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Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

~Hebrews 12:3

Lesson40-image001Materials Needed: None

Notes to the Leader: The Christian Story would be much easier to tell if it was easy to follow. However, the commitment, faith as we call it, is not easy. Every day, human weakness, temptations, just the struggles of every day survival, test one’s faith. To endure, to survive, requires a plan and discipline. It is the very essence of being a disciple, to be disciplined in all things. This study will look in further detail to what is expected of the Christian who claims Christ as their Savior.

Be sensitive to the struggles of those in your group. It is much easier to tell someone to walk in faith than to walk it yourself. Personalize this study by using your own faith walk and examples of how you stood in faith and were not disappointed.

Introduction

What is the meaning of the word discipline?

  • Webster’s Dictionary: (1) training to act according to rules. (2) activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training. (3) punishment inflicted by way of correction and training. Notice the emphasis on correction and training.

Can a family or a society function without discipline? Why or why not?

  • There is no consequence to improper behavior.
  • No corrective training
  • Erodes the role and function of leadership thus destroying the concept of a common mission or goal to strive for.

Section One: Discipline’s Standard

Have someone in your group read Hebrews 12:3-4

The writer of Hebrews gives us a warning against having the wrong attitude toward discipline from God. How do you handle discipline yourself?

  • Ideas: Children, people you work with, etc.
  • You only discipline those you have authority over.
  • Discipline is only administered when it is required.
  • The discipline matches the offense or conditions.
  • The discipline is meant to teach, change and, in general, make the individual a better person.

How does Hebrews 12:3-4 suggest we keep the correct attitude?

  • Subject ourselves to God’s authority over us.
  • Remember that most of our struggles are not mortal struggles.

Focus on the life of Christ and his obedience to God as an example to follow.

Section Two: Discipline’s Blessings

Have someone in your group read Hebrews 12:6-11

How does God’s discipline manifest itself in our lives?

  • Through our endurance of hardships.

When faced with a great hardship seemingly beyond our control, what choices do we have?

  • Relatively few when it comes to worldly solutions. However, we have all the power we need over our attitudes. The hardship can be used to:
  • (vv.7-8) Confirm our child-relationship to God.
  • (v. 9) Receive nourishment for our spiritual lives.
  • (v. 10) Grow closer to the holiness of God.
  • (v. 11) Bring peace and righteousness through the training gained by God’s discipline.

In your opinion, what is the best teacher, laughter or tears?

  • While the human race learns from all emotions, there probably has been no greater teacher in history that the lessons learned from human misery. Few stories have been recorded concerning mankind’s joyful experiences but volumes record mankind’s pain. If you consider all of the tears the human race has shed, it is easy to see why mankind without God is destined for misery. We are all so slow to learn.

What then should our attitude be when enduring hardships?

  • We have five choices:
    • Resign and accept it.
    • Get it over as soon as possible.
    • Accept it with self-pity.
    • Accept it as punishment in a resentful manner
    • Accept it as coming from a loving father (the preferred choice).

Section Three: Discipline’s Demands

Have someone in your group read Hebrews 12:12-17

What is it that we are to aim at as Christians? Read one verse at a time.

  • (v. 12) A call to action to do good works.
  • (v. 13) Remove obstacles and hindrances to spiritual growth.
  • (v. 14a) Good relationships with all people are necessary for good progress in the Christian life.
  • (v. 14b) Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. How do we gain holiness?
  • Through a process of sanctification led by our faith and trust in Christ.
  • (v. 15) Demonstrate God’s grace not bitterness.
  • (v. 16) If sins like these are harbored for long, the time may come when a person seeks restoration, with its blessings, but may not find it, because they may not be able to sincerely repent (v. 17).

Section Four: Salvation’s Blessings

Have someone in your group read Hebrews 12:18-24

Contrast the difference between the Old Testament God and the New Testament God. What is the difference mean to us today?

  • The Old Testament picture is a terrifying one for those who broke the Law. The New Testament brought forth God’s grace and forgiveness. Instead of separation from God (Old Testament), today we are together with Christ who is our constant companion.

Which is worse, disobedience during the times of the Old Testament or disobedience during the times of the New Testament? Is this a significant issue today?

  • Moses brought forth the Law on behalf of God. Moses was God’s spokesperson. However, Christ spoke as God and, therefore, needed no such spokesperson. If there was condemnation for breaking the imperfect message of the law, how much greater will the condemnation be for breaking the perfect message of the Gospel?

Section Five: Salvation’s Demands

Have someone in your group read Hebrews 12:25-29

What is our warning and command in this passage (v. 25)?

  • Do not refuse Him who speaks. We are to recognize and obey the itative voice of God.

What is the significance of the statements made in verse 12:26-27?

  • There is no place to hide. Both the heavens and the earth are to be shaken leaving only an unshakable eternal kingdom. All things will be uprooted and may pass away. Life as we have experienced it may come to an end. However, one and only one thing will stand for eternity, our personal relationship with God.

In v.29, we are reminded of an awesome fact, our God is a consuming fire. This should strike fear into all people’s hearts.

Do you think people fear God today? Can our families and society survive without the fear of God?

  • Without discipline and fear, it is often difficult to control mankind’s sinful nature. Our goal in life should be more than just survival. It should be to lead the fulfilled life of a faithful servant of our God. This passage along with the others in Hebrews should serve as a reminder that God’s love and His discipline are handed out to those He loves for the purpose of sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit works in us to purify us and instill the will to do good works.

One key difference between the non-Christian and the Christian is a matter of hope. Read Romans 5:1-5 to your group.

How do life’s difficulties relate to our Christian hope?

  • Each suffering is part of a journey that give us strength through the Holy Spirit and to hope (faith) in Christ Jesus. Does not satisfaction come forth from the labor, sweat and pain given in pursuit of achievement? And what better achievement is there than the eternal presence of God.

Bible Truth Being Taught

The Christian life is not a guarantee against problems. To stand in faith when problems strike is the very essence of the Christian walk.

Our Response

To see that as we stand strong against the pressures of life, we learn obedience through God’s loving discipline.

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