Creflo Dollar - The Chastening of the Lord
I'm going to talk to you about "The Chastening of the Lord". What is that? How does it work? Is God going to go back to punishing people? If you know him, you know the answer to that. But, what I need to do, is really dig into this this morning. And I need you to really dig in this with me this morning. I don't have any cartwheels or flips, just digging into this thing, just going line by line. You can do a cartwheel when you get it, amen? So let's go to the book of Hebrews, chapter 12 in the King James. Hebrews chapter 12 as we begin to deal with this issue of the chastening of the Lord. Hebrews chapter 12 and let's start at verse 5, and I read verse 5 through 11, Hebrews 12:5 through 11: "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children. My son despise not the chastening of the Lord".
Don't despise it, there's a reason for it, there's an objective behind it. There's something that he's trying to work out of you. He says, "Nor faint". So don't despise it, nor faint, "when thou art rebuked of him. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth and scourges every son whom he receiveth. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons. For what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence or respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live? For they, verily, for a few days, chastened us after their own pleasure, but he for our profit".
So this is gonna be for our profit. "That we might be partakers of His holiness. Now, no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous. Nevertheless, after it yielded the peaceable fruit of righteousness, unto them which are exercised, it's yielded unto them which are exercised thereby". Now, one aspect of the discipline of grace, is not always recognized as being of grace, and it is the chastening of the Lord. It's an aspect of the discipline of grace. We gotta teach on this too. We can't bypass this, you know. "Well, I know it's in the scripture somewhere, but I don't really wanna hear about it". Chastening Is God the Father dealing with his child in love. Now that's the foundation of this. Chastening is God the Father.
Now what I just said, God the Father. It's God acting as Father, disciplining or dealing with his children in love. God deals with us. He doesn't punish us, but he deals with us. Under the Old Testament, there was punishment for not keeping the law. But in this New Testament, under this Covenant of Grace, God is not the judge, he's the Father, and he will deal with his children, how? In love. Everybody say, "In love". Cause the Scripture just said, "For whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth". Now, he says, "If he loves you, he chasteneth". Wow. It is a sign of sonship and a reminder that one has not been forsaken by God. Chastisement is a sign that you are a son of God. If you don't know chastisement, your sonship is in question. And if everybody's on the bus, say amen. I know I ain't lost nobody that quick, I just got started, amen?
Now, because chastening is at times, accompanied by the visitation of distress and affliction, it is at time, in fact, let me show you this before I get going. 1 Peter chapter 5 and 9, I was pretty fascinated with this because, you know, he says that, you know, the the chasing of the Lord is a sign that we are sons of God and that he chasteneth all of those who are his sons. In 1 Peter chapter 5 and 9 he says, "Whom resisted steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions, afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world". So not only you and me, but all of our brethrens around the world, he said, there are some afflictions that are gonna be accomplished.
Now I don't want you jumping ahead of me, 'cause if you do, you might get in fear or you might get a little depressed, so don't jump ahead. This is a good story. Like for a moment it's gonna feel like, oh my God, what happened to the freedom in grace? Now we gotta get to the nitty gritty on this stuff, amen? So, because chastening is at times, accompanied by the visitation of distress and affliction, it's often confused with punishment. And so, we just showed you that afflictions and distresses will come as a result of chastening, but it's not punishment. It's not true that it's punishment for punishment is of God, who was the judge. Punishment is dealing, is the God who is the judge and justice exacting the full penalty of his broken law.
So, in the Old Testament, if you broke the law, you were punished because of the God of justice, there had to be that punishment. The Bible says the wages of sin is death. People died for complaining. You remember that little list about, I mean several thousand people fell dead because they were complaining. How many of you know the church would be empty this morning if people still fell dead for complaining? And the pulpit would be empty too. In this covenant of the law, there is no fatherhood of God in that covenant of the law, there is no expression of his love in that covenant of the law.
Punishment is the wrath of God poured out upon all who reject his Son today. It is condemnation that should come upon this unbelieving world. And the believer in Christ, the Bible says, shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. I need you to see that. John chapter 5 and verse 24, King James, John 5:24. I need you to see, there is no way, now how, you and I who are born again today, under the Father of love, we are not to come into condemnation. He says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my Word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life".
Now if you're saved, say out loud, "I have", well say, "I have everlasting life, with Christ". All right, he says, "And he shall not come into condemnation". But what happened is you passed from death when you were unsaved, to life, now that you're saved, praise God. And then Romans 6:14, just to verify this again for you, Romans 6:14 says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you". Why? "You are not under the law, where there is punishment, you are under grace," where there is this unrestrained, restricted of, beloved, of love God. "You are not under the law but under grace". Say, "I am under the grace of God".
Okay, so if that comes up anytime throughout this sermon, just wipe it out. If a thought comes up, "Oh my goodness, God's punishing me or you know, because of God's punishment, I'm gonna end up in hell," no, no, no your destiny has already been set. You've already passed from death to life. You are being dealt with by a Father who loves you. Remember, this is chastening of the Lord. It's the Father dealing with you in love. But he is going to be dealing with you. Now, let no one presume, and this is just to get this out, to make sure we got it, that the grace of God, don't presume upon the grace of God and think that because he shall not come into condemnation, don't think that just because you don't come into condemnation, that you can live according to the desires of this old carnal nature without suffering the full consequences thereof.
What am I saying? Sin has consequences. "Oh, but I'm under the grace of God and the Father loves me". Sin has consequences, it does. I told you the other week, you go fooling around with somebody's wife and the husband come home early and pulls the shotgun out and you died early and then God said, "What you here for"? Consequences. You under grace, being buried. You get that, right? There's no way, nowhere where grace is the license or the okay to sin. Grace is how you get out of sin, it's not permission to sin. Amen? And the church said Amen. And the wall said Amen. God does deal with the sins of believers. This is by chastening. He does deal with the sin of believers, and how is he gonna deal with the sin of believers? This is by chastening.
Now, God's chastening is to correct and to purify. So there is sin going on, there is some habits going on, stuff going on. You're saved, you'll get to Heaven, but he says, "I have the job as a Father to correct and I have a job as a father to purify". Not to imply that it's, you know, to make you guilty. God's not gonna use guilt to try to get you out of it, but he wants to clear up the imperfections, to correct and to purify. The chastening is to correct it and to purify it. See, we're no longer slaves to sin. You just might need a little help. To correct and to purify. All right. And the reason why I'm so, just kind of making sure we start off right, is that you sometimes don't go, you'll go to the extreme, and every time something bad happened to you, you're like, "Well, God let that happen, ah, because he trying to show me something".
No, sometimes it happened 'cause of what you did. Yeah. God was like, "Oh, I wasn't intending on using that at all, what happened"? Now, will he permit certain things? Yes, and sometimes some of the stuff you start, he'll just permit it on. Yeah, I'm gonna show you this. Now, before you pull out your degree, thinking you know more than everybody, just let me finish saying what I gotta say. I can see it on some of you now. "Well, you know, I...I don't agree with that right now". You ain't hurt me because I had a chance to sit down and look at 40 something years of my life and ministry and said, that's the truth. That's the truth. Oh my God. Man, I wonder if that hadn't happened, what would I have done? God knows how to get your attention. "Well the Lord corrects us with words".
I don't disagree, he does correct you with words. The problem is you ain't listening to those words. He told you to stop, he told you, "Don't do that". He told you, "Do go no... that way". He told you to leave that girl alone. He told you, "Don't call Fred no more," and you keep calling him. He told you that, he told you that. He told you that not only through your spirit, but he had a prophet come up and say it, "Thus sayeth the Lord". So he been trying to talk to you in words. Ya'll know what I'm talking about don't...? He been trying. Some of y'all remember talkin' about, "I knew I wasn't supposed to do that". Or watch this, this is a famous one, "Something told me".
Now you wanna call God a something. "Something told me not to come here". You get married, wake up next morning, Old Roscoe wakes up with his curls in his hat and a six pack, and he floating in the air, turning his head around, spitting up green stuff. And he looks at you because you a Biblically acquiring woman, he says, "Give me some coffee or I'll choke you out". And you're like, "Ahh. Something told me not to marry Roscoe". So, let me show you something and I wanna use gold and the dewdrops of the morning as an illustration of what I believe's going on here. Hebrews 12:29 reminds us that God is a consuming fire. Gold is chastened that it may become pure. How? Intense heat melts it into a liquid and thus separates it from all of the impurities.
And then there's the dewdrops sparkling in the morning and that was by the heat of yesterday's sun, drawn as a vapor from the stagnant pool. And then the cool of the night condenses it into water so pure that it refracts the rays of the sun into full beauty of the spectrum when you see it. Now both of these, both these processes, the one dealing with the gold and the one dealing with the dewdrops, both these processes are for the sole purpose of purification. And so likewise, is the chastening of the Father's love. It is to remove all which is unpleasing to him. And what have we learned that is unpleasing to him? Self-dependence. Self-dependence. Listen to me carefully, self-dependence.
Remember the series we did on the purpose of trials? The trial of your faith is the purification of your faith. It is a removal of all impurities of dependence on self. Dependence on self versus dependence on God. Self-dependence is impure and needs to be removed. You cannot, will not spend time, you will not spend time in Heaven in self-dependence. That is going to be burned off. You're gonna go to Heaven. Now, a lot of people like, "If I can just make it in, I'll be all right".
I don't wanna just make it in, cause I'm gonna show you tonight, today, a lot of folks gonna make it in, but some will have gain and some will suffer loss. You still gonna be in Heaven. And I was looking at that, I'm like, I got kind of nervous when I saw that. Wait a minute, am I still in Heaven? And the Scripture literally says, "You'll still be in Heaven, but you may suffer loss versus gain". And I'm like, man, I gotta to get in this. I wasn't gonna teach it, I figured they ain't ready for this, let's do this next year. He said, "No, now".
Now the answers to this question, the unrighteous, why do the righteous suffer? Why do the righteous have to go through stuff? Why do the righteous have to be afflicted? Y'all do know that right? "No, no, no, I don't believe the righteous have to suffer". Boy read the Bible. "They that live godly shall suffer," what? How many y'all trying to live godly? All right, you're going to go through some stuff. You're going to meet some stuff. I just get so freaked out when I meet Christians who are playing like they never went through nothing.
"Hey man, how you doing"? "Perfect, flawless, all is well". "Is all well all the time"? "Oh yes, amen". No, no, no, you lying, you're lying because God is going to use these afflictions, and the things we have to go through and the persecutions, and people talking about you, and losing your job and not having enough money to pay your rent, all your money spent. A little bit to buy some food, baby need a pair of shoes. Look, you got a light bill due. You even got a gas bill too. Telephone disconnect. Wait till your next paycheck, paycheck bounce on you, what are you gonna do? We have issues. It's called life, no one's exempt from it.
So what does he plan on doing with all of these things, persecutions and stuff that comes our way? And so this answers the question why do righteous suffer? The unrighteous, all who have not accepted righteousness of God, all who are not born again, they are not in the sight of God gold to be chastened. There is no chastisement for people who have not been born again. It's for those who are sons, it's not for those who have not been born again, okay? There is no spiritual life to free from impurities of this world. There is no spiritual life to free from the impure impurities of, I mean, a guy who's not born again, he ain't got no spiritual life, so we're no... He already bound to hell.
So there is no need to try to do any getting rid of impurities of self-dependence, cause that's how he live. "It's my life, I'm gonna do what I wanna do with it". Ephesians 2, verse 1 says something. Look at that, I wanna show you this real quick. I mean, those people are already dead in trespasses and sin. There's no, there's no spiritual life to free somebody from some impurities. Verse 1 says, "And he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sin". There are people that are dead in trespasses and sin.
So while the unrighteous do not suffer by chastening, there awaits the judgment and the fiery indignation which shall devour them who fail to make Jesus Lord of their life. People don't go to hell because of their behavior, they go to hell because they reject Jesus. Hebrews chapter 10:27, let me show you that real quick. Hebrews chapter 10:27. Is everybody on the bus still? I know I'm overemphasizing this, but you'll see why. We got, it's like, got to get this foundation down. Verse 27 says, "But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries".
And so, yeah, unless the unsaved receive Jesus as their Lord and personal Savior, they will be devoured, they're going to hell. There's none of this stuff of, well, you know everybody's going to Heaven. Only those who accept the sin offering, only those who accept the peace offering, only those who accept the ransom that was paid for us and that's Jesus. You don't go... Somebody says "Well, you're going to hell because of bad behavior". Well everybody got some, that's why you need the grace of God to help you through the bad behavior. The behavior will get better, but you're going to Heaven 'cause you accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior of your life. That's why you go to Heaven.