April 12, 2015
This Week’s Take Home Truth:
“Jesus, as the perfect picture of endurance, models for us faithful perseverance.”
This Week’s Resources:
- The Compass Bible Study
- Sermon PowerPoint (scroll down past the worship slides)
- Lighthouse Discussion Guide
- Lighthouse Leader Study Guide
As the writer to the Hebrews begins to wrap up his sermonic letter, he once again returns to a familiar theme: endure to the end… stay strong… run the race with perseverance!
In this week’s text, the writer turns to the topic of God’s discipline. Discipline has a dual meaning in the New Testament, one that correlates with our concept of training, which is best summarized in the word discipleship, and the other that correlates with our concept of trials. Many times, training and trials go hand-in-hand.
It is fitting that the writer uses the illustration of a runner to set the stage for this discussion. Running requires discipline that often encompasses both training and trials. Runners push themselves to run farther and faster as they strive for their goal. At the same time, the writer draws the comparison to the discipline of an earthly parent, who corrects and admonishes a child out of love and commitment. The silver lining in this text is summarized in v. 11–“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 focus of this lesson is to help our people put all of this within context. Training and trials are a part of life, but they do serve a purpose, and the goal is to produce in us the character of Jesus.
Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
You’ve heard the phrase, “no pain, no gain.” Have you ever strived for something to the point you brought physical or emotional harm to yourself in an effort to achieve a goal? Describe the pain and the goal you were striving towards.
When you hear the word “discipline,” what comes to mind?
Read the Text (Hebrews 12:3-11)
We often wonder why thousands of marathoners seem to enjoy punishing themselves in those grueling races. Certainly, for most, it’s not the hope of winning. What is it then? Explaining it to his readers, writer Art Carey said, “The real joy of the Boston Marathon is just finishing, just winning the contest with yourself—doing what you have set out to do.” That’s the attitude the Hebrews were supposed to have: Stay in the faith-race to the end. One reason the race is worth running well is because we do not struggle alone. Others have run the race and won, and their witness encourages us to run to win. What an incredible heritage we have! Read Hebrews 12:3-11.
- What discipline of the Hebrews do you think the writer alludes to (Hebrews 12:3-4, 7; 11:35-38)?
- What do the following verses tell us about God’s purpose in trials?
- 1 Peter 1:6-7
- Romans 5:3-5
- 1 Peter 4:12-16
- James 1:2-4
- Romans 8:28-29
- How does the comparison of God’s discipline to our parents in Heb. 12:10-11 help us to respond positively to discipline?
- What role does faith play in helping us through life’s trials?
- What do you want to remember the next time God disciplines you?
- What step of obedience can you take beginning today to eliminate the need for God to discipline you?
We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the “intolerable compliment.”
Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life–the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child–he will take endless trouble–and would, doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient.
One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.