Ephesians; 1:5 – The sons of God will be disciplined, part 3.
Tuesday May 7, 2019
The Friday before Easter was our 2,000th message.
Christ offers to all who are His the very spirit which made Him what He was. It is imperative that we walk in that spirit and discipline is sometimes our only guide.
Never forget, the same source of inward life which was always sufficient for Jesus to live in a manner pleasing to His Father, He has given to each of us who have believed upon Him.
Heb 12:5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
Heb 12:6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives."
We are not to forget the discipline so as to return to the errors that were corrected, or as the imagery the writer will use, we are not to reinjure the lame limb that was straightened. We are also not to regard the discipline lightly, as it is clear here that God Himself considers it a most terrible waste to possess His life and neglect it.
Heb 12:7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
Heb 12:8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Heb 12:9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits [the Creator of our immaterial inner man], and live?
Heb 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.
It is important to recognize that God shows us an abundant and recognizable example of this through human fathers and sons. The pain, sin, and evil that undisciplined children bring upon themselves and their families and neighborhoods and societies is not a recent phenomenon. It has been trouble from the beginning. Cain slew his brother and brother has brought violence upon brother ever since.
In fact, rampant disrespect for parents is a sign of “last days.”
2Ti 3:1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
2Ti 3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,
2Ti 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,
2Ti 3:4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;
2Ti 3:5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.
About ten years before he wrote this, Paul predicted correctly that: “savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” (Act 20:29-30)
The general tone of the pastoral epistles (Timothy and Titus) reveals a church that was fighting for its life against the malicious jealousy of a frustrated Judaism and against the corrupt indifference of a decadent paganism.
That was a prediction for the present, and this is a prediction for the future. The meaning of “last days” is uncertain. This certainly is a description of the world at any time, and so the phrase may refer to the entire church age, but that would make his prediction meaningless. It is much more likely that Paul refers to the time of the Tribulation or the time leading up to the Tribulation, but we cannot know for sure.
One thing we do know is that when any society acts like this as a whole, its days are numbered. So also with the people who are performing the sin and evil involved.
God sets before our eyes the results of children who are disobedient to their parents. It wreaks havoc on families and societies.
Children that grow up without a father are: five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of school; and twenty times more likely to end up in prison.
It is human nature. When we are without discipline and guidance, our base natures are impossible to control and we end up making bad decisions which lead to worse decisions that send us in a spiraling pattern towards destruction. The writer of Hebrews reveals that God the Father will not allow this for His own, yet, as he will also state, discipline must be met with the proper response if it is to produce fruit.
God loves the whole world, and we have to assume that He always intervenes in the life of any troubled child, but still the child must respond to it.
Mat 18:7 “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!
Mat 18:8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal fire.
Mat 18:9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into the fiery hell.
Jesus is obviously referencing unbelievers and it reveals to us just how detrimental stumbling blocks are to the world.
Mat 18:10 See that you do not despise (also: think slightly of) one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven.”
Proper use of discipline, not abuse, is the greatest revealer of a father’s love. He does what he doesn’t want to in order to give his child the greatest gift – virtue.
It is usually not a great sacrifice to give gifts to your children. Most parents give gifts to their children that they can afford. There may be love in this as well, but it is not as revealing. We’re not saying that a parent has to reveal it, but it is of utmost importance that a child know that they are loved, and that unconditionally.
We all know the experience of the parent that won’t discipline their kids letting the rest of us to have to deal with an unruly, annoying little monster. God forbid they have to put down their phone and give their time into training and discipline. And yet, this is the hardest and most sacrificial part of parenting, and the reason it is the most neglected. It takes time, dedication, and when necessary, inflicting pain on someone you love most in the world. Yet, the good parent does it because their love for the child is greater than their love of their own comfort.
Our Father in heaven reveals His love for us in giving most sacrificially – His Son on the cross – and in disciplining us. And, while we’re on the subject, it would be dutiful to read the passages about our own disciplining of our own children.
Pro 13:23 He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.
Pro 19:18 Discipline your son while there is hope,
And do not desire his death.
Pro 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
Pro 23:13 Do not hold back discipline from the child,
Although you beat him with the rod, he will not die.
Solomon likely isn’t making the point in saying, “Don’t worry, you won’t beat him to death.” That he is referring to the death of the undisciplined child makes more sense, as in Pro 19:18.
Discipline your son while there is hope,
And do not desire his death.
The next proverb we go to says the same.
Pro 23:14 You shall beat him with the rod,
And deliver his soul from Sheol [the grave].
All sons die, but this is figurative for an early death or a life filled with death rather than light, substance, the voice of God, and the presence of God, i.e. God’s glory.
Pro 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom,
But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
Pro 29:17 Correct your son, and he will give you comfort;
He will also delight your soul.
And, we are warned to discipline them in love, which will prevent us from being overly harsh or doing it in anger.
Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Eph 6:2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise),
Eph 6:3 that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
Verse 3 is akin to “do not desire his death” in Pro 19:18. Live long on the earth is not so much a promise of many years. There are plenty of miserable, old, prunes shuffling around on earth. Rather, it is figurative to a prosperous life, which always seems long, though compared to some it may not be in actual years. Jesus only lived for around 30 years, Paul perhaps for 50, but the impact of their lives goes on. Would we say that neither of them had a full life?
Eph 6:4 And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Heb 12:11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
To some extent, God’s divine purpose is accomplished through sorrow. Yet, that sorrow yields peace.
Discipline isn’t supposed to be fun. It hurts, and if we are humble
enough to see, we know that we have caused God to pain us because of our choice to sin.
We remember that the incarnation, the Son of God coming into the world as a man, was devised and accomplished just for us.