship to anxieties. He says that God is always with us as a comfort when anxieties come our way. Let me remind you anxieties are fears which we have due to uncertainties or things we are unsure of.

Our God is truly a great God. He is always with us to guide, guard and direct us in every walk of life. The question is, do you have Christ in you? If not, why not? Choose today to accept His will, by confessing His name, repenting of your sins, and being buried with Him through baptism. Then, and only then, can you have the help from God that we are talking about today. Today we will continue our study on those, "Undeserved Blessings From God." Our specific topic of the day will deal with, "Discipline." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song I will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "In The Land Of Fadeless Day."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

We're glad you stayed with us this morning for our main Bible study. We're going to again look at some of those undeserved blessings from God. So far, we've looked at some that are pretty obvious and things that you might say, "Sure, those are great blessings that we have such as salvation and mercy and grace and the great daily needs that have, the care and compassion of Christ, that which we should have and the need that we have also to realize that He guides us in all ways. But this morning, it might be just a little bit different because the topic that I have chosen is discipline. The undeserved blessing of God to be discipline. Now if I were to ask my children today or if you were to ask them for me and to say, "Well, is it a blessing when your dad disciplines you or spanks you or grounds you?" Certainly they would say, "It's not any kind of a blessing." But in reality if we think about the entire situation and we consider really what God does for us in discipline, surely it is a blessing. It's something that provokes us unto being better people, to being better followers and better servants in His kingdom. So we as individuals need to understand that yes, when God disciplines His children, it is a wondrous blessing that really we should consider it an honor that He considers us enough of a child that He does discipline or chasten us.

In fact, if we look in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, we find so many examples about this concept of following God and needing to be disciplined by God. Again, we can look at all the Old Testament stories and see the great need that there was for discipline. I think the one that comes to my mind is in the very first when God had created man and woman and you remember the punishment that He gave on man and woman after they first sinned. You see, even then it was necessary that God disciplined them, that man would have to sweat and to labor for the food that he had and women would actually have pain in childbirth. These were things that really were placed on the individuals because they had transgressed the Will of God, so they had to be disciplined by God.

When God tells us to do something and we don't do it, there is an outcome. There is a discipline that must be carried out. Not only that, but they also were cast out of the garden there if you'll notice there in Genesis chapter 3 and verse 23. It says that "He sent them forth out of the garden..." Drove them out in fact. "...then placed angels to guard so that they might not again enter into the place where the tree of life existed." That tree that would give them life forever, and a life really that would be blessed as they would be provided all that they had need of.

Well, as we continue to look on, we see the same is true in most of God's servants. There were always times that they needed discipline. Moses needed discipline. We go on to see that others after his time still needed discipline and at times the Israelites greatly needed discipline so much that God even disciplined them at times by allowing them to become captive and actually taken prisoners by other nations. So we see that God will and has in the past gone to great extremes to really discipline His children and to let them know that what you are doing is wrong. It's contrary to My Will, and therefore, it will not be allowed. It will not be accepted and if you continue in it, then the consequences are even more dire. They are even more great.

Well that's the reality also today and we find the same thing in the New Testament although many in the religious world don't like to talk about that. They don't like to really consider that really the same God that was a strong and merciful and gracious but yet a harsh God in some ways and very true to the fact of His judgments. That's the same God of the Old Testament that we serve today of the New Testament. And just as God today says, "Yes, I love you and I have great grace and mercy and I extend all of these wondrous undeserved things to you." It's still the same God also that said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments, and if you don't, you are like a goat that will be cast into the fire. You're like a tree that needs to be cut down because it's worthless to Me. It's no good and you'll not receive the rewards that I have promised to you." Well, that's the God that we serve. So when He talks about discipline, it's something that even today that we do need. And it's something that we need to learn about because discipline is something that will make us better.

I want you to now look at some specific verses that show us in the Old Law, then a quote in the New Law, that a lot of the comments that really the writer of Hebrews, most believing it to be Paul, made in relationship to God being a disciplinarian, one who would love and care for and guide and protect and all of those things for His people although they didn't deserve it many times. But yet, He would discipline them also when they got out of line or when they weren't doing that which was right.

Notice with me in the book of Deuteronomy because I think there in chapter 8 to the Israelites, God lays it out very well as to what was really required of those who would properly follow and in fact, He reminds them in verse 1 of chapter 8, again of Deuteronomy. "Every commandment which I command you today, you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply and possess the land which the Lord swore to the fathers." Right of the bat a warning. He says, "All the commands which I give you today, you must observe, but not only just observe," but He clarifies there, "carefully observe." You must strive to make sure that you're doing exactly what you have been asked to do or obviously the outcome is you will suffer the consequences. We'll see that in just a moment. "You shall remember that the Lord your God lead you all the way, these 40 years in the wilderness to humble you and to test you to know what was in your heart whether you would keep His commandments or not." He said, "I want to know if you are faithful, whether you needed discipline." We know that we're disciplined over that period of time. "So We humbled you and allowed you hunger, to feed with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know that he might make you known that what man shall not live by alone is bread, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord." You see, it's not about the physical again. It's about the spiritual and that's the emphasis here. "Your garments did not wear out on you nor did your foot swell these 40 years. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son so the Lord your God chastens you." Just as the father goes to the child and understands that that child needs discipline from time to time, he says here the Lord had to do it to you also, Israel. He had to do it why? Because He told you to follow the commands and to be careful that you follow every one. Yet, what did you do? You continued to transgress. You continued to do that which was against your God. Therefore in verse 6, he says again, "Keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways..." Notice "...and fear Him." Yes, keep those commandments. Keep those commandments because what does the father do to the son who doesn't obey? He disciplines that son. He chastens him. What does God do to the child that really knows the Will of God but yet he chooses not to obey and continues to maybe look the other way or to directly go in transgression of the Will of God? What does He do? He disciplines him. So He exhorts them again. Israel, obey God. Fear Him. Know that your God is not only an all-knowing, an all-powerful God, but one who can discipline you and the one that gave you your very breath and the one who even has the power to take life. Not just the physical life that we are talking about, but the life that is referred to in the New Testament as one that is the soul, again that part of man that really is to live eternally with God and rewarded in heaven. God can even cause that part of man to live in eternal destruction.

Now I want you to go with me to the New Testament because I want you to see that this is something that has been true of our God of all ages. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about the very beginning and the Patriarchal periods or the Mosaical Age where we see the Israelites were under the Law of Moses, or the Christian period that we now are under. All of these periods again show us clearly that we serve the same God, the God that was the same yesterday, today and that will be the same forever.

In the book of Hebrews then and chapter 12, we begin to see in verse 3 the ideas unfold similarly to what we read in Deuteronomy. In fact, a reference will be made here by most likely the author being Paul. Here as to this concept that was mentioned in Deuteronomy chapter 8. Read with me beginning though in verse 3. It says there, "For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed striving against sin and you have forgotten to exhort the exhortation which speaks to you as sons saying, 'My sons do not despise the chastening or disciplining of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him for whom the Lord loves He chastens or disciplines and scourges every son whom He receives." See, this not only gives the idea that God might discipline, but it really presents the idea that God will discipline. Why? Because He has to. He has to as our Father and as we being the children. He has to in order that we understand the seriousness of certain things, of certain situations, that we understand again what to say and to do and to do it properly according to His Will and not to do those things again that would bring reproach against Him or ourselves and therefore somehow cause people to consider as one who is not worthy. Notice here it says that they should not despise Him, but know that He will discipline them and then finally it also says that He loves the one that He chastens, just as we are individuals who as parents raise our children and it is hard sometimes to discipline that child when they get the big crocodile tears or the lip puckers or turns under and it is difficult to carry out that discipline. You've made a commitment and you say, "Here is what's going to happen. Here is the punishment and here is the grounding or whatever is going to take place." You make the commitment and then they turn it on. Then you wonder, "How can I do it?" Well, the Father in heaven is the same way. He said, "I've made the commitment. I've spoken My Words and I cannot lie." God does not lie. When He said that it must be so, then it must be so. So when someone chooses not because of God but because of our own weaknesses, our own sins, our own desires, to transgress that law, what do we need? Just like our children, we need discipline. We need to be corrected. We need God to say, "Look, wake up, Ray. You're not doing right. You need to get your life right or else." Why? Because everyone who is loved by God will receive, as it says here, discipline. In fact, the word that goes on at the end of verse 6 is the concept of scourging, an actual concept of a beating or a whipping. In other words, whatever it takes, God will do to make sure that His people remain faithful.

Well, that's what He's always done and that's why we should not be surprised by this. In fact, if you'll notice there continuing in verse 7 and 8, He tells us that this chastening is really is something that is just a part of our lives as we have confirmed. In fact, verse 7 says, "If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening of which all have become partakers then you are illegitimate and not sons." Basically, what He goes on to say here is that again, just as God disciplines the child is the same as the father disciplining his child here on the earth, but He says if you're not disciplined by God in any way when you're doing wrong, then really are you of God? Well he's saying that you are not. He's saying you must not be a partaker. You must not be a follower of God if God has chosen not to discipline you because a father can only discipline who? His own child. So you have to be a child of God. You have to be a follower, one who is at least striving to do your best and then that father says, "Correct it, Get it right." Then you know that that father loves you because he has responded and he says he doesn't want you to be lost. He doesn't want you to make mistakes. He doesn't want you to do wrong, and therefore you are corrected. But again, that also shows us that He considers Himself what? As the verse says here, "Our Father." He considers Himself to be my Father when He corrects me. Well, the same thing would be true of my son. He would expect his father to correct him, but he might not expect others to correct him. Well again, that's the type of God that we serve. One who is consistent. One who follows the very patterns that He Himself has set out.

But notice the last several verses here, verses 9 through 11. "Furthermore, we have had human fathers who correct and we pay them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of Spirits and live?" Here in a nutshell, he says, "Look just like our human fathers cared for us and they loved us and we respected them. Why is it then that we would get mad at God if He corrects or disciplines or scourges us? Why would we get upset with God because He is also our Father in a spiritual sense? In fact, notice the last thing that he says there, "the Father of Spirits and live." He offers us a greater life than our earthly fathers, an eternal life. Well, how much more we should want His discipline so that we can make sure that we are children who are following the pattern that He has laid down through the Word.

Notice on in verse 10, "For they indeed for a few days chasten us as seen best to them, but He for our profit that we may be partakers of His holiness." God disciplines us to make us more holy. When we're more holy, what are we? We're more like Him. When we're more like Him, being more God-like, are we going to be nearer to Him? Certainly. Are we going to be more pleasing before Him? Certainly we are. Are we going to be individuals that will know that God will give us the rewards that He has promised? Of course He will. That's again what he is saying.

Finally, verse 11 says, "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful. Nevertheless, afterwards, it yields the peaceable spirit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

Discipline is not fun, we started out by saying, and again I said as my kids would confirm. But at the end of the day, after thirty minutes to an hour, you know what? The kids have forgotten it. They have forgotten the discipline but they have remembered the lesson. And the next time the word "no" comes up or "that's not right" or "that's a mistake" or "that's something you shouldn't do," in their mind that discipline has been placed. That's what God is trying to do for us. He's trying to say, "Look, Ray, learn from this experience and then next time maybe you won't make the same mistake." Isn't that what life is all about? Studying the Word of God and learning what He wants and working as diligently as we can and even though we might be disciplined it's not that exciting and it's not that good sometimes when a church might discipline us because we haven't been doing right or because some of us haven't been living right and maybe it makes us feel bad because we really know that that be the case. Again, we don't take that anger out and say, "Well, I hate God because of it." We again love God. He disciplines us why? To correct us. To help us, just again, as a father would do.

So I would encourage us all this morning to understand that the one who loves his child does not spare the rod as is read in Proverbs 23, or Proverbs 13 and verse 24. In other words, he's not afraid to discipline in those ways that are consistent with Godly things. Not that he makes bruises or tears a child up or beats it. We're not suggesting that. We're saying that you discipline a child in the way that you should in order to again bring that child under subjection and learn from that that God does the same for us. It may not be in a physical sense, but again from a spiritual standpoint. We always need to understand that God wants us to be more like Him. So the question might be this morning, "Are you willing to be like God? Are you willing to receive His discipline? Or will we be child-like in a sense and say, 'Well, if God disciplines me then I'm not going to do this or I'm not going to do that.'" Or are we going to say, "I'm going to follow my God. Thank you, Lord, for loving me enough to tell me that I need to be a truer follower in your kingdom." Are you willing to receive the discipline from your God?

(SONG # 3 - "Faith Is The Victory!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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Thanks be to God that He loves us enough to discipline us, so that we may always be the type of children He desires - according to His Will and not our own!

(Program closing)