December 11, 2022 Pastor Prep Notes
We long for the world to change. And God gives us Jesus!
God’s Discipline is always Good.
ADVENT 3: Joy Jesus brings joy into our world. So we can trust that “God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. …No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
A Verse to Remember:
“I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news!” Luke 1:19
Gospel Story: Zechariah Luke 1:8-25 and Luke 1:57-79
Today’s Scripture: Hebr 12:5-13
5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you.6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
O the “joy” of Godly discipline …. not! …. But YES it’s true. Reread our passage from Hebrews today. The joy that comes from Godly discipline may not be touted as one of God’s top 10 Christmas themes. But it is still a Christmas theme! We find it in the “Christmas” story within the Gospel. And we find it in our reading today from Hebrews.
First the Gospel! I want you to ponder God’s moment with Zechariah in the story noted above. Ponder it from the perspective of the Good News what we are calling Godly discipline. Zechariah can’t believe his ears when Gabriel tells him Elizabeth will have a son and he is to name him “John”. In a weirdly supernatural act, because Zech doubted, the Gabriel says he won’t be able to speak until the child is born. Crazy right?!!? The child is born, Zech writes out the child’s name on the “white board” and boom he can speak again! And what is the first thing out of his mouth …? Praise to God! The man is filled with joy! It’s the fruit of Godly discipline.
Godly discipline, what is it? It’s something God does with and for the children he loves. What is the nature of the pain that comes from it? Through it we get to share in his holiness And how does it produce joy! By training us in such a way that we reap a harvest of righteous living! Anyone that has had a coach or a parent that supported you in your growth as artist, musician, or worker or student of any kind, perhaps even as a disciple of Jesus’ -can identify with the expression no pain no gain! Imagine discipline without anger, punishment that does not come with our harm but an actual blessing for others, “so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong”. Like a firm but loving parent, Godly discipline aims for us to be the best that we can be.
Remember, “God’s discipline is always good”. Embrace it. “Mark out a straight path” ! That path I suggest will lead you to straight to Jesus every time!!!!