Sermon #86 Hebrews Notes
Title: Your Father’s Rod
Text: Hebrews 12:5-11
Date: Tuesday Evening—
Tape # X-6a
Every wise and good father has a rod by which he corrects his sons and daughters, by which he disciplines his children and makes them mind. And our heavenly Father is a wise and good Father. I want to talk to you tonight about Your Father’s Rod. You will find my text in Hebrews 12:5-11. While you are turning to Hebrews 12, I want you to listen carefully to what I have to say.
In this world of sin sorrow is everywhere. All who live in this world suffer many bitter things, sorrows that are deeply felt, leaving scars that never quite heal. The fact of human suffering is something that baffles philosophers and sociologists, politicians and religious leaders, moralists and educators. Try as they may to eradicate pain and poverty, it only gets worse.
The glaring fact that men and women in this world refuse to acknowledge is that all sorrow, all pain, all adversity is the result of sin. Because we live in a sin-cursed world under the judgment of God, because our human race is a race under the wrath of the Almighty, our world is a world of hurt and woe.
When the unbeliever, the man of the world has to face pain and sorrow, he looks upon his hardships either as a matters of “luck,” or “fate,” or as things which must be blamed on someone. If his child is born with a severe handicap, or one of his family is permanently injured by an accident, it is “bad luck”. In the face of such things he either becomes bitter and cynical, or he shrugs his shoulders and tries to cope with fate with as much cheerfulness as he can muster.
For the believer things are different. We trust God who is almighty, our heavenly Father who “works all things after the counsel of his own will.” We know that God is love, that he loves us with a peculiar, distinguishing love. He has adopted us as his sons and daughters. He is our Father; and we are his children.
We do not feel pain any less than others, but in some ways more acutely. When a child of God looks into the face of a deformed baby, or sees his teenage boy or girl maimed by some accident, as he holds the weak hand of a dying wife, as he thinks about the whole of human suffering and misery he cries from the depth of his tortured soul, “Why, O Lord, Why?” “Why do the righteous suffer?”.
Often our sorrows are aggravated by the apparent indifference of our God, our heavenly Father. How often the heavens seem silent and empty. We cry out in dispair with the psalmists, “Why dost Thou stand afar off, Oh Lord? Why dost Thou hide thyself in times of trouble?”
These are questions that need to be answered. But they can only be answered by God himself. And he has answered them for us in Hebrews 12:5-11.
I. As he instructs us in this matter of suffering, urging us to endure of Father’s chastening rod, the Holy Spirit reminds us of A Consoling Fact in verses 5 and 6.
(Hebrews 12:5) "And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:"
The opening words of verse 5 are not incorrect. But they could be (and I think should be) translated as a question. Paul is not saying, “You have forgotten,” but “Have you forgotten?” The word “exhortation” would be better translated “consolation.” The opening line of verse 5 would be more accurately translated—“And have ye forgotten the consolation which speaketh unto you as unto children.” This is not intended to be an accusation, but a challenge.
Look at the passage quoted here. You will find it in Proverbs 3:11-12.
(Proverbs 3:11-12) "My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth."
(Deuteronomy 8:5) "Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee."
(Job ) "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:"
(Psalms 94:12) "Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;"
(James 1:2-3) "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."
(James 1:12) "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him."
(Revelation 3:19) "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
We must never look upon our Father’s chastisements as acts of anger, vengeance, or wrath. He is not punishing us for our sins as a judge executing the sentence of law upon us. Oh, never! That could never be! The Lord God punished our sins to the full satisfaction of his law’s infinite justice and wrath in our Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, because God’s rod is the rod of our Father’s love, not the sword of divine justice, we must take care that we “despise not the chastening of the Lord.”
The Lord God corrects his children in love as our Father. The very word “chastening” implies instruction. The Lord by chastening us instructs us.
This is called “the chastening of the Lord” because every chastening, every afflictive providence, is appointed by God, and is to be seen by us as his work.
· Ordained by Him.
· Governed by Him.
· Limited by Him.
· Overruled by Him—For Our Good—For His Glory!
When we understand this, we will not look upon our trials and hardships as nauseous, loathsome things, but will esteem them as wonders of mercy—Mysterious? Yes!—But still, wonders of mercy! Whatever my pain is, my Heavenly Father sent it. If he sent it, he will do me good by it.
William Cowper understood this. That is why he could write the kind of hymns he wrote, though he was constantly bombarded with afflictive circumstances.
“God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs And works His siovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break In blessing on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flower.”
Look at the next line of verse 5.—“nor faint when thou art rebuked of him.”—God has many ways of rebuking, reproving, and convincing.
· His Spirit
· His Word
· His Preachers
· His Providence
He rebukes us for our sins, convinces us of them, and graciously forces us to acknowledge them and confess them, not because he is angry with us, but because he loves us. Afflictions are the black dogs by which God chases the evil he hates from the people he loves.
Here Paul tells us not to faint under the stroke of our Father’s rod. In verse 6 he tells us why we shouldn’t.
(Hebrews 12:6) "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."
· This is a declaration of distinguishing love.
· This is an assurance of divine care.
· This is a promise of God’s acceptance.—David—Peter.
II. Now, let’s look at verses 7-8. Here is a call for humble submission to our Father’s chastening rod.
(Hebrews 12:7-8) "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons."
When our Father lays his rod upon our backs, our only and our wisest course is to bow to him. Snuggle up as close as you can. The closer you snuggle up to him, the lighter will be the strokes of his rod.
One of Luther’s friends who was terribly sick, covered with sores, and bed-ridden, was asked how he felt. Pointing to the ulcers that covered his body, he said, “These are God’s gems and jewels wherewith he decks his best friends. To me they are more precious than all the silver and gold in the world.”
God’s corrections are pledges of our adoption. We should always look upon them as distinct tokens of his distinct love and favor. God deals with us as with sons, when he refuses to leave us alone.
(1 Corinthians 11:32) "But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."
Those who are without chastisement are not sons. Not all who suffer are sons, but all sons do suffer. The wicked suffer because of their impenitence, the righteous for God’s glory and their good.
The word “bastard” refers to one born of an unfaithful, adulterous wife, or child of fornication. Here it refers to one who wears God’s name by profession, but without right.
These spring up and choke the weeds That would else o’erspread the soil.
Trials make the promise sweet, Trials give new life to prayer,
Trials bring me to His feet, Lay me low and keep me there.
Did I meet no trials here, No chastisements by the way,
Might I not with reason fear I should prove a castaway?
Bastards may escape the rod, Sunk in earthly, vain delight;
But the true born child of God Must not, would not, if he might.”
III. In verses 9-10 the Lord shows us his wise and gracious purpose in chastening us with his rod.
(Hebrews 12:9-10) "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? "For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness."
Thank God, he is not like us! He never chastens his when there is no need, without a purpose, or because he is angry!
A. Let me say this one more time—Our Heavenly Father’s rod is a rod of love, not of anger and wrath. Did he not say, “Fury is not in me” (Isa. 27:4)?
B. Our Father’s object in our afflictions is that we might grow in faith and in love, that we might grow in grace. He never strikes without purpose. His rod is the rod of instruction.—The fact is, we read God’s Word most clearly when our eyes are wet.
(Psalms 94:12) "Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;"
(Psalms 119:65-72) "Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. 66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. 68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. 69 The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. 70 Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. 72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver."
C. God’s purpose in all things, and distinctly in the exercise of his rod, is “that we might live, that we might be partakers of his holiness.”
(Proverbs 6:23) "For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:"
(Proverbs 15:31) "The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise."
D. How do our trials make us partakers of God’s holiness?
· Our holiness before God is altogether his work of grace;--Imputed Righteousness—Imparted Righteousness.
· God’s holiness in this place cannot possibly refer to his moral character or to that holiness which he gives, which we have in Christ by grace. Here the word simply and only means “separation.”—By the loving exercise of his rod, our Heavenly Father separates our hearts from the world—wheat from chaff—the precious from the vile.
IV. In verse 11 the Holy Spirit shows us our Father’s ultimate end in all our temporary adversities, trials, heartaches, and afflictions.
(Hebrews 12:11) "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
The more you beat a walnut tree the more fruit it gives.—The more God chastens his children the more fruitful they are.—His vine is most productive when it bleeds. He prunes it to make it fruitful.
(Galatians 5:22-23) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
A. If our chastisements didn’t hurt they wouldn’t be chastisements (1 Pet. 1:3-9).
(1 Peter 1:2-9) "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
B. Yet, with the blessed assurance of our Father’s immutable faithfulness and love, we can, even with broken hearts and weeping eyes, live in peace.
(2 Corinthians 4:17-5:1) "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
(Philippians 4:4-7) "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
C. Soon, very soon, our Father will use his rod no more, because it will never be needed!
(Romans 8:16-18) "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
(Revelation 7:14-17) "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
1. When Job was afflicted he adopted at first the attitude of self-pity (3:3), his three friends proposed the attitude of self-accusation; but God demanded the attitude of self-surrender!
Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be;
Oh lead me by Thine own right hand,
Choose out the path for me.
2. When you are tempted to dispair, and complain, remember God’s faithfulness (Lam. 3:21-23; Isa. 63:9; 1 Cor. 10:13).
(Isaiah 63:9) "In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old."
(Lamentations 3:21-33) "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 28 He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. 29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. 30 He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. 31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. 33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men."
(1 Corinthians 10:13) "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
3. Let us ever remember, look to, and think upon Him who was afflicted as no man ever was.—May God give us grace to both trust him and emulate him.
(Lamentations 1:12) "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger."
(Philippians 1:29) "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;"
(1 Peter 2:22-24) "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."