Joseph Prince - The Truth About God's Chastisement
Today I want to share about discipline. I have a chapter in my book, "Destined to Reign", in chapter six where I talk about discipline, but I want to go a bit more deeper, all right? Because in that book, I shared some of the things that some of you have heard me share before. I'll share some of those things because we have new people, but the essence is that I want to show you how God disciplines us, to what purpose God disciplines us, and what the discipline involves, okay? Are you ready?
So the discipline portion is taken from Hebrews chapter 12, all right? Hebrews 12, verse 5, "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons". So this discipline business, listen, when there's a group of kids that get into trouble and all that, okay? And there are words spoken and there's rudeness in all that; if my daughter is there, I'll go bring my daughter out and if need be correct her. I don't bring other people's children with me. Why? Because I am Jessica's father. Amen? God does not discipline the people of the world, all right? God disciplines his own children because we are the Father's own. He loves us, all right?
So discipline is speaking to us as to sons. "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord". Now, this quotation is from Proverbs, which all the Hebrews are familiar with. Have you noticed this book is called the Book of Hebrews? It's not about the art of making tea, all right? It's the Jewish people, Hebrews. All right? So they know this quotation, all right, from Proverbs 3, okay? In Proverbs 3, the only thing is that, doesn't, scourging here, but the idea here is that God loves, all right? Whoever God loves, God corrects.
Go back to Hebrews 12. All right. "My son, do not", notice God is talking to you as a son, as a daughter, all right? As a child, as his son. "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by him. For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives". You see, if we love our children, we will discipline them. Amen? The word chasten, by the way, unfortunately has a negative connotation today, and the King James actually, you know, in some places they use the word chasten, like in the Old Testament in the Book of Leviticus, God says, "If you don't line up, you don't repent, I will chasten you, I'll chastise you seven times more". All right?
And the idea there is punishment, okay? So because the word chastise is used there, people have a negative idea about chastisement when actually the word here in the Greek... Old Testament is in Hebrew, New Testament is in Greek. The Greek word for chastisement is paideuo, which means child train. So throughout this entire chapter when God talk about child train, all right, or chastening, he's talking about paideuo, child train. Amen. Training a child. The word paideuo, Greek, is where we get our English word pediatrician. All right? A child doctor, pediatrician. Child train. Okay.
So go back to Hebrews 12. And God says he will discipline, he will scourge every son whom he receives. Okay. So we've established that God will do it, all right? None of us are beyond God's correction, and God corrects you because he loves you. Can I have a good amen? But even in this discipline, God does not use diseases. Jesus said, in Matthew chapter 7, Jesus says if you know how to give good things to your children, all right, how much more will your Father... say, "How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him". If you then, being evil, you know how to give good gifts, how much more your Father, if you being natural, you being prone to weaknesses, you being prone to anger, moodiness, and all that you can give good things to your children, how much more your Father in heaven, and all the people said, "Amen".
So he's talking about the way a father would treat a child. Now with a father, in order to train the child about the dangers of fire because the boy likes to play with matchsticks, will the father take the boy's hand, bring him to the kitchen, switch on the gas stove, and put the boy's hand on the gas stove in his sizzling flesh? "Don't worry, boy. It'll be medium well". The smell of flesh fills the kitchen, and then the boy's crying his eyeballs out. The father says, "I did that because I love you". That is sick. That is sick.
We have special homes we put fathers like this. Non-Christians, non-believers will put fathers like this in a special home. They ought to be incarcerated, and yet there are preachers accusing God the Father who is greater in goodness, who is perfect in goodness doing the same things that they would incarcerate someone for. No, God is not a God who disciplines you with disease.
Let me just tell you this. In Isaiah 3, the very word for discipline, all right, used in Proverbs 3 just now, which Hebrews is quoting, it says this very clearly in Isaiah 53, verse 5: Jesus was wounded for our transgressions. "He was crushed for our iniquities". That's the word bruise. "The chastisement for our peace was upon him".
Now, chastisement there is actually the word discipline, all right? The area in the Old Testament where God disciplines, all right, with sickness and disease is no more. Why? Because the chastisement for our well-being was upon Jesus, and by his beatings, by his strokes, by his stripes we are healed. So God is not about to strike Jesus with disease and then strike you with disease. By the way, just to let you know, the same word used in the Greek for scourge - Jesus was scourged, Jesus used it when he healed the woman with the issue of blood and says, "Be whole of your plaque". The word plaque is the word scourge, which is the word used for "And Pilate scourged Jesus". So he told her, "Be whole of your scourge". Disease is a scourge, and Jesus was scourged so that by his stripes we are healed. And all the people said, "Amen".
So if God doesn't use sickness, God doesn't use disease, God doesn't use accidents, what does God use? Now, before I come to that, why is there discipline? Because our eyes are off Jesus. Whenever your eyes are off Jesus, you start looking to men, you start looking to a company, you start looking to your boss, you start looking to the government. You start looking to, you know, all these things, you'll be frustrated and you'll be angry with these people. God wants you to look to him.
Isn't it true that when Peter looked at Jesus, Peter was fearful just half an hour ago. He was so fearful of the storm, of the howling winds. When he saw Jesus above the storm, walking on the water, he says, "Lord, if it's you, bid me come". As long his eye was on Jesus, Jesus said, "Come," and Peter began to walk on the water like his master. Now he's on top of the very thing he was fearful of just moments ago. Are you fearful of something? As long you keep your eyes on Jesus, he will put you on top of the fear. That very fear will be under your feet. The very thing you are afraid of just now will be under your feet the moment you put your eyes on Jesus. Amen.
And that's why: God loves us so much he knows that there's only safety in looking at Jesus. The moment you look at somebody else, you know, and what happened when Peter to his eyes off Jesus? Because he heard the howling storm and he start being himself. His brain took over and said, "Hey, man is not supposed to walk on water". He became reasonable, all right? All of a sudden he started sinking, and then Jesus rescued him, right? And what did Jesus say? He was at discipline, at child training.
"Oh, why do you doubt? Why do you doubt, Peter"? Notice the rebuke came because he took his eyes off Jesus. God loves you so much, and God wants your eyes on Jesus because that's the only safety, your only blessing. Amen. So whatever the discipline is, all right, it's not because, you know, you tell a young man, all right, "If you look at girls all the time, you'll be disciplined by God". The poor guy, he's at the age where his hormones are bubbling. Amen? He will look at girls, and... it's not talking about that. In fact, if you look at Jesus, if your problem is lust, lust is always controlling you. If you look at Jesus, lust will be controlled by you. The answer is there, and it's because we do not know how to appropriate Jesus that the discipline, the child training is there. Can I have a good amen?
Church, let me just say this. Children feel loved when they are disciplined. They feel like you care enough. Sometimes they will test you, all right? Meet the test. "Now, Pastor Prince, I just want to be a best friend to my kid". Look, look. Let me just, I love this idea of being buddy-buddy with your friend, your daughter or your son, but God made you a father. He has many friends. What he needs is a father. You can be his friend, but overall you are his father. Are you listening? Be a father. Love him, nourish him, and love him enough to correct him.
Some parents are always struggling about issues of teenagers and all that. There's no rest. Why? Because things were not done earlier, but it's not too late. God will give you wisdom if you ask God for it. Amen? But correct your son and he will give you rest, the Bible tells us. Okay, so here we come to the topic that God, we know that, go back to Hebrews 12, verse 7. "If you endure chastening," or child training, "God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening," child training, "of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons". Drop down. "Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us".
Now, I don't like this translation here because it's not faithful to the Greek. The Greek does not say human fathers. The old King James is more faithful. It says fathers, himon, sarx. Sarx is always the flesh, the human body. So in the old King James, it says we had fathers after our flesh, according to our flesh. So let's look at it King James here. "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh". That's accurate, all right? The word sarx is always flesh. Okay. Now, "We had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence".
All right, church, fathers of the flesh correct which part of you, spirit or flesh? Flesh. They discipline you, right, like smacking, smacking, okay? That is correcting your flesh. You'll feel pain. You know there's consequences to such an action, all right? You protect them from worse consequences in the future. Amen. You let them feel that every rebellious action has a consequence. I'm not talking about disciplining your children all the time. Something is wrong when you're disciplining your children all the time, all right? Love should be all the time. Amen. Discipline once a while. Amen? Once in a long while even. Praise God.
But the thing is this, church. Listen. All right? Fathers of our flesh correct our flesh. Then he goes on to say, "Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits"? God is a Father of spirits. So how does God correct you? Where does God correct you? In your spirit. So right now, you know, God is using my words, all right? The teaching of the Bible to correct your spirit, correct you from inside out. God does not put disease on your flesh. God does not destroy your flesh in an accident to teach you a lesson. And then someone come up with a theory; it's very easy to look to God when you're flat on your back in the hospital. What makes you think God is up there? God is everywhere.
So fathers of flesh correct your flesh, fathers of spirit correct your spirit. Right? So he says, "Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the father of spirits and live"? And what? Live. So correction will produce what? Life and more life. "I come that you might have life". Not even loss, life, and have it more abundantly. Can I have a good amen? So notice that there's always a life result, a result of life. Next verse, please. "For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them".
Notice our earthly fathers chasten us a few days as seemed best to them. Sometimes it's not the best, but it seem best to them. And how many of you know that parents are prone to make mistakes, right? So we can discipline and the child doesn't need discipline at that moment, all right? The child is cranky because the child is tired or whatever, or the child's not feeling well. We can make mistakes, but nonetheless the verse is showing you that when we chasten our children, we chasten them based on what we think is best. But God when he discipline, "But he for our profit". He does it for our profit. Not for his profit, for our profit. That we may be what? Partakers of his holiness. God disciplines us to be partake.
Now, a lot of people misread this. They say that, you know, God disciplines you so that you become holy. It does not say that. It says that you may be partakers of his holiness. It is his holiness. God is teaching you how to appropriate Jesus. So in other words, let's say you got a bad temper on the road, all right? You're always impatient with slow drivers, and you're driving down the road. And you know this yourself by the grace of God. It takes the grace of God to know this about yourself. "You know, there are, I got this bad temper".
Have you ever notice that all the drivers in Singapore are really slow? You know, some people are really, you know, deceived to that point. You notice, "Everyone is slow but me". It takes revelation and God's mercy to see, "I got a problem". You tell your wife, "I really got a problem, huh? I'm very impatient on the road". So if you see that, that's grace already. So what do you do after that? You say, "Lord Jesus, as you are my righteousness, you are my holiness". You have become partaker of his holiness. You're not trying to be holy, you partake of his holiness, and it came about because you saw yourself under God's discipline. Are you listening?
Or you notice that your eyes, you got wayward eyes. Every beautiful girl that passes by, you must look. Even a Scottish man pass by in his kilt, you have to look and then you realize, you know, it's like, now, when you discover that in yourself, okay, what do you do? Say, "Well, you're really red blooded. too". So what do you do after that? You say, "Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness. I've claimed that. Now I claim you, Jesus, as my sanctification, my holiness even in this area. Lord Jesus, you are my holiness in this area". You see, your character grows. It's not teaching you to be holy, discipline. Discipline teach you how to partake of his holiness. Are you with me?
Okay, let's go on. Verse 11, "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful". I don't like the word painful because the old King James put the word grievous, which is more accurate. And the Greek word, that's actually troublesome, grievous, not joyful. You know, when you're under discipline, you never find a kid under discipline, "That's the most funniest thing you ever did, dad". You know, they are asking for some more. You know, "I'll make you cry, boy". And the thing is this, all right? No chastening seems to be joyful. So the painful is, always give you the idea of physical pain, but it's not painful painful in that way, okay? It's grievous, opposite of joyful. So not discipline for a moment seems to be joyful, but grievous.
Now, what's the number one way God chastises us? God disciplines us what way? His Word, right? His Word is the number one way God chastises us, all right? And it's true God doesn't discipline with disease, sickness, accidents, calamity, adversity, but God does discipline us. We agreed on that. Amen? How does he do it? Number one way, through his Word. Look at Psalms 94. "Blessed is the man whom you instruct". go to the old King James, "Blessed is the man whom you chasten". The word there is chasten. "O Lord, and teachest him out of your law". So God chasten us out of his Word, out of his Torah, okay, out of his law. "That thou", notice the result, the result, "That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity".
How many of you want rest from the days, many, many, many, many, many, many days of adversity? Amen. So notice there is a result. There is a consequence. How can the accident that killed a person be a discipline from God? There are no days of... that was adversity, right? No. The result of discipline will give you rest. So number one way God teaches you is out of the Word. Here it says out of thy law, the Torah because they only had the law at the time in the Old Testament. But for us, it is out of God's Word. Number one way. If you have the Word, God may not discipline any other way. But many are times people who need discipline are not reading their Bibles, they're not listening to messages, they're not attending church. How are they getting the Word?
So I submit to you right now this chastening here... go back to Hebrews 12. We bring this to a close. Hebrews says, "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful". You're going to say, "Now no Bible reading seem to be joyful for the present, but painful". It's not referring to Bible reading. One of the ways God chastens us is through circumstances. Again, I repeat. Not disease, not sickness, not disasters, not loss of a loved one, but how many have been in situations where you get frustrated?
For example, there are days and days you don't read the Bible even for example, all right? Then you find you get frustration after frustration after frustration that makes you seek God. There is a beautiful verse in Psalms 108 that I used to wonder what is this all about. Psalms 108. God says, "Moab is my washpot. Over Edom I will cast my shoe". That's an expression of possess Edom. You know, when you give your shoe in the Old Testament is to possess. It's like a down payment. All right. But what is Moab is my washpot? God says, "Moab is my washpot. It is my washing machine".
Why did God say Moab? 'Cause every time Israel got proud, God used Moab to humble her. Moab washes Israel. That slow drivers is actually God's washpot for me, to wash me from this impatience. Now, our sins are washed by the blood of Jesus, okay? That is needless to say, but this characteristics, when God wants to wash you and your outward mannerism and behavior, God uses Moabs so that you will have in Jesus's name more abs spiritually speaking. Amen? You want to see the real thing. Okay. No. It will not be gentlemanly for me to display some things that make all of you feel inferior. Amen. You're laughing, Daniel is laughing at me like he doesn't believe.
So, church, listen. Sometimes it is a person, sometimes it's circumstances. You get frustrated in the same area all the time. All right? Wake up and smell the flowers, smell the coffee, wake up and say, "Why am I always getting frustrated in this area? Why? God, speak to me. Why"? Because insanity is defined as doing the same things again and again and again and again and expecting a different result, right?
I'll close with this verse. By the way, have you noticed back to Hebrews 12, it says, "Nevertheless, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it". Notice there's an afterward? Some people teaching on discipline there's no afterward, you are dead, you're in heaven already. But God's teaching always there's an afterwards. It yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Not gives you righteousness, that's a gift. Discipline does not give you righteousness; discipline brings out the fruit of your right standing with God, okay, to those who have been trained by it.
Now I'll give you this verse real quick. Write this down real quick, all right? What sort of profit? This can be a good principle for you to learn from. 1 Corinthians 10, "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but not all things edify". Look at the New International Version. New International Version says, "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive".
So as believers, all right, we are free. We are free by Jesus's blood to do what's right. Yes. But there are some things the Bible doesn't really tell you. Is playing golf right or wrong? All things are lawful, okay? But if you keep on playing golf, you don't attend church, you think golf, you sleep golf, then it is no more beneficial. But once a while you play and you build relationships and you distress yourself, whatever it is, it's beneficial.
Another principle here is, "All things are lawful unto me, but I'll not be brought under the power of any". All things are lawful unto me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. "Is it okay, pastor, for me to drink wine"? Apply this principle. Don't come under its power. All things are lawful unto me, but not all things are profitable. God's discipline is what? To bring you to a place for your long-term profit. And then God makes you what? Have power over the thing. You can control it, all right? No problem. You cannot control it, you come under its power, it's a problem. And God loves you. Does that help? Praise God. Give him praise. Come on, hallelujah.