Why does God discipline His children, and how should we respond to His discipline?
By: The John Ankerberg Show
| The media player is loading…
|A teaching by Dr. John Ankerberg on guilt, feelings of depression, forgiveness, sinful habits, God’s discipline and the fear of death.
Copyright: 1997, Number of Programs: 6, Cat. No. ENC
Keywords: Christian Life, Encouragement, Discipline, Hardship, Romans 8:28, 2 Corinthians 1:1-24
- Ankerberg: Our topic today is an interesting one-God’s discipline of His own; why it happens, and how not to lose heart during the process. All Christians are familiar with the verse Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Christians usually quote this verse when tragedy hits, when they’ve lost their job, when difficult times come. In doing so, we are saying, “Yes, we believe God is still in charge and has allowed these things to come into my life for my ultimate good.”
- Today we want to examine this a little closer and see what God says is going on in our lives. To begin, in 2 Corinthians 1, the great apostle Paul tells us about the problems that he faced. He said, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure.” [2 Cor. 1:8]
- Let me stop right here and say that Christians do suffer hardship. Some in the Church are wrongly teaching that whatever circumstances you face, God will give you total and complete victory in the sense that if you’re sick, you’ll always be healed; if you’re financially poor, you’ll always get more money than bills; if you have troubles in your marriage, it will always work out just right. That was not the experience of the apostle Paul. He says he did suffer hardships in the province of Asia. Paul suffered, not because he hadn’t prayed enough or because he forgot to ask God to remove these hard circumstances. No, Paul was the very one who told Christians in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 to pray continually, and to pray on all occasions. [cf. Eph. 6:18] So from Paul’s own life we can learn that a Christian can sometimes pray and ask God to remove hardships and God doesn’t. But He always promises to give us His strength and His peace if we are to go through hardships.
- Paul then writes, “We were under great pressure far beyond our ability to endure.” In other words, the circumstances he faced drained him completely. He did not have enough strength and ability of his own to endure them. He says it got so bad, “that we despaired even of life.” [2 Cor. 1:8] In other words, he didn’t think he would make it. He had gotten to the point where he had given up on the idea that he could live through his circumstances.
- Then Paul says, “Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.” [2 Cor. 1:9] Notice he says he felt like death or that death was hanging over him, coming his way. Is that the way you feel? Have you gotten that low? Is all of your energy and strength gone? Have you even despaired of life itself? Well, that is what the apostle Paul says he experienced.
- But then notice what he says. He tells why these tough times happened to him. The reason is this: “But that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.” [2 Cor. 1:9] The terrible feelings, the despair of life, the hard circumstances happened so that Paul would realize he had come to the end of his own resources – his own strength and energy – and would have to rely totally on God. The hardship came so Paul would come to the end of his own self-confidence and he would know there was no way he could get through those events in his own power. We are to trust God moment by moment for all the events of our life. Is that what you’re learning right now?