THE GIFT NOBODY WANTS
October 16, 2016
Hebrews 12:3-11 ESV:  Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
The author is giving us tools intended to empower us to joyfully endure in faith, especially when difficult circumstances tempt us to not trust.
- Look to the example of others. (v1-3)
- Look to our loving Heavenly Father, trusting He is using the circumstances of our life to draw us to Himself.
- Develop a healthy perspective. (v4)
- Identify the source of drifting. (5-6)
- Embrace God’s discipline because He loves us. (7-11)
Life Group Questions:
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
1. How would you summarize 12:1-3?
2. What is the struggle against sin the author is referring to?
3. How does “our struggle against sin” relate to the “point of the shedding of blood”?
4. What is the author communicating by saying, “do not grow weary or faint hearted”?
5. What have the readers potentially forgotten?
6. How is the author using the word ‘discipline’? Does the author make discipline differ from punishment? Explain.
7. What comparison is used to illustrate the idea of God’s tool to draw us to himself? If a child was not disciplined, what would that indicate? What is the point?
8. What is the author’s intent in saying “all discipline seems painful for a moment”? Does this author limit it to only seeing God’s hand after the circumstances have concluded? Explain.
9. What is the ‘peaceful fruit of righteousness’?
10. What does “those who are trained by it” mean?
11. How would you paraphrase the big idea of 12:3-11?
HOW DOES IT APPLY?
1. How is discipline generally viewed in our culture?
2. After reading the text, how would you define ‘discipline’? Has it changed? Grown? Been reminded?
3. What are the ways we may “regard lightly” the tool God uses to draw us to himself?
4. What have been some difficult circumstances in your life?
5. In what ways have you struggled to believe that God uses difficult circumstances for our good in order to draw us to himself?
6. How could you respond to difficult circumstances in order that you might be trained by it?
7. How does 'considering Jesus' give you greater trust that God is using difficult circumstances to draw you to Himself?
8. If someone has gone, or is going through, difficult circumstances in their life and now doubts God’s love or has forgotten this tool God uses, how would you encourage, exhort, counsel them? How would you counsel yourself?