The Fathers’ Discipline is Profitable (Hebrews 12:5-11)

Pastor Anthony Bacino, July 28, 2019
Part of the Exposition of Hebrews series, preached at a Sunday Morning service


A story is told of a castaway and the only survivor of a shipwreck who washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed begging for God to rescue him and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but no ship was ever in sight. He eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the sun and rain and to store his few possessions. –
One day, after scavenging around the island for food, he arrived back to his make shift hut to find it in flames, the smoke and fire blazing up to the sky. It was just more than he could handle and he freaked. He was stunned with grief and anger. “God, how could you do this to me?” He screamed and yell at God in tears until he cry himself to sleep. The next day, he woke up to the sound of a ship approaching the island …he would be rescue. He spoke with the ships captain “How did you know I was here?” “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

We will not always understand what God is doing, but we can always trust in God. Hebrews 12 is about running the race of faith successfully, yet the word winning isn’t mentioned once. Rather, the writer emphasized endurance and discipline. Without these qualities, the race can’t be won. Sometime what he does is to increase our faith and other times we know that God is chastening us but never without hope because he does so for our profit. This passage in Hebrews will teach us to prevent faltering of one’s faith, we must run God’s race patiently yet we must understand why God disciplines us along the way. This requires understanding three facts about God’s discipline.

I. Reveals God’s love. Vv. 5, 6

1. These Jewish Christians were discourage because they saw no reason why God would allow difficult times to happen to them. They were on His side. The truth is many of us think the very same thing. The writer states a truth that they have forgotten principles regarding the chastening of the Lord. Adversity is sometimes the result of persecu¬tion and other times it is a result of God’s discipline.

He is quoting Proverbs 3:11-12, the writer encourages us not to despise the Lord’s chastening [discipline] or faint when He corrects us (12:5) which he uses to encourage the faithful to view their difficulties as proof of God’s loving, parental discipline. He writes in Hebrews 12:6— For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

2. We tend to see such difficulties as evidence of God’s disfa¬vor. Throughout this context, “discipline” translates a word used (among other ways) for a father’s training of his son. Because discipline proves the father’s love (Revelation 3:19), its recipients must not lightly regard or belittle its value and purpose. God both disciplines and receives his child who undergoes this training. God’s chastening should never be taken as a sign of His rejection. The next point is that chastening…

II. Reveals we are God’s children. Vv. 7-8

1. We must remember God’s disci¬pline means He is dealing with us as His children. Only a child who is not loved has a father who won’t discipline. If God doesn’t discipline us as He does all His children, we are bastards, and not sons.

2. Rather than becoming alarmed at the discipline of the Lord we should be concern at its absence. The son who grows up without restraint or training is suspected of being an illegitimate child. What father would fail to give his true son the discipline that will make him honorable and responsible man?

Occasion¬ally, we all get off course and falter in our race of the faith, but because we are His children, God gets us back into stride through the art of discipline. Note what the Psalmist said, in Psalm 119:67- –Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

3. Not everyone knows by experience what a model father is like. God is that perfect Father, and He gives us that example. Many sons and daughters have been cheated or disappointed by a bad father because they intuitively compare the bad father to our Father in heaven.

God’s discipline is always corrective, not vindictive. It is to help us become better people, not to make us suffer. Parents need to follow our Heavenly Father’s example. We should discipline our children to correct them and make them better people.

4. Therapist Lori Gottlieb says that parents who are obsessed with their children’s happiness may actually contribute to their becoming unhappy adults. These parents coddle their children, do not equip them to deal with the real world, look the other way when their children do wrong, and neglect disciplining them. As Christian parents, we have the responsibility to lovingly discipline our children (Prov. 13:24; 29:17; Heb. 12:9-11). As we impart God’s wisdom to them, we have the blessing of helping them develop into responsible, God-fearing adults.

When discipline is administered in love, it is always for the purpose of correction. Discipline reveals God’s love, reveals we are God’s children, and…

III. Reveals we Need to Change. Vv. 9-11

1. The all-knowing God can chasten us perfectly, with better and more lasting results than even the best earthly father. Our writer states that we respect our earthly fathers who cor¬rected us. Therefore, should we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and [really] live? Loving, earthly fathers never discipline their children out of cruelty but in love to make them better people and ensure a better life. Being subject to God’s discipline means responding with the kind of prayer that David prayed in Psalm 51:10— Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

2. Our earthly parents disciplined us for a few days… after their own pleas¬ure. But God disciplines us for our profit, that we might be partakers of his grace (12:10). When we became mature adults, we remembered and appreciated that discipline-and we respected our parents more… Though all earthly parents make mis¬takes in disciplining their children, God never does. His discipline is al¬ways just and perfect.

3. The scriptures say, no discipline seemeth to be joyous, but grievous (12:11a) that is to say while it is happening we don’t like it much. I think as we get older we realize more than ever the importance of discipline. Discipline is never meant to be joyous; it is painful so it will be corrective.

The Yoter family took in a drug addict named Derek he was for years enslaved by drugs. Derek’s life had been ruled by the flesh and Satan. He had bought the lie of the devil, ‘Enjoy an unruly life now and maybe pay the cost later. One day Derek was so far gone he had no-where to go but up and he cried out to Jesus to save him and change his life. After intense rehab he said, “It’s amazing what you can endure when you know you’re winning!” Derek began his race of faith by accepting Christ and His forgiveness. So can you!

4. There is a saying, “You don’t change until the pain of continuing as you are exceeds the pain of changing.” God knows that. He inspired the psalmist to write in Psalm 119:75- I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

God wants to have a great relationship with you so you can have a won¬derful life. That can’t happen if you refuse to accept His discipline when you falter. God’s purpose in any form of judgment of his children is that they might begin to act differently, begin to be more thoughtful and courteous toward one another, especially their immediate families.


God loves us far beyond what we can imagine. He works in our lives behind the scenes guiding us and leading us and even chastening us because of His great love. He even works in mysterious ways when we are just completely out of it. The Lord allows our rough edges to be smoothed over through the sandpaper of life.

God often sends me joy through pain,
Through bitter loss, divinest gain;
Yet through it all—dark days or bright—
I know my Father leads me right. — Conklin

Lord, this shaping process call chastening hurts, but I want to submit to the process. Mold me and smooth me.


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Hebrews 12:5-11

5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (KJV)

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