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Cornerstone Community Church

Instruction Thru Hardship

Intro:  The Marshmallow.  Disciplining my kids can be exhausting at times.  They hate it.

Big Idea:  God loves His children enough to correct them.

Context: The Jewish Christians had been suffering great persecution, and considering returning to temple Judaism.  The letter is written to remind them that Jesus is superior and that the race of faith is not easy, but we are sustained by Jesus & His ministry as our Prophet, Priest & King.

I. Our response to hardship matters (vv 5-7a).

-         Suffering: “getting what you do not want while wanting what you do not get.”

-         They had forgotten important truths while suffering.  We forget His encouragement.

-         We think lightly (regard as trifling or w/contempt) of God’s encouragement.  Ill. Jadon

-         Proverbs 3:11-12 is an application of 3:5-6.  Forsake your interpretation for His!

-         Our sinful interpretations to suffering lead to petulant or despairing behavior.

-         God can’t or won’t protect me.”  We doubt His power &/or goodness.  Ill. Kushner

-         God hates me.”  We doubt his love, & think he’s actively trying to ruin us.  Ill. teens

-         God has abandoned me.”  We doubt His faithfulness to His promises.

-         cr crucified & resurrected refutes the complaints- proved His love, power & faithfulness.

Transition:  God cares about our response to hardship.  We are to be encouraged, not distressed.

II. God correction proves we are His sons (vv. 7-9a).

-         God addresses all who believe as ‘sons’ 6 times- a main emphasis of the passage.

-         paideia-“corrective instruction or discipline” used 8 times.  They’re tied together!

-         Jesus bore the penalty for our sin.  This hardship is meant to instruct us, not punish us.

-         Some have histories of physical or emotional abuse.  The Father is not abusive.

-         Corrective discipline is an expression of His love- concern for how His children behave.

-         Earthly parents do it, imperfectly, while their children are young.  Ill. Gracie

-         God does it perfectly all our lives.  He knows what works with individuals & churches.

-         He teaches us we are entangled in sin.  Pain should prompt repentance (vs. 1).  Ill. shoe

-         He teaches us to be most satisfied in Christ.  Tests reveal what’s most important (vs. 16).

-         He teaches us how to listen to God.  Ill. Lewis- “Pain is God’s megaphone.”  Jadon/tub

-         He teaches us about our sinful attitudes.  Pain reveals hidden attitudes (Deut. 8 & vs. 15).

-         He teaches us to rely on Him, not ourselves or others (2 Cor. 1). Live by faith, not flesh.

Transition: God reveals His love for His children in corrective instruction, lest we go astray.

III. Trust Him to bring you to maturity thru hardship (vv. 9b-11).  It’s not a mechanical process!

-         God’s goal => share in His holiness.  Pain now & joy later.  Ill. Eli’s adjustment

-         God uses our suffering to make us like Jesus- sharing our Brother’s character (Rom. 8).

-         Pain itself will not accomplish God’s goal.  We have a responsibility in hardship.

-         We must be trained by it (gymnasium-ed), though it is painful.  Ill. exercise

-         It begins with submission: surrendering our wills to God’s agenda, not demanding ours.

-         Submission feels like death.  It is painful for us not to get our way.  Ill. Tantrums

-         But submitting to God brings life: a great promise to sustain us.  Do we trust God?!

-         Passively, we endure thru patience: staying cool under pressure & not quickly cracking.

-         Actively, we endure thru perseverance: standing firm under pressure.  (Rom. 8:31ff)

Conclusion:  Hardship comes and goes.  When it comes, reject the lies of the flesh, the world and the devil, but hold fast to the words of encouragement God speaks to us as sons.  Consider hardship as corrective discipline, intended for our growth in godliness.  Endure by trusting God, submitting to His will and patiently persevering.  You will see joy- the joy of holiness, without which none of us will see the Lord.

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